Do you struggle to find UK size 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 or 13 large womens shoes, boots or sandals? This list of retailers who stock womens big shoes is perfect for your larger than average feet.

Michelle Obama showed us that it’s easy to look elegant with larger feet in the right shoes. She wasn’t shy to show off her US 11½ (UK 9½/10) feet in stunning larger sized footwear.

illustration and text: since all great journeys start with a single step you should probably have on a cute pair of shoes

There’s no need to compromise your style by wearing trainers. Now you can find heels and sophisticated womens flats which fit your feet! I’ve compiled this blog post, so you can easily click through and explore the pretty comprehensive selection of retailers who stock larger sized shoes.

Many of the companies listed here are UK-based. I’ve also included some from other countries who will dispatch to the UK.



Broad selection of work, casual and fashion styles in UK size 9 with a very few in size 9½.

clarks large womens shoes logo

Ellie Dickins Shoes

Plenty of options up to a UK 11, with a limited selection of size 12s. Styling is classic, with a few more trend-driven looks.

Ellie Dickins shoes large womens shoes logo

Medissa Shoes

UK size 11½ well catered for, with some options up to 12½. Styling is mostly classic and elegant or comfortable and functional.

medissa large womens shoes logo

Autograf New York

New York based company who source their handcrafted women’s shoes from Europe. Sizes go up to a US 14/UK 12.

autograf new york large womens shoes logo

Shoes of Prey

Completely customisable stylish shoes up to a UK size 13.

shoes of prey large womens shoes logo

Duo Boots

Premium quality boots available up to a UK size 9. This brand offers trendy and more classic options. Prices are at the higher end of the high street, but materials and quality are good.

Duo Boots logo

Narrow Fit Shoes – was Special Feetures

Narrow fitting styles available up to a UK 10. Smart classic and casual options.


narrow fit shoes large womens shoes logo

Charles Clinkard

Classic and casual womens styles up to a UK size 9.

Charles Clinkard large womens shoes logo

Fashion World

Many affordable styles for the trend conscious up to a size 9.

Fashion World large womens shoes logo


Stylish and affordable footwear available up to a UK size 9.

vivaladiva large womens shoes logo

Elegant Steps

Shoes for brides and occasions. A few styles in UK 10 but a wider selection from size 9 downwards.

elegant steps large womens shoes logo


Not just petite shoes. This Ireland based company also stock some larger sizes.

shoetastic large womens shoes logo


A small and stylish selection from this relatively new brand. UK 8, 9, 10 & 11 available in all styles.

Carobella large womens shoes logo

Katie Long Shoes

Sizeable selection of feminine styles in sizes 8-12.

katie long shoes large womens shoes logo


Broad selection of styles up to a size 9.

marisota large womens shoes logo

New Look

Affordable and trendy options up to a UK 9.

new look large womens shoes logo


Wide fitting boots, shoes and sandals up to a UK size 11.

Evans large womens shoes logo

Simply Be

The same company as VivaLaDiva with the same stylish, affordable options.

simply be large womens shoes border

Eleanor Anukam

Unusual and beautiful shoe styles worth shipping from the USA. Sizes up to UK 11.

Eleanor Anukam large womens shoes logo

Long Tall Sally

Many trendy or classic options available up to a UK size 13. Affordable for most budgets.

long tall sally large womens shoes logo

Light in the box

Budget-friendly options up to a size 10½.

light in the box large womens shoes logo


Good selection of styles up to a UK 12. A few options in size 13 too.

amazon large womens shoes logo


Branded footwear with most options up to a size 9 and a few in a UK 10 and above.

freemans large womens shoes logo


Classic and comfortable styles up to a size 9.

gabor large womens shoes logo

Crispins Shoes

High quality classic styles available in sizes up to a UK 12.

crispins shoes large womens shoes logo

If you know of any other great companies selling larger sizes, please share their details in the comments.

Looking for shoes for Small, Narrow or Wide feet?

For essential tips on how to find great quality footwear, download my book The Shoe Shopping Kit.

Personal shoe services

Do you despair when you open your wardrobe, and see lots of shoes you can’t wear? If so, a Shoe Wardrobe Analysis is for you. Find out how you can rid yourself of guilt and negative feelings, and turn your shoe wardrobe into a place which makes you smile.

