Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Tall Order: Where to Buy Women's Shoes in Size 10 & Up

My friend Katelyn is tall. I am short. Usually this is not a significant issue in our relationship. I mean, yeah, she has to crouch a bit for photos and I have to be vigilant about dandruff, but otherwise, everything's cool.

OK, I lied. Shoe shopping together isn't cool. Shoe shopping is a significant issue.

You see, I have a pretty generic size 7 foot, so it's easy for me to find cute, comfy shoes in a variety of styles and prices. Unlike, say, dress shopping, which makes me feel like a bloated mutant, shoe shopping is a joyous and stress-free activity for me.

Ask Katelyn to describe shoe shopping, and she will not use words like "joyous" and "stress-free." She will tell you harrowing tales of heartbreak and horror. She will describe wandering into the rickety aisles of the "10 and over" shoe sizes, cold and dark like ghost towns, inhabited only by the occasional tumbleweed and a few mismatched orthopedic clogs.

The few times we've gone shoe shopping together, I've gallivanted through the store, insensitively singing out, "Ooohhh look at those! And those! And these! Well, I have to buy these! How can I not? Aren't they cute? Should I get two pairs of each? There are too many choices!" while Katelyn sighs and asks if it's too early to have a drink.

I promised my dear friend that I would look into online stores that stock cute women's shoes in larger sizes, and although the expedition was tough (I ran into a lot of those orthopedic clogs, and god knows they're unpredictable in the wild), I came back with these five favorites:

Barefoot Tess
This awesome site's slogan is "Because style doesn't stop at size 10," and their designer shoes and boots in sizes 10-15 are certainly stylish. Prices are a little on the spendy side, but they seem to have sales going all the time and there are good buys to be had.

Dolce Vita boots, sizes 11-13, $99.

I just adore this site and sort of want to buy their entire collection. How can I not? Aren't they cute? Should I get two pairs of each? JK, Katelyn--now you get to say that!


Endless
With over 2,000 shoes in size 14, and hundreds more in sizes up to 16, this is a great resource. I'm loving these ombre peeptoe pumps:


Shoes Got Sole
Yes, you have to sort through quite a few shoes that look like this, which is really upsetting, but I swear the search is worth it. I unearthed these babies within a minute or two:


Zappos
Epic selection. Free shipping. Awesome.


What about you guys? Do you have small feet, big feet, wide feet, narrow feet? Do you have any tips for finding cute, larger size women's shoes? I'd love to hear from you!

p.s. Companion post about shopping for small shoe sizes coming soon, so feel free to comment with those tips as well!

68 comments:

Katy said...

great post winona! as usual you had me laughing out loud. :)

SnapandPrint said...

Thanks for thsi great post!

I am tall but have genteric size 8.5 as a shoe size. I do know some women who have size 12 shoes and it is hard for them to find shoes that are cute or cool in sizes over 10. I shall point them in the direction of these sites.

Lizzy said...

This is so helpful! I have a size 10 W foot and it's SO hard to find cute shoes. And just FYI. Jay's Wide Shoes, as its name suggests, does NOT have cute shoes for the wide footed.

Chelsea said...

I wear a size 11 shoe, a fact that is usually met with "No!" and "Your foot doesn't look that big at all!" While that is nice to hear it doesn't help me finding shoes in stores. My feet don't look that big because I have artfully disguised them in ballet flats that show off just the right amount of skin to even out the biggness balance. Zappos is definitely a savior, as is Target.com which has amazing sales even in the big sizes. Also for boots: girls with big feet can sometime have big calves to match, so widewidths.com is where I found the perfect boots. I wish I had ordered them in black too!

Friendship sms said...

the shoes are really very nice i like them all thanks for sharing this with us.

Anne said...

I'm 5'5, yet have size 10 feet. Living life shaped like an L has been difficult, but this post makes it so much more bearable! Thank you!

Also, I'm so glad you didn't include any pointy-toed shoes (aka, let's turn that 10 into an 11).

