Best Elevator Shoes Reviewed & Rated
You’re here because you’ve probably been concerned about your height and you want an easy, relatively discreet way to add a few inches. It may be that you want the self-confidence boost that being a little taller might bring (even though you’re already pretty remarkable). Maybe you’ve tried wedges or heels and they really didn’t jive with you. Or maybe you want to replace your favorite elevators because they’ve worn out.
Elevator shoes are a great option for people who don’t want to wear heels or wedge inserts, or can’t wear them. Elevators are reasonably discreet, and contrary to popular belief they aren’t always men’s dress shoes. Elevators can also be built into boots and other footwear, giving you quite a lot of options. Most elevator shoes are designed to into dress shoes or formal shoes designed for work though, and since you’ll be in them for long hours each day, they need to be comfortable.
- Calto A329013
- Formal Dress Oxford
- Chamaripa Oxford
- Rubber sole
- Oxford Style
- Calto G3305
- Stylish boot
Quality elevators are like building elevators – there are a very few companies who make them and even fewer who make them well. So we’ve scoured the internet for you, to find the 10 best elevator shoes that are on the market. The list has mostly dress shoes and formal footwear but also some very nice casual shoes and boots. We have assessed each and every shoe on the list for a number of factors that you will find in our criteria section. And, just in case, you have further questions, we have a detailed list of frequently asked questions (and their answers) below as well. And now without the need for further introduction, let’s meet our top 10:
10 Best Elevator Shoes
1. Calto A329013
This is a very stylish shoe with a graduated color from toe to foot, and faux crocodile printing along the lace up and collar. The life is very well disguised in a shoe that is suitable for the boardroom.
Magic is in the soles
The midsole in this shoe protects the insole from deterioration and also provides aeration for the whole shoe. The outsole of the shoe is also designed for comfort and is protective of the natural instep of your foot. The heel on the outsole is rubber but can be replaced at your preference.
Cost and Value
This shoe is in the mid-range on our list and for that price, you get a very stylish, discreet elevator that will increase your height by 3”. The leather upper and insole will leave your comfortable but be durable at the same time. This shoe will look great in a boardroom!
- 3” height increase
- Rubber sole
- Leather upper
- Crocodile detailing
- Very discreet
- Sizes run large
2. Chamaripa Oxford
The premium leather outsole is low-odor, flexible and very wear resistant. This lightly patterned outsole will last and provide decent traction on most surfaces.
The insole in this oxford conforms well to the natural curves of the foot and the arch. It is durable and padded for additional comfort. The shoe is also very breathable which keeps your feet cool, dry and comfortable.
Cost and Value
This shoe falls into the higher price range relative to the other elevators on our list. However, you are getting a lot of elevator-building experience with this shoe which will increase your height by a little more than 3” while providing stability, security and great comfort. You can work all day in this oxford and still feel great at the end of it.
- 3.15” height increase
- Superior comfort
- Leather upper
- Very breathable
- Natural rubber outsole
- Not available in wide
3. Calto G3305
This elevator shoe features great looks in a patent leather upper with metal eyelet lace-ups, perfect for work. It has an extra thick collar for comfort and plenty of shock absorption.
This appears to be a more substantial shoe than most of the others on our list. However, it is lighter than most. It’s constructed from lighter weight material where possible which reduces the fatigue on your feet.
Cost and Value
This is the least expensive shoe on our list. For a great price, you achieve 3.2” in height in a comfortable, protective, great looking shoe. It’s comfortable enough to be suitable for working all day and for casual activity as well. The traction is good enough for light hiking on trails as well. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy life!
- 3.2” height increase
- Patent leather upper
- Thick collar
- Metal eyelet
- Great for work
- White scuffs
4. Chamaripa Elevator X92H38
Chamaripa is committed to designing lifts that will not collapse and they do a great job of making that commitment. This shoe will stand up to whatever you throw at it without sinking.
Healthy foot design
This oxford has a polyether insole layer that is light, conforms to the shape of your arch and the natural lines of your feet, making it secure and comfortable - healthy for your feet.
