People with skinny feet have a hard time finding shoes that fit. We can get adhesive shoe inserts but they never stay in place or work well so what do we do? I’ll share with you brands that make narrow sizes as well as where to buy shoes that will fit your feet.
This article has a feminine bent but men struggle with this issue as well. My oldest son inherited my skinny feet so I know you guys can be in the same situation. Some of the stores below also carry shoes for men.
Most women don’t wear properly fitting shoes
When you consider that most shoes found in stores are a medium width and we aren’t all average in measurements most women either settle for what is on the shelf or they buy online.
Leather shoes can be stretched somewhat but you can’t shrink them.
Many narrow shoes are not very attractive
Having a double A width foot I’ve seen some pretty ugly shoes in my day. They either think we are all over the age of seventy (no offense to senior citizens) or they think we are blind as well as being thin.
When the choice is an orthopedic look or something you wouldn’t want to wear gardening, many of us opt for sore feet.
Wide shoes are much easier to find than narrows
I’ve seen plenty of wide width shoes in regular department stores, even Wal-Mart and Target carry a few, so if you have a broad foot you can usually find something to wear, but those of us with skinny feet don’t have this option unless we go to a specialty store. Living in a big city you have more options but those of us living in rural areas depend on Internet shopping or catalogs to find our footwear.
Sports wear stores will sometimes have shoes in a narrow width but I don’t even like tennis shoes or athletic shoes to exercise in and I certainly don’t want to wear them for everyday wear or God forbid, with a dress.
Women with narrow feet like to look nice too
Skinny people tend to have thin feet and we like to look good too. I have seen models in magazines and catalogs wearing shoes I can tell are too wide for their feet. (Tall trim women tend to wear narrow size shoes.) Their toes are hanging out of the end of open toed numbers and it looks bad. The only good thing about seeing these pictures is that it lets people like me know not to even think about ordering those shoes or I’ll be walking out of them at every turn.
Design your own shoes
Have you ever looked at a pair of shoes and wished you could get them in your size? What a dumb question, of course you have. What about redesigning a pair of shoes? Those four-inch heels would be so nice if they came in a shorter heel or maybe a wedge as well as being slim enough to fit your feet?
Well, there is a company that will make you a pair of shoes to your specifications and if they don’t get it right the first time they’ll do them over. How cool is that? If it sounds expensive it kind of is depending on your shoe budget but when you consider all those shoes you’ve bought in your closet that don’t fit and aren’t even what you really wanted this might be just the thing.
Shoes of Prey has had articles written about them in Marie Claire magazine as well as the Wall Street Journal. There are testimonials written by customers on their website.
For between $180 and $330 USD plus a flat $25 shipping charge Shoes of Prey will make you a pair of shoes just like you want and make sure they fit.
Less expensive narrow shoes
If that sounds a bit steep for your purse here are a few online companies that carry narrow shoes. If I have overlooked one please feel free to share it in the comments section below we skinny footed gals need all the help we can get.
Incidentally, stores that carry narrow sizes usually also carry wide sizes so if you have a family member with those needs check out the companies below and you should be able to find their size too.
Footsmart- This company caters to all unusual size feet and those with special needs. They even carry men’s sizes.
Maryland Square- This is my favorite catalog. I’ve been shopping from them since before the Internet. They only carry women’s shoes.
Zappos- They have free shipping back and forth so if they don’t fit you can send them back on their dime. They have shoes for everyone in your family.
Masseys- Shoes for the whole family.
B. A. Mason- Men’s and women’s sizes.
Shoebuy.com- They carry men’s and women’s sizes.
Shoes.com- Shoes for everyone.
Shoemall.com- Shoes for everyone.
Endless- Shoes for everyone.
Walking On A Cloud- Shoes for everyone.
Amazon- They have a few narrow sizes for men and women.
Brands that make narrow shoes
It helps if you know what companies make narrow shoes so you can just do a search for that brand online. Some make AA while others will go all the way up to AAAA an even harder size to find. I will share a list of brands I know of that make shoes for slim feet. If you know of companies I have overlooked please feel free to add them in the comments section below.
Slippers International- This appears to be a house shoe company.
If you do choose to buy department store shoes
We are often lured by bargains and styles we can’t get in narrow sizes. If this happens, look for shoes with adjustable straps that allows you to add a hole. Those with Velcro sometimes works but if you have a very narrow foot you may have to have a repair shop move the strip over a bit. Your shoe repairman is your best friend. I have one on speed dial.
