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The ULTIMATE Guide to Pageant Shoes

08, October 2018

There are hundreds of pageant shoes out there, so how do you know which pageant shoes are right for you? Picking the wrong pageant shoes can distract from your perfectly planned out outfit. Likewise, picking the right pageant shoes can give you that polished, simply royal appearance that you’re looking for. To help you make the right choice in pageant shoes, we’ve created the ultimate guide to pageants shoes.

Have questions? We have answers. Use the guide below to find the information you are looking for faster.

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant interview?

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant evening gown?

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant fun fashion?

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant swimwear?

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant fitness wear?

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant rehearsal?

What pageant shoes should I wear for a male pageant?

What pageant shoes should I wear for a glitz pageant?

Do I need to wear platform pageant shoes?

How can I break in pageant shoes before the pageant?

Photo: Instagram via @missteenazintl2018 Ali Jones

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant interview?

Princess

The interview portion of the pageant is very straightforward and low stress for this age group. The girls usually just go into a room, meet the judges and are asked some easy questions about their personal interests. The contestant’s personality is really what should be the focus of interview, so their outfit and pageant shoes should simply complement who they are.

The dress for interview is similar to what your child would wear to church, a special occasion or a semi-formal event. Depending on the pageant, the dress may even be more casual than that. If you are not certain what to put your child in, then be sure to read through the pageant’s website, any paperwork that you were given or speak to your director.

Even though your child should wear something that she really likes and feels like a princess in, do not put your daughter in anything that is over-the-top. Stay away from rhinestones, glitter, excessive ruffles, frills and fancy details. Save all of that kind of sparkly embellishment for the formal wear or fun fashion portion of the pageant.

A nice dress with ruffled ankle socks or knee socks and coordinating Mary-Jane style pageant shoes would be perfect. Even some cute flats or ballet slipper-style pageant shoes would be appropriate. Just make sure that the outfit is not too loud or overwhelming to your child.

Your daughter must be the focus of attention here, not her wardrobe. Make sure that she is comfortable and that she feels like her best self and she will do just fine!

Here are some examples of interview pageant shoes for this age group:

White Ballerina Shoes, Photo: pinkprincess.com

Devin McHenry by Marc Defang, Photo: marcdefang.com

Pre-Teen

The interview portion of the pageant is a little more serious, but still fun for the pre-teen age group. The girls usually meet the judges, either in a panel interview or in a round robin style. They typically complete some kind of application or personal bio and are asked questions about everything that they have written down including their family, friends, hobbies, school life and personal interests.

Because the interview is a bit more “grown up” in nature, the judges are expecting the contestants to have a more mature appearance, and that includes their pageant shoes. Prepare her for growing up by wearing a lady-like pageant shoe, but still make sure that she looks her age.

The dress for interview is similar to what your daughter would wear to church, a special occasion or a semi-formal event. Depending on the pageant, the dress may even be more casual than that. If you are not certain what to put your child in, then be sure to read through the pageant’s website, any paperwork that you were given or speak to your director.

Even though your child should wear something that she really likes and feels like a young lady in, do not put your daughter in anything that is over-the-top. Stay away from open toed sparkly sandals, brightly colored kitten heels, or anything with rhinestones, glitter, or fancy details that would be considered evening wear or that could be worn with a formal gown.

If she is wearing a suit or more conservative dress, a closed-toe, low-heeled pump in a neutral color would be perfect. If it is Spring or Summer and she is wearing a sleeveless or short sleeve dress, a mid-heel wedge would be ok.

Your daughter must be the focus of attention here, not her wardrobe, so her outfit and shoes should simply complement who she is. Make sure that she is comfortable and that she feels like her best self and she will do just fine!

Here are some examples of interview pageant shoes for this age group:

Kate Hendon. Photo: marcdefang.com

Saylor Porcaro. Photo: marcdefang.com

Jr. Teen

For the interview competition, you want your outfit to resemble the best version of yourself. However, this is not the time nor place for your favorite bedazzled pageant shoes. In this phase of competition, you want to be professional.

For Jr. Teens, we recommend wearing a closed-toe, kitten heel. The slight heel will give you some extra height and will improve your posture. Closed-toe pageant shoes are typically seen as more “business,” and are therefore seen more often in interviews. However, some open-toed pageant shoes could be worn in interview if they are still professional. Rounded and pointed toes are both common to see - wear whichever you prefer!

Esme kitten heel. Photo: jcrew.com

Teen

For the interview competition, you want your outfit to resemble the best version of yourself. However, this is not the time nor place for your favorite bedazzled pageant shoes; in this phase of competition you want to be professional.

For Teens, we recommend wearing a closed-toe, nude pageant shoes. The heel does not need to exceed three or four inches. The slight heel will give you some extra height and will improve your posture.

Closed-toe pageant shoes are typically seen as more “business,” and are therefore seen more often in interviews. However, some open-toed pageant shoes could be worn in pageant interviw if they are still professional. Rounded and pointed toes are both common to see- wear whichever you prefer! 

Wonder by Chinese Laundry. Photo: pageantplanet.com

Miss

For a Miss interview, a contestant should strive to be trendy and professional. This can be a hard balance to maintain because professional attire does not always follow trends. You have to know your pageant and what it prefers to choose the right pageant shoe. More conservative systems prefer something like the Wonder by Chinese Laundry, which is a closed-toe patent pump. 

Wonder by Chinese Laundry. Photo: pageantplanet.com

More fashion-forward systems allow you to wear pageant shoes that push the traditional idea of business attire. Even if your pageant allows for fun footwear, you want to stick to pageant shoes that won't distract the judges. They should be busy listening to your brillant ideas, not staring at your distracting pageant shoes. 

Patent Leather D'Orsay Pumps. Photo: charlotterusse.com

Mrs. and Ms.

Mrs. and Ms. should err more on the side of professionalism, rather than fashion-forward footwear. Judges expect older contestants to understand that the process is a job interview and dress accordingly. Find a nude pageant shoe that closely matches your skin tone. If you cannot find a nude pageant shoe, get a patent shoe and spray paint it to match your skin. Your pageant shoes for interview should not be extremely tall. The heel height of your pageant shoe should be a maximum of four inches to stay professional and put-together.

Pointed Toe Pumps. Photo: charlotterusse.com

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant evening gown?

Princess

Little girls at this age will be super excited about dressing up and looking like a little princess, so you can accommodate that wish, but please be conservative when selecting pageant shoes with heels for your daughter.

The judges would prefer that the girls are able to walk well when they are on stage rather than a girl having a large heel and walking like a giraffe. A child of six or seven does not require a heel, but more and more designers are creating a super low heel or a modified version of a kitten heel for this age group. Pageant shoes with a very low heel are ok for your child to wear if she is comfortable walking in them and there is no danger of her turning an ankle or falling.

If you do not wish to risk an injury, putting your child in a Mary-Jane pageant shoe or some kind of flat is perfectly acceptable. She can wear short socks with ruffles if her formal dress is not long.

Just remember, oftentimes, contestants are required to wear a floor length pageant dress that is age appropriate, so the look of the pageant shoe is not as important as how the shoe fits, what it feels like on the foot and how well the contestant can walk in it. If the judges cannot see the actual pageant shoe, then how much does it matter really?

The point of a dress pageant shoe with a long gown for this age group, is really just for the young lady to feel like she is “dressed up.” It is more for her state of mind, than anything else. If she feels like a beautiful princess, she will be more likely to behave that way while she is onstage.

Brands like Swe`a Pea & Lilli, Little Angels, Gwen & Zoe, L’ Amour and Mia Fashions all offer extensive selections of dress pageant shoes for girls of all ages. They are reasonably priced and come in a large variety of styles, colors and sizes.

Here are some examples of formal wear pageant shoes for this age group:

Flower girl high heel. Photo: adorablekidsdressup.com

Laila Simone. Photo: marcdefang.com

Pre-Teen

Girls at this age will probably be super excited about wearing high heels with her formal wear or evening gown, but please be conservative when selecting pageant shoes with heels for your daughter.

