The Shoe Shrink

by Simon Facey (other articles by Simon Facey)

Our very first expert panelist is Simon or as we like to call him the ‘Shoe Shrink’. Simon has been working in the shoe industry for over 17 years, in every facet from design to manufacturing through to retail, currently at Merchant Shoes, Chadstone. Each month he will be imparting advice for your footwear needs and believe me when I say listen up ladies!


The Shoe Shrink

Knee high boots

Knee High BootsSo let's start with knee high boots as firstly, it's winter and secondly, this is where I have the most problems with people receiving bad and incorrect advice. Let's clear something up straight away - you DO NOT have big calves if you are unable to zip your boot all the way up. In fact, if they do zip up first time this is more concerning. When you are selecting a fitted-style knee high boot, you should always try them on with  stockings or thin knee high socks. If you're wearing a thicker or winter sock you must
remove them as this will affect the fitting service. The vamp of the boot (the top of the boot that runs across your foot, or your  instep) should be TIGHT, yes tight!

The vamp of the boot is the most crucial area to fit right as it holds your foot in place. Once this has been assessed, then and only then should the boot be adjusted or stretched to fit YOUR foot. Boot stretching is a service I provide to all my customers.

Now onto the fun/interesting part of boot fitting. Let me reiterate, if your boot doesn't zip up you DO NOT have a big calf. When trying
on a knee high boot, it should only zip up to the base of your calf muscle, leaving a 2-3 inch gap from the top of the boot. At this point, the boot should be stretched to fit YOUR calf. This process can take anywhere between 2 and 20 minutes depending on the shape of your calf, the type of leather or the construction of the boot. This is a crucial part of buying a knee high boot to ensure you receive a shoe that is aesthetically pleasing and, most importantly, the correct fit.

Boots are designed with this fitting process in mind, unfortunately the art of fitting them to suit each customer is rarely practiced. Boot stretching can be done at a reputable boot maker and it is also a free service I provide when fitting boots.

With this in mind, welcome to the glorious, glorious world of knee high boots ladies!