Short Story: The Day The Last Shoe Dropped

As a petite, I often learn the hard way that I am wearing the wrong size. One of my most memorable stories is the day the size 6 shoe dropped…literally…

I was a fresh college grad, eager to join the workforce and had just scored an interview at a large company, for which I was completely unqualified. I needed to dress to impress, but I was 22, and my closet was still suffering from “I-don’t-know-how-to-dress-myself-itis”. Luckily, I had one ugly black skirt that went to my knees, a stretchy button up blouse that I found in the juniors department, and had scored my first pair of adult looking pumps. Steve Madden black 3 inch closed toed pumps with pink stitching, in a size 6.

petite shoes
(These are not my shoes, as they have long since been given away. These, however, are available on eBay in size 9!)

Uh, yeah, sure, I guess they fit. I mean, I didn’t really know because I’d never seen a pair of shoes smaller than a size 6 to try on before this point in my life. The heel slipped a bit, but I just slapped a few gigantic heel liners back there and everything was going to be just fine!

I went on my interview and after a traumatic questioning session, I got to go on a tour of the facility. Following behind an exceptionally quick walking tour guide, I began to sense something was wrong. My shoes, after a few hours of wear, had become…slippery…and my feet were holding on for dear life. I gingerly, but quickly clomped my way down hallways and through rooms, sweating very un-lady-like because I knew I was in the middle of a serious fashion crisis.

Then, as we walked (I clomped) through a particularly busy room, it happened. My foot swung out to take a step, and my shoe decided it was time to go. Flying across the room in front of me, it loudly landed, and then slid some distance underneath a desk. I turned bright red as I fished my shoe out from under the desk with my naked foot, and the “tour” ended shortly after that.

As I clomped back to my car, I pondered how I could not keep shoes on my feet, yet millions of other young professional women seemed to have no problems at all. Perhaps I was not a size 6 after all. Oh yeah, and I didn’t get the job.

I have since discovered myself to be a size 5, sometimes even a size 4.5 shoe. There have been no flying shoe incidents since.

55 Comments

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    Elle

    What a story. I have relatively large feet for a petite (sz 7) so I never had too much trouble finding shoes but I can understand how difficult it must be to find shoes when your feet are 5 or below…I mean, on sale racks the sizes start at 6 so I imagine that's the smallest sizes available at most department stores. And in spite of how traumatic the incident must have been for you, you have become the queen of small shoes so I guess we all live and learn.

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    curls-and-pearls

    LOL What a crazy story!!!!! Oh poor you, I'm feeling embarassed for your 22 year old self, but it's great that you've learned from it. I too have large feet for my size like Elle – size 7!

    That's ok, look where you are today. If the shoe didn't drop you probably would've been hired and who knows, you would STILL be wearing size 6 shoes!

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    R.L.

    Oh noooo! I had a similar experience a few years ago with Xhilaration shoes I bought from Target to wear to an awards event in college (the kind where you get called up on stage individually and walk up there by yourself). The shoes fit while walking around the house. Luckily before leaving for the event my feet were sweating enough to slip out and make me realize that these size 6 shoes just didn't fit. I then invested in heels with a strap across the front… but thank god for online shopping because size 5.5 is the smallest size I see in stores. I'm a size 5 but wide, so it's extra hard for me to find comfy stylish heels. Thank god for sneakers…

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    CynthiaC

    I have that problem ALL THE TIME! I'm a really small size 5 (though bigger than most 4 1/2s….if I can find them – LOL…..though I might be a size 4 1/2 now, thanks to vanity sizing)……I often resort to Mary Jane shoes, since the straps help my feet stay in place, but at the same time I don't like wearing shoes that look like they belong to a 6 year old!

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    Anonymous

    Wow…how horrifying! I have a similiar problem but width-wise. I have relatively normal size feet (6.5) lengthwise, but they are EXTREMELY narrow! Even if a shoe fits me lengthwise, after a few wears they tend to slip off because my feet aren't wide enough. If a shoe doesn't come in narrow, I find myself having to go down a half-size (and endure the pain the first few wears) but even that doesn't always do the trick! Not to mention, its so not cute to have 1/2-inch gaps on either side of your shoes…lol!

