Size 5 Shoe Phaseout?

An article in the Huffington Post by Suzette Shandring (a fellow size 5 footed woman! Whoo hoo!) put me in a slight panic today. You’ve gotta read this!

Size Five Shoe Phaseout
Suzette Shandring
The Huffington Post
March 25, 2009

Spring is my favorite hunting season: mules, slingbacks and peep-toes, but I roam the store aisles to no avail. Size five shoes are increasingly elusive prey. I’m told more shoe manufacturers are starting their lines at size 6 and have dropped size 5 completely. For people like me, it’s a dark night of the sole.

It’s challenging to keep my jealousy in check at the other huntresses who easily choose among a slew of size 7 sandals. Or those who can take their pick of dress pumps in size 8. Me? I’m reduced to scanning boxes, any boxes, for the magical number – 5, 5, 5 – ooh! Here’s one! But it’s a patent leather dominatrix number with a five-inch heel. Keep looking – 5, 5, 5 – ooh, something in a boot! An Eskimo mukluk in cheap black vinyl is not my style. What exactly is the profile of a size 5 shoe wearer? According to what I find, it’s either sky-high stilettos or ballerina slippers.


Employees of three different stores all gave me basically the same answers.

“Size five isn’t that common and shoe companies lose money, so they focus on more popular sizes, starting with six. Some are even beginning their lines at size 6-1/2 now.”

“Women’s feet are getting larger. Size 8 is the average. Manufacturers have moved away from size 5 and are making more in sizes 11 and 12.”

Ouch. Just throw me barefoot into the La Brea tar pits.

The sympathetic clerk suggests I shop in the children’s section. I’m 54 years old and my arched eyebrow tells her I’ve already tried that. But for good measure, I add, “I don’t like shoes with little butterflies on the side. I don’t want to wear sneakers that light up.”


This is troubling…if anyone needs me, I’ll be on my closet floor clutching onto my size 5 Christian Louboutins and Cole Haans for dear life.

Join the Conversation


  1. says: A.T.

    LOL. I can imagine you clutching onto your shoes for dear life. Other than that I don’t think the situation is a laughing matter. I need my 5.5 size shoes, especially for pumps. No one likes the ugly gap around the heel/ankle.

    Usually, I can fit into a 6 size, but if stores are going to start at 6.5, I think I’m going to cry. I’ve been noticing that smaller shoes are harder to come by at local stores (maybe they don’t manufacture as many and other petite are snatching them up as fast as they put them out?) I feel bad for petite out there that have smaller feet, especially those who wear smaller than a size 5. IMO, if you can find a size that small and not childlike, you have to pay an arm and a leg for them ($100+) compared to those with average size feet. Thank goodness for online shopping. I hope they don’t take that option away for the sake of petites everywhere.

  2. says: Cynthia

    This upsets me too. Most of my shoes are either from Hong Kong (I don’t go that often, but my mom goes once a year. I always ask for shoes) or are from brands which make size 4s (e.g. Stuart Weitzman), since they’ll likely phase the 4s out before the 5s. I’ll write about more about this in Shorty Stories in a few days.

  3. says: Jackie

    I wish they would stop getting rid of sizes that aren’t popular. Just because it’s not the norm doesn’t mean there aren’t women who fit it.

    Arggh…so unfair.

  4. says: Alterations Needed

    I’m surprised to hear size 5 doesn’t make money. Where I go shopping, size five is one of the first sizes to sell out! I’ve learned the hard way (I’ve had many a restless night lamenting about the “shoe that got away”) that if I see a shoe I like in my size, I’d better buy it, b/c the next day it’ll be gone!

  5. says: ^_^

    I pre-ordered a Miu Miu t-strap sandal a month ago from Bergdorf. They have now said the vendor can’t fulfill the request, and has given no other explanation. It was a size 5. I’m fairly upset to say the least.

  6. says: Alterations Needed

    ^_^! The same thing happened to me! I ordered a pair of size 5 Christian Louboutins from Saks in December. They got back ordered twice until they finally canceled my order at the end of February with no other explanation other than “the vendor can’t fulfill the request”

    I feel ya!

  7. says: ^_^

    That’s depressing.

    Why would they even offer 5 in the first place? There are petites that have the money to purchase high end shoes. It seems odd that companies would turn away guaranteed business in the form of a pre-order.

  8. says: Anonymous

    sh*t! Are we supposed to go barefoot now?? I guess we better stock up on whatever size 5 we can find (provided they are decent looking) before they’re all 100% gone!

  9. says: Ruby

    I was really surprised when the Aldo in Hawaii has size 35 (5).
    It makes sense since there's a large Asian population here, so I suppose if you go to the "Asian-y" locations, you'll be able to find size 5 easier.
    It just sucks because not all of us has money to hop on a plane and go to Hong Kong/Korea/Japan when we need shoes. =/

  10. says: Angie

    People need to put their feet on a diet and stop feeding them McD's! We need our small shoes :) At the mall, all the stores will have sales on shoes and there will be tons of 6's left but they don't even make 5's. It's a hopeless search for affordable small shoes out there.

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