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Explain the shoe thing to me

I do not understand shoes. I understand the purpose of shoes. I know how to put them on and tie them. But I do not understand the obsession with shoes that I am supposed to have as a woman. Why are some girls so into shoes? When I think of high heels or pointy-toed shoes, I think of blisters on my toes.

Hurt toe

Or blood in my socks.

Bloody sock

I wore fancy shoes to my presentation at the Twinsburg Ohio Library this weekend because I knew running shoes would be inappropriate. So I walked around in my loafers and my feet hurt and I bled through my sock and my skin is still raw. I guess this is a sign the shoes don’t fit completely right. Or it’s a sign that I have weirdo feet.

Weird feet

Either way, I don’t like high heels or fancy looking shoes because they hurt. You cannot walk long distances in them. You cannot stand a long time in them. They are pretty little pain machines. If I could, I would wear running shoes everywhere because they are comfortable.

I can understand obsessions with hats or bracelets or earrings. For the most part, these accessories don’t harm you. But shoes are functional pieces of attire. They are meant for standing on. I know you want cute little shoes that complete the outfit, but they should be functional too. I could design the most beautiful web site ever, but if it is difficult to use I have failed as a designer. I don’t see why shoe designers get to create beautiful things that don’t work at supporting people’s feets. I don’t think the pain is worth looking good. I know other people don’t feel this way, but I swear I will never understand the shoe thing.

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73 Comments

Barb Cooper • March 23, 2009 at 7:30 am

I swear, it’s some kind of plot against women. I deemed the 90′s the Decade of Ugly shoes and refused to buy shoes. Then came the 2000′s. I don’t even know what to call THIS decade –Sado-Masochistic? And my older daughter, who is now 11, begs continually for a pair of high heels. Finally, I had to tell her, “You’ll poke your eye out!”

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Heather • March 23, 2009 at 8:10 am

You need to get better shoes that fit properly.

I can wear heels for hours and hours and no pain, provided they fit properly (hard to find sometimes because I have super wide feet, but worth the effort!)

If they’re causing problems, they’re the wrong shoe for you!

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Jill • March 23, 2009 at 8:35 am

I think also that this is a case of “you get what you pay for”. You can get comfortable heels, but you may have to spend a little extra – totally worth it in my opinion.

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Cathleen • March 23, 2009 at 8:46 am

Amen, sister!

Ballet flats. The only saving grace of recent shoe styles.

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nolafwug • March 23, 2009 at 9:10 am

I’ve never owned or worn high heels. But I’m pretty tall (5 ’8″) and not looking to appear even taller.

I currently own 4 pairs of running shoes, 2 pairs of flip-flops and one pair of mary janes with kitty faces on the toes – those are my dressy shoes. Can you tell I don’t go to a lot of fancy events?

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tami • March 23, 2009 at 9:11 am

have you tried dansko? they are a bit more money but worth the investment

a few months ago a run a half marathon and there was a guy running with no shoes on. i wish i could tell you i lived some place warm and the entire 13.1 miles was on grass, but i live in New Hampshire and there was snow and ice and puddles that we had to run through…

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boots • March 23, 2009 at 9:26 am

I’m wondering if you might have wide feet…? I had the same issues (rubbing, blisters, pain) with shoes until I realized I needed to start buying wide shoes, and haven’t had too many problems since. Just a thought.

(Oh no, this is totally going to become your headache v. 2, with everyone telling you how to fix this shoe issue!).

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maggieapril • March 23, 2009 at 9:28 am

I also don’t understand the obsession with shoes. Especially $400 designer ones. I don’t own a pair of heels. For “dressier” shoes I buy Softspots. Expensive (by my standards) but comfortable and so worth it. Otherwise, I wear flipflops everywhere. (My favorite is SwitchFlops – they have interchangable straps.) Who the heck wants to be uncomfortable?!

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Amanda • March 23, 2009 at 9:28 am

Good shoes that fit properly don’t hurt your feet. Of course, standing for an hour in 4″ heels will eventually hurt. But I wear 3″+ heels daily to work (standard desk/cubicle job) and rarely have issues. Some of my comfiest shoes look like they would be torturous, so don’t judge on looks alone.