The judges would prefer that the girls are able to walk well when they are on stage rather than a girl having a large heel and walking like a giraffe. A shorter block heel or kitten heel style is more than enough height for a pre-teen. A low heel will still give her the illusion of wearing a heel but will allow her to walk gracefully and safely, which is the most important thing in this phase of the competition.

Remember, oftentimes, contestants must wear a floor length pageant dress that is age appropriate, so the look of the shoe is not as important as how the shoe fits, what it feels like on the foot and how well the contestant can walk in it. If the judges cannot see the actual pageant shoe, then how much does it matter really?

The point of a dress pageant shoe with a long gown for this age group, is really just for the young lady to feel like she is “dressed up.” It is more for her state of mind than the judges’ benefit. If she feels elegant, graceful and beautiful, she will be more likely to behave that way while she is onstage.

Brands like Swe`a Pea & Lilli, Little Angels, Gwen & Zoe, L’ Amour and Mia Fashions all offer extensive selections of dress pageant shoes for girls of all ages. They are reasonably priced and come in a large variety of styles, colors and sizes.

Aeowyn Holmes. Photo: marcdefang.com

Girls Silver Low Heel Glitter and Rhinestone Shoe. Photo: pinkprincess.com

Jr. Teen

In the evening gown competition, your pageant shoes should actually not be seen - in most gown styles, your dress should be long enough to cover your pageant shoes. However, while you are walking, the judges will catch glimpses of your pageant shoes, because they are at eye-level with them. It is important that your pageant shoes don’t distract the judges from your dress and overall look.

Ideally, your pageant shoes in this phase of competition are neutral-colored heels. As a Jr. Teen, you should keep the heel height lower than a Teen or Miss contestant would wear unless you can walk really well in the pageant shoes. Many Jr. Teens opt for a heel height of about three inches to ensure comfort while adding a little bit of height.

Queenie by Touch Ups is a sturdy pageant shoe that may be worn by Jr. Teens. While the heel height is four inches, the width of the heel and the straps make this a comfortable option for Jr. Teen contestants.

Queenie by Touch Ups. Photo: pageantplanet.com

Teen

In the evening gown competition, your pageant shoes should actually not be seen- in most gown styles, your dress should be long enough to cover your pageant shoes. However, while you are walking, the judges will catch glimpses of your pageant shoes, because they usually sit below the stage and are at eye-level with your feet. It is important that your pageant shoes don’t distract the judges from your dress and overall look.

Ideally, your shoes in this phase of competition are neutral-colored stilettos. There is no specific height that they should be because that depends on the length of your evening gown and your ability to walk gracefully in the pageant shoes.

Savannah by Johnathan Kayne. Photo: pageantplanet.com

Miss

In the evening gown competition, your pageant shoes should actually not be seen - in most gown styles, your dress should be long enough to cover your pageant shoes. However, while you are walking, the judges will catch glimpses of your pageant shoes, because they typically sit lower than the stage and are at eye-level with your feet. It is important that your pageant shoes don’t distract the judges from your dress and overall look.

In this phase of competition as a Miss contestant, you should aim to look tall, graceful and royal. You want to choose pageant shoes that help you achieve those long, clean lines and that height. If you are taller, you may be able to opt for a shorter heel while shorter women may go for a platform pageant shoe.

The Tippy Top by Chinese Laundry and the Suntan by Johnathan Kayne are great options for girls looking to achieve the height without an extremely uncomfortable heel height. A word of caution to those women with a slit in their pageant dress; wearing pageant shoes with a platform will disrupt the line of your leg and make you look shorter. Instead, opt for a dress without a slit or pageant shoes without platforms to keep you looking tall!

Suntan by Johnathan Kayne. Photo: pageantplanet.com

Tippy Tops by Chinese Laundry. Photo: pageantplanet.com

Mrs. and Ms.

In the evening gown competition, your pageant shoes should actually not be seen - in most gown styles, your dress should be long enough to cover your pageant shoes. However, while you are walking, the judges will catch glimpses of your pageant shoes, because they typically sit lower than the stage and are at eye-level with your feet. It is important that your pageant shoes don’t distract the judges from your dress and overall look.

In this phase of competition as a Mrs. and Ms. contestant, you should aim to look tall, graceful and royal. You want to choose pageant shoes that help you achieve those long, clean lines and that height. If you are taller, you may be able to opt for a shorter heel while shorter women may go for a platform pageant shoe.

The Tippy Top by Chinese Laundry and the Suntan by Johnathan Kayne are great options for women looking to achieve the height without an extremely uncomfortable heel height. A word of caution to those women with a slit in their pageant dress; wearing pageant shoes with a platform will disrupt the line of your leg and make you look shorter. Instead, opt for a dress without a slit or pageant shoes without platforms to keep you looking tall!

Suntan by Johnathan Kayne. Photo: pageantplanet.com

Tippy Tops by Chinese Laundry. Photo: pageantplanet.com

Another great option for classic elegance in pageant shoes is the Savannah by Johnathan Kayne. This has a heel that will give you a little extra height with some sparkle across the front of the foot.

Savannah by Johnathan Kayne. Photo: pageantplanet.com

What pageant shoes should I wear for fun fashion?

Princess

The first priority of any pageant shoe for outfit of choice, fun fashion or runway competitions for the princess age group is that the contestant must be able to walk well and complete any walking patterns or turns safely and gracefully.

There will not be a lot of choreography for children this young, but the contestant is still expected to be able to walk to her mark by herself. Once she hits the stage, the judging process begins. So, it is crucial that she is able to walk smoothly and easily without tripping over her pageant shoes or feeling awkward.

Outfit of choice and fun fashion are the most diverse of all of the areas of pageant competitions. You can have a lot of fun with this area, but don’t forget the basics of being able to walk well in the pageant shoes.

You really want to be able to carry the style of your outfit of choice all the way down to your pageant shoes, so really let your imagination go crazy. Many times in fun fashion competitions, the pageant will have a theme that they want the contestants to represent in their outfit and that includes their footwear.

Let her have an opinion

This is the time to be outlandish and creative, and this will likely be one of the most enjoyable times of the pageant for your little princess. Bust out the rhinestones and bright colors. Let her express herself here and allow her to really show her individuality.

Even though your child is young, she is quite capable of having an opinion and contributing to the concept of what she is going to model onstage for the judges. Getting her involved in the outfit choice helps her to own her performance and it will set the tone for the rest of the competition.

If your pageant does happen to have a theme and you cannot find the perfect pageant shoe to go with your outfit, do not be afraid to purchase a simple shoe and embellish it with decorations that reflect your theme. You can do this yourself or have a designer do it for you.

Here are some examples of fun fashion pageant shoes for this age group:

Girls Ankle Boots. Photo: adorablekidsdressup.com

Girls Gold High Heel Shoes. Photo: adorablekidsdressup.com

Fuschia Ankle Boots with Fringe. Photo: adorablekidsdressup.com

Pre-Teen

The first priority of any pageant shoe for outfit of choice, fun fashion or runway competitions for the princess age group is that the contestant must be able to walk well and complete any walking patterns or turns safely and gracefully.

Outfit of choice and fun fashion, in particular are the most diverse of all of the areas of pageant competition, but don’t forget the basics of being able to walk well in the pageant shoe. In these categories, you really want to be able to carry the style or the feel of your outfit of choice all the way down to your pageant shoes, so really let your imagination go crazy.

Many times in fun fashion competitions, the pageant will have a theme that they want the contestants to represent in their outfit, and that includes their footwear.

Let her have an opinion

This is the time to be outlandish and creative, and this will likely be one of the most enjoyable times of the pageant for your Pre-Teen. Let her express herself here and allow her to really show her individuality.

Even though your child is young, she is quite capable of having an opinion and contributing to the concept of what she is going to model onstage for the judges. Getting her involved in the outfit choice helps her to own her performance and it will set the tone for the rest of the competition.