Cost and Value
This shoe is in the higher range of prices on our list. For the money, you get a durable, comfortable shoe that is well disguised. No one will notice that this is an elevator. It is well engineered for the health and safety of your foot, from the elevator to the outsole.
- 2.76” height increase
- Comfort all day
- Business to formal
- Fits narrow
5. Calden MD001
Calden knows elevators and they’ve disguised their lifting sneaker into a work boot style shoe that is stable and comfortable enough to work in all day long. It’s durable for work as well.
Casual, rugged style
The ghillie lacing and rubber toe and heel caps give this shoe a rugged and casual style. The rubber is functional through, preventing scuffs and adding durability to the shoe.
Cost and Value
This sneaker is in the low end of the price range for shoes on our list. For a great price, you will enjoy all the comfort of a sneaker that is appropriate for many work situations, a rugged style, and a very durable, well-disguised lift. How can you go wrong?
- 4” height increase
- Synthetic leather
- Ghillie lacing
- Soft, padded collar
- Durable stitching
- Sizes run small
6. Calden K320021
You want the height but you also want to look good and this shoe will do it with brogue accent details all over the upper and two-tone full grain leather - pebbled across the vamp and smooth at the toe and heel. Beautiful!
High quality leather
Calden pays attention to detail and quality in the shoes that they make. The leather in this upper is high quality and will feel soft against your feet while being resistant to weather and durable.
Cost and Value
This shoe is priced in the mid-range which is quite a good value for a shoe with a well-disguised lift and versatile style. You will also appreciate the high-quality leather in this shoe and the multi-functioning soles that are designed to keep you comfortable all day.
- 3” height increase
- Quality leather
- Brogue accents
- Pebbled vamp
- Subtle elevator
- No wide sizes
7. Toto X7102
Keeping a style similar to that of an oxford, a closed lacing system ties the quarters of the X7102 together, giving it a clean appearance with sharp finish. Full grain leather uppers allow for durability, and may require some break in. Lightweight design helps to cut down on foot fatigue for all day or extended ear.
Four Inch Raise
The Toto X7102 allows for a full four inch increase in height, without looking like a platform shoe. It hides the lift within the inner sole of the shoe, so you can confidently take steps throughout the day. A leather lining is built in for added comfort, along with extra padding to cushion your steps. Rubber sole also provides great grip and traction, so you can dance the night away at your next formal event!
Cost and Value
Similarly priced to other elevator footwear on our list, the Toto X7102 is a great formal styled shoe for those in need of one. Oxford closed lace system gives it a clean look, and apron toe helps add sophistication. Quality leather uppers allow for durability, and all while a hidden four inch elevation raises your spirits!
4 Inch Raise
8. Calto G1827
The insole is a shock-absorbing leather that has a hidden increaser in it. Other aspects of the sole take on traditional aspects of the footbed and insole in a Cato elevator so the height increaser can remain discrete
The loafer has elegant moc stitching in the forefoot and is made of the finest, soft and supple leather. This looks like a shoe from an upscale menswear boutique for a reasonable price.
Cost and Value
This shoe is priced in the mid-range. For the price, you are getting a comfortable elevator shoe that will absorb shock, is discreet and elegant, and has a soft and supple leather. The 3” height gain in these shoes is mid-range for height increase that can be achieved with elevators.
- 3” height gain
- Moc stitching
- Supple leather
- Shock absorbing
- Cushioned heel
- Check size guides
9. Chamaripa Leather Sneaker
Uppers of the Chamaripa Leather Sneaker keep a luxe look with full calfskin leather uppers and pigskin linings, making them durable and comfortable. Soft flex in the leather allows for a unique fit over time, and perforations in the uppers allow for increased airflow, keeping your feet ventilated and cool. Perfect for casual outings, date night, or even work attire, you’re sure to gain some complements from this pair!
A thick rubber sole helps keep comfort in your stride, while a textured base allows for firm grip and traction, even on slick surfaces. A Polyether whole pad increases vertical height by almost 2.5 inches, while keeping good support in areas where you need it most. Lace up closure gives a snug yet adjustable fit, and its lightweight construction helps reduce foot fatigue for bouts of longer wear.
