How to find the right fit in your shoes

If you’ve ever had difficulty buying shoes then you’ll know how important it is to find the right fit.

Shoes are just like clothes; size alone cannot be relied upon as styles and brands can have a different fit. You’ll still want the right colour and right style just like you do with your clothes and makeup and you wouldn’t buy clothes which don’t fit you…right?

Monday 23 January is ‘national measure your feet day’ – random I know! But, it seemed like the best day to tackle this subject and let you know about a new event – more on that shortly.

The perfect fit

What makes one pair of shoes comfortable to one woman, can be very different to another.

Your shoes like your clothes should fit nice and comfortably. Not too tight nor too loose, not too big or too small. If your heel slips out of the shoe when you walk then they are probably too big and it’s worth dropping down a half size if there is one. Using slips or insoles to fill gaps means they aren’t the perfect fit, so why compromise?

Should you find the skin on your foot sits higher than the shoe, it’s likely they are too small so you’ll need to go up in sizing or try a wider fit. Too tight and there’s more chance they’ll rub and cause blisters.

Most people do have one foot that is slightly bigger, so choose the size for this foot. Do try them on both feet too – I’ve yet to meet anyone who goes out wearing just one shoe! The shoes need to feel comfortable on both feet (hence the trying on) and a walk around will give you an opportunity to see if they pinch, rub, slop or generally feel uncomfortable.

Whilst you may be given one of those little foot socks like a pair of tights to try them on with, if you’re likely to wear socks with them, do bare this in mind. They may feel vastly different with a pair of socks when you get them home.

A general rule of thumb is to shop for shoes in the afternoon as most people’s feet swell as the day goes on. So, if you’ve bought them online, try them on in the afternoon.

Measure your feet

I haven’t had my feet measured since I was at school and perhaps you’re the same? But, knowing this will help you identify the right fit and style for your feet. Just because it’s a size 5 does not mean it’s the right size 5 for you, Cinderella!

Some stores will measure your feet and there are some foot measuring devices online too. But, here’s a guide to follow, remembering to do this in the afternoon of course.

1. Place your foot on a flat surface on a piece of paper. If you’re unsteady, stand with your heel against a straight edge like a wall or sit on a chair.
2. Draw around both feet with a pen or pencil and measure the distance from the back of the heel to the end of the longest toe. (You could also place a ruler beside your foot and measure the distance from the back of your heel to the end of your longest toe. Or, use a tape measure to measure the same distance.)
3. Note the length in millimetres (or inches if you prefer) from the tip of your longest toe to your heel as described above. This is the full length of your foot and one may be larger than the other.
4. Mark the widest points of your feet if using a piece of paper and measure the distance between the points to find your foot width. Again, one could be wider than the other. (You can also use a tape measure all around the widest part of your foot.)

Here’s some size chart guide from Clarks, Nike and M&S. You’ll notice even these differ in sizes! This demonstrates why it’s important to know the actual size of your own feet so you can get the right fit from the store you’re shopping at.


How comfortable you find heels is down to fit, shape, style and your foot arch. If you’ve struggled in the past, it could be the style or height which isn’t right for you and doesn’t mean you’re banished to flats. These might not be right for you either! If you feel unsteady, a block heel, wedge or platform sole will offer much more support and comfort versus a thin, narrow or very high heel.

To find the perfect height for you, you’ll need your measurement of your foot from above.

Convert it into centimetres and divide by 7. This is your healthiest heel height. Let me know if you agree.

Shopping for shoes

Now you know how to work out your specific foot measurements, it might explain why you’ve struggled with specific brands or styles and help you shop with your specific foot in mind.

Some people shop on colour (especially if they’ve had a colour analysis consultation!) or you’re looking for a specific colour to go with an outfit for a wedding or special occasion. Sometimes, you’ll be looking for a pair of new shoes or boots for the new season. If you’ve had a style and image consultation, you might even be shopping for your personality or to fill a gap in your wardrobe.

Personally, I find nothing beats touching, trying them and even a little sniff (if that’s your thing)!

Shoe shopping exclusive event – 30 March

With this in mind, I am delighted that at the end of March I’ve got a shoe specialist coming along to the studio. Having known Helen for a few years (and bought her Noe sneakers), she trained as a colour and style consultant who now has her own shoe shop. Based in Belfast, she’ll be travelling over to Yorkshire to visit my studio in Wakefield to showcase her range.

Helen will bring a range of shoes, boots and sandals in different sizes, colours and styles. Due to her training, her shoes are like no other you’ll find on the high street. Specifically sourced from a limited range of suppliers with specific colours and styles in mind to help women find shoes that compliment their colouring, style and their wardrobes. It will be well worth you coming along to browse the range. If you’ve got a specific event coming up, or outfit which you’ve been struggling with (or putting off buying), bring it along. With advance notice, Helen can also bring along some specific options based upon your needs.

Browse the range here.

Helen will return in 2024. Be sure to register your interest to be kept informed (select ‘shopping events’)

This is an exclusive event. You're welcome to bring a guest but you must reserve your place

To reserve your place or request specific advice, send an email to:

Guest blog – colours by Ell – let’s talk shoes!

Us women do love shoes don’t we! For me, shoes aren’t very different to clothes – you still want to find something that’s in the right colour, style but perhaps most importantly; fit. Sometimes, this can be the biggest challenge of all!

Earlier this year, I got chatting with the owner of a very niche shoe business here in the U.K. She is a champion of finding the right shoes to tick all the boxes – colour, style, fit and personality and so I asked her if she’d like to guest feature in our blogs and she accepted!

