Many people have had the frustrating experience of ordering shoes online, only to find that the shoes do not fit their feet correctly. The shoe size is a matter of both length and width, the latter being a detail that many people ignore. Men are more likely to purchase the correct shoe size because they have no cultural or societal standard to adhere to as far as having slender, beautiful feet. Women, on the other hand, are likely to squeeze their feet into ill-fitting footwear, either because they like the look of the shoe (which may not come in a range of widths) or because they have never considered whether or not their foot is a standard width. Many people also do not realize that their shoe size changes over time due to gravity and pressure, age, pregnancy, weight gain, fluid retention, and other factors.
Some people believe that they need to visit a shoe store and have their feet measured on a slide device, but the good news is that finding one’s true shoe size is just as easy at home. First, one can measure for length, then move on to finding the width. Feet should be measured about once a year to see if there have been any changes.
Measuring Foot Length
Measuring the feet at home is done by tracing the feet on paper and measuring the length and width of each foot. In order to get the most accurate figures:
- Gather paper (legal size is good for most adults), a pencil, and a long ruler or tape measure.
- Trace feet in the evening, after the feet have swollen to their maximum size.
- Trace feet in the hosiery that will be worn with the shoes in question.
Tracing the Feet
Follow the steps below to trace the feet:
- Sit down on a chair and place a sheet of paper on the floor.
- Place one foot on the paper and allow it to rest naturally.
- Holding the pencil perfectly vertically and perpendicular to the paper, trace around the perimeter of the foot as closely as possible without angling the pencil in or out. It is not necessary to draw the outline of each toe; the longest toe is of primary concern.
- Using the ruler, measure the distance from the very bottom of the heel to the top of the longest toe. Subtract 0.20 to 0.25 inches or about 0.50 centimeter to account for the diameter of the pencil. Record the resulting measurement in both inches and centimeters.
- Measure the distance spanning the ball of the foot at its widest point, from left to right. Again, subtract 0.20 to 0.25 inches or 0.50 centimeter from this figure to account for the width of the pencil, and record the final measurement in both inches and centimeters.
- Flip the paper over and repeat these steps with the other foot.
Determining Shoe Size
To find the shoe size based on the measurement, simply follow the appropriate table below to the measurement that corresponds to the length of the foot tracing. If between sizes, go to the next highest half size. If one foot is longer than the other, buy a pair of shoes in the larger of the two sizes. Self-adhesive pads can be attached inside the heel of the shoe that goes on the smaller foot to keep it from slipping.
Men’s Shoe Length Chart
The following chart indicates measurements for the most common men’s shoe sizes.