Shoe shopping for me and my size 9 feet used to be complete hell. As a teenager, I was lucky enough to be heavily into the skater scene and so spent all my time in trainers. But no more! I love boots, heels and saucy brogues and the only time I wear trainers is when I'm going for a jog.
Things have improved a lot for girls with larger-sized feet over the years, and not everything looks as though it's been designed by a builder armed with a set square. While I do like to write about shoes for larger feet on Domestic Sluttery, a request from a reader over on our Facebook page made me think it would be a good idea to have a post that covered the places to buy them.
Size 9s have more options than other girls which is just unfair, but I hope there will be something for everyone. At 6'1, the idea of being 'large' is one of my most hated terms; for years I slumped and hunched around trying to make myself a bit more dainty. Bollocks to that. You can still have size 9+ feet and wear dainty shoes that look brilliant, whether you want heels, brogues, flats, pumps, or boots.This guide runs the gamut from cheap, cheerful and flimsy (although having nearly broken my toe recently in some cheap ones, I would say fork out for decent ones) to investment shoes. Onwards!
November 2013: Amber and Jade has closed. This is very sad news. Hooray for all the other shops, and thank you for your suggestions!
May 2013: Hurray for Shoes of Prey who go up to 13.5!
February 2013: Sadly Amber and Jade and Tall Girls have stopped making size 13s which means the cupboard is bare. I will keep my eyes peeled for decent shoes, don't worry.
January 2013: This page has become something of an encyclopaedia so I'm making sure it's updated with your suggestions, and any new shoes I find. Happy shopping!
Shoes of Prey (up to 13 and a half)
An absolute godsend for women with large, differently sized, or simply awkward feet. Shoes of Prey lets you design your own shoes, from the choice of heel and toe, to fabric and finish. You get charged a set amount per shoe type: £109 for sandals, ballet shoes or flat oxfords for example, or £169 for ankle boots or heeled oxfords, and the rest is up to you. Tell them your shoe width, whether one foot is larger than the other, and Shoes of Prey will make it happen. AMAZING patterns and fabrics too - wow.
Shoesissima (up to 12)
I'm quite wary of online-only ready to wear stores, just because returning things can be such a faff. One way that Shoesissima looks to address this is by providing precise sizing for each model - get the width right, and you're on your way to comfy shoes. Their real sweet spot is flat sandals: they have oodles in bright and exciting colours.
A staple of mine from my teenage years (their showroom is near Alton in Hampshire, where I went to sixth form) Tall Girls also does the odd pop-up in London. Happily, their shoe selection is vastly more stylish and extensive than when I was 17; there's plenty of pretty shoes for size 12 girls here
Magnus (up to 12)
I'd previously ignored Magnus after a particularly depressing trip to their Baker Street store with my mum when I was 15, but a quick look on their site now shows some decent shoes that run from a 9 to a 12. Sift through the boring (and pricey) stuff and there's some gold. Well done Magnus.
Long Tall Sally (up to 11)
LTS used to veer solely between the hideously sensible, or unrealistically skyscraper, but they've been sneaking in some really pretty styles recently. I have a huge penchant for small wedged shoes (comfier than those ghastly ballerina pumps) and there are some lovely sparkly and patent versions this season. They also stock other brands like French Sole, Hush Puppies, Converse and Sam Edelman.
Hush Puppies (up to 11)
I know! Or rather, I thought I did - I had HP down as tedious, earnest shoes until I had lunch with my friend Elizabeth the other week. She was sporting the most beautiful, fun pair of size 10s - the Freya, which comes in so many colours that I'm tempted to start collecting them. Hush Puppies go up to a size 10 and offer different widths in some styles. Definitely worth a rummage as there are some really beautiful shoes on offer.
The Shoe Tailor (up to 11)
I only found these guys while researching another post idea on shoes for girls with wide feet. Hallelujah! Nice shoes from various brands at around the £25-35 mark that go up to a 9 and come in three widths. Super. They also offer a few designs of mule, and some Hush Puppies, in a 10 and 11.
Upper Street (up to 10)
Price: £195-£265 and any embellishment costs
Now, like you lovely readers I've spent hours playing "design my dream shoes" on Upper Street's website, but had dismissed the fun as a pipedream as a) they're spendy b) I didn't think they'd do my size c) I am horrifically indecisive and could never settle on a design. But no. If you've got money to spend on your perfect, personalised pair of shoes then you can get anything from ballet pumps to heels in sizes 1.5 to 10. Well jel.
