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The Red Shoes

So I have this pair of shoes. They are red with pink trim. I don't wear them very often because they are red and pink, already two colors I don't wear much in general, and because they are a very SPECIFIC shade of red and pink. They either clash or look too matchy-matchy, a thing, I guess. Matching too well. Sign of an unimaginative dresser. Or of somebody who didn't read that once in a fashion magazine in the dentist's office when she was 15 while wearing shoes that matched her shirt and purse perfectly, and who then sat there convinced that everybody was silently judging her matchy-matchiness, because when you're 15 you really sincerely believe that people actually give enough of a shit about you to be constantly judging your matchy shoes and/or the fact that your parents are there and they EXIST, oh my God. 

Anyway, I bought the red shoes a reeeeeally long time ago, but they're a ballet-style flat that tends to stay relatively in style (???), and since I've worn them maybe three or four times, they still look brand new. So I refuse to get rid of them. Plus they have this adorable striped lining that, in retrospect, is probably why I found them irresistable in the store even though DUH, WHO CARES WHAT THE INSIDE OF A SHOE LOOKS LIKE. I always blame the color for how rarely I wear them, and I scold myself sometimes when I spot them in my closet. "Those are cute shoes," I say, "Stop overthinking them and just wear them with jeans and a t-shirt or something."

I wore them yesterday to an all-day meeting. I wore a blue-and-white striped dress that has a single reddish stripe on the skirt and I left the house feeling very put-together and at maximum capable adult. 

And very soon remembered that...oh. It's not just the color. These shoes are too damn small. 

These shoes are at least a half a size too small and way too narrow for my hobbit feet, and by the time I arrived at my meeting I could feel my skin swelling up and over the tops of them, deja vu style, because this is what happens every time. I sat down and curled my toes to relieve some of the pressure, and within an hour I gave up and kicked the shoes off under the table and hoped no one would notice. (Or if they did, they'd be enchanted by the pointless yet adorable striped lining!) Bathroom and coffee breaks were weighed against How Badly I Needed Either vs. How Badly I Did Not Want To Put My Shoes Back On. When I finally caved and got up to walk somewhere, I hobbled around so awkwardly you'd think I was wearing six-inch stripper platforms rather than goddamn ballet flats.

By the time I got home six hours later my feet were perfectly outlined with two indent rings — one from the shoe itself, and one from the slipper-sock thing I wore underneath that I never thought was substantial enough to leave a mark, but I guess anything's possible when your feet swell up that badly in super-tight shoes; I'm probably lucky the slipper-sock thing didn't just disintegrate under the pressure and disappear into my bloodstream.  

I am telling you this story because 1) My life has gotten that boring that the adventures of the too-small shoes I've inexplicably held onto for close to a decade is seriously all I've got at this point, and 2) I feel like if I write this story down I will remember going forward.


(SECOND BLOG NOTE TO BLOG SELF: Speaking of things you seem to go selectively senile on, you know how you use those two hair products most days? The volumizing goo and the smoothing/de-frizzing cream? You know how about once a year you come up with the BRILLIANT idea to to combine them together in your hand and put them on your hair at the same time, thus potentially saving you FIVE ENTIRE SECONDS of time in the morning? You know how that ends, every time? The goo and the cream merge into a sludge that leaves hundreds of tiny white goo-cream-sludge balls throughout your hair, and those hundreds of tiny white goo-cream-sludge balls will neither absorb into your hair nor comb out. And so once a year you either have to shower and wash your hair a second time or go about your day with your hair full of hundreds of tiny white goo-cream-sludge balls.)



RIP dainty red shoes made for dainy feet that are not shaped anything like mine. I have another meeting tomorrow and will probably just show up in bedroom slippers. 



"tiny white goo-cream-sludge balls"

Someone should market that!


Yes, those shoes are adorable. Throw them out.


Those are definitely cute. I have a similar pair of red ballet flat-type shoes.

What size are those? I would pay you a nominal fee and shipping for those shoes, assuming they would not cripple me in a similar way.


Ugh. I have *yet* to own a cute pair of ballet flats that are actually comfortable and don't leave me with a million blisters along my heels. They are flats! By definition they should be comfortable. But alas, I will keep swapping between flip flops and running shoes because I can't so much as walk to get my kid from school in any of the cute flats I own without hobbling the whole way home.