I think practice in heels is also helpful. Boots with heels are easier to start with.

Shoes are awesome because no matter what your clothing size, you can still have cute shoes! And gaining/losing weight doesn’t mean you have to throw out your shoe wardrobe. My biggest fear when I was pregnant was that my shoe size would change – luckily it didn’t!

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PastaQueen • March 23, 2009 at 9:39 am

I know some people are saying their high heels are comfortable, but I just don’t believe you :)

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WEndy • March 23, 2009 at 9:41 am

Amen Sister!

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carly • March 23, 2009 at 9:41 am

I’m with you- I don’t GET how women wear those pointy, high-heeled, or otherwise tortuous-looking shoes. I guess they subscribe to the “it’s better to look good than feel good” school of comfort. When I was in my 20s, I admit that I thought this way- to a point. Never could wear heels, though.

But around age 30, I decided that my feet NEEDED to be comfortable at all times and the hell with style. In the summer I wear slip on, backless sandals all the time. In the winter I wear slip on suede shoes with plenty of give all the time (I agree that running shoes are great and I wear them when I go walking. I’d wear them all the time except I prefer to go sockless). For the rare fancy event, I have a pair of flat black shoes that I’ve owned for 15 years- they’re comfortable and since I so seldom wear them and take good care of them, they still look great.

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Lisa • March 23, 2009 at 10:34 am

Go to the Walking Company at Circle Center Mall. Invest in cute shoes that feel like running shoes. I walk alot. I’d rather pay for one good pair of shoes than a dozen of so-so shoes. BYW, I don’t pay more than $50 to $100 a pair.

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Olivia • March 23, 2009 at 10:35 am

I don’t get it either. At least not with high heels.

High heels might be comfortable for some women, but I don’t think that’s true for everybody regardless of fit or brand. I have arthritis in one of me feet so any heel over an inch will cause pain. Even without arthritis I don’t think a “comfortable” high heel will be as comfortable as a good flat shoe.

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Shannon (The Daily Balance) • March 23, 2009 at 10:44 am

Haha, I totally hear you, but it’s still worth it to me. Most of my heels (even 4-inchers) are somewhat comfortable. Or maybe my feet are so damages that they’re numb?

Cool you were in Twinsburg! I grew up in Solon (neighboring city) and now live in downtown (well, Little Italy) Cleveland. What else are you up to while you’re here?

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Megan • March 23, 2009 at 10:46 am

You know what else is evil? PANTYHOSE!!!! They are designed to torture a woman, always either falling down or getting runs or getting twisted around when I walk, etc. Ugh.

And also, why are women expected to wear makeup while men don’t have to? It’s so unfair!

I am with you on the shoes. Ever since I developed plantar fasciitis (painful long-term injury to foot muscles and tendons) I am all about comfort. I wear my flat-footed Uggs as often as possible, as it feels like they’re giving my feet a loving supportive hug all day!!!

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Sarah Fowler • March 23, 2009 at 10:59 am

High heels can be comfortable, but you do have to sort of “break in” the balls of your feet – get them used to supporting the majority of your weight for hours/miles at a stretch. As others have said, though, if your “nice” shoes are causing you blisters, etc., they do not fit properly.

If you can’t afford to go out and spend time/money to find better shoes, the best tip I’ve heard is to put a Band-Aid on your foot where the blisters tend to form before you put the shoes on. It should provide enough padding on a standard day to keep your poor little tootsies from horrible pain. :-)

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mariana • March 23, 2009 at 11:04 am

Clarks, Aerosoles, Danskos, Sofft, Cole Haan, Rockport, Eitienne Aigner, Geox, Naturalizer, Stuart Weitzman, and Ecco. You should have no problems with most shoes from any of these brands. Of course even with these brands there will be a particular style that might not work with your foot or anyone’s foot. Try shopping at Zappos.com and read all the customer comments which should give you an idea of the comfort factor. These brands are not cheap, but you get what you pay for. Good luck!

