“ Brand: Clarks / Type: Casual Shoes „
I've never had particularly pretty feet. Even as a child I found the pretty shoes I liked in Clarks were more often than not out of bounds because they didn't have it in stock in a wider fitting and as I get older I value comfort over and above any other factor when shopping for shoes. This means I tend to look at wide fitting shoes first even although I can still wear some standard width shoes, purely because I find them more comfortable.
In October last year I decided to buy a new pair of walking shoes. I have a really good pair of walking shoes I bought from Clarks last year which I love but which are unfortunately not wide fitting. This isn't usually a problem however I had a trip planned to Boston at the end of November last year and my feet always swell on long flights and worse, take at least a day or two to return to their normal size. I reasoned if I bought wide fitting shoes which were designed to be easy on and off then that wouldn't be a problem.
I browsed several websites before finally settling on Fine Rain shoes from the K Shoes range at Clarks. The shoes cost £54.99 which was right at the top of my budget. I ordered them online and picked them up at my local branch of Clarks, only paying once I was happy they were what I was looking for.
~~Style of the Shoe~~
These are walking shoes and as such are not sexy or something you would wear treading the red carpet but for everyday use they are fine. They have a large side section which fastens by Velcro above the tongue and feature decorative stitching on black leather uppers.
The sole is a slight wedge and there are some grooves on the sole for grip and the shoe has a soft cotton lining.
The shoes probably are designed to be worn with trousers and certainly look best worn that way.
I picked these shoes because they were an EE fitting which I knew would be able to cope with my swollen feet on the flight and would also allow me to wear thick socks should the weather be cold in Boston. Unfortunately, I failed to wear the shoes when doing much in the way of walking before I left - I wore them several times but generally just on trips to the supermarket where I had taken the car anyway.
This was a mistake as I soon learned when we got to Boston. We were staying in the Back Bay area of the city and the easiest way to get about and to see things was to walk, and it was a good 25 minute walk to the downtown part of the city. On one day we did a circuitous round trip which wouldn't have bothered my feet in the least if I had been wearing my normal walking shoes or even Crocs but in these shoes I ended up with feet which were aching.
On this particular day we had walked over a large number of cobbled pavements and I honestly felt they were the reason my feet were giving me so much grief. I didn't have much choice but to wear them again however as we were only on a 3 night break and as a result I hadn't packed an alternative pair of shoes.
Unfortunately every other day I ended up in the same position, with painful feet at exactly the same place on the arch of the foot. I have never experienced pain like that when wearing shoes and on closer inspection I suspect it's the design of the sole of the shoe that is to blame as it doesn't seem to support the arch of my foot at all leading to the pain when I walk.
On my return home I decided to persevere with the shoes however and found generally they were okay so long as I wasn't doing a lot of walking and the weather was fairly cool. This lulled me into a false sense of security so I decided to wear the shoes when I went to Las Vegas at the end of December - after all I would be driving most places there and once again they would handle my swollen feet after the flight no problem.
So far so good, except after a day in Vegas the same pain started to bother me, along with a really unpleasant itching sensation on the arch of my foot. I was so fed up I went to the Crocs store to buy a pair of Crocs and slipping my aching feet into them was like placing my feet onto clouds - it was bliss!
I have worn the Fine Rain shoes since I got back home and find they are great if I am not planning on doing a lot of walking. I think the far warmer weather in Las Vegas probably didn't help the problem I have with these shoes and suspect the fabric lining doesn't help the foot breath as well as with leather lined shoes, making my feet sweat more.
Overall however I have been disappointed with these shoes. They do look nice enough for everyday shoes but the level of support and comfort has been very poor. I have purchased far cheaper shoes which offer better levels of comfort and the only thing I will say in favour of the Fine Rain shoes is the quality of construction. After three months ownership they still look almost like new with no scuffing on the leather and not much in the way of wrinkles in the leather. They are easy to clean too.
I will be keeping these shoes but only to wear when the weather is cold and the lining will help keep my feet warm - and when I am not planning on doing a huge amount of walking. Sadly for me, the search for a good pair of wide fitting walking shoes continues.