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How to Tell if Your Shoes Are the Right Size

Wearing the right-sized shoes is super important for your foot health and everyday comfort. Shoes that are too big or too small can cause blisters, ingrown toenails and other foot-related problems, leaving you with some seriously achy feet. Incorrectly fitting shoes can have an impact on the overall development of your feet, which isn’t ideal – particularly in kids with growing feet!

So, how can you tell if shoes are too big or too small, and what can you do about it? Our handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about finding the right-sized shoes, including how to measure your feet from the comfort of your own home.

How are shoes supposed to fit?

Choosing the right shoe size for you is a necessity, so it helps to know the exact measurement of your feet instead of just taking an educated guess! But, with that being said, not all shoes will fit the same – even if they’re supposedly your size. Different styles and designs can fit very differently, and shoe sizes can also differ depending on which brand or store you shop at. To help you find your perfect pair, we’ve put together some steps for finding the ideal fit:

  • Measure your feet - measuring your feet is the first step to determining your shoe size, and so long as you have a tape measure, it’s easy to do from your home. Simply rest your foot on a flat surface and measure from your heel to the tip of your longest toe. Once you’ve measured both feet, consult our fit guide to figure out your size. Alternatively, you can make the most of our in-store measurement service and leave the measuring down to one of our friendly store assistants.

  • Make sure you try both shoes on – some people have one foot that is slightly larger than the other, so it’s always best to try on both shoes so you can get a sense of how comfortable they are on each foot. If one of your feet is bigger, choose your shoes in the larger size to avoid your toes becoming cramped.

  • Go shoe shopping in the afternoon - did you know that your feet swell throughout the day? Later in the day, your feet tend to be at their largest, so the afternoon is the best time to try on a new pair of shoes.

  • Try walking up and down - in order to figure out if your new shoes fit nice and comfortably, simply standing up in them isn’t going to be enough! A quick walk up and down the store (or around your house if you ordered online) is the best way to see how a pair of shoes fits.

How to tell if your shoes are the right size

How much space should be in your shoe?

If your shoes fit well, you should be able to feel one finger’s width of space between the tip of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. You can also insert a finger into the gap in between the back of your heel and the back of the shoe to check how they fit, and the width can be checked using the same method. It shouldn’t be a squeeze, but nor should there be lots of extra room.

Signs that your shoes are too small

In properly fitting shoes, your toes should be facing forward with enough space to move. Meanwhile, shoes that are too small will feel uncomfortably tight. You’ll likely feel your toes touching the ends of your shoes and may get blisters on the backs of your heels. Calluses, corns and ingrown toenails are also telltale signs of shoes that are too small. If your shoes are too narrow, your toes will feel crammed together and they might even be overlapping.

Signs that your shoes are too big

Shoes that are too big may likewise give you blisters caused by the friction of your foot moving around. If your shoes are too big in length, you might notice your foot sliding backwards and forwards, while shoes that are too wide will cause your feet to slide from side to side. You can make big shoes fit smaller with insoles and special shoe sizing inserts, however we’d always suggest choosing a pair of shoes that fit properly in the first place to avoid any damage to your feet.

Signs that your shoes fit perfectly

Perfect-fitting shoes should feel snug, but not too tight or too loose. It’s normal to get a few blisters during the breaking-in stage. However, if you’re still experiencing discomfort after three to four weeks of wearing your shoes, then it’s probably best to exchange your shoes for a different size and get your feet measured properly.

If you’re shoe shopping, remember to follow our above steps for finding the ideal fit to minimize the risk of having to exchange your shoes.

How to tell if your child's shoes fit

As adults, we find it much easier to articulate how we’re feeling than our little ones. Kids might put up with uncomfortable and badly fitting shoes without saying anything, so it’s always best to check how things are feeling for yourself. The finger test we mentioned earlier is a great place to start when checking the fit of your child’s shoe. You can also ask your child if they’re able to wiggle their toes while wearing their shoes.

While you might be tempted to buy your kids slightly larger shoes that they can grow into, this isn’t necessarily the best idea! Shoes that are too big lack the support needed to help little feet that are on the move, so we’d recommend getting your child’s feet measured.

The right-fitting pair of shoes can make all the difference, so if you’re in the process of figuring out your size, take a look at our fit guide to help you find your perfect pair. For more style tips and advice, head over to our blog.