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem as your friend! It's as if the shoe makers are saying "If you got big feet you must be too ugly to wear our nice pretty petite shoes!"

It makes me mad. I'm 5ft 10 and most models on the catwalk are also tall with large feet so this is ridiculous! I'm not ugly and i like dressing up. I love shoes so much but i cant fit into anything i like.

The joke is, most girls with big feet have probably squeezed their feet into shoes a little bit smaller for a while and have all sorts of damage to their feet and by the time you find a decent place with great large sized shoes, most of them have open toes!!!

Think i may consider foot surgery.

Sal said...

I've got nice, average size 8.5s myself but will definitely promote this post as a great resource for women with larger tootsies!

ArkieStyleErin said...

I am SO GLAD you posted this! My roommate and I just had a similar experience as you and Katelyn this weekend. She is on the hunt for the perfect pair of size 10.5 basic black boots. We tried EVERY STORE IN THE MALL to no avail. Thanks!

Ania said...

I'm on the other side of the spectrum. I typically wear kid's shoes ranging from 2.5-4. If it's a really small 5 I might could fit it. =/ I'm jealous of all those with normal sized feet.

Adele said...

I have a size 6 shoe size but coupled with wide feet, I tend to have to go up one size just to fit the width of my feet. But this means that at times the shoe can be a little loose as well.. Any suggestions of places that have shoes with a wider fit? Thanks! (:

Katie K said...

Oh my goodness, thank you for this. Before online shopping, I would have walk into shoe stores or department stores and say "Hi, I need a size 11 black heel. Do you have anything?" They would bring out a matronly black heel in size 11 and a cute shoe in a size 10 saying "This brand runs kind of big. Do you want to try it?" NOoooo I don't. Anyway, I pretty much stick with zappos for my size 11 feet but those rosie sandals are adorable!

Bekah said...

ugh I feel her pain
I almost cried in joy when I found out I could fit into a size 9 at Payless when shopping for cheapo clubbing flats.
I had to order two pairs of shoes (as in pay for them first then wait to get them [which I did, two days before prom] to see which one I liked better rather than just trying them on in the effing storeee!!) for my prom to find the right pair
for runners, one of my roommates remarked "oh, is carly's boyfriend here?!" when my shoes were out by the door...yes, I do buy men's sneaks.
so glad for this top five

futurelint said...

Oh man, back when I was like 16 I used to have size 5 feet, and there were always TONS in that size on clearance, because who has feet that small?!? Now, I'm a generic 7.5, and while there are always shoes in my size, they always sell before they go on ultra-mega-clearance... so maybe being a larger size could be a blessing? My friend who wears an 11 (eep!), swears by Nordstrom's Rack (and well, so do I). So many shoes, such great discounts, great selection of large sizes! That is, if your city has a Nordstrom's Rack...

caffeinerd said...

Thanks for this! I have big (10 in heels, 11 otherwise...prefer "wide") feet, too. It can be a pain.

Amanda M. said...

Yeah, shopping for size 5.5 and under is also a challenge. My aunt is Indonesian (read: short) and wears about a size 5. We discovered quickly that there is a *decent* selection of size 5 shoes at DSW, but you have to reverse your thinking.

Instead of finding a cute shoe and checking to see if they have it in size 5, We run down the aisles, grab EVERY size 5 in the store, bring all the boxes over to her on one bench, and she shops the pile! It's MUCH easier on her self-esteem, and there's still a half-decent selection. ^_^

Kemi said...

About 6 months ago, I went on a similar search for size 10+ shoes because like your friend, shoe shopping was not a laid back carefree affair. I found the sources you mentioned about and there is also another big foot shoe designer http://www.kathrynkerrigan.com/
She makes shoes for bigger feet as well

I'm a avid budget shopper and it seems that I will be stuck buying expensive shoes because finding fashionable shoes in my size, fashion forward and inexpensive is a rarity.

Thank you for putting together this list for others that have big feet like me! If I ever loose my bookmarks I know where to find them again!

Anonymous said...

