10 Tips to a Great Shoe Fit

Shoes – everyone wears them. Shoes that fit can help you do the things you want to do AND keep your feet healthy! Everyone knows that if your feet hurt, you don’t have a good time. So treat your feet right and wear shoes that fit well.

To help you select shoes that are right for your feet, here are 10 tips (plus bonus tips) – courtesy of the National Shoe Retailers Association and the Pedorthic Footwear Association.

1. Shoe sizes are not standard. Sizes vary between shoe brands and styles. A size 8M from one manufacturer might fit like a size 8N from another. Don’t select shoes by the size marked on the shoe – start with a size range and go from there.

2. Have both feet measured every time you purchase a pair of shoes. Over the course of your lifetime, your feet will change in both size and shape. For many people, one foot is slightly longer and/or wider than the other, so fit the largest foot first.

Bonus tip: Go to a shoe store that measures both feet and wear the type of socks you will use for the specific activity.

3. Select shoes that match the shape of your foot. If your foot shape matches your shoe shape, you’re on the right track to a good shoe fit.

4. When you shop for shoes, try on various types and styles. Judge shoes by how they fit your feet. Don’t select any style that feels too tight, too loose, or irritates parts of your foot. If shoes feel too snug or too loose at the try-on state, your feet may hurt later on.

5. Shoes should be as wide as your feet, and longer. When shoes contact the ground during walking or running, feet elongate.

Bonus tip: Allow adequate space (3/8” to ½”) at the end of the shoe for your longest toe.

6. Make sure the widest part of your foot (the “ball”) fits comfortably into the widest part of the shoe. This match permits shoes to bend where your feet flex, giving you a more functional and more comfortable wearing experience.

7. Heels should fit comfortably in the shoes. Don’t buy shoes too small just to avoid heel slippage. If your foot has excess slippage in the heel of your shoe, try a different shoe, or ask your shoe fitter to make some minor adjustments.

8. Inserts or orthotics affect the way a shoe fits. Shoe inserts or foot orthotics will take up shoe space intended for your feet. If you require inserts or orthotics, you’ll need a roomier shoe; otherwise, the inserts can’t function properly and your shoes won’t fit right.

9. Choose shoes appropriate for the activity AND the time that you perform that activity. Feet change shape and size during the day AND under different conditions: after exercise, in warm weather, with weigh gain, or from sitting or standing. When shoe shopping, remember that your feet are generally larger after an activity than preceding it, so buy accordingly.

10. Walk in the shoes to make sure it feels comfortable. No need to do a marathon run while trying on shoes, but at least take a walk around the store. Shoes express your fashion sense and affect your health and activities. So choose wisely.

Bonus tip: Shop stores that offer full service, including a good size and width selection and staff trained in proper shoe fitting and measuring.

This page contains generalized information. Use of specific words within this generalized framework is not intended either to reflect or to contradict technical pedorthic definitions. Nothing in this brochure should be interpreted as a substitute for professional consultation.

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