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Move over diamonds—there are a lot of women who would contend that shoes are actually a girl's best friend. The right pair will complement your personality, elevate your outfit, and with a little TLC, last for years. Best of all is the way they can make you feel; switch up your sweet ballet flats for some sultry stilettos and it's not just your appearance that changes—it's your attitude. Read on for our step-by-step advice on finding your solemates.

What to Know Before You Buy


  1. Hit the stores after lunch
    This will ensure the best fit, since your feet tend to swell throughout the day.

  2. Be sure shoes are comfy from the start
    Despite what the salesperson says, you really can't "break in" a pair of too-tight shoes.

  3. Test them out
    Take a stroll around the store, preferably on both carpeted and tile surfaces.

  4. Don't be a slave to size
    Focus on the fit rather than the number. 5Know your arches If you have a high arch, your shoes should have a cushioned midsole to absorb shock. Flatter feet require a firmer, more supportive midsole.

  5. Flex and bend
    Opt for a flexible leather or rubber sole over a rigid one, which won't allow your feet to move naturally as you walk.

  6. Go online
    If you're hard to fit, try a specialty Web site, like designershoes.com, which carries sizes up to a 16, or petiteshoes.com for sizes 4 to 5 ½. Wide or narrow feet? Piperlime.com and endless.com have plenty of options.

  7. Dress the part
    Always try on shoes with the pants or jeans you hope to wear them with.

  8. Pick the right heel
    If you'll be on your feet for more than a few hours, choose one with more surface area, like a platform or wedge.

  9. Learn your European size
    Simply add 31 to your American shoe size if you’re a 9 or below and 32 if you’re a 10 or above.
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