A few posts ago I set myself an action plan. One of its points was to find a supplier of ladies shoes in a UK size 15. This post is primarily aimed at the very few ladies both transgendered and genetic whose feet are that size and above, but maybe my research will be of interest to some others.
Over the years the lot of people with larger-than-average feet has become a happier one. When my mother was young, ladies shoes were often simply not available in her high-single-digit size and her feet still bear the evidence of having to wear ill-fitting footwear decades ago. When I was a teenager the situation had improved, but my newly size 15 feet were still at the outer limits of male footwear at the time and I had to wear some pretty awful footwear as a result. The problem with large size footwear design has always been that some manufacturers simply make their size 15s by lengthening the pattern for the size 12s in the middle resulting in something like clown shoes, and lack of competition meant that was all the large size supplier needed to stock.
Now a variety of specialist suppliers cater for the large of foot, and competition in design and supply means as a size 15 man I can wear just about any style of cool shoes I choose. What a difference twenty years makes!
Unfortunately though, there must be extremely few women with size 15 feet. Regular large sized ladies suppliers like http://www.after8shoes.co.uk/ and http://www.magnusshoes.com stop somewhere about 12 and specialist trans suppliers tend to stop at 14. (It pays to be careful when looking, I've seen male shoes advertised as 15 in the past but which turned out to be US 15, more like UK 14)
So that's most transgendered people catered for, but not me!
What can I do? As I see it, there are four options:
One: go barefoot. This isn't practical for most outfits or looks. No stockings, man-legs, it's got very old. This is the reason for my size 15 quest.
Two: Wear androgynous male footwear with the right outfit. The trouble with androgyny in clothing is that it works both ways. If you're large-male-sized as let's face it, all transgendered people with size 15 feet are likely to be, and you wear an androgynous outfit, it doesn't really matter whether that outfit is one made for a woman. You'll still look like a man. I'm sure there are femme outfits with footwear wearable by both sexes, but is the world ready for a giant cowgirl?
Three: Make your own. This isn't as far-fetched as it sounds. A quick search on "Make your own shoes" reveals a whole community of home footwear manufacturers producing an amazing array of rather nice shoes. It's true some of the parts for size 15 ladies shoes will not be available off-the-shelf and would require fabricating, but one of the best things my male side has given me is the ability to make almost anything. If I can weld up a kit-car or build an embedded computer as well as sew up a ballgown, then I have complete confidence in my ability to put together a set of court shoes. I'll do so if I really have to, but it's all going to be a lot of hard work and I'd prefer an easier option.
Four: Keep searching, find someone who sells them. Over the years I don't think I've missed any suppliers as I've searched the specialised large shoe industry. Partly for myself, and partly on behalf of my closer female relatives who as you might expect from sharing genes with me also have slightly larger-than-average feet. I also don't think I've missed the web sites of any specialist trans suppliers. So it was a bit of a surprise when a possible solution came as part of my research for this piece. Breastform Store UK do shoes, and I'd never really looked at that part of their site. What a mistake! They list size 15s! The sizing includes a handy print-and-cut-out outline, and my feet fit neatly within it. I never expected it to be this easy.
They're not cheap mind, and I'll have to wait for my Christmas sale blowout to work out of my budget, but what can I say but wow! This has almost brought on one of those girlie crying moments.