    ~GRITS

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    thegoodgirlgoneblog.com

    Aww, that's really embarrassing. In terms of dropping shoes, I once let my shoe slip off my foot on purpose to get a guy's attention…and it worked! He asked for my number ;)

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    Angie

    this is inspirational haha. I am definitely a 4-4.5 shoe but I'm forced to buy size 6's often and they never fit correctly. When I find a good size 5 in a store, I just die of happiness inside.

    can you believe once upon a time i thought i could wear size 8's!? silly junior high me

    <3 angie
    pandaphilia.com

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    TinyInTexas

    I wear a 6.5 so I don't really have trouble with shoes, but I feel your pain. I was leaving work a few months ago wearing slingbacks, and the heel got caught in the cuff of my pant leg, the shoe went flying, and I took a nasty spill in front of everyone. Tres embarassing. Also I totally remember those Steve Madden shoes! I think Target did a knock-off of them too.

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    Em

    OMG how mortifying! Props to you for sharing that story! And really, you handled the situation as best you could. Good thing you know your true shoe size now!

    I still kind of have that problem with pumps, even when I'm wearing the correct size (usually 5.5 or 6). Pumps have a way of not staying on my heel so sometimes they just fall off my foot, especially when I'm wearing stockings. That's probably why I've always gravitated towards boots. My right foot is also smaller than my left foot. That's a bit tricky for fit, as well.

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    Pamela

    Yay for you discovering your real shoe size. I'm a size 5.5 and it frustrates me to no end how every store has a million pairs of all sizes and our little section has 3 pairs of shoes (lime green kitten heels, no less). Shopping for shoe sales? Forget about it!

    http://greatwhitetee.blogspot.com/

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    Alterations Needed

    CynthiaC – I'm not a fan of strapped Mary Jane style shoes for that exact reason…so childish! But I can see how they are extremely helpful in keeping shoes on your feet!

    GRITS – Oh man, narrow feet are tough to fit. =P

    goodgirlgoneblog – LOL…nice!!!

    Angie – Size 8?! How did you walk? That's crazy!

    TinyinTexas – Yup, Target did have a knockoff. I think I found them on sale at Nordstrom Rack and was so excited to have my first pair of "adult shoes". LOL.

    Em – I still have not mastered the art of shoes + stockings/tights. I fall out of my shoes all the time when I try.

    Pamela – Sale shopping is very frustrating…all those racks of size 7-8…but a only a few measly pairs of size 5-6. Ugh.

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    Anonymous

    Same thing happened to me, at a funeral home during a visitation. I walked up some steps and the right shoe flew off my foot and hit an innocent lady standing in line, waiting to see the family. I was in my 40s at the time.
    I now look for t-straps when they are going to be worn with tights :)

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    elleandish

    I totally feel your pain. During interviews I'd wear these pointy, low heeled pumps that were ill fitting and I'm sure it didn't help me in the confidence department.

    Like Em i still have a problem with pumps :( I normally buy a size 7 shoe but with pumps I try to find a size 6.5… they still have problems staying on~!

    In Japan I saw these interesting shoe accessories.. they were actually SHOE BELTS. Little elastic bands with decorations like bows and such that you wear with pumps so they don't slip off the shoes.. Genius. Needless to say I bought a pair. :D

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    PetiteAsianGirl

    Looks like several of us can "sort of" relate to your story : ) I'd love to see some photos of 22 yr old AN without her petite fit knowledge. Even though I'm a whole size bigger than you in shoes, my 6's kept slipping off during interviews and such and I finally realized I was a 5.5. Now I refuse to buy shoes that are even a little bit big unless they are strappy or if they are boots.

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    The Little Dust Princess

    hahah what a story! That has actually happened to me before too, but it only slipped off. :P

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    voguerugger

    I am not a petite, but I love your blog nonetheless (phenomenal fashion sense – I love the layering!). Even non-petites have trouble with shoes! I'm a size 7, and I bought a pair of size 6.5 shoes today and the right one slips a bit off my heel. Thank goodness for heel inserts, because my feet are obviously not the same size. Also, I completely agree – pantyhose are the shoe-devil!

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    PetiteXXS

    I actually used to think that all shoes were SUPPOSED to slip lol… and it always amazed me to see people walking around in pumps that stay on their feet! I also used to love wearing mary janes because they were the only kind that I can keep on. I have bigger feet than you, but with a narrow heel so my shoes are either too tight or if they're comfortable, then my heels would slip out when I walk. And I'm a little surprised to hear that you used to not try anything smaller than a size 6! I don't fit in a size 5 (usually), but I did see them all the time in shoe stores, albeit a much smaller selection.

  • Reply October 6, 2010

    Anonymous

    this reminds me of when i was telling a story to my boss, and i kicked my foot out a little to illustrate a point and my shoe went flying. i was so embarrassed.