Are you fed up of spending hours trawling the shops and still not finding comfortable, beautiful shoes? A One-to-one VIP Shoe Shopping session is for you if you struggle to find your perfect pair, or have ever made a shoe purchasing mistake. Find out how we can help you navigate treacherous shoe departments with ease.

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Having trouble finding UK size 13, 1, 2 or 3 womens shoes, boots or sandals for your smaller than average feet? This list of retailers who stock small shoes is perfect for your dainty feet.

You have the right to feel like a princess in your shoes. You shouldn’t have to compromise your style because your feet aren’t “average”. I hope you’ll find the perfect pair for you amongst the small shoe retailers I’ve selected.

princess shoe illustration

No more stuffing insoles into the front, using heel grips, or wearing children’s shoes. Hurray!

Many of the companies listed here are UK-based. I’ve also included some from other countries who will dispatch to the UK.


Feet Petite

Affordable high heeled work and occasion styles.

feet petite small shoes logo


Plenty of reasonably priced style and colour options for all occasions including bridalwear.

shoetastic small shoes logo


Broad selection of styles including sexy heels and sophisticated espadrilles.

piccolo small shoes logo


Trend-driven and classic work, casual and seasonal styles from the high street stalwart.

clarks small shoes logo

Ellie Dickins Shoes

Classic and casual functional styles, made to last.

Ellie Dickins shoes small shoes logo

Shoes of Prey

Fully customisable footwear, from the heel to the style, material and embellishments…in your size!

shoes of prey small shoes logo

Duo Boots

Previously known as Ted & Muffy (but before that they were Duo), this brand offers trendy and more classic options. Prices are at the higher end of the high street, but materials and quality are good. Sizes start from UK size 2/Eur 35

Duo Boots logo

Charles Clinkard

Many casual and classic smarter options for all occasions starting from size 2.

Charles Clinkard small shoes logo

Fashion World

A reasonable selection of simple styles from big brands from size 2 upwards.

Fashion World small shoes logo


Classic and casual styles from big brands.

vivaladiva small shoes logo

Elegant Steps

Bridal footwear, evening and occasion styles from size 2.

elegant steps small shoes logo


Big brand classic and casual styles from size 2.

marisota small shoes logo

Pretty Small Shoes

Unique and beautiful styles starting from size 13. Prices are at the higher end.

pretty small shoes small shoes logo

Light in the box

Many different style options at low prices from size 12½.

light in the box small shoes logo


Stylish options for all budgets from a selection of European brands.

zalando small shoes logo

Small Shoes and Things

Classic styles for all occasions.

small shoes and things small shoes logo


Low priced high heels, bridal styles and other options.

amazon small shoes logo



Trend-led options starting from size 2, with more choice of styles in size 2½.

freemans small shoes logo

Dainty Feet

Glamorous occasion footwear from size 1.

dainty feet small shoes logo

The Little Shoe Shop

Classic and trend-led styles from size 13 in neutrals and brighter hues.

the little shoe shop small shoes logo


An excellent selection of trend-led styles from size 2.

shoeaholics small shoes logo


Mostly comfortable casual options with a few work basics. All from EU 35/UK size 2½.

ecco small shoes logo


Classic smart and casual styles from size 2½.

gabor small shoes logo


Comfortable casual styles and some simple work styles. All from size 2.

geox small shoes logo

If you know of any other great companies selling smaller sizes, please share their details in the comments.

Looking for shoes for Large, Narrow or Wide feet?

For essential tips on how to find great quality footwear, download my book The Shoe Shopping Kit.

Personal shoe services

Do you despair when you open your wardrobe, and see lots of shoes you can’t wear? If so, a Shoe Wardrobe Analysis is for you. Find out how you can rid yourself of guilt and negative feelings, and turn your shoe wardrobe into a place which makes you smile.

Are you fed up of spending hours trawling the shops and still not finding comfortable, beautiful shoes? A One-to-one VIP Shoe Shopping session is for you if you struggle to find your perfect pair, or have ever made a shoe purchasing mistake. Find out how we can help you navigate treacherous shoe departments with ease.

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The bad old days of wedding shoes

Wedding shoes have changed in the last decade or so. There used to be a dismal lack of choice for brides to wear on their big days. Bridal shoes were simple white or ivory satin styles with kitten heels. They lagged behind fashion trends, mostly tending towards a “classic” aesthetic.

