Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The trauma of shoe shopping

Someone once said shoes are like comfort food to a woman. Shoe shopping can be emotionally satisfying, psychologically therapeutic, self uplifting, mood elevating and can even improve your sex-life. Or so I have been told. And although I could never hold a candle to Claire or Carrie, needless to mention Imelda Marcos, there was a time, back in India, when I would go shopping just to find the perfect pair of shoes. And yes, it was everything shoe shopping is made out to be.

That is.....until I came to the US. Yeah I know you noticed it too. In fact I put that last sentence in there on purpose. Just to grab your attention. We try every trick to get our readers to keep reading till the end of the post. But I digress.

The truth is I have stopped looking at shoe shopping as emotional therapy and psychological healing. Instead shoe shopping has been extremely traumatic everytime I have gone to buy a pair of shoes in the US. Did you ask why? Well try buying shoes for a size 5 when the only women's sizes available are between sizes 6-11. And if you check that link for international shoe size conversions you'll see US shoe size 5 is probably the smallest women's size available. And assuming that most American women have feet that are comparable to their physical proportion, there doesn't seem to be a demand for small shoe sizes and therefore most stores don't even bother to carry a size 5! Which can lead to a great deal of frustration and aching legs when you have to go from store to store only to realize that there isn't anything available. That is, if you are considering a pair that can be distinguished from one of those horrendous contraptions that Miss Marple would find "sensible". So with my limited options when it comes to a "selection" while buying shoes, it is quite apparent why shoe shopping has taken on such traumatic proportions in my life. For the most part I am asked to try the girl's section which of course has it's range of Mary Jane's and sugar pink sneakers. But what if you have outgrown them and need something with a wee bit more sophistication than a Mad Tea Party? What is a girl to do?

Which is why I can never be a Carrie Bradshaw. Which is why I hate shoe shopping. Which is why shoes can never be my best friend anymore. Atleast diamonds don't need sizes. Or do they? Come to think of it I've never been able to find a ring that fits me either! But then, that's another post.



Blogger Dreamcatcher said...

I heart shoes :D who doesn't ..you could do your shopping from India I guess or order them online ..

1:40 PM  
Blogger Transience said...

Kind of like my experience in trying to find size 12 mens shoes in India.

Just curious... Is a size 5 shoe size very common in India? Is there a size 4 for adult-women? Those are some seriously tiny feet (by US standards)... I think one of my fingers is prob longer than a size 5 shoe ;)

1:51 PM  
Blogger Cacophoenix said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Cacophoenix said...

I have Big feet. I have Big flat as pancakes broad feet, which immediately discounts, anything with heels, straps, delicate turns of the top, pointy tows and the whole lot. I have been in the US for a while now and I won three pairs, one set of open sandals, sneakers and one dress shoes. I hear you loud and clear.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have FREAKING SMALL FEET TOO!! Now i know that there's nothing weird about having small feet and hands because i am NOT the only one! =)

My shoe size is 5, but sometimes a shoe size of 6 fits too. Uh-oh, looks like if i ever shop in the US i will have major problems!! And that sucks cos i LOVE shoes! :S

2:33 PM  
Blogger Rapid I Movement said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Jinguchakka said...

Can't you get custom-made ones? I bet they'd be a bit costlier, but you can have your style preference, right?

And why do the rings don't fit? Tiny fingers? lol.


4:41 PM  
Blogger Cee Kay said...

I understand your pain. I couldn't find many shoes to fit my feet in India (US size 8.5). Try this website www.zappos.com. I looked for size 5 shoes in Women's styles and it came back with over 1200 pages!!! And the site has been highly recommended by two colleagues of mine.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and I spent the last weekend looking for shoes in her size. We live in the Northwest and she is beyond petite, is actually quite tiny (people think I am her father for heaven's sake!), so shoes have been awfully difficult. Now that its getting colder here, she needs closed shoes and jeans (she is a 0P) and its proven almost impossible to find either. We solved the jeans problem by buying in the girls section in some dept stores, but shoes remain elusive. Buying shoes online does not do it for a Bong. How can you buy shoes without trying on atleast 20 pairs???

11:11 PM  
Blogger Point 5 said...

hmmm...only a wearer knows where the shoe pinches...i think for men shoes are purely functional, and they care least how it looks...

btw, can you change the color of the hyperlinked text when you post..its difficult to spot them easily on the black background...just a thought..

11:53 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Strangely enough, I dont seem to have a thing for shoes. I have 4 basic pair. One everyday pair..nice comfortable and flat. One black heels, one beige heels and one pair of sports shoes. Why dont I feel the need to buy more? There must be something wrong with me!! Help!!!