  • Reply October 7, 2010

    Canadianpetite

    Just laughed my way thru your whole story! I'm sure you could laugh now too but was mortified then. When I was 17, my mom insisted I wear her heels — 1/2 size bigger — so I stuffed the toes and soles with Kleenex. When I entered the party house, my mom again insisted that we be polite and remove our shoes as the host watched us. I had to pick off the sweaty bits of tissue off my foot! Ewww!

  • Reply October 7, 2010

    Callandra

    So funny! And I can definitely relate (although my shoe isze really is a size 6)

  • Reply October 7, 2010

    Anonymous

    hehehe. awesome story I can totally relate to. I'm a size 2.5/3.5 and used to fake out wearing size 5 shoes (as those were the smallest I could find). I never learned what shoes that fit are supposed to feel like until I discovered Cinderella of Boston (luckily during college, although it took me a while to figure out that I was a size 3.5 :-P ).

  • Reply October 7, 2010

    Vicky

    Too funny a read now. But I'm sure it wasn't that funny then for you!

  • Reply October 9, 2010

    SugarNikita

    Funny mental image!

    I think I'm actually a 5-5.5 wide. I have a lot of size 6, but my feet tend to slip out even with heel grips. I have dancer's feet (read: bunions), with a wide front foot and narrow heel. So, to fit the front, I often get a 6. But something tells me that's wrong…even my soft ballet shoes are a wide size (3.5 W, but they run 2-2.5 sizes smaller than street shoe size), and they fit much better, though still too long, I think! Ugh!

  • Reply October 9, 2010

    Katie

    Hi! I just discovered your blog from Already Pretty and I just wanted to say that I love it! I'm itty bitty too, so I really appreciate your blog!! I was glancing at some of your posts and noticed that you have a lot of things hemmed and taken in and whatnot… I had to learn how to sew so I could manage it myself. :)
    Anyways, thanks for sharing your shoe story, I'm glad you didn't trip and break anything when that shoe flew off!

  • Reply October 9, 2010

    Wendy

    I'm terrified – I have two job interviews next week. I was planning on wearing my 4 inch black pumps in a size 5, but I'm having second thoughts now :P

  • Reply October 10, 2010

    Lorena

    I am a size 6 and once I fell in love with a size 7 pair of shoes .. and made the huge mistake of buying them.
    I cannot tell you how much hell I went through …
    well actuallt I do not need to… you already know.

  • Reply October 11, 2010

    Dainty Chibi

    My sister and I both wear size 4.5-5. It is really hard finding heels and flats that fit! What's your favorite places for these sizes?

  • Reply October 11, 2010

    Alterations Needed

    Katie – Thanks for stopping by! =D

    Wendy – Good luck on your interview! Just be sure you take preventative shoe slip measures! Heel liners usually help a lot!

    Lorena – LOL. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one buying shoes in sizes too large. Proper fit really is very important, lest our shoes fly off our feet!

    Dainty Chibi – Nordstrom.com is really great for shoes in sizes 4.5 – 5. Also, if you have a Nordstrom Rack near you, it's usually a mecca of small sized shoes. For more affordable options, check out Cinderella of Boston…they only make small shoes.

  • Reply October 16, 2010

    hypertigur

    I always fear that would happen to me. I'm small too, my best size is a kid's size 2-2.5(roughly translate to a size 4 since they don't make it any smaller) and I'm 23! So it's rather hard to find not too kiddy shoes. I stay with flats now or boots, no pretty shoes =(

  • Reply October 16, 2010

    Alterations Needed

    hypertigur – There are shoes smaller than a size 4! Nice one's too!

    Check out my posts on Pretty Small Shoes, Cinderella of Boston, and Shoes of Prey. They all go down to a size 2 or 3 in women's (not kids)

    Pretty Small Shoes
    Shoes of Prey
    Cinderella of Boston

  • Reply January 20, 2011

    Anonymous

    I am a new viewer and want to add my solution to the shoe slippage problem. I am a small size 4 and I am constantly walking out of my shoes. I now place a strip of double sided scotch tape on the bottom of my heel—either on bare heel or on the tights. My shoes never slip. At the end of the day, i just peel off my foot. I also, use the tape for sling backs. I put the tape where I want the strap to stay and it does not move until I want it to.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    hypertigur

    I always fear that would happen to me. I'm small too, my best size is a kid's size 2-2.5(roughly translate to a size 4 since they don't make it any smaller) and I'm 23! So it's rather hard to find not too kiddy shoes. I stay with flats now or boots, no pretty shoes =(

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Dainty Chibi

    My sister and I both wear size 4.5-5. It is really hard finding heels and flats that fit! What's your favorite places for these sizes?