Redfoot (up to 10)
If you're ever wanted a pair of those handy folding flats for your handbag, Redfoot's large is a size 9-10 (mine fit more like an 11!). Lots of really lovely styles and well worth a look. Great fun.
DUO (up to 9/10)
I bang on about DUO so much I should probably get a commission. They have shops in Bath, Edinburgh and Covent Garden as well as a good online shop and their niche is selling shoes up to a size 9 - size 10 in boots - in three widths. Great boots , beautiful flats and heels and never fail to make me feel normal rather than 'large' - they also have a handy online outlet store.
Evans (up to 10)
Evans used to do a couple of shoes in a size 11 but has sadly stopped doing this - well, not that sadly. They weren't terribly sexy. Evans kills two birds with one stone: large sizes and wide ones too. The flats offer significantly more support than many other high street shops which is a blessed change.Irregular Choice (up to 9)
I salivated over the bonkers offerings from this shop for years but could never afford them. I still can't really afford them, so treat them, like DUO, very much as investment shoes. Their Carnaby Street store has always had a size 9 in whatever I've asked for and some of my happiest shoes have come from here. Their online shoe outlet is also a hive for bargainous 9s.
Clarks (up to 9)
Yes, yes, they do the madly sensible options, but there's also some really pretty stuff on offer. (update 2014: their brogues are AMAZING. Some of my favourite shoes are now Clarks.) And, because they are a sensible shoemaker, they're not going to completely screw your feet over. Available in a variety of widths too, and there's even a couple of their Liberty range on offer. Although not all, obviously. Size 9+ girls clearly aren't deserving of the entire range *seethe, mutter, boil*
Russell and Bromley (up to 9)
Russell and Brom have finally done up their website to actually feature the shoes they sell - progress! - and they do an enormous selection of size 9s. I still have lovely memories of the Chanel-like black patent quilted pumps I bought from them a few years ago for an eyewatering £70. Prices have got even more staggering in subsequent years, but if you're in the market for them, you feel very good indeed having R&B inscribed on your soles.
Nine West (up to 9)
Price: £45 - £110
A reader left a comment saying that she bought all her glam shoes from Nine West in the US. I did a little check and lo! Nine West in the UK do size 9s in a great variety of styles. They're pricey, but worth a look if you're going to buy from the States anyway.
Aldo (up to 9)
I've bought a pair of pretty, mid-size stiletto heels from Aldo in the past but I just don't find them tremendously comfortable. Still - you don't know unless you try and at least they're out there - albeit divided mostly between flat sandals and skyscraper platforms at present.
The High Street (up to 9)
I'm putting this lot together in one because the quality differs wildly, and so few of them are available in store. This makes me so cross! How am I supposed to see whether something can fit unless I can try it on?
That said, I'm a big fan of Office, less the stores which tend to be uniformly horrible shopping experiences, but for its online sales which have served me extremely well over the years.
Debenhams stocks quite a few size 9s (its own Debut collection; the rather flimsy-looking Red Herring and - God love 'em - odds and sods from the now defunct Faith) but I've got my eye on Henry Holland's H! range which I found via the absolutely splendid All The Tall Things blog. Cheap and cheerful and some really splendid-looking flats.
Topshop and New Look. I'd stay well away from most of their flats unless you want to do your feet some serious damage on the pavement (heels made of paper! Paper!) but New Look's wedges and heels are particularly strong. I spent most of July 2010 giddily strutting around in the most unnecessary, but fabulous, pair of coral wedges. (Confusingly, while Next and Dotty P use 43 to indicate a size 9, Topshop uses a 42.)
Next also purport to do size 9s, but I've NEVER SEEN THEM in store. Not even on Oxford Street. I really, actively dislike going into shops and asking for my size only for the shopkeepers to look confused and generally react as though I've asked for a giant crocodile for each one of my feet. Luckily, their website has lots of 9s on there and some really nice options.
Dorothy Perkins also have some lovely shoes on offer online, but very rarely in store. I went in the New Oxford Street/Tottenham Court Road branch recently and spotted two pairs. Le sigh. Still, there's plenty to feast your eyes on their website, and at good prices.Designer shoes (up to 9)
Price: A millionty pounds
A bit of wishful thinking, this, but size 9s again get spoiled. If you do happen to have £400+ to spend on a pair of shoes, you could go for Givenchy, Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Chloé, Miu Miu, Yves St Laurent - I'm going to stop now because this is basically making me cry. Have a perve over on Net-a-Porter for a lovely selection or The Outnet for a smaller (but cheaper!) set of options.I hope that's restored your faith in shopping for shoes - if I've missed out your favourite, let me know!