Happy days

Brides these days can pick from an almost infinite number of shoe styles to complement their dresses. Some (myself included) are picking shorter dresses in order to show off their shoe choice.

woman susannah davda wearing wedding dress and red and blue ankle strap wedding shoes

Wedding shoes are no longer an after-thought. If you’re looking for the perfect pair to complement your dress, I can help. I will source the perfect wedding shoes to suit your style, dress, and venue, This is a full shoe sourcing service for brides who want to find fabulous, comfortable footwear.

You can be the bride with the most amazing shoes, who kept them on all day and night!

Top 12 wedding shoe brands

If you’d like to source your own shoes, I’ve compiled this list of the top 12 brands specialising in bridal footwear, to take some of the legwork out of bridal shopping for you.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. Harriet Wilde

pale gold laser cut high heeled platform wedding shoes with ribbon

Simple, elegant styles, with sumptuous details and adornments. Think impossibly pretty.

2. Shoes of Prey

white lace high heeled wedding shoes blue ribbon bow trim

A customisation service, perfect for creative brides who want something unique. All aspects of the shoe are customisable using the easy-to-use website.

3. Pip MacCallum

white satin high heeled wedding shoes with black ribbon to tie around leg

Elegant shoes and sandals with simple, clean lines and a variety of beautiful shades from blush to dove grey, to ivory.

4. Love Art Wear Art

ivory satin T bar high heeled sandal wedding shoes with silver glitter and plaited detail

Intricate styles with a dash of bling. Metallic hints and glitter sections are signatures of this brand.

5. Freya Rose

high heeled wedding shoes sandals mother of pearl

A mix of simple classic styles, and contemporary looks using innovative materials and adornments.

6. Irregular Choice

gold glitter wedding shoes bride and groom figure heels

For the unconventional bride. These heels will definitely make a statement when you walk down the aisle. These heels are also available in a two brides version perfect for ladies marrying other ladies.

7. Emmy London

beaded silver leather wedge sandals wedding shoes

Luxurious designs worth stretching your budget for. Only the finest materials are used to make Emmy’s shoes, and many styles are hand-beaded.

8. Rachel Simpson

ice blue high heeled peep toe wedding shoes

Flowers are a signature of this brand. Many styles have this beautiful metallic detailing which outlines petal shapes. Lace and scalloping are also featured.

9. Pink Paradox

Satin sandals wedding shoes with diamante ankle straps

Diamantes, lace, ruching and bows feature on these classic silhouettes. Priced for budget-conscious brides.

10. Rainbow Club

satin high heeled wedding shoes with ribbon bow and ruching

Classic with a twist. Most of their styles can be hand-dyed by the company to match any shade.

11. Sophia Webster

jelly sandals wifey for lifey wedding shoes flat

Girly, innovative and quirky in an entirely wearable way. Bridal styles feature “Wifey For Lifey” on the soles.

12. Charlotte Mills

white wedding shoes with silver glitter bow and heel

Hearts, bows and metallic details feature on this brand’s beautifully hand-crafted shoes and sandals. Many styles come in a subtle shade of “something blue”.

…and for wider feet: Sargasso & Grey

ivory satin high heeled crystal bead embellished court shoe wide fit

Brides with wider feet don’t have to suffer in too-narrow shoes or compromise on elegance. Sequins and crystals subtly decorate some options, whilst others are kept clean and simple.


Which shoes did you wear to your wedding? Please share your dream wedding shoes with us in the comments, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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  • The shade I wore for this feature. A rich dark pink which goes with almost every colour except some orangey reds.
  • Wear this girly baby pink shade with a pretty floral dress or skirt. Alternatively go for a hint of French chic by combining these with black and cream.
  • Pick this deep dark blue for a touch of nautical. A useful nearly neutral for those who don't like black. Perfect with Breton stripes.
  • An off white shade perfect for weekends and holidays with bright summer skirts, dresses or cropped trousers.
  • A rich tealy shade called jade. This colour makes an unusual but flattering complement to navy, white, cream or black.
  • The true basic. This black leather option is useful for work to evening looks, and the perfect complement to a well-tailored skirt suit.
  • Silver can be an extremely handy neutral, which goes with many different shades. A lovely option for evenings, weekends, and weddings.
  • This so-called "nude" shade is a warm beigey pink which flatters most skin tones. It looks particularly lovely combined with rich browns.
  • For black without the harshness of shiny leather, select this soft suede version. Lovely combined with other textures such as chiffon or velvet for evening.
  • For the ultimate girly metallic, opt for rose gold. It looks simply stunning with white or cream.
  • A rich ultramarine blue suede, which will stand out from a sea of black shoes anywhere you wear it. Great with navy and white.

