Sunday, January 3, 2010

How To Make Larger Feet Look Smaller

Updated Below

I wear a woman's size 11 Wide in shoes. Sometimes a size 11 Regular or 10-1/2 Wide will fit, too, but usually it's an 11 Wide for me.

No matter which size fits, I still have big feet for a woman.

Over the years, I have learned to avoid shoes with pointed toes. They add unnecessary length to the shoe and just make my foot look bigger.

I have no other secrets on how to make my feet look smaller or, at least, not bigger, until now.

Since I love my woman's shoes, I subscribe to Daily Shoe Digest e-mail list and on Friday, one of the topics on the list was "How To Make Larger Feet Look Smaller."

Here are the pertinent e-mails on the topic:

Angie started the ball rolling with, "I have wear a size 11 shoe and hate wearing actual shoes with shorts because my feet always look enormous when I do. I am very self conscious about how large my feet are in many cases and I was wondering if there were any shoes that gave the effect of smaller feet and are still attractive looking that I would feel better about wearing."

Niki responded, "Any shoe that lifts your heel off the ground a more than a flat does would give the effect of an overall shorter foot. You could get away with a 1-1/2" to 2" espadrille wedge with shorts. Because your foot is bent to accommodate the higher heel, it really is physically shorter from toe to heel when measured on a flat surface."

Jeanne wrote, "Large feet are beautiful, learn to love them as they are. If you still want to shorten the look a bit, find a gladiator style that has lots of straps that are more on the delicate side than the thick and rugged side, because the multitude of straps will break up your feet and make them appear a bit smaller, and a more delicate series of straps will not add a bulky look. Also, go for a dark/er nail polish."

Finger Laker wrote, "If your feet are healthy, who cares how big they are! Size 11 is pretty average this day and age.

"PS. Try Mary Jane's...they visually make the foot look shorter."

TJ wrote, "You want to avoid pointy toe shoes. Rounded toes, squared toes make your foot look smaller. The shortest vamp designs make them look the smallest. This is the length from the toe to the throat of the shoe. Tailored ballerina styles are famous for making your feet look smaller. Dressy loafers too if the vamp is short, like many of the newer styles. There are probably more designs too, but these I know work.

Lori wrote, "These are the tricks I've found over the last 40+ years for making my
feet appear smaller:

"1. Opened back shoes like mules or clogs give the impression is that your foot is only as long as the clog.

"2. Medium vamps are best. Short vamps can expose too much skin; long vamps (especially those up to the ankle) give you Frankenfeet.

"3. At least an inch heel.

"4. Arch support if you have flat feet...reduces the boat effect.

"5. Shoes with seams, straps or details that run crosswise can help the foot look wider and shorter.

"6. Pointed toe shoes not only look longer, but they also actually add some length to your foot (but if you have shapely, willowy legs ala Nicole Kidman go for one will be looking at your feet!). Rounded toes are best...square toes can be okay too.

"Sometimes I find a great shoe that uses none of these tricks...they just work. Bottom line: Make sure the shoe fits as foot problems later in life are HUGE drag! And remember, when I was young, there were few styles available for long feet and they were EXTREMELY ugly and made me feel & look like a freak. The selection now is so much better for women with long feet...and for the first time I can go a little shoe crazy."


I hope you will find those tips useful.

And if you are interested, you can subscribe to Daily Shoe Digest here.


UPDATE: Another response to the question appeared in Monday's installment of Daily Shoe Digest:

Cindy TX wrote, "Avoid shoes with chunky soles and stitching outside the edge of the sole where they meet the shoe. And avoid added decoration, like a bow, at the back of the shoe; it would add visual length. Ankle ties - like some sandals and espadrilles have - would also add to the visual size of the foot.

Try for wedge heels that cut under toward the bottom; it provides the optical illusion of a shorter shoe. For dressier shoes, Louie heels are good: they go forward into a nice curve; plus, they add visual curve to the calf."

UPDATE: Wednesday's installment of Daily Shoe Digest had two more responses:

Pam responded, "I wear a size 9 and Earth Shoes make my feet look absolutely petite. Some people can't wear the negative heel. I find it stretching and relaxing for my leg. Some don't like rounded toe box, but I prefer them over pointier shoes that I find 'bend' at the point after very few wearings.

India wrote, "I wear a 12 narrow - sometimes 13N in VanEli shoes -- and anything that is multi-colored or multi-textured tends to make your feet look shorter. I have a pair of black leather and patent (toe is patent with a little bow) flats. I have had them re-soled 3 times. My 12N feet look two sizes smaller. Loafers also make your feet look smaller. I agree that dainty, thin strappy shoes are flattering, as well as loafers."


  1. I've found that vamp ornaments, particularly on short-vamped shoes, can make my size-11s seem shorter. So do two-tones, when they're in style. I have a pair of navy slingbacks that has a squared toe in patent that seems to flatter my feet more than just about any other pair of shoes I own.

  2. Hi Stana

    I design shoes for women with larger feet through my boutique site at

    In terms of proportions we have also concluded that the challenge in making women's feet look in proportion to the rest of their body is also about scaling the shoe properly when manufacturing the shoe! We are one of the only shoe designers in the world who have been required to sign liability by our factory as we wanted shoes that were built differently not just scaled up!

    Our shoes look great on and just like normal shoes for our customers. I wear size * and my partner wears Size 10 and no one ever notices they just ask us where we got out shoes and then look surprised when we tell them!

    Can we borrow some of your time and we would love your feedback on our new A/W capsule collection and any comments would be greatly appreciated and am sure we could arrange a discount for you too if you are interested!


    1. Where are you located? I live in Nyc

    2. I live in central Connecticut.

  3. Anyone have any tips for cowboy boots? Round or square-toed style for a smaller look?