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. 

Need Shoe Size Advice ASAP for Trotters

Dear Shoe Lady,

I wear any where from a 9 to a 10 US size–foot measures 10.06 inches long, 3.31 wide for width ( actual width of toes), further down .5 inches below toes–3.44 inches wide, and 2.83 for the heel.  What size should I order for the trotter’s Liz shoe?  I am leaving town in two weeks.  I have trouble with the width by the toes and the width of the heel fitting.



Dearest Janet-

I don’t understand your description of your foot measurements.  Just to clarify, the “width” of the your foot measurement is the WIDEST part of your foot, not your toe area.  And, regrettably, it has been a long time since shoe manufacturers paid attention to the width of your heel, it is assumed to be in proportion to the length of your foot and the width at the “ball” of your foot.  So I’m going to take you for 10.06 inches long and 3.44 inches wide.
Foot Measurements
You are pretty close to a perfect 9.5 N.
I’m also not clear on what “trouble” you have with the toe and heel width?  Too wide?  Too narrow?
If you like your shoes a little wider, go for a 9.5M.  If you like them roomier in the toe, go for a 10N.
Rest assured that I am not measuring the actual Trotter’s Liz shoe in these sizes.  I am going by two pieces of information:
1.  Your measurements, as given, compared to the internationally recognized data on the size chart
2.  My knowledge that Trotters does a very good job of making shoes according to the size specifications used internationally.
I do hope this information reaches you in time for your trip!
Bon Voyage!
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

8 Tips to Get Her “Groove” Back

For The Shoe Lady-
I am 56 years trying to get my groove back. I wear 13ww or 14 in size I am 6’1″, 245lbs need shoes! I want to look good and sexy as well. don’t like real high heels all the time, but would like 3″ heels. need all kind of sandals regular and sexy. love all kind of boots please help.

Dear Shirley,

Your note has been forwarded to me, The Shoe Lady, and I find it to be a totally delicious invitation to advise you on all kinds of aspects of your life. The Shoe Lady likes to think that she knows more about advice giving and feels hemmed in by the assumption that she should limit herself only to shoe advice. So we will start at the top, work through the middle and end up with shoe advice. Here is your 8 point plan to get your groove back (a goal that I agree with completely).

1. Sleep. You are at that age where you may find yourself waking up at 3 AM and staring at the ceiling. 7+ hours is very important to avoid dark circles under the eyes and maintain your charming personality. Don’t do sleeping pills. Ask your doctor about warm milk, cold bedrooms, hot baths, gabapentin, etc.  Dana red patent pump by Samanta bft1168elizabethwedgemintgreen004 bft1191avalonsilver012 bft1177belizeneonmagenta013 Minnie_3133_1 propet_megan_pew_1
2. Hair. Find a friend or a professional or a professional friend that can advise you on your face shape and whether you will look better with hair pulled back, cut short, chin length? Get a good cut styled to flatter your face and your body size. Consider color. Personally I believe everyone looks better with a streak or two of purple in their hair. But it may not be for you.
3. Posture. Get those shoulders back. Stand up straight. Are you sure you are only 6’1″? Try for stretching to 6’2″. Related to posture, keep your joints limber so you walk and move smoothly. We’re talking gym time here. Yoga time too. Pilates. You get the picture.
4. Clothes Style. First assess your body shape. I’ll make it easy. Do you have a waist or not. If you do, consider styles that accentuate that. If you do not, consider straight tunic tops and light weight jackets that go to your hips.
5. Clothes Color. Have your colors done. Are you a summer? sping? fall? winter? Find your most flattering colors. Wear those only, especially near . Favorite color not on the list? Buy your shoes in that color.
6. Personal Style. Now assess your personality. Are you happiest in colorful clothes? Monochrome? Long flowing skirts? Tailored slacks? Pick a personality and dress to it. Have fun with it. Make sure you pick styles that are cut in a way that is flattering to your frame then play with color and style.
7. Food. Just like we’ve always heard, what we eat matters to how we look. Get enough calcium and enough oils. The mediterranean diet with fish and olive oil is a great choice.
8. Shoes. You thought I ‘d never get here?!
A. Shoe Size. PLEASE read my article about How to Measure your Feet. It is entirely possible that you are a 13WW or 14M, depending on the shoe shape. Most people do range over 2 to 3 size/width combinations. But I fear it is very likely that you’ve never had the chance to try on more shoes than the rare size 14. Let’s find out your best size and work from there.
B. Shoe Style. Now we are getting your groove back. Like your clothes, your shoes should match your personal style, what you feel comfortable in. We don’t want you trying to look like someone you saw in Vogue. We want you to look like a happy, healthy, groovy YOU. For every day wear shoes, for a woman approaching a certain age, I think it is important to wear shoes that you can stand in for an hour and walk in for at least 10 blocks. Look for thicker soles and heels that are under 1.5 inches. You can make them fun by getting colors, experimenting with contrasting colorful solids or print tights or socks. Look at Propet or Barefoot Tess for sizes 13WW or 14. For sandals, try Forgotten Soles and watch for larger sizes arriving soon in the Maasai sandals. For special occasions when you want the glamorous groovy, look at Samanta. The platform soles are easy on your feet, but the high heels should only be for special occasions. For cocktail party dressy, you will find a great selection of lower heeled strappy sandals and dressy slingbacks with Colorful Creations and Annie. Please write back in boot season and I’ll give you more suggestions. In general, find 13WW here and 14M here.