The holy grail

Have you ever owned a pair of heels which were completely comfortable and supportive, but you didn’t know why? Did you wear them so much, that you wore holes in them? That’s just the kind of shoe you need when you’re a guest at a wedding. You’re wearing your shoes from quite early in the day, and well into the night. You want a style you will still be able to dance in come 10pm. In this blog post, I introduce you to what I think are the perfect wedding guest shoes.

The perfect wedding guest shoes

woman's legs wearing black and pink floral skirt and dark pink mary jane shoes

This style from Spanish brand KMB is pretty perfect. The leather is lovely and soft, and these shoes have leather linings. This helps to absorb moisture, so your feet don’t feel sweaty.

The straps on this Mary Jane style help to keep your shoes on your feet, even through some vigorous dance moves. The buckle ensures the strap is adjustable for a perfect fit.

dark pink heeled shoes on a fence with a background of bright yellow flowers

The heel is 2½”/6.35cm so it gives you extra height, without putting too much pressure on the balls of your feet. Its shape is more substantial than a slim stiletto, but doesn’t look heavy or chunky.

two photos one of womans legs in jeans and one of her legs in a black and pink skirt. Both are wearing dark pink leather mary jane shoes

These shoes will go with plenty of different outfits. They’ll be your perfect wedding guest shoes, and can also be worn at work, in the evening and at weekends. Check out the superb array of colours in the slide show at the top of the page.

woman wearing tights and dark pink leather mary jane shoes in front of a flower bed

The best thing is that the heel is wide enough to ensure you won’t sink into the grass. Because if there’s a wedding, there’s probably grass…or gravel…or cobbles.

woman wearing turned up blue jeans with dark pink leather mary janes on grass with little blue flowers in

I’m always looking for the perfect heeled shoe, which fits all of the criteria for comfort and balance I talk about in my book The Shoe Shopping Kit. This time I think I’ve found it.

Do you have a pair which are your go-to style for attending weddings? Share your favourite shoes with us in the comments, or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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The problem

Have you ever bought high heeled shoes which made you walk as though you’d had a few, when you hadn’t touched a drop? Some high heels aren’t designed to be comfortable, others are badly made, and some look as though they’d provide support but don’t.

woman wobbling in red high heels and white socks

I wasted too much time and money in my youth trying on and buying high heels, which just weren’t comfortable. In fact, some were simply unwearable. Over the years I’ve been working in the footwear industry, I’ve developed simple methods for making and buying comfortable high heels.

The impact

Unless you’re looking to start a shoe brand (if you are, give me a shout), you’ll be interested in the buying side of things.

Trying on shoes can be a faff. Shoe shops are often over-heated and noisy. Taking off your shoes and socks and prising on a pristine pair can be hot work. I’ve put together this video, so you can discover in under 2 minutes which heels to bother trying on (and which to leave on the shelf).

How to do it

In case you can’t watch the video just yet, I’ll summarise.

The Shelf Wobble test

Simply poke the shoe from the side whilst it’s on the shelf. If it wobbles and keeps on wobbling, or even falls over, then it won’t support you.

If the shoe stays nice and flat on the shelf, and just swings around as you poke it, then it stands a much better chance of being comfortable.

A word of warning: be careful not to damage the shoes! I can’t bear to think of you paying for uncomfortable shoes.

Be a shoe shopping whizz

For more essential tips on finding comfortable, beautiful shoes, download my book The Shoe Shopping Kit. Alternatively, you can join my mailing list, and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Do you have any shoe-finding tips you’d like to share with other shoe lovers? Why not pop them in the comments below?

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We’re excited to announce that our very own shoe-themed hen party activity The Shoe Experience is now live on the excellent party planning website Freedom.

high heeled shoes of different colours lined up on a shelf shoe experience

The Shoe Experience takes place in a top department store in London, and promises to “send you rocketing into shoe heaven”.

