Sunday, August 29, 2010

Measuring your feet for vintage shoes

Having bought genuine vintage T-strap shoes for my 1920s theme wedding, I learned through experience that getting vintage shoes that fit can be pretty challenging. It seems like women's feet were smaller back then, or maybe it's just the small ones that survived, because it is hard to find shoes that will fit size 7, 8, and larger.

Unfortunately, most of the time when you find vintage shoes, they will be online — on eBay, Etsy, or a non-local stores website — so you won't have the opportunity to try the shoes on first. You can, however, ask the seller for measurements of the length and width (taken at the widest part) of the sole.

When measuring your own foot, I recommend measuring both your own foot and the sole of the smallest, narrowest shoe you own. Your foot spreads out when you put weight on it, so you will need a width that is considerably wider than the actual measurement of your foot.

Another thing to consider is that the toes of these old shoes taper quite a bit. You will therefore need a longer shoe than you would normally. Either find a pair that fits you that has a similar toe, and measure that one, or add an inch or more to the length of your foot when trying to judge whether a pair of shoes will fit you.

Finally, remember that vintage shoes are not necessarily going to be comfortable. Shoes are much different than they used to be, both in materials and design. Manufacturers are more aware of the importance of comfort these days! Even if you think you can stand wearing uncomfortable shoes all night, choose a backup pair that will go with your dress and theme, and keep them handy during the reception.

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