High Instep Makes it Hard to Find Shoes that Fit

Shoe Lady-

What a difficult time it is for shopping for shoes. ¬†ūüôĀ ¬†Shoes need to be made with higher insteps. ¬†Any suggestions? ¬†I wear a 11W.



 Dear Sharon-
I understand that you believe the cause of your problem is that shoes do not accommodate higher insteps. ¬†But I’m not sure of what the resulting problem is? ¬†Do the shoes not support your arches? ¬†Do the shoes not provide enough space on the top of your foot, the vamp?
If it is a high arch, take this “wet pavement” test: ¬†http://asktheshoelady.designershoes.com/category/shoe-fit-2/shoe-fit-healthy-feet-tips/¬†and follow the tips.
If it is not enough space on the top of your foot, you will need to look for specific types of shoe styles that do not cut into the skin on your foot but still hold your foot securely.  Lace ups are a great choice.  And since menswear styles are such a hot trend right now, you will have lots of choices.  Shoes with microfiber or elastic uppers are also a good choice.
Tell me more about your problem and I’ll try to be more specific.
The Shoe Lady
Thanks for the reply.¬† To clarify, the top of my foot, the vamp, doesn’t have enough room, ¬†and I also have wide feet.¬†¬† I am finding due to not having enough room on top of the foot, the shoes are not fitting despite the wide foot.

I am so sympathetic. ¬†I share your pain. ¬†It was years before I realized that I have what I affectionately refer to as a “muscular” foot, ie. thick. ¬†And I have a fairly high arch. ¬†You must accommodate that width. ¬†Think of the shoe as a container holding the volume of your foot. ¬†Be rigorous about turning away from those fashionable styles that will bind into the top of your foot. ¬†As mentioned, if you want to wear ballet flats and keep them on, they should have a mary jane strap. ¬†Otherwise, the wider fit you need will invariably be too wide for your heel and the shoes will slip off.

Keep in mind the 28 fit points.  Most people just think about length, but that is only one fit point.  You need to shoe shop with length, width and front of shoe volume in mind.  Remembering 3 out of 28 is not hard.  And even if it limits your options, your feet will be happy and that will bring you comfort!
The Shoe Lady

Ros Hommerson Sandal Fits the Bill for 10WW With Bunions

Finding Designershoes.com has been like winning the lottery for me.  I wear size 10 WW shoes and can never find a sandal that will hide the large bunions I have.  It has been almost impossible to find that extra wide shoes size in almost any style shoe.

After shopping in your store, I came across the Scottsdale sandal by Ros Hommerson*, which fits the bill.  How exciting to be able to wear a sandal for the first time.  I cannot tell you how many sandals I have wanted to purchase, and when trying them on they would either hurt or call attention to the bunions. The Scottsdale sandal certainly works for me.

 B L


*note:  Ros Hommerson had been one of the most popular brands at DesignerShoes.com.  The brand has not been producing new styles for awhile so it is great to announce that as of Fall 2013 their styles in sizes from 4 to 13 and widths from AAAA (extra slim) to EE (extra wide).  And they have size 11.5 too!  A special interest for The Shoe Lady!

From Childhood To Retirement, Narrow Feet Have Been Expensive

Since I started wearing shoes, back in the good old days, my parents had a very hard time finding shoes to fit me.¬† At first my feet were just very narrow but as I grew older the feet began to grow longer.¬† From the time I was 5 or 6 my feet grow with my age (Age 6, size 6; age 9, size 9; age 11 size 11 all in narrow) but thank goodness they stopped there.¬† There was only one store in our town that sold size 11 AA with AAA heel but they were more for mature people and of course had to be order special.¬† I know they were very expensive so I didn’t have the variety of shoes my girl friends had.¬† I remember when I was in high school wearing brown and white oxfords to school and I had one pair of dress shoes for church and special occasions.

We lived in an area where shoes were manufactured and my parents looked into having a last made for me, but each style of shoe would need its own last.  I said no, as a teen I wanted as much of a variety of styles as possible.

As I grew older more manufactures started making size 11 narrow shoes but they were still very expensive.  My friends could buy several pairs for the price of one pair for me.