If your pageant does happen to have a theme and you cannot find the perfect pageant shoe to go with your outfit, do not be afraid to purchase a simple shoe and embellish it with decorations that reflect your theme. You can do this yourself or have a designer do it for you.

Here are some examples of fun fashion pageant shoes for this age group:

Mia Fashions Perri Pink Wedges. Photo: pinkprincess.com

Crimson Freeman by Marc Defang. Photo: marcdefang.com

Jr. Teen

Outfit of choice or fun fashion is where you can rock the spunkiest, sparkliest pair of shoes that you own! This phase of competition is all about showing the judges who you are and your personal style!

However, even if you are an athletic girl, we still recommend wearing heels because it does a lot for your posture! The important thing is to coordinate your shoes with your outfit really well. The shoes probably shouldn’t be the main focus, but you can use them as a tool to highlight what you’re wearing!

If you pageant has a theme to this competition, don’t be afraid to get your pageant shoes involved in the theme. For example, if your pageant has a red, white and blue theme to the fun fashion competition, rock some star-spangled-worthy pageant shoes for competition! If your pageant does happen to have a theme and you cannot find the perfect shoe to go with your outfit, do not be afraid to purchase a simple shoe and embellish it with decorations that reflect your theme. You can do this yourself or have a designer do it for you.

Teen

Outfit of choice or fun fashion is where you can rock the spunkiest, sparkliest pair of pageant shoes that you own! This phase of competition is all about showing the judges who you are and your personal style!

However, even if you are an athletic girl, we still recommend wearing heels because it does a lot for your posture! The important thing is to coordinate your shoes with your outfit really well. The shoes probably shouldn’t be the main focus, but you can use them as a tool to highlight what you’re wearing!

Teens should focus on being trendy, sassy and showing their personality. Unique footwear is an easy way to do just that.

If you pageant has a theme to this competition, don’t be afraid to get your pageant shoes involved in the theme. For example, if your pageant has a red, white and blue theme to the fun fashion competition, rock some star-spangled-worthy pageant shoes for competition! If your pageant does happen to have a theme and you cannot find the perfect shoe to go with your outfit, do not be afraid to purchase a simple shoe and embellish it with decorations that reflect your theme. You can do this yourself or have a designer do it for you.

Faux Snakeskin Pointed Toe Pumps. Photo: charlotterusse.com

Rhinestone Pointed Toe Pumps. Photo: charlotterusse.com

Miss, Mrs. and Ms.

Outfit of choice or fun fashion is where you can rock the spunkiest, sparkliest pair of shoes that you own! This phase of competition is all about showing the judges who you are and your personal style.

However, even if you are an athletic girl, we still recommend wearing heels because it does a lot for your posture. The important thing is to coordinate your shoes with your outfit really well. The shoes probably shouldn’t be the main focus, but you can use them as a tool to highlight what you’re wearing.

Miss contestants should focus on being trendy, stylish and showing their personality. Unique footwear is an easy way to do just that. However, if your outfit of choice is bold and loud, a unique shoe could be distracting from your overall look.

Miss, Mrs. and Ms. contestants do not need to limit the heel-height to be age-appropriate like other age divisions. Feel free to wear sky-high pageant shoes or a simple three inch heel, so long as you can walk well in the shoes.

If you pageant has a theme to this competition, don’t be afraid to get your pageant shoes involved in the theme. For example, if your pageant has a red, white and blue theme to the fun fashion competition, rock some star-spangled-worthy pageant shoes for competition! If your pageant does happen to have a theme and you cannot find the perfect shoe to go with your outfit, do not be afraid to purchase a simple shoe and embellish it with decorations that reflect your theme. You can do this yourself or have a designer do it for you.

Savannah by Johnathan Kayne. Photo: pageantplanet.com

 

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant swimwear or fitness?

Jr. Teen

In the swimsuit competition we recommend gracing the stage in a pair of nude or see-through heels. The heel should be as high as you are comfortable with, and should be a skinny heel (no chunky heels or wedges). This height and color of the shoe will elongate your legs, helping you feel more confident on stage. We also highly recommend choosing a pair with straps because they make it much easier to walk in so you don’t have to worry about having a mishap on stage in your swimsuit!

Ankle Strap Dress Sandals. Photo: charlotterusse.com

Teen

In the swimsuit competition we recommend gracing the stage in a pair of high nude or see-through heels. The heel should be at least three inches, and should be a skinny heel (no chunky heels or wedges). This height and color of the shoe will elongate your legs, helping you feel more confident on-stage. We also highly recommend choosing a pair with straps because they make it much easier to walk in so you don’t have to worry about having a mishap on stage in your swimsuit!

Ankle Strap Dress Sandals. Photo: charlotterusse.com

Miss, Mrs. and Ms.

In the swimsuit competition we recommend gracing the stage in a pair of high nude or see-through heels. The heel should be at least three inches, and should be a skinny heel (no chunky heels or wedges). This height and color of the shoe will elongate your legs, helping you feel more confident on-stage. We also highly recommend choosing a pair with straps because they make it much easier to walk in so you don’t have to worry about having a mishap on stage in your swimsuit!

The Tippy Top by Chinese Laundry has been the go-to pageant shoe since Chinese Laundry began sponsoring the Miss Universe and Miss USA in 2012. The Tippy Top offers added height and straps to securing your pageant shoe and help create stability in your walk. 

Tippy Tops by Chinese Laundry. Photo: pageantplanet.com

What pageant shoes should I wear for fitness wear?

The fitness wear competition allows you to sport your comfiest pair of shoes - your tennis shoes! In most fitness wear competitions there is an element of running or doing some sort of physical activity while onstage, so while you want your pageant shoes to look cute, you want them to be comfortable too.

In this phase of competition, we like to see black or white shoes (whichever matches your outfit better), but you could also add a pop of color if it goes well with everything else you are wearing - a bright shoe could be fun with a monochromatic outfit!

Nike Tanjun Womens Running Shoe. Photo: jcpenney.com

What pageant shoes should I wear for pageant rehearsal?

Princess

Comfort is key when it comes to rehearsal pageant shoes for young girls. When you have to learn a walking pattern, turns or some kind of choreography, you want to be comfortable and safe. This is not the time to wear heels of any kind. A simple, comfortable sneaker or a pair of flats would be an ideal choice. 

When it comes time to do a dress rehearsal, you will want to wear whatever pageant shoes you have chosen to wear with your outfit for the actual pageant. When you wear the pageant shoes that you plan to wear with your evening gown, fun fashion or any other segment of competition, you will know exactly how it will feel to be onstage during the actual pageant.

Here are some examples of rehearsal pageant shoes for this age group:

Ivory Childrens Flat Shoes. Photo: pinkprincess.com

Libby Baird by Marc Defang. Photo: marcdefang.com

Ava Colindres by Marc Defang. Photo: marcdefang.com

Pre-Teen

Comfort is key when it comes to rehearsal pageant shoes for young girls. When you have to learn a walking pattern, turns or some kind of choreography, you want to be comfortable and safe. This is not the time to wear heels of any kind. A simple, comfortable sneaker or a pair of flats would be an ideal choice. 

When it comes time to do a dress rehearsal, you will want to wear whatever pageant shoes you have chosen to wear with your outfit for the actual pageant. When you wear the pageant shoes that you plan to wear with your evening gown, fun fashion or any other segment of competition, you will know exactly how it will feel to be onstage during the actual pageant.

Here are some examples of rehearsal shoes for this age group:

Mia Fashions Zoey Gold Shoes. Photo: pinkprincess.com

Olivah Rose by Marc Defang. Photo: marcdefang.com

Jr. Teen

We all know that rehearsals can be very long, tiring days, so you will want to wear a comfortable pair of shoes. When you are initially learning your opening number dance or walking patterns, it’s important to be comfortable. Eventually you should also practice in the pageant shoes you will be wearing during the pageant.

However, you don’t want to wear your feet out too much before the pageant, so remember to rest your feet when you can!

