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