If you only wear a AA width you can get by a bit easier than your more narrow sisters with a AAA or even AAAA because all the strap moving in the world won’t change the fact the sole is too wide and your foot will still slide from side to side the skinnier your foot is. I don’t know about you but I do not like a rubbed heel.
Suede, nubuck and some fabrics are more forgiving than hard leather shoes so if you do have some slippage at least you won’t have your feet rubbed raw. I’ve been there many times over the years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worn bandages on my heels from blisters.
Those adhesive cushions you add in the back of your shoe work for some but I don’t like them. Eventually they come unstuck and want to stick to your foot. Then when you remove them you have a sticky mess in the back of your shoe. Personally, I haven’t had much luck with them.
A repair shop can only do so much. They can’t make the sole skinnier but can take in the back a bit and shorten straps. Depending on how narrow your foot is this can be hard to impossible to achieve. I’ve made the mistake of spending a lot of money on a pair of shoes thinking my repair guy could fix them and he did make it better but not perfect.
When you consider the cost of shoes plus repair to make them fit better that company above that makes shoes to your specifications doesn’t sound so expensive after all.
It’s not easy being a freak
I have a lot of friends with wide feet. They don’t have too much trouble finding shoes and can’t even imagine my dilemma. I’ve always considered myself a bit of a freak with long skinny feet that won’t fit in most shoes.
I mostly wear moccasins and love them. They are suede and even though they are too wide at least they don’t rub my feet raw. I can get a cheap pair at the local western store in several colors. The current styles have women wearing them even with dresses so I’m set.
I refuse to wear tennis shoes. Sorry, but those things are just ugly.
Cynthia Hoover from Newton, West Virginia on May 04, 2020:
I never gave much thought to the struggle that people with narrow feet would have. I have small but wide feet, I doubt I have ever had a shoe that fit correctly. I can wear a size 5 in girls (I am almost 40) but they are not wide enough. Even when something says 'wide' I end up having to go to much larger sizes for a good fit. Then they are always too long ahead of the toes.
I can sympathize with the struggle of finding shoes that fit, narrow or wide!
Amanda Johnson on December 23, 2018:
Bare legs and high heels
Scottie dog lady on September 17, 2017:
When you access Shoes of Prey these days, they are NOT offering narrow width shoes. They changed sometime between the spring of 2017 when I ordered a sling back in a 9 Narrow and now. You might want to modify your information.
Diane on June 11, 2016:
I'm not over 70 but will be in 4 years, and what you said is indeed offensive. Please stop assuming that older women don't care about fashion.
may be not alone ? on May 28, 2016:
May be I am not alone ?
I cannot find anything that fits except runners or boots. It's very frustrating, esp Canada is not as a shopping heaven as US.
I didn't know anything about AA ~ width measurement until now. I am probably 4A, if not 5A (too bad they are not my letter grade, lol )
shana on September 28, 2015:
I wear a 8aaaa narrow shoe. On average, I am able to afford purchasing shoes once every 3 to 5 years. The "bespoke" site Shoes of Prey only goes down to a 2a narrow. They charge $30 extra for this service. I find it pointless to spend $300+ dollars on shoes that are still not even in my size. Etsy has shoemakers available. However, most bespoke shoemakers cannot make a AAAA narrow because they do not have the lasts needed to produce narrow widths. Its worth shopping around to find a bespoke shoemaker. Just realize you will spend a lot of money to do this. Berenshoes.com has some expensive grandma shoes in 2a and 4a narrow. Once a year, they have a 50% off sale. This is where I get most of my shoes. I wear long skirts year round in order to hide my grandma shoes. I'm so embarrassed!
Yukiko on March 12, 2015:
Stuart Weitzman makes comfortable and stylish narrow shoes. They are not inexpensive but the craftsmanship is of high quality.
Sunny on September 17, 2014:
I, too wear an 11AA and understand the challenges of finding cute footwear. Arthur Beren, Marmi, and Stuart Weitzman are all places where you can find stylish shoes. OnlineShoes and Shoebuy are also sites that carry this size, but mostly more matronly styles. I have a pair of new, never worn, gray suede vaneli boots in 11AA on ebay. They were special ordered and I've never worn them. Since it's hard to find cute shoes, I thought maybe someone would be interested.
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on May 14, 2014:
I have heard that about used shoes as well. It's not easy for people with narrow feet to find shoes but there are a few places out there. I have also noticed that some manufacturers change the way the make shoes. They should stay consistent.
Susan on May 10, 2014:
I wear a 9 or 91/2 AAAA shoe. Many years ago I bought Selby shoes and they fit perfectly. After they went out of business, I had luck with the Ros Hommerson line. Now Ros Hommerson is making their shoes wider than what they used to and I cannot find a pair that fits. I do pick up Munro shoes when there is a sale, but otherwise they are way too pricey for me.
