Specifically, my problems with finding a pair that fit.
Y'see, I have weird feet (to go with the rest of my body). They don't look that odd, until you start trying to fit them into shoes. You see:
1. My feet are very broad round the toes and very narrow at the back (yes, almost triangular).
2. My second toes are longer than my big toes, and my little toes are a pretty long way down my foot.
3. My left foot is half-a-size longer than my right, and the main body of it is a strange shape from where I broke some bones as a child and didn't find out until seven years later.
Trying to find shoes that fit has always been a nightmare.
For ten years, I have got round these problems by wearing nothing but Doc Martens. Size 6 8-hole Doc Martens fitted me perfectly - not least of all because I had callouses on my feet in all the right places. BUT! The bastards closed down their UK factory and moved production to Eastern Europe to save on costs. Fair enough, BUT at the same time or a bit later, they also changed all the sizing of their boots - without telling anyone.
So the new pair of size 6 Doc Martens my dad bought don't fit me. The reason is, despite having a UK size 6 stamped on them, they've been sized as a Continental 39 - which is actually more like a UK 5 1/2. If I try to buy a bigger size here, they'll give me a pair of boots with a size 7 stamped on them, but they'll probably be a Continental size 41 - which is more like a 6 1/2. You see my problem.
Going to another shoe manufacturer doesn't help - I already tried that over the summer. Converse All Stars (which are apparently now made by Nike and might feature sweatshop labour (which I didn't know when I bought them)) come in American sizes, and All Stars size 6 is about a UK 5 while, bizarrely, their size 7 is more like a 6 1/2. I bought the size 7 anyway and tried wearing them for a few weeks, but the fact my right shoe was patently far too big combined with the complete lack of a heel (me, complaining about the heel being too low? got to be a first!) made my Achilles tendons play up. Ecco shoes are Continental sizes again, far too narrow at the front and loose at the back (which I don't get at all - they're supposed to be shoes for people with bad feet?), and have latex soles which make my hands itch every time I try to take the shoes on or off. I can't wear trainers because they are too hot and don't have enough ankle support.
So I suppose what I'm going to have to do is to try to find a UK manufacturer of fake Doc Martens who actually manufacture their boots in UK sizes, or attempt to buy a pair of boots from continental Europe, where they might stock a size 40. I don't hold out much hope. Till then, I'm stuck walking around in my old fake Doc Martens, which let in water (and have probably been contributing to this cold-after-cold-after-cold thing I've had going on).
Anyone want a pair of "size 6" (actually Continental size 39) 8-hole Doc Martens in cherry red, worn 3 times?