I have a confession to make. I have big feet. REALLY big feet, as in size 15EEE shoes. Of course I’m used to them by now because I’m pretty sure I always had big feet, but I don’t remember when they first began to attract notice. My dad wore a size 12 so there were already big feet around the house, and it’s probable that family members didn’t really give a lot of thought to the size of mine as I grew up. Like all kids I probably kept outgrowing my shoes and costing my parents money, but I was big all over so it’s not like I wore clown shoes that people pointed at and laughed about. Of course, I was always pretty clumsy — still am, in fact — but even people with regular feet can be less than nimble.
I’ve tried looking at old snapshots to see if I could tell anything about how oversized my feet were while I was growing up, but have had mixed results. In one picture I was a toddler in my uncle’s boots and there’s no way to tell how completely I was filling them. In another I was in grade school and my feet look pretty big, but the angle isn’t really right (and the gaudy socks are kind of distracting). Most of the other pictures I found were just as inconclusive.
But I guess none of that really matters. It’s what happened to them as I approached adulthood that counts. By the time I entered high school my feet were getting noticeably larger and my parents were finding that it was tougher to buy shoes for me, but my first clear memory of a real problem was when I made the football team. I don’t know how it is now, but at that time the school corporation paid for uniforms, pads, helmets, and shoes, which were handed down from year to year. But the biggest shoes they had were too small and they weren’t about to buy a new pair for a green kid, so I was crammed into them and limped through the season. Since I didn’t play a lot it wasn’t too awful, although we wore them at practice too so I did have sore feet every day. By the following year the school apparently figured I was going to stick — and my feet had continued to grow — so they reluctantly ordered new shoes for me. In the years since, I’ve always been able to find shoes that fit but have never had the flexibility that regular-sized guys enjoy in terms of price and selection.
But big feet are actually pretty common among imaginary creatures too. I’ve always felt an affinity for Sasquatch, or Bigfoot as he’s sometimes known. After all, in addition to the size of our feet we’re both big and hairy (although most of mine has disappeared up on top). I should also mention that Bigfoot is supposed to be very smelly, and I’ve been known to get a little ripe at times, so there’s that. And finally, we can both seem gruff but are mostly pretty easy-going, like the big guy in the very funny film, Harry and the Hendersons.
And then there are other bigfooted critters similar to Sasquatch, such as the yeti, sometimes called the abominable snowman of the Himalayas. (The standard joke when we were kids: What made him so abominable, his stinky feet?) Or maybe the mythical Cyclops, or even Paul Bunyan, the giant lumberjack from American folklore. I’m pretty sure they would have had big feet, but of course they were giants so that kind of goes with the territory.
But even if we discount all the imaginary creatures and legendary giants, there are a lot of big feet out there. Have you ever noticed the shoe sizes of some NBA players? In fact, I’d be willing to bet that there might be a few bigfoots reading this. (Although probably not any NBA players.) Or if you don’t have huge feet maybe you live with someone who has them. What do you say, folks? Can you or anyone you know beat my size 15? Let us know with a comment below.