Shoes that fit.

It’s just in, said the actress to the Bishop. “In? What’s in?” I hear you choke?

That period of the year where men and women alike look towards finding the perfect winter footwear. Boots and/or shoes that keep your feet warm and cosy and look good with knee-length skirts. And I understand some women are looking for the same too.

I’ve got grotty old feet and they’re huge. Size 10 which means that I should be taller than I am. By rights I should be 6ft 2 and according to some charts, and I am 6ft 2 when you meet me. I’m just standing further away than you expect.

But with big feet come big shoes and, as my grandmother used to say when she took the aged 5 sized Spencer shoe-shopping, and the shop person would say ‘Wow. Hasn’t he got big feet?’ She’d always say “His feet have to be big as they’re always placed firmly on the ground.”

If only that were true.

I’ve been looking for footwear for some time now and never regarded it as important. I went shopping with someone who suggested I buy a certain pair of boots, but also, in the same breath told me how the shoes I was wearing at the actual time looked like corrective footwear. She was right. They did. I looked like someone who should be cast in plastic and put outside shops with a slot in my head for charity donations. But I bought the boots she suggested.

Footwear is important. We spent a long time on our feet, walking and doing all the other stuff that isn’t walking. It’s important to find a pair that goes with what you wear, that you feel comfortable with, and that you feel a bit proud of. Remember, there are some shoe fascists out there and some dating article-type bollocks say that you’re immediately visually appraised within 10 seconds of meeting someone, and one of the things the opposition check out, and rate you on, is your footwear.


So, you go to shops and hunt about. This summer I was told I should wear deckshoes by the shop dummies, but slipping these size 10 fuckers into a pair of deck shoes make people think less ‘Sloop John B’ and more ‘Canoe. Clown. Where’s your red nose?”

And then you find them. The pair you want. And oh, how they look gorgeous. You see them in the shop and try them on. The leather drawing close against your socks. Snug but giving, and you take those first few steps. They don’t pinch. They feel good. They feel like something else. Another pair I once had. Can I run in these? But no-one ever does that in the shop do they? In front of the mirror. “Sorry, but can I just have a run around the shop as I need to see if these shoes will hinder me when I’m running for a bus?”

The shoes are new, but they feel warm. In a way like you’ve worn them before. Like something else. Something you’d never ever part with but had to, because they got a bit holey and let you down.

You buy them, and wear them out. Usually on a special occasion, if you’re stupid like me, and then they DO pinch. They bite at your feet. You squirm and stand on your own shoes to stop the pain. Where did the comfort and warmth go? Where did it go? Now I just have something angry and spiky.

I bought a pair of Converse recently. I used to wear them a lot but stopped as I thought, for while they were better suited to children, stupids, people who wanted to hark back to another time, and people who simply liked getting wet feet when it rained. But they’re cool and maybe I harked back to a certain time, or wanted to be someone or something else now I’m 40.  I’ve heard some people have many pairs of Converse boots. Never changing, always going back to the old faithful but in different colours. Constant and consistent but somehow always different. I wish I was like that.

Instead, in these, I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s shoes. A pair that don’t fit me. I’m walking on cardboard and can feel the pavement underneath pressing into my feet with every step.

And yesterday I saw a pair of Converse on someone else. I didn’t know who he was until I saw the footwear. My eyes are bad and it was dark but the footwear made me realise that the pair I was wearing were totally different to those he had on. Same shoes, different person. Some common ground there but actually very very different.

Different is good though. Everything is different. Sometimes you can’t go back to the old comfy shoes you had, lost and had to part with, and you have to move on to a new pair. But maybe that new pair will never match up to the old ones you loved so much. And you’ll always compare them.

Some people want diamond shoes. Shoes made out of diamonds. It’ll never happen I said, but now there’s apparently an entire planet that’s made of diamond so perhaps. One day. Perhaps one day you can have diamond shoes and I truly, with everything I am, wish that for you.

Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes, the saying goes. I have. I’ve done that. And I’m so truly sorry. It was wrong of me.

Perhaps I should go back to the correctional footwear. And never try those trainers again. Some people suit that. Perhaps I don’t.

But I thought I did. I was lead to believe I did. And now, I just wish I did. With every cell.

Thanks for reading and I hope you find happy footwear.

17 responses to “Shoes that fit.

  1. You’ll find the right pair of shoes, m’love. I have every faith that you will. And when you do they’ll feel so wonderfully right that you’ll be able to skip and run in them every day for the rest of your life.

  2. I ‘liked’ this post but I don’t actually like it. I can feel the pain pouring out of it it and I hurt for you. I also commented as it annoys me when people don’t comment although I feel you don’t care if anyone reads or comments on this as its just a way to vent and I really feel for you. A lot.

  3. I’ve had a long day, I’ve read this twice and I know it’s not really about shoes. But I’m tired and can’t work out exactly what it is about except, as someone else said above, the pain is crawling out of every line so I’m sending you lots of love xx

  4. I think I get the jist of this. Half hope I have it wrong but I don’t think I have. Finding the perfect pr or new shoes takes time and you sometimes need to to try a few pairs. Hope you feel better soon. Xx

  5. You will find the right shoes for you. We all will. Some of us have found them but the rest of us make do with what we’ve got, or search forever… Xxx

  6. I’m reading between the lines but hoping I’m wrong and then everything gets blurred…You’re not in a nice place and I know that and I’ve been there so really this comment is just to say I’m another – of many – who are here if you need anything or nothing.

  7. I’m 6’7″. I have a size 15 foot UK size. The ‘right’ shoes are the pair that fit. I have to cross the country to go to a shop where shoes fit. If I want variety in footwear I import them from another continent.

    Shoes are a sad place for me. 😦

  8. So much pain, I can feel it in every word.

    Your shoes are out there Spencer, they are, and like Cinderella, you will slip them on and just know.

    I hope your pain and blisters subside soon x x x

  9. I feel your pain, I love shoes but hate shoe shopping. I’ve got size 9 feet and women’s shoes usually only go up to an 8. If they go higher then they seem to have a different kind of customer in mind – and I don’t really like the idea of running around after the kids in tranny shoes!

  10. The comments are amazing – so much love for you, that you deserve. Some taking you at face value, some reading between the words and the lines, some empathising, some sympathising.. All have the same sentiment though- wishing you well soon… May you find your perfect shoes, both in reality and metaphorically.

  11. Whatever it takes, you will find whatever you need to find the right shoes…because despite the churning and mind-bending agony they/it/something will slowly let some comfort and respite in for you. In the meantime I offer, as so many have, whatever I can to help you mend the blisters and the hurt x

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