I have been told by a physician to not purchase used shoes as the original owner has determined the wear pattern in the shoe and it may be different than mine resulting in foot, ankle and lower back problems. Has anyone experienced this?
We of the skinny feet need to unite and demand quality shoes that fit at a moderate price.
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on November 12, 2013:
That's a great solution I hadn't thought of for people that don't mind used footwear. Thanks for reading and commenting.
claire on November 08, 2013:
It's frustrating! My mom and I have narrow feet, so we help each other out when we discover a new brand or style we think will work for the other one. I'm sad GH Bass stopped selling narrows online :( Amazon and Zappos are my go tos.
Also, I'm not sure if this was mentioned in any of the responses, and I don't know how most people feel about used/second hand, but Ebay is my other favorite. Since I prefer used/second hand whenever possible, I've found some incredible deals on Ebay. Lots of fancy shoes like Ferragamos, tons of cute boots, almost anything. Now returning shoes because they don't fit doesn't usually fly on Ebay, so you have to be willing to gamble a little bit, but I kind of like the adventure. I figure if I buy 2 pairs of $30 Ferragamos and one doesn't fit but one does, $60 is small price to pay overall for a pair of nice narrow shoes to wear to work and out. I have a setting on Ebay for them to email me every time "riding boot 9.5 narrow" or "riding boots 9.5 aa" is posted and you could do the same if you're looking for any type of specific shoe. I got about 5 really cute pairs of boots last year. (Im waiting for this auction to end right now http://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-Gently-Used-Sesto-Meu... I've probably bought about 20 pairs from ebay over the years, with roughly, 12 fitting? The rest I can always try to re-sell on ebay or another buy/sale/trade place.
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on September 20, 2013:
I've noticed shoe companies have a different way of sizing shoes. What fits in one brand won't always fit in another. It's frustrating when you have special sized feet.
Cherie on September 18, 2013:
The few companies that offer" narrow" shoes frequently skip size 3aaa, and only offer 2aa or 4aaaa. Shoes they label as "narrow" are usually a 1a but are really closer to a b width. Finding shoes has been a recurring nightmare for me over the past 15 years. My last two pair of shoes that actually fit my feet were purchased a year ago in France; they were made in Spain. Unfortunately, they will not sell these brands in the US.
The few shoe distributors that offer "narrow" sizes rarely have "slim" 3aaa widths; when they do, the one or two pair available sell immediately! Shoe shopping is a constant headache and frustration. Unfortunately, there is no way to change the width of your feet. Even gaining weight does not change the width of my feet.
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on April 08, 2013:
Debbie, many online companies offer free shipping both ways and some like Zappos have very fast delivery so often you will receive them the next day.
I know what you mean about blisters, I have to use bandages on my heels for some shoes I own. It's no fun.
Debbie on April 07, 2013:
Thanks for posting all the options. I wear a 7 1/2 AA but can never find any narrow sizes in the Reno area. I used to have better luck when I lived in Denver. My problem is I can't buy online because my heels are so narrow and instep is so low I have to try them on before buying. I love shoes but never can buy any of the cute styles and my feet slide around so much that I have blisters on the balls of my feet so bad I can barely walk at times.
Potterywoman on March 16, 2013:
I am so glad I stumbled on your site. I wear an 11AAAA, and I think I will have to go to custom made shoes. Costs less than wasting money on pair after pair that I can't wear. I am almost 5'8" and 118 lbs, and your comment that tall, thin people have long, thin feet is something I have been telling shoe manufacturers for years. And we BUY! It's never been easy finding shoes, but my size had largely been orphaned within the last year. The few pairs that are available are the same styles (and probably the same shoes) that were available 10 years ago! My daughter will be getting married, and I don't want to mar a beautiful dress with ugly shoes. And a comment to the person who talked about 70 year-olds and their ortho shoes -- I am in my sixties, and I love, love, love cute shoes. My 84 year old cousin does too.
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on January 14, 2013:
I haven't been to Chicago in years but good to know there are still shoe stores like this one. Next time I'm in town I'll stop by.
Sandler's Shoes on January 13, 2013:
If you happen to be in the Chicago area please visit Sandler's Shoes in Lansing Illinois. We care about what you wear! We specialize in hard to fit feet and carry a vast inventory of sizes and widths in the latest styles for men and women. Have you had both feet measured lately? Are you getting enough support? We can help!!! Visit sandlersshoes.com.
