Friday, December 24, 2010

Reprise: My feet are having an identity crisis

I am using Fridays to re-run posts that originally published on the now-defunct DCMetroMoms before they disappear from the internets forever (scheduled to happen sometime early next year). This post originally ran on June 1, 2010.

Sometime in 2003 or 2004 I read that the average American woman's shoe size was an 8.5. I was several years out of graduate school and away from spending my days running up and down my hilly campus; I was several years into my sedentary career. I thought then, whatever my body issues are, at least I have perfectly average feet.

I wasn't yet pregnant.

And then, in 2005, I was...and immediately my feet grew.

After pregnancy #1 my feet were a size 9, which took some mental reconciliation, plus a complete shoe wardrobe makeover. I had to say goodbye to some beloved boots and my favorite purple 3" heels, but on common-sense days I reminded myself that they hadn't been worn much of late, anyway. Pregnancy #2 came and went and I was grateful -- yes, for the two healthy children we now had -- but also that my feet had not changed sizes. My size 9 shoe wardrobe wasn't as expansive as the size 8.5 collection I had curated over many years, but it was leaner, meaner, and still respectable.

But while my husband and I really wanted one more kid, my feet didn't seem to agree with the plan. With pregnancy #3 I suspected my feet were growing again. But I couldn't be sure, because for the first time ever, they were also swelling. For most of that pregnancy I resorted to wearing the same black ballet flats every day because they were the only pair of shoes I found comfortable. I loved those shoes before that pregnancy but during that pregnancy I absolutely relied on them.

They were cheap shoes, though, and they weren't intended for the rigors I forced them to endure. I have continued to wear them, even as I push baby #3 around in his stroller. They're warped and stretched to the (widest version of) the shape of my feet, and they're falling apart. And then one day last week I wore them in the rain.

The water seeped through the barely sealed seam between fabric and sole and soaked into the footbed and I don't want to think about what happened next, but here's a confession: the day after the heavy rains I caught myself wondering more than once during the day as I walked around my (very large government) building: "what *is* that awful smell?" only to slip off my shoes under my desk for a few minutes of email before signing out and realizing with horror that that smell was me.

My shoes smelled like a mildewed dish sponge. And so, with a heavy sigh, that night I finally threw out
my favorite, perfectly fitting shoes.

But now I can't fine any shoes that fit. Pregnancy has deformed my feet. I'm not a 9 anymore, but 9.5s feel too big. Maybe a 9W? But only in the toe box -- my heels slip out of wide-sized shoes. I would live in flip-flops, but those are frowned upon in our office environment. I think I need to get my feet formally and properly measured, and I think I'm going to have to resign myself to building my shoe wardrobe from scratch.

Yet again.

There's an obvious upside, though: shoe shopping!

(image credit: sarowen)

When Robin is blogging on her own site, The Not-Ever-Still Life, or tweeting @noteverstill, odds are good she's doing so barefoot. Pin It