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Stay safe! No one will ever know you wear elevator shoes
For me, the single most important issue when I bought my first pair of elevator shoes was the absolutely crucial one of detection. Everything else was marginal. “Will anyone notice?” It’s fundamental. And fear of detection put me off for years buying any. I stuck with uncomfortable lifts trying to add more and more into ‘normal’ shoes. I now wish I had bought my first pair of elevator shoes some years earlier! Because they do work, especially if they are quality. And I have never ever been found out.
But with little guidance or advice available at the time, a decade ago, I felt it was just too much of a risk to buy elevator shoes. I might waste my cash, receive them and immediately say “can’t wear those, everyone will know”. Or worse, buy something, wear them, kid myself they are cool and then feel that my secret has been rumbled. The very thought, the very possibility, that someone might look and say “adding height”. Aaaaargh! A mate, a girlfriend, a colleague. And this applies to every single guy who buys a pair of elevator shoes. We all think EXACTLY the same.
When you are doing something like adding height and considering elevator shoes or lifts or whatever, several things come into play. You want styles that actually suit your own lifestyle, but above all this is the need for a selection that you know will be totally undetectable. Under no circumstances must anyone be able to think or say or wonder: “is he adding height?” Because to be honest, it makes the whole thing a bit pointless, doesn’t it?
This then gets added to issues like fear of detection at airports when wearing elevator shoes, or when taking shoes off in certain circumstances. And these fears can apply a brake on adding a decent amount of height which will never be detected. Here I am going to try and help you understand how easy it is…but also what the pitfalls are and what to avoid.
btw I myself am unusual (but not as unusual as you might think) in being taller than average but wearing elevator shoes all the time. In fact I mostly wear 6” (15cm) boots (the Hong Kong style if you want to know!): I have 4” (10cm) sneakers. I have a 5” pair as well (Shanghais) and also a 4” pair of boots (Ischia). I have built this up over a period of 6 or 7 years. For most guys this is way too high a start point and if you are of average height or below, you really want to start lower – kinda 7cm (2.5”) or 3”and work upwards (if you want to!).
How high your elevator shoes
A big element in the early stages is the very simple and practical one - the degree of height addition you opt for or want in your elevator shoes.
Almost every bit of footwear adds height, but even the most observant person will not be aware of small amounts of extra height. Just think about this. Some of the chunkier Nikes and also stuff like workwear boots can add up to 2” in height! No-one really comments when you just shove on a pair of Timberlands or Air Maxes – they don’t say that you are wearing elevator shoes. Yet you have added a fair amount of height.
Women’s shoes have truly dramatic height variations – the same woman will wear a 6” pair of heels and nearly flat shoes. This means that their own perception of men’s height is often very broadbrush because they themselves are going up and down.
Your friends, your partner, none of them are going to notice if you go for elevator shoes in that three inch area. In fact it’s a good place to start your journey with elevator shoes. It’s the kind of thing that you yourself are aware of – “I am much taller” - but no one else is. And for some that is a comfortable start point, from which they never want to move up: anyone who works in a field where observation is important will tell you that people are dramatically unobservant unless something is specifically drawn to their attention. I realize that when you are adding height you want that to be a cast iron 100% who will not be able to tell you are wearing elevator shoes… not just “the vast majority”.
Conventional lifestyle and elevator shoes
If you are wanting a fairly conventional style and 100% certainty all the time, with the shoe style blending in (along with the height increase!) then this height increase in elevator shoes is what you should go for, the ‘up-to-three-inches’ addition: I am assuming that you want to be able to walk around very easily, and be able to take your footwear off in front of others. All without fear of any type of serious impression that you just dropped a lot of height. It’s a kinda day-to-day practical lifestyle. For this kind of lifestyle, you really want 100% certainty that in almost all situations – even when you have to take your elevator shoes or boots off – that you will not be discovered.
3” is a very good point for elevator shoes and boots for the conventional lifestyle – enough to be able to buy almost anything, any style, any colour, from boots to shoes to sneakers. And that can be 4” if you are over, say, about 6’1”.
No-one, trust me, will notice. Not even your partner. It’s basically turbo-charged regular footwear. When you take your elevator shoes off it will be just really like taking normal shoes off to others. But you WILL be much taller. And you can decide later if you wanna go taller.
