Poll Results: Are You Shopping for Dressy or Casual Shoes?

The most recent results from the Community Poll at DesignerShoes.com has 2381  responses.  Here’s the result.

Are you shopping for dressy or casual shoes?
REALLY dressy! 922 39%
Job interview dressy 487 20%
Casual but chic 631 27%
Casual & comfortable 341 14%

Looks like REALLY dressy won for Spring!  Big Prom and Wedding season.  Need Dressy shoes for those occasions!

Now that summer is here, let’s see what the poll will reveal.

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

Dr. Debora Spar Officiates Graduation in REALLY HIGH Heeled Sandals!

Barnard College President Debora Spar climbed the stairs to the podium for the Barnard Class of 2013 Graduation in probably the highest heels yet worn by any college president … anywhere!  The Shoe Lady is completely relieved that there were no reports of her tripping or falling.

Apparently Dr. Spar has given some thought to shoes as well as other matters pertaining to the lives of women. The Shoe Lady has grabbed a look at her soon to be released latest book,   WONDER WOMEN:  SEX, POWER AND THE QUEST FOR PERFECTION.  The Shoe Lady notes that the position in which the woman on the book cover is wearing HER high heels is far safer than the position the author chose, climbing stairs in these high heeled, colorful and very attractive sandals.  The Shoe Lady does, however, commend her for choosing sandals in the colors of DesignerShoes.com

Ascending to podium on graduation day in 5 inch heels.

Ascending to podium on graduation day in 5 inch heels.


Question: Are you shopping for High, Medium or Low heeled shoes?

High heels,  I’m thinking 3 inches or more.  =   689 votes

Medium high heels, around 2.5 inches to 3 inches.  =  569 votes  (Last place)

Medium low heels, I like the look of a heel but don’t make me stand on something over 2.25 inches.  =  787 votes  (First Place)

Lower heels, something between 1 and 1.75 inches.  =  669 votes

Flats, ballet flats, loafers with thick soles, etc.  Just keep my foot parallel to the earth!  =  637 votes

Wide widths with heels

Q: Having trouble finding a glamorous shoe with a 3 to 4 inch high heel in a size 12 ww. Can you suggest some?

A: Tell me about it! The closest heel height in our current collection for a 12ww is 2.75 inches. Here are some options that might work for you! Another possibility is doing a search for wide shoes, and consider taking them to be professionally stretched.

Andiamo Athena Black Patent White Trim

Black Patent by Andiamo is a High Heel Dressy Pump

Athena by Andiamo is accented with a patent white piping for old Hollywood glamour.

Annie Bright Gold

Bright by Annie is a High Heel Dressy Sandal

Bright dress sandal by Annie uses an embellished t-strap to add highlights to a simple and elegant design.

Annie Alvina Silver Satin

Alvina by Annie is a Mid Heel Dressy Slingback

Annie’s Alvina in silver features an extra flash of sparkle in the toebox straps.

Good luck,
The Shoe Lady

Fitting shoes for me – Quality Matters!

Q: Dear Shoe Lady, i LOVE the samanta viv pump in beige and the ellie black 8400, my foot measures 28 and a half cm long by 10.25 cm wide using your measuring guide. what sizes should i look for in these shoes? thank you!

Samanta Viv Pump Beige at DesignerShoes.com

Viv Pump by Samanta is a High Heel Dressy Pump

Ellie 8400 Black at DesignerShoes.com

8400 by Ellie is a High Heel Dressy Pump

A: My Dear Isobel,
You sexy thing. You should be looking at a USA size 14. It sounds like you have a relatively narrow foot so you may need to add an inner sole to keep these pumps pumping. The Viv Pump runs on the wide side. I believe the Ellie 8400 is a good medium.

I hope that answers the “fit” questions. But please keep in mind there is a HUGE difference in the quality and styling detail for these shoes. The Viv Pump by Samanta is in a “couture” class, using premium materials, comfort features and styling like the hidden platform. The Viv Pump is all leather and is a shoe for your lifetime. Ellie is meant to be a special occasion shoe to get you noticed but don’t expect a lot of hard ware. It is a fun HIGH heel, but it is not leather.

The Shoe Lady