I wear an eleven :( Shoe shopping is HARD and heartbreaking!

The plus to wearing big shoes is that you can get away with higher heels without looking so skanky and/or unbalanced, because there's less foot distortion. I can comfortably and attractively wear a four inch heel without having to stop and worry whether I'm overdoing it. Of course, some tall women hate wearing heels, but I say pfffft to that. In my heels I'm over six feet high but I don't mind :D

The other plus to wearing huge shoes is when you use shopping aggregators you get to learn about the wonderful world of drag queen shoes! I... I confess I am seriously considering buying a pair of strawberry-adorned stripper shoes. I swear I can tone them down with jeans!

Thank you for these links. I already use some of these on a regular basis (when I can afford shoes) but some of them were new to me.

Rachael said...

I have size 9 but a very high arch and slightly wide. It makes trying to fit into wedges & heels very awkward and sometimes painful since those types of shoes lack arch support OR the room to put in a slip-in arch support. Flats like those $10 a pop "ballerina" flats don't work, either, unless some arch support can be added. I've lucked out buying online a couple of times, but overall I try to stick with in-person purchases.

Anonymous said...

I have slender, size 11 feet, and I can't even tell you how many times I've either squished my toes into a pair of size 10 flats, silently sobbing because they don't make any larger sizes and my bones are being crushed into a fine powder, or given up altogether and just wear the ugly orthopedic clogs.

Oh, and then there are the people who want to talk about your shoe size to make you feel worse. Thanks, I understand that if the world were to flood I could use my shoe as an ark!

Excuse me, I'm emotional now. I'm going to go nurse my hard as a rock pinky toe.

Iris said...

Oh, great article! I have size 44 feet (12 in american), and my life has been full of trips to shoe shops where my friends galivant around happily while I get to sit on the bench and watch, depressed. Sometimes I'll half-heartedly ask the clerk "What's the largest size you carry in women's shoes?", and without fail the answer is "42." Which, you know, it should be (hitchhiker's guide, tee-hee), but it's depressing all the same. It was only about half a year ago when I realized "DUH. The internet! It has everything!"

I can so vouch for Barefoot Tess' awesomeness - the shoes they stock are usually high quality, and their customer service is excellent. Hadn't heard of the other ones except Zappos which confuse me with their large selection, so I'll be sure to check them out!

Anonymous said...

I have size 11.5 feet and I shop at Zappos and Endless all the time. I just end up ordering both the 11s and the 12s in each shoe and pick the one that fits. The sites have great selection, excellent return policies and most importantly you can Shop by Size. Nothing is more irritating than to look at shoe after cute shoe (read DSW) to see that they don't have your size!

Sara said...

Thank you so much for this post! I, too, know the lonliness that comes from the '10 & up' aisle where most are 10s and I need the elusive size 11. I do 99% of my shoe shopping online, and the other 1% at Nordstrom Rack.

A recent website I disocovered for all you shoepiles out there is www.lovemyshoes.com. They have a terrible return policy, but a ton of super cute styles (in all sizes) under $30. Plus, they have a decent selection of those pesky size 11s. I recently scored a pair of black booties and orange flats from them for $40 shipped (for BOTH!).

Additionally, a lot of stores (like Famous Footwear) do not carry size 11 in store, but will have them online.

Sometimes it takes a bit of digging to find the cute ones in bigger sizes, but they are out there! (This statement can also be applied to men).

Kelly said...

I don't know her style, but if she's into crazy heels, Frederick's of Hollywood stocks up to size 12, I think. It's pretty high and I'm sure it's past 10.

Erratic & Obsessive said...

Anonymous said:
It makes me mad. I'm 5ft 10 and most models on the catwalk are also tall with large feet so this is ridiculous!

That's how I've always felt as well. Like, hey, all those models are tall with long limbs, so they have to have proportionately sized feet. There can't be a whole lot of 5'10"-6' models with size 6 feet out there. So why is it so dang hard to find attractive, larger sized shoes?

