Elevator shoes are shoes designed to make a person look taller. They get their name from the fact they "elevate" the wearer. Although anyone can wear an elevator shoe, the ability to add height to a person means the shoes appeal most to individuals who are of a shorter stature. People who suffer foot discomfort from "flat foot" syndrome also enjoy these shoes because the heel elevation means the bottom of the foot doesn't need to stretch as much.
The key component of elevator shoes is the insole. The insole is thickened in the heel area. This forces the back of the foot to lift up; the entire foot angles downward somewhat. The insole can be made of cork, foam, plastic or rubber.
What makes elevator shoes different from regular shoes is that the elevating insole is not visible on the outside of the shoe. As a result, the fact the shoe is elevating is fairly inconspicuous. This is especially true if the wearer selects a longer pair of slacks that covers much of the shoe. Of course, this depends on the amount of elevation the shoe provides.
Elevator shoes can provide anywhere from one to four inches (2.54 to 10.16 cm) of elevation. Higher elevations are available but are less popular. This has to do with the fact the shoes become slightly less comfortable the more the foot has to angle, just as women's heels do as heel height increases.
An interesting point about elevator shoes is that they are more popular with men. This likely has to do with the fact women have many more elevating options available with regular heels than men do. Men do not want to look like they are wearing a heel in many circles, so the inconspicuous height boost available through elevator shoes is preferable.
A down side to wearing elevator shoes is that they make the hem of full-length pants appear shorter — fashion experts recommend that the hem cover the back of the shoe somewhat. Thus, if a person opts to wear elevator shoes, ideally he should select pants that have more length to continue the line of the leg. This creates a problem because the pants worn with elevator shoes become too long to wear with regular shoes.
Another consideration with elevator shoes is that they are less readily available in department stores compared to regular shoes. This does not mean a person cannot get them. It does mean that an individual might have to go online or have the shoes special-ordered based on his measurements, however. Ordering online can provide excellent shoes but provides a greater risk of an improper fit and the need for return-and-swap.