Nike Air Max Motion. Photo: jcpenney.com

Teen

We all know that rehearsals can be very long, tiring days, so you will want to wear a comfortable pair of shoes. When you are initially learning your opening number dance or walking patterns, it’s important to be comfortable. Eventually you should also practice in the pageant shoes you will be wearing during the pageant.

However, you don’t want to wear your feet out too much before the pageant, so remember to rest your feet when you can!

Nike Air Max Motion. Photo: jcpenney.com

If you do want to wear heels for pageant rehearsal, go with wedges instead of sky high heels. Wedges are typically more comfortable and therefore place less strain on your feet. 

Miss, Mrs. and Ms.

As older contestants, it is important to look pulled together, even in rehearsal. However, put-together does not have to come at the cost of comfort. Instead of automatically resorting to stilletos, invest in a cute pair of customized flats or comfortable wedges. You could even represent your pageant system pride with customized shoes.

Customized shoes from Shoe la Vie. Photo: Shoe la Vie Facebook

If you want the additional height without sacrificing comfort, you can look for comfortable wedges. Wedges are typically more comfortable and therefore less strain on your feet. 

What pageant shoes should I wear for a male pageant?

Girls can do anything guys can do, and apparently vice versa, because pageantry has become just as enjoyable for men as it is for women.

There are quite a range of different pageants that men can participate in, and they can vary somewhat as to the areas of competition. Some pageants are pretty straight forward and do not require many areas for their contestants to compete in. Other systems not only have five or so required aspects of competition, they also offer numerous optional for their candidates. Those optional categories can vary from pageant to pageant but some that are common are competing in sports, interview, runway fashion, social media, swimwear, formal wear, national costume, onstage question, fan favorite or online voting and photogenic contests.

Male pageants can include an amazing array of areas to participate in but the majority of pageants still concentrate their scoring on contestant introduction (which may or may not include a costume), the personal interview, fitness/swimwear, runway fashion and formalwear. Pageants for men can be considerably different than the typical pageants that women compete in. For one thing, the shoes that men wear play a larger part in the whole competition, rather than just being an accessory to an outfit.

Because fashion is such a pivotal part of the male pageant world, consideration for footwear is quite crucial. On the plus side, men’s shoes can often cross over between different styles of clothing and that gives male contestants a lot of flexibility. But, the downside is that it can often be confusing to determine what pageant shoe is appropriate for which area of competition.

We thought that it would be helpful, as well as a lot of fun, to explore the world of men’s footwear as it relates to pageantry. Since most pageants either allow their men to compete in bare feet or a standard shoe that all contestants wear during the swimwear or fitness round, for our purposes, we are only going to be looking at footwear for introduction, private interview, runway fashion and formalwear.

Contestant introduction

Every pageant has some kind of onstage contestant introduction, which may or may not include a costume. Usually if the pageant is at the national or international level, there is a costume contest. But, we will be concentrating on those pageants at the local or state level, or those that do not have a costume requirement.

More often than not, the pageant introduction will be part of the opening number and will be more casual with contestants just wearing jeans and white shirt or a t-shirt. In this case, when selecting footwear, almost anything goes. Some pageants have their contestants wear jeans and a t-shirt representing the pageant itself, so casual, good looking shoes fit the bill.

Appropriate footwear can be anything from a simple, low key classic pair of sneakers, slip on loafers, lace-up casual shoes like an oxford or boots like Timberland, Chukka or pull-on Chelsea style boots. You could even sport a pair of cowboy boots if that fits your taste and image. The footwear we advise against wearing are running or training shoes, especially a loud, colorful athletic shoe. Also, avoid hiking boots or anything that looks like a work boot.

Formal footwear like wingtips are also not a good idea since you will be wearing those during the formal wear competition. And, finally, absolutely no sandals or flip flops should be worn during this phase of the competition. Whatever you wear must be sharp, stylish and fashionable.

Timberland Side-Zip Boots. Photo: timberland.com

Timberland Boot. Photo: dsw.com

Fadd Oxford by Steve Madden. Photo: dsw.com

Private interview

Traditional business interview attire is most appropriate for your pageant interview; however, contemporary trends that still maintain the standard of professionalism are acceptable. Just try to stay on the more conservative side of contemporary fashion and avoid anything too avant garde or adventurous. There will be plenty of time to express your individuality and artistic sensibility when you get to runway fashion.

You can go with a classic suit, dress pant or a shirt and tie with a jacket or sports coat. If you wish to select a more modern look and wear slacks with a shirt and a sweater or vest, that’s totally fine. With regard to your choice of shirt, a collar will always be a bit more formal. The shoes that you should wear in an interview should always match the style of clothing that you are wearing.

For an interview you will choose either a more upscale, traditional look or a trendy, more fashion-forward ensemble. The footwear should absolutely complement the tone of that outfit. Here are some examples. If you choose to wear a suit or dress pants and sports coat, then go with a more classic shoe like a wingtip. The material of the shoe should be leather or patent of some kind.

Do not wear a lace up suede shoe with a suit. Be very careful that if you go with a more contemporary look, that you do not go too casual. An interview at a pageant is very similar to a regular job interview in a business environment. It is better to err on the side of formality when it comes to your wardrobe.

Classic footwear

August. Photo: moralcode.com

Contemporary footwear

Maxwell. Photo: moralcode.com

Runway fashion

Runway fashion showcases each contestant’s ability to model fashion befitting a real runway fashion show. The judges are going to consider each contestant’s choice of attire, their personal style, fashion-appeal and presence, as well as how confident you are while you’re on stage.

Runway fashion wardrobe choices should represent the fashion industry’s standards of appropriateness and design. You want to wear something that is not just flattering for you, but is also tasteful, current and relevant. In these categories, you really want to be able to carry the style or the feel of your outfit of choice all the way down to your shoes, so really let your imagination go. This is the time to express your individuality and artistic sensibility and be really creative. Express yourself here and really show your individuality.

The only thing to avoid is any outfit that resembles formalwear. You don’t want to replicate what you will be showing the judges in the formal wear competition. Additionally, make sure that what you wear is creative but not a costume. Your runway fashion must be functional as apparel. It’s ok to be over the top with your look, but please take it seriously. This is not the time to go out on the stage with a cape and mask.

David Bondarchuck by Marc Defang. Photo: marcdefang.com

Men's Buckle Dress Shoe. Photo: grimentin.com

Formalwear

Formalwear is akin to the evening gown competition in women’s pageantry. It is the time in the pageant where the judges get to see you as a gentleman and a man who is regal and polished. Your formalwear presentation should project your attractiveness and composure as well as your charm and sophistication.

Just as in women’s pageants, the judges are not necessarily scoring your wardrobe selection, but they are looking at the manner in which you carry yourself as a man and often as a professional model. It’s crucial that your formalwear choice not be business attire. You really want to focus on evening wear throughout this aspect of the competition.

This can sometimes be a bit confusing to men, so you really want to do your homework here. Most often in men’s pageants, the majority of contestants select a few classic colors for their formal wear such as black, dark blue or burgundy. Of course, you want to choose a look that aligns with the brand of your particular pageant system. So if your pageant is more fashion forward, then feel free to go with formal wear in white, purple, gray or a print fabric. 

Once you have decided on what clothing you’re going to wear, then find a shoe that compliments the color, style and overall feel to complete the look. Your look should also represent your personality and who you are as a person. You may select something that is classic, trendy or high-fashion; whatever genre most accurately reflects who you are.

Mens Black Dress Shoes. Photo: grimentin.com

Dennis Gleason. Photo: marcdefang.com

Celebrity shoes by Marc Defang. Photo: marcdefang.com

What pageant shoes should I wear for a glitz pageant?

We all know that pageant shoes can tie together an outfit and add to the overall style and appeal of our attire. Not unlike our everyday apparel, specific shoes for pageantry can complement or distract from our gown or outfit. Picking what shoes to wear for your glitz pageant can be just as important as picking your dress. There are certain standards and guidelines when it comes to glitz pageant shoes that are based on category and age. Check out the tips and tricks below, to be certain you are purchasing the correct pageant shoes for glitz pageantry.

