Chicago likes things big: big skyscrapers, big wind, big b-ball players and even giant silver beans. So it is fitting that a city coined “The City of Big Shoulders” is also the stomping ground of a slew of women with larger than average size feet.
In a recent Chicago Sun-Times article, Macy’s chief financial officer Karen Hoguet said Chicago-area outposts have started to display size 11 shoes “as a way to make it easier for sales associates to help customers.” The change allows women with larger feet to see and feel exactly what they’re working with and is Macy’s response to a “huge demand” for larger sizes. Stores are filing denser orders of shoes in size 11 and as a result, Hoguet is “seeing double-digit pairs of shoes bought when women can find their size.”
It’s no secret shoe and clothing sizes have increased with each decade. According to The Professional Shoe Fitting Manual, female shoe sizes jumped from a size 5 in the 1960s to an 8 in the ’80s. Call it evolution or a direct product of the Midwest’s bountiful corn harvest, one thing is for sure—other retailers haven’t been so quick to swap out their dainty size 6 floor samples for 11s, or even their most popular size for that matter. For example, Marc Pinansky, store manager and buyer for Berk’s Shoes, continues to display the smallest size available, even though size 9.5 is the most in-demand women’s size at the Cambridge, MA, store.
However, if larger sizes prove to generate more sales, retailers may need to look at the bigger picture and drop their small shoe bias.