In the Season Four finale episode of HBO's Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw struts up to a shop window, peers inside, and infamously exclaims, "Hello, lover!" to the pair of pink strappy sandals glimmering back at her. While the episode never shows Carrie's actual transaction, viewers can imagine she hopped on into the shop, asked to try the pair of heels on in a size 7, slipped them right on, swiped her credit card, and went on her merry way.
Never in my life have I experienced a seamless Carrie shoe-shopping moment like that. In fact, the most memorable shoe-shopping experience I've had in my life took place in Bologna, Italy, where upon telling the shopkeeper my size, she frowned at me and suggested I chop off my toes. Because unlike Carrie and millions of women worldwide who have a manageable foot size, I do not. I was blessed with whopping size 11 boats — I mean ... feet.
For me, shoe shopping is a personal nightmare; the second circle of Dante's Inferno where I spend my time lusting after shoes I would love to own, but can't manage to squeeze my dolphin fins into. If you find yourself nodding your head up and down as you read this, snapping in agreement, and shouting "preach" at your computer screen, chances are, your feet are equally as large. Human feet keep getting bigger, but that doesn't mean having large feet isn't still without its own particular struggle.
Here are the top eight struggles of having big feet that only women truly understand.
1. Having Your Style Unfairly Limited
The largest problem for big feet is that, much like larger clothing, larger shoes are limited when it comes to styles, colors, and heel heights. For some unspecified reason, shoe designers rarely design shoes for women above a size 10; and if they do, they are far more basic as compared to their smaller, glitzier counterparts. Think boring black pumps, plain sandals, and lots of sneakers that are lacking in personality, proper fit, and quality. That stunning new pair of plum suede booties with embossed heels in the showcase window? I can bet you that no, they don't come in our size.
2. Missing Out On Being Able To Share Shoes
Unless you got your genes from your momma, your feet are probably at least two sizes larger than your mom's, sister's, female friends', and basically anyone you know. Your basic right as a female to steal shoes from the other females in your life is shattered to pieces. On the bright side, there's always Dad's closet ... right?
3. Not Having Your Own Designated Sale Section
When you go to a department store and there is a sale in the shoe department, there are usually sections of racks arranged in order of size. Well, for us bigfeet, sizes 9-11 are usually clumped together in one measly section in the back — if there even is a section for us. Most of the shoes in the section are misplaced and aren't even our size anyway. No discounts for you! Forget about looking for sizes over an 11 on sale — you most likely have to order online. Which brings me to....
4. Having To Hear "We Can Order It For You!" Over And Over Again
You'll never realize the luxury of trying shoes on in the store until that privilege is tragically ripped from your hands. Nine times out of 10, the store doesn't have the pair you want in the larger sizes. BUT, lucky you, they can order it for you with free shipping and a smile! You just have to pray to the Shoe Gods that the shoes fit when they arrive at your doorstep — which many times they don't, so there you go, off to the the shoe store to admit the inevitable defeat and try again.
5. Never Getting To Wear European Shoes
Europeans are not very forgiving when it comes to making shoe sizes at the high end of the spectrum. In fact, it's almost impossible to even find shoes in a size over 41 (U.S. size 10). (Take it from a girl who spent four months living in Milan and came home with one measly pair of black flats.)
When you add to that miserable equation the fact that European shoes are often cut narrower than their American counterparts, the search is almost impossible. Kiss your dreams of Italian leather and red-bottomed Louboutin's goodbye.
6. Facing Embarrassment Every Time You Go Bowling
Or snorkeling, or rock climbing, or ice skating. Essentially, any time you need to rent shoes to do an activity, you have to tell the shoe attendant that you are a size Bigfoot. "Come again?" "Yes, you heard me correctly. I need a size 11. No, I don't want to wear men's flippers." I know, I know. Why rent fins when you already have your own?
7. Trying To Shove Your Feet Into Smaller Shoes
At some point, you've probably tried shoving your toes into the shoes you wanted, only in much smaller sizes. Sure, it made every step you took almost unbearable and you probably have permanent blister marks from those days, but as the saying goes, beauty is pain and when you're 15 and beauty is baby pink rhinestone ballet flats, you'll bear the blisters. They totally fit, Mom! I swear!
8. Realizing Your Foot Doesn't Even Fit Properly On The Stairs
When you thought that life with big feet couldn't get more difficult, you walk up the stairs and realize your whole foot doesn't fit on the step, so you have to walk on your toes. While it feels like Darwinism is trying to weed you out via stair size, you make up for the daily pain with your newly-sculpted calves.
There it is, ladies and gentlemen. The silver lining to big feet? Knowing how to be comfortable in your own shoes — no matter how big they are.
Images: fotolia; Giphy