Now size 11’s are very common but as in all things, as I approached retirement my feet have grown again.¬† I now wear size 12 narrow or medium and there are very few available at any price and being retired doesn’t again I can’t afford high prices.¬† Try to find a snow boot in size 12, HA!

I blame my Father for these long narrow feet.  When he past away at 75 he was wearing size 14 narrow.  Thanks Dad!



Women Wearing Size 11AAAA Shoes Have a Special Bond

I wear an 11AAAA so I still have challenges to find shoes that fit my larger footprint. I, consequently, adore each pair of shoes that I have and never take them for granted. Each pair of shoes that I own has stories of things that happened when I wore that pair of shoes.

I have found a few other women who have my size of shoe. Our bond is instant and strong, a thing that could never be shared by the 7 1/2 Mediums of the world.



Looking for Size 10 Wide Fun, Affordable Shoes to Kick the Blahs!

Dear Shoe Lady,

I live in East TN. U.S.A. ¬†I have such a hard time finding size 10 D shoes that have style!!! ¬† I would love to dress up sometimes, to kick the just turned 50 blahs…. but since I have no shoes, its pointless to bother…jeans are nice but these days I want to look a bit nicer for a dinner date….are there ANY stores that carry affordable shoes in my size…or do I have to live in flip flops and rain boots forever? ¬†HELP!!!



 Dear Maria,

¬†There’s nothing like a new pair of shoes to kick the blahs…. at any age!

I want to respond to two parts of your question before going deep into answers. ¬†First, what makes you think you are a 10D? ¬†This is also a 10W, a wide but not too wide size 10. ¬†It is a shame (shame on the shoe industry!) that you have a hard time finding this size. ¬†But since you do, and presumably haven’t seen many, I’m wondering why you think it is the right size? ¬†You could be a 9 or even an 8 Extra Wide. ¬†You could be a 10.5M. ¬†Or you could just have a thicker foot or wider forefoot and so need to select shoe styles of a certain shape. ¬†Please do read¬†http://www.designershoes.com/about-size/width¬†and¬†http://www.designershoes.com/about-size/measure-feet¬†and then use your knowledge to pick the correct size from this size chart¬†http://www.designershoes.com/size-chart. ¬†One of the saddest parts of my job is discovering how few women really know what size (or sizes!) shoes they should wear. ¬†But for the purposes of answering your question, I will assume you are a 10 Wide.

Second, what is your definition of “affordable shoes”? ¬†The Shoe Lady loves to holiday in the Bergdorf Goodman women’s shoe department. ¬†It is free to go there and it is such a huge treat to see all those beautiful shoes. ¬†But The Shoe Lady knows that “affordable shoes” at Bergdorf’s are around $500. ¬†She assumes (again!) that this is probably not the price you had in mind? ¬†Materials are a big component of shoe cost. ¬†Leather vs. faux leather. ¬†Another big component of cost is the size of the manufacturing run. ¬†If the brand made 10,000 pair of that style, it will be a lot cheaper per pair than if the brand made 100 pair. ¬†Location is also a factor for two reasons. ¬†First, if they were manufactured in a country with low labor rates, they will be cheaper. ¬†Second if they were manufactured in a country that keeps their dollar to local currency exchange rate artificially low, allowing the dollar to buy more, they will also be cheaper. ¬†(China? ¬†Could we be talking about you?) ¬†So if you want to buy all leather shoes made in Italy where the cost of labor is based on a living wage and the Euro is strong, then you will pay more, no matter how big the manufacturing run for that style. ¬†But you are looking for fun, fashionable shoes to kick those blahs! ¬†They don’t have to be leather. ¬†And China, in the last decade, has learned how to make excellent shoes. ¬†So there are options.

Now let’s find a price range that is affordable. ¬†The Shoe Lady thought she’d do an online search to confirm her idea of the average price of women’s shoes. ¬†One source says $85. ¬†One source says $49. ¬†The Shoe Lady was prepared to guess $65. ¬†And, as math would have it, the average between these two sources is $67. ¬†Let’s go with $65. ¬†This includes the occasional pair of leather boots, the fabric sneakers you found on sale, etc. ¬†Now let’s make that average more affordable by knocking it down by 25% to $50. ¬†I will assume (again!) that this is ok with you?

