Don’t let ordering shoes online frustrate you.
When it comes to the basics in size there’s length and width. Other foot factors that may change how a shoe feels such as arch height, instep height, foot proportions, or foot conditions. We will cover some those at the end for interest, but let’s keep it simple with length and width first.
Your Feet Change Just Like You
Age, pregnancy, weight loss, or gain as well as fluid retention can all change your shoe size. Don’t assume what size you are just because you’ve always been a size 8.
You Are Not Alone
A study by the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society found that 88 percent of women in the United States routinely wear shoes that are too small for their feet. Another UK report found that as many as half of all women measured were wearing the wrong shoe size.
While squeezing into a great looking shoe might not seem like a big deal, the research shows that improperly fitted shoes can bring on a number of long term foot health issues, such as hammertoes, bunion growth and yes foot pain which is directly linked to back pain and headaches.
The Standard in Shoe Sizing Is…
There is no Standard. Shoe manufacturers differ in sizing and in widths. This Non-Standard makes it more important than ever to connect with a proper Fitter who understands the brand and style you’re considering and can assist you in finding the right size in that specific shoe or recommend others for you to consider.
The Perfect Fit
The best way to fit yourself is to have an expert fitter fit you. Someone who understands the brands of shoes you are interested in and how best to fit that shoe for you.
Sole City online also provides an opportunity for one of our fitters to reach out to you prior to shipping to confirm your correct size in a shoe purchased or if there is a problem we have a hassle free exchange policy.
The Good News
Our full time experienced fitters are available to you. With the simple steps we outline here as well as a consultation with our fitters on the shoes you find on our site if needed we feel you are in the best hands online.
How To Measure Your Feet
What You Should Know Before You Measure Your Feet
- It is best to measure your feet later in the day if possible as walking all day can slightly increase the size of your feet.
- It is best to measure your feet wearing the type of socks or stockings you will be wearing in the shoes you plan to purchase. Only measure your feet while barefoot if you plan to wear shoes over your bare feet.
- Remember that the differences in shoe size measurements are often as small as 1/8 of an inch, so try to be accurate to be effective. Rounding up or down will decrease the accuracy of finding the right fit.
- Measure both feet. Almost everyone has one bigger foot. Use the larger to determine your sizing.
- If your measurement is between two sizes, always move up to the larger size.
- Ladies please re-read the last point. Joking, but in all seriousness remember, look good and be comfortable, your soles will thank you.
Simple Sizing in 6 Steps
- Place your socked foot onto a piece of paper, make sure you can trace all the way around it. We recommend sitting in a chair or crouching, not standing. Also make sure you are on a truly flat surface not carpet.
- Use your foot tracing and a ruler to measure the length of your foot from the longest toe to the back of your heel. Write down this measurement.
- Next measure the length of your foot tracing across the widest part of the foot (usually the ball of your foot). Write down this measurement.
- You're done. Now use the measurements with our shoe length chart.
- Alright now use your width measurements on our shoe width chart (keep in mind you may need to round up not down.
- Now go Shoe Shopping and connect with us! Armed with this info and answers to a few more questions our Fitters can assist you to find that perfect fit.
Additional Fit Factors
While these may not be part of finding a shoe size, they are also factors that may affect the way a shoe fits and feels:
The arch of the foot is the concave section under your foot between the ball and the heel. Individuals can know their arch height by stepping in sand or on cement with wet feet. A high arch will show the ball and heel of the foot in the footprint but only a narrow side foot. A low or flat arch will look almost solid from ball to heel. A regular arch will have the classic footprint look, with a curved side foot connecting the ball and heel.
Your instep is the top of the foot that slopes up from your toes to your ankle. Some people have a thinner foot or a shallower instep, while others have a thicker foot or a steep instep. Instep differences can affect how well the foot fits into a shoe, depending on the cut of the shoe. A high instep may want to think about adjustability, such as laces or the type of material to keep the foot comfortable and not too much pressure on the top of the foot.
Long toes, or shorter toes can affect the fit of shoe in that the ball of the foot may not sit at the right part of the shoe. A fitter can make recommendations to assist with this problem.
These are just a few items to highlight that shoe size alone does not guarantee a perfect fit.
Fun Fact: Why Is It Called the European Shoe Sizing System?
It’s only European in its Origin. Many EU sized shoes are now manufactured in Israel, China, New Zealand and yes throughout Europe too.
You can measure your children’s feet the same way as we have outlined above, just with a little more patience ;)
Important facts about Children’s Feet and their footwear needs:
- Before a child has started walking, shoes are unnecessary. Stay warm in winter with soft booties, but foot coverings should be as non-restricting as possible.
- Never let a child wear a shoe that is too small for their feet! Children's feet are still growing and developing at a rapid pace and unfortunately many adult foot problems have their origins in poor-fitting shoes during childhood.
- Never put your child in a shoe that is more than a one size too big or the child is likely to trip when walking.
- After your toddler has begun to walk (usually between 10 and 18 months old), you can introduce him or her to a sneaker with a flexible outsole with good traction. This should be worn outdoors only. Inside the house barefoot is still best for toddlers. Toddler's feet tend to grow a shoe size larger every three months or so. Feel free to buy shoes slightly larger than what your child needs. 1/2 an inch clearance at the toe provides some growing room.
- A little bit of arch support goes a long way. Even though your child is older, their feet will still be growing rapidly. Between the ages of four and five most children's feet grow at least a half a shoe size every four to five months.
- Your child will usually start wearing youth shoe sizes around age 6. It now becomes more important that children wear supportive athletic shoes during play, particularly if they participate in after-school sports. While children's feet are more resilient and thus less prone to injury, the most common cause of chronic children's foot pain is Sever’s disease, an inflammation of a child's developing heel growth plate. The most common cause of children's heel pain is participation in activities that involve a lot of running and jumping, such as soccer and basketball, without having shoes that provide enough arch support.
- If you are buying a children's shoe that uses the U.S. or U.K. sizing system be sure to remember that the sizing system starts over at around age 6. At age five your child may wear a children's size 13 and at age 6 your child may wear a youth size 1.