— Style —

Do You Have These in a 9 Narrow?

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It never ceases to amaze me what women will do to wear beautiful shoes. We buy shoes in the wrong size because we “have to have them.” We have our feet injected with Botox and fillers and have our toes shortened or lengthened. Why do we do this to ourselves? While wearing beautiful shoes would be nice, I just want shoes that don’t make it painful for me to walk from here to the elevator and feet that are easy to fit.

When I tell a salesperson I wear a nine narrow, as in a 6A narrow width, they shake their head and bring me a medium. One salesman reacted to my narrow feet as though I belonged in a circus sideshow next to the bearded lady. With all due respect, as far as odd feet, I think the Chinese got there first.

In 10th Century China, wealthy families bound their daughters’ feet as a way of displaying status. Feet that were bound indicated the woman had means and didn’t have to work. The wealthier the woman, the more intricate were her embroidered silk and satin shoes. In an erotic sort of way, her freaks of nature became a prerequisite for finding a suitable husband.


Since the ideal length for a bound foot was three inches, I imagine women needed every bit of core strength, wherever they found it, just to walk. I also think any eagerness to “get off their feet” had nothing to do with finding their suitor attractive. While foot binding is no longer a practice, women continue to torture their feet, and if we’re to be honest, we continue to use shoes to attract men.

Some women refer to pinched toes and skyrocket heels as “sit and sip” shoes. In my case, almost every shoe I encounter is a sit and sip shoe. Eight rounds of chemotherapy for breast cancer, along with the cowboy boots from Hell, have compromised my narrow feet even further. Chemo caused both numbness and pain, and the ill-fitting cowboy boots caused a blood clot on the arch of my foot. Surgery to remove the clot resulted in a permanent rebellion of the surrounding nerves. I’ve tried everything: custom inserts, taping toes… Nothing helps.

Mother Nature’s made it difficult for this wanna’ be shoe freak to come out of my empty shoe closet. I can only hope my sometimes painful-looking gait will bring fond memories to some elderly Chinese-born gentleman. Perhaps it will remind him of the tiny “lotus walks” of the women he lusted after in his younger years.

Love, Brenda


  • Jennifer Connolly June 12, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I can no longer endure shoe pain. I just won’t! Two bunion surgeries on the same botched bunion, which still has nerve damage had me gun-shy to do the other foot. So I live I live in chronic foot pain.

    • 1010 Park Place July 10, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      Just the word, “bunion” sounds like what it is. Isn’t that an onomatopoeia? I, too, have chronic foot pain because of nerve damage from a botched surgery. Like you, no more!

  • Shellie Bowdoin June 12, 2015 at 9:08 am

    I am definitely more comfort motivated when it comes to shoes than I used to be. I have noticed a lot more shoe manufacturers actually consider some modicum of comfort these days. I have several pair of heels with decent padding. It is amazing how Chinese women used to have to suffer…


    • 1010 Park Place July 10, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      We’ve always been a trail-blazing demographic! More women over a certain age refuse to wear painful shoes than women under a certain age, who are also in pain.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • carla birnberg June 12, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Oh in my 20s I judged. I did not understand why my friends in their 40s did not gravitate toward the stacked stacked wedge heels as did I. Now I no longer gravitate 🙂

    • 1010 Park Place July 10, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      I don’t either, but I still lust after great shoes! We all keep waiting for the “comfortable” shoes to really become stylish. Waiting, waiting, waiting…

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