I'm 5'0 and I Swear These 5 Simple Shoe Tricks Make Me Look Taller

Allow me to tell you my secrets.

Person wearing a black leather jumpsuit with white boots
Photo: Getty Images

For as long as I can remember, I've been one of the shortest people I know. Seriously — even children enjoy pointing out that they're swiftly approaching my height, which, in all fairness, leans more toward 4'11 than 5'0. While being short comes with its perks (you always have a case for being front and center in every group photo), there's a downside — especially when it comes to clothing. On top of having to tuck, hem, or roll almost every pair of pants, midi dresses tend to cut me off and turn my legs into stumps. I've also noticed that, depending on color and length, certain shoes have the same effect.

For the past few years, however, I've sworn that certain footwear makes me look taller — and I'm not just talking about the heel height. To show you just what I mean, I'm sharing my best tricks for elongating a petite figure with shoes.

Tip #1: Go Monochrome

Neutral-colored boots and sneakers can make you look taller. For me, that includes white footwear, especially when wearing a skirt or shorts, since it creates the illusion of length against my light skin tone. I've tested out this theory when styling photo shoots, and, even when I'm trying not to, I end up reaching for a crisp white shoe when dressing petite women. However, depending on your complexion, you might find black, brown — or whatever shade nude is for you — most flattering.

Alternatively, if you're wearing pants, color coordinate with your footwear. For instance, pairing dark-wash jeans with black shoes will create a monochrome outfit that elongates. The trick works even better when said shoe is slim and snug around the foot or ankle — something like Vans slip-ons, Converse Chuck Taylors, or zip-up, sock-like booties — and also includes a subtle platform (for obvious, height-boosting reasons). It's details like these that help to create a seamless, uncut line, which is the ultimate goal when aiming to look taller.

Tip #2: Reach for Metallics

Looking to add a little height and an instant wow factor to your OOTD? Reach for metallic shoes. They work a similar type of magic (in my book, they do qualify as a neutral) or rely on something closer to my skin tone. It's a trick that has been around for years.

Tip #3: Avoid Straps That Cut at the Ankle

Although I love a good bootie, they're not always the most flattering for my smaller frame. Since they hit right at the ankle, they create a hard divide between my legs and my feet. This results in my already petite figure seeming even more petite (yes, it's possible). An ankle strap works the same way. My advice? If you're set on wearing booties or a shoe with an ankle strap, opt for a monochrome color combo (see tip #1) to give the impression of length.

Tip #4: Lift and Lengthen

If I'm wearing dark or black shoes, I'll run through a quick checklist before heading out the door. Given my lighter skin tone, they must include a heel or platform, and sometimes, I'll add a sock to help create that aforementioned seamless line. Those with darker skin tones will want to follow the same tips when throwing on a pair of light or white shoes. Longer boots, such as knee-highs or thigh-highs, are also great for leg-lengthening — no matter the color — especially if they're tight or styled with mini skirts.

Tip #5: Try a Pointed Toe

While they may not be the most comfortable shoe option, shoes with pointed toes can do wonders for a petite figure. Unlike a square toe which can truncate the leg, a pointed toe elongates it. That's true regardless of whether or not you're wearing a heel. In fact, a pointed-toe kitten heel can really flatter and make your legs seem longer than they really are.

There are plenty of other tricks for looking taller, whether it's stealing outfit ideas from petite celebrities or shopping at petite-friendly stores, but these are by far my favorite and are super easy to try.

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