Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sneaker Shopping. What I learned: Nothing.

5-Minute Runs

I left my sneakers at my parent's house in PA. I rationalized that they were too heavy to carry back and forth every time, and I don't really run anymore anyway. I have my little tan colored bensimon shoes that I are fine for walking.

But, truth be told, about once or twice a week I have the urge to go for a 5-7 minute run. Laugh if you will, but it is the way it has to be for me. I gave up militant exercise and gyms for my new year's resolution, and don't force myself to do anything. Butttt... when I get the urge to go for a run, albeit only a 5 minute run, I am not going to stifle my natural, inner wild-woman.

So of course, the day after I returned sneakerless from PA, I wanted to go for a 5 minute run. BUT I HAD NO SNEAKERS. I went on a fast bensimon walk and thunk about what I had done.

"Buy New Sneakers. Keep the old ones in PA and the new ones for New York. Then you won't have to carry them back and forth ever again." said my brain to my brain

"But brain, I don't really have any money for frivolities like that, and I already bought new expensive specially sized bras yesterday. Plus I only run for like 5 minutes every week or so".

"You need new sneakers anyway", said my brain again.

Sneaker Shopping

My brain won in the end because I found myself at the big shoe store where mostly old people were shopping. I was in my puffy jcrew skirt and looked really out of place- and I was quickly turning over every tag of every sneaker looking for the cheapest pair before someone came to bother me. I wanted them to be cheap but not look like something my non-extravagant grandmother would wear. (I have two grandmothers, one wears really nice clothes (extravagant), and one doesn't (non-extravagant))

But of course, a young employee dude came up to me before I had found what I was looking for- and asked if I needed help.

"Um.... I want to buy sneakers. But I - I need a second pair for a new location and I don't use them that often so.....". I meant to say I want them to be cheap.

"Ok, so- what brand you like?" (He had some sort of urban dialect. I don't know if that is PC or not to mention, but that is why he left out the "do" in his question.)

My brain scrambled, "uh- Asics?"

Back in my cross-country days (one season, of one year of my life) I wore Asics. I think before that I wore New Balance. I have wide feet. "No Nike."

He replied, "Ok. Asics. May I ask what size you wear?"

No. You can't.

"Um..... seven and a half? I guess? Well, normally, I..."

"Miss, do you mind if I measure your feet?"

"No...". Why was he asking so weirdly?

I am technically a 6.5. I know that I am a 6.5 lengthwise, but I always buy a 7.5 or 8 in sneakers because my feet are so wide. Other shoes are a sort of a different story, but sneakers have always been this way. OK!?

I told him this about my sizing issues and he didn't believe me. He went to go get the 6.5 anyway. Dude! I told him to bring Asics and "any other brand that was under 100 dollars". As he was in the back searching, I scoured all the shoes' prices.

There was a New Balance for $70. Perfect.

Stupid Woman, Sneakers Don't Have "Seasons"

As I waited I heard this socially-inept older woman behind me say to her shoe-fitter-man that "These Shoes will be good because I can wear them into the fall". I looked behind me. They were ugly black sneakers that my extravagant grandmother would never dream of wearing. My not-extravagant one probably wears them though, but she is smart enough to know they don't "belong to any season".

Then her socially-inept husband with hair plugs and face-lift asked the shoe-fitter-man what country he came from. Israel. "Because you sounded French but not quite".

(Ok. Ok. Israeli accents actually do sound kind of French. And as much as I judged them because, how else was I supposed to amuse myself?- I think I have said the exact same thing to an Israeli person before because I am an "accent enthusiast"- then I mentally kicked myself for being so annoying.)


The Dude came back : "I found 6.5 Wides!". He was so proud of himself. But, I knew to be skeptical. I had been down this sneaker road before.

I put them on and they were small. My toe was hitting the front/top. Dude! However, I felt like I'd become as difficult as my extravagant-grandmother if I complained about the size. I mean, I clearly am not a real sneaker connoisseur! What if this is the way they are supposed to fit? Was I being weird? Was I being difficult?! Have I avoided toe-touching sneakers in my past because of some kind of neuroses or sensory issue?

I was really conflicted. I hobbled around the store in one sneaker and my puffy skirt, agonizing over whether to ask him to bring out bigger sizes.

"Um... they are hitting the front, is that normal?", I eventually asked.

Then he felt my toe area for a while and kept saying "Is this your toe?"


"Is this your toe?"


"No it's not normal, miss, it might just be because your feet are wide".

Ughhhhhh Did I not warn you?

"Yea, and I am wearing these thin little stocking/socks you gave me, not even real socks. This isn't going to fly." I don't think I actually said that.

"Do you REALLY wear a size 8 in sneakers?", he asked.




Then he ran off to get 7 1/2 - 8s in the $70 pair that I told him I was now passionate about.

He came back with 7s and 7 1/2s.

My toes still touched the front of the 7s- but he shamed me into getting them instead of the 7 1/2s. Also, I knew if I got the 7s, my little sister and her big feet could never hijack my shoes.

As I circled the store, I walked around the socially inept woman and her shoe-fitter-man a few times,  one foot in the size 7 sneaker and one in the size 7 1/2 sneaker. I muttered to myself and dude: "Am I just crazy? What is a sneaker supposed to fit like? I don't like having my toe touching the sneaker".

The Dude didn't know what to say except: "They will stretch"

Is that true? I don't think so.... I don't even know.

I bought the sneakers in a 7.


Lesson learned? None. Except that I don't know how to stand up for myself against unhelpful salesmen.

Image from Yelp: Harry's Shoes. Go read about their negative "agressive customer care". I just did.