Petite Fashion Challenges

Wearing heels with narrow feet: My secret weapon

A narrow dilemma

So, here’s the thing about my feet: They’re narrow. Very, very narrow. Like, not even on the charts narrow. Or, more specifically, I measure out at an AA on the ball of my foot, and a AAAA on my heel. Yeah, I didn’t even know that feet came that narrow. But they do.

Compounded with this, I wear a rather small shoe size, usually around a women’s 5.5 or a 6, depending on the brand, which corresponds roughly to a European 36 or 36.5, depending on brand. (I’m more of a 6.5 or 7 in athletic shoes, since, for some odd reason, those tend to be sized differently in North America. Don’t ask.)

Finding shoes that come in different widths is already tough here in Canada. Making matters  worse, some of the brands that do come in narrow widths, like Munro, only start them at a women’s size 7, for some odd reason. Conversely, shoe brands and stores that cater to smaller feet, such as Cinderella’s of Boston, only come in M and W widths, not narrow.  I don’t know why these manufactures or retailers don’t seem to intuitively grasp that smaller feet might also be narrower feet. But I suspect that, once again, it’s a volume game, and those of us at the smaller end of the stick are losers.

Walking in heels with narrow feet

The width thing makes it hard to find all sorts of shoes, but it’s a particular problem with heels. When wearing boots, sandals with straps, or athletic shoes, I can usually compensate for a too-wide fit somewhat by securing the shoe on the top of my foot, and packing insoles in.

But with heels? Even a few steps could send my shoes flying off. And the foot pain from trying to keep them on my feet? Oh, don’t get me started!

The thing is, though, I love wearing heels. As a 5’1″ petite, I love the extra height and style that high heels give me. Pumps, mules and wedges may be the bane of my existence. But they are the perfect complements to my outfits. Oh, the dilemma!

My secret weapon

I have a secret weapon: Dr Scholl’s For Her Ball of Foot Inserts. Available from the local pharmacy or on Amazon for around $10 a pair. Stick onto shoes, add cushioning and grip. Pushes feet back in shoe and helps front stay on.

(And no, there are no paid promos or affiliate links anywhere on the blog, and Dr. Scholl’s hasn’t paid me for this ad, nor have they given me any free swag. This post is 100% just because I love these things.)

The secret to these is that they’re a little bit sticky. Not just on the underside, which stick to the ball of my shoes, but also on the top, where the plastic forms a bit of “grip” with my feet. This makes them different from smoother leather insoles, which really just slide around on my feet and do nothing whatsoever to keep my shoes on.

These inserts don’t necessarily stop heel slippage. But they do keep the front of my feet in place in my shoes, and prevent them from flying into the air, or smacking my friends or colleagues in the face. Or, for that matter, from turning me into Cinderella. (Seriously, the girl was running in glass slippers, and she didn’t expect one to fly off? C’mon.)

Well, now you know. I hope this helps other petites with narrow feet rock those heels.


2 thoughts on “Wearing heels with narrow feet: My secret weapon

  1. Hi, I have narrow feet as well. Finding shoes that don’t look like orthopedic shoes is a challenge. I have found that a shoe store called Marmi in the US, has narrow shoes up to a AAA width and some in a AAAA width. Sesto Meuci is a brand that tends to run more narrow than Van Eli at Marmi. One thing that I found to pad my heel and keep it secured in a high heel shoe was this material much like sheep wool. I got it at Marmi one year and they don’t carry it anymore. Go to a fabric store and buy some material that is like sherpa and get some double sided tape. Make a pattern that will wrap around your heel and attach to the back of the heel on the shoe. Particularly high heels and high heel boots. Stick the tape onto your cut pattern material , fold it in half and press the sticky part onto the heel part of the shoe. It will work and your heel won’t slip. We have to be inventive when we want pretty shoes because they hardly make them for people with narrow feet anymore. I was told by a manager at Nordstrom that shoemakers are hardly making narrows anymore but you can have no problem finding wide width’s!!! What the hell!!! Is that because people are getting fatter I asked. He said yes! Hope this helps. I have been at this a long time and know your frustration.

  2. I have extremely long and narrow feet – I’m a US womens 11.5 but have the same width measurements as you! It’s impossible to find heels and often I just wear heeled boots as they are far more comfortable. I find that Italian shoe brands tend to be a bit slimmer. And go for block heels not stilettos! Narrow feet have such a hard time gripping shoes and keeping them on, twisting ankles is so easy !

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