Why is it so hard to get women's shoes in a narrow size 9? That's a 43 in EU sizes or 11.5 in US sizes. It's not like it's enormous. I'm nearly six feet tall, which is not at all unusual, so why should it be considered unusual to have feet in proportion to my height?
I hate shopping for shoes; it's such a depressing chore. I trail from shop to shop and get more and more angry and despondent as the day wears on. I'm fed up of being told that "women's feet only go up to a 7" (yes, I really was informed that in one shop) or finding that the size 9s are so wide that I could almost get both feet in side by side. When I do eventually find somewhere which stocks 9s, they are usually really ugly and impractical. Who the hell wants to wear size 9 imitation ballet shoes? Really? I bet it was a man who came up with that one. I've even had it suggested that I try a size smaller. Are you trying to cripple me? I don't even bother browsing the shoes now. I just find an assistant and ask if they have 9s. It saves me a lot of time.
I desperately need a new pair of hiking boots, because the ones I have are at least 15 years old and are falling to pieces. However, in every shop I visit, I am told that the largest size in women's boots is 8' and that I will have to buy a pair of men's boots instead. Men's boots are far too wide and my feet just slide around in them. I look on the manufacturers' websites and many of them do make 9s, but don't sell them in the UK, and I'm not prepared to buy expensive boots online without being able to try them on. I have a similar problem with trainers. My current, completely inappropriate pair, are men's, but if I lace them tight enough to fit properly, the toe section concertinas up and looks ridiculous. I don't want to look like I'm wearing someone else's cast-offs, I just want off-the-shelf footwear which fits.
The only boots I have which fit absolutely perfectly are my Alt Berg bike boots. They fit perfectly because I made a 220 mile round-trip to their factory so that they could measure my feet and make the boots just for me. They are the best pair of boots I have ever had and worth every penny. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Alt Berg's customer service is second to none and their products are really high quality. However, I don't want to have to get custom-made footwear every time I need something - I don't have that sort of money.
So, a plea to footwear manufacturers: please realise that some women do have larger feet, that women who take a size 9 don't necessarily have great wide feet, don't want to wear men's shoes, and that we would like decent shoes which look like shoes and not like river barges. Thank you.