The JJs List Blog

A Big Store with Lots of Heart

Posted by on March 16, 2012 - 27 Comments

This post was written for the JJ’s List blog by guest blogger Celene Peurye.

Quietly, without publicity or a cause-related marketing campaign, without a voting contest, this major fashion department store is helping individuals with disabilities and their families in a personal, meaningful way.

My son has a mild physical disability.  Due to the disability, and perhaps compounded by foot surgery he had as a young boy, there is a discrepancy in the size of his feet causing him to need two different shoe sizes.  Children grow out of their shoes fast, so buying two pairs each time to split the sizes for one pair of shoes that fit could be very expensive.  Nordstrom has a wonderful policy.  If someone has a discrepancy in their shoe sizes of at least one full size, they will split the two different-sized pairs to make the pair needed and charge for only one pair.  Fantastic!

Shoes of different sizes

We have shopped there for my son’s shoes since he was a little boy.  I was very concerned that the policy was only for the children’s shoe department and worried about what would happen once he needed men’s sizes.  Over time the difference became more pronounced and the shoes much more expensive.  This wonderful policy is still available for the adult shoe sizes.

Every sales associate in the shoe department is aware of the policy.  They always are helpful and take the time needed to correctly fit the shoe (as opposed to many other department stores where one can barely find a sales person to bring out the shoes and then they just hand you the box).   In addition, sales associates have often spent time searching for a particular shoe at other Nordstrom stores if the size we needed was not in stock at our store.  Each time we have a different sales person and each time the service is given pleasantly and with interest in satisfying our need, even if the shoes are on sale.

Still, it’s not easy to find the right shoe.  My son needs a particular style to provide the right amount of support.  It also has to meet his fashion sense.  On a couple of occasions we just could not find the right shoe at Nordstrom.  We found a shoe at another store and told them about Nordstrom’s policy, asking if they would match it.  March 7, 2012The answer was no, we had to buy two pairs and waste the unused mates.  Another time the shoe my son wanted was no longer carried at Nordstrom, but was available from the maker’s own website.  I wrote the customer service department of the manufacturer, explaining how much my son liked their shoes, his situation, and Nordstrom’s policy, asking if they would match it – and received no response.

This points out how unique and special is Nordstrom.  Maybe is it because they started out as a large shoe store.  They are known for their commitment to excellent customer service.  Still, this is costly.  I’m not sure what they do with the mismatched mates.  I heard that they send them to their warehouse – where they may be sorted and sent to those who have use for the opposite split sizes.

But the cost they absorb comes back in the form of life-long customer loyalty.  Nordstrom does not seek recognition for this important service.   Due to this policy, Nordstrom is my preferred store.  Whenever possible, I will shop there and happily pay full-price for my shoes, clothes and accessories.  When I receive customer surveys, I purposely write in about the importance of this service.  I want Nordstrom to know how much we appreciate it and hope they continue this valuable service.  Children and adults with disabilities face so many challenges, and many additional hidden costs.  Please join me in thanking Nordstrom for helping and caring.  You can contact Corporate Social Responsibility at, Customer Service as or stop by and chat with the Shoe Department Manager at your local store.

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Ellen Garber Bronfeld says:
Mar 31, 2012

I LOVED this story…KUDOS to Nordstrom…I love that store anyway, but now, when I have the choice to shop there or Bloomies or Macy’s, I will definitely go to Nordstrom.
Thanks for sharing.
Ellen and Noah

Kimberly Smith says:
Aug 19, 2013

I, too, have a daughter who was born with a foot discrepancy, and am all too familiar with how expensive it can be. Unfortunately we don’t have a Nordstrom near us or I would definitely be shopping there. I always have to buy two pairs of shoes, and with a girl who is only getting older ( and to the age of loving to shop!), it just gets more and more expensive. I have asked many places myself, just for discounts, and have been turned down for the most part. We did just buy a pair of shoes for school from finish line and had a very nice guy give us $20 off- I know it doesn’t sound like much, but that helps more than you know when most of the time you don’t get anything. He was very sympathetic to how costly it can be and said he wish he could’ve done more. I wish More stores would realize this and change their policies. Thank you for sharing your story.. If I’m ever near Nordstrom, I will be stopping by!

Rochelle says:
Oct 17, 2013

Thank you for this information. i will be taking my son who due to club foot surgery and casting as a baby has a 2.5 size discrepency with his feet! We are lucky to have a Nordtrom close by.
Rack Room shoes has the BOGO 50% off which we have used in the past with good results

MIchael Sodos says:
Feb 16, 2014

I have been ordering shoes from Nordstrom for @8 years, ever since I discovered their split size policy. I usually order online, and take the wrong feet and ship them back (at no charge) and my credit card gets credited for the price of a pair! Saves a ton of money!

Thanks Nordstrom!

