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

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!!!




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.  

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


Canadian Needs Wide Shoes


I live in Montreal, Canada and i’ve been looking for comfortables, stylish, wide¬†shoes¬†but it’s difficult to find that on stores.

I’ve heard Aerosoles has good reputation on comfort and I’m interested in one model you offer from aerosoles but I’m a little bit confused with the size chart.

I’ve normally a 9 size wideeeeee size, but according to your webiste it owuld be a 10.5 size.

My measure is 26 cms lengh, 11 cms wide.

As I’m in Canada and i’ll have to pay customs and shipping I want to be pretty sure on my size for your website.



My Dear Oriana,

I commend the wisdom of your frugality.  But I am perplexed.  Is wideeee a width designation in Canada?
If you trust the measuring you did on your feet, I think you should be wearing an 8.5 WW (extra wide).  Alas, Aerosoles does not make their styles in extra wide, only in wide.  But there are several brands that DO make extra wide that you may like.  I suggest you take a look at Bella Vita, Naturalizer, Soft Spots, Softwalk, and Trotters.  Or search by 8.5 WW.
I urge you to PLEASE think about the shape of your feet in relation to the shape of your shoes, too!  Read about wide feet here: http://www.designershoes.com/about-size/width
Feel free to contact DesignerShoes.com at info@designershoes.com if you have any specific shoe questions.
The Shoe Lady
Thanks for your answer!
By wideeeeeeeee, I just meant that I have always problem finding shoes that fits comfortable when shopping on normal stores.
I’ve attached a foot print I took some days ago, I guees is Round, could you suggest me what foot style to shop on your website?
Ah HA!   You are not measuring correctly.  Look at the shoe diagram on this size chart page:  http://www.designershoes.com/size-chart

Shoe manufacturers assume the "ball to heel" measurement when they make shoes and also assume the shoe wearer.  Has average length toes.  If toes are longer or shorter, the shoe will not fit well.

Shoe manufacturers assume the “ball to heel” measurement when they make shoes and also assume the shoe wearer. Has average length toes. If toes are longer or shorter, the shoe will not fit well.

You need to have the lines perpendicular so that each of the angles created by the lines is a 90 degree angle, all equal.
And you need to start by drawing a line that makes the top of the T with the line that goes up the center of your foot.  The line that is the top of the T must be perpendicular to the center line and at the top of the longest toe.  Look carefully at the size chart diagram and draw your lines and do your measurements again.
The Shoe Lady
Hi Thanks
I change the measures, the length didn’t change a lot, 25.8 cms with a 10.5 cms wide. ¬† ¬†As well I think they are more into the round or circle form.
that would be between 9 or 9.5 wide for women?
Dear Oriana-

Based on length and width, you should be looking at a US size 10 wide (W).  That is roughly equivalent to a UK 8 or an EU 41.  Aerosoles does have some very cute, comfortable flats in size 10W.
Good luck!
The Shoe Lady

Special Offer for WIDE Sizes – Register to get offer for YOUR Size!


Please…visit our new YOUTUBE video to see

examples of “Career Wear” shoes in action. ¬†

And…see Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO,

demonstrate what color shoes to wear with a

“business attire” red dress: ¬†http://youtu.be/A3bw4L3gELs

Asked Questions


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

Need More Size 13WW Women’s Shoes for Work

Dear Shoe Lady,

I cannot find  cute flat work shoes in size 13WW.



Dear Eva-

¬†You are absolutely right! ¬†This is a huge problem. ¬†I will get right on it. ¬†I think this may be a result of¬†the¬†recession. ¬†Shoe¬†companies backed off¬†the¬†larger sizes. ¬†I’m finding some cute sandals but no flats. ¬†Normally Propet would be a good choice for you. ¬†But it looks like they didn’t make enough shoes in this size and have sold out. ¬† Please make do with what you have for now until I can get more styles for you.
Also, do not buy¬†the¬†Antia’s which do show up in that size. ¬†I have told¬†the¬†folks at Antia way too many times that a Euro size 43.5 is NOT a size 13. ¬†And it certainly is not a size 13WW! ¬†DesignerShoes.com tells me that they have¬†the¬†correct sizing for these Antia’s and will be resizing them shortly. ¬†In¬†the¬†meantime, if you see Antia in a size 12 or 13, do NOT order it!
So sorry I can’t be more helpful right now.
UPDATE… not much improvement. ¬†But you may find something suitable for work in the black crepe styles from Lava and Colorful Creations. ¬†These are usually for dressy evening but until we can do better, give them a try.
Also, look at the options here:  http://www.designershoes.com/?sizewidth=230.  And consider a 14W here:  http://www.designershoes.com/?sizewidth=211
Best to you,
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


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 DesignerShoes.com 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