Cost and Value
Similar to other of Camaripa’s models, their Leather Sneaker really is worth a look if you’re a lover of leather, appreciate a rich appearance and love to stay up with trendy footwear. Perforated leather allows breathability, while this elevator gives almost a 2.5 inch increase in height. Great for casual, business, or kicking it around town with friends, it will leave you feeling confident in your strides!
Thick Cushion Sole
2.5 Inch Raise
No Higher Raise
10. Chamaripa Casual Sport
The Chamaripa Casual Sport keeps its height hidden, taking on the appearance of an average pair of sneakers. Whole Insole Elevator Layer will add an additional 2.76 inches of height, but also functions to keep you comfortable with every step. This insole conforms to the shape of the foot, with supportive arch features, so you’ll not just feel confident in your steps, you’ll be supported along the way as well.
The Casual Sport is created from soft leather, giving it a luxe look compared to other sneakers, and a stretch fabric, which helps keep some flexibility for fit and movement. The sole is ample for cushioning your walk, and a speed lace closure makes them easy to put on and remove. Padded collar and a heel tab help with comfort and fit, and it comes in a couple choice colors to choose one best for your individual tastes.
Cost and Value
Similar to other models of Chamaripa footwear, it’s averagely priced. When compared to other brands of fashion sneakers, it can seem more expensive, but is actually on par with the cost of a quality pair of running sneakers. For those looking for a bit more presence, the Casual Sneaker gives a modest boost in vertical without a noticeable heel or platform, and is great for anyone unfamiliar with, or just starting to wear elevator shoes.
Quick Lace System
2.76 Inch Raise
There you have it! Ten fantastic elevator shoes. Everyone is sure to find something to meet their needs and suit their preference on this list. You will notice that they are made by a limited number of manufacturers and to be straight up – there are other manufacturers out there, but to make our list the shoes have to meet certain criteria and only the top 10 made it through. You won’t go wrong with any of them.
To read more about our selection process, continue reading our criteria section below. Not only it will tell you about how we assess a shoe but it will also tell you a lot of information you should consider when choosing a good elevator.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Elevator Shoes
There are so many ways to add height through footwear – heels, wedges, inserts, platforms, for example. Because you are here considering elevator shoes we are taking an educated guess that you want the additional height that is discreet.
We have evaluated a number of elevator shoes and while many offer discretion, many others are quite obvious – with lines or extended heels and midsoles that are very visible. Each of the elevator shoes on our list is designed with a disguised lift for discretion. In every case, the upper for the shoe is designed in such a way to make the elevated heel less noticeable so what people will notice is your height and how great your shoes look and that’s it.
There are several ways to disguise an elevator in a shoe:
- Curved heel box – a smoothly curved heel box will mimic the natural lines of a heel which fools the eye into seeing a normal, nothing-to-see-here, shoe rather than an elevator.
- Smooth rise – a smooth and even rise from the toe through the heel is far less noticeable than a sharp rise, it is also much healthier for your feet and will give you a natural stand and gait.
- Decorative details – decorative features can also be used to direct the eye away from the heel and toward other aspects of the shoe – for example, brogue detailing, printed leathers and wingtips all do a good job of drawing the eye away from the back toward the front of the foot.
- Elegant stitching – Stitching is required to reinforce and strengthen most shoes that contain elevators. However, well-placed stitching placed in elegant lines will accomplish the reinforcement while appearing to be purposeful style details.
Elevated heels are not a natural position for the feet and can cause damage over the long-term. An elevated foot needs both support and cushion to remain healthy and strong.
There are several important things to look for when choosing an elevator, including the following support aspects:
- Heel and ankle support – Elevated heels can make heels and ankles unstable and can affect your balance. Look for shoes that have solid support around the ankle and a firm heel box to keep your heel in place and secure. Rubber soles will also take some of the shock-absorbing work from your heel reducing the risk of injury.
