Duck Feet? What to Do?

Dear Shoe Lady,

Every pair of shoes I own are too tight in the toes and too loose in the heels. This is a real problem if I want to dress up and wear pumps as the shoes with actually fall off my feet at the back yet be causing me such pain in the toes. I have bought heel grips and they changed nothing. I have doubled them up with thick tissue and still they won’t stay on my feet. I would like to dress up for a wedding and wear classic pumps. Is it possible? What can I do to my shoes to make them fit? I try different sizes in the store and I think I get one that works but 10 minutes into wearing it, it slips! argh!



Dear Ducky!

Takes one to know one!  And I do sympathize!  Here’s the deal.  It is not about your shoe SIZE, it is about learning to pick a style that matches the shape of your foot!

Heel grips are worthless.  I’ve tried them hundreds of times before I learned about fit.  I have definitely “been in your shoes”!

You say you want pumps.  You must get them wide enough at the forefoot for those web shaped toes.  Look for styles that have a wider toe box.   Also consider slingbacks, which adjust better to a narrower heel.  And, of course, mary janes which have a strap over the vamp of your foot to hold the darn shoes on!

Once you understand the physics and geometry of your situation, you will learn to choose styles with a wider toe box for toe room and a higher vamp to anchor the shoes onto your feet.  Boots, T-Strap shoes, ankle straps, etc.

Here are some styles to give you an idea.  You can definitely look glamorous at that wedding!

Best Wishes,

The Shoe Lady

Sofft Ravenna Gold at

Ravenna by Sofft is a Low Heel Dressy Sandal

Studio, black suede a Mary Jane style pump by Soft Spots

Studio, black suede a Mary Jane style pump by Soft Spots

Sofft Reiko Caramel Suede at

Reiko by Sofft is a High Heel Dressy Bootie

Bella Vita Athena Multi Snake Leather at

Athena by Bella Vita is a Mid Heel Dressy Pump

Naturalizer Beauty Coral at

Naturalizer Beauty Coral is a 3 Inch Wedge High Heel Casual Sandal


I have a size 5.5 wide, possibly extra wide foot. I also have hardly any arches on my feet, a skinny heel and a high instep. Any thoughts on where I can find shoes that fit?



Dear Keara-

Mary Jane style shoes are your new BFF, Best Feet Friend!  There are lots of styles and heel heights.  You want a shoe that will stay on your feet.

I also suggest you try on size 5WW shoes.  You may be buying shoes too long just to get the width your feet need.  With a narrow heel, this will make your feet more likely to slip out of the heel.   Donna brown patent mary jane style by Samanta
PUHLEEZ!  Read my article on wide size shoes:
The Shoe Lady



Maybe Need Women’s Size 14? 15? 16? How Do I Know?

Hi Shoe lady.
Thanks for your previous feedback to my mail.
I have taken some measurements but hey were quite discouraging in compariosn to your size chart.
My length toe to heel was 32cm, and width was 11.3 cm. I saw that the size 15 was 29 cm, that means basically that there are no shoes that would fit me from your store… Ihope am wrong. Anyway back to the foot description, i have no bunions and i think my feet are soft and flabby. I love open toed shoes but we have very long winters here and i go in covered shoes almost 9 months a yr. I do not mind heels but i am 188cm tall so i really don’t need high heels. The shoes i am thinking of now are simple flat shoes for both work, casual and comfortable. I sit alot at work therefore need a flat shoe. I loved the ‘ All Black Crosstoe 11 By All Black. Would love some open toed shoes so am waiting for your advice. And by the way one of the shoes i bought that never fit was the Andiamo Island Pearlized Ivory Patent in size 13w.



Dear Denise-

I actually think the shoe chart measurements at are pretty accurate.  But just because the shoe CHART measurements are correct, it doesn’t mean that the shoe MANUFACTURER measurements are correct or, for that matter, that your measurements of your feet are correct.  Particularly when we venture into the women’s size 14, 15, 16 sizes, there are many fewer shoe choices and the variations in fit characteristics in these sizes can be much greater than in more commonly made sizes like 7 or 8.
You need to double check your own measurements.  i suggest having someone else do it for you. Make sure they hold the pencil straight up and down, and keep it pressed tight against your foot. Another tip to estimate your size, try on men’s shoes that are in US sizes.  (I’ve found that Euro sizes can vary greatly depending on country of manufacture).  I’m guessing a men’s size 13 or 14 might be best for you?  Try on a few styles to get the best size across three or four styles.  Then compare this back to the US women’s size equivalent.
That said, because there are so few shoes made for women who need size 14 or more, we are all hoping that you will fit into a size 14W or 15.  Not enough choices but some.
Today there are 38 choices in 14W including some stylish flats by Barefoot Tess and by Samanta.
There are 80 choices available today in size 15M.  Brands include Barefoot Tess, Forgotten Soles, Ellie, Takera and Tamarac (the moccasin loafers are a good comfort choice for cold wearther.)  The All Black Cross Strap styles are gone.  But they ran very small and narrow.  I think you would have been disappointed.
I’m assuming you are writing from an address outside the USA and want to avoid having to send back shoes that do not fit.  Please write me with your choices before placing your order.  Give me more size details on your feet and the styles and sizes you want to order.  I can’t promise they will fit, but I will see if I can get more information on the fit characteristics of your chosen shoes.
The Shoe Lady

Aussie Needs Wedding Shoes… but what US size?


