(Honestly, I’d rather write something than read most of the shit on this Internet thing of ours.)
“Why, in my day . . .”
For one thing, in my day it was much easier to buy shoes. Most of the shoes were made in America, and a nine-and-a-half was a nine-and-a-half. There were only a couple of tricks to it. If the shoe was a narrow style, or very pointed at the toe, you’d go up a half size. If the shoe was a Clark’s desert boot or something, you’d go down a half size. There was very little mystery to it.
I shop for shoes in Asia now, and it can be tough. Some are sized American; some English; and there are other systems. Le Coq Sportif sneakers must be in French sizes, somehow they are very different. There are metric sizes, too, at least I think they’re metric. American size nine-and-a-half is a forty-three. No one at the shoe stores is prepared to be particularly helpful, even if you speak the language. The question, “are these sized American or English?” is met with a guess, or a blank stare. It reminds me for all the world of asking clerks in American shoe stores, “do these shoes have metal in them?” It was an important question for me at the time, because I was visiting many courthouses on a regular basis. The responding expression was always, “how am I supposed to know?”
It gets worse. Shoes today are made in a wild profusion of countries, and apparently the countries of origin all vary in the actual dimensions of a certain size. The tongue of the shoe may have a label that tells you that the shoe in your hand is an American 10, an English 9, and a 44. But if one that was made in China and labeled thusly fits you, that does not mean that one with the same label that was made in Vietnam will fit you as well. There’s a lot of trial and error involved.
Honestly, It’s not that I just love to complain. Buying shoes has always been hard for me. My feet are not in the shape that seems to be preferred by shoe makers. My feet seem to be a bit wider in the front, and a bit narrower in the heel. My right foot seems to be a bit bigger than the left foot. Not so much as you would notice, but my shoes have always seemed to notice. It gets complicated.
I’m sure that y’all in America are going through the same thing with the sizes. All of the shoes that are for sale now in America are the same internationally sourced stock, and no one in Connecticut or Massachusetts makes shoes anymore. So good luck, I guess. We’re all in the same boat.