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Annalisa • March 23, 2009 at 11:05 am

I despise heels. Not only because they hurt after an hour but also because of their lack of mobility and sound. When I walk with people I can’t maintain their same stride and need to walk slower to dull the pain.

The 5 year old in me, AKA the part who’s still afraid of the dark at times, is fearful I will need to run away from an attacker, like Jason from Friday the 13th, but won’t be able to because of the heels.

Oh…and the sound. I feel like I make so much noise *clacking* on the floor as I walk.

I’ve moved on to wedge shoes. Although, I don’t know how fast I can run in them ;-)

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Shawna • March 23, 2009 at 11:13 am

I’ll admit that I have a shoe thing. You may not believe that there are comfortable heels, but it’s true. There are brands that specialize in comfortable heels. My favorite is aerosoles. Generally, really cheap shoes are not going to be comfortable. You don’t have to get the $400 pairs, but you need to spend a little money to get comfort.

Plus, not all heels have to be tall heels. My favorite shoes are the ones with the 1″ inch heels because it doesn’t put too much pressure on the balls of your feet, but it still looks pretty. I also love cute flats. Super comfy, super cute. Yes, I have a shoe problem.

Here’s the thing with shoes. They aren’t like clothes. If I gain or lose 10 pounds, my size 8 1/2 shoes still fit whereas the same can’t be said for my jeans or shirts. Plus, a little bit of a heel makes my calves look thinner. It’s totally vain, but as someone who has had a cankle complex her whole life (even when I was thin), I will take any extra help I can get.

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JEM • March 23, 2009 at 11:14 am

Amen! When did shoes stop being functional? My SIL always trys to get me to wear heels. Yes, they are hot shoes but get blisters just walking back and forth between my office and the car. My platforms or sandals have never done this to me. I will stick with my comfy cute shoes thanks!

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Narya • March 23, 2009 at 11:33 am

I refuse to wear heels. I have, but have never liked them; feet and spines are not made for balancing on our toes all day. Born shoes have some nice flats, as does Clarks and Earth shoes (yes, they’re back). J-41 don’t have any arch support, so they’re not as good for when you need to walk a lot. Keen makes some decent shoes, but some are made on a more narrow last and aren’t as good. Teva makes some shoe-shoes, too, not just sandals.

The other thing I wear, though, is cowboy boots (I have maybe 10 pair). They last forever, especially if you take care of them and get them resoled & reheeled when necessary; they are extremely comfortable–the heel is short and is wide, so you don’t get that balancing-on-your-toes feel; they can be worn practically year-round; they go with pants as well as skirts/dresses.

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Emma • March 23, 2009 at 11:43 am

I second (third? fifth?) whoever mentioned danskos-I looooooove them. They make me taller, they are not hideously ugly, they come in cute colors, and I can wear them all day and not be in pain.

My friends who love high heels try to convince me they can be comfortable, but I just need to learn to “walk right” in them-to which I reply, bite me:)

In other news, I think you’re rocking some bunions-my mom has them, which means I’ll probably get them too (woot!). She just went to have special insoles made-apparently, if you use your special insoles, they make most shoes more bearable.

Good luck! Down with uncomfortable shoes!

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Ashley • March 23, 2009 at 11:52 am

I have worked at Cole Haan and Jimmy Choo, so I have a mountain of fancy designer heels. (At last count, over 50 pairs.) I admit I readily sacrifice comfort for fashion and wear 3-4 inch heels all day. However, I’m also the commenter that’s always encouraging people to buy designer jeans and drink diet soda, so I should probably stop commenting on blogs or eventually you people are going to come after me.

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Shelley B • March 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I stopped wearing high heels years ago – the pain and blisters just weren’t worth it. I do like the kitten heel, which is about 1 1/2 inches – not too bad, but I still can’t stand in them for more than a couple of hours without paying for it the next day.

I love Born shoes, Dansko, Crocs (I know, I know) and I just got a pair of Oka b dressy flip flops that are super comfy.