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just curious - is "being Carrie Bradshaw" an aspirational thing for women?

btw, this beta blogger thing has turned out to be a nightmare for me ... can't ever log in, or comment and even write on mon :(

3:32 AM  
Blogger Priya said...

A shoe post! Lord god, you don't say enough here. I coudl go on and on about the trauma of buying the right pair and the right size ;) In Cal, it used to be the chinese shops in New Market,Kowloon to be precise. Thos elove party shoes and basic blacks and beiges. Oh M, why did you have to do this tom e. Now I'll die of withdrawal symptoms. Bangalore is a shoe haven and I still don't indulge that often. But when I do, yes,it's painstaking, but mainly because there's a problem of plenty here :P
As for your woes, my sympathies. But a small advice, make a trip to Bangkok and hoard for a life time. They have the tinniest possible sizes and mindblowing styles. I spent 3 hours walking in my stilts in a shoe bazaar and came out empty handed, though! But that's me!

3:35 AM  
Blogger Tanushree said...

hey same case with me..
teh only difference you have smallest size and i have the largest size which is hardly availible to stores...

5:13 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ dreamcatcher But it is so hard to buy something online esp shoes if you haven't tried them on. You have to make surethat you can walk in them, right? And I haven't been to India in such a long time that it becomes quite impossible to do my shopping there.
@ it wasn't me you are a size 12? Wow! Well you have the same problem as me, except in the other direction. I don't know how common my size was in India. I did have the tiniest shoe size among all my family and friends. But I still found it relatively easy to buy shoes there. Here....things are way different.
@ cacophoenix :)) I know about your "big feet" from your profile. Looks like a lot of people have problems when they fall in either end of the spectrum.
@ medha do you also have problems finding the right size clothes? :))
@ jinguchakka custom made shoes...I'm sure they exist. But that won't solve the problem when you are walking by a shoe store and see all those beautiful things on display and want to try them on only to realize that you can never wear them. I'm talking about not-needed-totally-out-of-the-blue shoe shopping here :)
@ gettingthere well you must be quite happy with the US shoe stores because that is probably one size that stocks every kind of shoe! The problem with online shopping is you cannot try them on. And how on earth can you buy shoes without trying them on?
@ adopted bong I am taking umbrage at the "khuki" shombodhon which I believe I encountered in my last post too. May be next time you can leave a name so I can respond correctly with kaku/jyethu/thakurda or whatever else.
The best thing about being petite is people think you are quite young. Which is great. But it is a nightmare when you are looking for clothes or shoes. Ask your wife to try the kids section for shoes too. I always buy my boots and sneakers from the girls section. The problem is when you are looking for heels.
@ point 5 thanks for the tip. Will keep that in mind. I guess it is kind of hard to see on black.
@ ron well if it isn't the shoe it will be something else. But most women like trying on shoes.
@ bonatellis no way. In fact you'd probably not believe this but i have never watched a single episode of Sex and the city! I don't even like the female who plays Carrie. But I constantly hear people talk about her and her shoe fetish. So any shoe post seems incomplete without her :)
@ priya my fav haunt in Cal was this shoe store in AC market where this guy decided to make me his adopted sister. he gave me huge discounts and i would end up buying tons of shoes from him. Even if I was there for something totally unrelated to shoes.
@ tanushree my sympathies. i know exactly how that feels :))

8:58 AM  
Blogger karmic said...

Nice post. *A* places a huge premium on good, comfortable shoes and if they cost a bit more so be it.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Joyful Heart! said...

ah! that reminds me, i need to go shoe shopping :)

11:54 AM  
Blogger Admin said...

aar koto mAA dibi gNuto
pujoy holo notun Juto..

sotti kore bolo dekhi
ache tomar juto koto???
LOL :)

my sister, as i found out one fine morning, had taken total control of the entire shoe-rack, where the ratio was 9:1! in a fitting rage, i gave a few of them to our shoe-happy doggy, who happily obliged to play with them, and eventually shredded them with absolute perfection. how happy i was. she didnt talk to me for seven consecutive days out of sheer depression. juto-r gNuto bote!!!

4:12 PM  
Blogger Rohan Kumar said...

Shop online I say :)

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankfully, i don't have a problem finding the right size clothes. I mean, i am not all that tiny or skinny or anything, but strangely i have small feet and hands!

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Small hands. Small feet. Its a curse I tell you.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Bong Mom said...

