Wednesday, April 08, 2009

the game is afoot

My left foot is not an artistic tool. At the moment, it merely hurts.

Today was another truckless day. Because I had errands to run, I set off on foot to take care of them. All in all, I probably logged another 10 miles today.

But halfway through, my left foot started hurting. I have a pair of Dockers shoes that are my favorites for walking. And, as is true for all favorite shoes, they are about to give up their sole.

Because I am moving, I thought this was a great chance to get two pairs of comfortable shoes: a brown pair and a black pair. Enough shoes to outfit a man's closet for two or three years.

I had seen sales all over town for Rockport and Dockers shoes. Apparently, the retailers are as desperate for traffic as a Buick salesman.

Here is the tricky part. I inherited my grandmother's feet. Well, not really. I inherited her genes. She still had need of her own feet for an additional three decades after I was born.

I wear a 7 1/2 W. In the days when shoes were built for customers, rather than accountants worried about inventory, I wore a 7 1/2 EE.

The problem is easy to visualize. My feet are almost square. Imagine Daffy Duck looking for shoes. That would be me.

I visited six different stores today. They all had shoes I was ready to buy, but none had 7 1/2s, and Ws were as rare as they were on White House keyboards in January 2001.

Each salesman tried the ugly stepsister routine on me. "Here try this 8M. It will stretch out." Rip out is more like it.

At the last stop (Nordstrom's), I was ready to give up until the salesman had an idea. Some of the European shoes are wide by American standards. He whisked out pair of Eccos that looked just this side of being a bowling shoe.

Voilà -- or whatever the Italians would say. If I were Cinderella, I would be a step closer to happily ever after.

I told the ingenious salesman, I'll take them. Gave him my credit card. And gaped at the total.

I will spare you the gory details. Let me just say that I could have had four pairs of Dockers in my closet -- all of them the wrong size, of course. I expect a personal thank you note from the president for keeping the Salem retailers in business.

Will my left foot feel any better? I'm not certain. What I do know is that these Eccos are not made for beach walking -- no matter what Nancy Sinatra may sing.


Islagringo said...

I have one word for you.....salt! You seem to keep forgetting about it. I can't emphasize it to you enough. Living by the ocean ruins everything. Keeping your leather shoes in good condition will be a constant source of aggravation to you. Be sure to get yourself several pairs of good quality flip flops. They will eventually be your shoe of choice anyway! I highly recommend Chacos.

Calypso said...

Size 7.5 - I am going out on a limb here and guessing you aren't 6 feet tall? That is one small foot where I can from pardner. You shouldn't have any trouble finding those box cars down here - 7.5 is about the longest shoe you will find maybe an 8?

Get some sandals - unless I am working construction I live in sandals from Dillards sales ;-) 11.5 (regular width) btw

Laurie said...

Steve, I wish you well on your way to wellness. Take it easy. Your body has a way of signalling you when you overdo it. Listen a bit to your left foot.

I gained some weight this year, as an American visitor pointed out to me several times over the past few weeks. I am laced up this morning in a pair of gray Converse sneakers and I am ready to hit the gardens and hill side trails in Costa kRica.

Tom and Debi said...

Sandals - Lots of sandals - you'll live in them, my preference is for Tevas, good arch support, good grippey tread, ... I also like the new DAWGS sandals, lots of cushion. Tevas are great because even the leather styles are able to get wet; whether from ocean or rain.

Larry in Mazatlan said...


Two pair of real shoes? Good for two or three years? Ha!! More like twenty years, if they survive.

Forget the shoes and stock up on good sandles, because the really good ones are hard to find down here. Islagringo's suggestion of Chacos is a great one. I swear by them.

Here's another thought. You're going to end up in sandles most of the time, just like the rest of us. Something I've discovered is that since wearing sandles my feet are little wider. Hmmmmmm. Not something you wanted to hear?


cwilson284 said...

I have two words for you--New Balance. They make all of their shoes in extra wide sizes. They have walking, running, training, all kinds of shoes. I have the same size foot as you; I wouldn't wear any other kind of casual shoe anymore after finding New Balance. Run there on your hobbled little feet as fast as you can!

Steve Cotton said...

