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Tales of Woe From a Big Foot Cyclist

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Tales of Woe From a Big Foot Cyclist

Old 06-09-20, 08:05 PM
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PoorInRichfield
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Tales of Woe From a Big Foot Cyclist

Another day, another pair of returned shoes

I confess, I have large-ish feet... size 48 UK / 14 US, usually D-width which isn't crazy wide, but wide enough. As such, finding road shoes that aren't designed for people with pencil-thin feet is really difficult and expensive. So far, I haven't found the perfect road shoe, so the quest continues. I'm creating this post to emotionally support other big foots and let them know, "You're not alone"

Below is a small collection of shoes I have in my possession. From left to right, Bont Riot Road+, Lake CX237 (CX version of their road shoe), Specialized Torch 2.0, my foot, and finally my favorite non-cycling shoe, the Lems Primal 2.. which is actually shaped like a foot.



The following is my semi-useless opinion of each shoe as they pertain to big-foot me with a relatively wide fore-foot.

Bont Riot Road+ (Size 48 wide)
Quality and value wise, these seem like great shoes. No issues with the materials or looks of the shoes. They're priced competitively and come in 3 widths... unfortunately, their "wide" isn't wide enough for me. I just got these shoes this week and had high hopes for them, but within 5 minutes of riding them on Zwift, they're going back. They might work for some people, but the problem I have with Bont shoes is their "bathtub sole"... i.e., the edge of the sole cradles your foot all the way around. Some shoes just do this in the heal, but for whatever reason, Bonts do this around the entire perimeter of the shoe. My feet do not fit within this "foot bathtub" and as a result, all I feel when I have them on is pain around the entire edge of my foot because the sole is extremely unforgiving. I had a pair of Bont Blitz shoes a while back that bothered my feet in the same way... why I didn't learn my lesson then, I don't know. These shoes are "heat moldable", of which I tried that, but it made little difference. So, they go back.

Some details regarding the "issue" my feet have with Bont shoes... (which is probably not an issue for others)...




Lake CX237 (Size 48 regular)
These shoes are for my SPD pedals and Lake makes a road version which I think is the MX237. What's surprising about these shoes is that they aren't even a wide width, of which Lake offers wider shoes. They fit my foot reasonably well and are comfortable for the most part. The only issue I have fit-wise is that they push my toes together like pretty much all road shoes do and my piggies hate it that they have no room to wiggle. There are a few down-sides to these shoes though. For one, they're really expensive (IMHO). They're also pretty heavy and they don't breath at all. My feet sweat like crazy in these shoes because they are actual leather. The leather is kind of a blessing and a curse. Overall, I'd say that if you're a big foot like I am and have problems finding shoes, Lake is a good place to start for sure. They are one of the very few shoe companies that cater to different foot sizes... but you'll pay for the quality!

Specialized Torch 2.0 (Size 48 wide)
These shoes surprised me. I figured I'd be sending them back as they look really narrow, even though I ordered the "wide". To date, they are the most comfortable road shoes I've tried and are my current road shoes until I find something I like better... which might not happen! They hold my heal well, yet they do actually give my toes a little wiggle room which kind of amazes me. I also actually like the single BOA dial compared to dual BOAs... one BOA is just easier to operate and by only having 1, it's one less "hard spot" on the top of the shoe (Some shoes I've tried had 2 BOA dials and I could feel where the dials where and it was very uncomfortable). Not only do these shoes fit me reasonably well, the sole is a very attractive and "stiff enough" carbon weave pattern. So kudos to Specialized for delivering a cost-effective road shoes for this big foot!

Lems Primal 2 (Size 48 regular)
No, these aren't bike shoes. No, they don't look cool. No, the don't have squishy soles. But I freakin' love these shoes and my feet really hate being in anything else. As you can see, the toe box of these shoes is actually shaped about the same as my actual foot, unlike any road shoe I've ever seen. I long for the day when a company makes a road shoe that's actually shaped like my foot... w/o having to spend $1k for custom road shoes that are actually shaped like my foot

*****************************************************

I've tried multiple other brands of shoes and they've all been returned, including Fizik, Bontrager, and Giro. These three brands all make great, super comfy shoes, but I wasn't able to find anything remotely wide enough in those brands. The only shoe I haven't tried is the Sidi Mega, of which I have owned Sidi's before. Some say they're perfectly wide, other's not-so-much. They certainly don't look wide in the toe box, but who knows.