Heather, Cayenne Red, Fisherman’s Sandal by Propet

Autumn Red T-strap peep toe platform pump by Samanta

Please do let me know what your real size turns out to be, and if you have any more questions. I wish you the best in recovering your grooviness!

The Shoe Lady

Flat Foot that’s NOT a Medium

Dear Ms. S. Lady,

When I measure my longer foot it comes out as a 9 M, but I’ve never had an arch since I was a child (neither did my Mom) and my foot hardly narrows at all toward the ankle (3.75 ” at the ball of the foot 3.5o” at the ankle) so I end up wearing 9 1/2 W and 10 W to try and have enough shoe to accommodate the depth of my foot. I’ve actually had shoe sales associates advise me to buy men’s shoes because they felt the anatomy of my foot was more masculine. I also have an issue with how narrow my heel is , most shoes are huge at the heel, I can step right out of them, I leave slip on shoes in the well of cars and on stair steps. I’m constantly trying to find gel inserts to put inside heels to snug them up. Any suggestions for brands that might fight without so much fussing



Dear Rosie-

Such an excellent question.  And so interesting that you’ve been getting such perverse advice from shoe stores, telling you to buy men’s shoes.  Granted, I do not have the pleasure of seeing your feet first hand and seeing how they fit into shoes.  But based on my years of experience, I’m going to make some assumptions and offer my recommendations.Iggy, tan & black mary jane by Naturalizer
Flat feet do cause shoes to fit differently even though the length measurements can be correct.  One of the signs of “different fit” is gapping at the sides when you wear ballet flats, for example.  You do need to narrow your options by style to Mary Jane type shoes or to shoes that have a vamp that goes up toward your ankle…. loafers for example.  This may be what the shoe store attendants were thinking.  “Get Rosie to wear men’s loafers or oxfords and it will be fine.”  Loafers, oxfords and Mary Janes, fortunately for you, can also be found in great abundance and in very feminine styles, or at least in styles and colors that would never be available in the men’s department!.
Here are some examples of Mary Janes:  Soft Drink blue multi loafer by Aerosoles brand

High heel Mary Jane style pump

Here are some examples of loafers:
Here are some examples of oxfords or laceups:
Heel snugness is an issue for you because you are wearing shoes that are too wide.  I’m assuming here that your feet are about 9.8 inches long?  That would make them a size 9.  Try sticking to the style types I’ve recommended in a size 9M.  In my long career in this business, I’ve never encountered anything that will successfully “snug” a loose heel.  And, believe me, I’ve tried.  If you go to a large store like Walgreen’s that has a foot care section, they will often have a hanging rack of sticky backed gizmos of various thickness that will go into the upper back of the heel .  They work if the problem is very minor.  If your heel is seriously narrow, even after you go back to a medium width, you may need to explore slingback options that also have the high vamp or Mary Jane strap.  I know this limits your fashion options.  But you will definitely want to find some shoes that you can wear comfortably without worrying about throughout the day!
In the olden days, shoemakers made “combination lasts”.  You could actually buy a shoe that was a size 9 in length, a wide at the front and a narrow at the heel.  This doesn’t happen anymore.  The last company I know that did this was Ferragamo.
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


Australian to US Shoe Size Conversion

Dear Shoe Lady,
I am about to purchase shoes but just want to confirm size conversions. I am Australian wearing size 7.5 to 8 dependent on style. I believe I am a US 8, but its the width I need to check on. I believe I am a C width shoe here in Australia.. which I believe is a wider fit….can you advise.
Thank you

Dear Dee,
I am so glad you came to us for help! Actually, an Australian women’s size 7.5 is equivalent to a US size 9, while the size 8 is a US size 9.5.

With width, a “C” would be considered a Wide or “W” size. Likewise, narrow is “AA”, Average is “B”, and Extra Wide is “E”. If you take the widest part of your foot (usually the balls of your feet), and measure length-wise, a US size 9 or 9.5 is about 4 1/16 to 4 1/8 inches. I would advise trying a US size 9W. You may be going up a half size because the medium/average width is just too snug.

