Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tall girl on...shoes

Most girls love shoes - some have even diagnosed themselves addicts or declare their devotion a “fetish” - but I am not one of those girls.

For me, going shoe shopping blends the pain of extracting an in-growing toenail with the esteem pummelling of a session with Anne Robinson. I dread it and prefer to go alone.

Being a size 8 (or continental 41) my feet are not freakishly huge and are within the standard size 4-8 range proffered by most stores, but do they stock size 8s? Barely ever.

If I force myself into a shoe shop I normally grab a fistful of possible styles in the hope that one in five might be stocked in my size. The amount of times I’ve sent the assistant off with a batch of bar codes only to be told “We’ve got two pairs in a size 7 but all the others are 5s, would you like to try them?”
Unfortunately no, I learnt when I was 15 that no matter how much you shove and squeeze, an 8 fundamentally won’t fit in a 7. At times I have been tempted to trim my big toe to the same size as my littlest, but have heard toe trauma can affect your balance and I need as much of that as I can get.

New Look and Primark, however, have done wonders for shoe shopping. As every pair is sufficiently cheap to be put on a rack, in pairs, with its arms wide open to shop-lifters, I can avoid the embarrassment of dealing with a small-hoofed assistant.

But that’s just the shopping process. Trying to find a style that doesn’t make you a) 6ft 5” or b) look like you’re wearing a pair of kayaks is a mission in itself.

Pumps are wonderful – petite and pretty and gloriously flat, but they do have a tendency to make bigger feet resemble a bow-wrapped baguette. Heels on the other hand make you feel wonderful (for half an hour until they chew through your epidermis) and legs look fabulous but that stretching thing isn’t an optical illusion. Most glamourous party heels will add 3-4” to 5ft 11” making me see eyeball-to-eyeball with the average basketball player - of which there are sadly few in the UK.

Pointy toes, thank god seem to be "off trend" at the moment because they can turn the longer foot bloody nearly ski-shaped. I can't help thinking I resemble Rosa Klebb, Bond's evil villain in From Russia With Love. She used the extra inch of her pointy toe to conceal a poisoned dagger. I see mine as a handy air pocket that could prevent athlete's foot. Hygienic but not flattering.

So to conclude my rant against the sorrowful shoe, I would like to pay homage to the Ugg boot. When God dropped these soft, stumpy, foot-bears on earth he showed his wondrous power in banishing the blister, improving circulation and making happiness shine all around.

Hugh Jackman wasn't the best thing to come out of Australia after all.