Fashion brands design leading styles that enable consumers to feel bold and confident while wearing them. As the working environment has shifted in the last few years, there are three areas that designers should focus on to improve the experience of their customers. These three areas include increasing the ball width, toe box width, and heel fit. Small improvements can be made without sacrificing the style.

After living in a comfortable work from home environment over the last few years, people are returning to their in-person office jobs. The office attire includes wearing formal fashion shoes. One of the biggest trends is people finding that their stylish shoes are no longer comfortable. After wearing slippers or going barefoot around their homes, a sleek fashion shoe feels too tight and rigid. Fashion brands can focus on a few areas of comfort to improve the experience of their customers and keep them happy in our changing environment.


On average, the ball width of fashion shoes is 27% tighter than other categories of the same size. Fashion styles rarely have any instep support like most other categories of shoes to keep the shoe steady on the foot while walking. Increasing the ball width by 2mm on each side of the foot (4mm in total) would improve this fit by 10%. This slight increase would improve consumer comfort, maintain lock down on the foot, and still maintain the style integrity.


The toe box width and length in fashion shoes are often too narrow and short to offer a comfortable fit. The average width of the toe box on a fashion shoe is 65% tighter than running or casual shoes of the same size. This is significantly tighter due to the sharp angle between the ball of the foot to the toes. By modifying the angle of fashion shoes in the toe region or adding material by a minimum of 5mm, the toes would have significantly more room and increase comfort. This change could be modified by changing the shape of the sole or by increasing the tension of the materials that overlay the toe area.



The comfort of the heel region of dress shoe styles is the most important area for fit because it is compensation for the lack of instep lock down that we see in most other categories of shoes. If the heel is too stiff and narrow, it can result in blisters. If the heel is too soft or wide, the foot can completely lift out of the shoe and become a tripping hazard. Improving fit on the heel contour is the number one area of improvement. This can be accomplished by adding a small amount of heel padding.  The fit of a dress shoe in the heel is on average 30% too tight.

As much as we all wish we could wear sweatpants and slippers into the office, the reality is we can’t! So, the next best option is improving the fit of formal footwear. The modifications mentioned above are quite minimal design changes. However, they would significantly increase satisfaction and comfort of the consumer. These changes will help to keep customers happy and injury free while still increasing the comfort. It will be the next best thing to the luxury they may of experience working from home.

Want to make sure your brand’s shoe fit ensures your customers satisfaction? Contact Heeluxe [email protected] today to learn more about your brand’s fit.