Elevator shoes – also called “height increasing shoes” or “tall shoes” – are shoes that make you look taller. In the same way that high heels make women appear taller, heightening shoes add a couple of inches to a man's height.
Tall shoes aren't for everyone, and I'm not recommending that all short men should wear them. More on that here:
But if you are going to wear height increasing shoes, you have to make sure they're stylish. Unfortunately, many elevator shoes are downright ugly. Which is why Emanuele Briganti created Guidomaggi, a shoe company that makes luxury height increasing shoes.
Emanuele is 5'9″, and he clearly knows a thing or two about dressing well.
He couldn't find any heightening shoes that actually looked good. He saw that most elevator shoes were mass-produced in Asia, and he believed that he could create a more comfortable and better-looking product.
Guidomaggi shoes are handmade (sewn by hand, as opposed to machine-made) in Italy using old school, time-tested techniques honed by Emanuele's great-grandfather, Guido Maggi.
So how do Guidomaggi shoes make you taller? They include an extra insole called the “increaser insole”. It's removeable, and it comes in different thicknesses.
Thicker = taller. So you can choose between 2.4, 2.75, 3.1 or 4 inches of extra height. In my opinion, 2.4″ is plenty!
Guidomaggi carries all kinds of shoes, from dress shoes and loafers to boots and sneakers. I love boots, which tend to have thick heels anyway, so I chose to review the Madrid brown leather boots.
They're made with full-grain leather, goatskin lining, waxed laces and a rubber sole (which is much better than leather for walking on wet surfaces).
You can see and feel the premium construction quality in these boots. They fit like a glove, and they're much softer than other boots I've tried that require a painful breaking in period.
Walking around in these boots feels a bit awkward at first. The insole tapers toward the front of the shoe, so your heels are higher than your toes. This isn't visibly noticeable, but you can definitely feel it:
I like these boots because they can be dressed up or down. They lean toward casual, but they're sleeker and more elegant than other boots that are strictly casual, like the Wolverine 1000 Mile or Alden Indy.
Heightening aside, they really are handsome boots. Unlike many other tall shoes, these don't look blocky and obvious. They just look like nice leather boots. The height increase is subtle (at least with the 2.4″ insoles).
Guidomaggi shoes are not cheap. I got these boots for free, for the purpose of this review, but they're the some of the most expensive footwear in my closet. Like any other high quality shoes, these are long-term investments – the kind of shoes you bring to the cobbler to get resoled instead of throwing away.
The bottom line is this – if you want to wear elevator shoes, and you can afford to pay for the best, Guidomaggi is for you.