How are shoes supposed to fit?

By Dimi | Tips

Wearing shoes which do not fit you well can lead to discomfort, pain and inefficiency as well as to mild to serious foot conditions, such as: bunions, blisters, corns, ingrown toenails, hallux valgus, plantar fasciitis, stress and injuries.

This is why getting a proper fit for your shoes is important for your wellbeing and health.

Proper fitting shoes should allow your feet to move in a natural way. Your feet should be able to expand naturally when you step on the ground, and to work in the way it was intended by nature. This will help keep a proper balance of the body and apply the weight and stress on your leg and body muscles evenly.

  • How do you know if your shoes are too small

A shoe size is 1/3 of an inch. When you stand up or run, your body weight will cause the foot size to grow to up to ½ inches and can expand in width by 15%. This is why it is very important to measure both of your feet before buying new shoes. Also, do your best to go to the shoe store after physical activity or in the evening when your feet are at their flattest and largest. Try on both shoes, because it is normal for one foot to be larger or wider than the other. Go with the sizing of your larger foot.

Always try on shoes with the same type of socks which you will be wearing when you put those shoes on.

Even though we all know our shoe size, feet do tend to change in length and width overtime, so do not count on sizing only. Also, different models, brands and styles of shoes have different sizing, so refer to any sizing instructions given by your shoe retailer or by the manufacturer.

When you try on new shoes, stand up and walk around for a while to make sure there is no rubbing, pinching, chaffing or uncomfortable tightness. Do not presume that your shoes will eventually expand and stretch. Go for shoes which feel comfortable the first time you put them on, because lengthwise – they will not stretch.

Choose shoes which provide enough room for your toes, so that they are not crushed together and so they can expand normally as you walk or run.

It is advisable to pick a pair of shoes which have about half an inch of space between the toe box and your largest toe.

Another tip for making sure your shoes are not too small for you is to take out the removable insoles and place your feet on top of them. If your foot overflows out of the insoles, then the shoe is too small for you. Keep going half a size up, until you feel your heels slipping out of the shoes when you walk. A well-fitting shoe should keep your heels safely fixed to them.

If you cannot fit a finger in the back of your heel, then most probably the shoe is too small.

  • How do you know if your shoes are too big

Wearing shoes which are too big can be as uncomfortable as wearing ones that are too small. Make sure your heels do not slip when you walk, because this can cause injuries and can make walking difficult and unbalanced. A good rule of the thumb is to pinch the toe, or slide your index finger between the heel and the back of your shoe. If the pinch reveals that the available toe space is more than ½ an inch or if your index finger can slip in too easily in the back of the shoe, then you probably should try half a size down for a proper fit.

Try on both shoes and again, do not rely solely on sizing, because as we said, different manufacturers, models and shoe types differ in sizing.

Always look for shoes which fit the width of your foot properly, as well as in length. If you really love a pair of shoes which is slightly bigger than your size, try them on with insoles.

If you are ordering shoes online and are not quite sure about the size to get, why not get two sizes and return the pair which doesn’t fit you well?

When you try on new shoes and there are visible gaps on the side or the back of the shoe, then they are almost certainly too large or wide for you.

Also, when you walk around with them, if you need to curl your toes to help keep your heels steady, then they are too big too.

When buying leather shoes which feel too wide or big, keep in mind that leather is a natural material and will stretch over time, so you may want to consider going a half size down with them.