The Video Coach for the Edmonton Oilers—and one of our first Men’s Collection customers—shares his experience growing up with bigger-than-average feet.
Hi, I’m Myles. I’m 6’5” and wear a Size 15 shoe. No, this isn’t a support group, but it may as well be. Although I’ve always been the biggest person in my school, I was slow to develop into the size I am today.
It wasn’t until I had suffered a hockey dry land training injury at the age of 23 that I realized I had a bigger-than-average shoe size. The physical therapist treating me explained that the main reason for my injury was not only due to the shoes I was wearing, but the size of my shoes. He asked me when the last time was that I’d actually had my feet measured, which honestly hadn’t been since I was 18 years old.
I went to Foot Locker to get my foot sized and, much to my surprise, I was no longer a size 13—I was a size 15. I had spent the last six years of my life cramming my feet into shoes two sizes too small, partly because it was the max size most stores offered, and partly because that’s the “hockey player’s way”. (Hockey players wear skates that fit two shoe sizes smaller than they would wear on the street for the tight fit and the feel of the blade. A loose skate boot simply doesn’t cut it when you’re playing at a high level.)
At the time, I was on a hockey scholarship at Manhattanville College (I’m originally from Dauphin, Manitoba), and you’d think, given that I was in New York City, I’d have access to larger shoe selections, but that wasn’t the case. Knowing I was a true size 15, I went into well known and even some boutique shoe stores on the hunt for my size. One fond day, I had three different sales people laugh in my face when I asked if they had a size 15 running shoe. I would spend the next five years or so calling shoe stores to see if they could order in a shoe that I liked. I was also on a college budget and couldn’t afford to blow big money on shoes.
And so, since the only shoes that fit looked very much like your grandfather’s orthopedics (remember, this was in 2004 when online shopping wasn’t what it is today), I continued buying shoes that just didn’t quite work.
After I stopped playing hockey, I began a different career in hockey with the New York Rangers Hockey Club, where I started in Team Services and then became Video Analyst working directly under the Video Coach and team management. I now am, and have been for six years, the Video Coach for the Edmonton Oilers. Before games, between periods, on postgame flights, and at home, coaches consume clips of players, systems, and situations. Pregame special-teams meetings require video. It’s the primary teaching tool for players.
And now for the reason I’m here: the genuine Poppy Barley plug. Moving to Edmonton and having Poppy Barley’s Men’s line has changed my frustration with finding a shoe that is versatile, affordable, and fits me. I have been looking for a light brown dress shoe for about seven years, mostly because of the versatility of the colour. I find that I can wear The Edmonton Oxford with my game day suit, to then jump on the plane to Nashville for a three-day road trip where I’ll need them again for an on-the-road coach’s lunch.
I’ve accepted it: I’m just not that run-of-the-mill guy that can walk into any old shoe store and buy footwear off the shelf. It’s okay—I don’t hold grudges anymore. I’m bigger than that.