Find Correct Size for Long Toes

Hello,

I was wondering if you could make any brand recommendations for me. I wear an 8.5/9 and have narrow feet and long toes. I really struggle with finding brands with a long enough toe box. The last few years have been really bad as the rounded toe styles have been so popular! I find most Italian shoes are particularly short in the toe box. I am happy to see more pointy styles coming back, but even some of the new pointy styles are too short in the forefoot for me. If I go up a size then they are way to wide and my heel slips. It’s really hard to find narrow fitting shoes and even the narrow ones are sometimes not cut right for me. I often resort to boots and laced shoes as they at least stay on my feet! Any advice would be appreciated!
Sam

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Dear Sam,

 I’ve been wanting to write on this issue for awhile!
First… tell me what types of shoes you would like to be wearing and for what kind of occasions.
Short answer… you have the answer.  boots and lace ups.   The only other style type I would add:  mary jane straps.
Also, you won’t find the solution by brand, only by style type.  Some shoes are longer than others within a brand.  But that is a fluke, not a brand policy.  For example, I just bought two pair of Propet styles:  a lace up (Firefly) and a mary jane.  Same size.  The lace up had extra space in the toes (a luxury) and the mary jane is going to be returned… my toes hit the end.
I will send a longer answer soon.
Thanks for the question!
The Shoe Lady
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Thanks for the reply!

I am 46, but still like to wear a heel. I try to keep it 2.5 inches and under. It would be a miracle to find a comfortable pump that isn’t styled for seniors! Flats are also a problem for me- they just kill me most of the time. I think they often have shorter toe boxes. I am also somewhat flat-footed so I do need something with some structure. Very soft leather shoes are usually a bust for me.
Sam
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Dear Sam-

First let me explain the relationship between long toes and how shoes are sized.  As my Faithful Readers know, there are 28 different “fit points” that need to be measured when making shoes.  With all those fit points to consider,  customers have to start overlooking some and paying attention to only the most important fit points.  For most women, length is the most important.  But not for you.

 

This device allows you to see what size shoe you should wear based on your "ankle length" vs. based on your "heel to toe" length. For short and long toed women, these two sizes will not be the same!

This device allows you to see what size shoe you should wear based on your “ankle length” vs. based on your “heel to toe” length. For short and long toed women, these two sizes will not be the same!

Shoes are designed and manufactured assuming an average toe length.  For a shoe designer, the most important measurement is the “arch length”, a somewhat misleading term that measures the distance from the back of the heel to the ball of the foot.  The ball is where the foot bends when you walk.  Shoes are designed to 1) curve out at that ball and 2) bend at that ball.  If your toes are longer than average and if you buy shoes based on length, that curve and that bend in the shoes will never be in the right place for you!

 

Each foot is the same length, but the BALL of the foot hits a very different place in a shoe.

Each foot is the same length, but the BALL of the foot hits a very different place in a shoe.

If you are wearing flats with a round or squared toe and a flexible sole, that curve won’t matter so much.  It will matter even less if you can find shoes that have more space or depth in the toe box so you don’t have to get them wider than you really need, just so you can have the width where the ball of YOUR foot hits the side of the shoe.

 

But if you want to wear 2.5 inch pumps, which a constructed specifically to have a built in bend at the place where average toe length feet would naturally bend, then you are in pain from the beginning.  The pump will not bend where your foot bends.  The arch will feel all wrong to you.  The widest part of the forefoot will not hit where the widest part of YOUR foot needs the space.

I’m offering an example of a pair of pumps that will allow your toes to peek out a bit.  A closed toe pump usually calls for an additional 0.6 inches of space beyond the toe.  If you wear open toes, you can claim that space and hopefully get the ball of your foot closer to where it should be in the design of the shoe.

This peep toe D'Orsay style pump will give you some extra space for long toes.

This peep toe D’Orsay style pump will give you some extra space for long toes.

Best to you,
The Shoe Lady

3 thoughts on “Find Correct Size for Long Toes

  1. I have the same issues, except if I were to try the example above my two middle toes will spread forward and out, right off the edge of the shoe.
    I do not think I have narrow feet, but do have the flat arch.

  2. Same problem here. I saw this suggestion and thought, ” Are you kidding me?” my toes would reach way beyond the end of those peep toed shoes. I would never wear them because I would be a complete fool to do so.

  3. Same problem as well though my heels are narrow, the front of the foot isn’t. Also open toe shoes are not an option for anything I can’t wear my burkenstocks to. Close toe shoes are a must at all times at my job. Boots are ok as the grip at the ankle and I can size up and no heel, ever, but I get problems with my toes with many lace up shoes too. Those don’t work well for some situations though (interview?). I’m not even looking for heels, as those with hypermobile feet are a bad idea, I just want shoes I can walk in for formal situations.

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