Islagringo -- I know the ravages of salt too well. I have sandals, but I could use a new pair of Chacos. What I was really looking for were pairs of shoes I could wear while beating through the brush trails around Melaque. Sandals just do not keep scorpions and thorns away from my ducky toes.

Calypso -- 5'8". For some reason, I knew we were going to get into these locker room comparisons before too long. ;}

Laurie -- Good advice. If I understood moderation, I would not now be working on losing weight.

Debi -- I do need to get a pair of Tevas for ocean wading. We have LOTS of sting rays on our beach.

Larry -- I wear sandals around here in the summer, and I have noticed the same widening. A great engineering project for you. My theory is that which is not confined will find its point of equilibrium. In this case, a widened foundation.

cwilson284 -- Thanks. Surprisingly, John Hofer gave me the same advice at dinner last night.

1st Mate said...

Here in Sonora, and among the male cruisers I've met everywhere, Crocs are in. They're extra-wide, in fact too wide for me, so I'm guessing they'd be perfect for you. Also they come in flipflops, but more substantial than Mexican flipflops. Google them and don't be put off by the looks of them or the fact that they're plastic. I know they're a hit because people who wear them tend to wear them constantly. Here they're considered cool.

Babs said...

Steve, it is SO MUCH easier to order online. YOu get the style, the size and you don't have to shop. I wear a lot of Merrill sandals and Tevas because here on the cobblestone and hillsides, something to cushion my sole (ahh, I could have said soul) is important. Hardly EVER wear regular shoes unless I'm in the USA.

Joanne said... Order your shoes online. They will overnight them I think.

zannie said...

I have heard that Birkenstocks are particularly wide, though I think I heard that from my mother, who wears size 10.5 AAA. (Or, because of the difficulty of finding that size, more often an 11 in the narrowest width available laced all the way closed...) Her perspective on what is "wide" may be different than yours, but you might investigate.

I did inherit my mom's feet in many ways, but am fortunate enough that my version came in a more manageable 7.5.

I second the recommendation for Zappos.

glorv1 said...

Just wear sandal like everyone is saying. I mean, you are retired now. Just kick back and enjoy your life with the ever loving
Mr. Jiggs.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Well,your feet will get narrower when you lose the weight (that I seem to remember your Doctor told you to lose) and having shoes re-soled here is a good deal so if you have expensive shoes make sure that they can be resoled. Husband has 2 pairs birks (actually I have 3 pairs too)not the sandals but the closed toe Londons, they are great for your back once you get used to them and made of good leather. Of course you have to avoid the occasional cobbler who decides to repair the negative heel for you, but they last a long time. For the beach, I second the crocs, I have a pair of the sandals and just love them. I don't like the closed toe ones they don't fit my fat little feet right. Also you need some cheap flipflops but those you can get here.

Steve Cotton said...

I think I see a trend here. I want to wear Dockers and Rockports. Everyone else is promnoting sandals and Crocs.

1st Mate -- I have seen Crocs. No thanks. Not on my feet.

Babs -- I have had zippo luck ordering shoes on line.

Joanne -- I need to slip shoes on before I will leave the store with them.

Zannie -- Thanks. Birkenstocks I can get in Oregon. After all, what shoe better fits Oregon? I just do not like them.

Gloria -- But sandals are not very useful on archaelogical digs.

Theresa -- My feet have been the same width since about the sixth grade. Losing weight does nothing -- other than to make my feet feel better. By the way, I have lost about 18 pounds. But I did noit want to post anything until I was in Mexico.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Wow, that is pretty awesome! Congratualations, I am impressed!18 pounds! I want to lose 18 pounds, I am working on it. I know how, I just don't like it, consume less calories, exercise more.
Well, try the Tevas then.They are definitely more attractive than the crocs. Birks do look like clown shoes, especially if you have big feet, but since there is no difference between men's and woman's styles you can get your size easily.

Steve Cotton said...

Theresa -- But I seem to have stalled on my weight loss. Even so, taking my belt in another notch or two feels real good.

Joanne said...

The good thing about Zappos is that you get free shipping both ways. So order all you want and ship the rejects back for free. They have a much larger size and width range than you will find in a store.