So, fellow big foot... how about you? Have you found a shoe that fits or are you on the endless pursuit to find a shoe you don't hate... or until your money is gone, which ever comes first?

Last edited by PoorInRichfield; 06-09-20 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 06-09-20, 08:22 PM
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I recently went through a similar dilemma, however, I'm a size 12. I went with Shimano R171 and they are spot on. They have a fit system that allows you to snug the shoe up for width. The size conversion was perfect on their recommendation, it wasn't 2 sizes too small as per my usual experience. Google the reviews.
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Old 06-09-20, 08:49 PM
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I'm size US 12, and I fit a 47 (Eur). Is it possible the 48 is too small for you?
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Old 06-09-20, 08:54 PM
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I wear 14 or 15, depending on the manufacturer. I ride ATACs. The most comfortable shoe I've worn is a size 15 Keen Austin but they no longer make the cycling version of it and their current crop of sandal MTB shoes are inexplicably narrow. I recently got some Five-Tens in a 15. They are... adequate. I can feel some of my middle toes on the end. I've got to find a place that carries Lake shoes to try one. I do have some winter boots in a 50 so I can wear heavy socks. I might like a 49 with thin socks. I have one pair of road shoes - Bontrager - in a 49 that are pretty comfortable. I'll keep an eye on this post!
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Old 06-09-20, 09:42 PM
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bigd777
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look into lake shoes
they make wide shoes
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Old 06-10-20, 12:53 AM
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I have a "D+" foot around size 45EU. Shoes I have are the Specialized Comp Wide, Sidi Genius Mega, Giro Terraduro HV (high volume MTB) and recently got a pair of Lake MX241 Wide. The Sidi's are probably a touch narrower than the Specialized. I had to stretch them out a bit and they now work ok for less than 50 mile rides. In longer rides I get a little bit of soreness around the base of 5th metatarsal. The Lakes though are working great so far. To the point that I put SPD pedals on my road bike. The MX241 (MTB) and CX241 (road) have two BOA dials, with one of them dedicated to the forefoot that you can independently loosen up around the base of the toes for extra room. That has been a godsend for me, specially in longer rides when your foot swells a little bit. They are not cheap, but maybe worth try.
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Old 06-10-20, 07:10 AM
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PoorInRichfield
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Originally Posted by Outrider1 View Post
I went with Shimano R171 and they are spot on.
Shimano is the one major brand I have not tried yet. I think their S-Phyre shoes look amazing and I've read that they are roomy in the toe box. The thing that's keeping me from trying them is $$$. Lots of $$$$

Originally Posted by reverborama View Post
I've got to find a place that carries Lake shoes to try one.
I'm not sure that there are too many LBS's that stock Lake shoes... I know for sure there are no shops near me that do. As such, I always recommend that big foot shoe buyers look for online stores that offer free shipping both ways. If you can find the shoes you're looking for on Amazon, that can help as even if the seller doesn't offer free return shipping, there are many local places you can take your Amazon package to return it w/o paying a shipping fee, like Kohl's Department Stores and the UPS Store.

If you go the Lake route, spend a LOT of time reading their web site to understand the different fit styles they have and use their fit guide to hopefully increase the chances that the shoes you order from them are a good fit.
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Old 06-10-20, 07:17 AM
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Why did you not get a Lake model that features the wide options? I tried several shoes as well and pretty much won't use anything but Lake at this point. They are heavy though. Don't they have on their website very detailed instructions and templates for measuring your foot to order the right size?
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Old 06-10-20, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I'm size US 12, and I fit a 47 (Eur). Is it possible the 48 is too small for you?
Wondering the same thing, as I have big toe box 13/12.5 feet (one foot is half a size larger, which makes it even more fun) and wear 48 wide Shimano and Lake shoes. For winter I find the Lake MXZ300 in a 50 wide allows extra sock layers with passable, but not ample width.

