Friday, July 16, 2010

If the Shoe Fits

The writing on the wall appeared:

"Narelle is contemplating a pair of red boots. Should I...? Shouldn't I...? Should I...? Shouldn't I...?"

Her Facebook wall suddenly bristled with interest.

"You should," said Deborah.

B'Ethel said, "Very nice. Will it be hard to find an outfit to go with them?"

Monique exclaimed, "You totally should! I adore red shoes!"

Narelle replied, "B, I buy feet to go with my clothes rather than the other way around. Monique, I've been looking for ivory or light brown boots for two years, but I haven't found them yet -- northern trends do look promising for this spring -- so I'm going to go with the red while this style is available. They're designed for narrow feet, which is rare, plus a low but stylish heel, also rare. For me, comfort is paramount, but not at the expense of style. I tend to wait more than I shop.”

Three days later, Narelle spent twenty minutes wandering around in Dannevirke's Ballentynes store wearing the boots. They were indeed beautiful. The colour was great, the style was classy, but the fit...she just wasn't sure. Fifteen minutes into the exercise, she realized that the wide set of the boot ankle allowed her foot to slide forward in the shoe, meaning with a very little walking, she was suffering from scrunched toes.

Walk around. And around. One circumnavigation of the shop probably isn't enough.

At casual glance, the boots seemed the same width, and in fact, the foot shaping of the red boot made it seem smaller than the black pair she already owned. The important difference for her was that the black boot has a stiff tongue supporting the boot leg and holding the ankle firmly in place, whereas the red boot is pliable, allowing for wider ankles to be comfortable or narrow ankles to rattle about.

Narelle went home and wrote on Facebook: "The conclusion of the matter: I SHOULDN'T."

There are few among us who find such a decision easy to make. Narelle didn't, and was thankful that shop assistant Pam was sympathetic to her plight and gave her the freedom to figure it out in peace. Pam understood because she'd once been hurried by a shop attendant into a rash decision.

Monique wrote on Narelle's wall, "Oh that's very sad. But good you didn't get them. I bought a pair of boots in haste one year, and because I'd put out the cash I made myself wear them for two whole seasons, but they were awful! Never again..."

At which point Narelle could no longer resist the journalist's fashion twitch. This post is to encourage you to take time to be sure that your purchase is right for your feet. If it's not right, have the courage to say no and go home. There are other stores, other styles, other seasons. Wait for a quality shoe that fits your foot and you'll love it for years.

Looking good, but not feeling good.

There was one gentleman who added his thought to the Facebook conversation. He said, "It's a smart woman who values comfort over beauty."

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