Shoe shopping

If I walk into a store to buy a pair of jeans and I choose a pair labeled in my size, the odds are pretty good that they will fit. The style may be atrocious, like the baggy butt look, an idea that I hope goes away when the designers sober up, or the jeans may have 1970s-sized bell-bottom cuffs large enough to conceal an European Carry-All. Either way, the jeans be functional, clinging to my waist while draping over my midsole within half an inch.
The same principle holds with polo shirts — mediums fit fine. With T-shirts, I go a size higher because they tend to shrink.

Shoes: not so good. I spent two hours of Sunday getting out of the heat shopping at the Nordstrom Rack.

If the shoe fits, you must buy it

Most shoes have four sizes listed: U.K., US Men’s, US Women’s and EU.
The only consistent thing is that the labeled sizes are inconsistent. Sizing is apparently open to artistic interpretation. Like a waiter’s helpful “try the 2004 Diet Dr. Pepper with the braised monkfish,” the advice is well-intentioned, optimistic, and wrong. The effort converting UK Size 9 (watt-yards) to US Men’s Size 10 (farad-bytes) and European size 43 (league-joules) is a ruse. My last set of shoes was a 9 1/2 (US Men’s). At The Rack, most of the 9 1/2s were too small. I found shoes (US Men’s) size 10, 10 1/2, and 11 that were candidates.

Another theoretical measure, “width,” had no bearing on anything. Shoes labeled “normal” or “EEE” did or did not fit depending on which assumptions the manufacturer assumed about the victimme, like if I was an ungulate or merely had triangular feet. Some shoes were ridiculously painful to wedge my feet into. Others were cavernous. Or they looked like clown shoes. I started feeling despair after trying pair #30. I don’t know how my sisters-in-law can enjoy this sort of thing, but am glad I don’t have to contemplate pointy heels as an option.

But I persevered and left with three fitting pairs that I hope last me two years. The first pair is a set of “programmer” sandals. If I use my two coworkers as a guide, I’ll need some bright white socks to wear with them. The second pair is a tasteful set of immensely comfortable Sandro Moscoloni shoes that seem too comfortable to be believed. Knowing my luck, after I wear them a week, they’ll catch fire or give me chronic athlete’s foot or the hidden nails will impale me right under the toenail. The third pair is a set of Doc Martens, a hedge of sorts.

I’d hoped to give the current pair of shoes a Viking-style burial, but I’m more likely to save them for when I mow the lawn. The inside’s all beaten up, and they’re uncomfortable as all heck, but there’s still tread on them, and I feel immense guilt tossing them out in that condition.

6 thoughts on “Shoe shopping”

  1. You are too damned funny…three pairs will last you 2 years? I have a few pairs that have lasted me multiple years but that is because I wear them maybe once every two months. Then again, I have more than three pairs…Lord do I ever.
    Nordstrom Rack is the devil when it comes to sizing and the employees ability to find the shoes mate in the ‘back.’

  2. I’ve also been having a bugger of a time removing the stickers. They’re welded to the shoes and seemingly designed to fall apart.

  3. When did men’s shoes get ugly? This is really what I’d like to know. Probably about the same time womens shoes got super ugly (I know I’m not much of a girl but the maxi-point wicked witch of the west look really doesn’t get it for me).

    I find it ironic, though, that this odd sizing phenomenon has manifested itself in men’s shoes first. The thing is that for a few years now manufacturers have been “down-sizing” womens clothes: what was a large is now marked “medium” so that the size 6 you (theoretically) wore when you were 18 is now really a size 10 but you can still say you wear a size six.

    Maybe the creeping up in shoe size has to do with the supposed relationship between the size of a man’s extremities and his…you know.

  4. Has a shoe joke being told to you, lately, Jim?
    “Oh God,” he said. “I asked my wife, ‘Do I have a foot fetish?’ She said no.”


  5. Those shoes do look comfortable. I can’t imagine spending $100 on a pair of shoes, although I guess if I did, they would last longer! 🙂

    My husband would love those sandles. His do not have a backstrap and therefore stay on just as well as bedroom slippers. He hate that.

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