The 7 Stages of Footwear You’ll Move Through During Your Pregnancy

Growing feet are one of the many changes that women may see (or not, considering their growing belly will hide them) while they are pregnant. Generally this only happens during the first pregnancy; presumably because all of the major changes take place in the first pregnancy and women’s feet don’t change back after the baby is born.

Changes women get to look for in their feet as they might grow half a shoe size, they might get wider, and their arch might shrink. Coupled with a changing center of gravity, the changes to a woman’s feet can cause back and leg pain. So it’s important to find shoes that are comfortable and supportive. In fact, there are about seven different stages that pregnant women might go through with their feet growth. 

You’ll start out excitedly wearing your normal shoes, and then as your belly grows and your center of balance changes you’ll begin to wonder how some women continue to wear heels, because your feet have started to swell and your back hurts. Then, after you find yourself becoming winded walking down your stairs, you might wonder why you still have runners in your closet if they’re never going to be worn again, or if you’ll ever see your feet again. 

Finally, after the baby is born, you’ll find yourself wistfully longing to put on your former shoes and wonder when and if your feet will ever go back to their former size.

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7 Stage : My Normal Shoes Still Fit

Early on in your pregnancy you’ll still be able to wear your normal shoes, because all of the changes your feet are going to go through haven’t started yet. So this is the time to wear those heels you love or those dainty flats with no arch support to speak of. However, you might consider purchasing more comfortable shoes to get ahead of the game. 

When you’re shoe shopping, look for shoes that have good arch support, are made of a breathable material that will stretch with your feet, and that you can slip your feet into.

One shoe you might like is Earth Bellweather Ballet Flats. Unfortunately, this stage is only a brief one for most women. Some may be lucky enough to be able to wear the same shoes throughout their entire pregnancy, although, you might want to buy new shoes anyway because, why not.

6 Stage : How Do Women Wear These?

At some point in time during your pregnancy you’re going to encounter another pregnant woman walking around in six-inch heels, or some other crazy height. Unless you’re her, you’re going to be wondering, how is she walking in those things? As your belly grows, your center of balance is going to be changing. This can make walking in heels feel like you’re learning to do it all over again. 

And as fun as it is to wobble around looking like you could fall over at any moment, there are other ways to wear shoes that give you a bit of height without completely throwing off your balance.

These shoes will come in handy on the times you find that you actually want to wear heels when you go out somewhere fancy, like on a date with your significant other or on an evening out with your best friends. For times like these you can always find yourself a nice closed-toe shoe with a wide heel that’s around two-inches or lower. The wider heel will help you keep your balance while you’re walking around the restaurant.

You might not feel like wearing heels quite that high

One nice short-heeled shoe you might like is the David Tate ‘Citadel’ Pump. These cute pumps have a little bit of give to them, and they’re close-toed so when you decide that you want to be fancy, you won’t have to worry about your toes coming out of the front of the shoe or your shoes being too tight to be comfortable.

This stage is followed closely by its cousins “ugh, my feet are so fat,” and “bloody hell, my back hurts.”

5 Stage : Ugh, My Feet Are So Fat

As you can imagine, you’ve entered the stage when your feet feel swollen all of the time, and all of your shoes feel too tight.

A woman’s feet can be larger during pregnancy for several reasons. The most well-known way is through swelling, but her feet can also grow because of the increased amount of progesterone in her body. Progesterone causes a woman’s ligaments to loosen which can cause her bones to spread more than normal, which in turn causes her foot to grow longer and wider.

Give your feet some space

When you reach this stage you can grab yourself a nice pair of ballet flats or other shoes with a soft, flexible fabric that will stretch with your feet. Since these shoes tend not to have very good arch support, you might want to consider getting an insert to protect your arch and help keep your feet closer to their current size.

Perhaps you could try Naturalizer Velma Quilted Square Cap-Toe Flats. You can purchase these stylish flats in a wider size to accommodate your feet.

4 Stage : Bloody Hell, My Back Hurts

At some point in time during your pregnancy, you’ll likely find that your back hurts. This can be caused by your changing center of gravity and your posture, as well as your loosening ligaments from progesterone.

