She Wants Size 11 Bucketfeet For Her Size 11 Bucket Feet

Posted on May 18, 2015

UPDATE: OH MY GOD! WE DID IT!!!! 

BUCKETFEET WILL START SELLING WOMEN’S SIZE 11 SHOES AT THE END OF THE WEEK!!!!!

Kristen just received this message from BucketFeet!!!

Hi Kristen,

I just wanted to send you a quick update and let you know what we’re going to start carrying BucketFeet women’s size 11 in our new collection, which is launching at the end of this week – stay tuned!

Please let us know if we can help you with anything at all!

Best,
Kimberly

THANK YOU BUCKETFEET! Kristen and I are fans for life! 

Original Post:

My friend Kristen forwarded an email to me the other day. The email was addressed to a company called Bucketfeet. Attached was a note saying “You’ve inspired me to ask for what I want in this world.”

Here is Kristen’s email:

Email to Bucketfeet

Here is Bucketfeet’s response:

BucketFeet response

First, I want to tell you a thing or two about my friend Kristen. And then we’ll get into the nitty gritty of women’s shoe sizing. Kristen is first and foremost a goodbad friend. Good because she’s always there. Bad because she’s always going to get you in trouble. After dessert recently, she placed another order for Deviled Eggs for the ride home. There was the time we drunkenly ate Street Cart Hamburgesas and about died in Mexico. Then there was this past 4th with the illegal fireworks that we kinda sorta didn’t know how to use.

But there are all of the other times. She’s beyond warm. Intelligent. Adorable. Fashionable. And she’s a hard worker. She was just named a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association. My friend Kristen is above all else, a caretaker. And this post is an opportunity for me to care for a friend who has been consistently there for me.

My style can be described as tomboy meets JCrew meets surfer girl. What is that? It is a lot of striped shirts, comfy jeans, and fun shoes.

Kristen Bucketfeet

Now down to the nitty gritty. Women’s shoe sizing is a fascinating beast of a topic. Our feet are are on average two whole sizes bigger than they were in the 1970s, yet retailer offerings do not reflect this number. The U.S. Census Bureau collects data on the colors and types of shoes sold, but these are industry sales figures and cannot accurately reflect foot size. One must assume that sales numbers would go up if appropriate shoe sizes were made readily available. So because of this Catch-22, we don’t know how many Americans have feet that are larger than what retailers have historically sold to, because there’s simply no research. How can you sell a shoe size that doesn’t exist?

As I write about the stigma of disability, I simply want to state that it is disabling for retailers to hold onto faulty and outdated notions of what average shoe size is. Evolutionarily, shoe makers are a step behind and need to understand the objectification of small feet. We need to consider society’s historic perceptions of women being of small feet and feeble mind. Kristen is larger than life in feet, mind and spirit.

Shoe form has consistently superseeded function. And it hasn’t always been subtle. The Chinese practice of binding feet is only now fading away after eight centuries of practice. I cannot name one culture that hasn’t or doesn’t relate the size of a woman’s foot to her femininity. A woman’s foot is a sexual object, delicate and arousing.  And it’s not just China that leaves its subjects with lifelong disabilities.

Bound Feet

The U.S. shoe market will top $68 billion in sales this year. Shoe makers and marketers understand that the aesthetics of a smaller shoe will sell. Isn’t that why the smallest stock size is always displayed on the floor? “Shoe makers consistently play with proportions, making women’s shoes more narrow than they should be, despite damage it may cause to the foot.” The fundamental purpose of a shoe is foot protection. Yet women’s shoes do not protect, they damage.

A recent survey of women with large feet found 75% could not find their size available in brick and mortars. As women tend to reach their adult shoe size by the age of 13, please feel free to attribute the following facts to teenage, adult and elderly women.

72% of these women have felt frustration while shopping for shoes.
29% of these women felt despair while shopping for shoes.
27% of these women felt embarrassment while shopping for shoes.
22.5% of these women felt insecurity while shopping for shoes.
42% of these women have been reduced to tears while shopping for shoes.
28% of these women have given up even asking for their size when shopping for shoes.
28% of these women feel like a social outcast while shopping for shoes.
71% of these women have purchased shoes that are too small.

My feet are big. They always have been. By the time I was 12 years old I had a size 10 shoe. By 14, I was in an 11/11.5 shoe. Big feet for me were always a struggle because most women’s shoes did not go past a size 10. For gym class, I had to buy men’s sneakers, which subjected me to bullying. The worst was when I couldn’t buy the biggest trend in 1990—Reebok Pumps—because they didn’t come in my size and the men’s styles were just way too masculine. The most challenging part about my feet continues to be dress shoes.