Let’s go shopping for size 10 wides and see what we can find that would kick those blahs for $50 or less?

I am attaching styles that I found today in size 10 wide at DesignerShoes.com at this address:  http://www.designershoes.com/all-products?dir=asc&order=price&p=2&sizewidth=205

The only exception, not on that page, is the Fit in Clouds style ($22) fits size 10W , each size covers half sizes and widths but you should order the size 11M because the 10W isn’t listed. ¬†The prices range from $22 to $49.99.

But wait! ¬†There’s more! ¬†If you¬†sign up for the ShoeNews¬†email from DesignerShoes.com, you will get a new discount coupon about once a week. ¬†Those coupons help make shoes more affordable too.

Please do write and let me know if my assumptions about your shoe size and “affordable shoes” are correct?

Best to you,
The Shoe Lady


Bella Vita Deidre Black Patent platform sandal.  $46.54.

Bella Vita Deidre Black Patent platform sandal. $46.54.

Dyeables Grandeur in Merlot, strappy dress sandal, $27.97.

Dyeables Grandeur in Merlot, strappy dress sandal, $27.97.

Dyeables Elegance White slingback sandal,  $13.97.  Have it dyed or color it yourself!

Dyeables Elegance White slingback sandal, $13.97. Have it dyed or color it yourself!

Bella Vita brand Sante dressy sandal in Bronze.  $48.30

Bella Vita brand Sante dressy sandal in Bronze. $48.30

Bellini brand Dubai in Orange (also available in lime green).  $49.

Bellini brand Dubai in Orange (also available in lime green). $49.

Fit In Cloud Black Patent  flexi-fit ballet flat. $22.

Fit In Cloud Black Patent flexi-fit ballet flat. $22.


Touch Ups brand Abby dressy d’Orsay style pump in Silver. $47.

Aerosoles brand Raspberry in Purple Combo.  $49.99.

Aerosoles brand Raspberry in Purple Combo. $49.99.

Aerosoles brand Duble Down in Gold Snake.  $49.99

Aerosoles brand Duble Down in Gold Snake. $49.99

Touch Ups brand Gemini dressy pump in Black.  $49.99.

Touch Ups brand Gemini dressy pump in Black. $49.99.



Hiya, I was so surprised to find a response to my comment from you!  Thank you!
I have measured my feet and they are 4 1/8th W x 10 1/8th L ¬†¬†with what looks to be closer to the A shape than B…wet footprint…thanks to dogs water…lol (yes, I gave them fresh cleaned bowl) shows a very slight side mark between heel and ball of my foot…high arches! Ugh!
I live on my SSDI of 754.00 a month  and yes, it is very hard to find shoes!!
I plan to look at the shoes you suggested now but I wante to remember to thank you first!! Peace & thanks again from… hopefully,¬† barefoot & flip flops no more!!!




Extra Narrow Sizes and Combination Lasts, Finding Shoes that Fit in the 21st Century

Greetings Ms. Shoe Lady,

Please ASAP your response as the few pairs of shoes I have left are wearing out and I don’t know if or when I will be able to replace them.

My Situation: About 20 years ago I bought my first pair of Easy Spirit Motion (see link for image)¬†http://www.easyspirit.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-easyspirit-Site/default/Search-Show?SearchSource=Simple+Search&q=motion I have since worn a hole in one, only to find out they stopped making my size : 7 ¬†2A/4A ‚Äď that is, a size seven with a double A in the front and a quadruple A in the heel. (Easy Spirit does still make the 7 2A but not in a combination size. Also, I have read it no longer has a steel shank.) I then tried Soft Spots which made a similar oxford (see link for image) ¬†http://www.onlineshoes.com/womens-softspots-jocelyn-bone-p_id127775. My size in that shoe being a 7S. Unfortunately, I found out they stopped making this style of shoe altogether and have no plans to replace it with a similar style. Questions : 1. Where can I find a shoe almost identical to the ones pictured in the links in my size? 2. I read on another website some manufacturers still make combination lasts but none were cited in the post. Do you know of them? 3. Ideas to save money on shoes purchased (if I find some). This would be most helpful as I am on a rather tight budget right now. 4. The colors I am looking for are basic black and dark brown in a kid not a patent finish. Please Note: I use ¬†custom orthotic inserts by Ideal Feet to address pronation. Since I began composing this letter, I located a shoe repair shop willing to repair my Soft Spots. No warranty was given and unfortunately, after about a year they are coming apart again. Please help. Thank you. ~cdv


