Friday, February 1, 2013

It's Fashion Friday!: Your Shoes Don't Fit

Your feet would love to wear these shoes.
That is a dapper men's sneaker from Hogan.

            If your feet could talk what would they say? I have a funny feeling they would say something along the lines of “You spent that much on a college degree and you still don’t know how to buy shoes that fit me?” Yes, you. I see you looking around the room like I’m talking to someone else while I stare at that finger sized gap between the back of your foot and the back of the heel of your shoe. It’s a good thing they look at the front of you in an interview and not the profile. Perhaps we should also address those of you who think that you only need enough space in the toe box for one or two toes. I don’t think your feet like you very much either. And then there are those of you who buy sandals with soles that allow your toes to hang off like a basketball player on a child size bed. Good heavens.
            Many of you are probably laughing right now. Adults who don’t know how to fit shoes to their feet sounds pretty preposterous doesn’t it? I can tell you that they exist and in large quantities. I know this not just from staring at people’s feet (I’m looking at their shoes – don’t read that in a kinky way, please), but also from my stint in shoe sales. I don’t really understand why something that should be fairly simple eludes so many. It’s not like with clothing where larger sizes hold a stigma. Yet, some people maintain with the fortitude of a bomb shelter that they wear a certain tiny size even as the skin on their foot bubbles uncomfortably out every opening of the shoe. “Oh the cut just isn’t right for my foot.” No, Ma’am. It’s actually the wrong size.
Wear warm socks. These things are frigid.
            You can have your foot measured with a Brannock device. That’s one of those fun, cold, metal slider things shoe salesmen will put your foot on and pretend to know how to use and give you the proper size and width of your foot. That gives a nice starting point. Different brands of shoes, however, are sized all over the map. So the size on the Brannock device, is not really all that helpful when you go to buy shoes. You really need to try on the shoes and figure out what fits properly. For example, on the Brannock device, my shoe size is a 10 AA. At Ferragamo I wear a 9B. Prada I wear a 40 (10). Cole Haan I wear a 9.5. I have a pair of Saucony sneakers that are a size 11 (those make me feel like a giant).
My feet are saying, "Please
make more money so
we can have more sandals
like this!"
            Here are some things I would like you to keep in mind the next time you are shopping for shoes. If you are buying dress shoes, for a wedding, fancy party, evening event, etc. You shouldn’t buy them after you’ve spent the entire day walking around. Your feet swell when you spend the day on them. If you buy shoes when your feet are swollen, you’re going to buy a larger size. Then when you go to put on the shoes for your fancy event, they are going to be too big. If you are buying shoes for walking around, on the other hand, it’s good to buy them when you’ve been walking around. You want shoes that are comfortable when your feet are tired and achy.    
            These guidelines for buying shoes that fit should be very helpful for all.
1.     If they hurt, they don’t fit. I don’t care if they’re cute. I don’t care if they’re the last pair, and they’re only a half size too small. I don’t care if they just pinch a little bit at the toe. IF THEY HURT, THEY DO NOT FIT.
2.     Leather stretches, especially in well-made shoes (particularly of the Italian persuasion). A good shoe should be snug when you try it on. NOT PAINFUL, snug. You want the shoe to hug your foot like a glove and support it at the arch. If you go up a size and you don’t need to you might put the arch of the shoe in the wrong place. If it feels like it’s not giving in the toe box, it will loosen up as the shoe breaks in. None of this applies with low-end shoes and synthetics. Do not depend on a cheap shoe to give or break in.
3.     When you put on a high heel, your heel should not come out of the shoe when you walk in it. You shouldn’t be able to put a finger between your heel and the shoe.
4.     If you can’t wiggle your toes in the shoe, it’s not very healthy for your feet. A lot of women’s dress shoes do not allow for toe wiggling. Try not to spend a lot of time in these. If they are flat shoes, you should be able to wiggle your toes. 
5.     If you want to walk on nails, go barefoot. If you’re going to wear sandals, make sure that the footbed is large enough for your whole foot. Your foot shouldn’t be hanging off the front or the back.
6.     If you think the shoe isn’t cut right for your foot, and you’ve only tried on one size, TRY ANOTHER SIZE! Shoes are fitting not just length, but also width, arch height, and placement of the arch. There are a lot of variables.
7.     Most people have two differently sized feet. You should buy for the larger foot. There are things you can do to accommodate the smaller foot into the larger shoe. Rather than padding at the back of the shoe, it is best to put pads under the ball of the foot to push the foot back towards the heel of the shoe. It puts the arch in the right place in the shoe. If your feet are DRASTICALLY different in size Nordstrom will sell you two different sized shoes. 
1.     Your feet do not stay the same size as you age. I’m not talking about growing children or dear pregnant women. All people’s feet change with age. We walk on them, we stand on them, we dance on them, we abuse them. Don’t expect that you wear the same size you wore twenty years ago. I’m talking to you, Mrs. 75 Year Old Woman who still thinks she wears a 7 AAA. You can get as many facelifts as you want, but your feet don’t lie. 

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