What are the best shoes for short men to wear? Are there any shoes that make you look taller or shorter? Here’s everything you need to know.
Did you know that shoes are often the first thing people about your outfit? We put so much thought into everything else…
Do I wear vertical stripes or horizontal? Jeans or trousers? Pleat or no pleat? Which belt really matches my personality?
And yet people’s eyes often fall to our shoes, the one item that can truly make or break your outfit.
Now this doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a million pairs of shoes. You can get away with a small, thoughtfully curated selection of footwear.
Shoes for Shorter Guys
Like any other piece of the fashion puzzle for men of modest height, the idea with shoes is to compliment your figure, draw attention purposefully, and streamline your look.
A lot of shorter guys will only buy shoes with thick soles because they think it’s an easy way to add an inch or two to their build.
This is not necessarily the right thing to do.
Some shoes, like the Chelsea boots above, have a tough, thick sole, and it is a nice little bonus to get that extra couple of inches.
But most types of footwear don’t have thick soles, and you won’t be fooling anyone with your collection of platform shoes.
What to Look For
When you’re buying shoes, you should prioritize comfort, proper sizing, quality and versatility (in your wardrobe).
To avoid shoes that produce a squat, boxy look, try to wear shoes that have these qualities:
- Gently tapered toe box (nothing too pointed or boxy)
- Simple, understated designs (nothing too flashy)
- Substantial soles and heels (think boots)
- Low contrast colorways (monochromatic)
Shoes with the above qualities are safe bets. Of course, you can always opt for louder, bolder designs if it suits your personality, but start with the basics.
What to Avoid
Now here are some things to avoid when buying shoes as a shorter man:
That doesn’t mean you can’t wear elevator shoes. Sometimes they make practical sense. For example, a little extra height at a concert or for photo/video shoots can go a long way.
Just make sure you don’t sacrifice style or quality. Most elevator shoe brands sacrifice one of these, if not both.
Pointy & Square Toe Shoes
I actually recommend that everyone avoid shoes with pointy or square toes, and shorter guys are no exception.
While these silhouettes will go in and out of style every few years, they’ll never be timeless. So if you want to build a wardrobe that stands the test of time, avoid pointy and square toe shoes.
“Barefoot” shoes are shoes that have minimal (or zero) drop from the heel to the toe. In other words, they only have a thin layer of material between your foot and the ground.
These minimalist shoes supposedly promote a more natural step since they don’t raise your heel of the ground and surround your foot with a bunch of extra padding.
If you want to wear these for health purposes, go for it. Function over form, always!
Just remember: barefoot shoes will offer almost no height boost compared to normal shoes, which typical have at least some heel-toe drop and some height to the sole.
Shoes That Are Too Big (or Small)
I know, I know…there’s that saying about guys with big feet. Ignore it, and wear your size.
If you’re a shorter guy who has smaller feet, that’s fine. No one is going to look at you and think, “Wow…that guy has small feet!”
No one notices these things, I promise.
On the other hand, if you have large feet for your height, you might wish your shoes were smaller. Maybe you feel like you’re wearing clown shoes.
Again, no one else notices. It’s all in your head! So just wear your actual size.
This is really important for foot and back health. Shoes that are too small or too large can cause all kinds of problems with your feet and posture.
Bottom line: wear shoes that are the correct length and width for your feet.
Wear Boots to Look Taller
If you really do want to squeeze a bit of extra height out of your footwear, I recommend skipping elevator shoes or platform
Most boots have at least a 1″ heel on top of a substantial outsole. This means that you’re getting 1.5″ without sacrificing comfort by wearing elevator shoes.
Some types of boots, like Cuban heel boots and Western (or cowboy) boots, have an even higher heel (1.5″ or taller). This might take some getting used to, but you’ll definitely feel the height boost as you go about your day.
But don’t feel the need to go out and buy a pair of cowboy or Cuban heel boots. Every boot is going to have a more substantial heel than, say, a pair of German army trainers.
Even chukka boots will have a thicker sole than most loafers, dress shoes and
Some hybrid shoes have athletic or athletic-like sole systems that give you height from within and via the outsole. Amberjack, for example, uses the same comfort sole on all of their shoes and I know I get a good inch and a half on them.
Their boots, both the Chelsea and the lace-up, add height in a natural-looking way because of that inner lift. You’ll want something like this over, say, an obvious, thick heel.
If you’re still wondering whether there’s a best type of shoe for shorter men, the answer is not really.
Shorter guys can wear whatever shoes they want, so try to focus on choosing shoes that feel good and match your outfit.
If you do want to look a bit taller, skip the elevator shoes and inserts, and wear some boots instead.
Questions or comments? Leave them down below!