The Big Foot Files: Working on Self Acceptance from Head-to-Toe

Along this whole natural hair journey, I think the biggest thing I’ve learned –and seen from others– is a heightened sense of self acceptance. Many of us start out afraid of, angry with, and confused by our hair in its natural texture. Hopefully, somewhere along the way you learn to accept this trait you were born with. You learn to wear it with pride. Eventually, you may even learn to love it.

While I have 100% absolutely learned to love my hair, it’s interesting that I have yet to be able to apply this sentiment to my entire being as a whole. Let’s talk a trip from the tips of my curls all the way down to my feet.

I have big feet. In fact, I have always had big feet. You know those cute footsie pajamas that little kids wear? Well, the feet on mine were just too small and had to be cut off. From the age of seven onward, my shoe size corresponded with my age. As an eight year old I wore a size 8. As a nine year old, a size 9. This was convenient and kind of fun until I reached the age of 10 and I noticed that the shoe departments were running out of sizes. Finally, this awful trend plateaued at age 11 and my feet thankfully haven’t grown since. I don’t just have any size 11 though, oh-ho-ho no. I’ve got a size 11 WIDE with no arch. Like zero arch. My foot print looks more like a slice of pizza than the continent of Africa.

So there you have it. I’ve got totally flat, totally wide, totally massive feet.

Suffice it to say, I’ve never really liked shoe shopping. It’s always a disappointing process and just like I’m a curly girl living in a straight-haired world. I’m a size 11 in a size 7 world. Just last week I was at this super fun event in Santa Monica called LuckyFABB, a fashion and beauty blogging conference hosted by Lucky Magazine. One of the vendor booths there was a brand called Jellypop Shoes. Their whole showcase was pretty neat: pick out a pair of their shoes and make a fun animated gif video of you having fun in their shoes. As the brand representatives urged me to try on their shoes and play in their booth, I just knew in my heart of hearts that this wasn’t going to work out.

Some of the cute JellyPop offerings

“Look, I really want to do this,” I explained, “but I’ve got really big feet. It’s not going to happen.”
“No of course you can! We go up to size 9!”, the rep cheerfully encouraged.
“Um, right. See, I’m an 11…there’s really no way for me to fit in a pair of these things.”

I started to walk away with all of the cute JellyPop shoes staring me down. But I am actually obsessed with animated gifs and the brand reps kept on trying to encourage me to participate, saying I didn’t have to actually wear the shoes. So I got inspired and did the damn thing…kind of:

Le sigh.

The point is, that I am resolved to learn to love my feet. After all, why shouldn’t I? Like my hair, they’re a quirky part of me that I was born with and aren’t going anywhere. I know there are others out there like me, if not with big feet then perhaps with some other part of your body that you aren’t totally enamored with. The Big Foot Files is going to be a new series over here on Natural Selection as I finally, proactively learn to embrace my stompers!

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20 Comments

  1. Hi Miss Cassadie! I guess no one can be perfect. Haha! But you’re pretty close! Thank you for your honest look at feet I wear anywhere from a 9 – 10 (I do have a pair of 11s someone too) but i know YOU know that shoe sizes over 10 is not that uncommon. Have you ever looked at barefoottess.com ? It just sucks because just like plus sized clothes usually as the size goes up so does the price! So pull out the wallet and get ready to break bread!!! Love that your on e again willing to share and explore with us yet again! Love ya!

  2. I am also an 11 wide….I wore a 10 when I was 13…I remember in my hometown all the cutest boys got hired to work in the shoe stores….so that the girls flocked in, the boys flirted and got great commissions. I remember this exceptionally cute, bow- legged, green eyed boy …..yelling….”10???” across the store…where all the size 7′s smirked. I was humiliated that day but never again after that…he was too short anyway! Got love me from head to big old long toe!!!

  3. I can totally relate to you and your feet! I too wear a size 11 and I hate shoe shopping. Especially for pumps,but I learned to love my feet. My mom helped build my self esteem by telling me things. She told me that no one can rock me because I have a good foundation! LOL ! Now that I’m older I realize she was right!

  4. Well I tell you, life in a 9.5 W (and sometimes 10) at 5 feet 4inches ain’t no crystal stair, but I appreciate your ability to embrace what you got. Keep on sharing, as you keep on encouraging. Thanks for taking us on your journeys!

  5. I too wear and 11/11.5/12
    My feet are BIG.
    I really hate shoe shopping. I used to go with my size 8 friends and shyly ask the guy at Dillard’s if they had any 11′s at ALL and he would bring me the UGLIEST pair of self-hating shoes you have ever seen.
    I hate that some places only go up to a 10.
    I hate shoe “trends.” I hate when shoe (and clothing) designers just make the shoe “bigger” and don’t work with proportions, so it looks like I have boats on my feet.
    I refuse to wear shoes that are too small or too tight, because while my feet are big, they don’t have corns or calluses!
    I LOVE Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack and their “Big Feet Events!” http://bit.ly/LargeShoe

  6. All my size 11 sistas stand up! I’m a flat footed 11 narrow and I always say its because I’m really supposed to be super tall but I ate too much processed food as a kid. I love my feet and have learned that my shoe choices are limited to Payless or Prada, either way they’re FABULOUS!

  7. Feet are often a problem for most people. A lot of people don’t like their feet. I didn’t like mine either for quite a long time. It wasn’t until I came to France that I started to like my feet and to take better care of them. Love your feet asmuch as you love your hair! They are what makes you, you!

