Shoe shopping can sometimes be a lot more challenging than we expect. We have all had experiences where we bought shoes that we thought were a great fit but ended up taking weeks to break into them. The resulting blisters, pain, calluses, and bunions were NOT fun. These are some of the smaller problems, but badly fitting footwear can cause worse problems such as circulatory problems and potentially increase the risk of severe conditions like arthritis. So, it is good to know how to choose shoes that fit correctly.
Shoe sizing vary across countries and even then, people with the same shoe size don’t always have feet with equal proportions. So, the question is how snug should shoes fit?
Tips for figuring out a snug shoe fit
- • Your shoe size varies with your age so don’t buy a size 6 because you were that size several years ago. Has it measured once a year or so?
- • Though it can be tricky, find a shoe that has a similar profile to your fit.
- • Go shoe-shopping towards the end of the day because that’s when your feet will be at their largest.
- • Don’t try on shoes for just one foot, in case your feet aren’t symmetrical.
- • Select soles that follow the natural curvature of your foot. Avoid extremely high heeled shoes that have unnatural curvature; they will cause posture problems later on.
How snug shoes should fit
- • When having your shoes fitted, consider how it fits lengthwise, height wise AND width wise. There should be around a centimeter of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. The shoes should be wide enough for there to be some wiggle room for the widest part of your feet. If your toes end up being bunched up’, the shoes are not wide enough.
- • Ideally, the ball of your feet should settle at the widest part of the shoe.
- • There should be enough room for your forefinger to go in between the heel of the shoe and the heel of your foot, no more and no less space than that. The shoe should also not be slipping up and down at your ankles.
- • As for the height, there should be enough height for your toes to wiggle up or down.
- • Sometimes, though rarely, your feet may not be the same size! So ensure you buy shoes according to your largest foot.
A rough guide to shoe sizing
Start by outlining your foot as closely as you can (keep the pencil at a right angle to the paper) on a piece of flat paper.
- • Measure the distance between the uppermost part of your foot (end of your tallest toe) and the bottom-most part of your foot (usually the bottom of your heel curve). This will be your length.
- • The width should be the distance of the widest part of your foot.
- • Refer to a shoe sizing chart to find your shoe size. These are usually based on the length of your foot. E.g., A length of 8.66’’ (220mm) corresponds to US women’s shoe size of 5.
What to do when your shoes aren’t a snug fit
So, you’ve followed all the tips on finding your correct shoe size, but they still don’t fit.
If your shoes are too big you could try:
- • Insoles if your shoes are too tall’. They are cheap and can be found in most drug stores.
- • Adhesive heel grippers if your shoes are too loose at the heel.
- If your shoes are too small, you can try shoe stretching by:
- • Wearing very thick socks and walking around several days
- • Placing a bag of water inside the shoes and leaving them in the freezer. The water expands during freezing, forcing your shoe to expand.
- • Stuff newspapers inside your shoe. If they’re leather shoes, you can try holding a hairdryer at high heat around where your shoes feel the tightest.
So, I hope you enjoyed my tips on figuring out how snug should be shoes fit and help you avoid those blisters and calluses!