Just wondering, maybe you can try the Chinese stores. They stopped foot binding only in early 20th century, so what do all(ok, at least some) the Chinese in US dress their small feet up with ?
On another note, love your blog. How do you come up with such engaging topics ?

Am a new blooger on the block. Take a peek when you have time

11:18 PM  
Blogger Szerelem said...

hmm i know how it feels. I have always had big feet. I wear a size 12 now and I dont get my size ANYwhere. It sucks.
The worst was once in hk I asked a shop what the biggest size they had was, since I wear 11 or 12.. It was awful cos all the attendents kept staring at me afterwards as if I was an abnormal freak. I just bolted immediately!

6:16 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

szerelem beat me to it. come to hong kong -- delight in being an XXL.

10:29 AM  
Blogger ghetufool said...

are you 2'3"?

6:34 PM  
Blogger Rimi said...

Oooh, you had an easy time buying shoes in Cal? I can NEVER find a pait that's comfy and pretty AND not hideously expensive at the same time. In fact, cut that last factor out, just pretty and comfortable have never in the same pair for me. Ever. Dukkher kotha aar ki bolbo.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Rajesh &Shankari said...

HAppy Diwali!

2:43 PM  
Blogger Urmea said...

I have to echo gettingtherenow - try www.zappos.com and the best part is that they have free shipping and returns - so you can try out a whole bunch of them and return all of them if they don't work!!

4:34 PM  
Blogger twip said...

Pffft. I am a size 9 or 10 and I never seem to find shoes. Because most of the cute shoes my size are sold out. Sigh.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Acroyali said...

happy diwali! hope u find a happy solution to the situation :)

12:16 AM  
Blogger Kausum said...

Wish you a very happy diwali. Hope all ur desires come true!

8:04 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ sanjay sometimes it is well worth the extra buck.
@ pearl a-ha! :))
@ vuttaa did you really do that? It must have been absolutely traumatic for your sister!!
@ rohan that is a possibility but then it takes the fun out of going to shops and trying on shoes doesn't it? But you probably need to be a girl to understand :)
@ medha at least you have one less problem to deal with in that case :)
@ ph you bet!
@ sandeepa you know what, I've wondered about that too. May be they have chinese shoe stores somewhere in Chinatown where i can find shoes without too much of a hassle :) And welcome to my blog. Will stop by yours too!
@ szerelem LOL I know either ways it is hard :)
@ t.r. :)) May be it will be shoe haven for me in HK.
@ ghetufool close :))
@ rimi I sympathize absolutely. So where do you get your shoes from in that case?
@ shankari happy diwali to you too!
@ urmea may be I will, just so to get a size that fits. But it takes away the joy of trying on shoes and buying shoes dooesn't it?
@ megha well we all have problems it seems :))
@ acroyali happy diwali to you too!
@ kausum thank you and hope you had a great Diwali too.

8:51 AM  
Blogger jhantu said...

diamonds, shoes, cooking, shopping.. i tell u the females are the work!!!

how many pairs of shoes do u own by the way m?? upwards of atleast 20 i hope..

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with shoes but sneakers. Girls' sneakers are never as comfortable as boys, in my experience..so I buy my sneakers from the guys' department, in a size 5. My problem is that I have small but wide feet, and apparently this combination doesn't get a lot of attention in the shoe making industry. I'd love to buy more shoes, but I can't. =(

10:47 AM  
Blogger Thanu said...

ur post inspired me to put up my own

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in Australia and have tiny feet. In fact, I laugh when people bemoan their 'small feet' and say how hard it is to find a size 5. My party trick is to go to friends' houses and amuse them by putting their 6 year old daughter's sandals on!

Anyway, I have found a nice place on line called something like Cinderella at Boston. It's a shop based in the US but delivers world-wide. Have never bought anything from them as the shoes are not cheap, but they have a great selection. I'm going to Bangkok next week for a holiday and hoping to find some shoes that will fit me there!

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you should visit UK for your shoe shopping! ;-)

8:36 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ jhantu you have me all wrong there :)Didn't i tell you that I can't find shoes my size? What I own and what I would like to own are two different issues :)
@ vi but i believe they have wide varities of some shoes. Not all, but some.
@ thanu thanks :)
@ anon LOL thanks for sharing. Yes looks like I need to go shoe shopping in SE asia next time.
@ mohit so women in UK have small feet too?

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, UK seems to have a fair range of feet sizes...but on the whole the foot sizes are smaller than US.
You might also like to visit http://shoefiend.blogspot.com/

4:00 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ mohit that may be because Americans are larger in size than the British and most def Asians.

11:09 AM  

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