January 1, 2019 by phicks2012
Some people have an arch nemesis, but I belong to a minority. This is not because I’m a woman, because there are rather a lot of those running around, and not because of my sexual orientation (hetero) or religious affiliation (dormant Methodist), or fitness level (let’s not go there) but because I have high insteps and high arches.
That’s right, I’m talking about my feet, and while most people wouldn’t think of that as posing a hardship I can assure you that when it comes to buying shoes, especially on-line (but even in brick and mortar stores), it most definitely IS!!
Most shoes are designed for people with (compared to mine) relatively flat feet. That means that the “uppers” the part of the shoe that crosses the top of the foot, is often far too tight and comes too high on the foot, and that there is nearly always insufficient arch support (if any).
Before you point out that I could visit a Dr. Scholl’s Kiosk, adding insoles with built-up arches is NOT the answer, because they usually also have padding under the heel and ball of the foot, and therefore also tend to further raise my instep. That doesn’t help at ALL. It just makes the shoes even tighter across the top of my foot, assuring that if I try to wear them they will leave deep furrows — if not bruises.
It means that even with athletic shoes I usually have to buy new, longer laces so that I can loosen up the lacings until the shoes stretch out. Once they stretch, I’m generally okay, but then I tend to wear them until they bloody well fall apart just because breaking in new ones can be such a royal pain in the ass.
It means that boots (unless they have laces or zippers) are really hard (sometimes impossible) to get on. Even if they fit once I can get my foot all the way in, the top bones of my feet cannot be forced past a certain point, so getting my feet “all the way in” can be like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.
It means that slip-on shoes almost never “slip on” unless the uppers are forcibly stretched, and it means that I cannot wear stiff clogs (or anything with uppers that will not stretch and cannot be adjusted) because my feet simply will not go all the way into the shoe.
I’ve tried buying wider shoes in an effort to get around this sort of thing, but my feet aren’t WIDE, so even if this kind of works to make the uppers more accommodating the rest of my foot will move around in the shoe and slide from side to side. Not good.
I’ve gone on-line looking specifically for shoes that will fit people with high arches and high insteps, but those are really hard to find, and even THEN I’ve found that the claims of shoe companies are not often reliable. I cannot TELL you how many pairs of shoes I’ve had to return to on-line sources because they’ve turned out to be brutally uncomfortable, cutting into the tops of my feet, or being impossible to put on.
I bought some Sketchers “Go Walk Joys” because they were advertised as really comfortable, only to find that, again, the uppers were too tight, and also came so high on my feet that they rubbed against the creases of my ankles. I’m still trying to stretch those, and debating whether or not it would be feasible to cut an inch off of the uppers and re-edge them with embroidery floss by hand.
I found some Air Walk canvas flats that (with a little stretching) work just fine, but they only seem to come in pastel colors guaranteed to show every speck of available dirt, and therefore cannot feasibly be worn to do potentially messy things (like feeding livestock) where they are highly unlikely to remain pristine. I did find some that were denim-colored, but the black ones I ordered turned out to look like they were crocheted by my grandmother, and the gray ones had a bunch of unwanted pastel sprinkles that didn’t show up in the on-line ad.
So I have more than one Arch Nemesis, because just about every shoe company qualifies. 😉