Sometimes people come into the shop and they ask me for a specific shoe in a specific size that turns out to be… strangely too small. There are any number of reasons why a person may want (or think they want) a shoe that is entirely the wrong size. The problem is that if your shoe size is wrong it is going to be really difficult to have a good experience in the shoe. Even if you were appropriately one size in the past it may no longer be a good idea to stay in the same size going forward. I thought I might mention a few things that are good to remember when getting a new shoe that might help us remember why this is important.
The first thing to consider is the length of the shoe in relation to the length of your foot. No matter what your shoe size has been in the past if you are looking for a new shoe and it is shorter than your foot it is not your correct shoe size. I know this sounds so simple that it might not need saying and I promise I am not trying to patronize anyone… but I see this almost every day I go to work. I do prefer to measure people’s feet and I even measure my own feet on a fairly regular basis. I guess what I want to say is that if you have to curl your toes to fit in the shoe please buy a longer (and therefore bigger) size.
The second thing to consider is how wide the shoe is. I want you to imagine the shape of your foot- or better yet, take off your shoes and socks and look at the shape of your foot. Now I want you to grab one of your shoes and take out the insole and lay it on the floor. Step on the insole of your shoe alone by itself on the floor and look at how it compares to your foot. When you splay your toes do they spill way off the sides of the insole? Are they off the sides of your insole even before your toes splay and wiggle? If they are or do then it is not very likely that your shoe is doing your foot any favors. Perhaps you need a wider size, or a half size up, or even just a different shoe altogether. While this insole on the floor test does not tell you everything it does tell you a whole lot about how your shoe fits and offers an easy convenient visual.
The third thing I would like to consider about your shoe size and fit is how it feels when you lace up the shoe. This last one may seem unscientific and somewhat vague but really at the end of the day it is extremely important. Your nervous system (which provides most of the stuff that determines how a shoe “feels”) is pretty interesting and sophisticated. You can definitely try on two shoes that are long enough and have the right width and shape- but one of them will likely feel more comfortable than the other (even just walking around in the store). Now if you try on two sizes of the same shoe and one of those sizes “just feels more comfortable,” then I would strongly recommend you go with that size. At the end of the day your body has a lot to say about shoe size and fit and I would always encourage you to learn to listen to your body.
Of course there is a lot more to shoe fitting and if you come in to one of our shops ( or hopefully a different local shop if you are reading this in a different state or country) we would always be happy to help guide you to a great pair of shoes. But just remember this: they can call that shoe size number anything they want as long as your feet are happy. Please don’t buy your shoes to small (or too big for that matter- although that seems to be a much less common problem) and remember that over your lifetime and with different shoes your size will change. Keep your feet happy and have a great day people!