Can “Gapping” be Controlled by Wearing Narrower Shoes?

To:  The Shoe Lady
Subject: Width

I require narrow width, as medium is full of gaps! My actual size is 12 1/2, which is already too large.  Smaller sizes have choices of 1/2 sizes AND width!  When a STYLISH or COLORED choice is advertised, it is immediately out of stock or backordered!  Of course, we too want to purchase a variety of shoes.  Please help us!



Dear Ellen-

There are a lot of causes for why your shoes gap.  Don’t assume that your shoes are too long or too narrow.  It could be that your toe length is not in the standard ratio of the “heel to ball” length.  It could be that your feet are flatter than average or arches are higher than average.  These are the most common reasons for gapping.  You will need to come to a clearer understanding of the shape of your feet and how that shape differs from the average shape.  Then you will need to pick styles that accommodate your foot shape.
I suggest you look for styles in size 12N to start.   
Bella Vita, Softwalk and Trotters are good brands to consider.
I could not agree more that it isn’t fair to offer shoes in size 5.5 which is 4 half sizes from the AVERAGE size 9, but nothing in size 12.5 which is also 4 half sizes from the average size.  Support the companies that take on this battle!  It isn’t easy.  I’ve got the scars to prove it.
The Shoe Lady
13 narrow works for me!  I don’t have the luxury of vast choices to try, nor the patience to order,try,return,try…
How unfortunate for me that manufacturers are focusing on WW,WWW,WWWW .  Many women with size 13 DO HAVE NARROW FEET and want to keep it that way!  Mine used to be AAA but over the years they widened for lack of available size for me.  How rediculous about “dainty feet” – Are you kidding???   And the 13 proportion is very often wrong and ugly on the foot.  Seems they simplly make the front of the toe longer, which makes our feet look like gunboats!  Casual flats too often are too long from instep to end of toe, rather than a low cut just covering the toes- a much more attractive and better proportioned shoe.  Occasionally they get it right. 
    I’m doing fine – just wish someone was giving it more consideration for the high prices we must pay!  Women with large feet also loook for more shoes to but…Wed love to see our size 13N included in the “NEW” and WE HAVE YOUR SIZE”  ads!  And what about the newest colors?  NOPE!    What does exist I probably purchased a year or two or three ago…  OH, well, That’s that. 

Long toes, high arches, bad sizing? Please help!

Dear Shoe Lady-
My foot measures 10.5″ long and 3.75″ wide using the methods suggested on your website.
For everyday footwear (athletic shoes, snow boots, etc) I am comfortable in a size 12 USA (tag category size 12) , or a EURO 43 in mens clogs, etc. However, when it comes to ordering heels , I am at a complete loss! For most of my life, I have been buying a size 11 USA, and just smooshing my feet into them (this doesn’t work well, and they are horribly painful within a short period of time) mostly because that is what is available without ordering special sizes. However, recently I have decided to update my shoe collection and would like to buy some heels that ACTUALLY fit me!  But, what I discovering is I don’t know what size that is! If I order a size 12 USA in a heel, my feet have plenty of room, but quite quickly I get a painful sensation in my big toe, with a lot of pressure up towards the toe nail…I assumed this was because my feet were wide, so I ordered some 12 W shoes, and I can’t keep them on my feet! There is also about an inch of space between my heel and the back of the shoe, and my foot slides easily into the front of the shoe, making walking difficult.

However, after measuring my foot I see that I am close to a narrow?!   This surprises me as I was thinking ordering an 11W would be the next thing to try! I also have long toes, with my second toe being the longest point on my foot with pretty high arches. I would really appreciate advice on sizes to try…I am not sure if I am wearing the wrong size shoes or if I should be trying to correct with inserts, pads, etc. Thank you so much in advance for any advice!!


My Dear Alicia –

I’m sure you’ve been told that having a second toe longer than your big toe is a sign of intelligence?

