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Coming from a women who wears size 13 shoes, I completely understand how having larger feet can wreck your confidence. My younger self hated my huge feet so much it would make me angry at times.
I was constantly on the hunt for shoe styles that make big feet look smaller so I could feel better about my appearance.
I hated that I just couldn’t walk into a store and be assured I could walk out with shoes that fit. I hated that all the cute styles didn’t go past a size 9 or 10. And I absolutely hated when friends or family with smaller feet would try to invalidate my struggles.
I realize now that I’m older how trivial this issue is. Of course it’s an inconvenience and it sucks, and I wish my feet were smaller. However I have learned to accept and live with the things I can’t change. In the grand scheme of things, your foot size does not matter.
And the good thing is, there are so many retailers these days that sell great shoes in larger sizes it’s just much easier to find shoes that fit.
First let me be clear… large feet are nothing to be ashamed of!
I’m definitely not writing this to try and make women feel like they need to be ashamed of the size of their feet and that it’s only acceptable to wear shoes that make their feet appear smaller.
If you feel confident and like the shoes you wear, who cares what other people think.
Plus, if I’m being completely honest – the size of other peoples feet is not something I pay much attention to. I instantly notice things like face, height, hair, etc.. but feet? Not really.
Usually your imperfections are greatly exaggerated in your own mind. I never used to believe it when people told me this when I was younger, but now I am starting to actually understand this concept more.
But all the lecturing in the world generally won’t change your (current) mind about something, So, if you are very self-conscious of this, there are several tips you can keep in mind while shopping that will really help.
Will wearing shoes that are too small make your feet smaller?
First of all, let me clear up a myth that is surprisingly common. Wearing smaller shoes will NOT make your feet smaller. The length and width of your foot is mostly due to genetics, so wearing shoes that are too small is not enough to change that.
If anything, it may make your feet appear ever so slightly smaller since the shoe size is smaller, but it won’t make enough of a difference for anyone to really notice.
And the consequences of doing this aren’t worth it at all. It can cause many problems with your feet like ingrown toenails, bunions, bruising, and severe foot pain.
Simply opting for a few styles that can help downplay the size of your feet is a much better alternative.
Read also: Cute Size 12 Women’s Sandals
Shoe styles that’ll make your feet appear smaller than they really are
#1. Look for shoes with more rounded toes
Rounded toe shoes can help downplay the size of your feet quite significantly. You’ll notice that most of the examples within this blog post include rounded toe shoes.
However shoes that have pointed toes will have a lot of unused space in the front of the foot, so they make your entire foot appear longer than it really is.
However pointed and rounded toes aren’t the only styles out there.
There’s also in-between styles like almond toed shoes that aren’t quite rounded but also not pointed. These are referred to as almond shape because they resemble the almond nut. Choosing this style may work as well if you dislike the look of rounded toes.
#2. Pick shoes with contrasting colors/patterns
Shoes that have contrasting colors or are broken up by a different pattern can also help your feet look shorter. This is a visual trick of the brain. The multi-coloring will break up the foot and shorten the overall appearance.
This can be applied to any shoe – sandals, tennis shoes, even boots. I love New Balance because they fit well and I’ve always noticed they help make my feet to look smaller. They make women’s shoes in up to a size 12 and many of their men’s shoes also work well as a women’s style. If you have large feet, they’re a good brand to check.
This same concept can also be said for shoes that include accents like large buckles, flowers, or bling. However large accents on shoes isn’t everyone’s style, so a simpler way to do this is with the contrasting colors or patterns.
#3. Wear wedges or chunkier heels
Wearing heels puts your foot at an angle, which makes them appear shorter than they really are. Opting for chunkier or wedge styles helps to balance out the foot, whereas very pointy heels can have the opposite effect.
You don’t need to wear 5 inch wedges for this trick to work though. Even just an added inch or two can make a difference.
However, wearing heels all the time is not good for your feet. It can cause ankle injuries, arthritis, worsen existing foot problems, and even cause chronic knee and back pain.
If you like wearing heels, balance it out by wearing more comfortable footwear the majority of the time.
#4. Choose tennis shoes with mesh/flexible material
When picking athletic style shoes (tennis shoes/sneakers) those with flexible material can really help make your feet seem smaller. This is really easy to find since athletic shoes are often made with mesh material these days.
I have tennis shoes just like these women’s New Balance Fresh Foam. I can attest they make my women’s size 13 feet look more normal.
Well, because my feet are so big I actually own this nearly identical men’s version. They’re New Balance, which as I talked about earlier is one of my favorite brands for athletic shoes.
#5. Wear darker or muted colors
Dark colors like black will make feet look smaller, just like wearing black clothes make your body look slimmer. Combining this with additional tips, for example, black tennis shoes that are also mesh style, can be extra effective.
But shoes don’t have to be black in order to help with this! Any darker or muted color can work in the same way. For example, a dark vs. vivid blue as you see in the photos below.
This can also be applied to muted or darker pinks, purples, greens, or any other color.
#6. Avoid completely flat sandals that expose a lot of skin
Now personally, I don’t follow this tip and wear flat sandals (especially flip flops) often in the summer or for special occasions. I just really like them!
However if you are specifically looking for footwear that helps reduce the appearance of your foot size, sandals like t-straps or flip flops won’t help. If anything, they tend to elongate the foot.
#7. Choose sandals with thicker straps or peep toes
Thicker straps tend to balance out your feet better than thin straps, helping them to appear smaller.
These Naot Kayla sandals have thicker straps, a little wedge heel, and multi-tone, muted colors. The combination of these things together would help make your feet appear smaller than they are. Plus, they make this shoe up to a women’s size 13!
Sandals that cover more skin but leave a little opening for your toes may be more flattering to your feet.
These Marin Slides have a slight platform heel, peep toe, and a muted pink and white color combination. These three factors can help make them look great on larger feet. Plus, they also make this shoe in larger women’s sizes (up to a 12).
#8. Look for Vans (or similar style)
The style of Vans shoes can help to make feet look smaller. They include rounded toes, multi-tone coloring, thicker soles, and lower cuts.
Of course they definitely don’t need to be the Vans brand! I’ve seen extremely similar style shoes that were much cheaper at places like Payless, Walmart, and Target.
The great thing about Vans, however, is that they make a lot of unisex shoes in up to a men’s 13/women’s 14.5 (and some styles up to a men’s 16). So if you have large feet, they’re a good brand to check out.
Keep in mind that these aren’t “rules” you must follow. These are simply tips to keep in mind if you want to downplay the size of your feet. We’re all allowed to wear what makes us most comfortable!
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