If you are under 5’4″, you probably agree one of the biggest challenges as a short girl is to find petite shoes.   What exactly are petite shoes?  I am talking about size 5 and under.  I am 5’2″ and size 5 (to be exact, one shoe is 5 and the other is 4.5).  I live in New York city area, which is supposedly the retail heaven for shoe lovers.  However, most of the department stores or shoe shops in Manhattan start with size 6, so, it is frustrating for short women like me to find a store that carry my size.

I put together this post not just to rant about the difficulty of finding petite shoes.  Us short girls rely on shoes to add a few inches to our height and make our legs look longer.   It is important to understand what works and what doesn’t, in order to pick out the best shoe style for your petite feet and avoid those that make you look shorter.

Here is a round up of the petite shoe styles most flattering to you.

#1  High heel pumps with low vamp and no strap

For girls with petite feet, high heel pumps are a wardrobe necessity without a doubt.  The best pumps for petite girls should have low vamp and no ankle strap.  Low vamp shoes are those which show a little bit of toe cleavage.  The lower the vamp, the less covered your feet are thus the longer your legs look.  Many premier shoe brands really have mastered this kind of design, which is why you get the impression that more expensive shoes make your legs look better!  There are also reasonably priced brands such as Sam Edelman that have many low vamp style, so you don’t have to spend $600 for a pair of designer shoes to get the look.

petite feet

pumps for short women

Sam Edelman $119.95


shoes for short women

Steve Madden $89.95

shoes for small feet

Sam Edelman $71.96


#2 Pointed toe

This is the most flattering style for petite feet!  Pointed toe shoes seem to be just one inch difference at the toes, but they makes a whole world of difference and make your legs look so much longer.  Square toe shoes or round toe shoes, on the other hand, are not as flattering to girls with petite feet.  Even if you are not wearing heels, a pair of pointed toe flats will make your legs look extended.  Try it today, if you don’t own a bunch already!

boots for short women

Macee Bootie $99.95

pointy toe boots

Yuna Over the Knee Boot $229.95

boots for short girls

Brinkley Over the Knee Stretch Boot $129.95

boots for short women

Cromwell Cutout Western Boot $174.95

#3 Knee high or over the knee boots

If you have petite feet, it is important to create length in your styling.  Knee high boots or over the knee boots extend your legs and are your best bet in the winter.  You should match the color of your boots with that of your pants or jeans, and it will really elongate your legs and make your proportion look better instantly.  If you are wearing them with dresses, make sure to pair them with similar color stockings so that you can create the length you need in your bottom half.

boots for short legs

‘Polly’ Waterproof Knee High Boot (15″ shaft height) $549.95

boots for short women

Jackie’ Water Resistant Boot $499 (14″ shaft height)

boots for petite women

Austin Boots $139 (12.5″ shaft height)

riding boots for short legs

Frye $255.98

#4 Nude or skin color shoes

Nude shoes are a must for girls with petite feet.  They visually extend your legs by the length of your heels!  If you have to wear flats, wear flats with pointed toes in nude color will make your legs look so much longer.

petite feet

shoes for petite women

Christian Louboutin $695 (size 4 and up)

shoes for short women

Marc Fisher $159.95 (Size 5 and up)

shoes for small feet

Kate Spade $178.8 (Size 5 and up)

shoes for petite feet

Valentino $895 (Size 4.5 and up)


shoes for small feet

Cole Hann $150 (Size 5 and up)

Now, let’s take a look at what does not work.

#1 Shoes with heavy bottoms

Girls with petite feet should avoid shoes with heavy bottoms, which create bulkiness in your feet and look out of proportion for your petite body frame.  Even though they may seem to have added a few more inches to your height, but they are visually not flattering and my make you look shorter.

petite feet

#2 Wedges

I personally love wedges for commute, as they are so much easier to walk in than stilettos.  However, I have to admit they do run the risk of making your legs look shorter, if the wedge is too thick.  If you need a pair of walkable wedges, go with those designed with thinner wedges (not necessarily lower) which will reduce some of that heaviness for your feet.

petite feet

#3 Shoes with chunky heels

Chunky heels are not flattering for petite feet.  Because of the heavier heels, they seem to be easier for walking, but they actually add too much weight to your bottom half and make you look shorter.

petite feet

#4 Gladiator sandals

Gladiator sandals have been extremely popular in recent years, thanks to all the celebrities and fashion bloggers in the wake of the block buster Hollywood movies. Although they can look very trendy and fashionable, they are not flattering to girls with short legs.  If you have short legs, any horizontal straps will make your legs look cut off, let alone gladiator sandals with numerous straps.   The worst is the tall gladiator sandals which look are normally the height of tall boots but they have straps all over.  They will make your legs a lot shorter than they are.

petite feet

#5 Mid calf boots

If you have short legs, you should be very careful about boots that reach your mid calves. Mid calf boots are an awkward length and they make your legs look shorter than they are.  Worse yet, they end at the widest part of your legs, thus make your legs wider than they are.  The problem is even more exaggerated if the mid calf boots have fluffy furs around the openings, which will draw all the attention to how short your legs are.  Uggs are one of the most popular winter brands in recent years, but unfortunately a lot of their mid calf styles are not flattering to girls with short legs.

petite feet