Pretty much since I first started writing this blog four years ago, I’ve had requests for a post about where to buy stylish shoes in larger sizes. Because a lot of you cite one of the reasons that you prefer flats as the fact that you are tall. You don’t need heels! You’ve got this height thing sorted! But this often means that you wear larger than a size 8. And let’s face it, the fashion world isn’t great at catering for women whose feet are larger than a size 8.
I’ve had to enlist some help here though, because I am a less than statuesque 5ft3”, and I wear size 4 shoes. I literally have the opposite problem to you. I really am the ideal candidate for heels wearing! (Pretend I didn’t say that!)
So I introduce to you my friend Jane McFarland. Jane is 6ft and wears size 10 shoes and as you can see, she’s achingly stylish. She’s now fashion features editor at Matches, but Jane and I worked together at The Times years ago, and we made a pretty hilarious sight wandering around Wapping together (it’s quite a height difference!). When it comes down to it though, we have a fairly similar aesthetic, with a love of masculine clothes and flat shoes, so I figured you’d love to know her top tips for shoe shopping. Over to you, Jane…
How would you describe your personal style?
It’s simple, relaxed and androgynous – I wear trousers 99% of the time, and love good shirting, tailored blazers and long over-coats.
Would you say your style is shaped in any way by the kinds of shoes that are available in your size?
Being subjected to flats from an early age, it has definitely shaped my style. High-waisted trousers and suiting just looks cooler with flats, and it’s more effortless. Now there are more heels available in my size, but I still gravitate towards flats. Comfort wins every time. Being 6ft also helps!
How easy/difficult is it to find shoes that you like and that suit your style in your size?
If you had asked me this question 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago, I would have said impossible! Now I know which brands fit me well, and I really love wearing trainers, loafers and brogues so it’s relatively easy to add to the growing collections. Heels remain tricky! More and more brands and high street shops, like Office and Topshop, seem to be supplying up to a size 9.
Have you ever squeezed your feet into shoes that are too small?
Yes, of course! I really regretted it. I ended up damaging the nail bed of my big toes as I had squeezed my feet into size 9s.
What’s the biggest advantage of having larger feet?
Bigger socks? The unlikeliness of losing my balance? Honestly, I have spent most of my life convinced it is such a disadvantage that it’s hard for me to answer that. Owning it is the best thing you can do. Now I get compliments on my shoes!
Where are you favourite places to shop for shoes?
- Muji They do excellent unisex canvas trainers for under £25 (below) with different coloured laces allowing you to customise. Perfect if you like the Stan Smith look, but don’t want to invest in a really sporty trainer.
2. Long Tall Sally It’s had an impressive rebrand and I can nearly always find at least one pair of shoes when I pop into the store and look online. I would definitely recommend signing up to a newsletter or checking the site regularly though, as the bigger sizes do sell out fairly quickly.
3. Vintage stores I find that vintage men’s styles tend to come up narrower than today’s modern fits so I check out the boy’s section when vintage shopping – Brick Lane, Beyond Retro and Blondie in East London are always worth popping into.
Do you have any top tips for ladies with larger feet to make their lives easier?
I often go for an open-toe or backless styles as this normally can buy you a millimetre or two! I picked up a cheap pair of lace-up espadrilles this summer with an open-toe. They were a size 42 but I managed to get away with it.
Are there any men’s stores you like that work for female feet?
Yes! Nearly all my shoes are from men’s stores. Favourites include Justin Deakin, Saint Laurent (incredibly narrow fitting, and fashion forward styles – they even do heels for men!), Church’s (not narrow, but I can normally end up taking one, or two, sizes smaller) and Robert Clergerie. Gucci carries a lot of unisex styles, which come up fairly narrow too. I can usually take a Eur 43 in men’s shoes so it’s always worth trying a size smaller – you might be pleasantly surprised!
What are your favourite ever pairs of shoes and why?
My bespoke sandals from South Africa. I had these handmade for me earlier this year in South Africa and I wore them the entire summer. Not only are they really comfortable and easy to throw on, but they have that French, vintage-inspired feel that I love in summer.
Vintage white tasselled loafers that I picked up in a vintage shop (below). Although entirely unpractical, I love white shoes and these always pep up denim and black which are on rotation in my wardrobe. I love the tasselled details and wearing them with a contrasting sock – red is always fun.
For more style inspiration from Jane, follow her on Instagram here