Flat Foot that’s NOT a Medium

Dear Ms. S. Lady,

When I measure my longer foot it comes out as a 9 M, but I’ve never had an arch since I was a child (neither did my Mom) and my foot hardly narrows at all toward the ankle (3.75 ” at the ball of the foot 3.5o” at the ankle) so I end up wearing 9 1/2 W and 10 W to try and have enough shoe to accommodate the depth of my foot. I’ve actually had shoe sales associates advise me to buy men’s shoes because they felt the anatomy of my foot was more masculine. I also have an issue with how narrow my heel is , most shoes are huge at the heel, I can step right out of them, I leave slip on shoes in the well of cars and on stair steps. I’m constantly trying to find gel inserts to put inside heels to snug them up. Any suggestions for brands that might fight without so much fussing



Dear Rosie-

Such an excellent question.  And so interesting that you’ve been getting such perverse advice from shoe stores, telling you to buy men’s shoes.  Granted, I do not have the pleasure of seeing your feet first hand and seeing how they fit into shoes.  But based on my years of experience, I’m going to make some assumptions and offer my recommendations.Iggy, tan & black mary jane by Naturalizer
Flat feet do cause shoes to fit differently even though the length measurements can be correct.  One of the signs of “different fit” is gapping at the sides when you wear ballet flats, for example.  You do need to narrow your options by style to Mary Jane type shoes or to shoes that have a vamp that goes up toward your ankle…. loafers for example.  This may be what the shoe store attendants were thinking.  “Get Rosie to wear men’s loafers or oxfords and it will be fine.”  Loafers, oxfords and Mary Janes, fortunately for you, can also be found in great abundance and in very feminine styles, or at least in styles and colors that would never be available in the men’s department!.
Here are some examples of Mary Janes:   http://www.designershoes.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=mary+jane  Soft Drink blue multi loafer by Aerosoles brand

High heel Mary Jane style pump

Here are some examples of loafers:   http://www.designershoes.com/?style=80
Here are some examples of oxfords or laceups:  http://www.designershoes.com/?style=79
Heel snugness is an issue for you because you are wearing shoes that are too wide.  I’m assuming here that your feet are about 9.8 inches long?  That would make them a size 9. http://www.designershoes.com/size-chart.  Try sticking to the style types I’ve recommended in a size 9M.  In my long career in this business, I’ve never encountered anything that will successfully “snug” a loose heel.  And, believe me, I’ve tried.  If you go to a large store like Walgreen’s that has a foot care section, they will often have a hanging rack of sticky backed gizmos of various thickness that will go into the upper back of the heel .  They work if the problem is very minor.  If your heel is seriously narrow, even after you go back to a medium width, you may need to explore slingback options that also have the high vamp or Mary Jane strap.  I know this limits your fashion options.  But you will definitely want to find some shoes that you can wear comfortably without worrying about throughout the day!
In the olden days, shoemakers made “combination lasts”.  You could actually buy a shoe that was a size 9 in length, a wide at the front and a narrow at the heel.  This doesn’t happen anymore.  The last company I know that did this was Ferragamo.
Best wishes,
The Shoe Lady

Shoes for Swollen Feet

Dear Shoe Lady,
I can not find a shoe to fit my foot. The measurements are 11 inches long, 4.5 inches wide but the circumference of my foot is 1 ft 1 inch due to swelling. So the top of the shoe never fits over my foot… not even strappy kinds. I have tried to go up in sizes but nothing seems to help. Any suggestions?

Ms Clarissa-
Your question is above my pay grade, I’m afraid. Substantial swelling in your feet can be do to a number of reasons but it is definitely something you need to discuss with your doctor. And I’ll bet you have had that discussion.

Your length and width measurements suggest a 12WW. But as you so correctly recognize, this really isn’t enough information to determine if the shoe will fit. A shoe really requires a measure of volume and shape. That is higher math and also above my pay grade. But you need shoes and I want to help.
Until you can address the swelling, I suggest you look at some of the soft moccasin style loafers you’ll find in the Tamarac Collection.

Tamarac Highlander Rootbeer

Highlander by Tamarac is a Low Heel Casual Slipper

Straps will bind but if you can find a shoe that is soft around the throat line, (where you put your foot into the shoe) you will be more comfortable. You may also want to look in the DesignerShoes.com Lace Up Style Collection

Aerosoles Tempire State Black Combo at DesignerShoes.com

Tempire State by Aerosoles is a Mid Heel Casual Laceup

Do see your doctor, watch your salt intake and don’t try to squeeze into an uncomfortable style. Hopefully this is a temporary situation. Could you be pregnant? That is a leading cause of swollen feet!

Best to you,
The Shoe Lady