Overall Tips

Before moving on to specific shoes, here are some quick tips to help with purchasing and maintaining your glitz shoes.

  • Dress shoes tend to run small. So, if ordering shoes online, order two sizes - your true street size and then another pair that is a half or whole size larger.
  • Always check your online store return policy prior to ordering and keep all appropriate packaging including tags, barcodes and receipts intact.
  • Try on your pageant shoes on a carpeted floor to avoid scuffs. Also, try on pageant shoes with the appropriate type of sock or a nylon no-show sock. Trying on shoes with the correct sock will ensure proper fit and keep the shoe from picking up any odors.
  • Magic Erasers for Mary Janes are always good to have in your pageant box for those last-minute accidents prior to going on stage. To keep your shoes looking new for as long as possible and scuff free, keep socks (any kind) over your pageant shoes at all times except for onstage.
  • Bringing a part of your outfit (a fabric scrap or a bow from custom made attire) with you to try shoes on in the store will ensure perfect matches in color and pattern.
  • To keep a shoe from slipping due to sweat, try a dash of baby powder inside the shoe prior to placing on the foot.

Glitz beauty

Usually seen as the most important category in glitz pageantry, your beauty shoes are as specific as they come. Dependent upon your age and style of dress, your beauty shoes should follow the glitz guidelines, as well as fit you and look new.

For ages under 10, and sometimes up to age 12 your standard shoe for the glitz beauty category will be white Mary Janes. Mary Janes are the standard for glitz beauty shoes as they complement each child’s dress, do not distract from modeling, are easy to model in and easy to find. Mary Janes are the perfect pair to a two-piece cupcake dress or baby doll dress. Your Mary Janes should be either smooth white leather or patent leather white. For infants and children not able to fully walk yet, purchase a ‘crib’ shoe similar to a white Mary Jane style shoe. Shoes should not have any embellishment or as little as possible (such as flowers, rhinestones or bows) on them and should be a Velcro or buckle style enclosure. The most used brand for glitz Mary Janes style shoes is Nina’s.

“I have tried and seen many brands from $10-$50 shoes," Danielle Lightsey, a pageant mom and director of Sparkling Diamond pageants, said. "My favorite brand would have to be our Nina’s. They are durable and just complete the whole pageant look. They are on the pricey end but I've found a great time to buy and stock up for the next year is Black Friday (as) they are 50% off.”

Ruffle white socks are the most acceptable type of sock to be paired with your beauty shoe for ages 0-12. This particular sock brings some fun to your shoe without distracting and keep the shoes from rubbing. Recently contestants aged 10-12 will chose to wear white socks without the ruffle. This is a recent change and is still getting mixed scores from judges. A great place to purchase your white ruffle socks is from your local Dollar Tree store or wholesale beauty store. If one of those stores is not an option, look below for a link on where to purchase them online.

White Mary Jane Crib Shoe (Infants/Under size 6). Photo: maisonette.com

Nina Bonnet Smooth Leather White (Mary Janes). Photo: ninashoes.com

Nina Lil Seely patent leather white. Photo: ninashoes.com

Socks. Photo: puddlescollection.com

Once a contestant reaches the ages of 10-12 or their beauty dress changes from a two piece to a high-low, peak-a-boo or long formal gown, their pageant shoes for beauty will also change. Some contestants will continue to wear a cupcake dress and their white Mary Janes until age 12. Those contestants who have changed their dress style will also need to change their pageant shoe style.

Pageant shoes from ages 10-16 are not as rigid as in younger ages. Contestants now have more wiggle room to pick from a wider range of styles, as long as the color and style complement their dress and do not distract from their gown and modeling. As mentioned before, contestants may still use their Mary Janes in certain ages.

Other contestants will choose from clear ‘Cinderella’ heels, fancy heel sandals or fancy heels. Clear Cinderella shoes come in many different styles. A ‘Cinderella’ type shoe is perfect for a glitz beauty dress because they are unique, don’t disrupt from the dress but yet are cute and formal. Brands like Benjamin Walk offer Cinderella shoes in the plain form with breathing holes and cushion for comfort.

Plain or rhinestone embellishments are acceptable but should not overwhelm the pageant shoe. Try to stay away from large décor like butterflies and flowers. Cinderella shoes at this age should be closed toe with a small heel or no heel at all. Socks are not worn with these types of shoes.

Clear Cinderella Shoes. Photo: benjamin-walk.com 

Fancy heeled shoes add in another option for glitz beauty shoes. A fancy heeled shoe will help add to the wow factor of the dress and give you more style choices for your footwear. When browsing for this type of shoe try to stay with silver or gold toned shoes, whichever will match the dress the best.

When choosing a shoe for beauty ages up to 12 and over, take into consideration the color of the dress, color of embellishments, crystals, length of dress, height of heel and comfort level of the contestant. Fancy heel shoes for this age are typically open toe, low heel and with a buckle or elastic closure. Rhinestone embellishments are perfect as long as they add to the appeal of the shoe and are not detracting.

Touch Ups offers several options for glitz beauty shoes including Missy Vinyl and Scott Champagne (also available in silver). These styles are great because they are the first phase in coming out of the younger divisions where they all wear the same shoe. They also give the contestant more of a choice for their footwear with different metallic color options and styles.

Missy Vinyl by Touch Ups. Photo: benjamin-walk.com

Scout Champagne by Touch Ups. Photo: benjamin-walk.com 

For your over 16 aged contestants there are three essential types of shoe to choose from; a formal heeled pump or sandal, a nude shoe and your Cinderella vinyl shoe. A formal heeled shoe is going to give you many more color and style options then a nude or Cinderella shoe.

When choosing a formal shoe your options run from toe closure options like open toe, straps, peep toe and full closed toe. You can choose a shoe that matches in color to your shoe or has embellishments or has shine to it. The Alyssa Gold shoe from Benjamin Walk is an excellent choice for your formal event in glitz beauty. With it’s gold sheen and two and a half-inch heel, it can be worn comfortably by any contestant and adds shine to your overall look.

Alyssa Gold by Touch Ups. Photo: benjamin-walk.com

If choosing a nude heel you also have options in toe closure similar to a colored formal heel. The Queenie heel from Touch Ups is currently the highest trending shoe for formal wear in glitz pageantry and natural pageants as well. Queenie has a unique strap design and a higher heel for older competitors. The nude color does not take away from your gown and is affordable.

Queenie by Touch Ups. Photo: pageantplanet.com

Austria by Johnathan Kayne is another option for a nude shoe. Austria has a bit of embellishment with a thin heel and strap enclosure. This style is perfect for the contestant that will not mind investing a bit more for their footwear and likes a little more sparkle. Whichever shoe you choose make sure the fit is perfect as with a nude shoe, any issue with fit or feet sliding is more noticeable.

Austria by Johnathan Kayne. Photo: benjamin-walk.com

“Natural” beauty

Many national level and some local glitz pageants offer a Friday night event for natural beauty. During this event, contestants are asked to wear minimal makeup, toned down hair, an outfit (dress, pant suit or romper) with little to no stones, but are allowed to utilize their glitz modeling routines. Many of these outfits will be custom-made and others will be a formal gown or outfit purchased from a pageant or prom store or large department store like Dillard’s or Macy’s. During this event contestants can choose from many different types of shoes.

Younger contestants often wear a Sunday’s best shoe or a satin ballet flat. When picking out a fancy shoe for your natural portion be sure to choose something that lacks large embellishments but has assets of shine and that there is little to no heel. The Nina brand of shoes has many choices for natural shoes like Zelia (also comes in gold) and Charleen. Zelia is a great choice because it has small embellishments, a lower heel and is fully closed toe which helps with the young age division in their modeling.

Zelia shoes. Photo: ninashoes.com

Charleen is also closed toe and has a fun ankle strap that adds some flair.

