I was never a notably tall kid, per se; there have always been people taller than me in all of my classes, and I’ve never been the tallest person in any group of friends I’ve had, either. That being said, I come in right around six feet tall, which is a decent bit above average. I guess I’m kind of “sneaky tall.”
For whatever reason, I always wanted to be tall. Not freakishly so, but ideally, something like six-two would have been perfect. My grandfather was around that tall, and looking at the rest of my family, I clearly got my height from him. I am head and shoulders (and in a couple cases practically elbows) above my parents, my sister, and my other grandparents.
Another thing I got from my grandfather is gigantic feet. Like, mutant-sized. I don’t remember being one of those kids who outgrew his shoes every six months, but every time I needed new sneakers, I always had to get the next size up, and soon moved onto wide sizes when I could.
I can think of maybe one or two people that I have ever been related to or friendly with, other than my grandfather, who even got to size 11. I settled in at 14. Sometimes, shoes run bigger than their size, so a 13-wide will do.
This makes shopping for shoes difficult. Not because “whoa is me, it’s so hard to get a size-14 shoe on your foot,” but because it’s just really hard to find size-14 shoes in a store. Up until this summer, flip flops were flat-out impossible. That sends me to the internet, which means I can’t try them on until they arrive, and…well, let’s just say I’m a fan of places with free return shipping.
Oddly enough, bowling shoes have never been a problem. Well, at least finding them hasn’t; my shoes are so heavy that when I went to the national tournament last summer, they helped pushed my bag over the weight limit for the plane and I had to pay an extra fee. As for golf, I bought a pair of shoes – 13-wide – six years ago.
The good thing about golf shoes is that they often come with replaceable spikes, so after a year of use all I have to do is buy new spikes instead of all new shoes. Unfortunately, after four or five years or so, the part of the shoe that holds my foot started to separate from the part of the shoe that has the cleats attached. Crazy glue works wonders, but once you get to that point, stepping in a puddle on the third hole can ruin the next four hours. It’s time to suck it up and get a new pair.
I started looking around and about three weeks ago I decided on a pair. I was at a golf superstore that reminded me of, like, a universe of golf stuff, and of course they had only had one pair of shoes that was even close to being big enough. I tried on the 13-medium and couldn’t get them all the way on my feet. Disappointed, I went home and placed an order on their website.
(The next day, I got an email with a promotional code for 10% off a single item. Thanks.)
A few days later, my 13-wides arrived, and…nope.
This is no big deal in the grand scheme of life. People try on shoes that don’t fit them every single day. But for me, it’s actually gotten kind of depressing. I find myself limited in what I can choose, looks-wise, because shoe companies simply don’t make all of their models in my size. I’m sure it sounds stupid, but when I can only wrench my foot halfway into a shoe that I like, my shoulders sag and I get a little depressed for a few seconds. It’s frustrating!
I tried to look it as a good sign, however. The truth was that I wanted a different design of the same shoe; instead of plain black, I wanted white and black, but the website didn’t have those in my size. Turns out they actually didn’t have the plain black ones in my size either, but whatever.
I finally got around to driving out there after work today to return them instead of mailing them back. I was hoping to exchange them in the store, or if not, get my refund and drive right to another store. I had visited the second store’s website and discovered that not only did they sell the model I wanted, they sold the design I wanted in a size that might fit me.
After getting a refund, I drove to the other sporting goods store. I think the owner’s name is Richard. They have a nice golf section, and I actually bought my first pair of shoes at one of their other branches. However, there were only a few shelves of shoes, and they didn’t have the model I was looking for on any of them. I asked the guy in charge of the section if what was on the shelves was all they had, and he said it was. I told him I had seen the pair online and thought I’d take a look since it was hard to find my size in the store. Of course, he asked what size, and when I told him, his response was a simple, “Oh. Yeah. Yeah we don’t usually have many of those.”
So here I am, logging onto their website to order another pair. Now, while they were processing my refund at the golf store, I went to the shoe section just to take a look. I found two pairs of size-14 shoes; one medium, one wide. The wide was really comfortable, and the medium fit just fine as well. I got really excited for a second; I wanted the other ones, but if I could walk out with a new pair, I might make the sacrifice.
I looked at the price tag. I like playing golf. Way too much, probably. And I know it can be an expensive hobby. But I’m not paying $159.99 for a pair of shoes.
Anyway, there is a drop-down menu for sizes. It goes up to 14-medium. ::gulp::
I’m going to buy them. They’ll be here in a few days, and with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning – or a guy opening a new pair of golf shoes – I’ll tear open the box and try them on.
Of course, I won’t actually tear the box open. I’ll cut the tape and keep the box in good condition, because if experience has taught me anything, it’s that I unfortunately might need it again very soon.