Have hip and happy feet
By Heidi Rehak
Let's face it - many plus-size women have plus-size feet. And the reality is that styles work for large feet and some do not. Here are some do's and don'ts for shoe connoisseurs everywhere, and tips on how to dress up your feet to make them hip and happy - regardless of size - this spring.
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't buy it. If you do, long-term physical problems could result. The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society offers compelling proof:
- Women account for 90 percent of the foot surgeries in the United States
- Approximately two-thirds of the conditions requiring surgery can be attributed to women's footwear choices
- Over time, wearing high heels causes the Achilles tendon to contract, which results in heel pain. Of the two million heel-pain sufferers, 75 percent are women.
If you have not had your foot measured in five years or more, measure before you buy. Feet can change size and shape over the years. Measure both feet. They may be different sizes; buy shoes to fit the larger foot. If there's a great size disparity, check out www.solemates.com. Post your size and the specific shoe you want to purchase and find others with similar quandaries.
Shop for shoes in the afternoon, recommends the American Podiatric Medical Association. Feet tend to swell during the day and it's best to find shoes to fit your foot at its largest.
Dress wise for your size
Use common sense when prettying up your feet: Dark colors create a dainty foot appearance, and light colors, especially white, create the illusion of larger feet.
If you want to disguise your shoe size, buy European-designed shoes. A size 10 equals a 44.6 in the European size chart featured at www.birkenstocks.com. But if you are at peace with your peds, don't let size hinder you. Bigfoots: go for those square-toe, white sequined platforms. Geisha gals: wear sleek black loafers. It will say something about your self-confidence.
Styles for the season
According to shoe guru Steve Madden, traditional footwear rules have stepped aside for Spring, and just about anything goes. "Open-toe is hot again and white is being worn year-round. Divas of all foot sizes will be donning slingbacks, Mary Janes, kitten heels and ankle straps," he says.
Just because your feet are larger or smaller than average does not mean you have to sacrifice style. Some stores that specialize in hard-to-find sizes provide catalog and online ordering services. InVestments Fine Fashion Shoes in Boston offers sizes 9 to 14 and widths from 4A to WW by telephone, (888/371-7463) or online at www.designershoes.com. Madden (www.stevemadden.com) offers his women's shoe styles in sizes 5-13. Nordstrom (www.nordstrom.com), the shoe Mecca, offers a variety of narrow and wide widths and some women's lines that go up to size 12.
Generally, women with large and/or wide feet might want to steer clear of clunky shoes. Be cautious with ankle boots. If you've got to have them, find a low, stacked heel and a rounder toe. Anyone with long, narrow feet knows that the longer and pointier the shoe, the more it looks like you,re wearing skis. Those of us with tiny feet will be wise to abstain from overwhelming footwear. If you are going to go for tall boots, make sure the design is simple and does not drown out the rest of your outfit.