We all know the saying, “walk a mile in my shoes.”

While this is entirely metaphoric, walking a mile in my shoes is a very different walk.

I saunter through life on a left foot that is a size 8.5 and a right foot that is a whopping size 3.

Yes, you read that right.

I have two drastically different-sized feet, am missing a big toe on that little size 3, and walking a mile in shoes that don’t fit right is not the most comfortable thing.

I can’t complain; I was told I wouldn’t be able to walk and now here I am proudly lifting weights, running triathlons, and finally fulfilling my dream of shredding at ski mountains.

I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to ski safely and comfortably but a few friends along the way have made it possible.

Life With Two Different Sized Feet

The question I get asked the most often is: “What do you do about shoes?”

For the most part, I wear 7 pairs of socks on my ‘Lil’ Foot’ and shove it into a size 8.5 shoe with my other foot with some socks shoved into the front of the shoe. When it came time to run a triathlon, Fleet Feet in Portland helped me out with two different-sized shoes without breaking the bank.

That’s the tough part: Buying two different-sized shoes and actually being able to afford it.

I recently learned how to ski and once I realized this was now going to be a part of my life, I bought all the gear I needed to be able to ski at my own leisure without having to rent. The one problem that did arise was one that I expected: What the heck do I do about two different-sized ski boots?

For my first two ski seasons, I rented ski boots and Sunday River would give me the same size boot but would put a smaller shell in the right boot to fit it down to my Lil’ Foot. This worked great, however, renting boots every time you ski is extremely expensive.

I needed to buy my own pair. I was completely lost, frustrated, and cried a lot throughout the search.

Arlberg Ski and Surf in Portland, Maine

Positive recommendations brought me into the doors of Arlberg Ski and Surf Shops in Portland, Maine, and my ski life was changed drastically for the better.

Marc checked out my foot, at first not believing that the size difference that was voiced over the phone was actually real. As he watched me take 7 pairs of socks off of one foot, he probably thought to himself: Dang, this chick was not kidding.

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We tried on different boots on my big foot and found a pair that was comfortable but most important, affordable and within my budget. These were the boots we knew we were going to work with.

Knowing I was an extremely special case, we set up an appointment with Shawn to do a custom fitting. This is when my world really got rocked.

Custom Ski Boot Fitting at Arlberg in Portland, Maine

I went to my appointment giddy, nervous, and a little bit of every emotion. It has been a long and frustrating road to getting my deformity to be comfortable while skiing and I was feeling deflated. Arlberg gave me a shimmer of hope.

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I introduced Marc to Lil’ Foot and he got right to work. This part goes way over my head but essentially he got a molding of some sort of my foot, traced it, studied my ridiculously high arch, and made a custom foot bedding in 30 minutes that molded to my foot perfectly.

The foot bedding can go in and out of any ski boot, making it worth the price since I get to keep it forever, even as I buy new ski boots as I progress as a skier.

He put the filler into the boots Shawn helped me pick out, I stuck my feet in, we buckled them up, I stood up and almost cried.

Even though I’ve been able to ski, it has been extremely uncomfortable for my Lil’ Foot. As soon as I stood up in these boots, I felt a world of difference.

I told him the only issue I had now was that boots and skis are too heavy for my little leg, so I get really sore and tired way too soon. Without expecting it, they helped me out with that issue, too.

New Skis at Arlberg in Portland, Maine

I walked in with my old Head skis to make sure the bindings fit with my new boots and both Marc and Shawn immediately started shaking their heads. I had just complained about how heavy my skis were then walked in with one of the heaviest pairs you could own.

Marc handed me a new pair of skis and said, “how do these feel?”. Oh god… Those felt good.

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Knowing my frustration with my foot and wanting to help a special gal out, they gave me a sweet deal for the ski boots, custom foot bedding, and brand new skis, all within my budget.

I never imagined I could afford something like this but they blew my mind and made it impossible to say no.

When I left the store, my eyes were brimming with tears. It’s always emotional when I’m able to do things with my feet I never imagined were possible, but it’s even more special when kind people validate me, show me they care, and help me make the impossible possible.

I can now hit the slopes knowing my Lil’ Foot is safe and comfortable and it’s all thanks to Arlberg Ski & Surf Shop in Portland, Maine.

“Thank you” doesn’t even begin to suffice.


In Maine, it's not hard to find businesses, restaurants, and shops with great customer service. It could be we are that way because of the many tourists that visit us. Or it just might be our stubborn Yankee roots that we like to treat people the way we want to be treated.

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