The Bony Bane of My Existence

As a kid, my mom always bought me shoe insoles, heel padding, and tongue padding. I never through anything of it. As I got older and had to buy my own shoes, I found that everything felt loose. When I picked up a pair of Nike Flyknit shoes with a sock-like fit from TJ Maxx, I was impressed. The pair that would replace them two years later didn’t live up to its predecessor.

In 2016, I bought hiking boots. My foot slid around inside the stiff encasement, but I didn’t realize that was abnormal. When I asked an REI employee how to tighten the laces further, he insisted the shoe did not fit. He informed me that I had “low volume” feet. Basically, my feet are skin and bones without much flesh to fill the shoe.

If you’re disgusted by feet, look away!

Knowledge is power! But that power is fruitless if it entail ownership of particularly bony feet, to which no shoe manufactures cater. With each step in each shoe, my heel lifts up off the sole. When I wear books, I sound like a Clydesdale. When I wear sneakers, the laces are so taught that the opposite lace loops are kissing.

A few years ago, when I had enough energy to try getting out of the house and walking, I went to REI in search of a solution. The employee recommended the Brooks PureFlow 7. For the first time in my life, the shoe fit. No special insoles or extra padding. The shoe was perfect, and felt like a godsend. It must have been designed for feet just like mine.

I wear shoes longer than is recommended, and often until they start hurting my feet. Last year, I decided it was time to retire the PureFlows. I went back to REI for the newest iteration and was mortified to discover they had been discontinued! I emailed Brooks and they confirmed, much to my dismay.

I looked at outdoor gear outlets for any remaining one-offs, but I couldn’t find a single one. My perfect shoe was no more.

As I pursued reviews for the shoes looking for a recommended alternative, I found that I was not alone. Biz R. went as far as to claim that, “In today’s polarized world the discontinuation of these shoes is an issue which is UNITING PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.” I’m not sure whether to laugh or nod my head in agreement.

Our go-to shoe is gone.

For the last year, I’ve been on the hunt for my new “perfect shoe” and I’m coming up at a loss. I’ve taken advantage of REI’s generous return policy, wearing a pair of this-or-that for a week or a month before sighing heavily and taking it back. I’ve tried maybe ten pairs of sneakers, all to no avail.

Last night, after returning the latest pair and leaving REI empty-handed, my boyfriend started teasing me about being overly picky about shoes. Maybe I am spoiled. But after 30 years of ill-fitting shoes, the PureFlow sneakers felt like a miracle. Once you’ve tasted filet minion, do you really want to go back to the gruel? I mean, I guess, if I have to.

The next stage of my research is into barefoot shoes. I know nothing about them other than our former senator spent an hour explaining why they were the best, before going on stage in a three-piece suit and Vibram FiveFingers to talk about politics. Looking at them makes me so uncomfortable. Why!?

My preliminary search seems promising. Barefoot shoes seem to be low-profile with lots of customization and adjustable straps. Perhaps that’s what I’ve needed all along. I mean, look how flat the Vivobarefoot Opanka sneakers are and how many adjustable straps the Shamma Sandals Warrior has. They might work…

Damn my bony feet! Shoe shopping shouldn’t be this hard. And damn Brooks for discontinuing the shoe that is “UNITING PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.” Okay, I’ve gotta laugh at that!

Has a company ever discontinued you favorite product? I’ve had it happen three times now. In addition to the Brooks PureFlow, Timpa discontinued their Natacha Demi bra (the best for itty bitty breasts), and Cabiniste down booties are no more.

Do you have any challenging fitting issues with your body? In addition to bony feet, I have broad shoulder and a flat chest which makes women’s sleeved tops an issue. I’m a big fan of the “shapeless” drop sleeves, batwing, dolman sleeves, sleeveless mock necks, and unisex graphic shirts. I guess we acclimate, huh?

By the way, if any readers happen to have low-volume feet or experience with barefoot style shoes, I’d love your recommendations! I’m admittedly getting a little frustrated with the whole ordeal.

12 thoughts on “The Bony Bane of My Existence

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  1. I had never heard of ‘low volume’ feet. Thanks for sharing the photos, but I’m so sorry about the journey you’re on. The older I get, the more I realize ‘good shoes’ are essential and fit? Oh my goodness, I can’t buy just any size 10’s any longer…there are too many considerations to get a pair that will be ‘just right’. It IS maddening when a favorite, beloved pair is discontinued. When I was a runner, Brooks were my faves. Here’s hoping you’re on your way to some good solutions! 😎

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Vicki!!! Good shoes are so important, and so hard to find, right? With industrialization, it’s now one-size-fits-all or catering to the “average” size 10, which may or may not actually exist. πŸ˜€πŸ˜‚ I have so many friend and family members who complain about ill-fitting clothes–a bigger gal, a lankier one, one with a pear-shaped body–and it makes it so clear that the one-sized-all model leaves most grumbling and dissatisfied. But what can we do? I’ve decided if I ever become a multimillionaire, I’ll buy the design for that darn shoe and have it custom made. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh….I love the sound of that! Erin taking control and helping countless others in the process. Yes, yes! In the meantime, we’ll enjoy commiserating with each other, right? 😘🀣😘

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh what a challenging time you have. I hope you find the perfect shoe again. Walking is such a big part of our day and having the wrong shoe can lead to long term health effects so you are right to be picky. Good luck!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You may have helped explain why every shoe I try fits so differently on my feet Erin! As you age your feet flatten- I’m in that category but the pictures on “volume” which I never heard of before sort of describe the current feet I have as well and that makes sense given that tissue plumpness fades with aging also. I almost always go with Merrells now and they have different styles/widths although I don’t know what their return policy is. It can be really frustrating to find something perfect and then have it disappear and it’s sort of hard in our society to simply not wear shoes outside the house πŸ˜‰ I hope you can snag a new brand that works soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I forgot– my son once had a bare of those synthetic toe shoe things. I had to wonder if he was really my child when I saw him wearing them…yes I was judging but the oddest things I’ve ever seen.


    2. Deb, I’m glad this may have been a bit helpful, so I’m sorry that you sometime also have trouble finding a good fit. I’ve haven’t tried Merrells, so I’ll check them out. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for naming what I have been experiencing. They seem to go from normal to low and back, depending on different times of the year and vary from year to year. Some years I can wear certain shoes while other times they are painful because the soles of my feet lack flesh.


      1. Yes, though for me it was more about having pain when I walked when my feet seemed to thin out. When they go back to being fleshier, I don’t have that pain. Weird.


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