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on December 27, 2012:
Thanks, Peter. I appreciate the comment but it doesn't look like your company, Solefry carries narrow shoes so it won't do my readers any good.
petersmith5544 on December 27, 2012:
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Mo on September 09, 2012:
Great article; my elderly mother is 8 AAAA and finding her comfortable, stylish flats without the rubber sole is very hard (she seems to catch her foot more with rubber soles and a fall/broken hip at 87 would be very bad.)
Would anyone know where I could donate some of her shoes she can't wear anymore? They're mostly heels/pumps, all brand name. Of course they're not new and have been worn but she takes great care of her shoes - she knows how hard they are to find. Any ideas?
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on August 17, 2012:
Thanks for reading, Becca. Finding shoes that fit is not always easy but there are options out there.
becca on August 16, 2012:
I used to have 9AAAA feet, but I haven't been able to afford properly fitting shoes for so long (teacher's assistants make half as much as teachers... and teachers barely make anything). I'm getting bunions at the ripe age of 25. My feet have completely changed now. I wear 8Ms, though I'm sure it's stupid of me, but I can't really afford other options. It really sucks. I wish there was just one big shoe store with all the sizes ever possible for cheap. I think so many women have some problem finding shoes that properly fit, but they just wind up settling for less because they have to.
One day I'm going to treat myself to a custom pair from the site you mentioned. It was nice to read this blog, if only just to know I'm not alone in the world. Thank you :)
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on July 04, 2012:
Molly, I've heard that SAS are really good shoes and fit well. It is a struggle for those of us with skinny feet.
Molly Keel on July 04, 2012:
I have size 5 feet with AAA heels. No company makes that size any more -- at least in shoes with good cushioning. Fortunately my metatarsal arches have fallen so the ball of my feet is medium width. I say fortunately, because now I can comfortably wear 6 N shoes. However, sandals need to be size 5. The sandals I just purchased have 3 different straps (2 wide and 1 narrow). This is necessary for me because most comfortable shoes cannot be found narrower than 5 M. Because of the fallen arches along with arthritis I need to shop for shoes with good support and good cushioning. I have found that SAS shoes seem to work for me. They are expensive, but I was able to find some on sale.
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on April 10, 2012:
Tirelesstraveler, I feel for your mom. I know it's even harder to find AAAA shoes. I hate shoe shopping too. I was spring cleaning and shopping for shoes and thought this article might be of help to some people having my same problems.
Judy Specht from California on April 10, 2012:
I laugh when my friends with wide feet say they can't find shoes. They don't know the 1/2 of it. My mom was 5'1" with a 7AAAA foot and I am 5'9" with a 8 1/2 AA with a high arch. Many a shoe that is narrow enough has a low arch. Thanks for the resources. Hate shoe shopping and need to do so soon. Awesome hub.
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on April 10, 2012:
KJ, it does seem we must choose between comfort and looks and the two seldom come in the same shoe. The older I get the more I pick comfort.
kjforce from Florida on April 10, 2012:
I have never had that problem, but I do have issues with comfortable vs chic..and as we age the shoes get uglier !
Great and informative article, I do know many women have this problem, upvote for this one !
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on April 10, 2012:
Teaches, women with wide feet have an easier time finding shoes than those with narrow feet so you are better off with the size you have.
Dianna Mendez on April 09, 2012:
I didn't realize this was a problem for some women. I wear a wider sized shoe and have a problem finding some that are fasionable. I would love to have the long narrow foot problem. You have helped many with this problem I am sure. Great interest in this topic.
Pamela N Red (author) from Oklahoma on April 09, 2012:
Jennifer, I forgot to mention Birkenstocks, they have started making narrow shoes. I don't think they have for very long. I've never heard of Chaco, I'll have to check them out and I'll add these two brands to my list. Thanks for reading.
Jennifer Essary from Idaho on April 09, 2012:
I was just complaining about this subject the other day. Sporting a women's 12 AA I REALLY dislike shoe shopping. When I lived in a larger city I could sometimes find my size but now living in Boise I'm lucky to find shoes larger than a 10. Naturally, they assume the bigger your foot is the wider it must be...ugh. Naturalizer, Easy Spirit and New Balance used to carry my size in the store but all of them have stopped. So, I essentially have to buy my shoes online. Birkenstocks come in narrow. Chaco sandals are perfect because the straps are made with one continuous strap that can be adjusted all over for a custom fit for anyone. I'm used to spending some $$ on shoes so I'll have to check out Shoes of Prey. Thanks for the resources. Voted up and useful.