Size 5 shoes are the smallest mass-produced women’s shoe size.As the owner of small feet, a size 5 wearer, I get the baby feet comparison all the time: “Awww! Look at your teeny little baby feet.” I look down at said feet. Yep. They are small. But, I am five feet tall, and with size 5 shoes, I feel symmetrical. I mean, if my feet were bigger, I’d look like a clown flopping my big feet up and down the street. Ridiculous.
Instead, in my proportionally sized feet, I look only ridiculous (feet-size-wise) standing in the kids department trying on shoes and pushing the stupid 10 year olds out of my way. After all, I’m paying for my own goods and they are probably sponging off of their parents so I feel I have more standing, so to speak. The kids section is good to me for casual shoes.
Finding size 5 shoes as an adult woman who doesn’t (always) want to dress like 10 years-old, is a bit of treasure hunt. Online when I go shoe shopping I click on women’s shoes and find thousands to choose from. When I click on the filter to only show me size 5 shoes, my choice is reduced to hundreds. Granted, that makes decision making mathematically easier, but cuteness choice is also drastically reduced.
I’m not even about cuteness. I’m more about appropriate looking functional shoes. I do know, however, the debilitating impact of only finding the perfect shoe (or any clothing item really) is available in every size but the one you need. Stand in a women’s dressing room for like 45 seconds and you’ll hear a perfectly well-dressed woman complain about this. It’s true for me, too. I think all the cute shoes that would look spectacular on me (i.e. make me look stylish) only come in size 7 or larger. (I can see shoe-size 7 women rolling their eyes.)
Anyway, shoe-makers actually make less size 5’s (and 10 -12’s) because those are the far end of the bell curve of sizes the majority of women wear. Women’s feet have slowly been getting larger over since the turn of the last century. My size 5 was disappearing about the time of the Vietnam War. People in the U.S. are taller and heavier now, and in just the last 30 or so years, the average size show for women’s shoe’s has gone from 6.5 to 7.5. It’s good business sense not to stock shoes that don’t fit the majority of the population, but it doesn’t help me find the perfect shoe to go with my dress for a job interview.
To meet my needs, I often have to go to a larger size shoe, and find ways to fill up the shoe where my foot falls short. The easiest styles to achieve this are boots and athletic shoes which I can wear with thick socks. I own tons of thick winter socks and the thickest athletic socks money can buy. This helps a lot on the casual shoe front but thick socks and pumps are not going to cut it.
Which is why every pair of my dress shoes is loaded with fill-ins. I can buy toe pouches to put in the front of my shoe and heel wedges to put in the back. And when all else fails, a shove paper towels or napkins in the toe of the shoe. Classy, right? It works. And as long as I remember to keep my shoes on, or take them off very slowly, no one is the wiser.