Saturday, January 03, 2009

Big Fat Feet

So, one of the features of Hoi An is the custom shoemaking. They measure your feet, you pick a style from a magazine and...voila! Shoes that fit your feet perfectly. Or so they say.

Ron ordered several pairs of men's black leather dress shoes. They turned out amazingly well and at $30/pair they were quite the bargain.

I was not so lucky. In retrospect, I think it was due in large part to a cultural misunderstanding...but, you can judge for yourself.

I ordered four pairs of shoes - 2 were $18/pair, 2 were $25. The $25 ones were for wearing with "work" you'd wear with a suit or nice slacks. One brown, one black. The $18 ones were for wearing with dresses...strappier and such. One brown, one black.

At the first "fitting" I was shown the two $18 pairs. They were in the wrong colors. The strappy "brown" pair to match the new brown dress was in black and the "black" pair to go with my black dress was brown.

Next fitting, I (size 8 US) was offered a dainty shoe that fit about two toes (maybe size 5 US). The lady thought they were beautiful. Ron said my feet "looked like a stuffed sausage." (thanks Ron). We asked for her to make them the size of my feet. She said, "That will make your feet look big, you want them small like this." I said, "I like the look of big feet. Please make the shoes the size of my feet."

Next fitting, I try on the "sausage" shoes and they are enlarged to fit four toes. (maybe size 7 US...maybe). It's true, I have wide feet, which isn't something I've felt terribly insecure about (until now). I show her how I can see one inch of my foot hanging off both sides of the base of the shoe. She says "This makes your foot look beautiful and small." I say, "Please make the shoes bigger, please make them the size of my feet. Please!" She says, "The shoes will be very very ugly. You will have ugly feet. If I do this you will hate my shoes and hate your feet." I said, "I love having ugly feet. I would be thrilled to have ugly shoes for my ugly feet."

Next fitting, the shoe platform is quite nearly the size of my foot. The leather straps are really tight, but I am assured "they will stretch."

Here are my "ugly" feet with the mark still remaining from the "prestretched" leather straps of the "sausage" shoes.

And that is the saga of one of the four pairs of shoes I ordered. I do have to say that in the end (after many many fittings and arguing and newfound insecurity about the size and shape of my feet) I ended up with four pairs of beautiful shoes. But, at what price!?

1 comment:

Matthew and Lisa said...

That's wild! Well I like your big fat feet :)