Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shoeless Golfer

OK, I'm sorry, but I feel a soapbox calling my name...

When I took up golf a few years ago, I purchased some golf shoes that ended up being a smidge too narrow for me to walk in, comfortably, for more than a couple of hours.

But with the proper (read: microscopically thin) socks, and a cart rental, they were bearable for the time I'd spend on the course. God forbid I try wheeling the bag along behind me, walking the entire course wearing those things. My feet would be numb by the time we made it to the third hole.

Despite not fitting properly, they were all I could find at the time. I wasn't interested in doing something crazy like having custom shoes made. But in the meantime, I wore them whenever I played. But on one especially rain-savaged day, they got completely muddied up and basically wrecked.

So when cleaning out the garage one day, I tossed them. It had been at least two years since I'd played, and I figured, "Well, if I take up golf again, I'll get a pair that actually fits."

Now, I know that for a woman, wearing a size 11 shoe is out of the ordinary. It must be, because finding a quality pair of flats or a cute heel in a retail establishment is almost impossible, especially since my foot is built on the wider side. (And a Ladies Size 11 Golf Shoe must be its own type of holy grail, because it is certainly not easy to find.)

But in anticipation of my first golf outing in several years, today I visited or called literally dozens of golf stores, specialty shoe stores and pro shops in search of a Ladies Size 11 Golf Shoe. Not enough time to order online, or work with a shop to place a "special order."

In case you were wondering, or got here through a Google search, I'm here to tell you: There is not one pair of Ladies Size 11 Golf Shoes in stock in all the golf-attire-stocking stores in the entire Philadelphia area. Zero. Zip. Nada.

At Golfsmith, the salesman tried to be helpful, trying to find a men's style that would work. He also noted that at least four other women had come into the store, asking for Ladies' size 11 golf shoes. "Does that tell you something?" I asked. "Obviously, there's a market for them!"

A local sporting goods store apparently discontinued its line of golf shoes three months ago. This came to light only after the salesman had spent 5 minutes trying to help me find something amidst all their sneaker and workout offerings.

They say women's feet are getting both longer and wider, yet I see no evidence of that in department stores, since they insist on stocking only medium widths - and only up to size 10. And I defy you to try to even buy a size 10 shoe - they're either sold out, or they're the size, shape and color of a potato.

So, I'll be the one golfing in sneakers this Friday, sliding around the course in my cleatless Adidas. Barring that, maybe I'll just strap on some potatoes.


Kitty said...

how odd and frustrating? I'd think there'd be a whole range out there. Hm.

I'd suggest looking for an internet site that offers returns.

Also, are mens and womens shoes so different? I guess women's shoes must be proportionally more narrow?

Spandrel Studios said...

Apologies for the diatribe, but I found it remarkable that I couldn't find a single place in a 30-mile radius that has size 11 golf shoes for women in stock.

There are oodles of online golf supply warehouses, and I've been checking those in the meantime. But the game got scheduled suddenly and I need at least a day to break in the new shoes.

As for men's vs women's shoes, it's all in the heel - even wider-sized women's shoes typically have a narrower heel than men's.

Stephanie said...

Have you tried ebay or freecycle? My dad is thinking about taking up golf but doesn't want to invest too much until he is sure he likes it. So I posted a WANTED ad on the Phoenixville Freecycle group and got him a FREE pair of slightly used golf shoes! They are a 1/2 size bigger than he requested but with socks and/or his orthotics, they should work!

Spandrel Studios said...

Thanks, Stephanie - that's an awesome idea! I'll definitely check out Freecycle.

Your Dad's idea to make sure he likes golf before committing resources to it is a good one. It can be a pricey sport, but it's a great way to be outdoors, hang with friends and get some exercise, especially if you walk the course.

Kali said...
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