I held onto a super-cute pair of greyish-blue mary-jane-like kitten heels for years even though every time I wore them I immediately acquired a giant blister on each of my feet. Hell, I bought them knowing they were too small because they didn't actually have my size. But THEY WERE SO CUTE. I finally gave them away to a friend who had much more normal-sized feet because I was tired of the guilt they gave me every time I looked at them. Who in their right mind buys a pair of shoes a half size too small on purpose because they are cute?


Those shoes are seriously cute. I'll take them.


But you didn't post a picture of the inside of the shoes.


I have one question: WHAT SIZE ARE THOSE SHOES???


I have a pair of pink leather ballet flats with red trim and I have made the EXACT SAME mistake as you more than once, i.e. I forget they're too tight and trot out of the house wearing them for the whole day. And for YEARS I have been meaning to get them stretched by my shoe guy. Could yours be stretched, too?


I have a sister who has feet that are half a size smaller, so that when I give up on "slightly" too tight shoes, I can usually hand them down to her (if she wants them)


I have been known to wear too small shoes. Except they were the last pair of really nice pumps, in the days when I still could wear them. So too tight and pain from wearing heels.

It took a long time for them to make it to a shoe purge, maybe even when I had to accept the fact that one foot will never be narrow ever again.

Bedroom slippers are an excellent fashion choice, btw.

Suzy Q

I remember when you first got those shoes. Why do I remember this and not remember anything important about my own life? Gak.


Oh it's so sad they're too small. They're gorgeous.


My feet hate ballet flats too. Gold metallic loafers are my best friend. Girly, dressier, nuetral and comfortable as all get out!


Toms have cute inside liners 😊
I have a $150. pair of Tieks that do the same thing yo me but I refuse to let them go.


Those are adorable and will make someone else very happy. Get rid of them.


Ya'll should try some tieks. Best ballet flat ever. Pricey yes, but super comfy and leather so it molds for ya. I love mine.


I can see why you keep trying the shoes. They really are super cute, and yes, would work great with jeans and a t-shirt. If only they weren't so small!


They are super-cute! Give them away!
I have a pair of fabulous rust-colored patent leather peep-toe heels that are about a half size too big. I bought them knowing that they were too big, but they were on clearance and I could not resist. I thought I could just add some heel pads to make them fit better, but no. Ever try to walk in three inch heels that are too big? It doesn't work very well. Every time I see them sitting in my closet, I feel bad.


Hope springs eternal! Especially when it comes to cute shoes. I have Fred Flintstone feet, and I have the same dang problem....

Jenny Grace

Okay but those are adorable.


I second, third, fourth, the give them away to one of your readers. Specially if they happen to be size 7 or 7 1/2. I'm just saying. Also, Stephanie I could definitely use some rust colored peep toe pumps. Do you know how hard it is to find beautiful rust colored shoes? Of course you do! Probably why you bought them in the first place. Seriously I would buy either or both pairs if they fit me.

Kari Perry

Those ARE damn cute


9 wide here. My giant, flat feet would obscure all traces of cute in those shoes.


Oh, ballet slipper-type shoes. How I adore thee. How impossible to find a pair that fits my impossibly high-arched/high-instepped, old, hobbit-wide feet. I feel your pain. Literally.


Oh gosh i can relate... i own a very cute pair of black Spanish flamenco heels with small white polkadots.. also about half a size too small. They match this cute dress i bought.. i love them but hate to wear them. Why do we do this to ourselves?


I know just how you feel! I used to collect high heels and loved the various colours and styles, but as I got older, I think my feet changed, and they hurt like the dickens when they never did before. RIP pretty shoes!


Coach? Circa 2003? Ouch!


I have a pair of navy ballet flats I've worn approximately three times for the same reason. I ordered them online and went with an 8, because the last shoes I'd ordered from the same company in an 8.5 were too big, but these shoes are painfully small. I'd have sent them back, but I think they arrived right before I moved out of the country. The issue is, I have no other shoes that match a small section of my wardrobe, so I insist on keeping the painful shoes.

Sue W.