I've mostly used Zappos and Target. Zappos has been pretty great about carrying larger sizes. Though it's still pretty difficult to find *any* women's shoes that don't come with a 4-5" heel. (I don't mind being 6ft or over on occasion, but seriously, if women's feet were meant to be distorted like that ALL the time we'd all be born with pointed feet like Barbie.)

I always feel embarrassed having to buy dress shoes because the sales people invariably make me feel like a freak when I ask for something above a size 8.
It's like they take some kind of perverse joy in announcing loudly "we don't have anything over a size 9 (you hideous monster)." Like this is their way to make up for the fact that they hate their life as a shoe salesperson.

It's been much worse when I've tried to by European shoes, or when I've tried to buy shoes in the UK. You'd think there are no women above 5'5" or a size 6 shoe there. And the shoes are cut very small and narrow, so what is supposed to be equivalent to a size US 11 still fits like a 9 1/2 most times. Forget about trying to find a true size 10. ugh.

robert basler said...

Vigilant about dandruff. Winona, you're just too fricking funny.
Hope the book is a runaway best-seller by now.

bests,
Bob

Lesa said...

My fifteen year old daughter has 11.5 feet and she is extremely embarassed by them. Not only are her feet large to find shoes for, teenage style shoes in this category are near impossible to find.

Our best luck has been at:

Nordstrom Last Call (the best)
zappos (a little more expensive
sometimes payless

Michelle said...

I'm about the same as you, Winona - pretty short with a 7.5. Which means it's easy to find shoes in my size, but they do sell out fast and almost never reach clearance /sigh.

Your suggestions are great - I also recommend DSW, aaaand I just want to throw out there that Beacon's Closet has an online shop, and there are some superfrickincute futuristic black booties for like, $40 there right now, in a size 11. Someone go buy them, because they need a good home. (I don't get a cut or anything. I just saw them yesterday and think they're amazing.)

jennifer said...

thanks for this post! i wear a size 12 shoe AND i'm vegan (so no wool, leather, suede, sheepskin, etc) so this makes shoe shopping pretty impossible.

EAC said...

I have small feet - American 5.5, but I live in NZ, and most shoe stores don't start stocking women's shoes until size 6 - 6.5 American. For example, I called up a large sport shoe retailer and asked if they had a certain shoe in my size and they told me, "Not only do we not have that shoe in a women's size, we don't stock ANY shoes in your size. Try the kid's department." I have also been known to go shopping with an open wallet and STILL not find any shoes I wanted in my size.

When I travel overseas, I clean up on the sale racks. And I can mail order shoes just fine. But hard-to-fit ladies, I feel your pain.

jess said...

I'm a total shorty with small feet, but I have so many friends who could make great use of this article! Thanks (o:

Healthy and Homemade said...

OMG this made me laugh SO hard. "the occasional tumbleweed . . . " =D

Luckily, I have a size 9.5 maybe 10 foot, and it's pretty narrow so shoe shopping isn't *that* bad. But I usually just shop online for shoes, where the big sizes don't sell out as quickly. So I guess I have a slight advantage ;-)

Katie said...

I've been thinking about writing a post on narrow-width feet for a while, and this one convinced me to get of my bum and do it. Here it is: http://interrobangsanon.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/cinderella-aint-got-nothing-on-me/

Chocoholic said...

I wear a size 10 but when I shop, I usually see some cute shoes in sizes 11 and up at Marshall's. Not a ton, but they are good brands of shoes, trendy ones, and at a good price.

Rachel&Dakota said...

I wear sizes 10 to 11, and shoe shopping is definately...ugh. It gets a little depressing when your friends just pick stuff up of the shelf and you can hardly find anything you like in your size. But it does make you feel way awesomer when you find a pretty pair.

Meagan said...

Let's talk about 16.5 inch calves... I was a competitive Irish dancer for 6 years so my calves are super muscular and I can never find tall boots that fit. meh.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you Winona!
Since middle school my 10 wides have made me feel ogre like, and not having cute shoes just gets depressing.
Now I need to find shirts that fit my big chested, fairly small waisted torso. It's harder than it may seem!

