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Shopping for Small Feet

Footwear is, perhaps, the only realm of women’s fashion where those seeking the smallest sizes perpetually come up short-handed. In any other category, the woman seeking the smaller size will – in most stores, at least – have more options than her larger counterparts. But when it comes to shoes, the tiniest toes face the toughest challenge. And according to Suzette Standring of The Huffington Post, the problem is only getting worse.

After hunting for spring shoes this year, Standring was left marveling at the seemingly dwindling numbers of shoes in her size, five, so she called several stores to investigate. She found that more and more manufacturers are opting to save money by starting their lines at size six or higher and focusing on the most popular sizes. For American women, that’s a size eight.

So what’s the possessor of petite peds to do?

- For the greatest variety of shoe styles and sizes, the easiest option is to order shoes from an online retailer such as Zappos, which currently sells close to 17,000 different women’s footwear options in sizefive.

- In San Francisco, Nordstrom is particularly well-known for offering a wide variety of shoes in hard-to-find sizes. But before heading to the Westfield Centre, try perusing the department store’s online inventory. Once you locate styles you’re interested in, call for in-store availability. Most styles can be special ordered upon request for in-store try-on sessions.

- For fit that’s tailored to your feet, try tapping a local shoemaker such as Suzanne George in Noe Valley to create a bespoke pair.

- Another strategy? Scour San Francisco’s wealth of vintage stores, which often carry smaller size shoes with retro appeal. For vintage looks from local stores and insider tips on vintage shopping, check out recent 7x7 feature The Best of San Francisco’s Vintage Scene.