- Midfoot support – The midfoot is more important than many people realize in stabilizing the foot and it is the location of many serious injuries from wearing elevated shoes. The midfoot should be cushioned for comfort, but should also be supported in the arch. If an elevator has no arch support, you are likely to suffer midfoot strain and injury.
- Forefoot room and cushion – The forefoot should be wide enough to offer support to the balls of the feet and cushioned enough to not put pressure on the forefoot joints. Your forefoot should feel secure but never compressed at the front of the shoe.
- Toes – a common problem with elevated heels is that toe boxes are often too narrow for your toes to lay naturally next to one another. If the toe box is too snug, you could develop bunions or fracturing of the small bones near the forefoot joints. You should have a snug (like a hug) fit but anything tighter than that could cause damage.
There are also a number of ways to cushion the foot, some of which have already been touched on but also include:
- Cushioned insoles – insole cushioning is extra important in an elevated heel that you will wear for extended periods of time. Insole cushioning make the feet comfortable but also help to distribute your weight more evenly. Look for insoles that are shaped to the natural lines of the feet and are thick enough to not break down easily.
- Padded collars – your upper feet take a lot of stress in an elevated heel, padded collars help to increase comfort while reducing the risk of sores and blisters around the most sensitive skin on your foot.
- Ventilation – A cool, dry foot is comfortable and healthier than one that is overheated and damp. Not only does it keep the risk of microbial and fungal infection at bay, but a dry foot stays in place better, avoiding injury and stress.
- Removable insole – Removable insoles are important if you want to wear a custom insole or orthotic for personalized comfort.
- Cushioned midsole – the midsole should take some shock absorption but also should provide some cushioning for the feet, reducing stress and increasing comfort.
- Shock-absorbing outsole – the remainder of the shock absorption in a shoe should be taken by the outsole. It needs to be flexible enough to move but also elastic enough to take a beating for you.
A Note About Elevation
Obviously important in an elevator is its ability to increase your height. The shoes in our list range from an additional 2.36” to 4” in height. This is measured in additional height for most shoes (i.e. the normal heel is not included) and in other models as total height (the height of the lift plus the heel). For this reason, it is important to read the product descriptions for the shoe you are considering so you understand what additional height increase you can expect.
Elevating devices must be sturdy enough to not collapse but sufficiently soft that they don’t wear out or harm the heel. The shoes on our list have all demonstrated strength in the elevator and are from companies who specialize in making stable, functioning elevator shoes.
Q: Do elevator shoes fit “true to size”?
A: No, they do not fit true to size. If you normally wear a size 9, for example, there is no guarantee that you will wear a size 9 in an elevator. It is very important to check size guides and charts when choosing an elevator shoe as none of them is standard. Also in an elevator, it is important to measure the circumference of your foot at the midfoot to ensure the size you are looking at will not be too tight. Often users complain that a shoe is narrow or tight in their ‘normal’ size but the real problem is that the sizing charts were not used correctly.
Q: Only four manufacturers on this list? Why?
A: While there are several manufacturers that make height increasing shoes, there are very few that make them as well as the four in our list, who each specialize in making comfortable, safe, subtle and effective elevators. We set out to bring you the best and some just didn’t make the cut. We also ruled out shoes where the lift was visible or added only a minimal height.
Q: Will shoe lifts achieve the same effect?
A: Shoe lifts are made from foam, plastic or cork and will provide the same lift but with some disadvantages over a built-in lift. First, it can move around inside the shoe if it is not designed for the exact measurements of the shoe. Secondly, they are noticeable, especially if you have to remove your shoes to change them (for example, at a gym). Third, they are normally not as tall as internal lifts and finally, your ankle will sit above the support and comfort features meant for the heel and ankle in the shoe. This means a loss of stability and safety that could lead to injury.
Q: Is it safe to wear elevator shoes?