Dear cdv-

I have a dear friend who is a huge fan shoes from the early years of Easy Spirit (remember the ladies playing basketball in their heels?). ¬†She has been asking me for 15 years, ever since I became the Shoe Lady, where she can get shoes like those original laceup styles she loved. ¬†I will tell you what I tell her whenever she asks. ¬†The shoes do not exist any longer. ¬†Easy Spirit exists in a market economy. ¬†They developed a great brand reputation and they took the brand name, sold the name and stopped the manufacturing. ¬†I’m not sure how many times the Easy Spirit brand name has been sold since you first bought your Easy Spirit’s 20 years ago. ¬†But I assure you, each new owner has brought their own sense of what manufacturing standards should be in order to sustain their market. ¬†These decisions, unfortunately, have excluded many of the features that you liked so much in the original shoes.
Ros Hommerson Nancy Black Combo Laceup

Ros Hommerson Nancy Black Combo Laceup

Next up: ¬†what ever happened to combination lasts? ¬† America is a wonderful place. ¬†Up through the mid 1960’s we owned shoe manufacturing for the world and did an excellent job making shoes not only in different sizes and half sizes, not only in 6-7 different widths per size but also in different widths for the front and the back of each shoe! ¬†What a country! ¬†Think about it. ¬†A woman wanting a size 7 could get that shoe in about 40 different combinations of widths! ¬†Alas, as the shoe industry discovered, such attention to customer needs could not be sustained once tariffs dropped and foreign competition came into the shoe industry. ¬†About 15 years ago there were one or two brands that still offered combination lasts but those have closed. ¬†That’s the bad news. ¬†The good news is that many brands that care about comfort (and there are many) took a lesson from the days of combination lasts and realized that traditional lasting had not taken into consideration that women’s feet do tend to be disproportionately narrower at the heel than those old lasts had assumed. ¬†So these comfort brands developed lasts that kept the width measurements across the ball of the foot but were narrower in the heel. ¬†Euro sizing also assumes a narrower heel. ¬†But they have one basic width for the forefoot which would be too wide for your slim feet.
I suggest you give up on the quest for a combination last but focus instead on brands that offer you a laceup style in a size 7S (AAA, Slim). ¬†Even this will be a challenge as many of the comfort brands are focusing more on wider feet than on narrower feet as the wider footed population (you’ll excuse me here!) grows. ¬†There are fewer styles offered in the slim (AAA) widths. ¬†There are a few brands I can suggest to you that should offer the quality you want and accommodate your orthotics. ¬†But each has some limitations.
1.  Propet:  They have some laceup styles but they only make widths to size 7 narrow. Every shoe is built with removable orthotics.
2. ¬†Ros Hommerson: ¬†They have been off the market for about a year but are back this fall and there is a style, the Nancy, that should work well for you. ¬†In order to accommodate the market and financing of their lasts, they have skipped over the “slim” width and offer their laceups in narrow and “extra slim”.
3. ¬†Softwalk: ¬†They do make 7 slim but I don’t see any laceups yet this Fall.
4.  Trotters:  Several nice flats but no laceups yet.

Propet Firefly Black Laceup

Propet Firefly Black Laceup

As for some of your remaining questions:
For saving money on shoes, I definitely recommend that you sign up here: http://www.admail.net/form/2696/28/   to receive the weekly SHOENEWS email which regularly includes discount coupon codes for shoes at DesignerShoes.com.
For shoe repair, if you can find a good shoe repair place, go back regularly and have them maintain your shoes.  The shoe repair shops are a dying breed and we will miss them when they are gone, especially those of us with hard to fit feet who have limited choices and need to make our shoes last a long time because, as you have discovered, who knows when we will find shoes that fit us again!
Best to you,
The Shoe Lady

