fashion

'There's a troubling shoe trend that means women like me miss out.'

Dearest shoe shops, we need to have a chat.

Over the years I have spent many hours and dollars in you, lusting over the latest seasons styles, but lately I have noticed a bit of a troubling trend.

With money earmarked for shoes burning a hole in my pocket, I hit the shops hoping to find a new pair of boots, or maybe a wedge sandal, but in almost every store there is a serious lack of shoes sized 10 and above. Even online the shoes that are most often listed as out of stock are a 10. Now I don’t want to say that is sizeist, but if the shoe fits… well you’re lucky because I cannot find any that do!

Admittedly, I do have a pretty big foot. I can occasionally squeeze into a 9, but a double-digit size is the best bet for me.

However, on a recent shoe-shopping expedition when I asked for a size 10 or 11, I was met with many apologetic statements like, “sorry, we actually don’t carry those above a 10”, or “we don’t have any of that size left in stock”. I don’t want to be dramatic but it is heartbreaking how many pairs of gorgeous shoes have gone un-purchased because they never come in my size.

LISTEN: Stylist Sarah Elizabeth Turner on how to turn your wardrobe around.

Now before you break out your tiny violins for me and my huge feet, there is something you need to know. As we get older, our foot size can only increase. 

According to the College of Podiatry in the UK, our feet are on average two sizes bigger than they were in the 1970s, and statistics from the American National Shoe Retailers Association show the bigger sizes are selling out much quicker than they were 25 years ago. Also, factors like height, weight gain and pregnancy all contribute to changes in foot size, with both men’s and women’s feet continuing to grow and change in shape for their entire lives. So, just because you are one of the #blessed size 7s now, it does not mean your foot won’t get bigger later in life.

“People are getting taller and heavier, as they have for generation after generation,” podiatric historian William Rossi told the Divine Caroline blog. “And their feet are getting larger in proportion to their bodies.”

Despite all this, it seems very few retailers stock styles outside of the standard 5-10 size range, with most women having to resort to a specialist “plus size” shoe shop.

Now call me crazy, but SURELY it makes more sense for regular retailers to stock slightly bigger sizes?

I am not opposed to getting a bit creative with where I shop – my sneakers are all from the men’s department – but when a gal just wants a pair of cute heels, wedges or flats the size range for ladies is terribly sparse.

So please, shoe shops everywhere, spare a thought for the large footed ladies and consider stocking up on a few size 11s – heck maybe even some 12s. Our poor toes can’t take the pinching any longer.

What are your tips and tricks for getting shoes that fit? Tell us in the comments below.

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