I have big feet – 14s, DD width. They work well and most of the time they keep me upright. I’ve always had trouble buying shoes in retail stores though. There seems to be a consensus among shoe retailers that folks with big pods are really better off barefoot – like Sasquatch, Yeti, Bigfoot and so on.
As a result, I do most of my shoe shopping online. Usually somebody posts a review as to how well a particular pair of shoes fits – do they fit as expected or half size bigger or half size smaller or whatever. I’ve yet to receive a pair that doesn’t fit me well.
I wanted to buy a new pair of hiking shoes in time for the beginning of my spring nature walks. Silly me, I decided to give a retail store one more chance. I looked online and found a pair that looked perfect – a brand I like, and the website suggested my local outlet had my size in stock. This was at an outfit called Sportchek. The nearest one is in a nearby mall. I don’t much like malls and in general I try to avoid them, but I figured I could go into the store, try on a pair of the hiking shoes I was after, and leave the store happy as a clam with my shoes in a bag.
It turned out that this Sportchek not only did not have the shoes I was looking at in size 14, they didn’t have any hiking shoes in size 14. In fact they also did not have even a single pair of sneakers in my size either. I asked the question, “so what do you folks at Sportchek think us big-footed souls should do for shoes?”. “Um, well, we could order a pair for you.” Hmmm. I could have ordered a pair from home and saved the trip. “Please tell your manager,” I said, as politely as I could muster, “had been able to buy my shoes here, I likely would keep coming back. I might even buy some other stuff here while I was in the store. Instead, the chances of me ever coming back here and buying anything are less than zero”. This was met with a blank stare. Well, what did I expect.
I went home and ordered the shoes online. It took two days for them to be delivered to my door. They fit fine. I understand how retail is struggling in the face of growing e-commerce, and I’d like to support my local retail outlets. I like dealing with humans, browsing actual items, not just pictures, and I like being able to try on my shoes in the store. Unfortunately though, I’ve given up. I continue to have poor in-store experiences and good online shopping experiences. I may never buy shoes or boots in a store again.