Charleen shoes. Photo: ninashoes.com 

There are two very popular choices for a satin ballet flat. Touch Ups offers Gypsy, a ballet flat with lace up ties, or a slipper without ties. Gypsy is an excellent choice because of its lace up ties that will remind any girl of a ballerina and insinuates innocence and youth. Ballet flats can also be custom dyed to match your outfit or kept white.

Children’s Ballet by Touch Ups. Photo: benjamin-walk.com

Gypsy Satin White by Touch Ups. Photo: benjamin-walk.com

For older contestants, age 10 and up, pick an age appropriate heel with some shine that adds to the overall appeal of your dress. Don’t be afraid to pick a color that compliments your outfit or stick to a nude or metallic colored shoe. Flats are appropriate for this event until age 12 and heels are allowed for older ages. Nina’s offers a flat shoe, Larabeth, in many different colors. This shoe is closed toe with a sweet bow and a strap across the top of the foot. Its design makes it very easy to model in and the choice of different colors with help any contestant choose the correct shoe.

Larabeth shoes. Photo: ninashoes.com

Touch Ups are always a superb choice for this event with their Gypsy flat or Melanie silver strappy heel. The Gypsy flat as mentioned before has cute lace up ties that can be tied into a bow or left as a knot and are fun to wear.

Melanie Jr. Silver by Touch Ups. Photo: benjamin-walk.com

Contestants over the age of 16 can choose a shoe similar to their glitz beauty event. However, overly busy or embellished shoes for this event will be too distracting. Sticking to a more basic pageant shoe will be an excellent addition to your natural beauty outfit. Just be sure to find a heel and style that adds to the overall appeal of the dress and contestant. The Antonia in white satin from Touch Ups is a classic shoe to wear with any natural dress. It adds a certain amount of old school class with its satin white sheen and peep toe element.

Antonia by Touch Ups. Photo: benjamin-walk.com 

The Dyeables Cali shoe in taupe is also a great choice. It can give the appearance of an elongated any leg with its strappy open toe design. The taupe color looks great with your glitz tan and French pedicure.

Cali by Dyeables. Photo: pageantplanet.com

Casual wear

The casual wear event is the portion of a glitz pageant that showcases high energy modeling and cute over the top boutique like outfits. Shoes for this event are going to be solely based on the outfit. Since many casual wear outfits are custom-made, most designers will include pageant shoes with your order. When shoes are not included, make sure to choose a shoe that goes with the overall flow of your outfit and that is comfortable.

Many competitors will choose a flat shoe which color complements their outfit, such as booties with a small heel and a fun embellishment like fur or a nude heel for the older girl that does not take away from a fancy short set or fun cocktail dress. A fun flat to complement your casual wear can be purchased for at your local Walmart for under fifteen dollars.

Braxlii Lightsey. Photo: Ragz2Riches Photography

If you invest a bit more money you can get longer use out of your shoe and often a wider selection. Karla, a shoe style offered from Nina’s, has many color and size options to fit your casual wear shoe needs. It has a strap on top of the foot for added support and a great inner cushion.

Karla shoes. Photo: ninashoes.com 

You can also always DYI a white flat shoe with Apple Barrel paint, a little glue and a sponge paint brush.

Booties are also a good choice for casual wear footwear. Although some may think of booties for fall and winter, a cute white bootie would complement a capri short set or jeggings in a sassy new way. Pick a bootie that fits well, matches the outfit and has something to draw the eye in like fur, ties or a cute little wedge heel.

Evelin by Nina, has a cute bow, some shine and a low heel perfect for fast paced-modeling. Evelin is a really fun calf length boot that any little girl will want to wear many times and enjoy wearing at her pageant. For the older competitor a nude heel can be used again for your casual wear outfit. Any of the nude heels mentioned above from Benjamin Walk, Fabulicious or Johnathan Kayne would work well.

Evelin by Johnathan Kayne. Photo: ninashoes.com 

A nude shoe is an excellent choice because they don’t take away from your outfit and are easy to pair since they don’t have any shine or embellishments. Our younger age divisions will often pair their flats or booties with knee high socks which can be found at your local Payless or Walmart. You can also purchase them online at Smocked Auctions. Knee high socks not only help keep your shoes in great condition but add a little flair to your overall outfit.

Ballet flat. Photo: sears.com

Swimwear

Swimwear is perhaps the easiest category to pick a shoe for as most swimwear outfits won’t use a shoe at all. You can add a fabric tie to the ankle with a decorative embellishment that comes with the outfit, if it is a custom set.

If you are choosing to not wear shoes for swimwear make sure to lotion your legs with baby oil or your favorite moisturizer and use your Sally Hansen’s French Tip pedicure set for the perfect toenails. French tip pedicure and manicure add to the overall class of a contestant at any age. A clean French tip nail never goes out of style and blends well with any tan.

Sally Hansen’s French Manicure Nail Polish Set. Photo: ulta.com

Older age divisions may wish to wear a fun strappy heeled sandal or nude platform. Stay away from sandal slides or flip flops as they are not as easy to model and walk in due to the lack of closure or straps on the ankle and upper foot. Chinese Laundry offers a cute nude platform in style Tippy Tops. The design of Tippy Tops makes this a perfect choice for your older contestant.

Tippy Tops by Chinese Laundry. Photo: pageantplanet.com 

Benjamin Walk offers Breeze as an option for a strappy sandal. The fun design of Breeze adds a little dimension to any swimwear but blends into your tan as well.

Breeze by Touch Ups. Photo: benjamin-walk.com 

You can also choose a colored heel that matches your swim wear like the strappy open toed option from Charlotte Russe. The blue strappy sandal from Charlotte Russe is for the contestant that doesn’t mind standing out and wearing something less traditional.

Charlotte Ruse strappy sandal in blue. Photo: charlotterusse.com

Talent and Outfit of Choice

Talent and outfit of choice (OOC) shoes are going to be the hardest outfits to pair with shoes. Since many OOC themes are very unique, how you go about choosing your shoe will really depend on the theme and overall look for your theme.

Pre-Teen Competitor Layla Oliver in her OOC with black boots. Photo: Marcus Perryman

“Pageant shoes can vary in type for other categories such as OOC, casual wear, talent, and interview," Pageant mom, former contestant and director of Belles and Bows Pageantry, Katie Flores said. "For OOC I look at the outfit and go with a shoe that would best fit the theme. My daughter has a baseball themed OOC. With this outfit I decided on a high-top sneaker and added stones to them to give them the extra pop!”

If you are doing a spunky high energy modeling routine with your OOC, a fun boot like Whitney from Nina will be easy to walk in. Whitney has a lot of support at the ankle and back of the leg for those high energy jumps and turns in your OOC or Talent routine. It is also very cute with its embellishments, and who doesn’t love a cute shoe!

Whitney Shoe. Photo: ninashoes.com

Talent will depend mostly on what kind of talent you are showcasing. If you are a dancer or gymnast then be sure to wear the appropriate dance shoe for support. One of my favorite online dance supply stores is Discount Dance. They often have free shipping and are amazing with returns. You can also ask your choreographer where to purchase stage ready-shoes or hop into your local dance supply store.

2018 America's True Beauties contestant Mehayle Elliot in her Talent attire. Photo: La Belle Fille

Interview

Next to glitz beauty, interview can also be a very important portion of the pageant. Some interviews are onstage and in that case typically in your beauty dress with your beauty shoes. In the case where you have a t-shirt style interview, Keds are the best option for footwear.

Pair your white Keds with a well-fitted pair of shorts or a skort for perfect points on attire. Keds don’t add much to an outfit which is what you want for your interview shoe. During interview you want all the focus to be on your personality and answers. A simple shoe like Keds is the perfect match for interview.

Keds. Photo: keds.com

Older competitors may wish to use a white or nude pump or flat that matches the t-shirt or bottoms. Again, you can utilize your nude shoes from swim, casual or natural beauty. Worthington, as seen at JCPenney, has a perfect white strappy heel for your interview attire. The Worthington pump adds a little bit of flair with it’s two strap closure and cut thin heel.

Worthington pumps. Photo: JCPenny.com

Do I need to wear platform pageant shoes?