Trust me, I know from my own experience! I stress that you can go higher at any height that you might be but I am talking above all about ultra ultra safe situations.
Now here is the other basic logic, and it also allows for no detection but on a guy who has a different type of take on life. More casual, maybe able to push the limits and wanting to.
Loads of guys say to me “I would LOVE to add 4” or 5”, or even 6” through elevator shoes, but am afraid to do so”.
Going for elevator shoes at his height I do all the time. If you are already 6’ or over then you can do it easily. You are tall and want to be as tall as possible and it will not be noticed provided you take a bit of care.
Elevator shoes for casual lifestyle
This is sometimes based upon work or life around work – a guy who can wear jeans or casual at work can often go a lot higher in elevator shoes than someone in a lawyer’s office where the flattest shoes and ‘no boots’ are often obligatory. In some cultures, eg in the UK and some of Europe, smart boots are acceptable in formal circumstances but in north America by and large things are still quite old style on that.
The key here is that your elevator shoes have to take more account of what you wear with them. You simply cannot wear a 5” or 6” pair with a suit unless the ‘chunky boot and suit’ happens to be in style. I myself wear my 4” Ischias on the occasion that I have to wear something like a suit – never a problem because of their flatter sole.
The higher you go, the more you have to consider style and possibly not wear stuff you might otherwise do – you CAN wear skinny jeans but for real safety I suggest boot cut and narrow rather than skinny. This kind of thing you finesse with your own style when you are wearing elevator shoes.
There’s a real point here – guys who are going for the max tend to have a style of their own anyway. You will find a way through.
For this more radical approach I suggest the following day to day:
Up to 5’7″ real height and go for around 3”
Up to 5’11” go for up to 4” day to day
And over 5’11 go for 10cm (4″), or 11cm (4.3″) most times, and up to the full 6” (15cm) on nights out etc
And as I have said you can mix it up – go higher in the evenings etc and more cautious during the day.
Fear of flying in elevator shoes
Of all the things I get asked about with elevator shoes, the simple and most obvious is the issue around security at airports and getting on a plane. This of course is because it is the one time in life where you feel that not only are you obliged to remove your footwear but that also (through the scanners) your footwear comes under great scrutiny by another person.
This fuels all sorts of fears about potential embarrassment and humiliation but in fact the complete opposite is true.
How do I know? Well I work in the club business and before Covid struck, I travelled all over Europe and indeed often to the USA/North America, often using a plane 10 times a month, but always half a dozen times, and always wearing elevator shoes. Each and every time I travel I have always worn my elevator shoes or boots – in the past I wore shoes with separate lifts in – and never once have I been stopped. In basically over 15 years.
Before starting with elevator shoes I always wore lifts in my footwear and no one ever said a thing. I was nervous for a while when security procedures became more strict about everyone taking their shoes off. But the sheer volume of passengers and the fact that they are looking for specific things means that they are just not out to check every single little personal thing about those flying.
As ONLY my boots went through, I was able to keep an eye on what was happening: it was clear that once again they were not looking for me and my elevator shoes!
Now why is this? Well, it’s simple. Security at airports is looking for specific things – it’s the only way they can operate without making every single person strip search. They are not looking for people who wear elevator shoes or lifts, and in all Western countries ethics standards are similar, and they are specifically told NOT to concentrate on personal stuff like this.
The way things like elevator shoes or most lifts show up on scanners mean that it is obvious that there is no security risk. Still in the UK (and many other countries but not all now) you have to remove your shoes even though it has become more or less pointless – I tend to watch the guys at the machines to see if there is ever a flicker of recognition or a look! A bit like almost willing it to happen just to see!…but it never does: it has always reinforced my point that the airport is NOT the place you should be worried about when it comes to detection – however counter-intuitive that might seem
There is an additional consideration here and one that is worth bearing in mind if you still do not believe me or are still worried. Be prepared. Assume in some incredibly rare occurrence that you need to say something about your shoes. Then the best thing is to always carry a pair of those flimsy insoles sold at pharmacies and just say “My doctor advises me to ALWAYS wear things like this on planes to help with possible circulation issues and DVT”. The facts themselves are irrelevant and it simply bats away the issue. It matters not that the ones in your elevator shoes or boots are bigger and thicker. “It’s all the same kinda thing”.