You will need it to figure out this problem.  It is all about the toes.  Although the rest of the population gets to pretend that shoes are designed by the length of your foot from heel to toe, you, my dear, must face up to the hard cold fact that shoes are really designed based on the measurement from the heel to the ball of your foot.  Shoe designers assume the toes are normal length.  So if your shoes are extra short or extra long, there is trouble.  Your best bet is to go into a shoe store that measures feet with what is called a Brannock device.  This device measures from your heel to the ball of your foot and tells you your true size.  I’m going to assume that you probably really are a size 11 or an 11.5 from the ball of your foot to your heel.  The inch of space you say you have between your heel and the back of your shoe worries me, though.  This suggests your foot might even be shorter, like a size 10.

Whether you are a size 10N or a size 11N, you will need to pick your pumps based on style.  You will probably do best with open toe pumps and sandals.Aerosoles Argintina Red

Colorful Creations Leah Gold

Search on for “peep toe” or “open toe”.  You may find closed toe pumps that are longer to fit your toes but to keep them on, look for a “mary jane” style strap over the arch of your foot.  You are not going to find a perfect size that always fits because the style and shape of the shoe is so important to you.  Sorry.  But I know your superior intelligence will help you rise above this small frustration in life.

The Shoe Lady


Ladies Size 12 Platform Sandal – Specific Style Request

Q: Dear Shoe Lady, I am a ladies size 12. I am looking for a platform sandal preferably wood and leather with an adjustable ankle strap. But the front of the sandal has to be high off the ground, only slightly lower than the heel. I want a backsloping telescopic heel, but not too narrow. The sandal should be a rocker that is comfortable to wear all day long. I want to wear it barefoot or with pantyhose. With jeans, slacks skirt or dress.

A: Hi Katrina, Thank you for contacting us! One of the best parts about answering questions is searching for the closet match. I could browse styles for hours. What I came up with are some selections that are in the spirit of your original vision. I hope this will be a good starting point for you.

Samanta Zon Black at

Zon by Samanta is a High Heel Dressy Sandal

Zon by Samanta boasts a double buckle for ankle and toebox adjustments, as well as extra padding in the footbed. This shoe can easily be dressed up or down with skirts or jeans. On sale at!

Review all the Samanta brand shoes! One of my favorite brands.

All the best,
The Shoe Lady

Australian compared to US sizes

Q: Is it true that Australian sizes are one size smaller than u.s sizes? Therefore if I wear an 11 in aus should I order a 12 in U.S sizes?

A: I have seen more U.S. sizes that when converting to Australian sizes you should buy one to one and half sizes larger, and some that have equal conversions. If you are browsing our website for U.S. sizes, we have a chart that list sizes in both centimeters and inches. Shoe conversion is never an exact science due to the different styles, and manufacturing procedures. Maybe one day down the road we will get more consistency. I highly recommend measuring the lengths of your feet for your target shoe size!

Aerosoles Becade Brown Fabric at

Becade by Aerosoles is a Low Heel Casual Pump

Another new arrival. Great sensible shoe with style. Available sizes 5 – 12 and medium and wide!

I hope this helps,
The Shoe Lady

$100 Shoe Shopping Spree Winner!

Isadora, in Pennsylvania, wins this week’s $100 Shoe Shopping Spree at! She will be shopping for $100 worth of shoes for her size 12W feet after winning this week’s drawing. We encourage Isadora to post pictures of her FREE shoes!

If you haven’t already Sign Up for ShoeNews for your chance to win $100 Shoe Shopping Spree!

Sofft Reiko Caramel Suede at

Reiko by Sofft is a High Heel Dressy Bootie

I just love this shoe! Had to post it!

Narrow to Wide Feet

Q: Hi! How fortunate that I finally found a shoe lady; hopefully you’ll be able to help me out. Due to some injuries and surgeries, I’ve gone from a 11 narrow to a 12-13 wide, needing extra depth. I’m already 6’1″ so don’t really like heels, plus they’re painful on feet like mine. Any suggestions for casual shoes would be appreciated. Thank you.