  8. Cassie – don’t fret! I know the story all too well. I am a size 11 sans arch *let’s out sigh*… But I have learned to deal with. I know that I have to try shoes on unless it’s a brand that I already own and have experience with. If it fits and is comfortable and within my budget it goes home with me. End of story. If I find that it’s not comfortable then I return it and keep it moving. It’s hard to find shoes that are haute at my size so I am started to venture online…

  9. Fashion icon Paris Hilton wears size 11. Movie star Kate Winslet wears a size 11. Can you imagine either of these divas being shoe-less? NO! We have to be willing to wear good shoes and to pay for them. Nordstrom is the place to make friends, as someone above has said – FOR SURE! Get a designated salesperson who will put you in their book. They not only have you on the mailing list but will ***Call you on the phone*** AND, ***set aside your shoes so that they are waiting for you to try them on when you arrive!*** Stores like Saks have “Friends And Family” days which knocks another 20% off purchases store-wide! The key? Get on the Insider’s List. Where to find the money? That Grande Whats-It coffee drink is about $4.86 per day, which equals $97.20 or so per month – 2 months of savings buys a great pair (sometimes 2 depending upon the selection) of designer shoes on sale!!! Buy that Boutique coffee at the grocery store – get all the syrups too. Get a jazzy thermos and make that puppy at home for 2 months! Once you’ve made your shoe haul, you can go back to business as usual.

  10. Leslie Dolland

    I LOVE this GIF, my sole sistah!

  11. Thank you! I am eleven (on a good shopping day lol) thru 12! Sometimes I think the good lord just meant for me to be just healthy, happy and barefoot!!!! I can leave with that! Love that you posted this.

  12. I’m an 11 too and have been so since the age of 11! Shoe shopping was tough back then, going to 50,000 stores to walk out with 1 pair or nothing. Now I don’t get disappointed when they say we only have a 10! I have plenty of cute shoes that I can choose from. And if I’m out and find a shoe in my size, I HAVE to get them, if I wait they’ll be gone! Embrace your big-footed-ness because its who you are. You definitely can’t hide em so wear them with pride! :-)

  13. Well just imagine if you DIDN’T stop at 11 and went to size 12 when you were 12….Like I did :o) I was horrified when my mother had to take me to buy my first pair of men’s shoes when I was in middle school. I was already 5’10” which is the opposite height from the spectrum of cute, but then 12s?!?! I have had a long road to acceptance and stores like Eddie Bauer, J Crew, and NORDSTROM RACK have been very supportive and making my feet look as cute as any size 7 ;o) And by the way I have totally funneled my would be female shoe obsession into a purse/ bag obsession.

  14. These sassy little numbers go up to a size 14! http://www.barefoottess.com/product/GWYN-ALEXA-BRONZE/The-Gwyneth-Alexa-Heel-at-Barefoottesscom-in-Size-11-Size-12-Size-13-Size-14.html

    I am amazed that some very stylish pumps now go up to a size 15 even! Style has finally come to large sizes. I want a pair of authentic Riding Boots so bad that I could “taste” them, lol

  15. Oh how you must be my long lost twin. I laughed out loud when I read this post because you must have been recording my thoughts when you wrote it. I too wore the same size shoes as my age 8years old an 8, 9 at 9, and at 10 years old wearing and adult size 10 I felt freakish. My Mom still wanted me to be in little girl shoes when there was nothing little about me. You should have seen the looks sales clerks gave us when we asked for a size 10 in stride rite! Really? You are kidding right? Are we on candid camera?
    Fast forward 30 years. I got over it. I gave up wishing I could change something that I couldn’t change. My feet were never going to be a 7.5 no matter how cute the shoes were. It was liberating actually to let go of wanting them to be something they weren’t. Then I got pregnant with twins. Feet grew again. OH MY GOD. You have got to be kidding me. I had a closet full of the cutest size 10 shoes I could find only to now be unable to wear them. Not only that I could no longer shop in regular stores for shoes. Most shoe manufacturers only ship 5-10. I can find the occasional 11 but they are rare and precious gems.

    So thank you for writing this. It is good to know I am not alone.

  16. size 11, wide, flat feet…. and i’m 5’4″. everyone on my mama’s side is big and broad with large hands and feet. i got all that, minus the height. and it sucks a lot of days. but like many other’s on here have stated, it is not something that i can change.

    so i work with it! if i find a cute size 11, i jump on it. because you never know when you’re going to find another one. a great source for large size, wide width shoes: Avenue. they never fail me for cute sandals for the summer!

  17. My size 12 sistahs where you at? My size 12 flat awkward big feet are my “Unique Feature” I have hammer toes, but once i lotion them up and polish them up you can’t tell me there not my hottest feature. I just have the hardest time finding stylish sandals and heels to fit them. When I do I go broke buying every pair. Anyone have any there ready to retire. Your trash my treasure.

  18. I completely understand how you feel. I came across this post whilst searching for shoes for my not quite ten year old daughter. It seems that she has inherited my feet and will soon be unable to buy shoes at any shoe shop anywhere. I would be considered a 14 in U.S sizes (size 12.5 extra extra wide in Australian sizes). Imagine my horror when the shop assistant tried selling me a pair of size 8 ladies shoes for my daughter last season? I almost died! We do have to learn to accept what have been given but by the looks of that GIF you have some cute shoes on already.

  19. Girl do I know your pain!! I wear a size 10 my little sister wears a size 11 my bestie a size 12. I have made it my lifes work (a newly found part of it) to find cute shoes for our feet. Follow me and my journey at. 920-itsabouttime.blogspot.com. Cute shoes (not flip flops or althletic shoes or wedding shoes) are out there!!!

  20. I feel your pain Cassidy but at least u have an actual size. I on the other hand can wear a 10, 10 1/2 or 11 depending on the shoe. Before I figured this out I’ve came home many times with an ill fitting shoe and had to either go back to the mall or mail them back if I ordered them. Lol

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