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.