Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Doctor Shoe

Sometimes, when you buy shoes by mail order, you receive a surprise. For example, you expected brilliant turquoise and you got a dull aqua. Or you ordered a size that's usually big on you, and it still slices into your heel. Some of these situations can only be corrected by customer service, but if you don't want to deal with the hassle of a return, there are things you can do to make your shoe surprises more pleasant. The following are some examples.

1) Stop the Flop - Just as you occasionally run across a shoe that's too small, you also may end up with one that's too big. Recently I had to decide between a shoe that fit but pinched in the toes, and one that was a half-size larger and kept sliding off at the heel. I chose the latter because there's an easy way to fix slightly-too-loose shoes: heel liners. They attach to the back of the shoe with a built-in adhesive and add about a quarter-inch of padding. They have a rubbery surface that sticks to your feet, keeping the heels from sliding when you walk.

At left: A shoe with a heel liner

2) Mind the Gap

Ignore, for a moment, the fabulous star-studded print on these peep-toe sandals—What the heck is with the bulging toe covers? They stick out like ears on either side. Fortunately, this problem has an easy fix—just dab a little glue on the inside, and stick the toe cover down on the platform. Instant sleekness (if you don't count the 20 minutes of glue-setting time).

3) Avoid the Pain - The first time I wore these shoes, after about an hour and walking a total of a quarter-mile, they had flensed all the skin off the bottom of my ankles—whether my ankles are too low or the top of the shoes are too high is uncertain, but the more pressing concern is what to do about it? If this happens to you, I have two suggestions: first, try insoles. They will raise your heel as much as a half-inch, which should be plenty sufficient for your ankles to clear the hazardous upper rims. Second, try duct tape. I chose this option because I already had some nice callouses on my ankles from the previous injury, so I didn't feel much protection was necessary. I just needed to smooth over the rough edges on the shoes. The duct tape fit neatly over the edge of the shoe and was mostly hidden by the buckle.

4) Challenge the Norm - There's no need to wear shoes just as they were designed. If you can wear one shoe two ways, so much the better! For example, my star shoes have a T-strap. However, not being a huge fan of that style, I discovered it was possible to disconnect the vertical strap from the ankle strap and tuck it underneath the toe cover and then under my toes. It's not too uncomfortable, and it converts the T-strap shoes into some snazzy ankle-strap ones instead! Other options for restyling your shoes include attaching decals, fake flowers, and bows, and switching up laces for ribbons!

The last three tips were all about this fabulous pair of black star-studded shoes. Now that you've learned how I've made them more wearable, tomorrow's post will be about how I actually wore them! Stay tuned!

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