Oh, and shoe shopping is still fun when you are overweight. You can shop in a regular store, no matter how fat you are – woot!

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Amy • March 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I love shoes – and have very few pairs with under a 3″ heel. I wouldn’t wear shoes that hurt my feet – I’m a runner, so I need my feet to be happy. My favorite pair of shoes are 3.5″ stilettos, and if they were uncomfortable, I wouldn’t wear them. I do have a couple of pairs that are strictly “I’m not doing much standing or walking” but I really prefer my shoes to be both pretty AND functional – if I end up having to walk a mile, I don’t want to be limping. It’s just a matter of finding something that fits well – a lot of people buy shoes that aren’t the right size, because shoe brands, like other clothing brands, can fit differently – I have size 6 Kenneth Coles & size 6.5 Chinese Laundry & size 5.5 bike shoes. If they’re rubbing blisters, they don’t fit! :)

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maxie • March 23, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Some people can wear heels without pain because their feet fit the manufacturer’s idea of what a foot is shaped like. That’s not me.

Also, bracelets and earrings CAN cause pain. If we ever meet, I’ll show you. I’ll wear your watch or whatever and after 15 minutes, tops, you’ll see huge, ugly welts on my wrist. I can wear *good* 18k gold, so I have just a few earrings that I love. Well, I also have a couple of chains my dh gave me back in the ’80s, but they don’t work with today’s styles.

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dg • March 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm

PQ I totally feel your pain! I have dodgy feet and whenever someone asks me if I’ll ever leave Scotland and return to Australia, I say no “because of the shoes”. Over here the weather permits comfy trainers 95% of the year but in Oz I cannot get a summery shoe for my stupid feet that lets me walk more than two blocks without hurty knees and DOESN’T look like totally orthopedic granny wear.

So I wear trainers everywhere then put the sexy shoes in my handbag to swap at the last minute if going out for dinner or whatnot, so people can admire my shoes at the dinner table but I don’t have to limp :)

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jane • March 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm

These pictures are so gross!

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Melissa Taylor • March 23, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Have you ever tried a moc style shoe from Land’s end or LL Bean? (Note not getting any money from that and other companies have them too) THey are pretty comfortable. But even shoes that are not heels can be HARD and uncomfortable on the inside. I buy sneakers that go with everything, but that’s also because I walk best in sneakers.

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anji • March 23, 2009 at 1:09 pm

I have a pair of doc martin’s I bought back in 2001. I wear them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY… and never had a problem. they aren’t sexy, they’re comfy… but I can get away wearing them with pretty near everything. Fancy shoes? I only wear them if I have to wear a dress or skirt to something…

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Allison • March 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I would say that as someone who is promoting fitness you had every right to wear running shoes to your presentation, no matter how fancy it was. It also shows the audience you’re a down-to-earth, friendly presenter. Either that, or wear your runners til the last minute and swap out for uncomfy shoes, like dg said. I know I’ve done that more than once.

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Angela • March 23, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Just want to point out the real reason we wear non-comfy shoes: because we’re short. You’re super tall, if I recall, and you don’t have to make yourself look taller. But us short folks can’t afford to look child-size at work.

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Mary • March 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Hmmm, maybe I’m not really a girl. No heels, no jewelry except plain wedding band, no makeup, no hairstyling products, no blowdryer and I prefer men’s jeans because they are cheaper and there is no random number sizing. (Lazy might be the real issue?)

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Kyle • March 23, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Shoes make short people tall, that is my fascination.

I don’t usually get blisters or foot pain from the 4 inch heels I wear daily, only from my running shoes, interestingly enough.

PS. Your toes are longer than my fingers. I have very short fingers and apparently you have very long toes.

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Merry • March 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I knew a girl in college who never wore anything less than a 3 inch heel. Even with jeans, she wore heels. (She said she was 5 feet tall in her stocking feet but I had to take her word for it, since I never saw her in her stocking feet.)

She wore high heels from the time she entered high school. The problem was that by the time she was close to 30, she developed problems from her calf muscles never being flexed. Eventually she had to go to a doctor, who forbade her to ever wear heels again.

