Everyone knows that feet come in far more real-life sizes than there are shoe sizes, but it’s particularly hard to find footwear that fits if you have unusually big or small feet. Today, we’re looking at those on the smaller end of the spectrum (size 2 or below but also, those at the increasingly hard-to-find size 3), with some tips on where to get fashion forward shoes and boots to fit.
Small shoes for grown-ups
Let’s kick off with the least popular suggestion regularly made to those with petite feet: ‘but why not just shop in the kids’ section?’ – as if you’d never have thought of that! But of course, shoes made for 8-year-olds have very little style merit unless you’re a particular fan of Gothic Lolita or have an unexplainable desire to wear heelys. You’re certainly not going to find any avant-garde or experimental style here – or anything remotely elegant.
Let’s not forget, however, that there are obvious financial benefits to wearing children’s shoes. If you’re only looking for bog-standard work or house shoes then you might as well take advantage of the fact that they are VAT free.
However, this article is all about helping you look your best – so why not spend the pennies you’ve saved on these everyday items and get yourself something really special that’s made to fit you – an adult – in a smaller size?
Custom-made and tailored footwear
One solution that may not be quite as expensive as you might fear is custom-made or tailored footwear. You may have heard of Duo Boots, a label well-known for its boots in various different width fittings, applying to the legs as well as the feet.
What is less well-known is that Duo also makes shoes, and its products come in a wide range of sizes as well as width fittings. They start at a size 35 (UK 2) and go up to a 43 (UK 10). Prices for a long pair of boots are normally around £175, but in the current Duo Boots sale you can pick up a pair from just £75 – a fantastic price for this utterly stylish and quality brand.
Another great custom option available in the UK is Upper Street Shoes, a brand that allows you to design your own footwear using their fun and easy-to-use online tool. Check out our very own design above – featuring snake-effect leather and heart-shaped embellishments! Designing them is heaps of fun.
Because each shoe is unique, their sizes start even smaller at a 33 (UK 1) and also go up to a 43. Pricing depends on how elaborate you get with your designing, but they will typically cost around £195 and up for a completely bespoke pair of shoes.
Mainstream Shops selling shoes for small feet
If that’s well outside your budget and you just want to pick up a pair of ready-to-wear heels or sandals, there are several mainstream high street retailers both online and offline that sell shoes in smaller sizes. The range may not always be amazing and the stock levels can be low, but many of these stores will let you order in, and it may be easier to go online if you size is not available at your local store.
- Barratts Petit Feet range: selection of ladies size 1 and 2 shoes in various styles, including sandals, trainers, heels and boots. Lower-mid range high street prices. Online and in-store, includes some branded items such as Skechers.
- Clarks ladies shoes start at a size 2, and it’s one of a small number of high street stores to still offer half sizes across the board along with M&S – which sadly stopped stocking size 2 (ladies) footwear a few years ago.
- New Look’s Teens Department has been deemed acceptable by at least some smaller-footed women of my acquaintance, so this is a great place to shop particularly if you have very small feet as sizes start at size 1. A good high street alternative to the kids’ department for those who have little choice elsewhere, and light on the wallet, too.
- Javari is a great place to shop for small shoes from a diverse range of brands and styles – including Buffalo, Havaianas, Birkenstock and selected designer brands such as Missoni
- Boohoo sells some of its footwear in a size 2, but not all styles.
- Irregular Choice (above), whose shoes are sold in a variety of outlets, start their brilliantly bonkers shoes at a size 2.5. Worth shopping around and checking online for styles. Try Ebay, where small and big sizes are often sold off.
Specialist small footwear stores
Most people prefer to stick to mainstream stores where possible, but if you’re frustrated by the comparative lack of choice, there’s no harm in going to a specialist store, where the choice will make your feet sigh with relief!
The following sell footwear exclusively in small sizes:
- Pretty Small Shoes: This site is godsend for those with smaller feet, selling a range of on-trend pieces in sizes as small as a 32 (usually referred to as a children’s size 13) at prices that compare favourably with the mainstream high street. We love their Mia Boots, pictured above.
- Small Measures is another UK based site with shoes in smaller sizes down to a 32. A good selection of styles with some great value pieces.
- The Little Shoe Shop offers a small but perfectly-formed range of quality shoes and boots in the smallest sizes.
- SmallShoes.co.uk offers a good range of value footwear for the smaller customer
- Small Shoes and Things, as its name suggests, sells small shoes and boots from a 32 along with a range of accessories and clothing.
- Daintyfeet has a good range of leather and high quality small shoes and boots for all occasions.
One advantage of having small feet is that you have something in common with ladies of a bygone era: our feet have grown over time as anyone who has ever tried to squeeze into a vintage shoe will tell you! Generally speaking, a size 3 shoe made thirty years ago will be roughly a size 2 by today’s standards, so you and your Cinderella feet can pick up some incredible bargains that nobody else can wear at thrift stores and vintage boutiques.
Japanese sizes in all walks of fashion run notoriously tiny, so if you’re able to import shoes from the Far East, you’ll find a much wider range of sizes available. Italian sizing also goes down pretty small, so those who can afford designer are sorted…