Women love shoes, or so I’m told. I wouldn’t know it from my own experience because I would rather have a root canal than shop for shoes.
I own fewer than eight pairs of shoes in good condition. Why this frugality? Because my shoe size is 6 ½ XXW. As a child I had to wear insoles and high shoes. Even when I did not need the insoles anymore, I still had to frequent eight to ten stores in several cities to find a pair of shoes that fit. And they only had shoes for grandmothers. These shoes were certainly not attractive enough to wear at the office or to a dance. Making matters worse was the fact that I lived close to Pirmasens, the center of German shoe production.
Over the years, I became familiar with the stores that most likely carried my size. And then I moved to the U.S. and my search began all over again. I shopped at the same store for several years, that is: they showed me their collection and ordered my size. These shoes came in a variety of colors: black, mostly black, and black-and-white.
This happy state continued for years until things got worse. Foot pain drove me to the doctor, who prescribed insoles for me. Now I needed to order shoes to accommodate the insoles. They were, of course, black. I was beginning to wonder whether I was shopping for shoes or a Model T Ford. Of course, the Model T has more style. In my desperation, I turned to social media and a friend suggested a retailer with the magic words: free shipping both ways! Now I could order several pairs at a time and return the ones that didn’t fit. The online stores caught on to me, however. They have implemented restocking fees, making my search time-consuming and costly. It can take several months before I either find a pair that fits or give up my search altogether.
When it comes to colors or material, I have absolutely no choices at all. Like the Model T, the majority come in only one color: black. In the old days, I could have gone to the cobbler and have a perfectly fitting pair made. Yet, those times are gone forever.
Image: Gerd Eichmann, commons.wikimedia.org