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    voguerugger

    I am not a petite, but I love your blog nonetheless (phenomenal fashion sense – I love the layering!). Even non-petites have trouble with shoes! I'm a size 7, and I bought a pair of size 6.5 shoes today and the right one slips a bit off my heel. Thank goodness for heel inserts, because my feet are obviously not the same size. Also, I completely agree – pantyhose are the shoe-devil!

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Katie

    Hi! I just discovered your blog from Already Pretty and I just wanted to say that I love it! I'm itty bitty too, so I really appreciate your blog!! I was glancing at some of your posts and noticed that you have a lot of things hemmed and taken in and whatnot… I had to learn how to sew so I could manage it myself. :)
    Anyways, thanks for sharing your shoe story, I'm glad you didn't trip and break anything when that shoe flew off!

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    The Little Dust Princess

    hahah what a story! That has actually happened to me before too, but it only slipped off. :P

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Anonymous

    Same thing happened to me, at a funeral home during a visitation. I walked up some steps and the right shoe flew off my foot and hit an innocent lady standing in line, waiting to see the family. I was in my 40s at the time.
    I now look for t-straps when they are going to be worn with tights :)

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    CynthiaC – I'm not a fan of strapped Mary Jane style shoes for that exact reason…so childish! But I can see how they are extremely helpful in keeping shoes on your feet!

    GRITS – Oh man, narrow feet are tough to fit. =P

    goodgirlgoneblog – LOL…nice!!!

    Angie – Size 8?! How did you walk? That's crazy!

    TinyinTexas – Yup, Target did have a knockoff. I think I found them on sale at Nordstrom Rack and was so excited to have my first pair of "adult shoes". LOL.

    Em – I still have not mastered the art of shoes + stockings/tights. I fall out of my shoes all the time when I try.

    Pamela – Sale shopping is very frustrating…all those racks of size 7-8…but a only a few measly pairs of size 5-6. Ugh.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    TinyInTexas

    I wear a 6.5 so I don't really have trouble with shoes, but I feel your pain. I was leaving work a few months ago wearing slingbacks, and the heel got caught in the cuff of my pant leg, the shoe went flying, and I took a nasty spill in front of everyone. Tres embarassing. Also I totally remember those Steve Madden shoes! I think Target did a knock-off of them too.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Angie

    this is inspirational haha. I am definitely a 4-4.5 shoe but I'm forced to buy size 6's often and they never fit correctly. When I find a good size 5 in a store, I just die of happiness inside.

    can you believe once upon a time i thought i could wear size 8's!? silly junior high me

    <3 angie
    pandaphilia.com

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    R.L.

    Oh noooo! I had a similar experience a few years ago with Xhilaration shoes I bought from Target to wear to an awards event in college (the kind where you get called up on stage individually and walk up there by yourself). The shoes fit while walking around the house. Luckily before leaving for the event my feet were sweating enough to slip out and make me realize that these size 6 shoes just didn't fit. I then invested in heels with a strap across the front… but thank god for online shopping because size 5.5 is the smallest size I see in stores. I'm a size 5 but wide, so it's extra hard for me to find comfy stylish heels. Thank god for sneakers…

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Elle

    What a story. I have relatively large feet for a petite (sz 7) so I never had too much trouble finding shoes but I can understand how difficult it must be to find shoes when your feet are 5 or below…I mean, on sale racks the sizes start at 6 so I imagine that's the smallest sizes available at most department stores. And in spite of how traumatic the incident must have been for you, you have become the queen of small shoes so I guess we all live and learn.

  • Reply July 19, 2011

    Anonymous

    I wear a 5, or a 5.5 with heel liners (I have wide toes and narrow heels). I recently went up to my parents’ house and I still had a bunch of old shoes there from my fashion-disaster teenage years. I thought I might want to keep some of them, and then I discovered I used to buy size 7!

    • Reply July 19, 2011

      Alterations Needed

      Holy smokes! Size 7? How did you ever walk in them? I can’t image it was very comfortable.

  • Reply May 23, 2012

    Ayumi Lafser

    wow, never thought of this idea.. good one. I should try it

  • Reply May 26, 2012

    Jess

    Thank you for your helpful blog! 

