The Best Shoe Hack You Never Knew

Being a petite woman has many fit challenges…and they’re not all with your clothes. This post shared the importance of correct fit and alterations for your clothes. Today I’m sharing alterations of a different sort. Shoe alterations. Do you do it? Did you know it could be done?

I have difficult feet. Bunions, several broken toes from crashing into things, a cyst causing a hammertoe and general lack of padding on the bottom of my feet mean…my feet hurt. I usually live in flat shoes, but was inspired to make a pair of heels work for me this spring.

The Importance of Alterations for the Petite Midlife Woman

I fell in love with the new block heel and these Vince Camuto shoes caught my eye. I really wanted to wear these so I got creative to make them work.  I took them home, sprayed them with shoe stretch and wore around the house for several hours, wearing heavy socks. Once I was certain they were wide enough, I took them to my cobbler who cut 1/2″ off the heel height. You can’t tell they’ve been shortened unless you know I did it!

Now, rather than throw my body weight forward onto the ball of my foot, they angle me backward and puts the weight on my heels, where it belongs.

Wearing a small heeel can make all the difference when wearing a longer skirt.

These block-heeled sandals were also too high for me so the cobbler removed 3/4″ from them.Jennifer of A Well Styled Life wearing pink pants with white shirt and taupe sandals

Alterations make all the difference between looking well-dressed and looking over-powered when you’re petite. Invest in alterations and include your shoes in the mix.

Have you ever had heels shortened on your shoes or boots?



  1. I just found a nearby cobbler who, when I told him about a pair of shoes I loved but they cut into my “pointer toe” so bad I couldn’t wear them. I think my feet are changing….because, at 62, everything seems to be shifting these days. 🙂 He said to bring them in and he can adjust them. He said they have all sorts of tricks to work with bunions, hammer toes, etc. I was shocked! Never thought about that – so now I’m hooked. Well worth the cost (in my opinion) to have someone make a cute pair of shoes work. And, some bags will go in too that were worn on the corners! Great save. Thanks for the reminder to get these in!

  2. Mary Divine says:

    I am a big believer in if I like and it does not fit take it to the tailor.

    1. You’re doing it right, Mary!! Women would be happier with their clothes if they did the same.

  3. Thank you so much Jennifer for the advise on lowering the heels on your shoes. I am in my late 70 and 5’2″ and find that most shoes with heels are too high for me to wear but wearing flat heels are not always an option.

    1. Find a good cobbler. It’s a great little trick!

      1. This is the best advice ever! So glad I found your posts!

      2. I’m so glad you like it.

  4. . I had boots shortened several inches. I live in Illinois where we have ice & snow for a good part of the winter. What ever possessed me to buy high heeled boots? Well they were Stuart Weizmann and on sale…a really great sale at Nordstrom. After trying to walk on them but, not killing myself, I decided to have the heel shortened. It worked out beautifully and I wore them constantly. I am going to take them back to my cobbler and see if he can repair the back of the heel which is really worn. Fingers crossed I have had them for years but still can’t bare to part with them.

  5. Love the shoe altering idea. That just gave me about 20 pair of shoes that I was going to toss. Goodbye heels hello spray stretch!

  6. I had a pair of caged shoes that I loved but they were slippery on the bottom. I had the cobbler replace those soles with crepe soles. It worked great. Some shoes are just to slippery on the bottom for me since I have an inner ear disorder and need to feel secure on the floor.

    1. A good cobbler can work miracles! I hope I can find one in my new town. Yours sounds very good.

  7. I have to wear a brace on each leg on the outside of my pants. The braces are incredibly helpful, taking away pain. I love boots. In order to get the brace in each boot, the two zipper boot needs to be opened up with a third zipper. A cobbler does that. I can’t hide the braces, but I can wear cool boots.

    1. If they help with your pain, they are worth every inconvenience! Cool boots help too

  8. How did you choose the length for your skirt? With the lower heels, I would intuitively make the skirt shorter. Did you choose the length by looking at proportions with the jacket? I find it a bit difficult to choose what alterations to ask for. Of course, I have the opposite problem re height at 5’10”.

    1. Skirts look best when they are hemmed to a spot where our leg naturally narrows. This is usually just above and below our knees, ankles and calves. This skirt has a long slit in the back so would feel too revealing if I hemmed it much shorter.

  9. Patti Shannon says:

    I thought I was the only person with such difficulty in wearing shoes. God knows the soles of my feet are the only part of my body without a fat pad! I too have broken toes, plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, hammertoes and general arthritis in my feet. Guess I’m going to have to find a cobbler!

    1. I feel your pain. I have all the same problems.

  10. Thank you SO much for sharing these awesome ‘tricks’ with us. Usually though, shoes are too wide for me and I wish there was a trick to ‘shrink’ them! Ha! I too am petite in stature so your tips are most helpful. Love your whole ootd today!