Fortunately companies like Cole Haan, Toms and Vans have started marketing to women with feet over size 10. Bucketfeet is not one of those companies. Stuart Weitzman has said that “Offering width options fosters special loyalty from the customer who needs a certain width. She can’t go anywhere else.”

Size 11 Converse

If you are new to my blog, one of the first things that will stand out to you are my numerous passionate letters asking J. Crew to sell a cane (J. Crew and I have finally started talking, and I am wildly optimistic). I recently wrote a post titled ‘There’s No Difference Between 000 Jeans and a Cane“. J. Crew was catching heat for carrying a sized 000 jean, because many people assumed they were catering to customers with eating disorders. What J. Crew was actually trying to do was cater to a new market – the Asian market. They were willing to risk stigmatizing their brand, simply to reach a new customer base. And they even acknowledged that they were making less of their 000 jeans than they made of any other size, by a large margin. So if you take a lesson from J. Crew’s book on this one, you may realize you don’t have to sell that many gold leaf pineapple canvas slip-on shoes. You simply need to make them available. And that availability gives you access to a whole new, incredibly loyal customer base.

This is my direct plea to Bucketfeet: I am hoping you will reconsider your response to Kristen. She is currently purchasing a pair of white Vans, a pineapple stencil and a tube of gold paint. Our next post will be Kristen’s Pineapple Shoe DIY. When you say that you won’t carry a size large enough for Kristen’s feet, you are denying her desirability. You are inadvertently telling her to bind them. I’m sorry that it has come to a pair of gold leaf pineapple canvas slip-on shoes, but she deserves a better explanation than to ‘shop the men’s’. Big feet does not equate men’s styles and colors. So I’m going to ask again. Will you sell your Pineappleade Gold shoes in Women’s size 11? Or will you clarify what you meant when you said ‘We believe art is for everyone’?

Their company mantra is inclusive, stating: “We Believe Art is for Everyone.” I suppose “art” is not for women with feet larger than size 10. Bucketfeet might want to add a disclaimer to their mantra: *Except for those who we do not make sizes for.

Bucketfeet

Before I go, I just want to give Kristen a moment to let you know how she discovered Bucketfeet:

It took weeks of aggressive marketing on my Facebook wall until I started to notice a shoe company named Bucketfeet. I appreciated their persistence and investment to advertise to me as a potential customer. As you know, Facebook captures (READ: kidnaps) all of your personal data and sells it to companies, so they can directly advertise to their target customers. I’ve been a member of Facebook since 2006 and they [Facebook] know more about me than my girlfriend because of all the posts I’ve liked, posted, or viewed. You would think that they know I’m a Bigfoot-like Sasquatch. But, surprisingly they don’t. So, Buckfeet continued to taunt my feet with these amazing bespoke, artist-inspired shoes. Until one day, I just couldn’t take it any longer and I clicked on these amazing white slip-ons with gold pineapples. As the page loaded, I envisioned my feet in these pineapple beauties walking the neighborhood, the boardwalk, and in cute capri pants on vacation. We had big plans. And then it happened—the sizing only went up to size 10. My heart sunk. These shoes embodied everything that I was—Summer-loving, fun, not too flashy, but fun. What would I do? I felt defeated, upset, and even angry. So, taking a note from my friend, Liz Jackson, who expects equality in all aspects of life, I decided to write a note to Bucketfeet letting them know that all the big-footed ladies expected more from them.

Thank you for your time.

Liz and Kristen 

P.S. Kate Winslet is a size 11. Would you have just told her to wear Jack’s shoes as the boat sunk?

Kate Winslet Size 11 Feet

 

 

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Virgnia Bemis May 18, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    I have wide feet, and it’s very difficult to find nice shoes in a 7W. Most shoes are made only in B widths.

    • Patricia Borcz September 20, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      Even 9.5 – 10 wide are very difficult to find in adorable shoes!

  2. Kara May 19, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Great piece!
    I teeter between size 11 and size 12 (which I can find at Payless) and have wasted countless hours searching for the perfect shoes that just don’t exist in my size. Some retailers that do have some decent options though are asos.com, longtallsally.com (which absorbed BarefootTess), and Payless. Occassionally Target makes something cute in an 11 that won’t kill your feet. Once upon a time Old Navy offered cute flats in size 11 that I bought all the time. Patterns and stripes and polka dots galore. Now I search for 11s and am presented with a selection of $3 flip flops. Wtf happened?
    When are these retailers going to catch up with the times? I’m talking to you, Bucketfeet, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and countless others. What do we want? CUTE SHOES IN BIG SIZES! When do we want it? A FEW YEARS AGO WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE BUT I’LL TAKE “NOW”!

