I have a size 5.5 wide, possibly extra wide foot. I also have hardly any arches on my feet, a skinny heel and a high instep. Any thoughts on where I can find shoes that fit?



Dear Keara-

Mary Jane style shoes are your new BFF, Best Feet Friend!  There are lots of styles and heel heights.  You want a shoe that will stay on your feet.

I also suggest you try on size 5WW shoes.  You may be buying shoes too long just to get the width your feet need.  With a narrow heel, this will make your feet more likely to slip out of the heel.   Donna brown patent mary jane style by Samanta
PUHLEEZ!  Read my article on wide size shoes:  http://www.designershoes.com/about-size/width
The Shoe Lady



Sandals for a High Instep

Dear Shoe Lady,
Can you suggest some sandals that accommodate a high instep? I am traveling to Florida this winter and desperately need a new pair. I’m looking for sandals that are slightly dressy (1-2 inch heel) but also comfortable to walk in. I have good luck with Sofft shoes but they don’t always accommodate a high instep. I also have a wide toe area so I prefer either a wide width or a thong style.

Dear Lu,
Have you tried our shoes by Aerosoles? The brand is known for it’s comfort and most styles come in wide. I recommended the Aerosoles Chlose Encounter. They are slip-on style with a .75 inch heel, cushioned footbed and comfortable wide bands.

Aerosoles Chlose Encounter Nickel Leather at DesignerShoes.com

Chlose Encounter by Aerosoles is a Low Heel Casual Sandal

For a thong style sandal I would recommend the Naturalizer Brand. Widths range from medium, wide and extra wide. The cushioned footbed with a 1.25 inch heel is fantastic for a high instep.

Naturalizer Havaro Coral Kiss at DesignerShoes.com

Havaro by Naturalizer is a Low Heel Casual Sandal

Finally, since you love Sofft brand shoes I thought you might this youthful cute sandal with a 1.25 inch heel. Perfect for a summer dress.

Sofft Lynsey All Spice Leather at DesignerShoes.com

Lynsey by Sofft is a Low Heel Sandal

Enjoy your trip to Florida!
The Shoe Lady

Shoes for Teachers

Hello Shoe Lady,
This is your sister again.
I admit that I didn’t take the advice you offered last time I wrote. I succumbed to the ease of the washable shoes even though you recommended a nice mule.
I’ve been on my feet teaching math here in Florida now for a few months. I’d like some comfortable, stylish shoes that I can wear throughout the school year. I’m looking for something with a 1″ heel in a cocoa brown color with a price that fits a teacher’s wallet and my short wide foot. Remember all those summers we went barefoot? We didn’t know then but I am paying the price now with “spreading” feet!
I’m looking forward to some suggestions from you.

Your much younger sister

Well dear little, short, tiny footed sister….. it isn’t going barefoot that made your feet wide. It is getting old. Actually, not true. You were born with wide feet. I remember. Chubby little things.

Anyway…. I digress.
Here is a link for you to find brown low heeled shoes – http://www.designershoes.com/?color=32&heel=50&limit=80&sizewidth=197
In the “Sort by” box in tiny letters (put on your glasses) on the right side of the page of shoes, sort by Price.

I know there are boots and you are in Florida. Sorry we don’t have an “exclude” function on search. But by limiting the shoe choices to “low” heel, you miss some great clogs and mules that have a higher heel but also a platform. That reduces the angle and brings your short self more in line with the family.

Take a look at the Softwalk mules (you can sort by Mule under the STYLE department).
I suggest the Mika, the Murietta and the Denver, all in your size and color. I added the images for each shoe below in case you needed a visual guide.

Softwalk Denver Wheat at DesignerShoes.com

Denver by Softwalk is a Mid Heel Casual Mule

Softwalk Mika Dark Brown at DesignerShoes.com

Mika by Softwalk is a Mid Heel Dressy Mule

Softwalk Murietta Cognac Croco at DesignerShoes.com

Murietta by Softwalk is a Mid Heel Casual Mule

I also think you and your kids would have fun with you showing up in a pair of Cape Clogs mules. You can get flower prints or skull and cross bones… wear according to your mood. Let it be a warning to the little tykes.

The Shoe Lady

Silver HIGH HEELS in women’s size 12 or 13 wide

Dear Shoe Lady,
I am looking for Silver HIGH HEELS in women’s size 12 or 13 wide. Can you help me?

Silver is a striking color that works with a variety of other hues. I like to think of it as jewelry on your feet. A touch of a shimmer or metallic reflections can really help to complete a look. Here are a couple of options to get you started!