I SO feel your pain. We recently returned from Japan. Mother-in-law was Japanese and passed away in April. It was her dying wish for us to inter half of her with dad at the National Cemetery and the other half in her family crypt in Japan. Japanese Shinto funerals are still very old school. All black is to be worn. I don't wear black. So I had to go buy a dress and shoes. I also do not wear heels because I am a Weeble and I Wobble! So I bought black ballet flats. Easy, right? WRONG! I ended up swollen from water retention on the plane flight that lasted the entire 1.5 weeks were were in Japan. Making my shooze not fit my already fat feet. Day of the funeral, we have to take a 1 hr train ride to the Temple. Here I am schlepping thru the train station with too tight shoes on my feet. Which caused blisters. Which then started bleeding. So I am leaving a blood trail thru the train station. I was a hot mess. Once it was all said and done, I was in my stocking (bleeding) feet and the blasted shoes were in the trash can. Never to be seen again. I love my bare feet!


And the lining?!?!?

Heidi lining pic???

Jess F

If you really want to hold on to them, some cobblers stretch shoes (it's a thing and it has saved me many times). Just a thought ;)


It's really too bad those shoes are too small because they are super cute!


No picture of the striped lining?


I held on to a pair of beautiful black lace up ankle boots with 2 1/2 inch heels because I loved them SO MUCH, even though the puppy got a hold of them and chewed one of the heels into oblivion. It was barely functional and I still wore them a few times after that, in hopes that my pants were long enough that no one would notice my ridiculous, mutilated heel. Then finally I got a weird look from another woman and gave up the ghost on my beautiful heels. Sad face.


SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE! Hurl them away immediately. I say this without seeing the lining because that'd probably have me saying are you sure? Are you sure you're sure? Are you sure you're sure you're sure you're sure? Are you? Really? Because they're awfully cute. (Did you talk to them like I did mine? The one pair I bought on sale that I KNEW was too small, yet SALE and determination. I wound up crying in them and to them, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy (like Nancy Kerrigan. WHAT?))


The best part of this is THINK OF ALL THE ROOM YOU WILL GAIN in your closet when you get rid of them!

(ok, maybe not that much as they are really small, but still some!)


WAIT! Before you throw them away! You can try to stretch them yourself depending on the material- all you need is a thick pair of socks and a blow dryer. Slip on the socks and the shoes, blast some heat on those puppies for a few minutes... don't take the shoes off until they have cooled and voila! Hopefully they have stretched! Good Luck!


It's not your FAULT! It's the kids. THEY did it to you. You can add up to a half a shoe size after each baby. Ten years ago those beauties would have tenderly cradled your feet - Now they are instruments of torture! My sister always says this to me to convince me to let go of stuff..."Somebody else will LOVE them".That little phrase really helps!


ARE THOSE SIZE 6 1/2 OR MAYBE 7? Because I will TOTES by them from you if they are!!!! Then you can go get yourself some shoes that fit!!!!


So, Mary, my beautiful rust colored shoes are a size nine, I think. I suspect they'd be too big for you based on your comment. I'd happily give them away if anyone's interested. I think I only paid around $20 for them (that's why I just couldn't resist!).

Linda, my feet grew a full half size with each kid. I used to be a 7 1/2 or 8, now I'm 8 1/2 or 9. Lost so many cute shoes that way. Damn kids!


I have a friend who recently posted a break up letter to a pair of heels she just couldn't part with even though she couldn't wear them without crippling agony. I bet it was cathartic!


Is anyone else twitching because the little buckles are oriented in different directions ?! Just me? Urgh. Cute shoes though.


Those are cute! I can't wear flats - my feet need a little bit of heel and arch support. I think I've finally gotten that through my head that they don't work for me and stopped buying random pairs just to see if they would. I need to do a serious shoe purge right now. I'm generally very good at getting rid of stuff, but I have many pairs of shoes that I never wear and am saving for the day they would be perfect with that certain outfit! That day is not coming, and that outfit will not be worn. I need to chuck the shoes!


Sisters in Shoepain here. I splurged on a pair of supercute Tory Burch patent flats, size 8-1/2 - wayyy bigger than I normally wear and they are STILL TOO SMALL. WTF, Tory?


I have done both the shoe thing and the hair thing a whole lot more than any reasonably sane, intelligent woman should, for damn sure. I feel you sister-friend in foot pain and good hair day hopefulness.


Such cute shoes! I hope they make someone else happy :) Your poor feet.

Mrs. C.

Nancy, me too! The only thing I could think about after seeing the pic is that the buckles aren't the same way. Yikes.

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