A Very Specific Shoe Secret

Shoe shopping is…THE BEST. I can’t think of a situation where new shoes doesn’t solve any emotional or life problem. Got laid off? New shoes for interviews! Bad breakup? New heels will regain your sense of sexy. Gained weight? New running shoes will motivate your ass all the way to the gym.

Unfortunately, new shoes aren’t always feasible in the budgetary sense. However, I found a LITTLE loophole…if your feet are a ladies’ shoe size 5 to 8. 

I wear a 5-and-a-half, and I’ve always stalked the kids’ section at Nordstrom, looking for the errant pair of me-sized Chucks. Typically they only keep an inventory up to size 3, at which point you get booted into the adult section, but occasionally a renegade slips into the mix. It’s worth waiting for these interlopers to become available because they are about $10 cheaper. When I needed a new pair of TOMS for Coachella this year, I realized I could probably try the same trick.

This seemingly simple trip to Nordstrom caused a shoevolution. Not only did I find children’s sized TOMS, but I turned into a crazy lady shoe shopper, scooping up mini versions of Sperry, Sam Edelman, Steve Madden, and Dolce Vita. “Get me a size 3 ½ in ALL of these!” I cried to the sales associate with the commission-hungry eyes.


The most important thing I learned on this sojourn to my own personal mecca is that kids’ shoes are not tiny-feet exclusive. Individuals with normal sized feet can also sing the budget friendly shoe gospel. The largest children’s shoe is a size 6, which is the equivalent of a ladies size 8. Mathematically speaking, subtract two from your adult shoe size to equal your children’s size number.

A – 2 = C

Perhaps you think that kids’ shoes might be too youthful, covered in Velcro and Dora the Explorer. In some cases they are, which is why you should stick to the familiar adult designers making their foray into kids wear. But honestly I find the playground-durable construction to be more supportive replicas of their adult counterparts, only $30 cheaper. This obviously means you could buy multiple (and I mean MULTIPLE) pairs.
The prime hunting grounds for designer minis: Department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s, as well as outlets like Nordstrom Rack and Kohl’s. And for the extra budget conscious, try Target (where I scored a pair of $10 floral Ked knock offs!). Athletic shoes, Uggs, sandals, and flats can all be found for much less if you can get over the shame of shopping alongside second graders and toddlers. I have no problem pushing a six year old out of the way for a pair of sparkly Sperry Topsiders. A deal is a deal, no matter how old you are.


Heather Sundell lives in Los Angeles.


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