Touch Ups Jillian Silver at DesignerShoes.com

Jillian by Touch Ups is a High Heel Dressy Sandal

Special Occasions Paola Silver at DesignerShoes.com

Paola by Special Occasions is a High Heel Dressy Pump

Touch Ups Twilight Silver at DesignerShoes.com

Twilight by Touch Ups is a High Heel Dressy Sandal

Browse the additonal shoe options by clicking here!

Good Luck,
The Shoe Lady

Understanding USA Shoe Widths – A European Question

Dear Shoe lady,

I’m from Malta and have a very large foot size unfortunately here the maximum size available for shoes for women is a 9 which is not even close to my size so i have been wearing mens shoes most of my life. As you can imagine this is not flattering at all and restricts my wardrobe to trousers as men’s shoes look hideous with dresses or skirts!

Last February my mother went on holiday in the United states and bought me 2 pairs of women’s shoes in size 11 W – the length of the shoe is fine however the width is simply too small. When I measure my feet according to the chart on this website I still get a size of 11 W however since I have 2 pairs of shoes in that size which do not fit I am hesitant in buying another pair in the same size. so I was wondering if you could tell me how to better measure the width of my foot to be able to buy the appropriate size.

I have recently finished a Master degree in Pharmacy and will start working with a pharmaceutical company my job will involve many functions with other professionals and I would like to be able to wear women’s shoes since first impressions are important in this business furthermore the fact that I have never owned a pair of womens shoes greatly influences my self esteem.

Many thanks in advance for your advice

Dearest Marisabelle! I am here for you!

We want you to be the most attractively shod pharmacist on the continent! A size 11W is roughly 26.7 cm long and 10.9 cm wide. But there is a small difference between and 11 and a 12, only 0.6 cm, so your measuring has to be very exact. You’ll need to do a bit more reading about measuring your feet. Also on that page, read about shoe size and shoe width. You MUST make judgments about the SHAPE of your feet beyond what the size charts tell you.

Also, I don’t know which brands your mother bought? Some brands are terrible at making wider sizes, others are great. This article tells you about wide feet and lists some of the better brands to consider. Let me know more information about the shape and size of your feet after you read the articles and I’ll make more suggestions for you.

Keep in touch,
The Shoe Lady

Strappy Sandals for a Thicker Foot

Dear Shoe Lady,
I will be matron of honour at my niece’s wedding and am deciding
between the 1. Touch Up Morgans Bronze 11w

Morgan, bronze by Touch Ups

and the Annie Allison Black
11extra W.

Allison, gold by Annie

My foot measures 26cm long and 10cm wide – however I have a
high instep and was wondering how generous these shoes were with their
straps across the top – ie. depth from sole to top of foot?    Your opinion
would be great, as I have not tried these brands before.  Could you please
also advise the postage to Postcode 2346, NSW, Australia for both 1 and 2
pairs (in case I buy both…lol)  Thanks Cindy  (I have just measured and my
largest foot around is 25.5cm -this is taken with tape measure around the
middle of foot where the heel arch is and fully around to the top halfway on
top of foot (not incl toes)  -hard to describe isnt it…lol….
thanks  again,
Dear Cindy –
I, too, have a high arch and a thick foot.  If you just looked at the length and width of my foot, you’d sell me a size 10.  You are quite correct to take the girth of your foot into consideration.  But if your measurements are correct, I think you may have overdone it.  Both of these brands are pretty true to size.  Your measurements suggest that, independent of the girth of your foot, you should be a size 10 to 10.5 Medium.
The Morgan is cut in such a way that it would accomodate a thicker foot.  The strap across the top of the Allison does not have an elastic insert that would allow the top to stretch.  It is possible to move it around a bit to fit the top of your foot.  In some circumstances, you could get a wider size and that would help for the top strap but if you do, you may run into problems with the heel strap.  It has a 1 inch piece of elastic but it does not have a buckle and isn’t really adjustable.  So if you get a shoe that is too wide, the heel strap will slip down all the time.
That said, both shoes could fit perfectly, or neither could.   I like the sparkle on the Allison and I normally think a heel strap makes walking easier.  But for you, I’d lean toward the Morgan as being the more versatile fit.  Then consider whether you should be going with a 10.5M or 11M or 10.5W or 11W.   This decision is based on your own knowledge of your feet and your preference for whether you want the sole of the sandal to show above your toes, or if you like your toes to go to the very end of the sole.
The Shoe Lady

