Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Swedish Has Been

Let me introduce you to my Swedish Hasbeens.


Have you heard of them? No? They are the LEAST COMFORTABLE SHOES EVER.

Ever come across them on Pintertumblr or any fashion blog ever and thought, "Wow! They say they are handmade by elves in Sweden and, with their hefty price tag, they couldn't possibly be less than dreamlike to wear"? Seen a blogger wearing them and gone, "Well, this lady wouldn't LIE or EXAGGERATE about their comfort or wearability"?


Let me tell you. Everyone is WRONG. Whoever endorses these without a very clear asterisk that the shoes take forever to break in—and some people might not have the mental fortitude to do so—should be ridiculed and publicly shamed.

Here's the story.

I took the plunge and bought this completely innocent-looking pair a few years ago. Woven top, adjustable straps. "Self," I thought. "These are Cool Shoes. They are Worth It. They will last and pay you back in the long run with their versatility. Plus, they are made by Swedish elves."

When they arrived and I actually tried them on for the first time, I was staggered. Holy God. How can one pair of shoes be so uncomfortable? Why was the woven part digging into every conceivable part of my not-at-all-abnormal foot? Why did they sound like I was strangling hundreds of creaking floorboards with a leather noose every time I took a step?

I tried. I really did. I wore them—with socks—for weeks at the office. I hobbled until they stretched enough to be bearable on the street, and then I wore them over layers of bandaids on the subway. I've "broken in" shoes before. This was breaking ME.

After about a year, I put them away and called it quits. All those ADORABLE little bloggers were prancing around in these things, and here I was putting mine in the back of my closet and promising myself I'd eventually wear them with tights, or something. Every Google search for "swedish hasbeens jesus christ loud" or "swedish hasbeens why digging in ow" turned up nil. Why wasn't anyone talking about this? Was I weak?

Every time I pulled them out and tried them on, they sounded worse. I couldn't go two steps without wanting to die of embarrassment.

Then a few months ago, I fell in love with these babies. Could I do Swedish Hasbeens again? But look, these are slingbacks. Those won't be loud or hurt. And if I can wear them with tights and socks, they'll break in just fine. Plus, they were on sale.


Of course, they arrived and the straps were too loose. I was able to wobble around the office once or twice before my ankle buckled and I had to return to my flats. After a cobbler punched another hole tighter, they were… fine. They look good, for sure, but the dratted straps still slide down and the heels are just high enough to cause Problems if I wanted to actually walk anywhere.


Then last week, I had a stroke of brilliance about the stupid first pair. The shoes were stretched out enough (finally) to wear all day without breaking my foot or rubbing a thousand blisters everywhere. But the goddamn squeaking was impossible. Sooo, how do you fix squeaky leather? Either you wear it in or you oil it up. Lightbulb.

I lubed up my foot with lotion and then slowly and carefully rubbed it between each little braidy crossover and nook and creaky cranny. I added some Vaseline for good luck.


It actually worked. It really did. The squeaking was down to a dull roar. I could move around in public again.


The moral of the story: Swedish Hasbeens are hard to break in. In fact, if I weren't such a slave to the principle of the thing, I'm confident I would have eaten the cost and just thrown them out and never bought the second pair.

If you buy them a size down, as they recommend, the leather will scrape against your feet and pummel them into blisters and aching red parts until the straps eventually stretch out. If you buy them your actual size, the straps will be loose and you'll have to get them sorted out by a professional.

You basically can't win. I mean, I suppose I am currently winning, since I can proudly wear both pairs now. Was it worth it? Probably not. You've been warned.


Anonymous said...

Mine just came in today. I ordered my regular sandal size, and a size up, just in case. They both HURT. I never thought I had a wide foot, but these things are just digging into me. I've had these on in my house for about 5 minutes, and I just checked one of my toes to see if it was bleeding. I don't know if I have the patience you do! I think I better send these back... Thanks for posting your experience, I wondered if I was the only one.

JENNIFER N said...

Just came across your blog and this post and I so agree. I bought a pair last year and ended up throwing them out after a lot of pain. I even tried to stretch the leather by oiling up the leather and wearing them around the house with a bunch of pairs of big socks. So sad, because they're so cute.

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD! Someone is finally talking about this. I bought Swedish Hasbeens Super High slip in clogs last spring. We're now going into winter and I still haven't broken them in. Last night, when I was putting olive oil on the leather, I decided to oil up my feet and slip on the shoes. Finally, they're SOMEWHAT bearable, but goddamnit, don't even think about walking anywhere in them. It's a constant clip-clop - you feel like a horse! I don't get the amazing reviews. I wear heels almost everyday and ordered these to be my comfy casual pair. I'm keeping them just to remind myself to be more discerning with my choice of footwear.

Red Boots said...

I have just been ogling a pair on the internet, and before buying I thought I'd google and see how the sizing runs. This was the first page I clicked on to and I just want to say a massive thank you the warning and for saving me a lot of money!! Blogger of the year - I think so!

Anonymous said...

agree, and I bought a different brand but same experience


Anna said...

Red Boots, there are a few comfortable ones, but they are few and far between. The t-strap ones are great, for example! Good luck.

Holly Jackson said...

THANK YOU for posting this! Now I know.

Anonymous said...

I am so bummed I didn't read this before I purchased mine. I wore them once last night to dinner, and i have blisters all over my feet. In places I never thought i could get blisters! I am trying the socks in the house method first. BOO!!!

potimor said...

Well Two days ....and now I wear them for a whole day without problems at all. I love Them!

mayarose98 said...

I recently discovered Swedish Hasbeens and my first thought was: Oh my these are gorgeous!
I really want a pair but I'm currently looking at all the designs and prices first.
When I read your post I was so glad someone had explained my wonder of, these look uncomfortable! Although it also saddened me.
Does it depend on the style of shoe and how do other people get by? I really want a pair but sadly not if they will put me through pain!

Anna said...

Maya, yes it does depend on the style. I tried on a friend's pair of t-straps that I love and covet. But when it comes to clogs, the only truly comfortable pair I have is from Nina Z. And I've heard great things about No 6, but those are at the top of the budget. Good luck!

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