(This one’s for all of you who haven’t been consulted on my shoe woes individually.)
I’ve always, always loved the Mini family of shoes from John Fluevog. 98% of the styles that have been marketed in this family have been stunners, and while they’re pricey, for a once-a-year treat I’d definitely splurge.
In fact, I have splurged.
In late 2009 I splurged on the Mini Momo, in a size 6. This was complete wishful thinking (not to mention Cinderella-stepsister thinking). I continue to show as a 6.5 on a Brannock device, but my Shoe Consultant tells me that (a) nobody seriously uses those any more, and (2) that most manufacturers use lasts (shoe forms) that are wildly different from the Brannock sizing. This is true. In most shoes I’m an 8. So it was stupid of me, flat-out stupid, to buy the size 6 Momo, but it was the only one they had left. They hurt my feet after about half an hour of walking, so I ended up selling them.
Later, I worked my way up to a size 6.5 Zaza (hurt my foot), size 7 Dollface (hurt my foot), size 7.5 Sweet Pea (hurt my foot). The reason I didn’t instantly leap to an 8 was because the length of the smaller shoes always felt right. It was only the toe box that felt cramped in the Momo, and using that as the guideline I just kept bumping up a half-size each time. Well, that Sweet Pea purchase was in June of 2010, and I gave up on Fluevogs altogether because of this excruciating pain in the center of the ball of my foot. It happened in every shoe size in that Mini family. I tried some Operetta family, and they were fine.
I asked about this. I asked the Fluevog store, the Ravelry members who are obsessed with the brand, my Shoe Consultant. Nobody had a straight answer. Fluevog said the shoe was too narrow for me. (Minis are well-known for accommodating wide feet.) Someone on Ravelry said to wipe the inside of the toe box with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, which would allow the leather to stretch more. Really nobody could pinpoint a legitimate reason for this, and so I decided not to buy any more of that shoe family because of the problems I’d had.
Fast forward to mid-January 2013. Totally suckered in by the Bee’s Knees, which happened to come in a turquoise/hot pink combo with purple laces (so ’80s, so me!), I went to the store, tried on the 8. It seemed slightly big, but only slightly; I decided to put in an insole, and bought them.
Day 1: with 3/4 insole. Killer pain in the same part of the ball of my foot.
Day 2: added “ball of foot” cushions. Ball of foot pain gone, but toes going numb. Did the alcohol rub trick. No discernable stretching.
Day 3: Used “ball of foot” cushions without the 3/4 insert. Cushion kept sliding around, making it awkward to walk. Took them out; half an hour later, ball of foot pain.
Day 4 (today): Got a full-length gel insert that had a ball of foot cushion built in. Half an hour later, toes numb.
Just what the hell is wrong? People all over the internet talk about how the Mini family is wonderfully comfortable for all-day wear. They are hands-down my favorite shoe style ever (in general), and I really, really want to be able to wear them! Nobody else seems to have this problem with them! I don’t know what else to consider.
Chris (the bravest man on earth) thinks maybe it’s because I’m overweight, and this puts too much pressure on the ball of the foot. But I have a pair of 3″ wedge heels from Antelope that are very stable and comfortable for me; I wore them traipsing all over Vancouver and Victoria last spring and the only problem I had was a little blister on the top of my little toe on the right foot.
The only other thing I can imagine is that it’s something specifically to do with the construction of the Mini family. The angle of rise? The placement of the rise? I don’t know! Are you a shoe expert? Do you have any suggestions?
Meanwhile, because of this, I’m considering putting the Bee’s Knees up on the auction block already. If you’re interested, they’re a size 8; total time on the foot less than six hours, and I’ll sell them for $280 shipped in the US. Here’s a pic, and here is the link to the Fluevog page for them.