  11. I have issues too, Jen! Fun stuff. I have very high arches making shoes sometimes too loose, and I get ankle pain from my illness. I have to wear a supportive shoe and preferably one with cushion or an orthotic. I had no idea or have not thought about a cobbler. Fantastic! I love those shoes on you, as I am a fan of the block heel and super style!
    I enjoy hosting with you as well!
    xx jess

  12. “Sprayed them with shoe stretch” — I didn’t know this even existed! Now I have to look for it.

    1. My feet are so wide I rely on shoe stretch!

  13. Happy Saturday, Jenn!

    My “just beyond midlife” mind forgot about “shoe stretch”. I have a pair of Jack Rogers wedge mules that I hesitate to wear because they need a “gotta wear these in a little more . . . work out . . . stretch session”. May I ask what brand shoe stretch you used? I know some are known to stain leather.

    I love the look of flats, but they are SO BAD for my circulation. My new crush is the micro-wedge. They have the look of a flat, with just the right lift!

    I am quite stoked about the return of stacked heels, especially for the Fall! I can totally visualize your alteration tip with a stacked heel!

    Thanks for mentoring us through this present season of growing pains!

    1. Hi Lynne!! Happy Saturday. I just found that micro wedge and love them too. I use shoe stretch from Target. I’m careful not to over spray at one time. I will spray, wear til dry, then repeat several times to get them just right. If I use too much at one time is doesn’t work any better and does run that stain risk. So lovely to hear from you. Have a great weekend xx

  14. I love those shoes! Very feminine but fun too. You look adorable and very appropriate to see the accountant. I’ve had my shoes stretched by the shoe cobbler, never knew the heel chopping was even a possibility. I suppose the type of heel matters? This is a game changer!

    1. I’ve had this done to regular high heels, back when I could where them, plus plastic molded heels that were part of the sole. With a good cobbler he can do almost any shoe! Let me know how it works for you.

  15. I keep my shoes forever and a good shoe guy is essential.

    1. I agree Jen. I use mine a lot! He refurbishes handbags and boots at the end of each season, re colors scuffs, etc. I’ve been lucky to find a great one.

  16. Great info, I too have feet and toe problems but have found yours and some other great blogs on fashion, beauty and aging, it’s given me a lot of great info and ideas.

    1. Welcome Lana, I’m happy you’re finding inspiration.

  17. Hi Jennifer! I am in the petite category and get frustrated with having to make alterations. I’ve never heard of shoe alterations but what a great idea – especially if you see a pair that you just have to have! I love your shoes in this post. Dropping by from Midlife Bloggers Assoc FB page. Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty.

    1. Thanks Sue. Welcome! Just be sure you use an experienced cobbler.

  18. Jennifer,

    Thank you for sharing this amazing tip. I never knew this about cobblers. I was just about to throw out all of my 3″ shoes because they were a 1/2″ too high for my knee/back to handle. Now I can save some of my favorite shoes. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!!!

  19. What a great idea to alter the shoe! I can’t wear super high heels anymore, but the styles are so cute! I want to try this and have the heel reduced!!

    1. If your cobbler doesn’t have experience at this, find another one who does! It’s such a miracle for me

  20. This is the coolest fashion tip I had in ages! You have helped SO many women with this! Thanks Jennifer! Kimberly XO

    1. The trick is finding an experienced cobbler. They’re out there!

  21. Those are such cute shoes and you look adorable. 🙂 I hope the accountant gave you a discount for looking so chic! 😉

    1. Sadly no discount, but the tax bill wasn’t scary. So there s that!

  22. Love the Vince Camuto on you! So smart to alter the shoes to suit your needs.
    Happy Weekend, Jen! xx

    1. Have a great weekend Heather! Xx

  23. I did the same thing with a pair of BOOTS a few years ago!Had the heel cut off……….only to have NEVER WORN THEM!!!!!!
    I heard VINCE was having a GREAT SALE recently…………..in W.C.
    Hope the accountant told YOU money BACK!!!!!!

    1. I’m not sure cutting the heel off would work. That would throw your balance way off:)

  24. I thought the shoe was shaped to the heel and any change would throw off the balance. I guess I was wrong. I always see shoes that I would love but for the high heel. Thank you for this great hint.

    1. Shoes usually are balanced for the heel. But 1/2 off doesn’t seem to affect the look or balance.

  25. Love this idea…those shoes are so cute. I also have *problem* feet, so am very choosy about shoes and have to avoid a lot of cute ones. I also like the stretching routine. My feet aren’t quite the same size, so it could really help on the bigger one. Great look!

    1. I spray and stretch every pair of shoes and boots I buy. I also have shoe trees to do it with. It makes such a difference!

  26. Those shoes are so fun! I watched Jennifer walk all over a huge resort all day and into the evening…so her alterations worked well for her feet! Such a smart idea!

  27. Debbie Carr says:

    Those shoes are so cute and they look great on you.

  28. My shoes cobbler always says: well, I will take of some but you cant walk on them normally. And I am always so glad with the result. I have bought so many shoes that I fell in love with but could not walk on because of the high heels. And then this is such an solution!

    1. A clever shoe cobbler can work miracles. I do it all the time!

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