  3. Julia May 19, 2015 at 4:34 am

    So glad to see this issue being raised! I’m on the other end of the spectrum, wearing women’s size 5–friends with larger feet and I’ve often found common ground beneath our ill-shod feet. After one such conversation in 2012, I did a crude tally of Zappos shoe options for whole sizes. Sizes 6-10 were all in the ~24k range, dropping to 11.6k for size 5 and 15.4k for size 11, 1.9k for 4 and 6.1k for 12, and downward from there. I’ve honestly looked in to learning cobbling, thinking that might be a quicker and cheaper way to find shoes in my size/style.

    For all the ways in which having small feet matches society’s rigid gender expectations of femininity, it doesn’t come with any more options. Fewer and fewer manufacturers offer shoes in the 5 size range, stores frequently order only one or two pairs of the available options, and choices are very constricted. The easiest stuff to find? Heels (because short bodies are seen as deficient), frills (of course we’re uniformly girly-girls), and relabeled kids’ shoes (as if we aren’t often overlooked/infantilized in our daily interactions). I’ve seen/heard that the inverse of some this happen for those with larger feet.

    It’s not just the way that my self-expression and even perceived identity is curtailed by the intersection of my body/the market (I prefer a fitted/androgynous look; “men’s” shoes are the ones that I keep bookmarking). My budget or ethics are partly to blame for that. But there are real physical concerns–I’ve hurt my knee walking around in just-barely-too-big-shoes (I didn’t even realize I’d been curling my toes to hold them on) and worn shoes past worn out because I couldn’t find suitable replacements.

    One of the worst aspects of it is when I ask for my shoe size in stores and I’m told, to my face and verbatim “no one wears that size.” As if I literally don’t exist.

    Anyhow, I totally know that thrill/sadness/anger rollercoaster that Kristen describes, made strangely more painful by data-mined advertisements (you know everything about me–couldn’t you have the decency to not show me the stuff that I’m excluded from!?!). Kudos to both you and Kristen for advocating for more inclusive sizing, and I hope Bucketfeet (and others) wake up to the broader range of customers!

  4. Britta May 22, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Poor marketing anyways…
    Bucketfeet sounds like BIG shoes!

  5. Ancient One June 26, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Kristin [ on the Size 11 issue ] was answered from Bucketfeet, most likely by a REPRESENTATIVE MALE. A LAZY, CHAUVINISTIC REPRESENTATIVE MALE. One who reflects the “company style” [ which they will attempt to perpetuate because making a CHANGE IS ALWAYS HARD WORK! ]

    “Leaving well-enough alone” is the preferred approach here obviously, I know; but in THIS case, that is wrong, wrong, wrong, IMO. and isn’t the Guiding Retail Mantra “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT?”

    Apparently the Customer is NOT always right at Bucketfeet. Their bottom line must be cushy enough [ though Kristin’s feet are NOT! ] that Bucketfeet feels they don’t need to lift a finger for Customer Satisfaction [ and continued Customer Loyalty ]. After all, unless I’m badly mistaken, a MAN has decreed what will go down, and that is that. [ Pffffffffffffffft! ]

    [ At least BF answered your communiqué ! ]

  6. Nicole July 2, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I have the same problem as Julie! I have little feet, and I so often find that the shoes I want are not made in my size. Sometimes I resort to the similar look in a kid’s size, which in some ways is nice because sometimes kids shoes are less expensive, but often the change makes it look less grown-up, and I have also found that often kid’s shoes are not quite made as well, with not quite as much support, etc. Because kids will grow out of them, and probably don’t need as much support, etc. And finding any kind of specialty shoe in my size is very difficult. Even if it technically exists, it’s so hard to find in stock. And buying online is always risky.

  7. Pam July 25, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    I have 2 pair of Bucketfeet shoes and I love them. I wear a women’s size 10. Note to Bucketfeet: Get with it!!!! Make these great shoes in larger sizes!!! You are missing out on a whole new market of women to wear your shoes. I wore them on a trip to France and people stopped me on the street to ask me where I got them. Every woman who puts on a pair of your shoes is a free walking advertisement for Bucketfeet. Don’t miss the boat (shoe)!!!!! No pun intended!!

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