Definitely recommend going through Lake’s sizing instructions. Even then, most bike shoes appear to top out at 48 or 50, so good luck. My boss wears 15s and cannot find decent bike shoes.
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Old 06-10-20, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 55murray View Post
Why did you not get a Lake model that features the wide options? I tried several shoes as well and pretty much won't use anything but Lake at this point. They are heavy though. Don't they have on their website very detailed instructions and templates for measuring your foot to order the right size?
Perhaps my original post wasn't clear... I did use Lake's sizing template and while my foot is kinda wide (D-ish width), their site didn't require me to get a wide width in the CX237. Perhaps a wide might work, but $$$... I can only experiment with shoe sizes as budget allows and I've spent a LOT on return shipping

Also note that I wrote, "They fit my foot reasonably well and are comfortable for the most part." The pointy toe of the shoe is the reason my toes are pushed together, that's an issue with the last (shoe shape template) used to make the sure. Sure, I could buy a shoe that's way too large to reduce my toes being pushed together, but that creates other issues.

One challenge I have is that while my fore foot (across the base of my toes) is relatively wide, my heal is not. Companies like Giro offer an HV (High Volume) shoe as their answer to wide shoes, but those don't work for me. High volume shoes make my heal slip because I often can't tighten the shoes enough due to the volume.

Have any of you tried the Shimano SH-RC500, the mid-level S-Phyre shoe? Amazon has them with free return shipping and they aren't too insanely priced. The don't come in a wide version, so I'm not sure if it's even worth trying them...



****** EDIT *****
Aw, shoot... answering my own question. At least one reviewer for the Shimano SH-RC500 on PerformanceBike stated...

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Old 06-10-20, 09:10 AM
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Im a 14 and use size 50. Ive tried a couple 48s before in stores just because they were there, but I couldnt even fully fit my foot in. I was like a stepsister trying that glass slipper.

Louis Garneau Granite MTB shoe in size 50 works great. Its stiff enough for what I need and has been 0 trouble for a almost 4 years now. I actually need new shoes since the soles of mine are wearing down from use and while I want to try something different, odds are good I will just get another pair of these.
The shoe apparently widens to accommodate multiple widths.
https://garneau.com/us_en/granite-ii...-shoes-1487275
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Old 06-10-20, 09:16 AM
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PoorInRichfield
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I may have to revisit LG... looks like they've really expanded their footwear line-up since I last looked. I like the idea of their "X-Comfort Zone" as I have a small Tailor's bunion on my small toe on both feet (too much information!) My Lake's also work well for those with a Tailor's bunion as there's a vent in the shoe at that location, so I don't get a lot of pressure there (and thus pain over a long ride).

Bummer is that LG filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year... I hope they don't disappear as I like their products.

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Old 06-10-20, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
I'm not sure that there are too many LBS's that stock Lake shoes... I know for sure there are no shops near me that do. As such, I always recommend that big foot shoe buyers look for online stores that offer free shipping both ways.
FYI--At least in the US, Lake charges for shipping to you, and you have to pay to ship back to them (to a US address). But they refunded not only the price of the shoe, but also the shipping they charged me. So I was just out return shipping.

As a fellow bigfoot, I've just accepted those costs as a friction in a fashion/clothing/commerce system that was not designed to handle the outliers. Even the place in my town that stocks Lake didn't have anything bigger than a 46 wide. So ordering direct from them seemed like the best option. I would rather do business with a company like Lake or Bont, which makes wide and long across their entire model range/price range as a matter of course, compared to Shimano, who says that if you have wide, long feet, you have to pay $$$$ for S-Phyre, and even then, Shimano wide isn't really all that wide.

