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How to Properly Fit a Shoe

Updated: Feb 8

Ensuring that your shoes fit properly is crucial for comfort, foot health, and preventing potential issues such as blisters or foot pain. Before trying the shoe on the see if it is a proper fit, make sure it is a good supportive shoe, otherwise you are wasting your time. Here's a guide on how to determine if a shoe properly fits:

1. Measure Your Feet:

Start by measuring both of your feet with a Brannock device (foot measurer). Feet can change in size over time, so it's important to measure each time you buy shoes. The change in foot size is generally because our plantar ligaments gradually lengthen overtime leading to flattening of the foot. This process tends to be accelerated in women who have had children due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. Measuring the length and width of the foot will give you a ball park of what size you need however keep in mind that shoes sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

2. Shop for Shoes in the Afternoon:

Feet tend to swell throughout the day, so it's advisable to shop for shoes in the afternoon or evening when your feet are at their largest.

3. Consider Your Foot Type:

Know your foot type - whether you have a high arch (under pronate), low arch (over pronate), or neutral arch. (What is pronation?) Different shoe styles are designed to accommodate various foot types. Consider the parts of a shoe and how it may affect your foot type. You may consider checking the website of your favorite brands and see what shoes they offer for your specific foot type and look for those shoes when you go to the store.

4. Toe Room:

Make sure there's enough room for your toes. There should be about a thumb's width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. This allows room for natural movement and prevents your toes from hitting the front.

5. Width Matters:

Ensure that the width of the shoe matches the width of your foot. Shoes that are too narrow or too wide can lead to discomfort and foot problems. Shoes tend to increase in width as they increase in size however do not fall into the trap of buying shoes that are too long simply because you need a wider shoe. Look to see if there is a wider version of the size you need.

6. Check the Ball of Your Foot:

The widest part of your foot, known as the ball, this area should fit comfortably into the widest part of the shoe. This ensures that the shoes flexes in the proper place when your foot naturally bends.

Alternative lacing patterns for wide forefoot
Alternative lacing patterns
Alternative lacing patterns for wide forefoot
Alternative lacing pattern

7. Heel Fit:

The heel of your foot should fit snugly in the shoe without slipping. If the shoe is too loose at the heel, it can cause friction and lead to blisters. People with wider forefeet, such as those with bunions, may have difficulty finding shoes that area wide enough for their forefoot and narrow enough for the heel. Consider alternate lacing patterns to take up some of the extra slack in t he heel to help prevent heel slippage.

8. Arch Support:

Consider the arch support of the shoe. The arch of the shoe should align with the natural arch of your foot to provide proper support. As mentioned earlier, make sure you are findings a shoe that is designed for your arch height. These are normally classified as under pronator, neutral and over pronator. (What is pronation?) We always recommend a shoe with a removable sock liner to allow to the use of custom orthotics if needed or desired.

9. Walk Around:

Don't just stand still - take a few steps and walk around in the shoes. This helps you assess how the shoes feel in motion. Check for any pinching, rubbing, or discomfort.

10. Feel for Pressure Points:

Gently press on different parts of the shoe to check for any pressure points or seams that might cause irritation.

11. Consider Socks:

When trying on shoes, wear the type of socks you would typically wear with that type of shoe. This ensures a more accurate fit.

12. Check for Space Around the Ankle:

Ensure that there is no tightness around the ankle. Shoes that are too tight in this area can cause discomfort and may lead to rubbing.

13. Trust Your Comfort to determine a Properly Fitting Shoe:

Ultimately, trust how the shoes feel on your feet. If they don't feel comfortable from the start, they are unlikely to become more comfortable over time. Remember that proper shoe fit is not only about size but also about the overall comfort and support the shoe provides. Taking the time to find the right fit can contribute to your overall foot health and well-being.

Proper shoe fit


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