Got big feet and struggle to find shoes? Struggle no more

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 31 Comments

The more I work with women clients – one-on-one – the more I understand that each and every one of us has at least one “issue” that might stop us from being able to freely dress as we would like to dress.

But the next time you look in the mirror and complain about the size of your bum or belly, spare a thought for those women who can’t even walk into a regular shoe store and buy a pair of shoes.

I got thinking about this late last year after meeting the world’s tallest model, Amazon Eve.  Eve is 6″ 8′ (or 203.2cm) and her shoe size is 14.

Yep, size 14.  I’ve got friends who are size 10 and they know that most stores will only stock one – maybe two – pairs of shoes in their size.  So you can imagine the fun that Eve and others struggle with.

Eve was in Australia on a tour as ambassador for Barefoot Tess – an online US shoe store that specialises in selling shoes for sizes 10-15.    And would you believe Australia is Barefoot Tess’ largest international market?


Barefoot Tess was founded in 2005 by a mother-daughter team.  Tess was a fashion-conscious size 11 who could never find the the styles her smaller footed friends wore (difficult when you can only locate your size in the men’s department!) and the last straw was when her mum visited her at school, in the middle of a snowy winter, and found her in thongs.

The pair set out on a mission to provide fun and sophisticated shoes to fashionistas of all sizes, by convincing high-end designers to create their most popular styles in sizes 10-15.  The business rapidly expanded to include the Barefoot Tess private label, which today includes three lines: Barefoot Tess, B.F.T. by Barefoot Tess, and Tess by Barefoot Tess. Celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Venus Williams, and Gabrielle Reece have worn Barefoot Tess styles.

Barefoot Tess had previously carried Madden Girl, Steve Madden’s lower-priced line aimed towards teens and this month it introduced its first style from the Steve Madden line, with the great low price of $US49. 

Steve Madden Tailor in sizes 10-14 $US49 at

The Tailor flat comes in seven colors, (black leather, cognac, red plaid, navy and white pinstripe, olive canvas, silver metallic, and black glitter), sizes 10-14.  You cannot find these large sized Steve Maddens anywhere else in the world.

If you head over to the Barefoot Tess Facebook page, like it, and you’ll get a code for a discount off your order.

Styling You has two $50 Barefoot Tess vouchers to give away.  Simply leave a message below with any tips you have on buying shoes for larger feet.  The winners will be chosen by  The competition closes, Thursday January 27, 2011.

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED.  The winners are:  Fiona Chambers and Geri Scully

Comments 31

  1. I have had this problem most of my life, and have started an online shop for this very reason. Check out If you are after something in particular let me know and I’ll see if I can find it. I try to provide fashionable shoes at a reasonable price. We’re also on Facebook, so “like” our page for regular updates and new product releases. I will be looking at launching my own line over the next couple of years, so please let me know what you would like, and I’ll keep an eye out!

  2. About having big feet; why is it so difficult to find shoes in the ordinary physical shops? It can be a nightmare to find a pair of nice shoes that fit. And Christina (nice name!) you are quite right; don’t squeeze your feet into a pair of shoes that are too small. It is actually dangerous and you can get seriously injured. I’ve also experienced the pain… I actually got fed up with the poor offer of large size shoes in the physical shops, that I decided to start a website for all of us who are not shaped in a “standard shape”. On this site, I recommend online shops selling large and small size shoes and also wide shoes, clothes to tall, short, plus sized people… Some of the categories don’t have that much content yet, but I’m working on it. If this site can be of help for anyone having difficuties finding “their size”, I’m happy. Please feel welcome to

  3. I think there are plenty of places out there to find shoes for people aged 30 and up but no one caters to the under 30’s for the past 25 years i have struggled to find shoes that appropriate for my age .I am starting a shoe label called dot&pete. which should be out in july which will cater to young fashionable people .Email me your details and i can keep you updated.
    My email [email protected]

  4. Confidence is the key,
    Show the world you’re happy!
    Big feet make us unique,
    Hey everyone – I have big feet!
    Size 11 has not been easy,
    But with these tips it’s now breezy!
    Firstly, browse online,
    There’s plenty to find!
    Second know the brands that make,
    Shoes bigger than a size eight!
    Third get in fast,
    Big shoes don’t last!
    Fourthly squeezing into a size smaller won’t work,
    It hurts and will send you berserk!
    Fifthly, be mindful of cost,
    I do and I still have more shoes than Imelda Marcos!
    My last tip is simply the best,
    Buy stunning shoes from Barefoot Tess 🙂

  5. My daughter at age 12 already has size 10 shoes so we find going to regular dept stores out of the question and head to proper shoe shops for good fitting.

