- I have bad feet.
- I am about to be traveling
Okay. Got it out of my system. I didn't say point out either of those things to be annoying; they are actually pertinent to this review.
My best sneakers (tennis shoes, or whatever you want to call my Sketchers) finally broke down. The wear and tear a fat person can put on shoes in incredible. I can say this because I am fat. My fat is due to medications (mostly) but, whatever the deal, I am fat. I am a fatty mac fat-fat (as one of my nieces and I often say jokingly).
This all meant that I am going to be the fat chick on the plane, wearing my gut-tucking tank top under my shirt so that I look a little less chunky.
I am going to be the chick huffing my way through the airport, praying that my boarding gates are close to security so that I don't break out in sweats the way we fat people tend to do when under strain, stress, or the slightest exertion.
I will definitely be the fat lady who's glaring at all the well-proportioned ladies who aren't having the fat sweats. Like it's their fault that I'm packing around these extra pounds. (Thank goodness that I'm not so fat that an airplane seat is uncomfortable. That's a big deal with me.)
Now, I can't do anything about this fat situation in time for the trip, but I was determined to do something about my feet. Or, rather, my shoes.
My Sketchers were very comfortable, but they only lasted about a year. Now, no matter how many comfy insoles I stuff inside them, there is no denying that the shoes just aren't great for prolonged periods of walking. Plus, adding insoles only makes the shoes fit too tight for comfort. Kind of defeats the purpose, right?
So... I went shoe shopping the other week. I found some affordable shoes that weren't comfortable. I found some sort of comfy shoes that weren't affordable. Then a friend told me about a shoe that she prefers.
That's a pair of Merrell Women's Jungle Moc Slip-ons.
It's not a bad-looking shoe, but all I care about at this point is how comfortable they are. And, actually, it's an ugly shoe unless you have really petite feet - not these big ol' size 8 dawgs I have. (Even my feet spread when I gained this weight. I've gone from a 7 to a 7.5 to a, depending on the shoe, an 8.)
Since I will be gone from Anchorage before my birthday next month, my friend decided to early gift me some of these Merrell's. So we go to the shop where she usually gets hers. She ordered me not to look at the price tags, just to pick a color. I chose a tan pair and ask the clerk to bring me a Size 8 to try. My friend nudged me and told the clerk to bring out a Size 9 also.
"Just in case," she said.
"Just in case of what?"
"I'll bring them both right out," the clerk told us.
Of course, I tried on the Size 8's first. They fit. If I held my breath and scrunched my toes under. The shoes felt like a Size 6.6 or maybe a narrow 7.
"They just tend to fit small," the clerk said, She was trying to be nice, but I wanted to kick her. My feet hurt too bad though.
I tried on the Size 9's. They did fit. They were a bit tight but I didn't have to do toe contortions or hold back tears.
Both the clerk and my friend said that the shoes would fit even better after some wear. According to them, the shoe loosens up and "becomes custom-like". Noticing that the shoe was suede, this sounded true to me. But, since I had to get a 9, I switched from the tan to black, hoping the color would make my feet look smaller. They didn't. Not really.
As vain as I can sometimes be, I did consider trying on a Size 9.5 but the clerk and my friend said that wouldn't be good. Because these shoes should break in to better fit my feet. A larger size, they both insisted, would not be a good idea in the long run.
I walked around, testing out the shoes while my friend took care of the bill. They were lots comfier than my broken down and beat up Sketchers.
Basically, I can tell you that the best feature of these shoes is the nice thick sole. On the other hand, they tend to feel heavy. Sturdy, yes, but heavy. The soles are very comfortable, but the fit remains tight after two weeks of wear.
What I realized after I'd worn them outside (making them non-returnable) is that outside upper of the shoe is suede. The inner part of the upper is synthetic. Synthetic might stretch - after a TON of wear, but for now, the shoe is still snug. (By the way, there is a sneaky reason that most shoe stores have carpeting!)
If it weren't for the comfort of the insole, I would hate these shoes. They are heavy and I'm going to have to work hard to break them in. Also, these are not true "slip-on" shoes. The fit is too tight for you to simply slip these on. After the first week, they are easier to put on, but I still can't just slip into them like I could regular Crocs or moccasins.
Since these were a gift, I really didn't think to look at the price while my friend and I were in the store. I thought that they cost around $40 to maybe, just maybe, $60. When I was checked so that I could write a review, I discovered that the price is $80. I almost cried. For $80, I want to love these shoes. And perhaps I will, in time. For now, I just kind of like them. They are better than my raggedy Sketchers.
I'm so grateful to have friends thoughtful enough to really care about my needs. My friend could have just gone and picked out some random and nice gift, but she seriously considered what I needed. Talk about being blessed with good people in my life!
Because we are friends, I was honest with her about the shoes. She still thinks that I am going to love them by the time I travel. She has her pair and two other styles from the brand and swears she won't go out of her way to buy anything else. So there is hope for me with these shoes. Still, the next time I shoe shop, I'm going back to some Sketchers or some other affordable brand.
Summing things up:
- Thick sole
- Thick insole
- Suede exterior outer
- Should take a lot of wear (even for heavy people)
- Fairly comfortable
- Pricey - in-store or online, doesn't matter.
- Runs very small & tight. A women's 9 feels like a large 7 or small 8
- The heel grip is very tight
- Synthetic interior upper
- Heavy. More clunky with a work-boot feel than a slip-on
- Doesn't really 'slip on' due to tight fit
- Have to break the shoe in and part is synthetic
Despite my friend's extreme love of this shoe (and my mild liking), I think these are very overrated. Maybe it's because they are pricey and that's what some people like? Maybe in a few more weeks, my pair will be broken in and better fitting, but that is just too much work for such a pricey shoe.
Merrell shoes are, I believe, a brand people either love or hate. Until the shoes get broken in, I don't think there is much in between.