A: It is as safe or even safer to wear elevator shoes than it is to wear heels or inserts. What you need to keep in mind in all cases is that an elevated heel is unnatural for your foot so you should choose a shoe that is stable and secure. If you feel pain wearing the shoe, you should remove it and try a lower height or a more stable shoe. If you have been feeling severe pain or pain over a period of time, have your feet checked by a podiatrist as you may have sustained an injury.
Q: Can I work out in the sneaker versions of the elevators?
A: Elevator shoes are not recommended for any exercise more strenuous than walking, as injuries are far more likely with your foot in an elevated position. The sneaker versions of elevated shoes are designed for a casual appearance and the additional comfort that most people find in a sneaker, not for more impact than that.
Q: How noticeable are these? Really?
A: If you’re looking specifically for an elevator, you will see it but to a casual observer, the elevated nature of each of the shoes on our list are well-designed to be disguised and unnoticeable. A thorough reading of the reviews of these shoes backs up the idea that they are well-disguised shoes.
Q: I’m 5’2” and would like to be at least 5’6”. I’ve never worn elevators, inserts or heels before should I just go for the 4” elevators?
A: You could but we don’t recommend it. First of all, most of your friends, colleagues, and others will notice such a drastic height difference. If you were going for subtlety and discretion, it was lost. It’s recommended, to begin with smaller inserts to both see how they feel for you and to graduate in height over time. Most people will not notice a height change of a half inch to one inch at a time.
Q: Can I wear elevated inserts with the elevator shoes to maximize the height increase?
A: Humans are wonderfully capable of doing anything at all so yes, you could do this. However, it’s not recommended to wear an insert that is of any substantial height in an elevator show. An inch probably won’t cause you any difficult or injury but every inch in height above the elevator is going to substantially increase the risk of damage or injury. 4” is substantial for most people and can make a significant difference in confidence. However, more than that, with the risk of injury and the changes that will come to your gait and stance, make it completely unworth it. Also, if you can imagine placing your heels on a 6×6” timber while your toes are on the ground, you will quickly realize how unsteady and uncomfortable this would be. You’re already fantastic without the injury, trust us.
Q: Are elevator shoes just for men?
A: No, that would be silly, wouldn’t it? They are for anyone at all who wants the additional height along with the look, quality, and comfort of the shoe. Many of these shoes are marketed toward men because, in large part, they represent the market for elevator shoes but they certainly are not exclusive to one group of folks. If you like them and you want to wear them, go for it!
Q: Are elevator shoes just for shorter folks?
A: Not at all, it’s not about how tall you are but how tall you wish to appear. Elevator shoes are for anyone who wants the height and likes the look and feel of a particular shoe. That’s the beauty of a free world, isn’t it? Go for it!
Q: Where can I purchase the elevator shoes on the list?
A: We’ve provided links to the shoes on our list above. Remember to read the size charts and reviews to ensure you know the size to order and whether they fit narrow, wide, large or small.
Q: Can I wear inserts or orthotics with elevator shoes?
A: You can, yes. Most of the shoes on our list have removable insoles for that very purpose.
Q: Aren’t elevator shoes heavy?
A: Some are quite heavy yes, It does take some weight to make an elevator that will stand up to pressure and not collapse. However, there are many lighter weight elevator shoes that are comfortable. The lower the height increase, the lower the weight – which is also the reason that larger sizes of shoes weigh more than smaller sizes.
Q: Will I need a longer pant length with an elevator shoe?
A: No, that is not normally necessary, though it will depend entirely on the look you want to achieve. Remember that if your pants bunch on the bottom, they will draw more attention to your ankle and foot and therefore, your shoes.
Q: Will packaging be discreet if I purchase online?
A: We can’t guarantee the packing the shoes will come in but reputable manufacturers and resellers will be discreet in shipping any product that may be personal. You should check with the shipping policy with online sellers before you buy to be sure of discretion.
Q: How long will elevator shoes last?
A: All of the shoes on our list are designed to be durable. You are investing in these shoes so it is important you get long life from them. With normal, everyday use, the shoes should last more than a year. However, durability relies on care, exposure to weather, walking surfaces, stride types and more, so there is no way to be perfectly accurate on shoe length. With good care, they may last several years.