Moral of this story: even those of us who are vertically challenged need to kick off our heels once in a while :)

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Marste • March 23, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I have absolutely godawful feet to fit, so I don’t tend to collect shoes, either. But I did find that I could wear ballroom-dancing shoes with heels, have rubber soles put on them, and they last FOREVER. Because the leather is so soft, they stretch enough to fit my feet, and because they’re made to dance in, they’re built to distribute your weight more evenly through the foot.

Downside? Plan on $200 for the shoes, plus $20 to put soles on them. Ouch. But since I wear heels every day to work, I invested. I’ve now worn the same pair of open-toed shoes almost every day (except when it rains, which isn’t often – I’m in SoCal) for 2 1/2 years. Even if they died tomorrow, I’ve gotten my money’s worth. :)

But then . . . I’m guessing you don’t have to wear heels that often? If you don’t, it’s not worth it, really.

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April • March 23, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Oh, that does look painful. I wear heels to work and don’t find them at all uncomfortable. I definitely have a love affair with shoes, though I prefer to be barefoot when I can get away with it because my feet feel smothered. If I’m going to have shoes on, though, they will be pretty.

My saving grace? Foot petals. I’ve linked it in the name field. They are amazing. Your feet will thank you.

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Rebecca • March 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm

@mariana – I’ve seen Zappos recommended for running shoes, too! Sounds like a place to check out (especially since I hate going to the mall).

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Lynn C • March 23, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Hmmm.

Actually, yes, if you lose a lot of weight (or gain a lot of weight) your foot may very well change sizes!! I’ve lost 70+ pounds now and my shoes have gone down accordingly. My foot was so swollen with fat that I could barely get 9s to fit me for a while, but now that I’ve lost a bunch of weight, I wear size 7 1/2. Obviously, not everyone is the same, and it takes HUGE amounts of weight to make a difference, but it can make a difference.

For years, I couldn’t wear any heel at all, partially because of my weight (I just didn’t feel stable) and partially because I have a crapton of titanium holding my ankle together. (Bad car accident…)

However, just recently, I’ve been able to wear heels and I LOVE them, love them love them. I like feeling taller, I like the way my legs look, I like the attention I get from men (even my husband, who you’d think would be totally over anything I could possibly do to look different, right?) I tend to wear a wide heel and I’m pretty picky about the amount of padding inside the shoe. Also, there are some inserts you can get to pad up the ball of your foot even more.

But really, if you don’t like fancy shoes, don’t wear them. I knew a corporate VP one time who never wore dress shoes, he wore black sneakers.

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Kari • March 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm

In shoes, i find I largely get what I pay for. If I need a pair of “single occasion” shoes and I go to Wal-mart or Target to get a pair of $10 shoes, my feet will likely be hurting by the end of the day/night and I will have a raw spot, a blister, whatever. But when I buy better shoes that are more expensive (as much as it pains me to do so…I hate buying expensive things and I love thrift stores), I find they are much more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

If you need a great pair of loafers, I would recommend looking at the brand “Born” (at places like Dillards…they have them at TJ Maxx sometimes too though, and DSW) or B.O.C. (saw a lot of these the last time I was at DSW, and JCPenney has them too). They are two branches of the same company. B.O.C. is a little cheaper. They are hand-made European shoes that are SOOOO comfortable and easy to walk in. I love their leather slip ons for fall and winter.

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Kari • March 23, 2009 at 4:32 pm

@Lynn C – My feet changed sizes when I lost weight too, and my weight loss was only about 35 pounds! I went from a 7-7.5 to a 6. I was so shocked when I went to the running store last summer to get fitted and he measured my naked food as a 5.5 wide and asked me what size I had been buying. I said “a 7″ and he looked at me like I had three heads. :P Lo and behold, a lot of the shoes I had not worn in a while were, indeed, too large. I never really noticed in my running shoes or athletic type shoes because I could just adjust the laces, but in dress shoes, which I seldom wear, they were falling off of my feet.

