I was *blessed* with big feet. As someone who lives in the Western world, this has never presented me with a problem, mainly because a lot of other women in the UK seemingly have big feet too.
In fact, the only problem I’m ever presented with is the fact that my size frequently sells out first, because there are so many big-footed women like me walking around and not enough of “our” size to go around. Just imagine us all in shoe sales, running for the last pair, until we trip and fall over our clown feet. Sad but true.
Anyway, my big-footedness has never caused me any concern before, until recently in Mexico. When two pairs of flip flops broke.
That’s right: two.
Not to mention the fact that another pair of flip flops had broken on me in October last year while walking the streets of Belgrade.
If you’ve ever had a pair of flip flops break on you while away from home, you’ll know how embarrassing and awkward this situation is.
At first, I figured it was the brand I was wearing. The first two pairs which broke were Havaianas, which had accompanied me on all of my trips so far (I even waded through the flooded streets of Vietnam in my green pair). I assumed that maybe they were just poorly made or I had been too rough with them.
But then, one day at the beach in Mexico, my pair of Reefs broke. These were leather and supposed to be sturdy and last me for years (well, probably not years, but that was my hope when I invested in them – or rather, when Scott did; they were a present from him).
I was heartbroken. I now had no pairs of flips flops to wear. At the beach.
Next came the other big problem – Mexican women have seemingly small feet.
I trawled shoe shop upon shoe shop (they really love their ridiculously small shoes in Mexico, damn them), but realised that unless I wanted to wear a pair of men’s black brogues I was pretty much screwed.
In the end, I resorted to buying one of the only pairs of shoes which fit me – a knock-off pair of Toms called Nons (so original, right?)
Then I turned up to Patzcuaro, where they have a huge market selling everything you could possibly ever dream of. We inquired at a leather stall whether they would be able to fix my flip flops. They took one look at the thick leather sole and shook their heads. I was disheartened.
But, they said, we could try the guy a few metres along the street who works with leather.
This guy was just sat on a doorstep with a small toolbox in front of him. We approached with an air of cynicism and showed him my damaged leather flip flop. He didn’t even flinch.
“Give me half an hour” he said in Spanish.
Erm, what? Where were his machines, his table…anything that looked like it was capable of repair?
Half an hour later, we returned, not sure what to expect. He handed me my flip flops, fully repaired. I was flabbergasted.
It turned out he had hand-sown the flip flops with extremely thick thread.
Hand-sown, you guys.
If that had been at home, I would have been turned away from the first shoe repair shop I went to, because their machines probably wouldn’t have been able to repair the leather.
This guy had done it all by hand.
That kind of thing just doesn’t happen anymore. I was all but ready to throw a decent pair of flip flops in the bin and fork out for some more.
So now I am back to wearing my good-as-new flip flops with a new-found spring in my step (as springy as I can get with my big feet- which is only a few millimetres off the ground). Even though I realise that they could break again at any moment, at least I know I have my Nons to fall back on.
And with a brand like Nons, I can’t go wrong. Right?
What pairs of flip flops do you normally wear when you travel and have they always lasted, or have they broken like mine and left you hobbling through the streets of an unknown city? I’d really like to know.