I’ve read your posts regarding Australia to USA conversions but I’m still really unsure as to what size shoe I should buy. The largest of my feet are 25.2cm long and 10.4 cm wide. I have to get shoes for a wedding in about 2 months and can’t find anything that fits right in the stores. Any help you could provide asap would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Tracey W.
Dearest Tracey,
Anything for a wedding! Are you, per chance, the bride?

First the disclaimer. You Australians are far too easy going about everything…. life, shoe size and everything in between (except, perhaps, for barbecue?). You get shoes from many different countries which all have slightly or very different sizing systems. Even with in those countries (I’m tempted to mention France, but won’t) there are significantly different approaches to what constitutes a EU size 38, for example. My favorite Aussie shoe colleague, Alice, could never determine her own size. We narrowed it down to 10.5W, mainly because of the thickness of her foot… an avid sportswoman, she has very muscular feet.

Now the answer. IF you are correct in your foot measurements (please read this and measure again), then you will be either a size 9W or 9.5W. Here are the measurements:
9W = 25 cm long and 10.3 cm wide. 9.5W = 25.4 cm long and 10.5 cm wide.

This is where picking your size becomes no longer a science but rather an art. Have a friend look at your feet objectively. Are your toes longer or shorter than average? Is your foot, like Alice’s, thicker and more muscular from top to sole than average? Do you have a high arch or no arch at all? Then compare the shape of the shoes you are considering to the shape of your foot. If you want a high heel, pointy toe closed pump, go for the 9.5W. If you want a strappy sandal and like your toes coming up close to the front edge, go for the 9W.

Anneka Silver T-strap jeweled sandal by Touch Ups

Porsha White Silk Pump by Diane Lynn

Best wishes,
The Shoe Lady

Need Size 15 Low Heeled Shoes for Tall Lady

Hi Shoe lady
My question is: Do you have any suggestion for shoes in size 15 which are comfortable and low heeled. I am a tall lady who has always had problems getting comfortable shoes that fit. I really need help. I have bought some shoes, 3 pairs from this website which never fit.  It would cost me a lot returning them since I live in Europe and have to pay toll fees for everything I purchase outside the country.  Need your advice before I start ordering for spring. I have seen some flat shoes that I liked but I cannot be sure they will be comfortable, thus need to hear you view.

Thanks a lot,

Dear Denise,

Alas.  Most women who wear size 10 or smaller have no idea what a luxury it is to actually go into a store and try on a variety of styles and heel heights in what they think is their best size.  After they’ve done this for several years, and if they’ve paid attention, they discover the following:

1.  They may take a different size in a round toed flat than a pointy toed pump.

2.  They may take a different size in Brand A than in Brand B.

3.  Each foot may be a different size so they need to buy the best size and shoe shape for the larger foot.

4.  Some styles may be more comfortable than others.  If you have flat feet or narrow heels, you may prefer a Mary Jane style.

5.  The same Brand making a ballet flat can use two different factories and those factories may have different ways of cutting and shaping the shoes which mean they will fit differently.

Please read col_right_callout for more on these differences.

When you are a size 15, you have never had an opportunity to try on enough pairs of shoes in that size (or 14W or 15N) and in different styles and heel heights to know what is best for your feet.  Some shoes marked size 15 are not going to work.  Others are.  To get the best choice for you, you need to provide the shoe seller the kind of information you would be giving someone in a shoe store.

Carefully measure your feet following the instructions linked to the article above.  Write back to me and let me know those measurements.  But WAIT.  There’s MORE!  I also need to know if your arches are flat or high.  Does your forefoot tend to be wider than usual?  What EURO size do you wear most comfortably?  Do you need a loafer, laceup or Mary Jane to keep the shoe on your foot?  Do you have bunions?  Is your foot thick and muscular?  Soft and flabby?  Skin and bones?  What is the highest heel you would wear for a daily shoe?  What is the lowest heel?  Do you like peep toe shoes and sandals?  Or do you only want closed toe shoes?  Send me back  that information and I’ll see what I can find to suggest.  At this time I think your best bet is Barefoot Tess.  But because these shoes come from different factories and are different styles, they may fit quite differently.

Maybe someday you will have the choices you deserve!

Best wishes,

The Shoe Lady

Removable Footbeds after Bunion Surgery

Dear Shoe Lady-

I had bunion surgery.  Now I want to baby my feet and it would be important to add doctor recommended Superfeet insoles into all of my shoes.  I will go up a width (from medium to wide) so I can insert the insole and not have the shoe too tight.  Regarding the ankle area that may be too loose, would it work to add a cushioned insert on the side of the heel?