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Rebecca • March 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm

This really brought out the comments!! I can’t explain the “shoe thing”, either. It goes right over my head without disturbing my hair.

It makes it harder to pack for travel. I’ve seen “ideal” lists, and they usually include “walking shoes” which maybe could be worn with pants or skirts, but have a heel (maybe 1″) on them. To me, that’s asking for trouble!

I’m currently trying to find a style that’s a little more flattering than flats, so I can wear skirts more often, but can be worn bare-legged (southern California). Big fat chance!

BTW, if even loafers make your feet bleed, I can totally understand your distaste for anything but running shoes!

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? • March 23, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I love shoes… it comes from when I couldn’t find ANYTHING that fit right, but I could always find shoes! I love my good heels, and can walk in them forever and no problem. Put me in running shoes? I fall on my face.

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Amy • March 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm

@PastaQueen – I don’t believe it either. And lately I have joint pain even in my quality business casual shoes (not heels, just good flat men’s type shoes w/support). I had to start wearing athletic shoes to work so I could walk. Blue tennies look awful with my khakis.

I also don’t understand the makeup thing. Must be on the same gene.

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Sarah • March 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Hey Jennette,

I think the majority of your shoe pain is caused by the fact that you have bunions (the bony protusions on the insides of your feet). You’re going to be hard pressed to find any shoes that fit unless you opt to have it surgically corrected. Both my mom and grandma have them and sneakers are about all that works. However, if you need fancy shoes I would recommend the Soft brand. Everything comes in wide, which should alleviate some of the pain. You might want to see a doctor though, it gets worse as you age.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunion

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victoria • March 23, 2009 at 6:32 pm

Sex. Women love high heels because they’re sexy. They make your legs look a mile long. They make you look like you lost weight (because they make you taller).

Listen, honey, they’re not called “F*** me” heels for nothing.

And I disagree re: pain. I have a pair of Lanvin platform heels that make me 5″ taller! I’m six feet tall in these shoes! My legs look like poetry, and my body looks willowy slender, and they DO NOT hurt.

I think the secret is in the platform: it adds a lot of height without forcing your foot into an extremely steep point. Also, I buy my high heels a half size too large, then compensate with the soft “foot petal” pads, so they fit but there’s a cushion. Also, I always choose a pretty roomy toe box.

As a result of all these little tricks, I can wear my 5″ heels all day long, and I feel like sex on a stick. ;-)

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Kathleen • March 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm

@PastaQueen – You are so right. I don’t get it either.

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Anonymous • March 23, 2009 at 9:34 pm

I bet that I have had more lovers in my long, long Birkenstock-and-Doc-Marten-wearing life than my friends who wear spike heels. And now in my dotage I have healthy feet, knees and back.

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Jess • March 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Um, I think you might have weirdo feet.

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Laura • March 23, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Don’t hate me– but your toes look like they may be a little misshaped, which is probably why the bleeding. I mean, bleeding is extreme, and you were just wearing loafers, with socks even. Have you seen a podiatrist? The pointy-toed high-heeled shoes are sometimes uncomfortable but they never produce bleeding in me or my friends.

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BrightAngel • March 23, 2009 at 10:41 pm

I’m with you.

Have never understood the shoe fettish.

Shoes are to protect my feet from stoney ground or keep them warm.

Just an accessory meant to be comfortable and invisible,

Goal is to Blend in with my other clothing,

not an item to stand out or attract attention.

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Deb • March 23, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Your feet have….character. ;-)

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Danielle • March 24, 2009 at 12:35 am

This is my first time posting on your site. I love your blog and I’m just about finished with your book. You inspired me to embark on a healtful eating plan, so thank you.

Now about this shoe situation (Disclamer: I work for Zappos.com). You should go get your feet measured at a shoe store for length and WIDTH. Many people compensate for a shoe in length when they should be going up in width. There are many shoe brands that offer pretty, comfortable shoes in extended sizes and widths.

Yes, a good pair of shoes cost a bit of money, but they are worth it. Are your loafers leather? Leather uppers comform to the shape of the foot and are breathable. And were you wearing cotton socks? If your were, no wonder you have blisters.