I thought I would spotlight a couple new arrivals, in different styles, all sized 9W. First up is a style from Aerosoles, a brand know for comfort, true fit and style. The Aerosoles Plum Tree Tan Patent has a 3 inch wedge heel which is helpful for those women who want height and stability. I adore the pattern on the heel.

Aerosoles Plum Tree Tan Patent at

Aerosoles Plum Tree Tan Patent is a High Heel Casual Pump

Aerosoles have a wonderful collection of flats as well. Perfect for work, walking to the T, all while being stylish.

Aerosoles Bec 2 Differ Black Multi at

Aerosoles Bec 2 Differ Black Multi is a Low Heel Casual Pump

If you need additional assistance on this, our size guide can be found at:

How to Convert Men’s to Women’s Shoe Sizes

Dear Shoe Lady,
I am a men’s size 9. What does that translate to in women’s shoes, particularly high heels?
Thank you

Good Day N,
The first step in converting a man’s shoe size to a woman’s is to measure your feet! Refer to this recent post for step by step instructions. Without your your length and width measurements (so important) I will use the given men’s size 9 which converts to a women’s size 10.5.

Depending on the style you desire I selected a couple shoes which happen to be favorites of mine. Always remember pedicures are your best friends in summer and keep you feeling sexy all winter long.

I love leopard shoes. They make a rather dull outfit pop. Don’t be scare to jazz up your standard work outfits to add a touch of glamour. The heel height is 2.25 with a rounded toe pump and platform sole.

Naturalizer Lennox Natural Jungle at

Naturalizer Lennox Natural Jungle is a High Heel Dressy Pump

A fantastic new brand, Takera, designed by Asjha Jones, WNBA All-Star, made exclusively for women sizes 10.5 through 15. She recognized the void in the market place for this exotic sizing due to her own personal pains of not being able to fulfill her shoe fetish due to limited styles and quality in her size, 13. The Takera Milan Black Leather (my top pick) rocks a 3.2 inch heel, zip up heel and sexy black netting.

Takera Milan Black Leather at

Takera Milan Black Leather is a High Heel Dressy Pump

Be sure to browse all women’s size 10.5 high heels at Our sister site!

Best of luck!

Heels Slip Out While Dancing

Dear Shoe Lady,
About 15 years ago I bought a pair of easy spirit shoes that fit me better than any shoes I have ever had. I believe they were labeled something like M A/B but I don’t remember exactly. I am a size 7 and 1/2 but the ball of my foot is wide and the heel is narrow and my arch is high. My feet look great in most shoes but I like to dance and have trouble with fitting my high arch and wide ball into a pair of 7 and 1/2 heels so I have to buy an 8 and then my heel slips out. Dangerous while dancing! Help! What size should I look for?

Dear M,
Please measure the length and width of your foot. Compare the data to our size chart. – Most likely you are a 7.5 wide (W) if an 8 is too big and a 7.5 too narrow width wise. The acronyms for shoe width can be confusing so below I will provide a break down.

SS = AAAA = “extra slim” or “quad”, the narrowest size generally available. Even these widths are increasingly rare.
S = AAA= “slim” or “triple”
AA = N = “narrow” or “double A”
M = B = “medium”, the most common or “average” width for that size.
W = C or D = “wide”
WW = EE or EEE = “extra wide”

Don’t fret over wearing a wide size. The majority of women do not have a medium width even though the manufacturers would like us all to believe. I selected a couple of sexy heels perfect for dancing the night away in size 7.5 wide.

Naturalizer Iman Black at

Iman by Naturalizer is a High Heel Dressy

Perfect booties to pair with a short mini dress or skirt. On sale now for $84.10. Marked down from $117.00.

Sofft Ramona Ii Sand Patent at

Ramona Ii by Sofft is a High Heel Dressy Pump

Peep toe nude pump elongates the leg and works well with patterned or bright color dresses.

Happy Dancing!
The Shoe Lady

Women’s Shoe Size Question

Dear Shoe Lady, The length of my foot is 26.5 cm and the width is 10.5 cm.
 What is my correct shoe size? I have never been able to find a perfect fit.

Hi Katerina,
Our shoe size chart is a great jumping off point for shoe sizing. Based on your measurements, it appears that you could fit into a 10.5w to 11w comfortably. You want to make sure that you don’t wear widths that are more or less than 0.635cm (1/4”). You don’t want any slippage or pinching with your shoes. You always want to remember that the styles and manufacturing of a shoe will make a difference in the final fit. A ballet flat versus a padded sneaker might require a reduction or increase in the size you wear.

Naturalizer Creston Black Leather at

Creston by Naturalizer is a Low Heel Casual Flat

Creston by Naturalizer has a casual look that can be paired with skirts or pants. I am a huge fan of dual use for shoes, and strive for comfort!

Happy browsing,
The Shoe Lady