Erna says:
Aug 26, 2014

Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to ths site before but after browsing through a few of the posts
I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy
I stumbled upin it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back

alicia says:
Jan 02, 2015

I love that nordstroms split sizes but in our area the only one is in a mall and thier mens selection is very small! The cheapest pair of casual shoes were over $200 which is nice but we have kids to also buy for. My husband’s shoe difference is 5 sizes apart and they hardly have mens boots. DEFINITELY a great program though and I praise them for thier policy I wish more stores had hearts like this.

Susan says:
Jan 13, 2015

I was born with club feet and my right foot is 1.5 sizes larger than my left. I have tried just about every option to make one pair work for me, but now ALWAYS buy two pairs of shoes. I also ALWAYS ask for a discount (Nordstrom is not here in Vancouver yet!). It’s surprising who will give you a discount and who will not – often it’s the small, family run store that will give me 50% off the second pair, not the large national chain.
Also, I find that Nordstrom’s brand and style range is a bit restrictive to find a fit for me (although their customer service is indeed wonderful). My smaller foot, the one with the worse symptoms, has a very high instep. I find that Spanish and Portuguese-manufactured shoes fit me better. Hopefully Nordstrom’s will increase their brand range now that they are here in Canada!

Denise says:
Mar 14, 2015

I have been shopping at Nordstrom for my daughter who has cerebral palsy. She fits the criteria and we are thrilled with the service we receive whenever we shop for shoes at Nordstrom. Sales representatives are very helpful and will often go out of their way to locate a shoe for her. I am in need of golf shoes for her and was told that I could order the shoes online (both sizes) pay for them and return the mis-matched pair with an explanation. Return Postage is prepaid by Nordstrom ( a return label is enclosed with the delivery). After the item is returned my account will be credited. How wonderful is this!

Natalie says:
Apr 12, 2015

I LOVE Nordstrom’s! I’m in my 20s and discovered this gem a few years back! I was born with a club foot with 2 sizes difference so I was very limited in my shoe choices growing up. I can actually buy cute shoes! Lol
I’m from Vancouver Canada and I go to Seattle just for this store sometimes. We’re getting one up here I really hope they do the same thing!

Joseph Deck says:
May 10, 2015

It’s nice to hear about how a store will do this. I am 21 years old and my right foot is 3 sizes smaller than my left. My whole life my right foot has been behind due to me having an experimental surgery after I was born due to being born with club foot. For months I’ve searched for any store that will sell 2 different size shoes, and after reading this blog I may have very well found one. Unfortunately I have no clue where a Nordstrom is or might be. Haven’t heard of it til now to be honest. And there really needs to be more stores like Nordstrom. I really thank you all for blogging about this issue. I think this is something that needs to be heard nationwide. For you that have children with this problem their legs may also be shorter , and custom insoles are very pricey. I suggest getting ahead now and figuring a way to help out your children. Because my hips, shoulders, back and pelvis is out of line due to the size difference. It’s very painful. I use two extra insoles to help support my heel. It still isn’t the greatest with support but it helps a little bit. I wish you all and those who deal with this issue as well the best of luck. I really hope you can spare your children the pain and suffering of having to deal with the issue.

Debbie Johnson says:
May 11, 2015

The reason that Nordstrom sells split shoe sizes is because Mrs. Nordstrom needed two different sizes. Their policy in my experience is that your feet need to be two sizes apart minimum. (-: have been using this service for years with so much appreciation.

broken links test says:
Mar 01, 2016

While Nordstoms has this policy because Mrs Nordstom has a shoe size discrepancy, I really hate that the shoe manufacturers themselves don’t recognize the discrimination they are perpetuating. This is a problem. These manufacturers are willing to recognize that Nordstoms has the correct policy in place as they always try to redirect me to the department store. I think the bigger issue is that the shoe manufacturer is willing to admit that this discrimination is present, but refuses to change their policy to be INCLUSIVE instead of EXCLUSIVE.

Colin says:
Mar 10, 2016

I’ve been writing to shoe manufacturers for years asking if they have an “odd-shoe” policy. Usually I just get referred to Nordstroms.

So I run a website called -a marketplace for people to buy and sell odd-sized and single shoes. We don’t charge any fees.

So, if you do buy two pairs, when you only need one, you can sell the other ‘pair’ on our website ad at least get some money back. I also invite interested readers to browse through our listings to see if you can find your perfect match.

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Jun 05, 2016

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Amanda Daughtry says:
Sep 16, 2016

I’m so thankful to hear this! My daughter was born with Spina Bifida and has a foot discrepancy right women’s 10 and left women’s 6. So thankful we finally made it to a women’s! It gets very expensive buying 2 pair! But also thankful she is able to walk! I would love to donate all the shoes she has never worn. Does anybody know of anything?? Thanks for the information. I will definitely check this out. Everywhere else does not honor this.