If you ever need some brand recomendations, hit me up on Twitter. I’m Zappos_satiricd. I can also send you a 20% off coupon.

One pair of shoes can change your life!

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stillreading • March 24, 2009 at 12:57 am

I LOVE beautiful shoes, but gave them up years ago. My job requires me to be on my feet many hours of the day, often on a slanted surface, and trust me, you don’t want heels in that situation. I love clogs. Always have, always will. For boots, Merrils, which is a sneaker/hiking boot company that makes really cute dress shoes that are really sneakers. They are pricy, but when you have feet that hurt and bleed, you have to spend some real money on good shoes. And BTW, have you ever seen a Ballerinas feet? They look just like yours.

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Osa Morena • March 24, 2009 at 12:57 am

No matter how pretty or cute, all I can think of looking at high heels is “ouch.” For my wide feet with bunions, Clarks work for office wear, and SAS brand, and for casual Fridays, the Sketchers mary jane variations plus insoles. For dress up I also have a pair of black patent ballet flats. Just can’t do the heels anymore. My back is happier too.

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moonduster (Becky of Skinny Deaming) • March 24, 2009 at 8:55 am

I don’t understand it either! I prefer to be barefoot when I can! I hate all shoes and only wear them out of necessity.

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K • March 24, 2009 at 9:31 am

@PastaQueen – Now I do love shoes, but I can’t wear high heels for any length of time and never could. They don’t give me blisters, but the pressure on the balls of my feet is unbearable.

These days I can’t wear ballet flats for more than a few hours either, because they don’t give enough support. I’ve gone from wearing different shoes every day to living mostly in the same pair of black lace-ups that take my orthotics. Sigh.

May I recommend Doc Martens? The big clumpy ones are the comfiest, but they do some more feminine-looking styles (I like Athena) which have a slight heel but do not kill your feet. My orthotics will go in them, too.

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Minda • March 24, 2009 at 9:44 am

Amen sister! So glad to hear of another female who does not worship shoes.

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Doji Bo • March 24, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Your feet do look like they differ somewhat from the “average” shape, so shoes probably rub on the places that stick out some. One solution I’ve found is shoes that tie, because you can adjust for each foot. I really like ankle boots, because then the foot portion can be rather loose because it’s held on at the ankle. I do LOVE shoes, but FLATS only — you would probably do better in shoes with a high “vamp” — i.e. it comes up over the top of the foot, rather than the “skimmer” style that shows toe cleavage and would rub on those bumps at the bottom of your big toes. Tom’s Shoes makes a lot in the espadrille style, but out of all sorts of materials.

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Mme.G • March 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Jennette, you may want to consider getting some Dr. Scholl’s toe spacers. They work WONDERS for those of us on the verge of bunion problems when wearing ANY shoes, not just dressy ones. I got some two weeks ago and it seriously has made such a huge difference in how my feet feel.

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Linda • March 25, 2009 at 4:10 am

@mariana – I LOVE Zappos! I have wide feet, but love pretty shoes, and even with living in a major metropolitan area, the selection in the store is so-so at best. The free shipping both ways (and so far they’ve always upgraded to overnite!) lets me have my own shoe salon, lol. And no, I don’t work for, or own stock in the company ; )

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cher • March 25, 2009 at 4:11 am

Baby Girl, buy yourself a pair of Danskos for your dressy occasions. I AM an accessories designer and I don’t understand the compulsion some women have with shoes. If you need a fun pair of summer sandals that you could actually take a jog in in a pinch, buy some Keens.

High heels were invented by men (and interestingly enough, FOR men) to keep their feet in their stirrups. Later, it became a way for nobility to literally lift their stature above the masses. Butchers wore platformed shoes to stay above the blood and guts in the slaughter house. They’ll never have my love, because as Oprah says, love shouldn’t hurt.

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Sara • March 25, 2009 at 9:17 am

For blister prevention, try Body Glide– it’s this stuff for runners that comes in a stick like deodorant, and you swipe it across places that might chafe. It works for just walking around, too. (You might already know about it from your half-marathon, but just a thought!)

