I immediately googled some stuff and found out that most people have slightly different sized feet (I also found some looney who has made a chart that compares penis size to shoe size check it out. What I did find is that 60% of the population have different sized feet, however in most cases it’s less than a full size difference. A full size is somewhere between .6 and 1 full cm, so this can easily be accommodated when you buy a pair of shoes. There are however some people whose differences in shoe sizes are greater than one shoe size. Sometimes this can be overcome with thick socks and an innersole. Some have a difference of more than two shoe sizes or more, which can’t be overcome with socks and innersoles etc. These people (technically referred to as mismates) need specialised help which can be found in various websites such as...
This was originally a charity set up to help victims of Polio in the 1940s and then helped a lot of amputees just back from the war. You should definitely go to the quotes section of this website if you want to get all warm and fuzzy and realise how much of a pain in the ankle it is when your feets don’t match.
Also known as ‘the minus one club’, this site was originally set up by a reformed one-armed biker who got sick of paying full price for gloves. He just wants to help people that lost a foot/leg, which is awfully nice. (unfortunatelt the site is apparently down at the minute)
This site is more of a proper medical site than a sneaker exchange bureau. It has some really good stories about different sized feet including one about a lawnmower accident. Cool.
This site is nuts. They will custom design and fit shoes to your exact feet. This could include weird shaped toes, enormous bunyons, different sized feet and ‘Morton's Toe’ which is an abnormality of the metatarsals that causes the second toe of the foot to be longer than the big toe. Even serious athletes use them to make their shoes just right. The sneakers are kinda ok, but they must feel great as they are booked out completely. The only reason they can do this because they make one shoe at a time, not thousands.
Now some of these websites had pictures on them and the shoes weren’t that good, one even had ugg boots - do they really need to fit that well? In fact, the selection was totally fucked. So I decided I might like to interview one of these ‘mismates’ for the magazine, but unfortunately after numerous emails to various websites, not one single person was keen to come forward and be interviewed for ‘sneakerfreaker’. Perhaps having two different sized feet makes you a little wary of being involved with anything with FREAK in the title. Maybe it brings back some bad schoolyard memories... I don’t know.
Well if these freaks weren’t going to talk to me, I was going to talk to them!
I thought “let’s see how hard it is to get a mismatched pair of the following shoes. Air Force Ones in any color, adidas Superstar in any color and Vans Half Cabs in black only”. I joined all the websites I could find, each under a different alias and with different ‘different sized feet’, posted my requests, and waited. These websites are mostly not for profit so it’s not like it’s the eBay machine sending you reminders every 30 secs or each time you are outbid, it's a lot more low-key than that.
Well after nearly 3 months of waiting, checking, emailing, I did not get one match! I nearly got a pair of Air Force but on that website I was Right 10 and a Left 8 and what was offered was R12 L8 (fuck knows what was going on with that guy). I did get a few emails wanting to let me know that it was OK to be a mismate and support was there for me. (Now before you all go calling me a tnuc and saying how awful it was to trick these freaks, I mean mismates,
I did donate five brand new pairs of shoes to each website so they could help out people in future.)
So that’s it. Collecting shoes is hard enough when both your feet are the same size, but imagine how hard it is when you have to find and buy 2 pairs or try to swap them online with someone who happens to have the exact opposite affliction that you do. Anyone doing that is truly a sneakerfreak.
This article appeared in Issue 8 of Sneaker Freaker. Buy it here!