Top 10 Reasons Women Can’t Find Shoes that Fit

The Inside Scoop:
Top 10 Reasons Women Can’t Find Shoes that Fit

The Shoe Lady has just returned from a major shoe show in New York City. These shows are all about choices and options and yet as she wandered the streets of Manhattan she was reminded how hard it was for her and other taller and not perfectly average women (of the 1950s) to find clothes that fit. She was even wondering where she could, at a reasonable cost, buy the fabric and have the styles of her choice made just a couple of inches longer in the backwaist and a couple of inches longer in the leg and, oh maybe an inch longer in the arm. Somehow in the age of individual medicine, individual media and made to order cars, it was still so hard to find anything modern and fashionable that really fits us. Nearly 20 years after the Show Lady started to help women find shows that fit she wondered why things had not progressed faster and what we could do about it for ourselves and our daughters.. Here she has more insight into why her 11.5 M feet can’t find the range of style choices she’d like. While the world awaits a solution to her clothing problems, she tackles the Shoe Question.
1. Customers do not understand the width system in shoe sizing, or even that widths other than medium are available. So they do not ask for what they don’t see. This is where the problem begins. A woman who needs a 7WW will buy a 10M. Really.
2. Shoe companies complain about the cost of producing additional ‚Äúlasts‚ÄĚ (the frame a shoe is built on) for additional sizes and widths, beyond the basic whole sizes from 5 to 10. So they save money by making fewer lasts. Six different sized lasts for 8,000 pairs compared to 85 different lasts for 8,000 pairs saves a lot of money.
3. Factories that shoe companies hire to make the shoes would much prefer to do longer production runs of fewer sizes and widths than shorter runs with more sizes and widths because there is an additional ‚Äúset up‚ÄĚ time every time they have to change a size/ width. This is distracting for the factory worker, offers opportunities for error and the price for this extra ‚Äúset up‚ÄĚ time is not routinely built into the production price. So the factories make less money than they would with fewer last changes.
4. Shoe companies are reluctant to push factories to do the extra sizes and widths because a good factory is hard to find and they don’t want to strain the relationship with good factories.
5. Shoe companies believe the more sizes and widths (or ‚Äúcategories‚ÄĚ) that a shoe style is separated into, the more likely there will be unsold inventory at the end of season. Some of these categories may not sell out, leaving the shoe company with leftover shoes in odd sizes.
6. Shoe companies plan based on prior year sales, for what they will order in each size/width category based on what they sold the prior year in that size/width category. And they’ve been looking backward for years.
7. Shoe companies do not factor in the substantial change in women’s average shoe size, from size 7 in 1990 to size 9 in 2013. Since they don’t track real size trends in the population, they are at the mercy of what they think the sales might be based on prior year selling history.
8. Shoe companies do not track the sales lost because the sizes were not available. Vendor analysis show turns per style, per color, per heel height, re-orders and other data related to the style of the shoe and the retailer. But they do not track the number of shoes sold per size, the change over time in that size profile and the estimate of the sales they lost because sizes were not available.
9. ‚ÄúBrick and mortar‚ÄĚ shoe store pre-season orders skew production plans for shoes. Due to space and financial constraints, brick and mortar stores have rarely been interested in carrying a wide variety of sizes and widths. Their sales are primarily based on visual cues to attract the customer, such as the styles shown in the window and on the salon shelves. Six sizes and only one width suits this business model perfectly. It is up to the customer to squeeze into the shoe or go without. So companies are not inclined to argue with factories for sizes and widths that their core brick and mortar retailers don‚Äôt want. So shoe companies are not inclined to argue with factories for sizes and widths that their core brick & mortar retailers don‚Äôt want.
10. At the end of the season, shoe companies only remember the odd sized leftover inventory, the over and under sizes (over size 10, under size 7 and extra narrows, wides and extra wides they have. They take this bad memory into the production planning for the next season, bringing an additional bias against over and under sizes, narrower and wider widths.  

Shoeless No More! Woman With Size 13 Extra Wide Size Feet Has Choices.