I have just done a quick add up while writing this: now if I have travelled well over 1,000 times on a plane in over 15 years working in the business, always in lifts or elevator shoes.
I have never been stopped, not once have I been questioned or asked anything about my footwear. On that basis and given that amount of travel and flying (and wearing of elevator shoes and boots!) I know you might think it amazing, but really – do you think they are going to pick on just you? Nope. Their rules do not allow for just highlighting people’s personal situations.
Another way of dealing with this if you are extra nervous is just to take the lifts out before you go through (do this in the toilet at the airport for example before going through security and neatly put them in your hand luggage). And then shove them back in again after you have gone through.
And don’t fret about whether everyone will notice you are shorter when walking through the scanners – we are all just too pre-occupied with our own little stresses ate airports to bother about you looking a tiny tad shorter.
What I tend to do if I have ever done this (eg in the past when I wasn’t so sure) is fairly quickly grab my boots and sit myself down to put them back on – I even at times have taken my lifts out of my bag, popped them back in while sat there at the end of the conveyor belt and moved on. No one has ever noticed – as I say, people are so caught up in themselves at airports that the chance of anyone looking at you is minimal.
Do not leave your elevator shoes or boots lying around
It is MORE likely that detection will come if someone close, in passing, finds lifts or elevator shoes or something telltale in your boots if you leave them lying about.
So you just never leave lying around elevator shoes or boots anywhere, stuff with lifts in, or anything that someone can look in, even in a wardrobe. It sounds obvious and in the normal course of events it’s very unlikely that someone WILL look – but you have to assume the worst and that someone will. They might just like the boots, see them there and just see what make they are or whatever. Would you be happy with that if lifts were in the boots? No? So don’t leave them there like that. Without the lifts in, they look just like normal boots.
Make sure lifts are out of your elevator shoes
You have to make sure that the lifts are OUT, EVERY TIME, that they are wrapped in something that is not see through. If you are taking your elevator shoes off outside of the home, then you put the package INSIDE your main bag you might be carrying, or a locker or whatever. I do this all the time – GuidoMaggi elevator boots come with lifts that can be removed and I remove them. End of. You just want to make sure that all people see, if they look, is a nice pair of quality normal looking boots.
It’s never happened to me. But it could one day, so be prepared and make sure they see nothing.
If you have someone to stay, kick the boots under the bed! Separate lifts not designed for boots (ones bought off the shelf and shoved in the heel) are always more of a liability – the ones in GuidoMaggi elevator shoes and boots are separate but designed to fit perfectly AS PART OF the structure of the footwear. This means that they do not look separate, but are! Still take them out if you can.
I have always worried more about separate standalone lifts – the sort you buy for a few dollars to stick in standard footwear. But I stress that I used them for years and never a problem there either.
Handling tricky situations
So, you have left your elevator shoes or boots out and someone has seen ‘something’ in the heel. Not wise but completely rescuable. Remember what I said about airports and carrying the flimsy insoles?
In your bag, you should carry an actual pair of light insoles like those standard ones you buy in pharmacies. If you have to, and only if you feel you have to, you merely say that you have to use these because your doctor says you should – it’s irrelevant that the ones in your elevator shoes or boots are bigger! The person who inadvertently spotted them will not actually know that!
It’s just a matter of hard practicality, not embarrassment. There is really no point at all on dwelling upon what is ‘true’ or not. The simple reality is that you are adding height though elevator shoes, you don’t want people to know, you have made a slip up and you need to cover it over. Period. Get over it. Move on.
Do not talk about height
As someone adding height and wearing elevator shoes, you should never ever give any indication that you are interested in height. You are, of course, but you must not say anything. This is because it leads people to think that you are concerned about your own height! And that focuses on the possibility that you might want to do something about it. Simple really.
Elevator shoes and boots are not detectable and it is not rocket science making sure you will never be found out. I myself am ultra determined never to be found out and I always wear 6” elevator boots or 5” elevator sneakers, occasionally the 4” pairs I have. So I am adding height at the very top end of the scale and have never been found out. Of course some will tell you that people might know you wear elevator shoes or boots and not be telling you – trust me, if people know, someone will want to tell you, someone will want to be the person to make the point. It has never happened to me and is very unlikely to because I follow a pretty straightforward approach to it.
It is down to your lifestyle and desires, and quality also counts. Find your own style and you can always be taller within the limits of that style. A result, surely?