I work in nightclub promotion and I get the opportunity to observe loads of people in situations of real competition. And I have to tell you that I know very few guys who would NOT like to add several inches to their height. The very ultimate max. Whatever the height, they want to be taller. Waaaay taller. The amazing thing is, this very often applies to even very tall guys. Indeed like myself. But that really does NOT mean that everyone should immediately climb onto a pair of 5″ elevators.
A brief mention of lift kits
Firstly, in this post about how high to go, I want to briefly mention lifts, the ones you buy online in ‘lift-kits’. These are great as a kind of tester (and better than shoving rolled up socks in your boots, trust me) but the total absolute max you can get out of them in normal boots is less than 3″ at a real push and that is not comfortable (and nothing like that lift in shoes). I would say that lifts are only really of use if you want to gain an inch or so. I will do a specific piece on lifts (the pluses and minuses) in future.
Limitations of 5″ elevators
On elevators there are limitations of course on how high you can go, and you need to understand them. These are both physical and social – your existing height, what you wear and how you live/work/play. Firstly, about that 5″ max. The highest you can REALLY go in elevators is indeed adding 5″ (12cm). This is big. From 5’9″ to around 6’2″ anyone?! From 6′ to 6’5″? From 5’4″ to 5’9″. You have to accept that some of this added height will be in the sole – it HAS to be a chunkier workwear style sole. Just an inch less at 4″ and the elevators have basically normal soles. These five inchers (5″ers I call them) are great for some occasions, for casual jeans/leathers etc and I wear them all the time. Great to impress. But they are probably only OK for a very few people with more formal outfits like suits, and then only when the fashion or trend is specifically for that look. It comes around from time to time.
And I tend to now think that for most guys, 5″ elevators are mainly good as a casual-wear night-time boost to a regular use of other height enhancing footwear, of probably around 3″.
Raise your height to suit your lifestyle
There is a general rule about elevators, and it is one which has worked for me throughout the 15 years in which I have gradually added height, finally in recent years graduating onto elevators. And that is to raise your height to suit your own personal style, and to some extent do it gradually. If your style is formal, say pretty office based, then for your first pair and for day-to-day, stick to the lower/mid range of elevators, specially if you are less than around 5’9″, and stick to the kind of shoes and boots that such a guy would wear. Whether or not Stallone or Robert Downey Jr or Diesel actually wear elevators (most people seem to think they do), the
way they wear great big clumpy boots with suits at red carpet events makes it LOOK like they are trying to add height. This is because the whole look seems wrong and appears constructed to give them added height. That’s what you want to avoid. So if you do also at some point get some 5″ elevators, well they look great with jeans and totally natural if you already add some height.
When I say ‘gradual’ btw I don’t mean take 15 years about it like I did, learning the hard way! If you are any height below about 5’11” and want to be taller, then you should do it in stages.
There is an odd thing here. An unfair irony. If you are already very tall like me at over 6’2″, then adding 5″ is not such a jump or so noticeable a difference. Except to you yourself. I am very tall and like to be seriously tall, but my mate Steve is 5’9″ and he too wears 5″ elevators. But only on occasions, waaaaay less often than me. If your lifestyle allows you to wear the bigger type of boots then there is no reason not to do it. But 5″ for others is great only in some circumstances, not all. And the secret is to learn when (and above all when NOT) to wear such a lift.
My mate Steve would only wear 5″ extra on nights out. At his height, he was much more concerned than I was about it all seeming a really major and sudden leap, noticeable to all. We all start from somewhere, if you like, with relatives, friends, colleagues, partners. And it flies in the face of logic that one day you can be a 5’9″ guy and the next minute hit probably 6’2″.
But it is also strange (and counter-intuitive really) that you can in fact get away with a lot more than you think. My experience is that 3″ elevators are pretty undetectable in terms of appearing to have added height in almost every circumstance, particularly if you have had a few weeks just adding lifts to your shoes to get a little more height ‘in preparation’.
“They just don’t realise”
Steve firstly used lifts in his usual boots for a few months which added an inch or two. He found them a bit uncomfortable at times and had to buy shoes a bit larger to allow the room for them. Then he more recently bought some 3″ elevators, and then some 5″ ones, both of which he has found (as I expected) way more comfortable and effective than lifts. And he has never stopped going on to me about how even when he now wears his 5″ boots out and meets people who know him in the 3″ ones – “they just do not realise, I still cannot believe it”. If they think anything, or pay it any attention, it is usually a very casual appreciation that you ‘might be a bit taller’ than they thought. But as women wear all sorts of heels and go up and down like a yoyo, they are not as aware of added height in a guy as you might think.
My girlfriend works with me and wears these crazy incredibly high heel and platform combos. We have never actually discussed what I do by adding height and she takes no notice and just knows I am vv tall. Period. With Steve, he said nothing at all to his girlfriend, she never noticed his gradual climb and then he told her and she was genuinely amazed. All she had said once ages before was: “I like you in those boots, they make you look tall”. And it wasn’t a fishing exercise. This must seem really odd to those who do not add height.. He does not wear shoes around the house, how on earth can she NOT know? Well she is aware when he is a bit taller and probably specially when he wears the 5″ boots of course, but probably always just assumed that this was because they have thick soles.
Concerns about detection
Whatever you think of OUR situations, yours is different again. And you will be concerned about detection etc, about partners, friends, about the kind of boots you can get to suit you.
Let’s say you are an avid sportsman, like you play Sunday football or tennis every day. You can only really add a certain amount if you spend a lot of your time playing sport – it would again defy logic for you to spend loads of time playing football, rugby, whatever and then get changed and go to the bar and suddenly gain 5″ on your mates. Amazingly, some (probably most) will not notice. But at that level of change, some will. Unless you are already my height (‘not fair’ again!). But simply no-one will notice the gain of a lower elevator because we all gain some height in footwear. Every pair of shoes you ever wore are elevators – some, like Timberlands, Docs and Caterpillars actually give as much lift as low specially-bought elevators and no-one blinks an eye. At some point I will do something on the psychology of this and why people are so unobservant about others and their appearance. So in that situation you CAN still add height – just not as much. And then maybe more for special nights out.
Build up gradually in classic styles
The best advice on how high you can go I can give is to do it gradually if you wanna go high. If you are buying your first pair of elevators and are around average height or shorter, go for something around 3″, very unassuming, well made and fitting for everything you wear. No unusual colours or styles. Classic.You can wear them a lot, and maybe as an alternative wear other stuff with your lifts if you wanna keep the height gain going. It is then you will realise that elevators work and you will want more, as I finally did.
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