I’m pretty open about sharing personal things on my blog, including a lot about my own insecurities. I’ve been turning this post over in my head for quite awhile and after talking to my kids the other day, I decided the time had come to write it.
Put your fingers out in front of you and try to estimate 6 inches. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I’ve tried it multiple times and have ended up anywhere from 5 inches to 8 inches. I don’t think I ever got 6. Clearly I don’t really know the difference between 6 and 7 inches or even 6 and 8 inches.
So why do I care so much about a size 10 shoe versus a size 8 shoe??
When I was young, it became obvious that I was never going to be a girl with dainty feet. My mom used to call them my “big old boats” when I was in 5th grade and wore a size 8. By the time I got married, I was closer to a 9. Now that I’ve had kids? More like a 9.5 or 10.
And my own kids? At 10 years old, they were each already in a size 10. It’s a big thing in our house (no pun intended). While it’s really cool that all 3 of us can share shoes, it’s also a reminder to my kids that they already have adult-sized feet and to me that I passed on one of my least favorite traits to my kids.
Other adults have made comments to me over the years both about the size of my own feet and the size of my girls’ feet. “Wow! What size shoe do they wear?” How about size nunayabizness? And could you try not to say it so loud in front of them??
As I have mentioned in past posts, having my daughters has FORCED me to get past my own insecurities about certain things because in order to be THEIR advocate, I had to be my own advocate as well.
So I did a little shoe research.
I have to thank the good people at Crocs for putting this graphic on their site:
As you can see, my foot must be about 10 inches long to wear a size 9.5 Croc. That dainty size 8 that I so desperately wish that I could wear? That’s a person whose foot is 9 5/8 inches long. That is less than a half inch shorter than my foot!! Even if I wanted to be a super sexy size 7, my foot would still be almost 9 and a half inches long.
I went to Zappos and looked for a more generic chart:
The results are about the same. My 9.5 shoe puts me at 10 inches. A size 8 would be only half an inch shorter.
So when I put it all into perspective, I couldn’t figure out why I cared so much about my foot being half an inch longer than someone else’s.
I talked to my kids about it and the only thing we could figure out is that shoe size is just one more label. It’s one more way that we (as women in particular) compare ourselves to other women in a measurement that is totally arbitrary. Big or small feet don’t make you smarter or funnier or better singers or happier people.
I’m not trying to “small shame” those of you who fall on the other end of the spectrum. I’m sure you have your fair share of problems finding what you want in your size. And I would look like a Weeble at my height if my feet were much smaller.
The thing about shoe size that really gets to me is that I have NO CONTROL over it. I can’t diet my way down to a smaller size or exercise them into shape. You get what you get (and you should be happy you have them at all). Why have I spent so much of my brain caring about stupid shoe sizes over the last 20 years?
It stops now. If you are like me and waste your energy hating your shoe size, just stop. If you have daughters who complain about theirs, make them stop. It’s an inch. AN INCH! Maybe even less. A little perspective goes a long way.