Barefoot Tess Contest Winner!
As illogical as it is, I have experienced the following scenario, not once but several times in the course of my never-ending (that is until I recently discovered Barefoot Tess) search for shoes that fit my rather large feet and more importantly, didn’t make me look like I was wearing my great-grandmother’s shoes. I never know if it is the desire to make a sale, a basic human desire to be helpful, the challenge or the sight of my enormous feet currently shod in your basic clod-hopper, that motivates the sales staff. You can draw your own conclusions.
My story, like a reoccurring nightmare goes like this. I receive an invitation to a special affair – “a wedding of a dear friend, a date with the guy who takes my breath away, or just a reunion of best friends who I haven’t seen for ten years”. I need a new outfit and simply must look my best! Oh dear, that includes new size eleven and a half (or 12) shoes.
After a day shopping, I have in hand a “perfect outfit”, but no shoes. Upon entering what appears to be one of the largest shoe stores on the planet, a salesman approaches me offering his help. I describe to him what I am looking for and he proceeds to tell me they have several shoes which fit my description and he motions for me to sit down.
Then the dreaded moment. He asks my size and I tell him. Initially his jaw drops and then I see the twinkle in his eye. “Well can’t you wear a size ten?” he asks optimistically, sure that he found the solution. As he hurriedly heads to retrieve the size-fits-all size tens, I stop him midway. I ask him “What size shoe do you wear sir?” He responds that he wears “a size 11, men’s that is, of course.” I ask “Do you think you could wear a size 9 1/2 ? Men’s that is, of course.”
Sometimes, the sales person understands my meaning. Sometimes I have to explain – if you can believe it. I inform my “knowledgeable and trained” shoe salesperson, that when I wear shoes that are smaller than my feet, assuming I can get the shoes on my feet in the first place, that in about ten minutes time, my feet start to hurt. Not only does the pain start but it gets worse every minute until I can tolerate not a second more of the torture and remove the hellish bindings!
On one occasion, a young, very pretty,and very petite sales girl, listened attentively to my tale of woe. Afterwards she nodded, said she understood, and asked “Would you like to see what I have in size ten now?” On a rainy Saturday shopping excursion, a preppy young clerk called two of his co-workers over and they huddled together trying to come up with a group solution. He turned to me and said he had one shoe that the staff all agreed ran “big” and actually was very “soft” so it might “stretch” some. Would I like to try it on?
Another time, an elderly gentleman, who seemed to sincerely appreciate my dilemma offered to show me his “least masculine” men’s shoe in a size 10 or 10 1/2, which he said would be about the same size as a woman’s size 11 or 12. He kindly offered his professional opinion stating “For an athletic shoe, you know a sneaker etc., you could wear a men’s shoe and no one would know the difference with today’s styles- but they tend to run just a tad wider (the men’s sizes).” I thanked him and exited the store feeling depressed.
Finally about seven or eight years ago with the advent of our generation of taller children, many stores added a limited selection of size 11 women’s shoes. Unfortunately I had given birth to two very large baby boys during those years and my feet crushed by the additional weight they carried during my pregnancies, spread to a whopping size 12 or even 13 in certain styles!
Since then, I call ahead when shoe shopping and inquire as to the largest size the store stocks. Ninty-five percent of the retail shoe market is eliminated without me enduring the reoccurring nightmare. As a result of these efforts, I found two stores where I could purchase shoes. I say “purchase” because “shopping” was out of the question. The shoes at one store were either hopelessly orthopedic or totally out of any style that existed for the past thirty years. The other store offered some current styles if I wanted only black, brown or navy blue shoes. There were also sporadic beiges, whites, and greys.
Finally, I discovered the internet and distributors of “hard to find” products found it too. One day I came across a web page called “Barefoot Tess” and I now can wear soft suede boots with gorgeous bead work, metallic gladiator sandals, buttery soft leather pumps in pastel lemon or pink, or periwinkle Wellies. I can even be found wearing slim little canvas sneakers which are made for a woman’s narrower, if not smaller, feminine foot. And the very best thing about it, is my feet don’t hurt so that all I can think about is releasing my poor bound feet.
Get your own large-sized shoes at BarefootTess.com