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Old 06-10-20, 12:02 PM
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I have similarly sized (length) feet as the OP, and SIDI's are a pretty good fit for me - I wear a 48 which is snug but comfortable. My SIDI's are 20 years old and still going strong. I recently bought a pair of Northwaves (Storm Carbon) after research led me to believe they had a bit more width than standard (e.g. non-Mega) SIDI's, so far I've been a bit disappointed with those as I do not like the fit in the toe box area. If I could do that purchase over again, I would pick up another pair of SIDI's, probably in the Mega last. I've also worn Shimano shoes (again, 19-20 years ago) and was satisfied with the fit of them in 48 back then. Those shoes, however, did not last.
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Old 06-10-20, 12:57 PM
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I don't have especially big or wide feet but do have many years on Lake shoes. (I got turned on to them by Performance when they were the Forte labled house brand.) I;d developed a simple test for shoes I could do without getting on a bike. My issue is that I ride toes down, especially standing. So the test - I go to the checkout counter, lean forward, hands on the counter, and stand on tiptoes. (THink ballet point shoes.) Comfortable?

Cheap Lake shoes pass that test better than any other shoe I've tried. As Forte, I used to pay ~$70. As Lakes, $90-110. I can ride hard, mountainous country on a 42-23 fix gear low without issue - except the straps! For pulling up that hard and for that long (30,000' of climbing in 7 days several times on Cycle Oregon and climbs up to 16 miles) I started having the choice between blisters rubbed through and deformed toenails or the feeling of near broken bone from the straps over the bones of my foot. (Going on long after I got off the bike and taking me to yet another course of antibiotics.)

With an attitude of something between desperation and disgust, I cut off the straps on the fix gear Lakes, went to Tandy Leather and got grommets, the installation kit and laces. Not a pretty job, (Don't use tbe aluminum 1-piece grommets. Get the 2-piece brass.) But comfort? Wow! I'm still riding those shoes 6 years later and still love them (except I have the lousy aluminum grommets). Did the same for my geared bike shoes with brass, Sweet! When I get time, more of my shoes will get the same treatment.

It's the difference between going to a department store and buying a suit as an oddly proportioned man and going to a men's shop, buying the same suit, putting it on, having them pin and mark where to let out, waiting a week for the sewing and having a sit that fits. Only here, you ave to spend $20 for the first pair of shoes, >$10 per thereafter and sit down and install them for a few hours. (The work you are doing will outlast the velcro on the straps you are replacing so If you keep good shoes, it's not wasted,)

Oh, and the Lakes - those cheap pairs last ridiculously long. My first (Performance) pair finally started having cleat bolt insert issues at 10 years as all-weather commuters on the fix gear. Many cleat changes. I had a cobbler put sole rubber around the cleats to make them walkable. Did the same with the replacements. I bought that first pair in 2003. Maybe 27,000 miles between the two? That first laced pair has nearly all of 17,000 miles.

So, like I said, no advice for large feet other than adding laces to a pair with lasts that work could make a big difference.

Ben
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Old 06-10-20, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mprince View Post
My SIDI's are 20 years old and still going strong.
Problem is that the SIDI's you knew and what they are now are not the same. I, too, had a pair of SIDI's that I loved that were actually made of leather (ooops, I just dated myself!) Today, with the exception of Lake, pretty much all cycling shoes are made from synthetic materials. While there are some advantages to synthetics, the huge disadvantage is that synthetic materials don't stretch and conform to the oddities of your foot shape like real leather shoes do. Therefore, if your synthetic shoes don't quite fit right on day 1, they won't like fit well on day 1,001 either. It'd be great if a new pair of SIDI's fit just like your older pair, but I'm willing to bet they don't... regrettably.
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
So, like I said, no advice for large feet other than adding laces to a pair with lasts that work could make a big difference.
Ben
Yeah, my Lake's are made like tanks... I don't doubt they'll last long if I actually bother to take care of them properly Since they're real leather, I'm supposed to clean them and treat the leather, but so far that hasn't happened. (Hence the trade-off with synthetic shoe materials... no need to treat them at the expense of good fit.)
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Old 06-11-20, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
Problem is that the SIDI's you knew and what they are now are not the same. I, too, had a pair of SIDI's that I loved that were actually made of leather (ooops, I just dated myself!) Today, with the exception of Lake, pretty much all cycling shoes are made from synthetic materials. While there are some advantages to synthetics, the huge disadvantage is that synthetic materials don't stretch and conform to the oddities of your foot shape like real leather shoes do. Therefore, if your synthetic shoes don't quite fit right on day 1, they won't like fit well on day 1,001 either. It'd be great if a new pair of SIDI's fit just like your older pair, but I'm willing to bet they don't... regrettably.
My SIDI's are "new" enough to be made of Lorica, which doesn't stretch. I just bought replacement insoles from SIDI for them (Energy 2 shoes) and they "fit like a glove" so I'm fairly confident that new SIDI's will fit much like my trusted pair. In any case, I will find out as I will be ordering a new pair soon.