Introducing Helen Allen – Colours by Ell

After taking early retirement from my previous career, I trained to be a Colour and Style Consultant. When I first started as a Personal Stylist, I went to promote my business at a Wedding Fair. Whilst there, I was surprised to hear a number of women my age saying that they dreaded looking for shoes. Up until that point I hadn’t given much thought to the styles of shoes that women wore to weddings.

Then I found myself in exactly the same position – desperate to find these elusive coloured shoes to go with my outfits for both of my daughter’s weddings!


Style personalities

I have lots of Natural in my own Style and really struggled with the style of shoes that were available in the shops. I spent hours searching for shoes, but they were never quite right. Too high, too elaborate, too shiny or peep toes – all lovely, but frankly just not me at all!

Then one evening whilst looking for some navy shoes for a client, I found a picture of a Belgium based Brand of handmade, Italian leather court shoes in a variety of colours. I had to find out more! I rang the owner of the company the next morning and told them that I was a stylist and struggled finding shoes for my clients.

They suggested I go to see them and I didn’t stop to think about it – I booked a flight and went to Antwerp! They were fascinated by what I was proposing and sitting there surrounded by 88 colours of leather; I felt like a child in a sweet shop!

My shop was born!

As it turns out, that conversation was my light bulb moment and a turning point for me. I founded ‘Colours by Ell’ as a mobile shoe shop – a play on my christened name – Ellen.

It’s been a bit of a revelation and the experience and knowledge I have gained over the last seven years means I have become something of an expert! It’s great to be able to work with independent stylists around the country.

Noe shoes
Helen has a range of shoes and brands available through her online shop which you can browse here: 

If you’d like some assistance choosing the right colours and styles for you, either Helen or myself will be delighted to assist you.

If you get in touch with Helen directly, be sure to mention Toni Carver at TLC Style & Colour sent you.

Is there a perfect heel height on shoes?

There is nothing more frustrating than wearing a pair of shoes and finding that they are killing your feet when you’ve barely worn them!

What makes one pair of shoes comfortable to one woman, is also very different to another.

Flat shoes do not necessarily mean comfortable shoes, but they will be for some. Wearing uncomfortable or ill fitting shoes can also cause damage to your posture so here’s a few tips for you to consider.


Block versus stiletto heels

Typically, a heel with a block is likely to offer much more support and possibly comfort versus a narrow heel as it will be more supportive and provide a more even weight distribution.


Too small versus too big

If your heel slips out of the shoe when you walk then they are probably too big. It has been reported recently that Meghan Markle wears shoes too big for her to allow her feet room to breath on account of her being on her feet during Royal visits.

If the skin on your foot sits higher than the shoe, it’s likely they are too small. Try either another size or a wider fit. Many shops do half sizes which could make all the difference.

Should your weight fluctuate, be aware of the impact on the fit of your shoes. Weight gain may mean you require wider fitting shoes.

Wedges are a good alternative as you can gain height and support, though they tend to be more popular in the summer months !



It’s reported that there are methods of measuring your foot in order to find the perfect height for you.

1) measure your foot from the ball of your foot to your heel. The ball is the padded part of your sole between the arch in your foot and your toes. This measurement is deemed to be your ideal height of heel and the most comfortable.

2) measure the full length of your foot from the heel to the big toe. Make sure you measure it in centimetres (or convert it) then divide it by 7. This is your healthiest heel height.


Style tips

You should always wear shoes which are comfortable for you but here’s a few style tricks.

  • A pointed toe will lengthen the appearance of your legs.
  • The more of the foot that is shown, the greater the illusion of longer legs and narrower ankles.
  • If you are petite, avoid ankle straps as they will visibly shorten the appearance of your height.
  • Avoid shoes with straps which fasten around the ankles if your ankles are wide.
  • Shoes can date quickly. If you choose a shoe trend that’s in fashion now, be sure to wear them – don’t be tempted to keep them for best.
  • As we enter the autumn and you move from sandals towards boots, make sure that the top of the boot stops at the narrow point on your legs.

Finally, the Autumn/Winter season is fast approaching. Look out for the dates of my seasonal updates which I’ll be announcing in September to run from October. Reserve your interest early and contact me:


Stylishly step into Spring

Spring is typically the time of year for the spring clean and so is the perfect time to refresh your wardrobe with new colours as well as new styles.

Your shoes can make or break an outfit, so here’s three of the hottest shoe trends this season and which ones will work for you.


All Wrapped Up


Emphasising the ankles, this look focuses on buckles, ribbons and straps wrapped around the lower half of your leg.


Lean column/rectangle body shapes whose legs are likely to be slimmer. Be mindful of your skirt or trouser length with this trend as visibly cutting your legs in multiple places can make them appear shorter.


Flat Form


The sole to be seen in this Spring/Summer is thick, even and comfortable.


Naturals will love this trend as shoes with a thick, even sole are both comfortable and practical. They will also give you a little height, so if you’re petite you get the best of both worlds!


Kitten Heels


A modern classic, the kitten heel comes back once again this season.


Romantics will love this elegant, ladylike heel height. Those who are Grand in scale may also enjoy trying this trend to give the leg a little lift without adding too much height.




If this spring is the time for you to decluttering your wardrobe, enhance your clothes with new colours or try out new styles then get in touch with me today to book your session:


There’s still a little bit of time to book on my seasonal update workshops:


Have a happy spring!