The Hidden Barrier in Fashion: Why Is Footwear Size Inclusivity Not Discussed Enough?

The Hidden Barrier in Fashion: Why Is Footwear Size Inclusivity Not Discussed Enough?

Have you ever felt frustrated by the lack of options available for your shoe size? Like your feet are an afterthought when it comes to fashion and style. You're not alone. For too long, footwear size inclusivity has been overlooked in the fashion industry. But it's time to change that. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the reasons why this issue hasn't received the attention it deserves and discuss how we can create a world where all women have access to stylish and comfortable shoes, regardless of their foot size. So let's take the first step and start the conversation.

The barriers - let's explore four key barriers that prevent footwear size inclusivity from becoming a reality. These include market demand, limited awareness, additional costs, and stigma.


Market Demand

Many footwear companies assume that there isn't enough market demand for extended sizes, but this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Limited shoe size options in other brands discourage people with these needs from purchasing shoes, and this ultimately affects sales. By brands offering extended sizes, companies can open up new markets and opportunities for growth. Creating more of a norm.

People with larger shoe sizes have been forced to settle for sub-par, non-stylish shoes and miss out on trends due to the lack of options. This is not only unfair but also contributes to the feeling of isolation and shame, making the subject matter more difficult to discuss. It's imperative for companies to address the barriers to footwear size inclusivity

However, with social media and the internet, people are becoming more aware of the need for size inclusivity in all aspects of fashion, including footwear. The demand is there, but the supply is not.


Limited Awareness

There is a lack of representation and diversity of shoe sizes shown in the media and footwear industry. Many people may not realize the difficulties of finding stylish shoes faced by individuals with shoe sizes 11 and up - honestly, even 10 and up! Footwear companies, especially more designer and young brands will need to begin realizing the missing link, and make it their priority to offer extended sizes and create styles that are inclusive of larger feet.

Despite a significant portion of the population needing extended shoe sizes, the fashion industry has failed to acknowledge their needs, leaving women with larger feet feeling alienated and excluded from fashion trends. We need to do better!

The lack of awareness in the fashion industry towards footwear inclusion has long perpetuated the harmful notion that beauty and style are reserved only for those who fit into a certain mold, leaving the underserved consumer feeling excluded and inadequate.


Additional Cost

Offering extended shoe sizes requires extra resources and investment, such as redesigning lasts or molds, which can be expensive and time-consuming. Extra materials are also needed to construct larger sizes. As well as research for the needs and experiences of women with larger feet in the fashion industry.

Larger shoes require more material to create because they have larger footbeds and longer soles, which means that manufacturers need to use more leather or fabric to construct them. This can increase production costs, making it less economically viable for some shoe companies to produce size. Companies fear this risk and this leap to go blindly in an 'untrustworthy' market because of 'lack of demand' - it's a vicious cycle we need to break. 

However, cost-effective solutions exist: Offering extended sizes may require extra resources and investment, but there are cost-effective solutions that companies can explore, such as using 3D printing technology or including a standard set of shoe components within the designs, or using sustainable materials that can be more easily scaled. All this can help reduce cost while providing wider options and range for those in need.


Stigma around discussing and acknowledging body insecurities and issues related to foot size and shoe fit also contribute to the lack of discussion around footwear size inclusivity.

Shoes are not just a means of protecting our feet, but they also hold a symbolic significance that reflects our status, personality, and style. So when you do not have access to that in its entirety, it totally does shift your ability to participate in certain aspects of womanhood. 

It's common to feel a sense of shame or embarrassment when we don't fit into what society deems as the "norm." The narrow beauty standards exclude women's wants and needs with larger feet and societal norms prioritize small, delicate feet as more desirable and feminine. 

This perpetuates harmful body image standards that we now know are affecting our shopping needs!  The solution to stigma?

Get over it.

It's time to get over it. We need to break down these barriers and change the way we think about traditional shoe size ranges. At AJI, we're here to do just that. Our footwear company specializes in size-inclusive boots and heels, elevating the experience of shopping for size-extended footwear. We understand that every woman deserves to feel confident, stylish, and comfortable in her shoes, regardless of her foot size so we work to seamlessly extend the size range - we are where you go beyond! Our shoes are designed with quality materials, carefully crafted to fit and flatter women of sizes 11-15. We're here to change the game, put an end to all these barriers, and break it one step at a time.

In conclusion, the lack of footwear size inclusivity is a hidden barrier in fashion that needs to be addressed. We need to challenge the norms and stereotypes that exclude women with larger feet from fashion trends. 

Let us change the way we think about traditional shoe size ranges.  

Peace & love from a size 12,

Natalie Aji

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1 comment

Brilliant writing and concept, a cool breeze in the sea of frustration I have had over the years, can’t wait for my 2 pairs I ordered to arrive. ( I love the designs )

Marah Bitar

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