I was wondering if you could make any brand recommendations for me. I wear an 8.5/9 and have narrow feet and long toes. I really struggle with finding brands with a long enough toe box. The last few years have been really bad as the rounded toe styles have been so popular! I find most Italian shoes are particularly short in the toe box. I am happy to see more pointy styles coming back, but even some of the new pointy styles are too short in the forefoot for me. If I go up a size then they are way to wide and my heel slips. It’s really hard to find narrow fitting shoes and even the narrow ones are sometimes not cut right for me. I often resort to boots and laced shoes as they at least stay on my feet! Any advice would be appreciated!
Thanks for the reply!
First let me explain the relationship between long toes and how shoes are sized. As my Faithful Readers know, there are 28 different “fit points” that need to be measured when making shoes. With all those fit points to consider, customers have to start overlooking some and paying attention to only the most important fit points. For most women, length is the most important. But not for you.
Shoes are designed and manufactured assuming an average toe length. For a shoe designer, the most important measurement is the “arch length”, a somewhat misleading term that measures the distance from the back of the heel to the ball of the foot. The ball is where the foot bends when you walk. Shoes are designed to 1) curve out at that ball and 2) bend at that ball. If your toes are longer than average and if you buy shoes based on length, that curve and that bend in the shoes will never be in the right place for you!
If you are wearing flats with a round or squared toe and a flexible sole, that curve won’t matter so much. It will matter even less if you can find shoes that have more space or depth in the toe box so you don’t have to get them wider than you really need, just so you can have the width where the ball of YOUR foot hits the side of the shoe.
But if you want to wear 2.5 inch pumps, which a constructed specifically to have a built in bend at the place where average toe length feet would naturally bend, then you are in pain from the beginning. The pump will not bend where your foot bends. The arch will feel all wrong to you. The widest part of the forefoot will not hit where the widest part of YOUR foot needs the space.
I’m offering an example of a pair of pumps that will allow your toes to peek out a bit. A closed toe pump usually calls for an additional 0.6 inches of space beyond the toe. If you wear open toes, you can claim that space and hopefully get the ball of your foot closer to where it should be in the design of the shoe.