Can I order a few pairs of shoes and send back what doesn’t work?  After awhile, I should be able to figure out what brand, size and width work best.


Dear Barbara-

I hope you baby yourself all over after bunion surgery.  Staying off your feet during recovery can affect your whole body, muscle tone in your legs, the movement in your shoulders that comes from swinging your arms.  Bunion surgery, any foot surgery, is a “full body” experience!
Propet style W07104PI with removable footbed

Propet style W07104PI with removable footbed

Now for your feet.  There are many different kinds of insole inserts.  And you will be pleased to learn that some brands and a few styles within other brands actually design their shoes with removable insoles.  For starters, I suggest you take a look at the Propet brand (new spring styles should be on line by Friday and they look terrific!)  Every Propet (except open sandals) has removable footbeds.  Go with your regular size and width, and get a shoe designed to accommodate an insole insert.  That’s my top recommendation.
If you want to have a broader range of style choices, you can order the shoes in one width wider than your regular size.  Before you do this, please read this:  About wide size shoes.  Manufacturers use different techniques to make shoes wider.  As for the ankle, if you have to start retrofitting with cushioned heel inserts, you probably have the wrong shoe style or size.
Order shoes and if they don’t fit, return them.  You will be refunded as long as the shoes are still in “new” condition.

Propet style W7103SIO with removable footbed

Propet style W7103SIO with removable footbed

Best wishes for a healthy and successful recovery.
The Shoe Lady


I Have Bunions. Would a Wider Shoe Help?

Ms. Shoe Lady:

I have bunions and was wondering if a wider shoe would be more comfortable instead of the regular width.  I’ve been wearing a 7R and have found that if the shoe is wider through the toe area, it feels more comfortable.  Would a wider shoe be wide through the toe area, too?

Dear P.H.

I admire your brevity and will attempt to respond in kind.

Ahh.  I can’t do it.  I must say more.  Yes, a wider shoe will be wider in the toe area.  But it will also be wider in the heel.  And depending on how the shoe was made wider (wider sole or more material across the top) the feel on your foot will be different.  Each additional width (N to M, M to W, W to WW) is the equivalent of about 1/4 inch around the circumference of the ball of  your foot.   See this article to learn more:

Now let’s take that information and add more!

If you have bunions, you should consider:
1.  The shape of the front of the shoe.  Square and round toes are fine.  Pointed toes are not.

Propet style WPRX61B0304 with removable footbed.

Propet style WPRX61B0304 with removable footbed.

2.  The material on the top of the shoe.  Stretch is great.  Leather or fabric can be “spot stretched” around your bunion by a shoe repair shop person.
3.  Soft leather is better than stiff leather.  Look for sheep, lamb, goat or deer skin leathers.  Look for thinner leathers.
4.  Avoid ornamentation that includes seams or double stitching over the bunion area.  This will make that area stiffer.

I do hope this helps.

The Shoe Lady

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


Shoe Size Conversion Chart – Australia

Dear Shoe Lady,
I need your help. The size of my foot is 28.5cm from toe to heel and 11cm across my foot. I think im a size 12 by my calculations but just double checking with you as I live in Australia and would like to try and get it right first time.
Thanks heaps hope to hear from you soon,

Hi Julie,
Thank you for your inquiry! We strive to do our best in matching the right fit. At times it might be difficult to find the exact fit due to each individual’s unique feet paired with standard shoe size manufacturing. The style and shape of the shoe also adds another layer to your search. It is great that you measured your feet. It looks like the best overall fit would be a size 14 medium. I used our shoe size conversion chart to double check your size.

Do you wear a size 12 in Australia? The US sizes and Australian sizes are virtually the same. It doesn’t hurt to measure each foot again, and remember you should be barefoot and standing up when you make the tracing.

Barefoot Tess Bordeaux Grey at

Bordeaux by Barefoot Tess is a High Heel Dressy Pump

Bordeaux by Barefoot Tess is a lovely muted gray pump, and this shoe line is known for catering to longer feet.

Please let me know how the search is going!

The Shoe Lady

Malaysian Currency and International Shipping

Dear Shoe Lady,
I’m interested to shop in your website and have few question before i proceed. The price quoted is in Dollar. I’m from Malaysia, and how would i know the exact amount that i have to pay? And how long do i have to wait to receive the shoes?
Your feedback is highly appreciated.

Dear Miz JaJa,
We are so glad you found us! We do have some currency conversions on the site. But for your Malaysian currency, I suggest using an online currency converter like this one:

Put in the dollar value of the shoes you want. Search for the Malaysian currency and see the value in that currency.

I also encourage you to pay careful attention to the USA sizing information:
Measure your feet carefully and follow the advice in the articles to pick shoes that will fit you best.

Since fall is here and work is back in session. Cute work shoes with a wide 3 inch heel!

Aerosoles Apex Black Combo at

Apex by Aerosoles is a High Heel Casual Bootie

Happy International Shopping!

Shoe Lady