I have duck feet. To be more specific I have duck feet 3.0. My maternal grandmother had duckfeet 1.0 – they are short, wide, with high arches and a narrow heel. My mom has duckfeet 2.o, shorter, wider, higher arches, narrower heel. My feet are womens size 5.5 EEEE with arches that you could do the limbo under, and super narrow heels.
Not only are the feet passed down, so are the jokes. I can’t remember a trip to the specialty shoe store (that only sold ugly blocky leather shoes) where someone didn’t say “just keep the shoes and give her the boxes.” Hilarious.
There are many things I love about my feet. They are super strong – almost any time I get a foot massage, or a regular massage that includes my feet, the massage therapist always comments on how strong they are. The high arches give them a lovely toe point and as a dancer I was known for having “good feet” which means that they moved smoothly through the five basic foot positions which I’ve noticed that small feet and high arches can make having “good feet” easier. I’ve never been tempted to participate in the culture of paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for cute shoes, since nobody who makes cute shoes makes them in my size. I’m secretly hoping that their semblance to flippers will help me in the swim for my IRONMAN.
Still, finding shoes can be super frustrating. My feet stopped growing around 8th grade and they looked exactly like they do now. In my teens and twenties I considered finding out if there was a surgery that could make them more narrow – not because there is anything wrong with my feet but because people with my size feet are not a market that most shoe companies are interested in pursuing apparently. I don’t care about cute shoes so much but finding shoes for the activities I want to do is a pain in the ass. I never had dance shoes that weren’t way too tight on the ball of my foot (and often too loose on the heel) and too big, and since New Balance changed their running shoes to have a more narrow toe box there are no running shoes that fit me. My current choices are good fitting cross trainers with running insoles or running shoes that are 2.5 sizes too big and still not quite wide enough. Fruatrating, yes. But I’m certainly not going to let it stop me.
So while I have been in a great place with my relationship with my fat body for a such a long time so that it’s almost on autopilot, I have to put more energy into my relationship with my feet, especially as I’m looking for running shoes for the marathon, bike shoes for my upcoming triathlons etc. There are three things that I do consistently to stay friends with my feet. First is being really grateful to my feet for everything that they do for me – like carrying me around whether it’s in releve, or pedaling a bike, or running. Also, just like when I’m frustrated with the clothes available in my size, it’s important to remember to put the problem where it belongs – in this case with the lack of shoes that are available in my size – not on my feet which are absolutely fine the way that they are. Finally, I make it a point to take super good care of my feet, stretching them, rolling out the arches, massages, pedicures etc.
If you have a body part that you’re having some trouble finding the love for, maybe try some of these things. As for me, I’m off to put my feet up.
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