Friday, January 6, 2012

Fashion: Big Foot Blues


It’s a law of nature: women love shoes. However, with size 12M feet (size 42-43 European), I have a love/hate relationship with shoe shopping. Sizes 10 and below are relatively easy to find, but what happens when you’re off the charts? You can go to a specialty site like Samanta, Marmi, or TaKera (founded by WNBA player Asjha Takera Jones) and drop a couple hundred dollars on custom footwear. Some high-end shoemakers, including Steve Madden and Doc Martin’s, also carry up to size 11 or 12, but again, you’d better be prepared to invest.

Luckily, after much searching, I think I’ve finally found a good roster of stores and websites that stock sizes 11 and up at a reasonable price point. As far as in-person shopping goes, Ross, Target, Jeremy’s, and the Nordstrom Rack all carry large sizes. I also love Torrid’s shoes and boots, though they only come in wide width and wide calf (I usually solve this with an insole).

Online retailers offer a wider selection than stores do, but unfortunately, many of the Web catalogues I buy from are geared toward much older women. Woman Within, Roaman’s, and Old Pueblo Traders all have diamonds in the rough, but you’ll have to wade through a few oxfords and nurses’ moccasins. I just bought these wedge ankle boots from Woman Within and they’ve been attached to my feet for the past week. It didn’t hurt that I got 40% off through one of their frequent online offers (you can look in the site banner for a promo code or sign up for their email list to get one). Two other great sites I just discovered are Maryland Square and Alonai, with a bit younger and trendier esthetic.

I’ve also had some luck at thrift and consignment stores, though of course it’s hit-or-miss. Community Thrift in the Mission District occasionally carries large sized shoes, as do Crossroads Trading Co. and Buffalo Exchange, but it all depends on what people bring in.

Don’t be afraid to shop in the men’s section either, especially in second-hand stores. I’ve found some awesome men’s wingtips, tuxedo shoes, and leather boots and I wear ‘em with pride.

So, where’s your shoe shopping sweet spot?

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