I’m obsessed with shoes. But not in the way you think...

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June 19, 2012
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A few weeks ago, my beautician asked me a rather personal question while I was at my most vulnerable and slightly-naked atop the therapy table. She’d noticed that I too was one of a rare but recognisable type of women and, taking the opportunity to conspire, said:

‘What size are your feet?’

That depends. I’m a size 8 when we’re talking a pair of wide-fitting shoes or trainers, but I’m mostly a size 9 in non-specialist outlets. Consequently shoe shopping has long been among my most-hated things to do. The biggest size is never big enough or is always out of stock (Office, Topshop) and I long for those Lily Allen days when wearing plimsolls with a dress was an acceptable form of eveningwear.

These shoes might be old, but at least they fit me! #shoeausterity

If I can source shoes that fit, I also need to actually want to wear them. See the won’t go-away trend for extreme heels in all sizes - if you have giant feet, the chances are that the rest of you is big too. Why would you want spindly five inch platforms in a size 10? (I’m talking for non-drag queens here). Quality is critical, as is style. Many outlets assume that you must want comfy flats with Velcro-fastenings if you need a big size. I don’t!

This winter I alternated between three pairs of boots (often a better fit than shoes because you can force your feet into them. My future self, with her painfully warped feet will hate me for admitting that, sorry me). In the summer, I can usually find a pair of sandals that I can do up (or take to the cobblers to get the straps extended) and for occasions I have some old peep-toes that regularly get dug out. My enforced shoe-thriftiness has been a bit of a blessing because although I love fashion, I’ll always be left out of one exclusive club: the fancy (expensive) footwear sorority.

Happily I’ve just discovered that height-enhanced-ladies’ store Long Tall Sally stocks a selection of brands in wide fittings and up to size 10 including Sam Edelman and French Sole. Look at these. I have nowhere to wear them and if I did they’d make me rather tall, therefore I need to restrain myself from buying them just because such pretty shoes are so rarely available to women like me.

Odetta by Sam Edelman sandals, £125, longtallsally.com

Nine West also have a fine selection of size 9s and I’ve had the pleasure of trying on their sandals and finding them too big. Recommended.

In terms of budget offerings worth a browse, there’s Evans; New Look, who claim to stock size 9s and wide-fit but the only shoes that have ever fitted me from there are a pair of wellington boots; Clarks who run limited styles into a size 9; M&S who have a few wide-fit shoes up to size 8.

Do you have outsize feet? Where do you get shoes from? Got any tips? Share them...