Tag Archives: shoes

The physics of feet

How is it possible that shoes that seemed comfortable and awesome yesterday when I bought them were tight and weird and chaffing today?  I hate that.  And it’s not that bought-the-shoes-in-the-morning thing; I tried these bad boys on at 5:30 p.m.

So disappointing.

Luckily I only wore them for about 2 minutes before I realized they weren’t going to work out, so exchanging them for the pair I knew I should have bought instead shouldn’t be a problem.  Too bad that other pair is $30 more.

Shoes are a continuing source of angst in my life.  You see, I am a woman with size 11 feet.  If you’re a guy I’m sure that means nothing to you, so let me just say my feet are honkin’ big and my shoe size is not all that common.  I feel fortunate, at least, that they did not get any bigger with having kids – if anything they got a bit smaller.  (Yes, pregnancy can make your feet bigger.  Maybe you need a bigger base to support the bigger boobs you can end up with.)  Regardless, finding stylish, attractive, comfortable shoes is not an easy proposition when most shoe manufacturers seem to be in denial that women’s feet could be anything bigger than a 9.  Yes, yes, most shoes go up to a size 10, but even those are pretty scarce if you want to find them.  But 11 is even more scarce.

Sometimes I get lucky.  I found a website trying to clear out inventory of my running shoes, and the only sizes they had left were 6’s and 11’s, so I just got in the mail a second pair of running shoes for half of what I paid for my first pair.  That made me happy.

But mostly, shoe shopping is often an exercise in frustration.  I like to shop at DSW Shoe Warehouse – not necessarily because they carry a ton of shoes that come in a size 11, but because all their shoes are out on the sales floor and you look for the sizes yourself.  There’s nothing more annoying than being in a ‘normal’ shoe store or shoe department in a department store and picking out five shoes you like, only to have the salesperson come back snickering, 20 minutes after going back to look for your shoes, “I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t have any of these styles in your size.”  In other words, get out of here, Sasquatch, before I call out a hunting party.  (I will say Norstrom’s is a delightful exception to that.  They regularly carry size 11’s in their shoes.)

Anyway, at least I know when I go back tomorrow, there is an alternate pair to be had, and hopefully they will not disappoint.

Old-school outlet shopping

Remember when outlet shopping first hit the scene, like 25 years ago (or maybe even longer)?  If you don’t or you were too young, let me share.  Outlets were a place where manufacturers could dump their surpluses, their leftovers, their slightly irregulars, and you could get monster bargains.  The stores themselves were bare-bones.  Stuff was often in piles vs. hung up, or if it was hung up the racks were looooooooooong and in rows.  You had to work a bit to find what you were looking for, but if you found it, ka-ching!

Then outlet shopping got “big”.  The demand for outlet shopping surpassed the supply of leftovers and slightly irregulars.  Every locale wanted to have an outlet mall.  Outlet malls because tourist destinations.

So now, there are outlet malls all over the place, and they simply aren’t what they used to be.  Heck, they don’t even come close to fitting the mold of the outlet mall I knew from my youth.  Outlet malls are just like regular malls now, save two features:

  1. The stores are arranged by manufacturer rather than vendor.  E.g., instead of Macy’s, Nordstrom, etc. you have Calvin Klein, Jones New York, etc.
  2. Outlet malls can get away with being outdoor even in cold weather climates, because they are “bargain” malls and they can’t afford roofs, or something.

We took a trip yesterday to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, which is a half-hour from our house.  (All the outlet malls these days are “Premium Outlets”.  Maybe that’s where the difference is.)  But, aside from having to bundle up between stores, I don’t much get how the merchandise, or the prices, are much different than if I walked into any cookie-cutter mall in North America.  (Mexico excluded, I assume.  But I’ve never been there, maybe they have awesome malls.  My apologies to Mexico if I’m making an ass of you and me.)

There are, of course, exceptions.  The Stride Rite outlet is well-known to be a harbinger of good deals on quality children’s shoes.  It is the sole reason we made the trek to Woodbury.   (Well, officially I think it’s Harriman or Central Valley.  Woodbury is a town or two over; I guess Woodbury sounds more hoity-toity than Harriman.)  Jake is sporting himself a size 5.5 XW shoe size these days.  In layman’s speak, he has duck feet.  Therefore I cannot get him shoes at Target, because the ping-pong paddles he has for dogs simply won’t fit into their affordable shoes.  Stride Rite, therefore, is the only place I can in good conscience outfit his feet.  However, if you walk into a Stride Rite at your local mall and ask for an affordable pair of shoes, they will laugh at you.  I think it is store policy.  Stride Rite shoes regularly sell for $45-60 in the regular mall.  However, yesterday we got Jake two pairs of shoes — a pair of sandals for our trip to Aruba and a pair of sneakers — for $50.  Still not Target-cheap, but a vast improvement over mall prices.

The other exception is The Children’s Place.  While they have some regular priced merchandise around the perimeter, their store is largely filled with what I’m guessing is regular-store clearance stuff that they want to get out of the regular stores, for awesome prices.  Yesterday we got four or five assorted sweaters and fleece tops, a couple pairs of socks, a couple pairs of tights, a pack of underwear, a pair of mittens, a winter hat, and a pair of pants for $23.

And we found a few other deals, which I won’t bore you with.  But, I can find deals at my regular mall.

Some stores are blatantly just copies of the stores in the regular mall.  Disney and Bose come to mind.  Same stuff, same prices.  Outlet location.  And for the life of me I cannot figure out the difference between Carter’s and Carter’s outlets now.  Even a few years ago, there was a difference.  Now… not so much.

All in all, yesterday was a fun day, we hung out as a family and accomplished our primary objective of shoes for Jake, so I’m not complaining.  I could have lived without Lane’s poop accident (which necessitated the purchase of pants and underwear at The Children’s Place) but otherwise, good day.

What is it with men and shoes?

Frank owns three pairs of work shoes: an everyday black pair, and everyday brown pair, and a dressier black pair that he can wear with suits.

His brown pair, oh they have seen better days.  We can’t pin it down exactly but we are pretty sure he bought them at least five years ago, maybe six or seven.  So we went to the mall yesterday to get him a pair of shoes.  We went to DSW Shoe Warehouse.  (I do love that store.  I wear size 11 shoes, and it ain’t always easy to find shoes in that size.  DSW and Nordstrom’s are the only places I have decent luck.  Online, too, but online lacks the tactile satisfaction and instant gratification of bricks-and-mortar shoe shopping.)

We found a pair of brown Eccos.  Really nice looking, Frank reported they were very comfortable.  They were $120 and he scoffed.  I explained to him some basic shoe logic — they are an investment of sorts – if wears them for three years, that is only $40 a year.  This seemed to thwart his initial knee-jerk OMG reaction and he carried the box with him as he tried on other shoes.

Then I showed him the clearance section in the back, and his eyes lit up.  Bargains!  He was beside himself with glee.  To his credit, he persevered through, and found a clearance pair of Bostonians, which he liked nearly as much as the Eccos, on clearance for $47.

He has seriously needed a new pair of brown shoes for a year.  He could have gotten a new pair two years ago.  I think he wore the old pair to work today, even though he brought the new ones home yesterday.

He criticizes me for having too many shoes, for having shoes I don’t need.  I would argue he has a related affliction — he gets too attached to the shoes he already owns.