Shoe lover Carrie Duncan spent a lifetime suffering for her style.
Whether hobbling in pain, searching in vain or shelling out for shoes that ‘almost worked’, Carrie’s bunions have blighted her passion for fashion.
Carrie admitted: “I’ve had trouble with my feet for as long as I can remember. It has affected my life quite considerably.”
The retired receptionist has felt envious of women in high heels, been carried from race course to restaurant by strangers, buried her bunions in sand to hide them from holidaymakers and lost days soaking her aching feet.
However, her lifelong quest for comfortable, fashionable footwear brought her the most anguish.
She explained: “Like a lot of women, I adore shoes. I really do. I love fashion. But I’ve been crippled, I mean, really crippled by some of the shoes I have worn.”
Carrie developed bunions in her late teens. “By my 20s the pain was agonising,” she explained, “but in your teens and 20s it has to be fashion first.
“I could never find comfortable, fashionable shoes in the shops. For so long women’s shoes were cheap, plastic fashion things in different colours. They were all so narrow in the toe box and crunched toes together. Sometimes it hurt me so much I could have killed someone.
“Even today, women’s shoes can feel soft but if they press on a bunion at a certain point you can wear them for a couple of hours and need days to get over the pain.
“I don’t want to think how many times I’ve put a pair on in a shop, thought they felt great, then got them home and they’ve killed me. I’ve returned and gifted more shoes than I care to remember.
“My son was married 5 years ago and finding a dress shoe for his wedding was impossible. It took weeks and in the end I spent about £300 on a soft leather pair which just about got me through the day.”
The 69-year-old from Goule, near Hull, blames male shoe designers for her footwear problems.
“A lot of women’s shoe designers are men. It just doesn’t work,” she said. “They don’t understand our feet.
“Women with bunions are especially ignored and the shoes these men design for women make bunions worse.
“I don’t think they realise how many women have bunions and how painful they are.
“They should listen to their customers, but they won’t. Bunions make feet look horrible. It’s an ugly subject to them. There’s a stigma around them.
“As an example, there was a lot of talk about Victoria Beckham’s bunions and pictures in the papers showing her with bunions.
“She was wearing beautiful strappy sandals and her bunions were pointed out as if they were something for her to be ashamed of. It was as if she shouldn't be wearing sandals because she has bunions.
“If younger generations would be open about having them too, then bunions would become socially acceptable.”
Carrie’s lifelong quest for comfortable, fashionable footwear came to a fitting end when she found Calla. The designer shoe company’s hand-crafted footwear for women with bunions has put an end to her woes.
Carrie said: “They give you style, comfort and choice. You do need a choice. Women like choice. I’ve bought fifteen pairs since I found the brand. Now I don't have to choose comfort over style or the other way around.”