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Emy • March 25, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I’m right there with you on shoes…I think shoes should be *comfortable*, not painful! I also think a lot of crankiness would be eliminated if we bought the right size shoes. I remember hearing on NPR one time that the average woman’s foot size is something like a 7D, but the average shoe sold is a 6.5B. ??? Why do we do this to ourselves? :P

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Sassy Molassy • March 25, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Ouch! I remember getting those kinds of blisters when I used to wear crappy, uncomfortable shoes. I would HIGHLY suggest purchasing a pair of danskos. They’re not the sexiest things you’ll ever see, but they are professional looking and some are even cute. I’m wearing my mary janes right now that work with skirts and cropped pants as well. I now own two pair and need more. Your feet are just too important, especially if you’re a runner who spends so much time on them.

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kathy • March 25, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Yep, you have weido feet, all the more reason to go looking for a good-fitting pair of dress-up shoes.

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MB • March 25, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Ouch … hope those feet are feeling better by now,.

When I was young and stupid I used to walk all day in 3″ heels and my feet would look worse than yours but I can’t be bothered to wear anything but black comfy shoes these days.

My mother is an absolute shoe freak and will buy a pair of shoes and then have to find an outfit to match.

I don’t understand why they can’t make

shoes that are pretty and comfortable. Unfortunately it is usually one or the other.

I recommend a good pedicure ;)

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Tai Anderson • March 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm

High heels are gorgeous looking, but pure evil. I own three pairs that I take out of my closet occasionally just to gaze at. Then I put them back, and put my sneakers back on.

Keens. Forget dansko. Keens are the best thing that will ever happen to your feet. And they come in a bunch of styles, from sneakers to flats. Try zappos.

Also, I just finished your book last night. I laughed. A lot. Good book.

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april • March 26, 2009 at 5:29 pm

I have the same problem with my feet. They HATE shoes. I discovered DANSKO’s and my LOVE them. I can’t even wear cute little ballet flats, anything at Payless, or regular flip flops (they are ok with Rainbow Sandals though). Man, my feet have expensive taste. It’s worth it though, because if my feet aren’t happy…

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RG • March 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm

@victoria – This is why ballet dancers dance on pointe. It’s also why ballet dancers have foot problems and back problems… That’s with all the training they get to help prevent problems, being warmed-up and actively working their calf muscles in the other direction too.

Actually, the biggest problem is a shortened achilles tendon. So when some women say they’re more comfortable in heels than not, they’re not lying – until the rest of them starts to protest.

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Lia • April 2, 2009 at 7:49 am

I like high-heels- they don’t have to be uncomfortable. Like so many people said, you have to invest a pretty penny into them, though.

The one thing that fits to a fault on my feet are the Italian designers, European size 38. I especially love my pair of 3.5in Bruno Maglis… one of the grand total of three pairs of shoes outside my running shoes I own. I have one pair of brown loafers, one pair (the Bruno Magli) of black, dressy high-heels and one pair of kitten heels in blue. Fits with every part of my wardrobe, don’t need more, don’t want to go shoe-hunting again.

It’s a pain to find the “brand that fits”, the shoes that will be comfortable even after a long day of standing, walking, presenting stuff but I really like how they make me look even though I’m tall already. I’ll always love being barefoot the most, though, even before my beloved running shoes (which I’m going to have to replace this month *cries*- they’ve been with me through 6000miles of every weather!).

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AmandaLP • April 6, 2009 at 5:58 am

I hate new shoes.

I bought a pair of Danskos Margrete. They are awesome, and well worth the money. I also rubbed blisters into my feet during my first two weeks in New York City.

I just bought a pair of Croc Ginger heels. Yes, they are crocs, but they have leather uppers and are made for the food service industry. They are only 2 inch heels, but they are very comfortable. (And, have rubbed a blister into me.)

I, and my friends, think that I change/get new shoes so rarely that I will just get blisters until my feet adapt. But, after a few days they go away. :-)

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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