Book London Shoe Experience, and you and your friends will get a crash course in shoe shopping like a celeb.

Meet for a glass of fizz and nibbles. Get a quick run-down of which celebs wore what recently, discover the hottest celebrity shoe trends, and the 5 secrets of shopping for glamorous shoes which are actually comfortable.

champagne in cooler and full champagne glasses shoe experience

After that, your very own shoe expert Susannah Davda (as seen on TV) will guide you on a VIP shoe shopping experience in a top London department store. You and your friends can try on as many pairs as you like, and receive honest, unbiased, personalised advice from the expert.

Susannah has over 18 years’ experience in the fascinating world of women’s footwear. She loves to help groups of women to shop smarter when shopping for shoes, and has even written a book about it: The Shoe Shopping Kit. She also helps brides and wedding guests to find the perfect footwear for the big day. Don’t forget to have a look at all of her personal shoe shopping services on the VIP page .

photo of susannah davda in circle

This activity is perfect for fashion-loving groups, and is bound to leave the bride gushing about the wonderful day you planned for her. Top friend points to you!

If you’d like more details, head to the Freedom website, where their amazing team will help you plan the perfect weekend to end all (single) weekends!

Freedom logo shoe experience

Choose Freedom for all your London hen party needs; an unrivalled choice of activities, in the very best locations, with accommodation if needed.

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I received a call from a TV producer last Friday, asking if an ITV reporter could come and talk to me about shoes. Parliament were due to debate the petition entitled “Make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work” on Monday 6th, and they knew I had strong opinions on footwear.

petition to government high heels at work

The petition was started by the rather brave Nicola Thorp, who was sent home from work at PwC for refusing to wear high heels. Thanks go to Nicola for raising awareness of this issue.

To find out what I had to say about work, women and high heels, have a look at the clip.

Susannah Davda on ITV TV News talking about high heels video

Were you as surprised by the statistic my survey revealed as I was?

I find the journey we’ve faced as women in the workplace fascinating. In the past, there were just a few job opportunities available to our gender, and only until we married. The magazines I read as a teenager led me to believe that everything was now equal, but in fact we’re still working towards having complete freedom of opportunity in the UK and around the world.

Just Seventeen magazine cover


Every little step made towards this goal should be seen as a success. Shortly after the news story hit the media, Nicola Thorp’s ex-employer Portico amended its dress code to allow flats. Parliament devoted one hour and eleven minutes to debating whether employers could dictate the wearing of high heels. Their unanimous decision? Absolutely not!

I say let your shoes help you to the top. Don’t be afraid to wear smart flats if that’s how you feel most comfortable and confident. Still love your heels? Don’t worry, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort. Sign up to my mailing list, or download my book The Shoe Shopping Kit to get top tips on finding comfortable, beautiful shoes.

Are you a flats fan, or do you refuse to wear anything but heels to work? Do you feel forced to wear high heels by a company policy or by the culture of your workplace?

woman's legs kicking off heels office chair

I’d love to hear about your experience. Please let me know what style of shoes you wear to work in the comments, or via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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I meet many great women who do amazing things, so I thought I’d introduce you to some of them. In my Wonderful Women series we talk about life, shoes and what these women do to make a difference. In the first part of this series, I enter the world of Robina Brennan, Partnerships Manager at the women’s charity Smart Works.

Do you fancy having a spring clear-out of your footwear? Read on to find out how your shoes can change lives.

Meet Robina Brennan from Smart Works

Robina Brennan of Smart Works with clothes rail

Q. What does Smart Works do?

A. Smart Works is an organisation which is all about empowering women and boosting their confidence to help increase their chances of getting a job. We support women who are out of work or on low incomes by giving them a free styling session, smart interview outfit and interview coaching. It’s an extremely effective service and 58% of the women we see go on to get a job within six months. Women are referred to us from a range of partners, from job centres to charities that work with ex-offenders and people suffering from domestic abuse or homelessness. Each woman spends two hours with us before an interview, getting that crucial bit of support and encouragement. We follow up with clients a month after their appointment and if they are still jobseeking we can signpost them to organisations we work with that can give them further, specific support. If a woman gets a job, she can book a ‘second dressing appointment’ and come back to get five pieces to add to her work wardrobe to help build up that capsule wardrobe that she can wear to work. We also invite clients to join our Smart Works Network which meets monthly and we have different talks, workshops and sessions on personal and professional development topics.

