Are you wondering how elevator shoes work and if you should buy a pair? This guide covers everything you need to know.
Look, let’s get right into it: Your fashion choices — including whether to give yourself a few extra inches with elevator shoes — are your own damned choice. But like every fashion choice, there are going to be people who judge you for what you wear (or what you don’t).
That’s why, instead of trying to make your decisions for you, I’m setting out to give you a complete overview of elevator shoes.
That includes addressing the controversy around them, giving you my thoughts on the relationship between comfort and confidence, and then getting into the technical details you need to know. And by the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of whether elevator shoes are right for you.
The Controversy: Should Short Men Wear Elevator Shoes?
Comparison to push up bras, etc. But if women can wear heels, why shouldn’t guys wear elevators?
Elevator shoe haters often draw an unflattering comparison between push up bras and shoe height inserts. But there’s a grain of truth to this.
When they’re worn to deceive potential love interests, both push up bras and elevator shoes can lead to some real womp womp moments of disappointment.
But is this the only reason a guy would wear elevator shoes? Heck no. A huge part of being attractive to other people is feeling attractive — and that means feeling confident in yourself and your style choices.
If you feel like a million bucks dressing like Johnny Depp, go for it and don’t let anyone tell you differently. But if you’re only dressing that way because you want to feel cool, people will notice.
In short: Authenticity might be the most attractive quality of all. Being true to yourself in your choices will lead to more interesting, deeper, and more meaningful interactions. So if you feel great and think you look great in elevator shoes, what do you have to lose?
Of course, feeling great in shoes that put your feet in an awkward position can be a little bit tricky. Let’s talk about that.
The Relationship Between Comfort and Confidence
Here’s the hard truth: It’s always going to be more work wearing elevator shoes than your standard footwear choices.
Elevator shoes use a taller heel insert to give you those extra inches (more on that in a minute). And that means your heel will be elevated all day long, giving you a serious calf workout and a learning curve for balancing in your shoes.
That’s why I want to ask you a question. When do you feel most confident? Maybe it’s at work, where you’ve got a polished skill set that really lets you take control of your projects.
Or maybe you feel most confident when you’re playing a sport, an instrument, or a game that you’ve practiced at for years.
Now another question: What do these activities and situations have in common?
First, you’re comfortable with what you’re doing. Then, with that base of comfort, you might even feel like taking on new challenges. That process of developing mastery in a subject is the long road towards confidence.
Which is to say: If you’re not comfortable, you’re probably not going to feel confident, either. So if you make the decision to wear elevator shoes, I’d recommend wearing them very regularly, so they feel as natural as any other pair of shoes you wear.
How Do Elevator Shoes Work?
Basically, elevator shoes have a raised heel that allows you to use a taller insert inside your shoe. As a result, you can’t wear elevator shoes without their inserts — the taller heel won’t fit properly on your foot.
That same tall heel also ensures that your foot won’t slip out while you’re wearing the inserts.
For low cut shoes – dress shoes, loafers and
Sometimes, the insole that provides your “lift” is removable. Oftentimes, it’s not, which means you have to decide how much extra height you want when you’re buying your shoes.
What to Avoid
Here are some things to look out for when buying elevator shoes.
This is cheap, low quality material that’s made by squishing together scraps of actual leather to form something that barely resembles the real thing.
Oftentimes it’s marked as “genuine” leather. This should be avoided at all costs!
Unfortunately, lots of elevator shoes look like elevator shoes. It’s obvious that they have a thick heel, and that often comes with a boxy shape.
Try to avoid this look. Instead, opt for something more subtle.
Similarly, you’ll find a lot of elevator shoes with square toes. This is not a good look, especially for short men.
Instead, go for a gently tapered toe (a much more classic shape that will never go out of style).
Heightening shoes should be held to the same standard as regular shoes. I want high quality construction, premium materials (i.e. real leather) and comfort.
Fortunately, there are some good options out there for men who want high quality elevator shoes that actually look good.
What to Look For & Elevator Shoe Brands We Recommend
Use a three-part method of comfort, style, and quality when buying elevator shoes, just as you would when you buy a normal pair of shoes.
It’s tough to recommend most elevator shoe brands because, frankly, most height-increasing shoes don’t offer adequate comfort, style and quality.
In fact, most “tall shoes” are downright ugly.
At best, they look like oddly shaped versions of regular men’s shoes. At worst, they’re misshapen, low quality monstrosities.
To make matters worse, most tall shoe brands don’t focus on quality. They’re simply selling the dream of being taller.
There is one brand, however, that we can confidently recommend: Guidomaggi.
Guidomaggi is a favorite here at The Modest Man. They’re handmade from top grain Italian leather, and don’t have the “blocky” look that cheaper brands are notorious for. They’re a long-term investment, and a truly handsome pair of boots.
Guidomaggi also carries a range of
Parting Thoughts: Confidence and Personal Choices
Are elevator shoes right for everyone? No. Just like any fashion choice, your mileage will vary.
But if the idea appeals to you in a genuine way, I say go for it — because the worst case scenario is that you’ll need to practice wearing them for a while before you feel confident going out in your new shoes.
And if you don’t want to wear elevator shoes? Then rock your own personal style, and lean into what makes you look and feel best.