Dear Shoe Lady,

I’m currently shoeless. ¬† So I came across your site and was mezmerized! ¬†I’m currently at 480lbs and 5’11. ¬† I measured my foot at 11 inches and the girth at 10 inches and the width at 6 inches. ¬† Please help me find the right sneaker!


Dear M. –

I do apologize for the delay in responding! ¬†I have been at a NYC Shoe Show, taking a look at spring styles. ¬†(More on that to come.) ¬†But I’m back to my keyboard now.

Finding hard to find sizes like extra extra wide shoes for women is my reason for being here!  Based on your length and width, I am suggesting a size 13WWW for you.   (Take a look for yourself at this size chart.)   This size is also referred to as a 13 EEEE some places.  Please do read my article, About Shoe Widths  for more information about how manufacturers think about widths.  Basically, they are very imprecise.  And you must also consider the shape of your foot with the shape of the shoe.

I definitely suggest velcro or lace up closures or a mary jane strap style for you. ¬†I’m guessing that your feet may swell during later parts of the day and you want to be able to give them some extra room.

New Balance lace up shoe style comes in size 13 Extra Extra Wide
A great choice for hard to fit feet.
Extra Extra Wide widths and other colors are available. Propet Breeze sandal in size 13 Extra Extra Wide (WWW) New Balance lace up comes in other colors.  Great stability and comfort features.

I wish I had more choices to suggest to you.  As of today, I find 10 styles in size 13 Extra Extra Wide (WWW)  at this url address.  Your best brands are going to be New Balance and Propet.  Both companies are just beginning to get in their Fall styles and have pretty much sold out of their Spring styles.  So you should have more choices by early September.

Thank you for writing,
The Shoe Lady

Wants High Heels for Office But has Long Toes, Narrow Feet and High Heels Hurt

Dear Shoe Lady,

I have narrow feet (size 7.5) and a longer big toe. Also, as I have very thin skin, I need a lot of extra cushioning for the ball of my feet.

I find it virtually impossible to buy comfortable high heeled office pumps. Any suggestion to brands I may try or getting custom made shoes?



Dear Noureen-

You were born with narrow feet, toes of disproportionate length and thin skin so the nerve endings are near the surface and very sensitive.  Mother Nature is trying to tell you something!  Why oh WHY are you trying to find high heel office pumps!?!
Good grief.  The challenges The Shoe Lady must rise to.
First, re-think the high heel part of the shoes you are seeking. ¬†I’m sure you can find a way to look like an executive, leader, office diva without high heels.
But The Shoe Lady is here to help. ¬†I will provide you with some “tips” that may shed light on a solution.
First, fit for your longer big toes. ¬†I generally ask people to measure their feet from heel to toe. ¬†And it works fine unless the toes are shorter or longer than average. ¬†Truth is, shoes are made assuming a standard toe width and the key measure is the length from your heel to the widest part of your foot, the ball of your foot. ¬†You should measure your feet on a Brannock device. This will tell you your shoe size if your longer toes were not an issue. ¬†Why is this important? ¬†If you are buying size 7.5 shoes because of your longer toes, but your heel-to-ball size is really a 6.5, then the shape of the shoe will not accommodate the ball of your foot correctly. ¬†The ball of your foot will hit a narrower part of the shoe and in high heel pumps, this will be painful, even for thicker skinned folks. ¬†Once you know the Brannock size and the full foot size, you will need to learn about shoe last shapes. ¬†You will need a shoe shape that does not have a pronounced inward curve at the arch and outward curve for the ball of the foot. ¬†An extreme example to consider might be a “D’Orsay” style pump.
Second, high heels. ¬†If you are going to insist on high heels, let’s determine how high. ¬†Studies of foot biomechanics suggest that women should not exceed heels of about 2.5 inches if they are going to wear them for most of the day. ¬†But I hear you say you want to wear a 3 inch heel. ¬†Then look for a pump that has a half inch platform sole. ¬†You can have the heel if you raise the front of the shoe too. ¬†What? ¬†You want a 4 inch heel with no platform? ¬†OK. ¬†Here’s the deal. ¬†Wear a reasonable 1-2 inch comfortable heel to work, on the way home, going to get lunch, etc. ¬†Slip into the 4 inch heel while you are at your desk and walking to and from meetings. ¬†Do not stand or walk in them for more than two hours a day.
Third, finding comfort. ¬†There are a couple of options on the market that you may want to try. ¬†Cole-Haan, part of the Nike shoe family, has used Nike’s technology for adding gas filled pillows under the balls of the feet. ¬†You could find such pillows at a big drug store, but these are more permanent. ¬†Look into the Insolia (http://insolia.com/) product to see if this will help. ¬†Some shoe manufacturers incorporate it into their shoes. ¬†But you can buy the inserts and add them to your shoes.
Fourth, ¬†staying healthy. ¬†Too much time in high heels will change your natural walking gait, even when you walk in flats or barefoot. ¬†And it isn’t a good change. ¬†It effects your posture, your ankle movement, your foot flexibility and the calves and tendons in your lower legs. ¬†Of course all of this also effects your hip joints and back. ¬†But I’m going to assume you are under 30 and don’t care about that. ¬†If you do wear high heels a lot, then daily you must stretch out the backs of your legs, the tendons. ¬†You must do foot exercises to keep those 27 bones, and all their related tendons and muscles, in each foot lively and moving. ¬†Pick things up with your toes. ¬†Role your feet over a golf ball. ¬†Note. ¬†If you are over 30, all that nice padding under the balls of your feet has started to slide forward toward your toes, or just disappear. ¬†This means it is “bone on ground” time. ¬†And the higher the heel, the more weight on the ball of your foot!
Fifth, brands to try. ¬†Cole Haan, but they may not carry narrows. ¬†Naturalizer, has comfort features and platforms. ¬†Ros Hommerson, has been off market but is re-launching this Fall and I expect will bring good design and comfort features in narrow sizes. ¬†Other brands that offer great “career wear” styles in your size include Bella Vita, Sofft, Soft Spots, Soft Walk, Trotters. ¬†Try this link to get some options in your size:¬†http://www.designershoes.com/all-products?collections=267&heel=51&p=2&sizewidth=140.
Best to you,
The Shoe Lady
PS:  See these articles:

