Extended Shoe Sizes

Shoes for hard-to-fit feet

A good fit is crucial for your comfort, especially when it comes to shoes. But a good fit can be hard to come by; like body types, feet come in a variety of shapes and sizes that demand slight but important modifications in footwear.

Of course, most designers and retailers focus on the average foot, which is great if you fall in that rather slim category. For many others, the dainty, narrow or minimal styles that often feature in the season's hottest trends are simply not an option. In fact, finding any extended shoe sizes can be tricky, let alone finding a pair that suits your style. Luckily, there is comfortable, high-quality and stylish footwear to accommodate your wider, longer or non-average feet.

Fits that Flatter

There are a number of ways to adjust the look of your feet, and the approach you take will depend on which aspect concerns you most. For instance,wide shoes will pose some challenges—women's shoe widths under AA can make legs look like toothpicks without the right style, and anything wider than a D can look very blockish without the proper cut, sole and heel.

For XL shoes, a tapered toe will slim but lengthen and a heavy sole will bring both height and width. Of course, fit is the most important element in any petite, regular or extra large shoe, so pay close attention to the constriction and space within the shoe. Also, remember that European shoe sizes, which are often used in designer brands, do not correspond directly to North American sizes.

Best Brands

Many designers have begun to branch out with shoe size and now offer fashionable footwear for extended sizes. Donald J Pliner is one brand that covers both poles—you'll find a respectable selection of petite shoes, as well as sophisticated styles in larger sizes for both women and men.

For wide shoes and narrow shoes, browse through some trusted brands like Florsheim and Dr. Scholl's to find a pair that will feel great, look attractive and last for more than one season. You'll find a much greater selection of extended shoe sizes online than you will in traditional department stores, but be careful when ordering, as international shoe sizes often follow different patterns.

Style Secrets

For larger feet, stick to darker hues most of the time, but don't shy away from a splash of color here and there. The cut and form of the shoe will determine how big or long it looks, so once you find a flattering style, it's a good idea to experiment with some different colors that may blend with your outfit. Decals and patterns on the shoe can help or hinder your cause, so try a variety of styles before you decide if embellishments work for or against the slender or shorter look you're after.

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