SSL Sole Spotlight|Katie Tillard of Life and Sole of Shoes Is Shameless

You know that feeling when you finally find the “big feet” aisle of a women’s footwear store and you look up to see another Queen Foot lady headed your way? It’s totally friends at first sight, right? At last, you’re not the only one secluded in a tiny corner searching for flattering shoes in our sizes. That’s the experience that comes to mind when I discovered this next Specialty Shoe Lover (SSL). I absolutely love her confidence and her ability to inspire other women through her blog, Life and Sole of Shoes. I hope you all enjoy!

Katie Tillard, Footwear Blogger/ YouTuber

Shoe Size: UK 8/9| Age: 29| Country: England

SSL: While some girls grow as either being tall or having larger feet, you experienced both. Do you think that either your height or shoe size affected your perception of yourself?

I think both affected me at some stage. When I was a kid growing up I was very aware and conscious of my height and being so much bigger than everyone else. I always wanted to be the small cute girl in the class. But as I grew up, I really started to embrace and love my height ,and now, you will always find me wearing a pair of heels.

Having big feet on the other hand, I have always found it incredibly embarrassing. And until I started my blog, it was something I had always lied about. I think the main thing is it made me feel odd and different, and I hated that. But now, I know it’s just proportionate to my body’s height.

SSL: Queen Feet Ladies are known to be a bit clumsy. What’s the most embarrassing or hilarious thing that’s ever happened to you?

Oh my god! Are you kidding… where do I even start? I trip over my feet every single day. Multiple times. Each time it makes me laugh. Today, in fact, I tripped down the stairs at the train station, and a nice man had to help me up.

I’ve actually went on a date once with someone who quite literally picked me up off the floor. Converse trainers or pointed shoes are the worst for this, the danger shoes. But I love them, so I’d never give them up. Haha.

SSL: On your IG, you often highlight gorgeous designer shoes that either are too expensive or outside of SSL size ranges. Which factor (size or price) do you more often find makes footwear less attainable for SSLs?

So, this massively depends on the store and brand. John Lewis for example, which is one of our biggest department stores, does not stock above a size 7, which is so infuriating. Big retailers such as Office or Topshop buy their shoes in proportional amounts: 2-8s; 8-7s; 10-6s; 10-5s; 8-4s; 4-3s; & 2-2s.

What this means is for them to order more 8’s, they have to order more of every size. Which, of course, they don’t like to do. Don’t even get me started on 9’s. But I do understand why brands have to do this. We are still in a minority, and they have to think about their margins. They are a business after all and will lack confidence in being able to shift the stock. That’s why it’s great to group us SSL girls together and write about the brands who do, the more traffic we drive, the more they sell and then the snowball begins 🙂

SSL: Growing up, was there a brand/shoe that you absolutely wish you could have purchased in your size?

Anything! When I grew up… we only had one store on the high street in the whole UK that stocked size 8. This only happened when I was 14…. so, what I was wearing before then was pretty shocking! Boys shoes, basically.

I have to say one of my sadist shoe moments was when I worked really hard for about a year when I was 18 to buy my first pair of Christian Louboutin shoes. I saved up all that money, and went to Harrods with my Dad who was so proud that I’d saved up and wanted to share this moment with me. I knew the style, heel height, and colour. But when their largest size came out, it was a real Cinderella stepsister moment, as the shoe just hung off my toe, and I couldn’t even squeeze my foot in it. I cried for about an hour in the shop. My dad had no idea what to do. He called Selfridges and, luckily, spoke to someone who was super helpful and told us to come out. She had some shoes which would fit a wide size 8. I ended up buying a pair of Kurt Geiger snake skin pointed stilettos for 1/8 of the price, and they are still ,10 years later, my favourite shoes of all time.

This was quite an important moment for me as I realized designer shoes are not everything, high street can make you just as happy, so don’t buy into all the bulls***.

And, I’ve never really looked back.

SSL: I know a lot of women suffer in ill-fitting shoes. Have you ever worn shoes too small for your feet? What happened?

Yes… yes.. yes… I feel the pain for anyone who has done this. There is nothing worse than a pair of shoes which are too small!

My most embarrassing story is walking home from an event in Soho London – to Putney, where I live, bare foot. It took an hour and with about a million people watching.

I actually freak out now if shoes are too small after this experience. So much so, that I ALWAYS without doubt will have a pair of converse trainers with me. So, whatever time of day, wherever I am, I can change into comfortable shoes.

SSL: You often rate shoes that you review based on a variety of factors. What’s the most important characteristic of a shoe for Queen Feet Ladies?

Comfort. If shoes are not comfortable, you will not wear them, regardless of how beautiful they are. My top tip for this is my 10-minute test.

This is when you buy a new pair of shoes, before you wear them outside and scratch the soles, wear them inside standing up for 10 mins. If you don’t want to rip them off your feet in 10 mins you can keep them. This usually means they will be fine to wear.

SSL: What piece of advice would you give to young ladies who are still struggling with accepting their footwear size/ Low confidence?

  1. Don’t be ashamed! There are so many of us out there, and it does not make you odd.
  2. Research brands and find out what works for you.
  3. Once you’ve found shoes you love, buy 3 pairs of the same shoe. I do this as well.
  4. Follow people who inspire you and also have larger feet. There are lots of bloggers and brands out there now, so come and join the club.

Be sure to catch more of Katie’s footwear reviews by following her @lifeandsoleofshoes . Also, let me know whether or not you enjoy these profile pieces. I’d love to hear from you.

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