If the Shoes Don’t Fit Try These Simple Tricks

By Miriam Silverberg
Miriam Silverberg
Miriam Silverberg
June 22, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2014

Nowadays, people talk about acting in a way that is environmentally friendly as if it is something new. I can proudly say that this is something that I have always done, and so did most people when I was growing up, for practical reasons. It’s a way of life and it really makes sense. I also find it exciting when I pull it off successfully.

Recently, I wrote a column boasting about how ingenious I am, repurposing and figuring out ways I can wear things. The same general principle applies to some shoes.

I love ballet slippers but my heels are very narrow, and with every step, my foot comes out of the shoe. This is annoying, uncomfortable, and dangerous because I could trip and fall. After some thought to my problem, I finally came up with a possible solution. I took the shoes to my shoe-repair man—who can fix anything—and asked him to sew an elastic strip across the instep. Now the shoes are comfortable and they stay securely on my feet.

I had him do this for two other pairs of shoes. The first—navy blue, in which he sewed a matching navy elastic strip; the second pair—Chanel creme quilted flats with a black patent cap toe. On these he sewed a black elastic strip. I am so pleased and so comfortable!

Remember this the next time you’re tempted to throw away a pair of shoes you love because they fall off your feet. And forget about those “heel savers” you paste in the heel. They do no good at all. I know because I tried them many times.

When the problem is the reverse and the shoes are too tight, then you really have a problem. Even my talented shoe-repair man couldn’t ease very tight shoes. But I did bring them back to the (very expensive) store where I bought them and they put them on an enlarging form for two weeks. When I put them back on—perfect! Obviously, the manufacturer has a way of enlarging shoes that a shoe-repair shop lacks. I’m sure if the shoes were bought at a cheaper store, they wouldn’t have done anything for me. In case you’re wondering, it was Salvatore Ferragamo.

Oh, and before you throw any article of clothing out or give it to charity, check to see whether you should save any bows or unusual buttons that could be used on something else. I saved a black bow from one dress that now resides on another.

Another idea: If you have some old very large clip-on earrings, you can put them on the front of a pair of shoes. This was very popular during the 1930s and 1940s. Just clip them on when the occasion calls.

Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity firm in Manhattan. She may be reached at silverbergm@mindspring.com.