Why Most Women Wear Shoes that are too Small?

Pain In The Top Of The Foot

Did you know that the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society performed a study that showed that 88% of American women wear shoes that are too small? I am pretty sure that this number is accurate as I work for a shoe store and most women who visit us are wearing the wrong shoe size (in most cases too short or too narrow). It’s quite frustrating when I measure these women’s feet and tell them what shoe size they should wear, as their immediate response is that they don’t need a bigger shoe size since they have always worn the same shoe size. Some women say that if they try a bigger shoe size they feel like their shoes slip off their feet or that they will look too big.

Why are women picking the wrong shoe size so often? Why would they keep ordering the same shoe size that they always wear even though the shoes put too much pressure on their feet? It’s truly mind-blowing to me when I check women’s shoes and their big toe is pushing against the front part of the shoes or the small toe is pushing against the side of the shoes. In most cases, it’s so easy to spot that their pinky toe is being pushed against the side material of the shoes, but they insist that the shoes feel comfortable!

It’s a fact that most women favor shoes with pointer toe-boxes instead of rounded ones. This is okay as long as you have narrow feet, but if you have medium, wide, or extra wide feet, narrow shoes are a painful prescription for ingrown toenails blisters, bunion and hammertoes.

Did you know that a recent study by the American Podiatric Medical Association showed that more than 80 percent of women said they were willing to give up the health of their feet for trendy footwear? Imagine how hard it is for a shoe fitter to convince women to wear shoes that they don’t find “fashionable enough”. I always try my best to find shoes that are capable of fitting the woman’s foot shape while being trendy at the same time.

I usually make the analogy that wearing a bigger shoe size for a woman who always wore the same shoe size is like changing their leggings to a bigger shoe size. They are used to wearing leggings that fit the shape of their legs tightly, so as soon as they try a bigger size the leggings feel too loose. The same happens with a pair of shoes, with the main difference that wearing shoes that are too small can create several foot problems such as blisters, ingrown toenails, and bunions.

Stop Wearing the Same Shoe Size that you Have Always Worn!

Your foot shape and size can change over time, and some of the factors that contribute to this change are pregnancy, aging and weight gain or loss. Over time and because of gravity, our feet might get longer and wider.

As we age, the body’s ligaments and tendons lose their strength and ability to spring back. This means that our arches decrease, which flattens and lengthens the foot and toes.

This often results in an increase in shoe size by a half-size or more. You might also experience a change in foot width, meaning that even though you always ordered medium width shoes, you might now have to start ordering wider shoes.

Don’t insist on getting your shoes in a specific size simply because that has been the size that they always wore. I usually have to insist to them that they need to at least try the shoes in a different size to see how they feel.

Do You Know Your Exact Foot Length and Shape?

Some women claim that they don’t know their actual foot size and shape, as they don’t have a good specialized shoe store in their area. It is true that most shoe stores have been closing down during the pandemic.

Find Out How to Retrieve Your Exact Foot Length and Shape

I created a free resource where I help women determine their exact foot shape from home. The main objective of this resource is to retrieve your exact foot length and shape (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide, high instep), as well as possible foot conditions such as flat feet.

How to Measure Your Foot Shoe Size – The Most Simple and Effective Way!

Most women who have used this resource reported that they thought they were a smaller foot size.

Important: Your Foot Size Doesn’t Translate Into Your Final Shoe Size

Let’s suppose that you are confident that your foot shape is narrow and your foot length is a size 7. This doesn’t mean that all shoes that come labeled as narrow (N) in a size 7 will fit the shape of your feet.

Shoes can fit short, long, or true to size, and depending on how they fit you will need to adjust the final shoe size that you order. For example, a pair of Asics shoes in a shoe size 7 will fit very differently than a pair of Saucony shoes in a shoe size 7. Even among the same shoe brand, you will notice that some shoes will fit shorter or longer than others.

These days, the majority of people are never properly fitted for shoes. Take advantage of my free resource and find out what shoe size you should wear, you might be surprised with the answer!

If you know that you need a larger shoe size but don’t get them because you feel like your heels then slip off your feet, then I suggest that you take a look at a different rouse that I created:

How to Prevent your Heel Slipping Out of the Shoe – The Most Effective Way!

Do Small Shoes Tend to Stretch as you Wear Them?

Shoes can sometimes be broken in or stretched out, but some do it much more than others. I don’t really recommend buying pair of shoes hoping that they will stretch out and feel more comfortable as you wear them. I also don’t recommend having some of the bones in your toes surgically removed so you could have smaller feet. I’m serious, don’t neglect your feet’s health.

If there is a specific shoe style that you like and you are unsure about how it fits, you can enter your question in the comments section below or send me an email to:


Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are unsure about your foot size and shape! Let me know in the comments section below if you sometimes force your feet into a smaller shoe size.

Do You Buy Your Shoes Online?

Subscribe and get my personalized shoe size chart for free to help you find what size to order online.

Shoe Sizing Chart

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