Something odd has happened in pageantry over the last few years and it’s kind of getting out of hand. Pageant contestants are wearing extremely high platform pageant shoes. This is happening not only during every phase of pageant competition, but pretty much at all times, whether they are competing or not.

The Tippy Top shoe, made by Chinese Laundry became the official shoe of the Miss USA and Miss Universe competition in 2012 and it changed the game of swimwear in particular. It also changed the look of other areas of competition as well. Now, every pageant girl has a pair of Tippy Tops, either the original or another designer’s version.

Tippy Top by Chinese Laundry. Photo: pageantplanet.com

There is nothing inherently wrong with wearing this shoe, during competition or otherwise, but one of the problems is that a lot of the newer contestants now think that you MUST wear this shoe for all phases of the competition and that is just not true.

Every phase of competition has its own look and requirements. It is important for a contestant to be consistent with their look and their own personal brand throughout every competition so that the judges really understand who you are. The problem with wearing a platform shoe, in particular a Tippy Top style the entire time, is that you lose your individuality and you run the risk of looking just like everybody else.

Platform pageant shoes in pageant interview

This is particularly true in the interview portion of a pageant, especially as an adult competitor. What you choose to wear for interview says a lot about you as a woman, and it demonstrates how you view the corporate world and being a business professional.

What you wear to interview communicates to the judges how you might possibly look if you were to have an interview with the media, should you be chosen as the. They want to be certain that you understand the pageant’s brand, how to present yourself well and that you are tastefully fashion forward. And, when you show up wearing a six inch platform shoe, you are saying that you may not know how the corporate world dresses and what is appropriate for a professional look.

Wearing a platform shoe in your pageant interview is not necessarily wrong, but it does certainly show a lack of imagination and some judges are tired of seeing it. There are literally thousands of other gorgeous, trendy pageant shoes out there that you can choose beside a Tippy Top or platform heel. You have so many more options for fashionable and fun footwear available to you!

You want to be communicating to those judges that you are a woman who is an original thinker, not just a follower or a cookie cutter contestant. Why not use this opportunity to wow the judges with your outfit and pageant shoe choice? Select a pageant shoe that actually complements your outfit and gets the judges’ attention in a positive way. Show them that you enjoy fashion and that your personal style is unique and decidedly original.

Jorge Esteban, world famous pageant interview coach and pageant director says that one of the biggest mistakes that younger contestants, especially teenagers make when they go into their pageant interview is to wear Tippy Top shoes.

So many judges cringe every time they see this and they wonder if you are aware of how you look, because you do not look like a teen. Judges do not care about your heel height in interview. What they want to see is a confident young lady, who is well-groomed and has a sense of self. They don’t want to see a girl who doesn’t know herself, does not know how to dress her body and has no clue about her personal style.

Pageant coaches are great aren't they? Find one for your next pageant in our Pageant Directory!

Jorge Esteban. Photo: Pageant Smart

If you have been stuck in the Tippy Top rut and you have that shoe or a similar one in seven different colors and that is ALL that you wear when you are dressed up or at a pageant, you need to re-examine your style choices. The most exciting thing about pageant shoes is that they come in so many different styles, colors and heel heights. Why not explore the world of pageant shoes and branch out a bit?

How can I break in pageant shoes before the pageant?

Breaking in pageant shoes, especially the higher-heeled shoes, is really about doing two different things: breaking in the shoe itself and then breaking in your feet and ankles so that you can wear them safely and comfortably.

Breaking in your pageant shoes is just a matter of wearing them as much as possible. By wearing your pageant shoes around the house, while you’re doing laundry or cleaning, for instance, you begin to get comfortable moving in them on different types of terrain. You also learn to control your body and your balance.

How to fix shoes that are too tight

Tight shoes are a very common issue with new pageant shoes. When a new shoe is too tight, it is most often around the toe box area. The toe box area is the area of your foot beginning where your foot bends to the end of your toes. Something you can do if your new pageant shoes are a bit tight is to stretch them out. You can take them to a professional cobbler to have that done or do it at home on your own.

If you are doing it at home, there are a couple tips and tricks to stretch out your pageant shoes. Many girls wear a pair of thick socks to stretch out their shoes. While this is a good way to stretch out shoes that are too big, it may accidently stretch your shoes out too much.

A better way to do this is to put on a thin ankle sock and then unfold it off of your heel and back over your toes. The sock will stay only on the toe box area and stretch out the rest of your pageant shoe. Try using the ankle sock technique while you are wearing your new shoes around the house to stretch out your pageant shoes.

Work on your feet

While wearing in your pageant shoes is important, it is just as important to prepare your feet. You “break in” your feet and ankles not by just walking around in your shoes, but by stretching your feet and ankles adequately before you actually wear them.

Most of us are not used to wearing super sky-high heels, other than when we are competing in a pageant. If you are new to pageants or new to wearing heels over four inches, you will have to get your feet and ankles strong and flexible enough to wear them.

Wearing high heels is a very unnatural thing for the body, and even though women enjoy wearing heels, most of us do not take proper care of our feet, ankles and knees. Over time we can develop chronic problems related to wearing high heeled shoes. If you do not properly prepare your feet and ankles by stretching and strengthening them, you run the risk of serious injury or just plain not looking confident while you’re walking on stage.

Ankle and foot stretches

There are a number of different stretches that you can do to make your feet and ankles more flexible so that they can withstand walking and standing in heels over the course of a pageant. Acclaimed Pageant Coach, Michelle Fields makes it a priority to teach her clients proper stretching techniques so that they can wear pageant shoes during a long pageant weekend without pain or discomfort.

“Your feet are bones, tendons and muscles, just like the rest of your body,” Fields says. “Aside from the ball of foot pain endured by high heel wearers, there is also the risk of ankle injuries. Some foot strengthening exercises can help.”

Standing foot flex

“Do standing foot flexing,” Fields said. “Holding on to something for support and in bare feet, raise up on the balls of your feet and return to a flat foot position. For extra stretch, do these on a book or stair and flex all the way down into your heels. Draw the alphabet with your foot elevated. This will strengthen all the muscles in your feet.”

You can also do this seated with a resistance band. Sit down with one leg stretched out in front of you. Place the resistance band over your foot and alternate between flexing your foot and pointing your toe.

Photo: POPSUGAR

Top of foot stretch

Fields also suggests a combination “Top of Foot/Calf Stretch” for additional benefits.

“Leaning against a wall or a sturdy piece of furniture, stretch one foot back and lift the other off the floor,” said Fields. “Touch your toes to the floor and roll your ankle forward touching the tops of your toes to the floor. Lean forward and press your back heel down to create a calf stretch. Do not bounce. Hold for about 20 seconds. Alternate legs.”

Pageant coaches are great aren't they? Find one for your next pageant in our Pageant Directory!

Michelle Fields. Photo: Michelle Fields

Calf raises

Another great way to strengthen your feet and ankles through calf raises. Start with your feet hip-width apart and raise yourself up on the balls of your feet and lower yourself back to your flat foot.

Photo: POPSUGAR

Another variation of this standard exercise is the external rotation calf raise. Position your feet hip-width apart, then turn your toes outward at about a 45-degree angle. Raise yourself up on the balls of your feet and lower yourself back to your flat foot.

Photo: POPSUGAR

Yet another variation of this standard exercise is the internal rotation calf raise. Position your feet hip-width apart, then turn your toes inward at about a 45-degree angle. Raise yourself up on the balls of your feet and lower yourself back to your flat foot.

Photo: POPSUGAR

Take the time to prepare your feet before your next pageant so that you do not have to worry or be self-conscious the next time you go onstage in your pageant shoes. The last thing you want to be thinking about during pageant weekend is your pageant shoes!

Remember that those amazing girls who glide around on stage, twirling and strutting effortlessly did not get that way overnight. They make what they do look so easy, but it took them a lot of time and work to get to where they are. The best queens, titleholders and stand out contestants are the girls who respect themselves and take care of their bodies, including their feet.

