I did not understand the touted female obsession with buying shoes until I moved to Ireland. There are shoe shops all over the place. And I'm not even all that interested in shoes. It's just the massive numbers of shops. It creates an obsession where there was none previously.
And like in the stores in the Hitchhiker books, none of them fit me.
All right, this is probably not true. I haven't actually tried on very many shoes. Partly this is because I'm not obsessed with them, partly it's because I'm not entirely sure what size shoe I wear over here, and partly it's because I'm overwhelmed with choice and yet rarely see anything I actually want. It's becoming relevant, though, because I need new walking shoes. And I really *want* a pair or two of good, low-heeled, calf-high boots that look reasonably dressy and I can *walk* in.
There are a multitude of problems with this. The first and foremost for any shoe is that I wear (in US sizes) 8.5 EEEE width shoes. A C width is average. My feet are both broad across the ball and *thick* all the way through the arch (causing me to have developed calcium buildups (which are called something else horrible that I can't remember the name of right now when they're on your feet) on the tops of my feet and on the outsides of my big and little toes, which adds to the problem of finding shoes that fit well), yet quite narrow, comparatively, at the heel. So basically, finding shoes that fit the shape of my foot is a real pain in the ass.
It gets worse when I start looking at boots, because I have Significant Calves (as supported in photographic evidence by my icon) and your average cut boot calves just wrinkle pathetically around my lower calves. The ones that do squeeze over my mighty thews operate primarily on the squeeze part, and circulation to my feet (which are usually cold anyway) becomes a thing of distant memory.
I've been looking at The Clog and Shoe Workshop in Scotland, where they actually hand-make shoes. None of their shoes are what you'd call fashionable (though they're a hell of a lot cuter than the average mass-produced shoes for fat feet), but for walking shoes they're starting to look increasingly appealing. I'm not sure what else to /do/. Argh.
So the shorter version of this is, does anybody have any shoe store recommendations? I'm beginning to not care how much I pay for the #$*& things as long as they *fit*.
ETA: this is aimed mostly at Ireland readers, as shipping things from the States commercially makes you liable for about 50% over cost in taxes. -smiles with gritted teeth- However, if anybody has a really good source for shoes (especially fashionable ones), I will go to the bother of having them shipped somewhere in the States and sent to me non-commercially. PITA, but...