My dad always teases me when I buy a new pair of shoes. He calls me “Imelda”, after Imelda Marcos, former first lady and political figure of the Philippines. She is probably best remembered for her vast collection of shoes. Did you know that in 2003 director Ramona S. Diaz made the documentary Imelda, about the footwear fancier?
Anyway, back to me and my big feet. I wear American size 11 (or European size 43). Those of you who don’t have oversized tootsies may not realize that all the pretty shoes are normally made up to size 10 (or 42). It’s usually no problem to find ugly shoes in the bigger sizes (apologies to all the hard-working nurses out there).
Back in 1999 Arthur invited me to move to the Netherlands to live with him. I wasn’t sure what to do until I learned that the Dutch are commonly regarded as the tallest people in the world. Well, surely the tallest people also have some of the biggest feet, right? I thought I was moving to big-shoe heaven. Instead I now live in a big-shoe desert. At least the U.S. my beloved Payless, where the selection is not great but at least every shop has a size 11 section (12 too, hallelujah!). So far the only shop I have found that carries any size 43 shoes AT ALL is a specialist big-honking-shoe store in Rotterdam, Calandschoen, where unfortunately the prices are as inflated as the shoes.
Last month, while visiting my family in the mall-infested suburbs of Chicago, a miracle happened. I found not one but two brands of shoes that make size 11’s like they’re normal: Skechers and Born. Every size 11 pair of these two brands of shoes fit me perfectly! I should come clean here thought: I wasn’t totally honest before when I said I wear size 11. I actually wear size 11 wide. But Skechers and Born run wide, and so they are perfect for me. I bought two pairs of Born and one pair of Skechers, plus two pairs of shoes at Payless last month. I guess my dad had good reason to call me “Imelda”.