AM said...

Thanks so much! I have the same issues with my roomies - I'm very short with size 7 feet and they're very tall with sizes 10 and 11 feet. I've been trying to get them into the whole shoe thing because they dress their feet like typical Portlanders and the lack of options for them does not help! I'm really looking forward to sharing these sites with them!

lisa said...

I wear a size 6 shoe so I fall on the small end of the spectrum. Sometimes I'll snoop the kids' sections for cute shoes. Two summers ago, I found a pair of gold leather wedge sandals at Gap Kids which were so insanely comfy they became my go-to sandals until I wore them into the ground.

Jo said...

I wear a size 4.5 or 5, and I buy most of my shoes at a small Japanese clothing store. Also look at Indian clothing stores. Im not sure why but they always seem to have more smaller sizes.

Rosie Unknown said...

As a Person WIth Large Feet, THANK YOU! And, I love that one of the shoe you featured was named Rosie.

Also, I'm hosting a little giveaway, and I would love it if you would check it out.

Meetzorp said...

I have hells of trouble finding shoes that are wide enough. I have had fair to decent luck with "Me Too."

Red Wing sometimes has some cute ladies' shoes and they offer wide widths but not so much for the over-10 selection.

My other big (heh) success has been with Trotters. Some of their styles are a bit matronly, but they do offer wide widths that are for real wide enough for big-foot women like myself. Some brands pretend to offer a wide width, but it is not discernibly different from their "average."

Heidi Rose said...

I am happy with my size 6 feet, which at one point were hands-down my favorite body part. I have definitely become more of a shoe person than I once was. Right now I have some of those plain utilitarian boots and they are fantastic.

neighbourhood.gal said...

I am on the border of large footedness as a size 9 - 9.5. The trick for me recently has been my calves. I have bony ankles and wide calves, but I did finally find a pair of tall boots at zappos (and a shipping receiving service just across the border).

Living in Canada doesn't make shoe shopping any easier, either...

Academichic said...

Hey Winona,

a while back we received a reader question about chic yet still comfortable shoes. The reader also had a problem with tiny, narrow feet and needed shoes that catered to that.

We drew up our suggestions from our own shoe collections, but what ended up being perhaps even more helpful, were the many comments with tips and shoe brands our readers left on that post. In case other narrow tiny-footed readers of yours are interested:

http://www.academichic.com/2009/10/18/reader-question-comfortable-yet-chic-shoes/


S.

slowmiles said...

Thank you thank you thank you for this post! I wear a 10-11 wide and I have been in the same situation with my friends who wear a 7-8.

aleatoirefrancais said...

I have narrow size 8 feet and it's SO hard to find shoes (especially flats) that fit, are cute, and don't cost a crazy amount of money.
help!

and it drives me crazy that so many shoe brands don't make narrow shoes!!

Anne (in Reno) said...

Ha, I wear a 12W. I haven 't bought shoes in a store in something like five years now - the magical internet has been a godsend. In high school all of my shoes were either men's styles or full-on old lady shoes. In college, I found Payless, which makes a decent amount of shoes in a 12 and a few even in a 12W. Once I got out of college I found Zappos and Endless and now I can wear decent shoes for adult females. I will definitely be checking out these other sites!

Ralli Sally said...

this post is so great!! very imformative!

my best friend has very small feet. i have big feet. this article is awesome!

so thank you!!!

Marta said...

I'm a size 11 and have struggled for YEARS to find cute, affordable shoes. Just found www.glamazonshoes.com.au and cannot wait for them to open and have their range online.

enterrement de vie de jeune fille said...

J'aime beaucoup les chaussures rouges, très stylées
Karine

Kate said...

Shoe shopping has made me cry on more than one occasion, as I have the same problem Katelyn does & have been living with it for a long time. (Ask my mother about trying to find size 9 shoes appropriate to a 9 year old... There were no flats that year.) I'm pregnant now and really hoping my feet don't grow out of my shoe collection. But if they do - i've got a head start with these links. Thanks!

