How to Choose Shoes that Fit & Flatter You

 Do you have trouble finding comfortable, flattering shoes?  

When I find shoes that fit and flatter me, I have been known to purchase two or three pairs of the same style.

My friend, Joy has teased me at times because all of my shoes are black or very dark brown, similar to my hair color.   Because my shoes repeat my hair color, I can wear my shoes with all of my clothes.

By repeating hair color or other body colors you can look visually “pulled together.”

I only buy shoes in my hair color, because if I bought shoes in other colors  this would limit what I could wear the shoes with.

A recent trend is “a pop of color,” using a bright shoe or handbag.

Do you really want people to look at your feet first and continually look at your “pop of color,” shoes?   This trend is a way to get you to go out and buy more shoes, you don’t need.

Splash of blue color at feet pulls the focus down to the feet.
The wrong way to wear a splash of color. The blue color at feet pulls the focus down to the feet and away from your face.

Before you go shoe shopping, I have an exercise for you to do that will enable you to streamline  how you shop for shoes and  become a better shoe shopper.


This exercise will help you to develop a list of shoe buying criteria that will save you time and money.

You will need paper and either a pen, pencil or magic marker.

You can use 8 1/2 by 11 paper if you have a small foot or if your foot is larger you can tape two pieces of paper together or even use a newspaper. If you don’t have paper and magic marker nearby, get them now.

You will be tracing the outlines of both of your feet.   Next carefully label your foot outlines indicating left and right feet.

Now, lets  go shopping in your  closet .  I want you to choose shoes you actually wear now, not shoes from several years ago  waiting to be worn again or shoes you have never worn.

Start with a pair of shoes that looks and feels good, maybe even the ones you are wearing today.

What do you notice after you lay the shoes on the  outlines?  Is there a discrepancy between the outline of your foot and your shoe?  Look at both right and left shoes.

The outline of your foot should not be wider than your shoe. Note the shoe heel height, and color.  You now have buying criteria.   You can write on your foot pattern your ideal heel height, color etc.

Choose another pair that is not so comfortable. Follow the same routine by placing the shoes on top of your foot outline.

What do you notice about differences in the shape of your foot and your shoe, and or the heel height compared to your comfortable shoes.   This may give you a clue as to what to avoid.  You can write in red or colored ink what to avoid on the foot outline.

You may have to redo your  foot outline when pregnant, after pregnancy,  or with a gain or loss of 15 or more pounds because  your foot can change size and sometimes shape at these times.

When you go shopping for shoes, take your foot patterns with you.  You can copy them on cardboard so they will hold up longer or laminate them.

 Hold the outline up to the shoes you like. If the shape of the shoe is significantly wider or narrower  than your foot’s shape you can skip trying it on, because it will not feel comfortable.

If you like the looks of the shoe, it fits your criteria for color and heel height and the shoe widens where your foot shape widens and narrows and curves where your foot shape narrows and curves it’s worth trying on.


Here are a few more tips that can make your hunt for the right shoes easier.

Try Them On:

  • Be sure to try both shoes on and walk around to see how the shoes feel.

  • If they feel tight or pinch, they will not get more comfortable, so do not purchase them.    Also, its a good idea to try shoes on at the end of the day, because  your feet tend to swell at the end of the day.


  • If you have a short or broad foot and are wearing a skirt or dress  a low vamp will be more flattering than a high vamp.

  •   If you have a long narrow foot a higher vamp or strap can shorten the look of your foot.

  • My friend Joy has great legs but her ankles are thick.  She calls her ankles “cankles,” because there is not much definition between her ankles and calves.  If you have “cankles,” or wide feet, avoid horizontal straps high up on your shoe or ankle because this will focus the eye on your cankles.

Toe Cleavage:

There is a recent trend of very low cut vamps that show the indentations between your toes.   This is supposed to be a “sexy look,” but if you have a high arch this shoe style may not stay on your foot.

Heel height:

The shorter you are, the lower your heel should be.  You didn’t read that last sentence wrong.  It’s about proportion.

In my twenties I tried to wear very high heels.   I am short and I looked like “Minnie Mouse,” in those heels.

The higher your heel height the more it throws you off balance.  A two inch heel should look good and not throw your balance off too much.

Ankle Breakers

Another recent trend in women’s shoes is heels that are stacked under the ball of the foot by 2 or 3 inches and narrow heels that are about 6 inches high.  I call these “ankle breakers.”  

These are very bad for your back, knees and ankles because they throw the whole body out of balance.

 quick summary of shoe tips

* Choose a shade of your hair color if you want to wear your shoes with all of your clothes.

* Choose a two inch heel height for comfort and balance.

* Make outlines of both feet and take the outlines with you shopping .

* If you want to follow the trends with a pop of color in your shoes, make sure your repeat that pop of color in your clothing.

* If you have short, wide feet or thick ankles make sure your shoes do not have horizontal straps.

Do you have a favorite tip about choosing shoes? What’s your biggest frustration with your shoes?

Nancy Goldblatt, “The Wardrobe Wizard of Baltimore,” is a professionally trained Color 1, personal image consultant.  She specializes in helping women whose size or shape has changed and who  have lots of clothes and nothing to wear go from “Sad to Fab.”  She teaches how to go shopping in your own closet first. 

After a client works with the Wardrobe Wizard she will have line drawings of her best styles, a wallet of her best colors, and the ability to mix and match and shop with ease.  Say goodbye to the panic of “nothing to wear.”

The Wardrobe Wizard is located in Baltimore, Md. Contact her at She is available to work with clients in- person in the Baltimore-Washington area and online for people farther away.

4 Responses to “How to Choose Shoes that Fit & Flatter You”

  • Hannah says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I am really looking forward to shoe shopping now!
    As a girl who loves shoes, my collection is quite varied; with my new job I am on my feet all day, and I require something stylish, yet comfortable. In an effort to not buy every stylish shoe I see, I have declared a “no more uncomfortable shoe” rule upon myself. I don’t care HOW cute they may be.

    Your tips are a good place to start!

  • Stephanie Parker says:

    Wow! Your tips are fantastic. I never thought about the hair color/shoe color point. No wonder I don’t like how I look in black shoes. My hair is light brown. Thank you so much for sharing. Lots of women like me need fashion help!

    • Stephanie, Thank you for commenting. I am always glad to hear when a reader can “see,” what a difference repeating body colors makes in their appearance. I am searching for more readers “like you.” Do you recall how you found my blog?

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