How to Properly Fit Your Shoes
Updated: Aug 13, 2018
When is the last time you had your feet measured, or the last time you went up a shoe size? Or maybe you buy the same shoe size regardless of the brand because it is easier that way. If any of these are true, you are likely not alone. A study by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society revealed that 88% of women were wearing shoes too small for their feet and only 25% had had their foot measured within the last five years(2). Not wearing properly fit shoes can have detrimental effects on your feet so it is important to know what your foot length and width are and to have your feet measured routinely because feet continue to grow, or lengthen, even throughout adulthood. Also, keep in mind that two people with the same foot length and width could differ in foot volume distribution, so a pair of shoes that may fit one may not fit the other the same one. The same goes with two pairs of shoes of different brands that are the same size(1,2). So how do you know what to buy? Below are some tips to finding the right shoes that fit your feet properly. In addition, if you don't have a Brannock device just lying around the house, you can easily measure your feet at home using this technique and the chart.
Tips for the shoe fitting process:
1. If one foot is larger than the other, buy for the larger foot (1)
2. Try shoes on in the afternoon or evening when your feet are usually the largest (2,4)
3. Try shoes on while standing(2)
4. You should have about ½-inch between the tip of the longest toe and the end of the shoe(1)
5. The heel counter should fit snug while the forefoot and toes should not feel too tight(2)
6. Get measured whenever you buy a new pair of shoes since different shoes will fit differently(1,2)
Measuring your feet:
**IMPORTANT: It is important to measure both feet, while standing and wearing the socks you would normally wear in your shoes(1,3)**
1. While holding a pen or pencil upright (without angling it), draw a line from the most posterior (back end of the) heel to the tip of the longest toe (pink line) (3). This measurement is your foot length.
2. Again, holding the pen or pencil upright, draw a second line, perpendicular to the first line, that goes across the widest part of the foot (green line)(2,3). This measurement is considered your foot width.
3. A couple sites recommend subtracting 0.20-0.25 inches (or 0.50 cm) from these numbers to accommodate for the width of the device used to draw around the foot; however, I have found it to be more accurate if the dimensions are used as is(3,4)
Click here to see what shoe size your foot length & width correlate with. Of note, it is always recommended to have an expert measure your feet and to help fit for your shoe gear.
Disclaimer: The above information is meant for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Should you have questions or concerns related to your health, please contact the doctor or your own healthcare professional.
1. 10 Points of Proper Shoe Fit. American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. Retrieved from http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/how-to/footwear/Pages/10-Points-of-Proper-Shoefit.aspx
2. Frey, C., Thompson, F., Smith, J., Sanders, M., & Horstman, H. (1993). American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society women's shoe survey. Foot & ankle, 14(2), 78-81.
3. Stimpert, D. (2017, Oct 03). How to Find Your Shoe Size. Retrieved from https://www.liveabout.com/how-to-measure-your-feet-2987812
4. The Foolproof Way to Finding Your True Shoe Size. (2016, Mar 03). Retrived from http://www.ebay.com/gds/The-Foolproof-Way-to-Finding-Your-True-Shoe-Size-/10000000177630037/g.html