I have big feet.
I know. First world problems, right? Cry you a river, I’ve got big feet.
My gym shoes are a size 11. Most of my dress shoes are a 10. Ten and a half is perfect, but hard to come by.
In addition to having boats for feet I have relatively narrow boats, particularly in the heal. And shoe manufacturers seem to assume that if you have feet the length of tennis rackets that they’re also the width of tennis rackets. Not so.
I feel this most acutely when trying to find sandals. Which I am currently on the hunt for in preparation for a little Caribbean holiday that’s coming up.
Now I’ve undoubtedly completely lost some of you. Cry you a river my big feet are interfering with my ability to find shoes for a Caribbean vacation. Indulge me. Plus, you fellow big feet girls are nodding your heads in sympathy.
The large but relatively narrow curse also hinders my ability to find good hiking boots, if that makes you feel any better. My current hiking boots are a men’s boot, which means they’re not very cute. However, they are very comfortable. My hiking shoes are women’s and fit in width but are just a tiny snidge short and, as a result, I usually lose a number of toenails to the trail gods by the end of fall. I am envious of you petite footed people who can go into any store and buy a large variety of well-fitting shoes straight off the shelf.
Back to sandals. Another issue is that the soles of my feet are tender. I cannot be the only one who is rubbed raw by the hard rubber soles of Keens and Chacos. Why hard rubber? I am not a car being outfitted with tires.
I have some cute summer sandals, sure. But I can’t walk in them all day. So, if we’re going to be walking a lot I usually just wear my tennis shoes. But, I don’t really want to do that in the tropics.
Because you won’t be able to see my pedicure.
Let’s continue with those who didn’t just X out of this entry in utter disgust.
At least I’m honest.
A few weeks ago a girlfriend showed up to a party sporting a pair of Chacos that were part sandal, part tennis shoe. They were cute, they were sturdy, and though they gave me pause because they were close-toed (ahem, the aforementioned pedi) I decided to give them a whirl. Turns out they were on clearance on the REI website and available in super-sized. I ordered a 10 and an 11 and eagerly anticipated their arrival.
Arrive they did. I tried on the 10. Too wide. Too short. I grabbed the 11’s. Good length. Even wider. I yanked the adjustment strap as tight as it would go (it only had one point of adjustment, by-the-by). Not a chance. I can safely assume that my feet are going to swell in the heat. But they will not swell enough to fit those shoes unless I acquire some dreaded tropical disease.
I returned them to the local REI and began scouring the Internet using search terms like “adjustable sandals with fabric soles.” Right? Because obviously I need lots of adjustment points that I can cinch in…and fabric for comfort.
The front runner? Merrell. They have a number of styles available that seem to fit the bill. All averaging $80-$100. Here’s the thing, though. If I can find one pair of sandals that I can live in on vaca and then bring home and live in on the weekends during the summer (read: whump on), whether we be on trail or in town, I’m willing to pay a bit of money. If a good pair of sandals and a pair of flip flops represents the sum total of my vacation shoe wardrobe I will be ecstatic.
So, I ordered six pairs. Three different styles, two different sizes in each style. You do that math. I warned the husband about the impending credit card charge so he didn’t freak out. The goal? Find one pair out of six (free returns!). The fear? What if I found two pairs?
They arrived last week. It was a beautiful sight to behold.
I began unpacking and trying on. I was immediately struck by how light-weight all three styles were. I was also impressed by the tread on all of them. And, each pair had a number of adjustment points. These are not your discount store sandals.
First pair have a strap that go around the big toes. The 11’s adjusted well around the ankle, but they were too big around the toe. The 10’s fit better ’round the toe but it felt like I was hanging over the front of them a snidge. Sigh. But I love them. And they’re very comfortable.
Second pair have criss-crossing straps, also multiple adjustment points. 11’s adjusted well, but again seemed a little roomy across the top. 10’s adjusted very well, but I’d love another half inch in the front. But I love them. And they’re very comfortable.
Final pair have more of a solid-strap straight down the middle. Multiple adjustment points at each cross-strap (though not the one closest to the toes, which makes no sense as they’d be close to perfect if I could adjust them there). 11’s…too roomy. 10’s adjusted quite well, but I’d love another half inch in the front. And the fabric feels a bit more slippery on them.
After a while it started to look like a shoe war zone. I tried on. I took off. I tried on. The cat galloped by going one direction. The cat galloped by going the other direction. I was hoping that I would put a pair on and the heavens would open and the angels would sing. That did not happen.
As of this moment I’ve not made a final decision. Is there a pair that will work? Or do they all go back? I suspect a pair of the 10’s will work. I just have to reconcile myself to the fact that they may fit well round-about, but the long toes will brush the edge.
Know what would really work? A frickin’ pair of 10.5’s. They would fit perfectly. Guess who doesn’t make 10.5’s?
Struggle. Struggle, struggle.