  6. No matter how much you love that pair of shoes in the window – avoid pointed toe high heels as they will make your feet look bigger!

  7. Heels are usually not worn by taller women anyway, but in winter boots have been in for the last couple of years, and they are easier to find than strappy heels for larger sizes.

  8. In the 21st century, simply Google “shoes for large feet”! There’s oodles – including Barefoot Tess right near the top of the page!

  9. The tick is, don’t be lured by the cutesy ballerina shoes that everyone else seems to be able to walk in and fit into, round-toed shoes don’t work for big-foots like us, you need to look for a square-toed shoe. They are really hard to find, square-toed ballerina style flats, so I can see why many live in their sneakers or big heels, but neither are practical for everyday life!

  10. When you find a pair you love, buy two pairs – or a few in different colours. It’s always so hard to find good quality ‘big’ shoes that I like, so when I do find them – I stock up.

  11. I have been really lucky to find some great BIG SHOE suppliers on ebay. I do alot of searching on the internet and I always manage to find some good buys. I let my fingers do the walking instead of my big feet!!!!

  12. Give up on strappy sandals – they’re never wide enough for large feet but conside peep toe styles. That extra mm or two to ‘spread out’ up front is often all you need to fit comfortable!

  13. I get to know the salespeople who let me know when new stock comes in.One in particular knows the type of shoes I like & she puts a pair aside for me to look at.

  14. The greatest issue for me is the width of my feet. I am a size 10, but often struggle to fit into the size 10 on the shelf because my feet are too wide. I do not understand shoe makers who do go above standard “Size 4-9” range but then forget to change the width of the shoe as well.
    My tip is to make sure that you get the right fit and not to be afraid to go the bigger size and use inserts to make them fit you snuggly. I’ve went to a size 11 before just for width then used some heel inserts to make them fit nice all round.
    I didn’t know about this website and am very glad you have posted about it. The shoes look great, and the sizes are excellent. Thank you.

  15. Surprisingly, the best luck I’ve had buying both large shoes and long pants, as a 6’2″ gal with size 12-13 feet, is to shop used and thrift. Thrift and consignment stores get merchandise from every possible brand and background, which for me means greater odds of finding “oddball” items that might actually fit me. If I shop at a department store, I only have access to the sizes and styles that store chooses to stock; buying from a thrift store means I could find just about anything. My two favorite pairs of girly flats came from a church rummage sale and they were FREE- no one else could wear them!

    The best part is these stores usually display both shoes and pants in a way that makes it easy to quickly compare sizes and lengths visually and narrow down the ones that might be options for me. In addition, I end up paying $4 for something that would cost $50+ new, and the money goes to a charity instead of a corporation. Yes, it takes a little more digging and patience, but it’s worth it for the variety and value (and perhaps for the adventure of it!). Happy shopping!

  16. Buying large sized shoes can be super challenging, but never give up! My advice is to find a brand you like (best place to do this is probably Barefoot Tess of course!) and stick with it. Don’t be afraid to try new things though…but know your foot measurements, find styles that feel the best, and work with what works for you. And don’t get rid of shoes just because they might be “out of style” slightly…unlike tiny-footed people, we can’t just grab another pair whenever we want one. Buy shoes that are good quality, and wear them for years. Make your outfits work around them!

  17. I just received the Steven Madden’s described in your article. They are FABULOUS! The quality of the leather is excellent, buttery soft, and the cut if perfect. I love them. I ordered them from Barefoot Tess. What a fantastic store. They have such great shoes.

  18. Barefoot Tess is GREAT!!!
    Zappos can work out well…
    But Sales in department stores can sometimes have treasures – especially if going to flagship stores!

  19. Get shoes custom-made – you’re sure to get what you want and at a much better level of quality than mass-produced shoes. Expensive but totally worth it!

  20. My best tip is to shop early as large sizes do sell out. If you wait for the sales you only find large sizes that are poorly fitting or don’t run true to size.
    And don’t try to force yourself into a shoe, it will only damage your feet. I know, I’ve done it!

    1. Totally agree with Christina… I have been guilty of buying too-tight shoes, just because I HAD to have them, only to wear them once in agony then give away a few months later!

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