This is another one I get asked a lot – “why spend cash on (expensive) elevators when I can buy cheap lifts and stick them in my footwear?” In fact it’s what I myself thought for many years, until I actually discovered elevators that looked like proper shoes and boots, stuff I would ACTUALLY wear.
Here is my story for my own transition from lifts to elevators, why I did what I did and how I came to do it. And then a few pointers, hints as to how to make the best of all worlds.
I work in the nightclub business and first got into wanting to be taller when I saw 3 huge blokes who really appeared to take control of a friend’s nightclub I helped run when I was in my late teens – this was over 15 years ago. Without thought I started adding lifts to my boots to compete and get at least some way to their height (at first rolled up socks and cardboard – aaargh, really uncomfortable, specially when it all slipped to the side). It felt good though, adding that extra inch or so.
As the years went by, I had always hoped to find elevators: of course I had heard of them. I just finessed my lift wearing. But all I saw online of elevators a decade or so ago was crap, total rubbish. Like real old 1950s-man very very dated stuff, and only in really small sizes. So I put the whole idea out of my head. None of them would like right with the styles of jeans etc around at the time. Also, I would look at the day-to-day stuff you get in the various boot and shoe shops or see guys wearing and think “I want that” or something like it, not some crap looking olde worlde shoe. And then along came the real new trend for very flared trousers and I was in height heaven for a few years – I worked out that you buy your boots bigger, plenty of room and stuff them full – by now I had gone on to proper lift kits. The flared pants made it so easy to buy big boots, the flares long and draped over the boot…and inside was just total height adding heaven – I know I managed to get over the Regulation Max 3” at that time.
But then flares went out all of a sudden, as styles do. And here is the issue. With lifts you can only really comfortably add a couple of inches. 3” is so so far pushing it that I would never advise unless the style suits it (like my cover-all flares at the time). And they are still uncomfortable and you have to finesse the size of your shoe (taking into the account the upper and its pressure on your foot – it can be really painful). And not always suitable for what you might have to wear – ever seen the terrible clumpy footwear worn on red carpet occasions by actors who clearly do add height? OMG. Great big thick Munster boots with suits. Well, you can’t add much height by lifts to standard dress shoes in that situation.
So at this time I looked again online – and I discovered GuidoMaggi and saw how it had all changed in the elevator market. Given what I had seen before, I was entranced. They key now was that the styles looked cool, many looked just like normal fashion boots, like brogues (wingtips in North America) or boots you would wear on a night out, or to the office as a younger guy – not all were my kinda stuff, but plenty plenty were. In big enough sizes. And colours. And I thought long and hard about it. What did I want to achieve and could I afford it. I work hard, earn reasonably well but I am just NOT the sort who usually spends that amount of cash an anything I wear. Well in the end I went wild and bought a pair of the boots with the biggest 5” lift – I am already tall, have a bit of a thing about wanting to be very very tall and thought “Go for it”. I bought the 5” Shanghais. [I would btw not advise most guys to go for 5” first off!]. But I think for myself that I was helped in my ‘transition’ by the simple fact that I had used lifts, had already got used to ‘being’ taller and so the next stage up was just so easy.
And the main thing was the comfort. OMG the difference is spectacular. I still do wear lifts very occasionally in some things where I like the style but it is never as comfortable or as effective. And now that GuidoMaggi carries a full range of all types of footwear, I have identified many that I like.
And this is really the point and here are a few thoughts – lifts are a great way of testing out at first greater height and making you realize – “OMG no-one actually KNOWS I am adding height”. You yourself FEEL taller but no-one else is aware of what you are doing. It is the halfway house to the major confidence of going a bit higher with elevators. Once you have worn lifts for a while you will certainly want to go on to elevators. Really, lifts are just a way of trying out added height.
And of course an important thing – it’s clear that making footwear allowing for added height is a type of science. It is not and cannot ever be just jamming a few inches onto a standard boot. So properly-made elevators make your added height look natural, the sole and the upper etc have been made to make it look normal – not as if your upper is raised and straining against laces or leather. If you go TOO high with lifts, you DO get that unnatural looking and feeling situation where your upper presses hard against the laces or top of the boot.
By and large no-one will ever notice, but that is not comfortable. Elevators do not do that. They fit and give you the inches without the aggro. The key to adding serious height, ultimately for me, has been to get to the max and with great comfort. Adding a couple of inches max by way of lifts before getting your elevators also helps you to finesse your walking. Not everyone has this problem, but going up with a bit of lift first and breaking it in over a few weeks makes you suddenly realize “Wow this is EASY”.