When It Comes To Shoes, How Much Does Size Matter?

Today I spotted an item in The New York Post and could instantly feel her pain: Katy Perry attended some party this weekend and was so determined to wear her new Jimmy Choo Zap shoes, above (P.S. they’re $2,495 — if you manage to work your way up the waiting list), that she hobbled around the party in sample size shoes that were not one but TWO sizes too small. Honestly, I don’t know how she did it, because I recently had a serious problem navigating a half size too small.

See, I’ve fantasized about finding the perfect pair of nude heels (big dreams!) ever since I figured out what a genius styling trick they are … Not only does the neutral shade look good with any color outfit you have on, if you can score a pair close to your skin color, they make your legs appear to go on forever. Since they come in handy both for making your gams look fabby and go with pretty much everything in your closet, it makes sense they’d make for the ultimate wardrobe staple.

Not so fast though. After looking at pair after pair both in shops and online, it seems finding the “perfect” nude heel isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sometimes the shade is wrong or the style too embellished — my search went on and on until finally, miraculously, I found the nude shoe of my dreams. Creamy suede in the same color as my skin, platform without being strippery, sexy yet understated and, best of all, a semi-reasonable $135. I was browsing at Topshop when I spotted them, couldn’t believe my luck (finally!), and asked for my size, a true 7. Then the salesperson said, “Sorry miss, we only deal in half sizes here.”


First, who only “deals in half sizes”? There must have been some mistake! I immediately suspected this had something to do with British sizing. I wasn’t completely daunted though, and confidently asked for a 6.5, thinking surely I could squeeze in. And just to be safe, I ordered up, to a 7.5. One of them had to be close enough.

But here’s the thing about shoe sizes: “close enough” doesn’t quite get the job done. After literally cramming my feet into the 6.5s, it quickly became apparent — as I limped over to the mirror, feet cramping, veins bulging — that I wouldn’t be able to survive five minutes in these heels, much less an eight-hour work day. Off with the too-small shoes (sweet relief!), and on with the 7.5s. As I stepped into them, my feet instantly felt much better. I strode toward the mirror again, leaving the shoes behind me. Apparently, I’d stepped right out of them! Too big, much too big. Who knew a half-size could make such a difference?

Now, this wasn’t my first time at the shoe-doesn’t-fit rodeo. After obsessing about a certain sold-out-in-size-7 pair of boots, I anted up for the 8s. Sticky pads and toe stuffing helped, but, ultimately, I still get blisters when I wear the damn things. I own a pair of Uggs — my dog-walking shoes thankyouverymuch — in a 7.5, and they rub my heels the wrong way. I have a pair of gorgeous vintage YSL pumps in my closet and, sadly, the fact that they are a 6 means they’ve never made it out farther than a romp around the bedroom.

You would think I would’ve learned my lesson, but I wanted those shoes so very badly. I concluded that my feet were probably just swollen — it being the afternoon and all — and I bought those pretty ponies anyway. The next morning I tried them on and, if you can believe it, they actually felt smaller. I ultimately admitted defeat, and forced myself to return them, proverbial tail between my legs.

All this is to say that, Katy Perry, you’re not only a more talented, wealthy, popular girl than I; you’re also much stronger, because instead of suffering through that party, I would have kicked off my Zaps and gone barefoot.