My LBS adventure.

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flat_black_shoesNo I haven’t invented a new acronym for a set of swear words, merely developed the LBD – Little Black Dress into the LBS – Little Black Shoe.

I have been on a mission now for quite some time to find the ever elusive super comfy perfect pair of flat black shoes. Honestly, you’d think I’d asked the Universe to help me find the world’s largest pink diamond; it’s been THAT bloody hard.

And so my story starts a while back when I found a pair of SuperSoft black patent slip on’s, on sale from $110 down to $40. Woohoo I jumped with joy! On the inside of course, I didn’t want to embarrass myself in public. Slipped them on and sheer relief that 1) I had found some nice comfy FLAT black shoes and 2) yippee they were on sale.

Then. Then I got them home and wore them, or more importantly walked in them and Oh My (insert swear word here) God. They killed my feet, like words can’t even describe. While the patent look was oh so cute, they were also oh so hard on the back of my ankles and gave me some great oh so BIG blisters. I was sad, pissed off, and deflated. Why was it so hard to find a comfy pair of shoes? Ugh. I tried many things so as not to give up too quickly on my patents. I put on a pair of my hubby’s thick socks and wore the shoes around the house to try and ‘break’ them in. A great look, when accompanied by a pair of trackie pants.

Then my Nonna, decided to use an old wives tale trick and rubbed the tops of the backs of the shoes with soap to ‘soften them up’. All to no avail. Nope, nothing worked. It was time to admit defeat and move onto the next pair.

The next pair didn’t come for quite some time as I was feeling too crushed to tackle another LBS shopping trip. I decided to go to Target, of course pronounced Tar-jay.

I picked up a pair of black flats, and bent them, squished them, walked up and down the isles before I decided to part with $35 for another pair of LBS. After I was satisfied with my pre-purchase grilling of the shoes I proceeded to the check-out. For the first few week’s of our new shoe/foot relationship it was bliss. Comfy? Yes. Blisters? No. Then. Sigh. After about 3 weeks, the inside lining started to peel and suddenly my feet felt kinda sticky when I wore them, like I’d just walked barefoot through a nightclub and then put my shoes on, kinda sticky.

So, once again I was on a LBS mission! Roll in last Sunday’s shopping trip. I must have tried on every single flat black shoe available at Westfield. Ok, maybe that’s a little exaggeration, but I tried on a bucket load of shoes anyway, to the point where I was starting to dislike shoe shopping and that was NOT a good feeling. Now I’m usually a size 8, but I tried on everything from a 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 38, 39, 40, aaaahhhh it was seriously doing my head in. How could I be sooo many different sizes?

‘Oh, it’s just the shoes these days love’, explained a sales lady at DJ’s. ‘Just gotta try them all on’. Which of course I did. And to make my bottom lip stick out that just little bit further my FAVOURITE pair of the day didn’t fit properly in ANY size.

So finally, after countless shops and countless LBS’s, I decided on a suede pair with little flowers on the top in a size 7.5. And much to my delight they were on sale. Not quite as good a bargain as the old Tar-jay pair, but on sale nonetheless. I wore them to work yesterday for the first time and hurrah, success! Now day 2 and we’re traveling along quite nicely.

So fingers crossed, my LBS story ends here.

Well I hoped it would anyway. It’s now getting towards the end of day 2 and at lunch I headed home as I normally do for the very long 3 minute walk across 2 roads and unfortunately for my new shoes and my feet, I had to break into a slight jog to avoid being hit by a truck while crossing the road. Bad news for my feet because they hurt and bad news for my shoes because they rubbed the sides my feet. OH LORD WHEN WILL MY LBS QUEST EVER END. Massive SIGH!

I guess I can only hope that day 3 will be better and I’ll give these LBS’s another chance. After that, if all else fails, I’m so wearing my pluggers to work!

So last night I umed and arred about whether to give my LBS’s a day 3. I decided No! Why? Well basically I didn’t want to end up with blisters and thought I’d stop wearing them before I got them. I also decided to try and exchange them for another pair. This unfortunately was not succesful. I admitted I had worn them and so they wouldn’t exchange. Fair enough, I wasn’t going to argue!