Lymphedema in both feet

Dear Shoe Lady,

I have lymphedema in both feet, ankles, legs. I have a very real need for width measuring information. not just the ball of the foot but the arch as well. ironically my toes and heels are not affected
and are ‘normal’. arch height is not the issue it’s the height from floor over top of foot to floor. right now I make moccasins and measure this way [traditional] but mocs don’t do well in wet or cold
weather or for dressy occasions!
The site is good for what is in it, but more measuring information in this area would of great help to me and others like me.
thank you


Dear Ms. P,

Thanks for your feedback!  There are 28 different “fit” points on a shoe and given the different shapes of feet and different styles …. multiplied by the average of about 50 sizes for each shoe style… well you see our problem.  We do as much as we can to inform customers about how to pick the best shoes for their feet.  I, your humble Shoe Lady, have thicker feet, floor to top of foot, and find it helps to think of shoes not as length and width, but as volume.  So I sometimes need to buy sizes a little wider than my width measurement suggests just so there’s room for the thickness or top-to-bottom height.

Please do take a look at the information in our “About Sizes” section on the lower right part of the DesignerShoes.com home page.


The Shoe Lady

Dear Lady,

Thank you for answering me. I do understand fit points.you should see my closet floor! lol  The collection is a study in width.
I thought I would get XW but I needed more reference for how wide is XW. it’s just a number. so even a ball park measure would help. imagine trying to buy a dress and having no idea what a size 2 vs 22 is.
at least if there was a number attached to the shoe you could measure and have an idea of where it is going.
I guess I will have to go to a shoe store with one of those measuring things and see what I get.  or a thrift store for a pair that are close to fitting me-I have no idea anymore if I wear an 8,8.5 or? even if it is a XW. yes I am taking a can of lysol eeewwww but desperate times make people do desperate things.
Thanks again.

My Dear Ms. P,

Go to a shoe store that uses a Brannock device (that stick thing) but the width information still may not help much.  Be sure to read our articles on measuring your feetand on Wide feet on our website.

Shoe sizes/ widths?

Dear Shoe Lady, I am thinking of ordering some shoes from your online store, but before I do that I wanted to ask about sizes, especially widths.  My heel to toe length is about 10.5 in., and my ball width is about 4 3/8 in.  I am interested in the following shoes and boots – do you think 11 WW will fit me?



Jocelyn by Supremes is a Low Heel Casual Laceup


Thanks for the help,
In a word, yes!

All of the styles you’ve picked are good for wide feet.  Your width is between a W and a WW.  You will be more comfortable in the WW.  And both the Jocelyn and Frost should stay on your foot fine if the shoe is a little loose.  The Vera is more of a dress shoe.  Bella Vita has tended to make their widths generous, although on this shoe, we think the width is “true”.  But because you are between a W and a WW, you may want to consider the W.  It will hold your foot more tightly but you can consider getting it spot stretched if there is a particular spot – like bunions- that make that part of your foot wider.  This is a tough call and requires you to assess the shape of your foot with the shape of the shoe.  Also keep in mind that the difference between a W and a WW is less than a quarter of an inch around the circumference of the ball of your foot.

The Shoe Lady

Fitting my wide foot

Dear Shoe Lady –
I don’t call people too well, e-mail seems better for me to communicate.  I measured my foot, and it is 9 3/4 inches long and 4 1/4 inches wide.  From the floor to the top of my foot about  mid-instep is 2 1/2 inches high.  And the biggest part of my ankle  where the bone protrudes is 11 3/8 inches.  Because of the height of  the top of my foot to the floor, I usually can not wear normal shoes  that “wrap” up the foot or have a design that would go up the foot.
Could you give me some different size possiblilties?  Normal shoes that don’t go up the foot, ones that do, and ones with ankle straps.  Where an anklet would normally fit for me is 10 1/2 inches.

Thank you  for all your help.  Sorry to be such a pain.

Your basic foot measurements sound like 8WW but you are very SMART to be
paying attention to the thickness of your foot and how the shape and size of
your foot relates to the styles of shoes.  A lot of people with thicker top
to bottom feet refer to their feet as having “high arches”.  Brands like
Naturalizer, Annie, Softwalk and Soft Spots often make shoes
that have stretch material over the top for people who need that extra

Because you are asking about ankle straps, I’m assuming you are looking for
fashion shoes?  Fortunately there is a lot you can do to adapt the shoe to
your foot.  A good shoe repair shop will be able to stretch the top on, say
a loafer or mule style, to make it fit better across the top of your foot.
The shop can also add length to an ankle strap.

If you move toward pumps and higher heels, I’d try going up a half or whole
size to 8.5WW or 9WW depending on what you are learning about the shape of
your feet and the shape of the shoes.

Good luck!