A: Here are some options to get you started! Casual shoes come in an array of styles, and often can complete an after five look as well. Happy searching, and I would love to know what you end up selecting.

Bella Vita Playmate Pewter Tumbled

Playmate by Bella Vita is a Low Heel Casual Loafer

Playmate in pewter by Bella Vita sports a stylish buckle to adorn this comfortable casual loafer.

Aerosoles Beccentric Grey Fabric

Beccentric by Aerosoles is a Low Heel Casual Flat

Aerosoles is known for their shoes that address both style and comfort! This ballet flat is a casual shoe that can make the transition to nighttime wear with ease.

Softwalk Treviso Dark Red

Treviso by Softwalk is a Low Heel Casual Mule

Softwalk’s Treviso in dark red has a modest heel with attention paid to the softness of the interior.

Softwalk Adora Black

Adora by Softwalk is a Low Heel Casual

Softwalk’s Adora takes its inspiration from clogs, but adds extra support with a closed heel.

The Shoe Lady

Wide widths with heels

Q: Having trouble finding a glamorous shoe with a 3 to 4 inch high heel in a size 12 ww. Can you suggest some?

A: Tell me about it! The closest heel height in our current collection for a 12ww is 2.75 inches. Here are some options that might work for you! Another possibility is doing a search for wide shoes, and consider taking them to be professionally stretched.

Andiamo Athena Black Patent White Trim

Black Patent by Andiamo is a High Heel Dressy Pump

Athena by Andiamo is accented with a patent white piping for old Hollywood glamour.

Annie Bright Gold

Bright by Annie is a High Heel Dressy Sandal

Bright dress sandal by Annie uses an embellished t-strap to add highlights to a simple and elegant design.

Annie Alvina Silver Satin

Alvina by Annie is a Mid Heel Dressy Slingback

Annie’s Alvina in silver features an extra flash of sparkle in the toebox straps.

Good luck,
The Shoe Lady

Long Narrow Feet !

Q: I have a long, narrow, foot, with one foot being a full size larger  than the other – more like a 12 AAA on one foot and 11 AAA  for the  other. You told me quite some time ago about the problem you are  having with shoe companies eliminating the narrow sizes and your hope  to find some that would be more accommodating to the needs of so many  of us. Whenever I order 12 N, I literally walk right out of both of  the shoes – a lot of the “cute” shoes only go up to 11 M (no narrows)  and I’ve ordered some of those, but in every case, have literally  “walked right out of both shoes” –  to the point where it’s almost a  danger for my foot to slip and is a huge effort even to try them out  on the carpets!

I LOVE the looks of the Naturalizer Cyanne blue denim

Naturalizer Cyanne Spring Denim -

Naturalizer Cyanne Spring Denim –

naturally, it doesn’t come in a N in the 12 and even if it did, it would probably be too wide & I’d walk out of it. My question is whether you think an 11N might “work” – not for mall or street walking, but enough so that I could cover my route when I volunteer at the hospital? Open toe shoes are not allowed and I need something that I can not only stand in, but be able to walk throughout the hospital. Sneakers don’t quite “cut it” and in the warm weather, I really like to wear a skirt occasionally and not just slacks all the time, so would like a good-looking, comfortable, shoe that is not “dangerous” for me to wear!!!!

I had wondered if the elastic vamp might be of some help in holding the shoes on and if the denim would be a soft enough fabric so that there would be some “give” to the shoe for my longer foot.

Will be interested in your opinion.

Charlotte –

I just handled a similar question. The shoe makers aren’t getting better about this.

As for trying an 11N, everytime I have made that kind of compromise myself, I’ve regretted it. If you are walking around a hospital being helpful and your toes are scrunched – you will most likely not be pleasant. You can try it. In some instances it works. But that kind of adjustment in size and width usually works for people with wider, more flaccid feet. I’m guessing yours are nerves and bones. They won’t like to be pushed around into a different shape.

Sorry I don’t have better news.

The Shoe Lady