Women's Designer Shoes
Good Fitting Dress Shoes
Good-fitting dress shoes are comfortable and achievable! Most women have never experienced a truly comfortable pair of dress shoes. Women have become accustomed to thinking it hurts to look good. But it doesn’t have to!

That said, a dress shoe is never going to feel like your running shoes, or your slippers, or a casual comfort shoe. For the most part, “comfort” shoes achieve their comfort by providing acres of space. In contrast, dress shoes are supposed to create a sleek, elegant silhouette. But even a sleek, elegant silhouette can be foot-friendly and very comfortable.

Creating a foot-friendly, comfortable dress shoe requires meticulous work from shoe makers. This is what Nota Bene is about: designing and developing foot-friendly, comfortable dress shoes by paying attention to all the details. As a result, our customers tell us their Nota Bene shoes are extraordinarily more comfortable than other dress shoes.

Nota Bene is also about creating long-term relationships with savvy customers. We want our customers to be educated and make good decisions about the shoes they buy.

Fit Tips for Finding Good-Fitting Dress Shoes:

Regardless of what brand you buy, here are some tips for making your search for good-fitting, comfortable dress shoes more fruitful and efficient: We have organized these chronologically to reflect the process of trying on a new pair of shoes.

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1. Survey your shoes before you go shopping.
• Quickly answer: Which shoes do you wear all the time? Which shoes are your most comfortable? What do you notice about their shape, materials, construction, the design/pattern of the upper, heels? Keep those features in mind!
• When you shop, seek the features that you know work; you have an intuitive sense about what your feet need. Being deliberate about "your key comfort features" is a good first step.

2. Measure your feet.
• From time to time, it is a good idea to measure. Feet expand and lengthen over time. Pregnancies, weight gain, and running also contribute to foot changes.
  Brannack foot sizing tool

• Make sure you are bearing all your weight on the foot being measured. This maximum pressure will reveal the maximum size of your feet; you want the size of your shoes to fit your maximum size.

• Size numbers are not about vanity! They are a general reference to save time while helping you achieve a comfortable and healthy fit.

• Keep in mind that there are no true size standards in the footwear industry. Be open to going up or down, wide, or narrow to get what FEELS best when bearing weight and walking.

3. Before you try on a shoe, do a quick width check.
• While sitting and admiring a favorite candidate pair, hold the sole of the shoe up to the sole of your foot. Check that the ball pocket (widest) part of the shoe is at least as wide as the ball of your foot.

• Next, check whether/how much your toes spill beyond the outsole of the shoe. A little overspill is okay, but only a very little.

4. Look for a geometric match.
• Look at the outline of your toes. Does this outline form a round shape? a triangular shape? a square shape?

• Look at the "toe character" of the shoe you want to buy. What shape is it?

• Compare the geometry of your feet to the geometry of the shoes you want to buy. A shoe that closely matches your natural foot shape has the best odds of fitting well. Also, a good geometric match between a foot's shape and a shoe's toe character will look the most flattering.

Round foot shape
Round Foot Shape
Triangle foot shape
Triangle Foot Shape
Square foot shape
Square Foot Shape
Shoe shapes should match the shape of your feet.

Classic Shoe Toe Characters:
Round, Triangle, Square
An example of a bad geometric match: The image at right shows a round foot and a triangular shoe. It reveals inadequate toe space and inadequate width at the ball. These shoes will NOT be comfortable for these feet. In fact, they are likely to contribute to joint distortion, as well as blisters and calluses.  
Good Geometric Match: Round Shoe and Round Foot.

Bad Geometric Match: Triangle Shoe and Round Foot.
An example of a good geometric match: The images at right show plenty of room for toes, and adequate width at the ball. Almost no foot spills over the edges of the shoe. This shoe is likely to fit well, holding the foot snugly without too much lateral (side to side) compression.  
Good geometric match
Good Geometric Match: Round Shoe and Round Foot.

Good match

Good Geometric Match from the Top Side: No Overspill is Visible.
5. Check the depth of toe box.
Another key factor in finding a good-fitting dress shoes is adequate depth in the toe box. If the toe box of a shoe is not deep enough, it will press down on your toes and toenails, and may make your toes buckle back, when you are standing. When you walk, a shoe that is too shallow will distort proper bio mechanical function and likely contribute to blisters across the tops of your toes and stress on your nail beds.
•  To see if a shoe has enough depth in the toe box, hold the shoe next to your big toe. It should look at least as tall as the tallest part of your toes, whether that is nails or joints.
•  When standing in the shoe if you can see an outline of your toenails or joints in the leather, the toebox is likely too shallow.

Good fitting toe box
Toe Box Has Adequate Depth
Bad fitting toe box
Toe Box Too Shallow for This Foot

6. When you try on shoes follow your first reaction.
Try on both shoes. If the shoes don't feel good when you first put them on, they aren't likely to feel better in 30 minutes or an hour. Good-fitting dress shoes should hold your feet closely without squeezing them. If one shoe feels too snug, chose a size up; fit for the larger foot. Judge these shoes by how they feel, not by there size "number."

This X-ray image shows what a good fit looks like from inside a shoe.
• Allow a half inch of space from the end of the longest toe to the tip of the shoe.

• Be sure that you can extend and wiggle ALL your toes. Even in high heels with pointed-toe shape, your toes should not be cramped, just snug. In the X-ray at the right your can see:
—angles of the toe joints are relatively straight —adequate space between the toes; the flesh is not tightly compressed
—toes are extended, not buckled
—metatarsals and joints at the ball of the foot are all straight and spread. This foot has found a happy place to spend the day! It can walk many comfortable miles in this shoe!

• When the shoe is on your foot do you see joint bulges, toenails, or toes straining to escape their confinement? A few curves are fine, but the foot should look content to stay in the shoe for a long while.


X-ray inside of a well fitting shoe

"Picture Perfect Fit" on the Inside of a Shoe

7. Start walking on hard surfaces.
• Do these shoes feel just as comfortable after five or ten minutes? They should!

• When walking, as you bend your toes, does the material over the ball of your foot buckle or pinch uncomfortably? It should not!

• While you want to ensure your heel doesn't slip out of the shoe, you DO want just the slightest bit of slip at the heel — otherwise the shoe is holding your foot too tightly. You are likely to be uncomfortable within 30 minutes.

• When shoes are on, they should not cut across any joints or hit your ankle bones — this includes buckles and ornaments.

• If you have narrow heels, look for sling backs you can tighten. Ankle straps or the arch straps of a Mary Jane or T-Strap shoes will also help control those heels.

In conclusion, a few reminders. . .
• Feet can change shape and swell throughout a day. If your feet are most uncomfortable at the end of a day, consider trying on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are largest. You may end up with shoes that feel a bit loose in the mornings, but it will probably be worth it at the end of the day. And, over time, your feet will appreciate less pressure from your shoes.

• Gorgeous shoes that don't fit will either hurt you or live in the back of your closet.
• Dress shoes CAN be beautiful and comfortable.
• You CAN find good fitting dress shoes.

Happy hunting!

NOTE (Bata Trials, not for customer use)

If you want to use our new foot measuring tools, click this link.














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