Josie says:
Mar 05, 2017

I was born with a club foot, and that leg is also a little shorter than the other leg. I feel so badly for my parents who, so many years ago, had to deal with this. I was just a kid and I wanted the cute shoes the other girls had. Thank God there was an Italian shoemaker who befriended my parents and fixed the left shoe to fit my foot. He would also put a lift on it. It was quite a job, and he did not charge very much. My father was a barber and would go to his house and cut his hair for free. Now in my adult life, I had found an Italian shoemaker who fixes my shoes, but he is so overwhelmed in his business, I hate to bother him. He is wonderful, but very busy. I commend Nordstrom for selling mismatched shoes,but the regular prices can be so expensive, I wish the prices could be more affordable. Thank you for thinking of so many of us.

Huge Nordstrom Fan says:
Jul 03, 2017

I’ve been buying split sized shoes from Nordstrom for about the past 30 years. I had a traumatic injury to my foot when I was seven, which resulted in extensive damage, stunted growth and ultimately a 1.5 to 2 size difference. As a kid, my parents would get me the larger size and I’d just have a longer shoe on the short foot. This was not good for sports. Eventually, as sports became more competitive, I would get two pair of shows and the mismatches would get tossed or who knows what the store would do with it. We eventually discovered Nordstrom would split the sizes and I’ve gotten my shoes from them for the past 30 years. There’s a reason they are known as the ultimate retailer in customer service. After high school, I got a summer job at Nordstrom and the people who I worked for constantly emphasized customer service- it was an awesome place to work. Without Nordstrom’s split shoe policy, life would be brutal and/or expense for me. As an unsaid thank you, I never buy shoes during sales and I make sure to spend more money there than I needed to (kind of like going into Costco for one item- good luck). Nordstrom, I love you!

Anonymous says:
Jul 17, 2017

Hurrah! Finally I got a web site from where I be capable of in fact obtain valuable information concerning my study and knowledge.

Matthew says:
Aug 05, 2017

I need one shoe size 9-1/2 and one shoe size 10- 1/2 all navy blue saddle

Katie says:
Aug 22, 2018

I actually just went to Nordstrom because I heard of this policy and learned of my son’s foot deformity this summer. The policy is actually 1.5 difference in sizes and my son needs only 1 size. I had a nasty manager not help me or really care about our son’s issue and then spoke with a very kind person over the phone who apologized but could not help me. I plan to email them now to tell them that it really isn’t fair to have it 1.5 sizes – just have the difference starting at 1 or .5 size for little guys….I’m beyond frustrated and thought I had found the solution I needed to help my son…hopefully I receive some compassion when sending the email.

Rita says:
Dec 08, 2018

I too am disappointed that you need to be at least 1.5 sizes in the difference of shoe sizes needed, because I only need one size difference. If I went up to 1.5 inches, the shoe would be too big…bummed!

Lynn says:
Jan 07, 2019

I had polio in 1953 and as as an adult my feet are two sizes apart. I learned of Nordstrom’s generous shoe policy in 2014 and am now a Nordstrom’s regular customer. Until then the purchase of two pair with an occasional 10% discount was required. The National Odd Shoe Exchange in Phoenix, AZ will happily accept donations of split sizes. NOSE helps those with split sizes and amputees.

Jane McMillen says:
Jul 28, 2019

As a polio survivor myself, I have not needed to use your shoe matching service. However, as a
member of the Boca Area Post-Polio Group, I have met hundreds of people who have had to use your service and heard them rave about their experiences – never a complaint! You are doing a world of good for our Group and for all other disabled people out there in the world. As was said above, they have enough issues!

Sheila Mikles says:
Aug 05, 2019

I am now 72 years old and had polio when I was 7. I have been buying two pairs of shoes for my entire life. Now I am retired have developed a back and hip problem due to walking with a limp, I have found that my Birkenstock’s have limited the pain I have. Im am just so trilled to hear about Nordstroms policy and will let everyone know if it works.

J Hartman says:
Sep 26, 2019

Just wanted to let you know that Mrs. Nordstrom was a Polio survivor and needed split sizes! I believe they have maybe had to make some changes because of those who try to abuse their compassionate policy. Always go beyond the rude sales person to get what you need/deserve. I have a mismatched friend whose feet are almost opposite mine, and we trade shoes all the time, Some fit fetter than others!

Oscar Cavazos says:
Apr 17, 2020

I have a 10 year old grandson that has the split shoe issue. He is extremely active and very skilled soccer player. I am so thrilled to find that your store helps people with different shoe sizes. He had a club foot at birth, needed surgery as a baby and was casted plus slept with a bar to help the proper developement of his foot. I look forward to ordering from you and thank you so very much for your care for those with this need. God bless your efforts.

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