Dirty Hair Halo said...

I've got almost big feet; between a 9 and 10. I feel like they stop making half sizes at this point, so my toes are either cramped or my heels are slipping off with every step. Nice of you to do the research, I kinda thought ladies feet stopped at 11, but now I'm just making myself sound ignorant.

www.SeekingDirtyHairHalo.blogspot.com

Vanessa said...

There's not much I can say about this post, seeing as I have wee size 6-at-the-most-7 feet. I'm sure this was a great help for the larger-footed, though.

enc said...

I'm only a size 9, but I'm at the top of the size range, and if my arches fall anymore, I could be what my father termed "S.O.L." I'm glad you found all these great resources. Thank you!

NetochkA said...

If she doesn't mind spending more money she could always look on Yoox.com. They have it so you can set up the search by size, and even though a lot of the shoes are really expensive I've seen many really good sale prices.

info said...

Check out FiFi Belle www.fifibelle.com this is an Irish Based Large Size Shoe Company. They ship worldwide & have fabulous styles in a range of heel heights that are fashionable & fun.
Definitely worth a visit-great customer service and fast deliveries! They start at an EU 39 up to a EU44.

Karen said...

I wear a 9 or 9 1/2 (9 and 1/4 would probably fit best!) For years, so many catalogs would have that horrible line...no 9 1/2. Now that the population is in larger shoe sizes, the 9s seem to sell out the fastest. And I've asked in shoe departments, do you ever write down all the times we come in and you're sold out. No. It's hard to buy shoes especially online, but for the stock selection it's fantastic. I have seen more and more 11+ in shops. I've put a few links to shops on my site: Style on the Edge and will add these!

Dana said...

I have tiny feet. I wear a 3 or 4 (sometimes a 5, if they run small). Shoe shopping is just as horrible for tiny feet as well. One of my best friends wears a 12. I will totally be pointing her in the website direction.

Anonymous said...

I feel for your friend, I do, mainly because I am have size 11 feet, like to look stylish, and struggled for years to find decent footwear. THEN, I find www.shoesofyourdreams., and this online store has changed my shoe life! This site carries great, fashion forward styles, classic styles, and a great range of sizes. The customer service is great, and if you need help, they HELP you! Check out this wonderful site!

Lindsey said...

Thank you for this!! I wear size 11, and I HATE shoe-shopping. I feel Katelyn's pain. :-) I've bought from Endless before, but a few of these I've never heard of!

kate said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://toddlergirls.net

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O’neill said...

I have seen many good and stylish shoes on that link but I love
Zappos most because of its features and design. I know another link which is also providing same kind of services and from where you can learn many interesting things. If you are interested than visit the link.

Lauren said...

My mom wears an 10.5, not a 10, and rarely an eleven. Did you know that most brands stop making half sizes after 9.5? So they have a 10 and an 11, but no 10.5. When she can find a brand that makes a 10.5 they are hard to get a hold of because all these women are vying for the same shoes!!!! She gets really angry when the salespeople just suggest she buy mens' shoes. She insists they never fit right and are often too wide. She does have the same pair of Keen hiking boots that I have, but is sad because hers are grey and mine are periwinkle. That and my dad and brother keep stealing her slip on shoes to take the dog out. So lucky I have the smallest feet in the family!

Oneill said...

I am sharing a link of online retailer where you can buy the all kind of shoes brands and many more. If you are interested than visit the link.
http://www.treds.co.uk/manufacturer/o%26/72/1#039;neill

T said...

I have size 13 feet (I'm 5'10", but still!) and stumbling onto this post is a lifesaver. It's hard to be 23 and limited to men's shoes. Compound that with foot and knee problems that make it impossible to wear heels and it's really hard to find girly, comfortable shoes in my size!

Thanks so much. I'll be visiting this post again and again!

woman shoes said...

may this women shoes store can help you to find what you're looking for

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