The Mystery of Women's Petite Feet in Lebanon

If for some cockamamie reason you ever feel like getting your self-confidence whipped, beaten and mauled to a rock-bottom low, right down there with the scum that feeds on the scum of a dirty pond bed, I have just your solution.

Walk into a women’s shoe store anywhere in Lebanon and ask for EUR size 40/41 (US size 10). Cue the vendor’s reaction. 

She’ll scrunch her face in disgust, glare at you as if you were the devil uncloaked, and shake her head in epileptic frenzy. “Your foot belongs on an ogre,” is what she wants to say, but instead she settles for the equally demeaning “we don’t have such big feet in Lebanon.”

Oh, really? Your eyes fall to her dainty size 37 tootsies, and you frown at her. This isn’t Japan, where women’s shoe sizes stop at 38. Lebanese women come in every shape and form, from the short and petite to the tall and towering. Look at Miss Lebanon contestants, for example. They’re all fabulously over 175 cm in height, and thus correspondingly, their feet sizes likely measure 40+.

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You try to explain to the shopkeeper that shoe label Nine West stocks up to size 11, and Brands for Less even carries size 12! But that hardly helps your case with this haughty, judgmental saleswoman, who’s already sized you up—not just your feet—as soon as you stepped across the threshold. Take your unprivileged profile elsewhere. This is a shop reserved for affluent, petite-footed Achrafieh socialites.

Ever since I moved here, I’ve encountered a bit of difficulty with finding my shoe size. I’m 5’10” (179 cm) with size 10 feet, which is not rare or startling for someone of my stature.

Let’s fetch some stats on Hollywood celebrities. Kate Winselt, 5’7” (170 cm), wears size 11.5! Katie Holmes is 5’9” (175 cm) with size 11 feet. Scarlett Johansson is a petite 5’3” (160 cm) and speaks endearingly of her size 9.5 feet. Sandra Bullock is 5’6” (168 cm) and shares my size 10 feet. How about Angelina Jolie, the symbol of both sexy and elegant? She’s 5’7” with size 9 footsies.

Sandra Bullock has size 10 feet (Photo credit:

If any of these bombshells came to Lebanon, imagine a shoe vendor at Jimmy Choo or Christian Louboutin shooing them out and dismissing them as trolls.

The sad part is that outlet managers are convinced women’s feet are as slight and dainty as they were in the 1960s, refusing to acknowledge that feet have grown thanks to better nutrition

In fact, the average women’s shoe size is 8.5 - 9 in the US (that’s 39), so in no way should 39 be the cap at which sizes are available. Rather than embrace the reality of the situation and import a more inclusive range of shoes, shop owners limit their inventory and ostracize a fair chunk of would-be patrons. In the process, they reduce us to a gaggle of geese with our flappy big feet.

And to think that flip-flops have become increasingly commonplace in Lebanon. Well, it's no wonder! Nothing else fits, you narrow-minded fools.

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  1. This cracked me up and I needed a good laugh today!!! Thank you!

    1. Always happy to entertain! Have a wonderful sunny Friday :)

  2. I think the main reason behind the small feet on Lebanese girls is due to the lack of walking. People in the US and Europe tend to do a lot more walking on a daily basis than the average Lebanese. That's my theory!

    1. Very valid argument. Feet tend to splay from regular walking, so that could account for the smaller feet in Lebanon. Nobody here walks!


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