Reversed Pizza Slices, Flippers, and other types of Feet: How to Find a Shoe for You

12 Oct

The thing most “lager” people of the world (be it fat or otherwise) have to deal with is larger extremities. The caveat on this annoying abnormality is that God got all sort of creative with people, breaking the mold each time, so there’s no real way to define the issue of having larger parts that don’t match the expectation. Even the expectation isn’t the expectation at times, but that’s another post.


This post deals with your beloved FGR and the issue of her feet. Yes, feet. Both of them.

Most people who are fat have fat feet; not always, but sometimes our feet match our size. My feet break this expectation. I am 5’4″. I weigh too much for my heigh. My thighs have been in a long term, monogamous relationship since I can remember. I jiggle just about everywhere except the places that matter on a woman. But, my feet have shrunk since I was younger. Yes. You read that correctly.

When I was younger and first started to gain lots of weight, my feet gained weight too, growing to a size 8. Eights always fit me well and gave me lots of room. Then I started to get more active and I went down to a size 7 shoe. And then, after a little while longer I became a size 6-6.5 depending on the cut of the shoe. Super. Weird. Why this didn’t work for the rest of my body is beyond me.

The overall shape of my foot, *however*, did not change. My toes are set wide and my foot narrows toward the back, almost so drastically that my footprint leaves a V on the ground when I walk barefoot on sand or on the deck of the pool. I call them “reversed pizza slices” because they are shorter than flippers, not floppy, and pizza is a pleasant metaphor for my feet. I like my feet; nay, I love my feet. They are the only dainty part of my body, and I have delicate toes to boot. If you had to guess what the person attached to my feet looked like, you’d never construct my model. Ever. I love my pigs. Period. But the reversed slices are hard to fit properly in shoes.

Unknown Imagine that those are my feet, the crust being my toes (mmm, crust).

Add to this image the fact that I have a high-ish arch and I’m an overpronator at times (depends on how much I’m running and on what surface), and you get one heck of a technical runner, or every shoe salesperson’s worst nightmare.

After years of suffering with the WRONG SHOES on, and running with PAIN, I’m here to share my tips on how to pick a shoe that’s correct for you, even if you have super wide feet, narrow feet, long feet, short feet, stubby toes, or this pic I found I on the web:

Syndactily feet

Syndactily feet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, what’s the first thing one should do–Figure out your ARCH (aka your foot TYPE). Far too much of my time was wasted not knowing how high my darn foot arch was and this lead to about 50% of my problems:

As written on Runner’s World (and listed via picture), wet you foot, step on to a piece of paper, and compare the picture to the pictures that list the type. Yep, that simple, and I waited almost half my running life to do it … stop reading and DO it NOW! (

THEN, look for shoes that are listed  under these types. STOP BUYING  RUNNING SHOES BECAUSE YOU LIKE THE COLOR. You can do that for special nights out and in every day life, but running is not the time! Besides, you’ll find something you like in your size and fit … promise.

Once you’ve located the right type, think about the same type of stuff your mom or dad would have embarrassed you with when you went shoe shopping as a kid:

  • image Make sure the heel counter — the back of the shoe that holds the heel in place — adequately grips your heel to ensure stability.
  • There should be at least a 1/2 inch space between your longest toe and the tip of your shoes. [Wiggle you pigs, kids!]
  • The toe box — the front area of the shoe — should have ample room so that you can wiggle your toes. Your toes should never feel cramped in an athletic shoe. [Be sure to bend the shoe so that you are putting pressure on the ball of your foot. This checks for adequate splay room]
  • When you try on shoes, walk around the store on different surfaces (carpet and tile, for example) to ensure that they are comfortable.
  • Always tighten the laces of the shoes that you are trying on so that your feet are secure in the shoe. There are many different types of lacing patterns that can be applied to the shoe to adapt for, or minimize, foot pain or structural anomalies. (

A good idea is to look for shoes in the middle of the day or to go somewhere that lets you take them for a spin. Your feet will swell with walking and running, so let your feet work in the shoe to see if the shoe will really work for you. Also, take socks with you, especially if you prefer a specific type of sock to workout in.

I prefer to buy shoes in person as I’m pretty tactile and particular about the fit of my shoe. I need support and decent cushioning, but I like flexibility and prefer a minimalist style. If you know anything about shoes right now, you’re laughing at that last sentence. IF you do venture to the online sites, there’s a plethora of help and insight out there that can become somewhat overwhelming.

For the best legti runners’ advice I suggest the following: Road Runner Sports. The page will be for women, so just click over to what you need if you’re not. They have handy categories to narrow you search and a fun “shoe dog” finder that will “fetch” you the perfect pair (in all types of brands) based on you answers to a few questions. They are also one of the few sites to have such a wide variety of wide and EXTRA wide shoes (I had no idea).

For the best on a budget: Zappos (was there any surprise?). Again, they have helpful categories right down to shoe weight.

The Brooks shoe company website also has a great shoe advisor but only for their brand of shoe (of course).

Whether it be in person or via the interwebs, I suggest asking lots and lots of questions and seeking out lots and lots of answers. I recently went to a store I had no idea was near me on recommendation of a friend and was there for an hour. The lady next to me, who was looking for walking shoes, had tried on only  5 pair, but was comparing and re-comparing shoes, and the whole time, the sales people were nothing but helpful and friendly, listened, asked me questions, let me run in each pair and suggested different types of shoes for me. If you ever experience anything other than that, neither you nor they should be there.

I went home empty handed, and ended up with these bad-boys thanks to some stellar web reviews, but the lady next me went home with two pair (I think it worked out for the best):


(See, I told you we’d find something pretty in our size)

In the end, the few things you NEED to know are this–your foot TYPE; the activity you are planning to do in the shoe; the surface you will do this activity on; the amount of time you will do this activity (how many hours x days per week); and if the shoe FEELS right on you.

Finally, I would check into the store’s shoe return policy. Some sites and stores guarantee a proper fit and will allow you to exchange or return a purchase if you are unhappy BUT within a certain number of days and with the original recite or what have you .

Your feet are the foundation for all you do, and you need the support they give you for your whole day and to last during your run. So listen to my Great Uncle Frank, do yourself a favor, and invest in a good pair of shoes. Your flippers and slices will thank you for years to come.


Follow this link for stemming questions related to shoes:


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