There are three things that you’ll need to take into consideration when you’re looking for shows that provide good back support: stability, flexibility, and comfort.

When you’re at the shoe store and trying on different shoes, look for ones that help you feel balanced and secure throughout your entire steps, but that are flexible at the base of the toes, and have a fairly snug fit around your heel and the middle of your foot. However, when you’re looking at the snugness of the shoe, make sure that they’re not tight, because your feet might get larger, and if they’re too small at the store, they’ll still be too small after they’ve been broken in.

One boot you might like during this stage is Women's Battista combat boots. While they can be laced up, you can also tie your shoes once and then use the zipper on the side to get them on and off more easily. They’re nice for your back because they provide a bit more security around your ankle to help you with your balance, and if you find that there isn’t enough arch support, you can always slip in an insole to help. Plus the fold-down plaid collar is pretty cute.

3 Stage : If I Don’t Want to Exercise, Is There Any Point In Having Runners?

While it’s important for women to exercise while they’re pregnant (unless of course your doctor says otherwise), there’s going to come a time when you wonder if it’s worth the effort of struggling to tie your runners only to become exhausted almost immediately afterwards. 

However, even if you don’t want to or are unable to exercise while you’re pregnant, runners are still a nice shoe to have, because another annoying thing that can happen when you’re pregnant is your feet might start sweating more.

Those comfy runners

Runners are generally made of a breathable material, (other breathable materials are canvas and leather) which will help your feet feel less sweaty. So if you find your sweaty feet are causing you discomfort, perhaps you might want to try a pair. In addition to being made of a breathable material, runners also offer back support and arch support.

One type of runner that you might like is Women’s Gusto Runner. They’re made with a breathable mesh to help keep your feet cooler, and they’ve got a memory foam insole to help you be comfortable. As an added bonus, they come in wider sizes and a variety of colours so you can find one to match your style.

2 Stage : I Can’t See My Feet

At some point in time contorting your body in such a way that will enable you to tie your shoes will seem like a distant memory. The easiest solution when you reach this stage is to just avoid shoes and boots that have laces, buckles and buttons.

Try to find yourself some nice slip-ons. As an added bonus, these shoes will continue to serve you well after your precious bundle of joy has been born. While getting out of the house will be more difficult, at least you won’t have to wrangle a child while trying to tie up your own laces.

TOMS are great for slip on shoes

One nice slip-on is the TOMS Black White Knit Shearling Women’s Classics. While these shoes are only available in a medium width, they will stretch a bit as you break them in. And their soft insides will be nice and comfortable on your feet when you’re walking around (especially if you go to the hospital slightly early and are told to walk the halls for a bit).

1 Stage : After The Baby’s Born

Once the baby’s born you’d probably like to pretend that you’ll instantly fit into all of your old shoes again. However, unlike your pre-baby clothes, your shoes are unlikely to fit. According to a study by Nigel A. Segal et al. the changes that happen to your feet while you are pregnant will become permanent.

While you still might want to consider sticking to a low heel while your body is once again figuring out where its center of gravity is, you can likely see your toes again, so if the weather is warm, why not show them off a bit in the Women’s Winnie Low Wedge? Because let’s face it, after not being able to see your feet for a while it’ll be nice to get reacquainted with them. 

Another added bonus to these shoes is they also have a memory foam insole, so your feet are going to remain comfortable while you’re walking around soothing your new child.

And there you have it, the seven stages of footwear that you’ll go through while you’re pregnant. While it’s probably tempting to just try and jam your feet into your current shoes for your entire pregnancy, it’s probably better to just accept that your entire body is going to change over the course of growing a human, and try to find new and more comfortable shoes to wear for the next nine months.

Besides, as Segal et al.’s study shows, the changes to your feet are not only permanent, but they can also lead to different musculoskeletal disorders that cause your knees and hips to hurt. So it’s important to make sure that you are wearing good shoes throughout your pregnancy in order to help prevent the damage.

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