Just because you can fit your foot into a shoe doesn’t mean it fits. A good fitting shoe should ‘pop’ onto your foot and ideally, you shouldn’t even feel it on your foot. A lot of people ask us how they can tell if their shoes fit properly. To help, we’ve pulled together the following pointers that should help you determine if your shoes actually fit.
There should be half to a full thumbnail width between the end of the shoe and your longest toe. Make sure to check this while you're standing and completely weight-bearing with your foot all the way back in the shoe to get the most accurate measurement. Most people check the length of their shoes when they're sitting, or they stick their foot out in front of them and have someone else check the length. In both cases, they're not putting their full weight on their foot, so their foot is not fully splayed to its fullest shape.
The reason you want half to a full thumbnail width of extra space between the end of your longest toe and your shoe is that throughout the course of your day, your feet will swell. That extra space allows room to account for that swelling, and this is especially true if you are exercising.
There are a few telltale signs that your feet need extra room if you notice:
- Black toenails from your foot jamming into the end of the shoe
- Ingrown toenails
👍 Shown: Full thumbnail width between the end of the shoe and longest toe
👎 Shown: Not enough space between the end of the shoe and longest toe
Your foot should completely fit over the midsole of the shoe with the upper wrapped snugly around your foot. If your foot pours over the midsole, like a muffin top, that means the shoe is too narrow and you likely need a larger size.
Shown: Muffin top effect 👎
Shoes that are too narrow can lead to:
- Neuromas (like a pinched nerve)
- Ingrown toenails
Alternatively, if there is excessive space between the sides of your foot and the upper of the shoe, that means the shoe is too wide. This can lead to blisters and a lack of stability in the shoe.
VOLUME (I.E. HEIGHT)
If you are wearing a traditional, non-slip-on type of shoe, you should be able to easily and comfortably put your foot in the shoe without it pressing tightly against the top of your foot.
If a shoe doesn’t have enough volume, the laces can cause pressure against the top of the foot. This can lead to discomfort and numbness in the foot.
If a shoe has too much volume, your foot may not fit securely in the shoe. This can lead to heel blisters from your foot rubbing against the back of the shoe.
Many volume-related issues can be treated by alternative lacing styles.
3 out of 5 people are wearing the wrong size sneaker. To learn more about why fit is so important, check out our video on "Why Fit Matters."