Too Much to Sandal

Lei ChicIt was love at first sight.

One glance leaves you giddy. You are head over heels, already peeping into your future together as a pair: soulful romantic dinners, parties with friends, getaways to big cities wedged in between weekends along the ocean.

Then one unforgivable sentence drives a stiletto right into your heart.

"Sorry, we don't have that in a size 7."

The shoe may not fit, but that doesn't mean you won't try to wear it. Will that bargain buy really change to fit your feet, or will you end up blistered, and burying it in the closet?

We asked Nordstrom Women's Shoe Manager Mike Wong, and cobbler Bob LoPresti of Joe Pacific Shoe Repair on Queen Street, for tips to keep you from feeling like a heel.

1 – Should I go up a size, or down? If you have the option, Wong says accomodate your bigger foot. It's easier to pad the other shoe to fit than to stretch a smaller one. This doesn't mean you can make a size 8 work on your size 6 peds, but you should be as close to your actual size as possible.

2 – What if smaller is the only option? Most shoes can be stretched, but there is a limit. Leather gives more than synthetics. Width is easier to stretch than length. LoPresti says even with adaptable shoes, you can only go a maximum of a half-size longer. And if you plan to break them in with the old "socks in the shoes in my living room trick," LoPresti says keep in mind it takes eight hours of intense, constant work before the shoe doesn't spring back.

3 – What problems probably won't go away? Watch where the width of your foot hits. Wong says if your foot slides forward, it will just get worse with wear and time. LoPresti says he sees a lot of people trying to work their way into pointy toe shoes. But stretching the point won't make a difference, because your foot stops at the widest part.

4 – I always have problems finding a good fit. What's going on? You may have two different sized feet. Wong says a surprising number of people have a left or right that's more than a size-and-a-half larger! Nordstrom will accomodate that difference by selling you two differently sized shoes. Wong also suggests you get measured every time you shop because shoe size, like the rest of you, can change with weight gain or loss, pregnancy, athletic activity and even more.

5 – What if the problem isn't size? Sometimes the discomfort comes from height. LoPresti can knock down that heel to a more comfortable level. He says a half-inch is usually enough to make all the difference. He's also able to repair the soles, heels, and almost every part of the old reliable, comfy strappys you've worn into the ground. The only pair of shoes he says he can't work with are Eckos.

Nordstrom on 1519 Kapiolani Blvd. is open Monday – Saturday from 9:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 808.953.6100
Joe Pacific Shoe Repair is located on 126 Queen St., Suite 110. It's open Tuesday – Friday 8:30-4:30 p.m.and Saturday 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. 808.524.7463