Products to help you with your new pageant shoes

There are an array of different products on the market that will help you with your new pageant shoes, as well as help you deal with any issues that you are experiencing. Numerous manufacturers offer a variety of foot products. If one product does not work well for you, try another style of the same product or try another brand. Most of the problem-solving foot products mentioned in this article come in different styles or are made with different materials.

All of these products are very similar and are most often made with gel, moleskin, leather, microfiber faux suede and plastic materials. You may discover that one of the products didn’t work well for you in faux suede but totally solves your problem in a gel style.

In our experience, going with a trusted brand with a long history of producing quality footwear solutions is your best bet. Don’t just try to save a buck or two and go with an unknown brand. Quality is key when it comes to these kinds of products.

Dr. Scholl’s has a long history of creating top of the line products to help with common foot problems or issues that we have with our pageant shoes. Luckily for the pageant world, they have come out with a superb line of products geared towards women’s unique shoe issues.

Tip Toes and Fab Feet are also some of the most popular lines that offer solutions for foot problems or shoe challenges, but do your research, read reviews and find what works best for you and your situation.

Based on experience, here are some of the major foot or shoe problems that pageant girls have to deal with, and some of the products that we have discovered that solve those problems.

Problem: Foot sliding forward In pageant shoes

Solution: Ball of foot cushion

A very common problem when wearing pageant shoes, especially sky-high heels or platforms like the Tippy Top style, is that your foot will often get sweaty and it will slide forward. Eventually, your toes may actually hang off the front of your pageant shoes and you feel like your foot is falling out of the shoe. This is a horrible situation and can be quite dangerous onstage, especially if you are dancing or moving around a lot because your foot becomes so unstable.

A “Ball of Foot Cushion” can help prevent your foot from sliding forward in your shoes. This cushion is adhered to the footbed of the shoe with adhesive and reduces friction at the sensitive ball of foot area. They are usually made of a foam material that is breathable and formulated with ultra-fresh antimicrobial technology to keep feet cool and dry.

Ball of foot cushion by Fab Feet. Photo: target.com

Stylish Step Ball of Foot Cushion by Dr. Scholl's. Photo: target.com

If the foot pad does not prevent your foot from sliding forward, you may need to try another shoe with a different style of straps. It very well may be that your particular foot is just not suited to the shoe that you purchased. If you are still sliding forward in your shoe, you might have to try a shoe that is not quite so high.

Problem: Prevent blisters from new shoes or pain from corns and calluses

Solution: Blister blocker balm and moleskin padding

“Blister Blocker Balm” is a genius product that should be in the pageant kit of every pageant girl! It is a clear lotion-like product that rolls on like deodorant for an easy, non-messy application. It forms an invisible barrier between your skin and your shoes. It helps to reduce rubbing, irritation and friction that can cause blisters. It is important to note that Blister Block Balm is a preventative product, not a cure. It stops the growth of blisters, but doesn't actively cure it with medicine.

You want to concentrate the product around your toes, on the inside and outside of the foot, as well as the ball of the foot. Do not put on the heel or else you will slip out of the heel. The idea is that you want your toe area to move around inside your shoe. That will prevent any friction or rubbing from occurring.

There are quite a number of different products on the market that are versions of a blister prevention balm. They vary in price, so you are sure to find one that fits your budget.

Some of the more popular products are Fab Feet Women's Blisstick Invisible Blister Protection and Medzone Blisterzone Skin Protectant.

BlisterZone Skin Protectant. Photo: Amazon.com

Miss Montana USA 2018, Dani Walker created a Youtube video, “How To Stop Shoes From Rubbing.” Walker suggests some amazing tips for preventing blisters from wearing new pageant shoes.

Problem: Get rid of existing blisters, corns and calluses

Solution: Moleskin shoe padding, spot dot cushions and blister plasters

There are several different products that can really help when you have blisters, corns or calluses on your feet that are causing you pain and discomfort. As mentioned earlier in prevention of blisters and foot pain, you can use moleskin padding on your feet to help when you already have a blister or an area where you’re experiencing some pain from shoe straps or other discomfort. It is a padded adhesive that you can customize for however you want to use it, and it protects feet from painful shoe friction.

You can also use a similar product to help with existing blisters and other foot problems, such as adhesive cushions like Fab Feet Spot Dot Cushions.

Fab Feet Spot Dot Cushions help reduce rubbing and friction in your shoes and add comfort anywhere you feel painful pressure from your shoes. They are made of pre-cut breathable foam, formulated with ultra-fresh antimicrobial technology. Fab Feet also makes their Spot Dot Cushions in a clear, spongy gel as well if you prefer a less visible look.

Fab Feet Spot Dot Cushions. Photo: target.com

The third thing that you can try if you are suffering from blisters or other painful issues are .Compeed Blister Plasters. These are very advanced bandages that work like a second skin. They prevent and treat blisters and provide instant relief from pain and pressure.

These inventive bandages absorb moisture, while repelling water, dirt and bacteria and stay firmly in place for up to three days. They can really help you during a pageant if you are suffering from blisters because they form a protective cushion yielding instant pain relief and an optimum healing environment.

Compeed Blister Plasters. Photo: target.com

Problem: Shoes that slip off your heel

Solution: Heel protectors

It can be so frustrating when you have a beautiful pair of stylish pumps and they keep slipping off of your heel when you walk! One of the best inventions ever are “Heel Liners” and almost every company that makes products related to shoes sells its own version of them. They come in various materials like moleskin, plastic or gel. You may prefer one of those products over another.

The clear gel heel liners are particularly nice because they not only grip your heel and hold your shoe on, they also have a nice little pillow of comfort that prevents any soreness from occurring around your heel area.

Simply peel off the backing on the pads, stick to the back of your shoes and you're ready to go!

Gel Heel Liners by Dr. Scholl's. Photo: target.com

Problem: The sole of your pageant shoe Is too hard and has no support

Solution: High heel shoe insoles

Let’s face it ladies…pageant shoes hurt your feet! Regardless of how comfortable your favorite stilettos are when you put them on, at some point, they are going to hurt your feet. Every girl needs a pair of insoles for her pageant shoes and thankfully, Dr. Scholl's had us in mind when they invented the Stylish Step High Heel Leather Insoles.

These insoles are not your average shoe insoles. They were designed specifically for women who experience foot discomfort when wearing high heels, not flats. These insoles absorb shock and provide targeted ball of foot cushioning for all-day comfort and are designed with a sleek, real leather surface.

Stylish Step Ultrasoft Leather Insoles by Dr. Scholl's. Photo: target.com

Problem: Shoes are slippery to walk in

Solution: Non-skid foot treads or using sandpaper on the bottom of your shoe

The greatest fear that every pageant contestant has is slipping or falling on the stage during competition. The majority of pageant shoes have slippery soles and that can be a real problem when you are also walking on a slippery stage floor.

One of the most used shoe products for heels are non-skid foot treads and many pageant girls have them on every pair of pageant shoes that they own. As long as your shoe has a smooth sole and does not already have a tread of some kind, you can put a shoe tread on it. There are so many versions of shoe treads that so you can easily find some to try out, but there are some points to keep in mind.

If you’re going to attach non-skid treads to the bottom of your shoes, make certain that you clean the soles thoroughly. Clean them with a mild soap, then go over them with some rubbing alcohol to take away any soapy or oily residue. This allows the adhesive on the treads to stick to the shoe. Once the tread has been applied, put the shoes on and stand for awhile just pushing on the shoe to make sure that the tread has adhered completely. Allow them to sit overnight or for a few hours before wearing the shoes out.

Fab Feet non-skid treads. Photo: target.com

In addition to shoe treads, there are a couple of classic tricks that you can use to make the sole of your heels less slippery. A trick that a lot of models use is to cut the soles in a criss-cross pattern to add some “tread” or they use sandpaper to scratch some of the slickness off of the shoe. You can also use hairspray if you need a quick solution. Just spray the bottom of your pageant shoes and allow them to dry before walking.

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