I have become a maximizer concerning shoes. I’ve spent hours seeking just the right thing – but to no avail. The challenge is, my feet require specific elements: a rigid sole, support around the instep, and style. My feet aren’t happy unless they look good.
Comfort shoes are great, but even with recent additions to the marketplace the choices remain limited. I’ve spent too many hours studying sites, frustrated over a detail that is missing, styles not available in my size, or a color combination that is all wrong.
I’ve often thought, Why can’t I simply design my own shoe? But I never did the requisite research until today. It turns out, I can design my own shoe online, have someone make it, and ship it to me.
I decided to try Shoes of Prey, a 4-year-old Australian company. The weather is beginning to turn chilly, and I need some oxfords to wear with my dress trousers. I designed a menswear-inspired shoe with a platform, and in colors which complement my wardrobe. Here’s the design:
I read about Shoes of Prey, and my concerns about online ordering were allayed by their liberal returns policy. I expect the shoes to arrive in about a month, and if they meet my specifications the dalliance may blossom into a relationship.
But, it usually is.
I finally booked an appointment with a podiatrist, and went to my consultation on Friday. After an x-ray to eliminate a stress fracture as a potential cause of my toe pain, he did a physical exam and told me he’s 90% certain I have a neuroma. He also mentioned I have an unusually flexible foot, which – combined with overly flexible shoes – may be a contributing factor to the formation of the thing.
There’s a lot of conflicting information available about the cause and appropriate shoe for neuromas. Some state that a soft and flexible sole are appropriate, while others indicate that a rigid sole provides needed support. My doctor is of the latter camp, and since he has a lot more experience than me where the foot is concerned I intend to follow his suggestions. If these don’t bring symptom relief, I’ll simply try a different approach. The worst case is surgery, and I will try all other remedies before considering it as an option. Though this nerve was described to me as essentially vestigial, going under the knife is not an appealing option.
I have a thing about having my feet touched. It bothers me to an irrational excess, so I was feeling quite pleased with myself for having sucked it up and let the (highly trained) professional handle my peds. My reward: at our next appointment I get to bring my shoes in, try them on and discuss them. I was pretty excited about this. I wanted to run home to get my shoes and come back right away.
Some sad news about this neuroma is that the adorable Sperry’s I wore to the appointment were deemed unsuitable for this condition, as they are far too soft and flexible. I suppose these, too will get listed on eBay.
Some good news is that I have a license to shoe shop. Having sold a bunch of my uncomfortable shoes on eBay, I have a bit of play money and am eager to hit DSW. I love flatforms, so perhaps I’ll have some luck and find a cute pair. After some light web searches I found some interesting styles – the first perhaps suitable for a weekend rather than the office.
My shoe exercise led me into purge mode. Over the past week I’ve cleaned, photographed and listed 13 pair on eBay – each with a starting and buy-it-now price. I sold one pair already through buy-it-now! The remaining shoes are still active.
I hadn’t used eBay since 2009, so it was fun for me to get back into the swing of it. I listed all of the shoes with a 7-day duration, and automatic relist if no bids. I have 2 pair with active bids, and the rest (for now) no bids. If after 2 cycles the shoes don’t sell, I’ll take them to a consignment store, and the rejects will be donated to Goodwill.
Any proceeds from sales will be used toward replacements of certain categories that I’ll expand on separately. I’m most decidedly in a place where I am ready to say goodbye to the old things and welcome something new.
As I am traveling for work, I’ve necessarily needed to repeat some shoes. So this shoe evaluation maps back to part 1, where I reviewed the green suede lace-up kitten heels.
I’ve been wearing the shoes for 8 hours, and am experiencing discomfort. The hotel in which I am attending meetings has tiled floors, and my toes are feeling them. Not only that, but my feet are achey all over and when I kicked the shoes off my feet I had an overall feeling of relief.
I love the look of this shoe, but it’s not comfortable. So while this is very difficult, I will need to purge them from my closet.
Today is all about travel – have a work conference in Dallas, followed by some meetings at the corporate headquarters. The shuttle picked me up at 5:45 am, and after mainlining French press coffee I was nominally awake.
There are few unreviewed (or unrevued?) shoes remaining on the shoe tree, so I crafted a hodgepodge outfit that would be okay with these Clarks Indigo line pumps.
I love the look of this shoe. The criss-cross and zig-zaggy look fit my style preferences very precisely. So it is with great regret that after the short walk from the TSA checkpoint to the departure gate at SFO I found these shoes unbearably uncomfortable. So much so that they won’t even make the cut for special occasions; if I can’t walk the equivalent of 2 city blocks in a shoe without severe pain, they are clearly damaging.
I’m so sad! :(. I really wanted these to work.
On Saturday I had only a few outside errands to run, which was a nice change from the usual hectic zipping about to this and that shop.
I wore my DKNY gold sandals, which honestly are not favorites. They feel rather wider than necessary, so the straps are not snug on the foot. The flat gladiator style is also not particularly flattering on the feet. When I look down at my feet during the day, they look enormous. And while I do have larger- than-average feet for my height, they are by no means abnormally ginormous.
On the comfort scale, these do not rank high either. While they offer more arch support and cushioning than competing gladiator styles, overall they are still very flat and the sole too flexible for my feet.
I bought them for a Hawaii vacation a couple of years ago, and they were on sale. Even so, I not certain that they are a good value considering how seldom I have worn them.
I think for now I’ll keep them and consign once I find a suitable and comfortable alternative.
Verdict: keep for now, shop for replacement
Woo hoo – Friday!
Thank goodness for Friday, and thank goodness that company executives were busy at a meeting – the volume of emails I received was manageable, and I had zero afternoon meetings. I was productive, to the extent that I felt I compensated for the day before. I guess it all comes out in the wash, right?
As my company observes a dress-down Friday, I got to wear the loose and comfy 501s. Friday’s shoe was a black Madeline loafer I’d picked up from the thrift store on a day when I was wearing some uncomfortable heels and felt desperate for immediate relief.
These are not my favorite shoes, and yet I wear them frequently because they are easy. I am not fond of the contrasting white stitching. But, I’ve had these for a number of years and only recently needed to replace the original, removable insoles.
These vaguely remind me of a shoe I had many years ago – a pair I very much liked. They were L.L. Bean penny loafers, and I wore them all the time when I was in college (the first time round). I’ve often tried to find a similar pair (L.L. Bean’s current penny loafer line isn’t the same) but no joy yet. I’ll keep looking though.
Verdict: keep but only until I locate a replacement
- Jeans – Levi’s 501s
- Top – Velvet
- Jacket – Converse
- Shoes – Madeline