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I usually try not to go shoe shopping too much.
I stick with two pairs of formal shoes (chukka boots and double monks), a pair of clean white Stan Smith sneakers and one pair of running shoes.
However, when I do have to buy a new pair, I take my time. Getting a pair of shoes that fit well is extremely important.
You’re going to wear them for hundreds, if not thousands, of days. So, you shouldn’t be asking the question “Are my shoes too big?” a week after you’ve bought them.
Whether you’re getting shoes for exercise or for a formal party, they should fit your feet like socks. So here is the ultimate shoe fitting guide for the average consumer.
Are my Shoes too big?
There are different rules that you need to follow for both running and formal shoes.
You should have wiggle room in running shoes.
Always get ones with a thumb’s width of room between the longest toe and the front of the shoe. Press down on the front end of the shoe with your thumb to get a feel of how much room you have.
If you don’t have enough room, the inner surface of the shoe will rub against your foot and cause a rash. If you’re a marathon runner or professional athlete, tight shoes can even cause bleeding.
So, always remember to take your time with selection.
Make sure the shoes don’t rub against any of the corners of your feet or toes. We all know the feeling of wearing too-tight formal shoes for too long!
Also, ensure that the shoe doesn’t clamp around your foot and squeeze it too much. Better to lace up and walk around to test this.
Finally, go for medium-sized heels so that you can minimize the pressure on the back of your foot.
Online Shoe Shopping Guide
While I would normally discourage shoe shopping online, one of my best pairs of shoes were bought online. Also, since online shopping is quickly becoming the default for many people, it’s pertinent to know your stuff.
- First things first, measure your feet. Most sites that you can buy shoes on have a shoe size chart. There are size differences and different measurement techniques for different online stores. However, most of them ask you to trace your foot on a piece of paper and measure it from big toe to heel in a straight line. You can then match that size with the size charts on any website.
- Read reviews. It’s very important to consider what you’re buying through the reviews that people have left. They’ll be able to point out problems with the shoes that you never even considered like chaffing, slippery soles, etc. Granted, they’re not all problems you may care about, but some may save you some serious cash. The reviews may also include tips like ordering shoes half a size up because the fitting guide is faulty.
Amazon, for instance, often has a fit guide on their shoe pages, based on the feedback from others who have purchased the item.
- Pick a few online stores and stick to them. After you’ve tried getting shoes from some online stores, you should know which ones are the best. It’s always fun to experiment, but when you can find everything you need at a few stores, save your cash.
- Use a browser extension to get discounts. You know that discount or coupon code option that you always leave blank at the checkout? That can be filled if you have a browser extension to find codes for you. Instead of hunting for the codes yourself, get them instantly.
- Does the online store have free delivery and returns? Maybe buy a few pairs to try on, and send back the ones that don’t fit.
Miscellaneous Tips for Shoe Shopping
Whenever you’re out shopping for shoes, you should keep these tips in mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting running shoes or sneakers. These tips should work across the board.
- Have your feet measured before you buy shoes. Foot sizes tend to increase rapidly when children are growing. They also tend to change if you gain or lose weight. Usually, one foot is larger than the other. Hence, find out which foot that is and always try on a shoe with that foot first.
- Shoe sizes are averaged across a wide variety of factors like height, weight, age, etc. Hence, you should only get shoes after you’ve tried them on. Make sure to walk around in them and pay attention to areas which are either loose or tight.
- Go shoe shopping in the afternoon. Your feet are usually bigger in the afternoon due to swelling. However, that doesn’t universally apply to people. Wear slippers or sandals to leave your feet in the open for most of the day. Wearing socks or tight shoes can compress the size of your feet.
- Make sure the heels of your shoes are fitting comfortably within the shoe. If there is any chaffing or scratching with the back end of the shoe, don’t buy it. You’ll end up with a rash, or worse.
- Don’t buy shoes that you think you can stretch into. You’re better off buying shoes that are a little loose and grow into them. Again, this is not to say you should go for loose shoes. It’s just that loose shoes are better than tight ones.
- While walking in the shoes, notice if the soles are slippery or not. If they are, don’t buy the shoes. Also go for thick soles that can cushion your feet against hard surfaces.
- Try to go for low heeled shoes rather than high heeled ones, especially if you’re going for home wear. Function should take precedence over fashion and comfort should take precedence over swagger.
- Try to buy leather shoes if you have sensitive skin. Leather lowers the chances of skin irritation.