Happy Smart Works client Maxine French in a smart black and white dress

Q. What’s your role at Smart Works Robina?

A. I’m extremely lucky to have a very varied role. As Partnerships Manager, I work on research and outreach to work effectively with our partners and increase our outreach to support as many women, specifically ‘hardest to reach’ clients, as possible. I also work with our retail partners, such as Bobbi Brown and Hobbs, to co-ordinate donations and fundraising events and campaigns and work with our corporate supporters in a range of ways also. I’m very lucky to be responsible for the Smart Works Network and to be the Smart Works Representative on our fundraising volunteer group, Smart Works Inspire.

Robina Brennan of Smart Works with her back to a rail of clothes

Q. What’s your favourite part of your job?

A. As we are a small team, I get the chance to be really involved in a variety of areas, which I enjoy immensely. Working at Smart Works is extremely rewarding, I see amazing women realise their potential every day. Sometimes I get to spend time styling clients or giving interview coaching sessions and I’m hugely passionate about it. Seeing a woman come in really nervous and unsure of what to expect, lacking eye contact and feeling anxious and then seeing her leave standing taller, prouder, looking you directly in your eye and smiling with her newfound confidence is something which will never get boring.

Happy Smart Works client Maxine French laughing

Q. Which styles of footwear do your clients need?

A. Our clients go for every job under the sun so it’s great for us to be able to offer a range of options. Some clients like high heels, some flats and the same goes for colour, texture and shape. As we are dressing women for interviews, flat shoes of any colour and style are very useful as are shoes with small-medium heels or block heels- shoes which are generally easy to walk in.

Full length photo of Smart Works client Maxine French in work outfit

Q. Where does Smart Works get shoes from?

A. We rely on the kindness and generosity of individuals to donate shoes, as well as receiving some from our retail partners. As shoes are often items which people are sentimentally attached too, it always seems to happen that shoes and handbags don’t tend to get donated often so we are always thrilled to receive these pieces.

A rack of colourful women's shoes at Smart Works

Q. How can I donate my shoes to Smart Works?

We have two offices in London (Islington and Ladbroke Grove) and offices in Reading, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh with more to come. You can post us items or bring them to one of our offices, which is a great chance to see what we do in person. All location details can be found on our website.

Women's high heeled shoes displayed at different heights at Smart Works


Many thanks to Robina for taking the time to talk to me. I volunteered at Smart Works as a stylist for several years, so I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact that Robina describes.

Now what are you waiting for? It’s time to detox your shoe wardrobe and send your unwanted styles to Smart Works.

If you’d like some help working out which styles to keep and which to donate, why not book my Shoe Wardrobe Analysis service? One client said “Thrilled with my new shoes, my wardrobe analysis and my VIP shopping trip. Years of discomfort followed by ugly compromise are OVER once and for all!”

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Have you ever been told by a sales assistant that the shoes you’re trying on will “give”? So have I! But what does it mean?

Will my shoes stretch or give?

Some shop staff use the word “give” to mean “stretch”. They might encourage you to purchase a pair which are too tight when you try them on, by saying “they’ll give over time”.

Here are my 5 fool-proof ways to tell if your shoes will stretch:

Question 1: Are they lined?

A. If yes, the double layer makes your shoes less likely to stretch than a single unlined piece of leather.

Question 2: What are they made from?

A. Woven fabric and synthetic leather uppers are less likely to stretch than leather. Stretch fabric will usually give to the shape of your foot.

Question 3: Are the uppers stitched?

A. If there’s a row of stitching where you need the shoe to stretch, this will either prevent the “give” effect or the stitching will break under pressure. If there’s a larger panel without stitching, this may stretch a little where your foot pushes against it. Beware of unstitched straps on sandals, because they can quickly stretch and become too long.

Question 4: How stiff is the upper material?

A. Patent materials have an extra coating which creates the shine effect. This is like adding an extra layer which as you’ve seen in Question 1, adds stiffness and reduces the ability to stretch. Any coated materials or extra thick leathers are less likely to give in a short period of time. Suede usually stretches more than standard leather, especially if it’s lined with a stretchier material such as pigskin leather.

