Ninety percent of American Women Own Painful Shoes

Fashion hurts, according to a new study about shoe sizes. Long Tall Sally, a global retailer of fashion and footwear, is releasing the results of an international survey that looks at women and their shoe sizes.  Ninety percent of women in the U.S. have at least one pair of shoes that they cite as being agony to wear, and one-third of women worldwide have damaged their feet by wearing a pair of ill-fitting shoes and were unable to walk properly for at least two days afterwards.

Long Tall Sally's "If the Shoe Fits" survey conducted by OnePoll looked at a total of 3,000 women across the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.  The results point to the fact that women around the world are cramming their feet into shoes that don't fit, with painful consequences.  Statistics show:
  • More than 80 percent of women in the US wear uncomfortable shoes during the day at least once each month, and 41 percent of women wear painful shoes at least four times a month.
  • Forty-four percent of women worldwide go out at least two evenings each month in shoes that they know will hurt their feet.
  • Forty percent of American women own shoes that they know they can't walk in, but they wear them anyway.
However, not all women can endure the pain of an ill-fitting pair of shoes for long.  Long Tall Sally's poll reports that the average woman claims she can last just two hours in painful shoes before taking action.  In this scenario, more than half of ladies worldwide would opt for dancing or walking in bare feet, while a third would carry a spare pair of comfortable shoes in their handbag to swap.  Fourteen percent of women have even cut a night short because they couldn't stand the pain.

While the average woman owns three pairs of shoes that she knows are the wrong size, it turns out that most women don't know what their correct shoe size is. More than 60 percent of women around the world have not had their feet measured in at least five years, and more than 40 percent haven't had their feet sized for 10 years.

"Our research shows that 32 percent of women are wearing the wrong shoe size, which can affect both posture and gait," says Lindsey Clark, head of shoe technology at Long Tall Sally.  "A number of factors can influence and change the size of a woman's foot, including pregnancy, aging and weight gain or loss, and we recommend that women have their feet professionally measured regularly."

Often, women are purposefully buying shoes that are the incorrect size simply because they like them.  Long Tall Sally's "If the Shoe Fits" poll found that half of all women worldwide knowingly buy shoes a little too tight simply because they want them.  And, women with larger feet are even more apt to buy footwear in sizes that aren't a perfect fit.  Sixty-three percent of women with U.S. shoe sizes 10 and up cite that a smaller size would be more ideal for them because they feel they can find more stylish shoe options for that size.

A study done in 2014 by the College of Podiatry in the United Kingdom found that the average shoe size has increased by approximately two sizes since the 1970s.  The good news for women with larger feet is this: as the average shoe size increases, so do the stylish options available for these sizes.

Long Tall Sally, a global retailer with 26 stores around the world and an online site at, offers women's footwear starting at a U.S. size 10.  In 2014, the retailer added in footwear up to a U.S. size 15 to meet the demand for even larger sizes, filling a gap in the market for on-trend, well-fitting footwear for women in larger sizes.