New Old Shoes

Thinkin’ Creamy P.

One of my many charming quirks is that I don’t like to own a lot of clothes. My wardrobe is minimal, to say the least; I’m sure there are homeless people with more outfits. Certainly, snappier ones. I dress every day in the exact same selection: tennis shoes, jeans, tee shirt and hoodie. Since this is chilly old San Francisco, sweaters make an occasional appearance. It is pretty much the same groundbreaking appearance I made in first grade and I assume I will cling to it until I move permanently into an urn.

I have one pair of Converse All Star tennis shoe (as a Southern boy, I do not call them “sneakers.” And I pronounce the word “tennis” as “tennie.”) and one pair of rain shoes, just in case California ever gets around to having another rainy season. The rain shoes are slip-on, shapeless clog affairs, from Lands End. I’ve been wearing them for twenty years and I’m only on my second pair.

Or rather I was on my second pair. Part of my refusal to die young is the resulting indignities of a body slowly falling apart around me. Pertinent to our story today is the neuroma I have developed in my right foot. A neuroma, for those of you who have not thrilled to one (not YET,) is what happens when a nerve in the ball of your foot gets stuck in the sheath that surrounds it. The nerve is constantly irritated, as are the sufferers of neuroma. It’s very difficult to describe any physical sensation, the closest I can come with this one is that it feels like an itch inside your foot instead of on the skin.

The treatment is to wear orthotics, which is a fancy word for shoe insoles. Orthopedists customize them to fit your foot, charge a bazillion dollars to Medicare and everybody has a cookie. The relief mine provided was immediate and amazing. I am convinced. The only problem is shoes come with insoles already. If you’re lucky, you pull the old ones out and shove in the orthotics. The problem arises when the insole is sewn into the shoe, as was the case with my old rain shoes. There is no way to get them out so I had to go shopping (ugh) for shoe replacements.

It’s not that I’m particularly picky about shoe fashions (see above) it’s that finding ANYTHING for feet as big as mine is a challenge. Once one crosses the size 11 boundary, one enters a black hole of box cars, barges and gunboats. Shoe manufactuers might as well erect a sign “Take what you can get and be grateful, freak foot.” So I Googled “men’s shoe size 13 orthotics.” I might as well have skipped all that and just searched for “ugly shoes. Big.” I think it was the “orthotics” bit that pushed us over into Creaky Old Man territory. I finally gave up and picked a pair more or less at random just so I could go back to bed and hoped they were less hideous in person. Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

I’m not going to belabor the point, you can see for yourself. Even with the sad attempt at racy details, they are still the fashion sensation of the season at Shady Pines Retirement Center. They certainly are supportive. As I told Diane von Austinburg, I could faint in them and they would probably hold me upright.

Even with my low threshold for shoe stylin’, I was not feeling these boys. So I went back to trolling for something that made me feel slightly less geriatric. A swipe through Lands End informed me the old pair I liked are called “mocs” for some unknowable reason. With that magic term added to the search, I stumbled on a pair very like my old ones, but with removable insoles. Love them. I can only hope they last me until I shuffle off this mortal coil. Probably wearing them.

Soft shoes and hard guys:

What lovely, satin-y skin

An old favorite of ours, here at the mrpeenee Big Wienie Institute and Snack Bar.

He’s thinking deep thoughts.

You know, rain shoes would work in the shower, too.


About mrpeenee

A former bon vivant and terror of a number of New Orleans bars in the mad, gay 1980s, I'm now quietly retired and widowed in San Francisco. I have a crooked nose due to an unfortunate Frisbee accident.

14 responses »

  1. This post really is all about ” the size 11 boundary” – shoes and dicks!

    You could always stick some diamantés onto those ugly orthopaedic boots, in an effort to say “gay” rather than “Nick Nolte in Down and Out in Beverly Hills… Jx

    PS I rather fancy myself as “Smooth Willy”


  2. Mocs???
    I ripped out some insoles from my Toms slippers and I use them in my wellies – they are gloriously comfortable. I have a high instep, which makes me Princess Tippy-Toes.
    Apologies, I think the firm buttocks have made me go silly.


  3. Ugly shoes are not limited to those longer than a size 11 U.S. Shoe manufacturers also make them for the extra wide (or EEE width) sizes. Trying to find decent-looking shoes that fit me is often like trying to find a mouse at a cat show! Just thinking about it has got me in a state — think I’ll take one of your models and go lie down…


  4. “Mocs”? Sounds suspiciously like the footwear that is likely to get one banished by The Very Mistress MJ. I shall have no part of this!

    Although, I will have (a part of) that ‘sundial’ as we’re due for another sunny day tomorrow – Possibly the last one in quite a while…


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