Your experience is helpful though, and as a result I am also considering other brands.
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Old 06-11-20, 06:51 AM
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PoorInRichfield
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Originally Posted by mprince View Post
I will find out as I will be ordering a new pair soon.
Be sure to report back here when you get them! I'll admit that looks-wise, I just love SIDIs... they look fast!
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Old 06-11-20, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by MiPeGr View Post
Even the place in my town that stocks Lake didn't have anything bigger than a 46 wide.
On a bike tour through Germany I stopped in a couple of shoe stores and simply asked "Fünfzig?" The answer was always "Nein."
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Old 06-11-20, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
They certainly don't look wide in the toe box, but who knows.

So, fellow big foot... how about you? Have you found a shoe that fits or are you on the endless pursuit to find a shoe you don't hate... or until your money is gone, which ever comes first?
I don't have Large feet, 44-45 but I have been in Primal2 and Altra shoes for a good many years now. so much so that Bicycling shoes are just not going to work for me.

although having smaller feet does allow me to size up to gain some, but then they feet terrible too.

I think the first company that makes a bike shoe with a Normal and Natural Toe Box is going to make bank! I don't think, that at my age I'll ever get my pinky toe normal again.

I really haven't been on my road bike, and I've been riding my Mountain bike in my Altra Torins.

Last edited by Metieval; 06-11-20 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 06-11-20, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
I think the first company that makes a bike shoe with a Normal and Natural Toe Box is going to make bank! I don't that at my age I'll ever get my pinky toe normal again.
Yeah, I've got to wonder if there may be a niche market for cyclists looking for shoes that don't actually destroy one's feet for the sake of aesthetics of the shoe. Heck, I'm not even talking about big-foot shoes, just shoes that are actually shaped like human feet!

I'm pretty sure most people don't give a single thought to their feet until shoes have mangled their feet and they wonder why... at which point there isn't a lot that can be done to undo the damage. Cycling shoes are the last type of shoe in my world that don't have wide, natural shaped toe boxes... simply because I can't find any shoes that do.
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Old 06-11-20, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by reverborama View Post
On a bike tour through Germany I stopped in a couple of shoe stores and simply asked "Fünfzig?" The answer was always "Nein."
Absolutely...about 15 years ago, when I was gearing up for a long-distance backpacking trip, it took me longer than it should have to stop asking "do you have X in a 14" and start asking, "what do you have in a 14"?

(Side note: Vasque Breeze GTX fit my feet like a glove...no break-in necessary, and happiness for 100's of miles. Sadly, I outgrew those, and they changed the last for the newer GTX II and GTX III models...still haven't found anything better than the originals.)

On to the topic at hand: my Bont Riot+ MTB's in a 49 Wide arrived yesterday, and they're just barely the right length, and a bit too narrow. Gonna see if the 50 Wide gives me just that extra bit of room such that heat molding them will get me the fit that I want.

For reference, I did trace and measure my feet according to the procedures that Bont and Lake describe. According to Lake, I'm a 47 Wide. According to Bont, I'm a 48 Standard. Neither of those things are true.

Maybe we should all be posting tracings of our feet to compare actual foot shape to shoe sizing in different brands.
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Old 06-11-20, 06:09 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
I'm pretty sure most people don't give a single thought to their feet until shoes have mangled their feet and they wonder why... at which point there isn't a lot that can be done to undo the damage.
I've finally come to peace with being the big (a.k.a. fat) dude. But there's no way I'm going to let myself be the big dude with f'd up feet.
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Old 06-11-20, 07:13 PM
  #24  
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Shoes; the bane of the ample footed.
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Old 06-12-20, 07:48 AM
  #25  
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From the thread title I was certain this was gonna be another “don’t shave your butt” story...
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