trying on a properly fitting shoe

10 Tips for a Proper Shoe Fit: How to Tell

According to research, only around 28% to 37% of people are wearing correctly-sized shoes. 

Not only can this leave you rubbing your tired feet at the end of the day, but it can also lead to painful health issues including callouses, blisters and even foot deformaties. 

You might think you’ve known your shoe size for years, but did you know it can change? Today, we’re sharing 10 tips on how to ensure a proper shoe fit to make sure that yours feel great for years to come. 

1. Request a Professional Measurement

Yes, you might have worn a size 12 boot in your twenties. However, your feet rarely stay the exact same size once you reach adulthood. Specifically, as you get older, your feet lose elasticity

After years of using your feet every day, the tendons and ligaments joints tend to loosen and expand. This can cause your usual shoe size to grow a little. This is why it’s important to request a professional foot measurement before you invest in a new pair. 

This way, you can be sure you’re choosing the right size at checkout. For the most accurate results, measure your feet at the end of the day, when your feet tend to be their largest.

2. Opt for the Larger Foot

Yes, you read that right! Most of us have one foot that’s at least a fraction larger than the other. In fact, this is a condition that affects around 80% of the U.S. population.

In these cases, most people have a larger left foot than right foot. If this applies to you, it doesn’t mean you have to buy two different-sized shoes. However, you should take this difference into account when you’re shopping, and always size up to accommodate your largest side.

3. Conduct the Long Toe Test

Wondering how to tell if a shoe fits? When you were younger, your parents likely conducted the “Big Toe Test” to see if you had any room left to grow. This test works as its name implies: You simply press down on the space beyond your big toe to see if your shoe is too big, too small, or just right. 

Even when you’re older and your feet have essentially stopped growing, this test can still help you discern how well your new shoes fit. Just make sure you’re actually measuring your longest toe, rather than automatically measuring your big toe.

Ideally, you should have around 3/8 of an inch to 1/2 of an inch for your longest toe to wiggle when you are standing up.

4. Walk Around

Contrary to popular belief, you should not have to “break in” a new pair of shoes. As long as the pair fits, you should be able to walk around immediately in comfort without sacrificing style. 

To this end, go ahead and walk around! As you do, pay particular attention to your heels. If the shoe is riding up and down as you walk, that’s a red flag that they’re too big. Over time, this can rub a painful blister on the back of your feet.

5. Look Past the Box

The best-fitting pair of shoes is the one that feels great on your feet, no matter what number you see advertised on the shoebox.

Yes, sorting the options by size can help you find your way in a brick-and-mortar shoe store. It can also help you narrow down your options as you browse for shoes online. However, if you see a style you love, go ahead and try on a few different pairs to see which ones fit the best. 

A size 8 pair of running shoes from one manufacturer might fit differently than a size 8 pair from a rival brand. At the end of the day, your comfort is what’s most important.

6. Don’t Forget Width

Most people focus so much on the length of their shoes that they fail to pay attention to their width. The widest part of your foot is the space right before your toes begin.

When you’re wearing your new shoes, make sure that they’re wide enough accommodate this space. If you’re shopping online, measure your maximum foot width before you browse and compare those metrics to the dimensions in the description. 

7. Forget Stretching

Eyeing a great pair of designer sneakers, but they’re only available in a size down from what you normally wear? Resist the urge. 

We can tell ourselves that they’ll stretch over time and eventually, they’ll fit just right, right?

Not quite. If you invest in a high-quality pair, they’re made to maintain their form and appearance for years down the road. If yours are cheaper, the materials may change shape over time, but usually to the point where they loose elasticity and become unwearable.

8. Match Their Shape to Yours

Look at the underside of the pair of shoes you’re thinking about buying. Then, look at the bottom of your own feet. If you need to, you can even trace your feet on a piece of paper.

The two shapes should match as well as possible. If your feet are super-narrow, a bulky and wide shoe won’t fit well regardless of the size, and vice versa.

9. Wear the Same Socks

If you’re trying on shoes in person, don’t forget to bring a pair of socks from home!

Those thin, tiny disposable socks that most stores keep on hand are great for sanitary purposes, but they don’t give you an accurate measurement each time. Unless you plan to wear your new boots with pantyhose, you need a more accurate measurement. 

Choose the socks that you’d normally wear with the shoes you’re buying, so you can make sure you’re always comfortable.

10. Check the Soles

Before checking out, take a close look at the soles of the shoes. 

Are they sturdy and well-made, or do you expect to replace them in a few years? Are they cushioned and supportive? Walk around on both hard and soft surfaces and see how your foot feels on both. 

Find a Great Shoe Fit, and Wear It!

Now that you know how to ensure a proper shoe fit, are you ready to find your new favorite pair? If so, we’re here to help. 

You’ll find many different styles of designer footwear in our online shop, ranging from women’s sneakers to men’s loafers. Feel free to browse our collections and reach out to our team with any questions. 

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