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Do Your Shoes Hurt Your Feet?

Ask most men how many shoes their wife, girlfriend, or sister has and the
answer is: “too many.” I can’t speak for everyone with large shoe collections,
but I can tell you why I have too many shoes. They each hurt my feet in slightly
different ways – ways that are impossible to predict at the time of

Some of my shoes pinch my toes, others cause blisters under the straps, still
others cause blisters on the bottom of my feet or heels. Some of them are
comfortable for short distances but begin to hurt after 5 blocks. I’ve tried to
purchase shoes from the major “comfortable brands,” but without consistent
success in avoiding self-injury.

My husband has difficulty understanding my predicament, as his feet haven’t
seen a blister in over a decade.  He occasionally points to his baby soft feet
as evidence of a defect in my own. I protest that women’s shoes are not
comfortable, and he counters with arguments about my not needing any more

A recent conversation went something like this:

Dr. Val: [Sitting down on my couch after a long day of
work.] Argh! I’m so disappointed… remember those shoes that looked so
promising when we bought them in the shoe store, honey?

Hubby: [Chewing a bite of sandwich and contemplating my
question.] Which pair might that be?

Dr. Val: You know the nice, wide, dress sandals with a low
heel? [I point to the shoes as I remove them from my bare feet.]

Hubby: The ones that cost a hundred and fifty dollars?!

Dr. Val: Yeah, those ones. Look at what they did to my feet!
[I point out two strips of raw skin on the top of my toes.]

Hubby: [Wincing] There’s something wrong with you.

Dr. Val: What do you mean? I try so hard to find comfortable
shoes and yet I’m always thwarted – no matter how soft they look in the store,
or how expensive they are, they always hurt in the end!

Hubby: Why don’t I hear other people complaining about their
shoes? Everyone seems to be fine with shoes except you.

Dr. Val: I bet other women have shoe problems too… The
only shoes that are comfortable are sneakers.

Hubby: Your sneakers are unattractive.

Dr. Val: I know! That’s why I keep buying more shoes, trying
to find ones that look good but are as comfortable as sneakers.

Hubby: Maybe you have a connective tissue disorder?

Dr. Val: [Eye roll]. I don’t have a connective tissue
disorder. I just need to find that perfect pair of shoes – ones that look good
with suits and shorts and I can walk for long distances in and don’t give me

Hubby: You don’t need any more shoes.


Am I crazy or do women’s shoes wreak havoc on our feet? Do any of you have
tips for finding that perfect pair of black dress shoes?

(For summer shoe drama, check out my blog post about “flip
flop foot
” and racing
in stilettos
.)This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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5 Responses to “Do Your Shoes Hurt Your Feet?”

  1. Amka says:

    I have tiny, wide feet. My favorite looking pair of shoes I’ve probably worn less than 10 times in 2 years.

    But my running shoes are joy. And I have a couple of pair of sketchers that are great. Alas, none of those are dress shoes. Glad I’m a writer and stay at home.

    Maybe the running shoe companies should start putting some R&D into comfortable and attractive dress shoes built for different kinds of feet like their other shoes. You go in a store that measures more than the length of your feet, evaluates your gait, and then they can suggest several pairs of shoes that should work.

  2. Devorrah says:

      I always had that problem, too, until I switched to Dansko shoes, just like the docs in trauma and ER (those clogs they wear). But Dansko makes all kinds of shoes, and they are heaven to wear.  Check out and! Good luck, Dr. Val!

  3. Trisha-ifw says:

    I don’t have many shoes – but my husband does, and yes he has lots of problems with his feet and finding shoes that fit right. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    The running shoe companies are listening… I have two pairs of Aravon shoes (a New Balance) brand and they are WONDERFUL… I can be on my short fat bunion-ridden feet for 9hours in these and not really feel it.

    *and* I bought my 5’11” 16yo daughter (size 11) a pair of Cole Haan/Nike Air Vela slide/heels for prom… and she *loves* them and wears them to *school*.

    The bad news is that these shoes aren’t cheap… but… at the moment… we don’t have many pairs of shoes.  I have 2 pairs of sneakers, 2 pairs of dress shoes and a collection of Target-brand flip-flops and water shoes.   And the daughter only has the one pair of dress shoes (see above).   These are the first dress shoes she’s ever *wanted* to wear, so they must be comfortable.

  5. RH Host Melissa says:

    I decided a few months ago to go through my shoes and weed out doesn’t fit or feel comfortable.  I decided not to wear any shoes that hurt my feet.  So if I’m not going to wear them, I decided to get rid of them 🙂  

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