Bride Asks How to Measure Heel Height

Dear Katie-

For your peace of mind…. or what’s left of it after the frazzle of planning a wedding…. you will need to have the shoes on your feet when you try on the dress.  You can not rely on what you read on line.
Most wedding shoe manufacturers, the ones that are really devoted to that business and don’t do other styles, know how critically important the exact heel heights are.  They measure them and make that information available.
But Kate Spade makes a variety of different shoes and may not be paying attention to the importance of exact heel height in wedding shoes.  But let’s say they are.
Some websites may choose to round up to the nearest half inch.  Some websites may measure the heels themselves.  And here is where the real problem comes into play.  There are three ways to measure the heel height, all give different, sometimes significantly different, results.
1.  Traditionally, shoe manufacturers measured heel height from the breast of the heel.  This is the part of the heel that faces forward.  This is the shortest dimension and is no longer considered correct.
2.  Some people measure the heel height by holding a tape measure to the back of the heel, where the heel meets the shoe’s sole, and consider the heel height to be the length of the heel.  But this, too, is incorrect because often a high heel is designed to angle inward, thus making the heel measurement higher than it should be.
3.  The correct way to measure a heel height is to measure the line from the center of where your heel rests in the shoe, the center of the heel as seen from the side.  Measure a straight line down, keeping the measurement line perpendicular to the ground or table that the shoe is on.  This will give you the correct measurement….. but WAIT…. there’s MORE……
This will give you the correct measurement for that shoe which is generally measured in an average size.  But shoe manufacturers can vary on what they consider average.  It should be size 9.  But more likely it is size 7.  Since the heel height is graded to stay in proportion to the overall design of the shoe, a woman who buys a shoe correctly measured, at 2.5 inches, but she buys it in size 11, is likely to find that the shoe is actually 2.75 inches.
So… buy the shoes you want, hope for the best and prepare to add a pad in the heel if the shoe isn’t quite high enough.  But, not to worry, the price for re-hemming is just one more cost of the wedding.
Aren’t you glad you asked?!?
Best wishes on your special day,
The Shoe Lady
Thank you so much shoe lady!!! At this time we are going to try to actually buy the shoes at a bridal shop to be absolutely sure & can measure the heel height ourselves! Thanks again for your great answer & your time! We appreciate greatly!! 🙂

Dress Shoes for a Wedding for Feet with Bunions

Dear Shoe Lady,

Need a pair of comfortable dressy shoes, pumps, sandals, 2 1/2 ” heel to go with a raspberry lace sheath dress. Very bad bunions and big toe that crosses over. Help.
Size 8 1/2.  I try to get the widest width I can to go over my very prominent bunions , but sometimes the heel slips then and it doesn’t work.   Sling backs are the best option for me when I can find a wide width shoe.



Dear Janice,

What you want is a deep toe box, that is deep from top to sole, and a soft material on top.  I suggest you take a look in the “Bridal-Dyeable” Collection   and look for slingbacks with this configuration.  Do not buy them too wide if your foot is not really wide.  I’ve included a photo of a shoe with a rhinestone oval ornament.   It is stretchable (wider only) and dyeable.
Then… get or  find a good shoe repair place.   You will need to have them both dyed to the color you want AND spot stretched to accommodate the “issues” around your forefeet.  Only spot stretch where necessary but do it enough that you will be comfortable.
You should find a much wider range of the heel height and silouette you want in the bridal – dyeable styles. They are all white but can be dyed to match your dress, or maybe a soft grey or paler pink.
Have a wonderful time!
The Shoe Lady

Wedding Choice for Women’s Size 12 Wide

Dear Shoe Lady,
My daughter is getting married in August and I would like your advice on the best shoe style for her feet. She is not used to wearing heels so the following styles would all be okay. Ros Hommerson Bono in White: Trotters Dora in White: Special Occasions Hillary in White. Her foot measurements are Length 10.7 inches and width 4.50 inches. She also has quite a high instep. I look forward to your advice.

Dear Shiona,
Anything for an Aussie! I’ll give you my best suggestions. Let’s deal with size first, then with style.

Given her foot measurements, I recommend a size women’s size 12 wide. Size 11.5 would work but there are virtually no wedding shoes in this size. The width measurement suggests a Wide edging toward the “extra wide”. But since you’ll get a size 12 , it will probably be slightly wider than the 11.5 would be . If her feet are thick (top to sole) and if it will be hot so they might swell (how hot is it there in August?) you may want to consider a 12WW. But I think a 12W should do.

I am going to suggest that you look at the fabric shoes designed for brides. They are easy to spot stretch if she needs a little more width. And, this is the big one, after the wedding she can have them dyed a different color, like hot pink (a personal favorite).

Now for the style. Attitudes toward wedding shoes are going through changes. My FAVORITE daughter in law, Victoria, got married in baby blue pumps and a white wedding dress. We are seeing more people opt for colored shoes with their white dresses. Just an option. This is her wedding and she should have fun with her apparel choices!

I’ve used the “Shop For” section at to find Bridal/ Dyeable Collection shoes in size 12W.

You will see over 130 choices. You can narrow this list down still further by heel height (you said she wasn’t comfortable with a higher heel. But a low heel may be too low. Mid heels start at 2.5 CM. She may want to limit is to a sandal, like Alana by Special Occasions;

Special Occasions Alana White at

Alana by Special Occasions is a Mid Heel Dressy Sandal

a pump, like Betty by Touch Ups,

Touch Ups Betty White at

Betty by Touch Ups is a Low Heel Dressy Pump

a flat, like Felicity by Special Occasions,

Special Occasions Felicity White at

Felicity by Special Occasions is a Low Heel Dressy Flat

or a sling back like Shelley by Dyeables,

Dyeables Shelly White Satin at

Shelly by Dyeables is a Mid Heel Dressy Sandal

Whatever she picks, I hope you will have her post some wedding photos, including her shoes!, on our Facebook page

Best to the Bride!
The Shoe Lady