Big Girl Tip #1: Stretching Your Shoes

I don’t know if you have noticed or not from any of the few pictures I have posted of myself or things I say on Twitter, but I am what the world considers to be a Big Girl.  Borderline plus size.  A wide load.  More to love.  Too much awesome to be contained in a size 6.  And that’s okay.  My husband loves me and finds me attractive, but I’m doing what I can to regain the former glory of my mid-twenties.  {Aside: how did I ever utter the words “I’m fat” from 2003-2008?  I kind of want to go back and punch myself.}

But one thing that doesn’t change with my weight is my shoe size.  In addition to being a Big Girl width-wise, I am also six feet tall and wear a size 11 {on a good day} shoe.  I’ve been a size 11 since I WAS 11, and no amount of weight gain or weight loss is ever going to change that.  The only thing that might alter my shoe size is a nasty case of frostbite, but let’s hope it never comes to that.

As you might have guessed, it is very difficult for women who wear a size 11 shoe to find cute, comfortable, well made shoes.  Sure, I can go into any Payless and plunk down $20 on some fake leather shoes with no support, and I have done that many times when I needed a specific shoe for a specific occasion.  But when it comes to shoes for work, I need a little more than what Payless can offer me.  And it is SO hard to find good shoes as a Big Girl.  I need presentable, supportive shoes in at least brown and black, flats and heels.  I actually have a brown and black pair of pumps in the same style from Target that are real leather and reasonably comfortable, and they only set me back about $30 each.  So it’s possible to find shoes out there in the real world, but size 11s are not as prolific as, say, a size 9 would be.  Oh, to be a size 9…

Anyway, lately I have taken to ordering shoes on the internet.  I order in two sizes and keep the one that fits, and either return or exchange the second pair.  I get options, and I don’t have the hassle of having to go into a store and try on shoes that almost never fit.  Win win.  The last order I placed was with Naturalizer for two pairs of brown leather flats.  I decided that I would take back the non-fitting pair and exchange them for a black pair in the correct size so I would have brown and black flats for work, and I tend to stick with what works and buy several of the same item in different colors.  {There’s a tan pair in the same style that I’ve got my eye on…}  Here’s the shoes I got.  Cute enough, not stodgy, versatile, and most importantly, on sale!

Naturalizer Maude Coffee Bean Leather

So the 12 was way too big.  But the 11, well, it was a little tight.  An 11.5 would have been perfect, but alas, that was not an option.  So I kept the 11, and exchanged the 12 for a black pair that I am wearing for the first time today.  They were quite pinchy when I put them on this morning.  But I had no other options.  My other cheap Payless black flats were getting holes in them and starting to smell.  So I had to wear these shoes.  Fortunately I remembered a trick that I learned a long time ago, and threw on a pair of thick athletic socks.  I slipped into my shoes, which of course were exceedingly tight now.  But I could deal with it in the car on the way to work.  I got in the car and turned the heat on the floor to help expand the leather and make it a little more pliable.  It was miserable for a few minutes, but the more I wiggled my feet around the more bearable my shoes became.  At the end of my nearly hour-long commute {stupid Atlanta traffic}, I took off the thick pair of socks and put the shoes back on.  They fit like a glove!  No pinching or rubbing or cutting into my heel.  The thick socks and floor heat did the trick.

You can also do this with a hair dryer or sitting in front of a space heater while you do your hair or something.  Heat seems to be the key, and the athletic socks just helped speed the process along.  And now this Big Girl has well fitting, quality shoes that will hopefully last four years like my last two pairs of flats.

And that’s all I got for today.

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