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8 Rules for a Proper Shoe Fit

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Spot-on, comfortable, loose, and tight are some of the terms people usually use to define how well their shoes fit them. Many people do not overthink buying a new pair of shoes – they go in a store, try a few pairs out, and pick the ones that they like the most.

 Shoe fit is important for numerous reasons. Aside from the discomfort that poorly-fitting shoes may bring, there’s also a range of foot-related settings that are produced by this, such as calluses, hammertoes, or corns.

Today, we’ll talk about the 8 rules for a proper shoe fit. By following them, you’ll have the skill to find a properly-fitting pair of shoes, boots, or gym shoe easily, so without any ado, let’s dive in.

1.   Eliminate Guesswork – Measure Your Feet

Whether you’re searching for a new pair of dress shoes, started exercising and are in need of athletic ones, or switched jobs, so now you need a pair of work boots, you’ll probably have to try and test at least several different pairs before finding the one that fits. 

 To eliminate guesswork, you could measure your feet and simply ask the in-store clerk for the dimensions of the pairs that you consider buying. This will help you tremendously when ordering shoes online, given that you won’t be able to try them out before they reach.

2.   One Size Does Not Fit All

The manufacturing and sculpting processes may be automated nowadays, but nearly all shoes are made differently. In fact, there are three established shoe size systems, including US sizing, UK/Indian sizing, and European sizing; the UK size 4 is the European size 36/37, for example, while the US size 9 is the UK size 7. 

 To top it all, manufacturers have different sizing charts for their products, so to avoid confusion, it may be wise to measure your feet. 

To do so, place your foot on a blank sheet of paper, and draw your foot’s plan with a pencil. Amount the length and width, then repeat the process for the other foot. You may notice that one of your feet is taller or wider, in which case you should search for a shoe size that agrees to the smaller foot.

3.   Always Try New Shoes Before Buying Them

The best way to test a shoe is to wear it; although this is a common practice for most people, the era of internet buying has opened up a new possibility of ordering a pair of shoes/boots, hoping that they will fit right. 

 Although you could return the shoes you’ve ordered and ask for a higher number, you’d still have to wait weeks for the next pair to ship in. Fortunately, many brands offer sizing charts that could potentially help you find the right fit, but you’d still have to trust the numbers. 

4.   Boots Are Rarely Designed to Fit

Unlike shoes, most boots aren’t really sculpted after a realistic human foot. Many designs are ‘unnatural’, which is the reason why achieving a perfect fit is nearly impossible. 

 This is the reason why most people tend to purchase slightly bigger shoes, hoping that a pair of good insoles would help. On another hand, it’s also normal for people that have bought smaller boots to try stretching them, hoping that they would fit better. 

 Another useful ‘hack’ for adjusting the fit of your boots is to try wearing them with different pairs of socks. This should give them a bit of extra ‘filling’, which could prove to be enough for a better fit. Custom boot fit adjustments are a viable option if you don’t mind paying a few hundred dollars. 

5.   Open-sided Shoes are Much Better for People with Wide Feet

Basically, open-sided shoes are footwear that offers additional space on each side, providing more breathability while ensuring that people with wider feet feel comfortable. Most shoe types can be open-sided. Their main drawback is that you shouldn’t really use them during rainy or cold, snowy days. 

 There is another way to improve the fit of the shoes you already own. If there’s enough space for your toes, and the sides aren’t pressuring your foot, you can also use insoles for wide feet to make the floor of the shoe more comfortable. 

6.   When in Doubt, Get a Larger Number

Although the shoes you intend to buy need to feel right as soon as you start wearing them, certain models may feel a bit off before they’re kicked in. 

If you’re not sure whether such shoes would fit you properly, you may want to ask to try a larger number. If your foot isn’t slipping and your toes can reach the platform, the shoe is still decently sized for your foot. 

7.   Choose the Right Type of Shoe for Different Occasions 

Casual, running, and dress shoes aren’t designed to be the same. While different shoe models have different dimensions, the dissimilarities between different shoe types are far more pronounced. 

If you’re wearing casual shoes the most and want to buy a pair of running shoes, you can expect that the number you’re usually wearing might not match your new running, dress, or work shoes. 

 This has everything to do with the way shoes are designed. While ‘regular’ shoes may come in different shapes, the way construction boots, elegant shoes, and running sneakers are designed is too different for comparison. Each of these shoes will fit you differently, meaning that you should rely on how they feel more than on the actual dimensions. 

8.   Your Shoes and Boots Won’t Stretch Enough as Time Goes By

Many people believe that once their shoes or boots are kicked in, they would stretch and feel more comfortable. The reality is that poorly-fitting shoes won’t get better over time, at least not in the foreseeable future. 

 Months or even years may pass before your shoes are worn enough for the seams to burst on either of the two sides, under which condition the shoe may feel a bit looser than usual. By no means is this a properly-fitting shoe – if they don’t feel right and fit as soon as you start wearing them, don’t count on them getting any better.


Proper shoe fit is arguably more important than how a shoe may look, or how expensive it may be. By following these simple rules, you won’t have to worry about foot pain or discomfort again. 

In summary, measure your feet, consider open-sided shoes/boots, remember that different shoe types have vastly different sizing, and always test any shoes before buying.