I suspect one of the big reservations about taking the plunge and buying elevators, even relatively low ones of say a couple of inches or 5cm, is that you might imagine that when you put them on some kind of dark magic is going to happen and "everyone is going to notice that I have grown". I can tell you from 17 years experience of wearing height addition that that doesn't happen, it really really doesn't - it seems counter-intuitive, I know, so it remains a niggling concern. But here are the experiences and reasons.
I come back to this because quite a few guys who I have given advice to in the immediate past have recently written with their amazement that on this aspect "you were completely right", and not one person has noticed, even those close to them. One guy even said: "in a funny way I am almost disappointed". This was after countless reservations that "people MUST be able to tell, I mean, you know, it's obvious". Well like a lot of things in life, it isn't obvious and there are sound reasons for it.
You want to add height, ergo you want people to realise you are taller (but at the same time you don't want people to know how or why). You kinda almost think that is asking the impossible. But this of course is a key to the success of what has been achieved. You physically ARE taller, of that there can be no doubt, but it is not an issue, and above all not "obvious" that you have "grown". You can achieved this by gradual change in a way that is not actually noticeable. And the key really is to start with a couple of inches, maybe three inches.
If you try ready made lifts first it will accustom you to feeling taller but don't let the lack of comfort put you off elevators - lifts are tricky to get right above a certain height. An inch is straightforward, two inches is possible but only in certain circumstances, and three inches is really almost impossible. Elevators on the other hand are comfortable at all heights as they have been designed for the purpose - good ones are not just usual shoes with lifts in.
Do it gradually
But whatever you do, the key to success of course is increment and gradualness. It is really simply that people's powers of observation are not great, specially in relatively smaller things over periods of time. Many have very limited powers of observation even over big things. Men are famous for this with wives and partners. My mother agonises over what to wear for a party, and when she has chosen she asks my father what he thinks. Yes that's great, he will say. She then says: "Close your eyes", he does so and she says "what colour dress am I wearing?". Silence, fumbling for an answer. "You haven't a clue have you?" she says.
There IS a bit of a formula as to how much you can get away with if you want to push it, and it's really linked to your current height and to what type of footwear you can logically wear for your work/lifestyle etc. I've written about this before. But one thing is absolutely certain. At whatever height you actually are, 2"-3" elevators, up to about 8cm, will not be noticed, your extra height will not be commented on or thought about, and there are styles of footwear for almost all lifestyles in those heights. Frankly you can even take your shoes on and off and the difference will not be noticed. The reason being that ALL footwear adds height to some degree - even a pair of flipflops add half in inch. While boots like Timberlands are really all but elevators in name, adding up to an inch and a half. Plus it is important to understand that we all walk in a way that gives variations in height in real time that people find difficult to grasp - it's one of the reasons why people find it difficult to estimate heights - as you walk forward you are (without realising it) going up and down. Enough to make an added 2" - 3" very difficult to detect.
And another key is that for most people, their own concerns predominate - a bit too much weight here, thinning hair there, what they are going to eat later - most OTHER people are only aware in a general way of these things that we ourselves individually might be bothered about, specially appearance issues which are not generally dramatic. So it's funny when you think you have lost that weight around the waist or added that height and YOU are aware of it...but unless it is very dramatic, no-one else is aware. In fact studies show that change has to be pretty dramatic for most people to be really aware of it and of the reason. Even big changes are often passed over by people as someone looking a bit different because they've "been on holiday".
Comfort is key
In the vast majority of cases, of course guys who add height do not want people to suddenly think there is some major difference. It has been my guiding principle over the past 17 years. Again, increment and gradualness. Unless you are already tall, then sticking to 2"-3" first and later adding more is the key. The timeframe does not have to be long. You can pop in an extra inch six months later no worries. Possibly earlier once you know and feel comfortable that no-one has been aware you have added height. And then move higher if you want a few months after that. But I have said before that lifestyle dictates how much height you are going to add (or NOT be able to add) anyway, and that is the good place to start. If you work and live in a way that you know you can go as high as possible then great - if not, then plan on a smaller gradual adding of height. Comfort is the key as well - you must feel (and therefore look) totally comfortable. And you will if you stick to the gradual approach.
And I can tell you from the very longest experience that people just do not notice.- if you jump straight in and add 5" to your height, well I think you can only get away with that if you are already way over 6' tall. But I would never advise it.
I myself have moved upwards from lifts in my late teens and early 20s to bigger lifts (when the fashion in jeans allowed big flares covering the boots!. Back in that period around 10 years ago). Then when elevators stop being crap imports from China and you got good ones (I discovered them quite by chance as I had given up hoping someone would produce anything worth having), and I climbed quickly to the 5", and now I pretty much add 5" all the time. No-one has ever noticed and I work in a business in which personal stuff like that if noticed would be the subject of very brutal and cruel exposure. Everyone would know in seconds on the grapevine. I have done it logically and gradually.
It is in fact a form of science and simplistic views like "if you add 2 inches people will know" are totally inaccurate and misleading: they are usually made by people who have no real experience of either wearing height addition full time or actually noticing someone who has done so.
So start at that lower end unless you have been a serious lift wearer for a while, and you will not go wrong.