I recently outgrew my loyally serviceable (and rather unassuming) pair of blue Timberland shoes--my toes push, petulantly, up against the edge of the tip of the shoe, and then hurt later. Being naturally mistrustful of any shoes not of that species, shoe shopping is a rather challenging experience for me (especially as the only shoe store I trusted, Shoe Pavilion, liquidated some time back).
As a result of SP's liquidation, I'm forced to go to the cheaper Payless Shoes down the road, where the selection leaves much to be wanted. After two torturous hours of forcing my feet into shoes which didn't fit and made me only more violently regretful that I'd outgrown my good old blue shoes, I settled for a pair of sneakers (sans shoelaces, of course, since I'm too lazy to tie shoes) but with a tongue, which I found useless and rather annoying as well. I'm not sure what the purpose of shoe tongues are, but they are a bother if you're just trying to slip into the shoe--if all I want to do is get into the shoe, why do I have to deal with an utterly purposeless piece of material scrunching and slowing me down? Sorry for the rant on shoe tongues.
I didn't leave utterly devoid of hope for the shoe market, however, as I was able to find a decent pair of dirt-brown sandals which were very nice and comfortable (if, as my mom put it, a "bit masculine"). Here are my tips for shoe makers if they want me to buy their shoes:
1. Focus on comfort, not looks. As long as you don't put bright pink glitter or Hannah Montana on my shoe, I don't care what it looks like.
2. Make more shoes that don't require tying knots. Who needs shoelaces?
3. Try to ensure that the heel or back part of the shoe isn't too loose. I never can find a shoe that sticks on my foot properly.
4. Build to last! I've seen too many cheap shoes fall apart within months.
5. If you want to get anyone from Seattle to buy your shoes, I have three tips: Waterproof. Waterproof. Waterproof.