Fashion

Those shoes are mine, betch.

14 October, 2010


Before we start you need to watch Shoes by Kelly to get you in the right frame of mind. Forget about all those other blog posts you were just reading, this is all about shoes. My shoes. Ok… hit play and I’ll twiddle my thumbs until you’re done.

So, I’ve been inspired by Memily’s Shoetember and Marianne’s “It’s never just about the shoes…” and decided to do a stocktake of my shoe situation. Footwear is a difficult issue for me as I’ve got large and wide feet with high arches, scarred and destroyed ankles as well as large calves. I have never just been able to go into a shoe store and pick out any pair of shoes. I thought I had a pretty modest shoe collection until I actually went through my wardrobe…

A photo of my shoe collection numbering at about 24.
I thought I had about 10 pair… turns out I have double that. This doesn’t even include the 6 pairs of shoes I need to throw out because they’ve either been worn to death or are simply too narrow for comfort!

I have such a tortured relationship with shoes. Those that fit my feet are very hard to find in brick and mortar retailers, and the very select stores that do cater to my flippers stock footwear that is very much out of my price range. Finding online retailers was a huge revelation for me, in particular Evans who stock wide fittings (in E and EE) in larger sizes for very cheap. I think my shoe collection doubled after I started shopping there!

Let me tell you some stories.
A pair of black PVC boots with a wedge.

The boots that changed my life.

In 2007 I was so frustrated with not being able to find any boots to fit my calves that I decided to go ahead and buy a pair of boots from Torrid. It was a big deal for me because I’d never bought shoes online before much less from another country, so I did a huge amount of research before settling on these black shiny boots. A friend in the States actually went into a Torrid store to purchase them for me and shipped them over, so I didn’t have to pay the ridiculous shipping charges that Torrid STILL want Australians to pay. The delivery person came, I actually yanked them out of their hands and ripped the package open and put them on straight away. I had ordered a size too big, but they actually FIT my calves! It was a revelation. I still wear these.

A pair of bergundy suede slingbacks with a pointed patent toe.

The most special shoes.

I wore these Prevata shoes when I got married in 2008. Let it be known that I have 10cm on Nick when we’re both barefoot, so I actually towered over him on our wedding day. I’d been searching for wedding shoes for weeks and out of desperation went into Peter Sheppard in the city. They’re apparently known for catering to “hard to fit” feet and for that you pay a huge “hard to fit” tax, so it was definitely a last resort situation. I don’t know if the Myer center store was fresh out of size 10 E fittings that day but the sales assistant swore they only had like three pairs of shoes that would fit me including this pair. She also swore black and blue that I was a size 11… something that hasn’t been true in any other store but theirs, curiously. Anyway, I really loved these. I had to put them on layby to purchase them because they cost a metric buttload, and even though I haven’t worn them since my wedding day they’re still my most special pair of shoes.

A pair of grey boots with black laces.

The most badass boots.

These Evans boots are only relatively new to my collection but they have been long anticipated. In the 90s I had a pair of Doc Martens but they were never comfortable because I needed a wider fitting and because my foot was so high (due to my arches?) the top of my feet were usually bruised after wearing them at uni all day. When I saw these boots on the Evans site I was like BUY BUY BUY! I look forward to wearing these with mini skirts and lace tights. It’s a pity winter has run out, but there’s always next year…

Detail shot of a rip in the back of a pair of black boots with zippers criss crossing around them.

Oh god, just throw them out already.

I found these sparkly zippery boots in Bourke St Target when I was in Melbourne earlier this year and was filled with glee when I found that they could accommodate my foot. I wore them to death. I literally actually wore them to death. And I still don’t want to throw them out. In fact, I shall call these my zombie boots. They have a huge rip in the back of them but I’m going to hand sew them and restore life to these boots because I always have fun when I wear them. I’m not a superstitious person but it’s just a simple fact: These boots make things better.

A pair of New Balance exercise shoes, they're white and silver and light blue and a little bit dirty.

I have walked so many kilometres in these shoes.

Before buying these New Balance trainers last year, I’d been wearing a pair of 10 year old Adidas joggers. I realised I’d have to trade them in when I saw that when they sat on the floor you could tell my ankles roll in when I walk because the sole was worn down in a very slanty way! So, we toddled off to whichever sports shoe shop that does the imprint thinger to tell you just how much money you need to drop on a pair of fancy exercise shoes, and we spent about $250 EACH on a pair of these trainers. And we did actually buy the same trainers, funnily enough! Nick’s pair have a dark blue “N” and mine have a light blue “N”. Do you wanna vomit yet?

A collage of 20 pairs of my shoes.
These are some of my favourite pairs of shoes. I don’t wear them all as much as I probably should, but I’ve had problems with my feet in the last few years and tend to wear flatter and more supportive shoes just because, well, I don’t like being in pain. I damaged my ankles and arches quite badly wearing stilettos as a teen, and since then I’ve never been able to last more than a couple of hours wearing heels. One of the things I always think about when considering a pair of shoes to wear is, “will I be able to run in these if the need arises?” I tend to let the answer guide me in my footwear choices more and more as I get older!

