Thursday, 4 August 2011

Walk a mile in his shoes

    It ain't easy, trying to be a girl when you have big feet. I sometimes see t-girls complaining that they can't find ladies' footwear in a UK size 8 or 9, I tell them they simply aren't looking hard enough. More than one of my natal female relatives takes those sizes, and they can find them on the high street.
    People with a size UK10 to 13 have life a little more difficult. They can get almost any style from a specialist, but they may have to go online or travel further afield if they want to try them on.
    14 and above though, now there's a problem. With my size 15s the choice is narrowed down to an impossibly small selection if I'm lucky. Pleaser and Le Dame are my best bet, but though they are very good quality shoes they are expensive to bring in from the USA and their styles are more suited to the evening than the high street. Every t-girl wants to toc around in a set of killer heels once in her life but as my friend Dawn puts it: "You wouldn't wear them to Tesco". At least, not twice.
    So, given that the mass of everyday female footwear is inaccessible to me, what are my options? I can get footwear made-to-measure, for one. Any style I want, in superlative quality. Trouble is, with the quality comes an eye-watering price, and I can't justify that as a part-timer. If I ever go full-time that might be an option I'd consider, but for now I have better things to spend my cash on.
    My sister provided me with an answer. She takes a UK size 9, and though I didn't realise it, the casual shoes she often wears are men's shoes. She just picks the right styles and they never look out of place because she wears them in appropriate situations.
    So I started looking at my normal supplier of large size male footwear as I never had before. At some of the styles I'd never even think of wearing as a scruffy bloke. It's funny how gender conditioning works, even though I have known all along I had something of the girl about me I dared not permit myself to wear even slightly androgynous footwear lest they look a little gay or something. Your mind does stupid things to you, sometimes.
    What I found first were some Vans skate shoes. Pretty similar to the shoes I saw my sister wearing, though available in nicer colours (She reads this blog, she'll berate me for that! :). They look great with a pair of jeans, and they're about as comfortable as it gets in a shoe. Not very good with a skirt or a summer dress though so for my trip last month to Sparkle I found a very acceptable and very cheap alternative in the form of a pair of old-fashioned white canvas plimsolls not unlike these ones. It's all about blending, if your footwear don't look too different to those an onlooker might expect, they won't be noticed.
    Sandals though present a problem. Male sandals tend to be of the 'Jesus' variety, either with leather straps as worn with socks by men with beards at folk festivals, or with more modern Velcro straps and worn by young blokes on the beach. I have a pair of the latter as it happens and they're great shoes, but dainty they ain't. The best I've come up with so far has been a pair of Base London Global flip-flops in white, something I'd never wear as a bloke but which as a girl was perfectly suited to a summer barbecue.
    So it has been a pleasant surprise to find that for casual styles at least I can still find something I can work with even if it's not the footwear I wish I could have. I appreciate that the potential audience for this post is miniscule, after all how many t-girls can there be with size UK15 feet? But it's important to share, because I know all about the feeling that I'd never find anything.

7 comments:

  1. It's also worth considering what a pair of colourful laces can do to alter the gender of a pair of fairly gender neutral laced shoes.

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  2. I was going to suggest 'fetish' shoe outlets online (I have three links on my blog page)but they seem only to go to size 13UK. Short of getting them made I would imagine there is not much else you can do.

    Shirley Anne xxx

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  3. In my curious moments I have searched the web for survey results for human size variation with regard to foot size. Clearly I am rubbish at this and only found places demanding large fees for such valuable information. I conclude this is to hide the fact that a LARGE percentage of females have LARGE feet but nobody wants to be associated with dealing with large footed ladies, probably not cool but surely hugely profitable!

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  4. Evening all,

    Absolutely, less masculine laces definitely make a difference. I have to be a little careful though, to make a 15 they so often just lengthen the front part of their 12 which creates a very ugly shoe indeed. So I have to pick with care.

    Some of the more 'racy' places stock Pleaser shoes. But the nature of fetish shoes is that they aren't for everyday wear. Shame, I'd kinda like to wander round work in a pair of shiny PVC 6" platform thigh boots! :)

    Large size footwear has always been a neglected niche. There has traditionally been only a few suppliers who treat their customers as a captive market and thus don't feel they have to make an effort. I am pleased to see it seems to be changing though - slowly.

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  5. I have often bought from a German company BAR, add your own dots above the A!

    They make most to UK 10 EU 45 but since the last couple of years of currency instability have become quite expensive...

    Often their catalogue falls through the door with tempting cute designs but I have learnt their trick and no longer raise my hopes. Without fail all effort to make a foot look smaller and the shoe interesting and cute is only available up to Size 8 or even smaller!

    Surely it does not take a genius to realise that the larger the foot the smarter the design needed!!

    Just off to lie down and regain composure...

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  6. I must look out for them.

    I have a trans acquaintance as tall as me who gets her shoes at a specialist shop in the Netherlands. They go to 14, she's a 13. But unlike her my job doesn't take me further afield.

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  7. ... I
    mean, seriously, how
    often do you really look
    at a mans shoes? …The line from Red in the Shawshank Redemption springs to mind. I own male and female shoes that would be hard to distinguish unless you studied them.
    Although there's no mistakeing my thigh boots.
    Lucie xxes? …The line from Red in the Shawshank Redemption springs to mind. I own male and female shoes that would be hard to distinguish unless you studied them.
    Although there's no mistakeing my thigh boots.
    Lucie xx

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