Diane runs in the fast lane despite petite feet

Diane James, a Vaal Triangle singer, whose tiny feet get quite a lot of attention.

Retha Fitchat

VANDERBIJLPARK. – Readers met Diane James 14 years ago in MooiVaal Media’s publications as the woman with the smallest feet in the Vaal region – probably even in South Africa.

She has also appeared in a TV program, Rapport and Sunday Times, thanks to her petite feet. Her feet are exactly 21 cm long and she wears a tiny number one shoe – usually the size worn by a 6 year old girl!

“Wherever I buy shoes, the sales ladies are shocked when I take my shoes off and try on their size one. I get reactions from ‘Awwww’ to hysterical giggling most of the time, and they usually call other staff to come and see. I am used to this reaction, so I don’t feel offended at all,” says Diane (52), who regularly performs as a singer at local events.

Finding shoes can be a challenge, especially evening shoes, says Diane. The biggest problem is finding an “adult” shoe – one with no butterflies or colourful ribbons. Most Chinese shops, however, do cater for Diane’s smaller foot.

“I am short – 1.58m. I do love a higher heel simply because it looks so pretty on my feet, and I love dancing. Also when I sing, I like to wear a boot with a higher heel, but I have to admit that flatter shoes are more comfortable, considering I am getting older. My favourite shoes are my slippers, and I love simply being barefoot. My shoes and my bra are the first things to go after work. I am an au pair in Vaalpark, and although my feet work hard, I love working with the children.

“On the funny side, I have been blessed with bigger boobs than most women, so I refer to myself as ‘top loaded.’ Having tiny feet on top of that has its disadvantages, and balance can become an issue. I have to admit that I have fallen a few times. I think I have had more grazed knees than most toddlers. Standing on one foot to slip a jean on simply doesn’t work without holding on to something or someone. The pedestal feet are just too small for balance,” she says.

Her small feet, however, never held her back from taking part in sport and other fun events. Diane was a very good athlete and netball player in her school years.

Originally from East London, Diane moved to Vanderbijlpark in 1983 after finishing matric. She worked for 20 years at Allied Bank – which eventually became Absa Bank.

“Many years back I was sent home by a bank manager to ‘put decent shoes on.’ The uniform code was a court shoe with a slight heel. I was very embarrassed as it occurred in front of many staff members. However, he couldn’t apologise enough when he heard of my dilemma in finding shoes for my feet!”

Diane’s father wore a size 6 shoe, which is small for a man. Her sisters all wear sizes 3 to 5, but her mom wears a size 6.

“When I was younger, a doctor once said that I would have problems with my little feet when I get older, and yes the weight does climb with the years, as most of us experience. I get a lot of remarks like, ‘It’s impossible to give normal birth with little feet like that.’ It apparently has something to do with hip and pelvis size during dilation.

“However, I gave normal birth to four babies, weighing between 3 and 4 kilograms. I can honestly say that my feet give me no problems at all. I am most grateful for that,” says Diane.

Diane’s small size 1 foot next to a friend’s size 7.


Retha Fitchat

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