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  • Being a shoelover myself, how cannot I love this post. So true the little stories with the shoes. It’s such an underestimated piece. For me it has a more va-va-voom than lingerie (yes, really) LOL. Unfortunately neither I can really rock heels. If I do, I know I’m probably be sitting the whole time. Enjoyed reading.

  • I wear a lot of New Balance shoes. I have a similar situation in that my feet are wide (though I wear a 7D or 7E) and I am very picky about what shoes I like. I usually find New Balance shoes cheaper in stores here, like under $50 US. You can also find them online, probably for a lot cheaper than $250 even with international shipping, especially if you know which model fits you well. Very important to switch out your sneakers (or as you charmingly called them, trainers) often if they get worn out.

    After reading this, I am thinking that I should try ordering shoes online too. I always am concerned because I am picky about my footwear and only wanting comfortable things.

  • heavyaura

    I love your shoes! And, on a side note, it’s nice to hear of another woman who’s taller than her male partner — I’m three inches taller than my husband, and here in the US, for some reason, people seem to find that fascinating and odd.

  • Sonya

    You’ve almost inspired me to do a shoe post of my own, but I’m a little embarrassed about how many pairs I have! I think my favourite pair of yours are ballerina boots from Evans. Very closely followed by the Ditto silver ones.

  • Stephania

    Omg yes I so feel like doing the same! Taking pics of my shoes and discussing the story behind them. Lol on the video by the way. I shared it on my facebook, but by judging on the 38 million views, i take it that its not a new video?
    I have the opposite problem with shoes. Here in brisbane, i find it hard to find shoes that are small and narrow enough for my tiny feet. Melbourne has been the one place where I can find shoes that fit properly. Bless the cute asian shoe stores!!!

  • Have you ever tried Kumfs (well, now called Ziera) shoes? It’s another case of paying through the nose for decent shoes but… they are such decent shoes. I refuse to shop anywhere else these days because I always end up disappointed and bitter when the shoes fall apart after about a month. I’ve never had a pair of Kumfs/Ziera shoes fall apart (and the oldest pair I have is at least 2 years old and still in beautiful condition). I thought it was a bit of a nanna shop or something so I hadn’t looked there before, but I’m so glad I did. I’m a size 11 and wide (I argue that this is because I’m 180cm/5’11” so, you know, I’d totally fall over all the time if I didn’t have feet this big) and they always always always have my size in stock at either the Myer Centre store or Garden City (well, if it’s early enough after the style has been released, but I check the website for new additions pretty frequently). Pretty much all the shoes have arch support (why is that so uncommon these days?!) and there are orthotic options too. So yeah… if you haven’t had a look, there’s another option for you.

  • I’ve known of Kumfs but always been put off by the price – I had no idea that they were now called Ziera! I just checked out their site and WOWWW. I’m pretty sure I’m going to save up for a couple of pairs and I’ve only looked at the first page!

  • Anonymous

    You have some great shoes!! I do not even want to go through mine (mainly because the spousal unit would know ho many I have!!!) LOL!!

  • What a great post, and great shoes! I have had a lot of problems with my size 11-12 feet (plantar fasciitis) and ankles (sprains because I’m a klutz) and so a few years ago I realised how uncomfortable I was in regular hshoes, even the comfort “supersofts”.

    So I sucked it up, withdrew a wad of cash, and headed to my nearest Kumfs stockists.

    Holy crap – those shoes are so comfortable! And I have actually cured my foot problem by wearing heels rather than flats! And I can run in those heels! They are not daggy, but rather stylish and I get heaps of compliments on them. I have quite a few pairs now, and I couldn’t live without them.

    Life is too short for uncomfortable shoes, I say!

  • The Rotund

    Heeee! SHOES.

    I’m so interested in shoe collections, IDEK. And I love those pink hightop converse type shoes – is that pink camoflauge? LOVE IT.

    I admit, I am hoping this sets off a flurry of shoe cataloging posts.

    You have awesome shoes, Natalie. Also: Yay, New Balance!

  • Sera_pf

    I have a pair of DR. Martens that I bought years and years ago. They tore my feet up trying to wear them in, but after they were worn, they were just like a second skin. I wore them with everything – sequined ballgowns and suits – and everywhere – to nightclubs and on my teacher training. My mom has tried to throw them out, but I refuse to let her. Those boots could tell tales.

  • Kaylinmorrissey

    Oh shoes! I love them! We have a very similar shoe experience. I am to the point where I can no longer wear any of the shoes I have bought in the last 5 years. Most of my shoes are cute but not supportive at all so I land up with sore feet and knees. Sometimes its so bad I start limping. Le sigh. I also have large calves and can never find boots! So I have stopped buying cheap shoes in order to dump some money into more supportive (but pricey) shoes like Cole Haan’s Nike Air or Dansko. Fun!

  • Ailurophile

    Have you tried the Woman Within/Roaman’s/Jessica London or One Stop Shopping (I think) online in the U.S.? While I’ve never purchased boots from them, they claim to make them for wider calves. While you may balk at the prices, eventually they have sales on pretty much everything, you just have to keep an eye out. Getting on their mailing list is even better because they’ll keep you updated via emails. Good luck!