For most women, finding stylish shoes that fit isn’t really an issue. Even if your shoe size varies slightly from brand to brand, it’s a given that—if you’re between a size 6 and 9—you’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for. For women whose feet are smaller than a 6, however, the struggle is real. Something Rachel Krause—an editor at our sister site Daily Makeover—knows all too well.
“I’ve always had small feet, even for my 5’1 frame, but that fact was solidified when my feet stopped growing entirely by the time I was 12,” she told us. “Based on the amount of difficulty I have just finding a pair of shoes that fit me without layering two insoles on top of one another, it’s like I may as well not have feet at all.”
We’re inclined to agree with Rachel. It’s pretty surprising that locating a contemporary, cool, on-trend shoe in a size 5 isn’t easier.
There could be a real reason for this, though, as a flurry of headlines during the last few years have trumpeted the fact that our collective feet are getting bigger, increasing by an average of two sizes over the past four decades, according to the U.K.’s College of Podiatry. In fact, the average American female foot was a 6.5 in the 1960s, rising to 7.5 in the 1970s. Today, the average American woman has a shoe size between 8.5 and 9, reported The Independent.
“People are getting taller and heavier, as they have for generation after generation,”Podiatric historian William Rossi told lifestyle blog Divine Caroline. “And their feet are getting larger in proportion to their bodies.”
Still, not everyone’s feet are keeping up with the zeitgeist—and despite the fact that, in 2006, it was reported that only 1.8% of women’s shoes sold in the US were in a size 5—it seems silly for brands to cease small-shoe production entirely. “A decent shoe in a size 5 should not be that hard to track down,” Krause said.
The good news? There are quite a few contemporary brands that do carry cool footwear in a size 5 (and, in some cases, 4 and 4.5.) We’ve rounded them up below, but it should be noted that super-small sizes usually are the first to go, so if you see a pair of you like, scoop them up before they disappear.
This ultra-modern independent accessories label is beloved for its distinct downtown vibe, and has been a fashion favorite since its 2005 inception. Shoes start at size 5.
When it comes to affordable, innovative, on-trend shoes, few labels have Jeffrey Campbell beat. Sold at dozens of retailers, the brand is known for its impressive mass—new styles come out in rapid-fire succession—a varied aesthetic, and runway-inspired styles (fine, copies) at a fraction of the price. Sizes start at 5.
We all know J.Crew got a serious fashion makeover in recent years, and shoes weren’t left out. Known for classic styles with fun twists that start in size 5.
Established in 1980, SENSO is an Australian footwear brand founded by husband and wife duo, Scarlett and Kim Meller after they noticed a gap in the market for high-quality yet affordable fashion footwear. It’s since grown into one of Australia’s most popular contemporary brands, and is making big waves in the U.S., as well, for it’s high-style, slightly edgy shoes. Sizes start at 5.
Women with size 5 feet shouldn’t discount this mall staple—Aldo carries a pretty huge amount of on-trend styles, and they’re affordable, to boot.
Mecca for inexpensive, trendy clothes and accessories, ASOS carries a variety of brands, but its own label has a variety of cool, affordable shoes that start at size 5.
Despite its reputation as a middle-aged mom brand, Eileen Fisher falls right in line with fashion’s current easy minimalism—and the label’s shoes are no exception, and start at size 5.
Another label known for its on-trend, affordable footwear, Sam Edelman offers a huge variety of styles starting at size 4, from strappy sandals to ankle boots.
Rag & Bone
Though they’re particularly beloved for their booties, all Rag & Bone footwear starts at a size 5.
All shoes at luxe contemporary brand Vince start at a size 5, including chic slides espadrilles, and leather sandals.