    My shoe size 4.5 and it has been a challenge for me to find heel pumps that fit me (since most brands only offer size 5 as its smallest).  I have heard of Pretty Small Shoes, etc. but I’m interested to know of other brands where I can get them at stores like Nordstrom, Zappos, etc. (where it’s more convenient).  So, I wanted to ask: do you have a favorite brand or what brand would you recommend for someone like me who’s looking for a heel pump size 4.5?  I recently found out Corso Como sells 4.5, but would like to hear of more options, if there are any.  Thanks so much in advance!

    • Reply May 26, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Hi Jess! There are quite a few brands that make size 4.5, and some brands only make that size for stores that specifically ask for them, such as Nordstrom (another reason why I love Nordstrom! They really do us small-footed girls a solid by special ordering small sizes). Just do a size search and you can see all the 4.5′s these stores have.

      Nordstrom: http://shop.nordstrom.com/C/womens-special-size-shoes?size=4.5&origin=leftnav

      Zappos: http://www.zappos.com/womens-heels~C8#!/womens-heels~EE

      I don’t think you have to go for Pretty Small Shoes, as you’re lucky to have a shoe size that, although hard to find, they’re out there (I own a few myself) and in stylish choices. Pretty Small Shoes is good for ladies who are smaller than a size 4, which aren’t carried in stores ANYWHERE.

      • Reply May 26, 2012

        Jess

         Oh, thanks so much!  I’ve browsed through those links you gave me, and they’re helpful.

        I was able to get a Corso Como Del pumps in 4.5 several days ago.   It was *very* tight (my toes hurt badly), but after using it on the carpet around my house for a few hours (on and off), now it has stretched to the point that there’s a slight heel gap. These are my first pumps, so please pardon my ignorance :) but  I’m wondering, is it just normal for it to have stretched *that* much over a few hours?   I’m going to put some halter/heel pads.  Do your shoes continue to stretch even after you wear the pads?  Logically it seems there would be a limit as to how much they’ll stretch.

        Thank you again for your time and help in this! I appreciate it.

        • Reply May 26, 2012

          Alterations Needed

          Probably what happened is your feet got sweaty during the few hours you had them on, and your foot slip forward in the shoe. It’s completely normal, and happens to me all the time. I bet next time you put your feet in there for the first time, they’ll fit normal again. Things that help this are ball of foot pads, which keep your feet from sliding forward. Or, if your shoe really did stretch enough to where there is room between your feet and heel of the shoe, you can slap a heel liner back there. Here’s my tips for making your shoes more comfortable to wear, which shows both of these items in action:

           http://www.alterationsneeded.com/2011/04/secrets-my-high-heels-are-hiding.html

          • Reply May 26, 2012

            Jess

             Thank you!  :-)  Glad I could learn helpful tips from other petites who are much more experienced in fashion than me.

            Have a lovely Sunday!

          • Reply May 27, 2012

            Jess

            Nordstrom gives out ball of foot pads for free.  If you’ve used them before, can you please tell me whether the Nordstrom ones work as good as the Foot Petals Tip Toes?  Or do you prefer the Foot Petals Tip?

            I had given up wearing 3-inch pumps until recently, and your tips has revived my hope yet again.  :-)

            • Reply May 27, 2012

              Alterations Needed

               I’ve never used the ones Nordstrom gives out for free, but I’m sure they’re just fine. Target also carries some, as does Aldo, and Nordstrom Rack. Some people don’t like the Foot Petals ones because they’re scalloped, and prefer longer ones that go completely under the toes, but I find that certain shoes do better with certain pads. I just pick them up as I got along, keeping a little stockpile, and when my shoes need them, I pull out all the different types I have and see which ones are more comfy. =)

  • Reply August 7, 2012

    jker

    How do you tell your foot size? I have wide feed. I was trying to find Patent red pumps and I noticed that usually when my toes were having the life crushed out of them then the back fit. If my toes were somewhat comfortable then my feet were about to slide out the back.

    • Reply August 7, 2012

      Alterations Needed

      That’s tough. You can try wide width shoes, which are of course harder to come by in fun styles, or you can try heel liners ( http://rstyle.me/hjmiqjcz5 ) in the shoes that fit your toes but your heel slips. I have narrow feet, so my heel slips out the back of shoes often, and heel liners are a life saver. Shoe fit is also different for a lot of people. I like my shoes snug, which some people might find really uncomfortable.

  • Reply May 20, 2013

    Fenny

    Ever since I gained weight I think my feet gets slightly wider. I was like you, I could never find the perfect size. They either too small or slightly big. But thanks to heel liners I can comfortably wear my shoes for hours now.

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