The Postural and Piomechanical Effects of High Heel Shoes: A Literature Review by Shavonda L. Pannell

by Cary Groner

A Biomechanical Evaluation of Standing in High Heeled Shoes
by Paula D. Henderson and Dr. Stephen J. Plazza

by Gretchen Reynolds

by Colette Bouchez

Will the Width Change if She Gets a Half Size Smaller?

I recently purchased Bella Vita Mimosa Black Snake in a 9.5 extra wide and found that the shoe is a little long and I have extra room in the heel and toe. I’m thinking of exchanging it for a 9 extra wide. However, the 9.5 extra wide fits me nicely width-wise and if the width changes, the shoe won’t fit. So, my question is, is there a difference width-wise between a 9.5 ww and a 9 ww?? Thanks in advance for your assistance!!


Dear Allie,

The nice people at DesignerShoes.com sent your question over to me because…. it is complicated. ¬†First, your homework assignment is to read about wide sizes, especially the section that pertains to how shoemakers make what they euphemistically refer to as “wide sizes”. ¬†¬†http://www.designershoes.com/about-size/width

In THEORY:  There is some general agreement that a shoe increases 3/16th of an inch around the circumference of the ball of the foot for every increase in width for the same length.

But different manufacturers accomplish the extra width differently. Some may cut more material for the upper part of the shoe. Some may cut the sole slightly wider. Some may only increase the width for every full size length change – or even every couple of size length changes. You never can be sure as the manufacturing processes can differ even for the same style.

Since we don’t know, and probably the folks at Bella Vita don’t know, what the decision was for changing the width dimensions on this particular style, the only way to know is to try the smaller size and see if that squeezes your foot more than you would like. ¬†3/16ths of an inch is not a big difference. ¬†If the length really is uncomfortable for you, it may be worth trying the shorter version and having it stretched by a professional ¬†shoe repair shop if ¬†it is too tight. ¬†If it is just a tad too long, you risk changing the contour of the shoe, where the wider part hits your foot, ¬†which could make the width feel different.

Sorry Allie, no right answer here.  The choice is yours!

The Shoe Lady