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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
16th-Aug-2010 02:27 pm
Whoa! Cavalcade of recommendations! I thank you, but let me unpack why shoe shopping is an extra bonus pain:

1. Tiny feets. As in, size 4 generally. As in none of the sites recommended carry shoes in my size.
2. I can only wear flats. This is partially because
3. I have brachymetatarsia in both feet. This means that my fourth toe on each foot is sort of pushed up and back. So it doesn't reach the ground (I leave four-toed footprints) and therefore I don't have as much balance there as most people. Plus, with the way it's raised, I need a deeper toe area in my shoes, and the shoes need to be supersoft, or I will get blisters from hell.

So... it's hard to find shoes! The sandals I've been wearing this summer are the first I've owned in the 21st century; straps over that toe are bad, plus no heels - yeah. I've actually never owned a pair of cute calf-length boots, which sucks because I love the look with skirts. I have a pair of snow boots, but I don't want to always wear snow boots when, y'know, it's not snowing. And my flats are nice, but none of them are good for multi-mile walks. So. I keep searching.

I do love that everyone's first instinct is to be helpful!

(Treatment for brachymetatarsia is surgery to implant a longer bone or pins & screws to streeeetch out the existing bone over 14-16 months, and no fucking thank you; I'll just go barefoot whenever I can instead, thanks.)
16th-Aug-2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
With small feet, I would think the answer would be to check children's sizes. Does the brachymetatarsia prevent that as well?
16th-Aug-2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
They aren't the same shape, honest (I'm a 4 also).
16th-Aug-2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
I learn.

I know some women who can wear many children's shoes comfortably. I didn't realize it wasn't a commonly available option.
16th-Aug-2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
It's something about the way the bones settle. Children's feet have gaps between the bones. They stop growing (in normal feet) when the gaps are filled (they used to x-ray young ballet dancer's feet and wrists to predict growth, I have no idea if they still do).
16th-Aug-2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
They did when I was a young ballet dancer, but that was long ago.
16th-Aug-2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
Ah, she angst. I know it well, what with a 5-extra-wide and a toe joint implant.

A pal of mine suggested a place in Framingham for odd sizes like ours, will double-check on it.

If it weren't for the urge to be polished and girly on occasion, I'd strongly consider wearing itty-bitty Doc Martens all the time. Very roomy toe box, great colors, great 'tude. Indestructible.
(Deleted comment)
16th-Aug-2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
Mmm. Semi-retraction on the Keens, then, with caveat that the highest youth size might be your 4, since they run large and stretch over time. (Though if the youths did work for you, the deeper toe area is definitely a thing. Most shoes squish up my hella-wide toes, and these don't.)
16th-Aug-2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
Can't help on the size problem (I have the other one). :) But I can recommend a fabulous book called Fixing Your Feet. It describes exactly what kind of shoes will help particular conditions, and tricks for lacing your shoes to fit your feet better, and so on.

Also it's made for athletes, so as a bonus you get a chapter on how to keep parasites out of your feet during jungle ultramarathons. :)
16th-Aug-2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
Have you considered having shoes custom-made, for those times when you need to wear shoes? I have a set of custome boots I bought over ten years ago for my RenFest outfit, which are still on their original soles.

http://www.sodhoppers.com/ is the only online vendor I can think of offhand that I would recommend; check them out, if you're interested.
16th-Aug-2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
I'd like to second this. Also... have you thought about making your own? It IS possible!
17th-Aug-2010 02:01 am (UTC)
I saw a place not too long ago that makes custom combat boots. Plenty of toe space and practical for lots and lots of walking.
16th-Aug-2010 07:58 pm (UTC)
I dunno if anyone has recommended them or not (I'm coming to this game late, as it were), I'll suggest Danskos and Eccos.
16th-Aug-2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
FWIW, http://www.wissotatrader.com/ claims to have 80 different shoes in women's size 4. Some of them are obviously non-starters, but there might be some that are useful.

I wear a men's 8.5EE (short & wide) - they're a great source for me. It helps that my tastes run to plain and conservative.
16th-Aug-2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
Try my shoes at Wiscon next year. If they fit, I can mail.


I can't wear anything resembling even the tiniest heel any more.
16th-Aug-2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
I wonder if sandals like Tevas, Chacos, and Columbias come in smaller sizes? They are sooooper comfortable, and will last forever.
17th-Aug-2010 06:40 am (UTC)
Wow, your feet are even tinier than mine, which is surprising since you're taller than me, if I recall correctly (I'm 4'5"). I wear a size 5 wide, although I found out if I don't wear my braces (which means I can't walk) my bare feet fit into kids' size 1's.
18th-Aug-2010 04:27 am (UTC)
I realize you're not actually asking for suggestions, but I'll toss out that Endless.com has a few hundred size 4 shoes without heels. Might be worth a look.
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