Foot size doesn't matter...really...
January 31, 2006 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I have terrible luck shopping for shoes, and need to get some new dress shoes (for business casual attire) for my somewhat oddly-shaped, and small, feet. NYC-specific help if possible.

That's really the gist of it; I can't seem to buy a pair of shoes that fits me correctly, and manage to not return them in time and "just deal". In the past these were sneakers that ended up a bit longer than my feet, but I could tie them tight enough that they worked fine to wear. With the dress shoes I've tried recently, that tactic doesn't work, and I get heel slippage which makes them unwearable.

My feet are kinda squareish, not in any freaky sense, just enough such that shoes that fit width-wise are a bit too long and, at least with dress shoes, too "big" to wear comfortably.

So, I'm wondering: is it common practice to adjust dress shoes to the individual's feet/ankles? I noticed that some of the shoes in the store I visited had no laces at all, which implies this, although I saw nothing obvious in the store (and didn't bother asking a salesperson at the time :P).

And aside from that, does anyone know of shoe stores in Manhattan (preferably near the financial district, although anywhere is OK) that might specialize in, or at least be more attentive to, small feet?
posted by cyrusdogstar to Shopping (7 answers total)
I feel your pain. One of my feet is about a half size bigger than the other. Damn nuisance is what it is. Try this place on Broadway south of 23rd. Surprisingly, not all the shoes make you look like an elderly nun or school janitor, and the place has been there forever, so that's gotta tell you something.
posted by scratch at 9:28 AM on January 31, 2006

I highly recommend Zappos. They have lots of sizes and widths, and an AMAZING return policy. I regularly order 5 or 6 pairs of shoes from them and will return all but one pair; return shipping is free. On the downside, their sales are less than spectacular.
posted by defreckled at 10:01 AM on January 31, 2006

Seconding both scratch and defreckled. I have stubby Fred-Flinstone feet -- and now a bunion! -- and Eneslow is the only place I can find dress shoes that aren't instruments of torture.

Zappo's isn't as good for dress shoes but I found these excellent boots there -- comfy, cozy, available in W and WW (!) without looking stodgy and marmish.
posted by vetiver at 10:11 AM on January 31, 2006

i'm gonna guess this is a guy, since his email starts w/ jeff. Have you checked Camper, they make kinda squarish shoes that could prolly work for business casual. Ain't very cheap though.

Also, you could look into getting a heel insert like these
posted by lannanh at 10:35 AM on January 31, 2006

Sorry, lannanh, in an earlier version of my question I did mention men's shoes specifically--yes, I'm a guy (I usually assume the 'cyrus' in the nom de plume is enough of a hint, too ;)).

Thanks for all the replies thus far, I'll be sure to check them out.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 10:47 AM on January 31, 2006

Allen Edmonds makes excellent, comfortable men's dress and casual-office shoes in widths up to EEE. Their main NYC store is on 44th Street just west of Madison.
posted by nicwolff at 11:23 AM on January 31, 2006

If you have wide feet you need to stop succumbing to the temptation to buy a size too large so they fit width-wise. It's frustrating when you get 1/10th the selection as everyone else, but at least that pain only lasts as long as the shopping excursion. I have half a dozen pairs of shoes in my closet that I am never going to wear because they will make me literally bleed.

If I'm shopping at a DSW-style place I don't even look at the shoes themselves initially; I walk down the aisle looking at the boxes for the telltale W. Only when I see that they have them in a configuration I can wear do I bother to look up and see if they're repulsive or not.

If you insist on wearing these shoes that hurt you, what I have found is that heel inserts can make them tolerable. At least for me, buying the wrong size results in the back tearing up my ankle. Putting a lift there to raise my heel up a little keep it from poking me in that exact spot stops that. There's still some slip but at least it doesn't injure me.
posted by phearlez at 12:28 PM on January 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

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