Monday, 28 May 2012
The unsolved mystery of the uncomfortable shoe
If you’re A Female and B Wear Shoes you’ll more than likely be familiar with the ever-problematic dilemma of the uncomfortable shoe.
No, I’m not referring to those towering 6 inch high stilettos that make your legs look sooo good but leave you with disfigured toes at the end of a night out or day at work. Oh no these mysterious pain-inducers can take on any form – you know what I mean ladies – the ones that in the shop were super comfortable and fit perfectly, but as soon as they’re let out of their box and placed on your tootsies in real life they rub, pinch and squash their way towards causing as much damage as possible.
For some reason this phenomenon seems lost on guys, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been asked by men why did I buy shoes that hurt my feet and been accused of stupidity for parting with my hard-earned cash in exchange for blisters and sores.
Obviously, if the shoes hurt when we were in the shop we wouldn’t buy them (well okay, unless they had a huge discount and fulfilled a lifelong footwear fetish for a particular style or label, or really were the only pair that ‘made’ that outfit).
As a tall female (at around 5ft 11 tall), I don’t regularly indulge in super high heels or chunky wedges, since I feel giant-like most days without adding extra height from my footwear. However, this doesn’t mean I can escape from this issue. Oh no, in fact the ‘comfy’ pump and ‘foot-friendly’ flat are often the worst culprits. Luring you in with the idea of soft leather, ‘wide fit’ and of course the lack of heel, these shoes suggest connotations of a happy foot, blister free skin and hours of worry-free walking. Oh no, this is not always the case.
At nearly 30 years of age now you’d think I’d have got a little closer to solving this mystery. After all there could be a number of factors which could influence how the shoe feels on your feet in the shop, compared to when you’re back at home – a key criteria being heat. Obviously if you’re feet are cooler when you visit the shop and then you wear the shoes in hot weather when you are bound to be a little swollen this will have an impact on the fitting. Or if you are/aren’t wearing socks/tights with said boots, shoes, pumps. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any sense of pattern to allow us to identify where we’re going wrong and how to avoid footwear buying faux pas in the future.
Plus it’s not limited to new purchases, have you ever found that good reliable pair of shoes you love that are just so comfortable, they are your trusted comrades who get you through rushing to meetings before you put on the killer heels ready for action, or your fashionable friends who look great but are still cushioned. What on earth is going on when these former friends become evil enemies and decide to start hurting and rubbing completely out of the blue? It’s not like they need you to ‘wear them in’, the leather doesn’t need to stretch, the edges don’t need to be softened up and shape to your feet. So why do they suddenly start to ache and turn your tended toes into trampled trotters?
Cost doesn’t seem to matter either. I’ve worn cheap shoes, leather shoes, expensive shoes, plastic shoes, super-soft shoes, wide fit shoes, well-known named shoes, shop brand shoes – they all seem to cause this problem at random.
Take for instance today I have on a new pair of peep toe, red suede, kitten heel slingbacks. I purchased them for a wedding recently and wore them all day and evening at the wedding – super comfy (and super comfy in the shop). Today I wear them for work and just a tiny bit of walking to and from the station, to my office etc, and they are feeling super tight and cutting into my feet.
At the weekend I wore some navy blue wedges which have a sort of padding on the heel area – they felt so soft in the shop, I wore them very briefly at the weekend and they too seemed to rub my toes! My trusty Billabong flipflops from Australia (which now must be around 7 years old!) are still just as comfy as the day I bought them. I guess it may only be a matter of time though before they start to cause me traumas with my toes!
In the past I even thought I’d cracked it and started to buy most of my footwear from the same chain, but sadly after a while they soon let me down too. Having big-ish feet (hey, it’s to balance me out as I am so tall!) I often feel lucky to find a pair of shoes I like and that fit, so having to then worry about how comfortable they’ll be post-purchase just adds more complication than is needed to my shopping experience!
I’m going to – slowly – hobble my way around for the rest of the day and hope I get home and off and on the trains/buses/pathways without too many sores for today. Then go home and try and think of what shoes to wear that I think will be a tad kinder to me tomorrow.
If anyone is out there reading this and you think you’ve found the secret to this please do share it, or else we’re just going to have to accept this is to forever remain one of life’s little mysteries and instead use it as an excuse to treat our poor feet to a few more pedicures at the spa!