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Elevator Shoes

In all honesty, I never thought I would be writing about elevator shoes. Mainly because I would never wear them myself. And the main reason is that while being considered short at 5’9, I am quite comfortable with my height. But when realizing that my self-given role is to highlight the best in the industry, and each sub-industry within the larger shoe industry, I realize that if someone wants to go that route, I prefer to steer them in the right direction. I am also at a point where I have written about nearly every shoe topic four times over (at least) so am attempting to branch out and hit some lesser-known topics that still exist and are sought out by more people than we sometimes can imagine. So, let us discuss elevator shoes and the brand that sits at the top of that industry: Don’s Footwear.

Elevator Shoes

What Are Elevator Shoes?


An elevator shoe is a piece of footwear that has lifts built inside to give you added height. Usually, these lifts are built mainly in the heel region and not all the way around the sole, much as ‘Creeper Shoes’ are. Another topic for another day. This added lift will give you the height that you desire, usually adding 1 – 2.5 inches to your overall height. And believe it or not, this is a huge industry, especially for those that are on camera. I am sure we have all caught a glimpse of this. I have personally noticed Vin Diesel, Tom Cruise, Frank Grillo, Stallone, and many more using them in films when I see them wearing boots that have a super high lift in the heel block. If you look carefully at these actors, you will notice it too.

Elevator Shoes

Who Uses Elevator Shoes?


Believe it or not, more men than we can imagine. In London, I did not come across guys that wanted higher heels than we offer but having had my own shop in NYC, I frequently have guys that ‘want to be taller.’ They ask if we can make the heels higher. It’s often strange too, as many of these men are not that short so I am always stumped at why they need more height? But they want it. Many men get elevator shoes for their wedding days to stand tall on those photos that will forever sit on their mantle place. Many bouncers also use them as an added intimidation factor. Lastly, the many men who often get in front of a camera or are going to an event that gets TV/Magazine coverage.  And that is where a company like Don’s Footwear comes into play.

Elevator Shoes

Why Don’s Footwear?


Well, the reality is that this is not an industry known for its quality. If you do a quick google search, you will find a bunch of shoes that look as if they are using plastic soles and plastic leather. Basically cheap shoes. But Don’s Footwear is trying to blend quality with this industry, adding pitched heels, fiddleback waists, and blind welts, to make these often wonky-looking shoes as elegant as they can be. They have a collection called ‘Echelon’ that offers handwelted footwear and therefore caters more to the gentleman that also cares about quality and not solely about height. On top of that, Don’s uses a stronger PU rubber for the midsole tech that is far more durable than your typical EVA foam that many other elevator shoe brands will use.

Elevator Shoes

The Downside of Elevator Shoes


For me, the main issue of elevator shoes is the lack of pattern balance. Dress shoes are not built to have 2-inch lifts put inside them. So when they are, the problem is that I often see that the pattern is just heightened, but not balanced. If you heighten the pattern, the last should be elongated and the pattern pulled forward to balance the lines so that they do not look all bunched together and have this ‘squished’ effect. But I guess, one step at a time. Hopefully, with the desire to have the construction be top-notch, Don’s footwear will also start thinking about making the pattern top-notch as well. In boots, the elevator effect is not so drastic but often in shoes, they come out looking quite odd. It would be impressive to see someone changing that. The best-looking one I have seen is the model highlighted at the top of the page. If they all looked like that, it would be a great start!

Learn more here:


***Don’s Footwear is a friend and sponsor of The Shoe Snob Blog and this is a sponsored yet informational post***

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8 thoughts on “Elevator Shoes”

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      ahhahahaha this is what people tell me although I don’t consider myself short. But in the US it is on the shorter side

  1. I’m fortunate to have a number of these shoes and they have been game changers for me.

    A bit below average height I wouldn’t say I’m particularly self-conscious, but I like the idea of coming across a bit taller at social events and in the boardroom. The attention to detail on the ones I have is superb, the soles feel natural to me, and they have developed a wonderful patina over the time that I’ve owned them. Allan worked with me on some of the details and they bear many of the hallmarks of true handmade shoes -maybe not for everyone, but a preference of mine is to see the occasional mark of a vein from the animal the leather came from or some other detail that gives away the materials and handwork.

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Thank you very much for sharing David, I do appreciate your input and glad to know that you have been given great treatment by Allan, which really comes at no surprise!

  2. I’m certainly glad you finally got around to covering Don’s! Anyone who has not yet had the pleasure of ordering from Allan Donnelly – the incredibly skilled craftsman and namesake at Don’s Footwear – is missing out on a wonderful experience. It’s worth noting that, while he is hands down the finest elevator shoe craftsman on the planet, he also exquisitely handcrafts bespoke traditional (i.e., non-lifted) shoes as well. Don’s Footwear is quite incredible. Allan goes above and beyond to personally source any leather or other material you may desire to create truly original, wearable works of art.

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Thank you Jay! I am glad that you enjoyed it and for your kind review. Allan indeed is a great guy and craftsman!

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