Question 5: How much time do you have?

A. Are you willing to go through pain to (possibly) get comfortable shoes? How many wears could you put up with discomfort, before you achieve the holy grail of comfortable, beautiful shoes?

Can I get my shoes stretched?

This is always risky. You should consider the following 6 points before using shoe stretchers, methods on the internet, or taking your beloved pair to a cobbler.

1. Your shoes can become overstretched, or stretched in the wrong places leading to a further compromised fit

2. Stretching could break the stitching, so the life of your shoes could be shortened

3. The upper material could be weakened or torn

4. Shoes will never stretch in length, because the sole and structure prevent this

5. They might not stretch enough, so you could waste time or money

6. The look of your shoes could be altered

Will my shoes get more comfortable?

Unless your shoes have a serious design flaw (I remember a pair of Puma Mostro trainers with a hard plastic heel stiffener – ouch!), they should become a little more comfortable with wear. The upper will crease where your foot flexes, and the material should lose some of its out-of-the-box stiffness…eventually!

One last warning: If you buy shoes which are too narrow and they stretch to accommodate your feet, you could end up with some unsightly bulges on the sides of your shoes.

The moral of the story

You should always buy shoes which fit your feet on first wear, because they’ll look and feel great on you.

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If you enjoyed reading Sarah from Yull’s insights into the world of shoes, you’ll love the next interviewee in my Meet the Designer series.

Katie Owen is the founder and director of Sargasso & Grey. We met a few years ago when she reached out to me for some shoe business advice. Since then her brand – which specialises in wide-fitting footwear – has gone from strength to strength.

Meet Katie Owen

Q. What has been the most successful pair of shoes you’ve designed?

A. The Ava shoe has been a real hit. It is a nice wide EEE fit so even though it is pointed, it doesn’t squash the toes. The heel is a stylish yet sensible height and the lace up detail is ideal for women who may need a wider fit at the front but have slim heels, as it keeps the foot firmly in the shoe. Kitten heels are the hot style for 2017, which makes it stylish as well as comfy! We launched it last autumn in black suede and it got such great feedback that we now do it in a navy suede and a maroon suede.

Q. Can shoes change your life?

A. Well ill-fitting shoes certainly can. But not for the better! I know a number of women, some under 40, who have endured painful foot surgery due, in part, to years of wearing poorly fitting shoes. However, when these same women find a pair of shoes that fit them perfectly and make them feel elegant and comfortable, well then that really can feel life changing!

Q. What are the elements that make a high heel comfortable?

A. Some women can wear heels with little discomfort; others struggle with anything over a few CM. I can happily wear a 10cm heel all day so long as the shoe is wide enough at the front. If you aren’t used to wearing high heels but want to wear them then my advice is to avoid stiletto (skinny) heels and opt for a wider block heel, giving a wider base to support your body weight. Be sure to find a pair of shoes that are the correct width.

Be sure to find a pair of shoes that are the correct width - Katie Owen Click To Tweet

The wider the shoe the bigger the surface area to support the ball of your foot and the more space you have to spread your feet. Cramped toes = pain! A high heeled shoe which has a strap or other type of fastening over the bridge of the foot will help keep the foot back, and help prevent your toes from constantly trying to grip the shoe to keep it on.

Q. What’s your favourite place you’ve travelled with work?

A. The furthest I have travelled for my shoe business is Spain. That said, I love going there and seeing the shoes being made. I also love wine and tapas! In one of my previous jobs I got to live in New York for a while. That was a lot of fun!

Q. How did you become a shoe designer?

A. Quite by accident. I have wide feet and was moaning to a shoe designer friend that I could never find stylish shoes in a wider fit. She suggested I design some of my own and put me in touch with a shoe factory. Things just went from there. I had to educate myself on all aspects of shoe making and design so, as well as visiting a number of shoe factories and learning from the shoe makers themselves, I also enrolled on a shoe design course at London College of Fashion. I can’t really profess to be a shoe designer; I simply make classic shoes for women who want them to be stylish but need them made in a wider fit.


Make sure you check out more of Katie’s elegant designs over at Sargasso & Grey. Even if you don’t have wide feet yourself, your wide-footed friends and relations will thank you for a recommendation.

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