So what did I do? What any other normal woman would do, of course. I bought ANOTHER pair of LBS’s!! But don’t worry I’m determined to find another home for my other LBS’s, because they are gorgeous, I just clearly don’t have the right shaped feet for them.

And thank you to the other Amy for the advice! Unfortunately I couldn’t find Midas in Newcastle, but you can be sure I’m headed straight there next time I’m in Sydney!

  • Another Amy
    October 13, 2009

    Ami – you must try Midas. They are a little more on the expensive side, but they are 1) good quality and 2) comfy! The other good suggestion is French Sole- sold at a number of boutiques. Very groovy designs, and really comfy as well as good heel support which is essential in a LBS! They often come in black or variations of…but a fair bit more $$. But so worth it. I have also tried cheap varieties and I’m afraid to say in the case of the LBS cost = quality. Good luck! Let us know how you go.

  • Marion Streeter (the 2nd!)
    October 14, 2009

    Hello Ami, I am delighted to meet you by reading your most entertaining challenge of finding the perfect pr of black flat shoes. Would you be interested to hear that mine are soft real leather and I could walk Aussie flat without pain!

    Welcome to the family – we love you already. Wish we could have been at your Wedding. How about putting one or two of your best pics on facebook, or send them to us?

    Looking forward to knowing you on internet and who knows when personally.

  • Sheila (@stinginthetail)
    October 14, 2009

    As former retail shoe seller – patent shoes are notoriously uncomfy – they don’t give or breathe – and unlike your usual real leather (non-patent) shoes, even if real leather, won’t stretch much. You can try a product called ShoeStretch – it really works, but patent leather gives the least good results.

    As you discovered, suede is great for comfort – would advise you get some Scotchguard (or other spray protector) and treat them soon, because the drawback to suede is that getting them wet can destroy them and they mark badly. The scotchguard will stop marks, making it easy to just spruce them up with a quick brush.

    More product in Australian shops is NOT made for the Australian market – so you run into the same problems as we do with many things made in SE Asia, in that they’re not the right Western sizes. (Tried to buy rubber gloves lately? A large is the same size as a medium used to be and there’s no extra large.)

    Then you run into the Euro sizes, and the UK sizes – basically if you’re a 7, you should be a UK 5 and a Euro 38.

    Worst thing in my opinion is the lack of half sizes – i am a half size, i cannot wear 8, too small, or 9 – too big. I don’t know what shoe people are thinking, with no half sizes in most lines – we’re making a nation of people who will suffer from bunions and collapsed arches from ill-fitting shoes. And i mean suffer, i’ve seen the awful problems those conditions cause.

    I’m lucky, i go barefoot most of the time, but i just dread shoe shopping – which i used to LOVE. Usually i return home defeated. Glad you found your flats :)

  • Nomie
    October 15, 2009

    A I type this I am in trackies, and patent leather heels (noice)… wearing them in ready for a big night out in a few weeks… my theory being if I wear them a little bit every day or so, they will be ready to go, blister free on the night… hmm…

  • Sarah
    October 20, 2009

    Hi there! From one ballet flat shoe devotee to another…try Witchery. Not sure if they have flat blacks this season, but they have other “on trend” colours (I have been looking for an opportunity to use fashionista jargon!). I know there’s a pale pink for example!!! Intrigued now…?? I wore my Witchery flats all through Europe – and I walked for miles & miles, & in 30+ degree heat too. They needed maybe a day or two to wear in – most shoes do – but then they were perfect! And they still look good. A tip – never buy anything other than leather. Got to let your feet breathe! Hope this helps!

  • Sarah
    October 20, 2009

    Back again – the one you are looking for is the Witchery Annabelle Stretch Ballet Flat in black. It’s $139. You can see it online…along with the pale pink…on the Witchery website. Your husband is so going to hate me!!! S

  • Ami
    October 20, 2009

    Oooh I just checked out the pale pink Sarah! I love them! I’m not sure if I can justify 4 new pairs of shoes in 2 weeks, but admittedly, one were no good and I’ll find a new home for them!!
    Thanks! x

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