Did you know 90% of consumers wear their shoes too small? With so many different styles, brands, features, fits and tech terms … it's no wonder!
This guide's goal is simply to help you select the best all-around shoe "fit."
Attention: These shoe measurement tools are general guides to securing your proper shoe size. Because of differences in manufacturing, styling and other variables, fit characteristics and sizes may vary among brands. Shoe sizer designs are based on the Genuine Brannock Device, a registered trademark of The Brannock Device Company, Inc. © 2002.
Method Used for Measuring Heel Heights...
Heel heights will now be measured from the back of the heel. (Our heels aren't higher, just our
measurements). To measure the height, we place the shoe on a level surface and hold a ruler behind
Measuring at the back of the heel tends to increase the stated height of a low heel by 1/4 inch and
a higher heel by 1/2 inch.
Measuring a low heel from the inside (previous method) you get 1 1/2 inches; from the back 1 3/4
Measuring a higher heel (pictured below) inside 2 1/2 inches; from the back 3 inches.
Your Basic Foot Type
Determining Your Foot Type
Get to know your feet! Take a minute to find out which category your feet fall into. This way, you'll secure a pair of shoes tailored to your individual needs, reducing discomfort, pain, and even injury.
The "Wet Test"
1.Get your foot wet. 2.Place it on a surface, such as a sidewalk or dark piece of construction paper. This will show an imprint of your foot. 3.Look at the imprint's characteristics to determine your foot type.
Fairly self-explanatory, this type shows a complete impression of your foot, as it rests flush against the ground. Because your foot doesn't form a normal arch, this means it strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls excessively inward. This extra stress, in turn, causes many types of injuries. Around 65% of the population has pronated feet, either from obesity, arthritis, foot trauma or genetics.
High-Arched Foot (Supinated)
You'll see a large open area on the imprint where your foot's arch didn't touch the ground. The verdict? More rigid, your foot neither rolls inward enough nor absorbs shock well. Other characteristics include the heel and toes being drawn inward. About 25% of the population has supinated feet. Main causes? Musculoskeletal disorders and genetics.
Neutral (Ideal foot)
Lucky you! A moderate space will appear in the imprint's arch area. This means you land on the outside of the heel, then roll inward slightly to absorb shock. If you are of normal weight, you are considered the most biomechanically sound type of runner. Only about 10% of the population has neutral feet.
Shoe Features to Look For
1.If you have flat feet: •Stability is most important. Features like a medial post (a stiff material on the inner side of shoe) will provide good arch support, reducing that "rolling in" motion. •Avoid lots of cushioning. It'll only intensify instability and pronation problems by allowing your feet to continue rolling inward. Look for a firm midsole material that adds stability, such as polyurethane. •Find a durable heel. To bolster stability, look for a beveled heel and durable carbon rubber outsole. 2.If you have high-arched feet: •Stability becomes less important. •Cushioning is needed, especially in the heel and forefoot. You'll want a midsole with EVA — a rubber-like foam that'll provide the softest cushioning and the lightest weight. •Find a flexible heel. Plus look for a softer, lighter outsole. 3.If you have ideal feet:
Then any shoes with moderate stability, good cushioning and durability will suit you fine.
Shoe Sizing Tools
When it comes to shoe shopping, size is step #1!
So, wouldn't it be nice if you had one of those handy metal devices that shoe salespeople use to accurately measure feet? We'll give you the next best thing — printable foot measurement tools, or "shoe sizers," for women, men and children.
Click on the links below to download these shoe sizers in an Adobe Acrobat, .pdf format. (The women's and men's sizers take up two pages, so make sure to print them both!)
Measure Them Yourself
You can easily determine your shoe size the old-fashioned way. All you need is a piece of paper, a pencil and a ruler. Just follow these instructions:
1. Place your foot, naturally stretched, on a piece of paper.
2. Mark the back of your heel.
3. Mark the tip of your longest toe.
4. Measure the distance (in inches) between marks.
5. Select the appropriate inch-to-shoe size conversion chart below.
Once you have your heel-to-toe length in inches, simply match it to its corresponding shoe size.
Women's Men's Inches Shoe Size Inches Shoe Size 8 3/16" 3 1/2 8 13/16" 4 1/2 8 1/2" 4 1/2 9 3/16" 5 1/2 8 13/16" 5 1/2 9 1/2" 6 1/2 9 3/16" 6 1/2 9 13/16"7 1/2 9 1/2" 7 1/2 10 3/16"8 1/2 9 13/16" 8 1/2 10 1/2"9 1/2 10 3/16" 9 1/2 10 13/16" 10 1/2 10 1/2" 10 1/2 11 3/16" 11 1/2 10 13/16" 11 1/2 11 1/2" 12 1/2 11 3/16" 12 1/2 11 13/16" 13 1/2 Little Kids' Big Kids' Inches Shoe Size Inches Shoe Size
General Sizing Hints
You know your shoe size, but that's only the beginning. As you select new footwear, keep in mind these important sizing facts:
•Do you remember the last time you measured your feet? You're not alone; only about 25% of consumers do. Measure your feet at least once every year, or ideally every time you buy footwear. •Your feet will continue to grow and change with age. Gravity and a weight increase/decrease may also change your feet. •Did you ever think one foot is bigger than the other? It could be. Select your shoes accordingly, always favoring the larger size. •Remember to have ¼ to ½ inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. This allows your foot the extra room it needs to elongate and spread during physical activity, even walking. •Make sure the widest part of your foot fits in the widest part of the shoe without hanging over the outsole. •Consider the type of socks you wear. Their thickness will affect your shoes' fit, and in turn, their comfort. Good insoles will cushion your feet much better than any sock. •Try to alternate your shoes about every other day so they have time to dry out between wearings. This allows the material(s) to fully "recover," heightening their longevity. •Like jeans, shoe sizes can vary among different brands and styles. •Women's feet oftentimes become a ½ size larger (or more!) after pregnancy. •Studies show that around 90% of consumers wear their shoes too small. Likewise, loose-fitting shoes can cause blisters, foot instability and jammed toes.
Athletic Shoe Tips
•Select a shoe with a shape that most resembles the shape of your foot. This will work best for your foot type. •The easiest way to tell if you need new shoes is to look at the soles. If they are worn out or very unevenly worn, you should replace them immediately. •Running shoes with polyurethane midsoles are likely to maintain their level of cushioning longer than shoes with EVA midsoles. •Buy shoes after you workout. Your foot can swell after activity, as much as 8%, or a full shoe size. So, it's important to ensure that your new pair will accommodate the volume you need. •Not all athletic shoes are the same. There are various materials, designs and emphases. Select shoes based on your size, foot type and how you use them. •True or False: You must wear the lightest possible shoes. False! Select shoes based on your support and cushioning needs. Once those criteria are met, select the lightest shoe for your foot. •The most expensive shoes aren't always the best!
Dress & Casual Shoe Tips
•Shoes need a day off! If you want your shoes to last longer, rotate them with your other styles every few days. •Insert wooden "shoe trees" (or shoe keepers) into your shoes to absorb excess moisture, retain the shape of the leather or fabric, and prevent wrinkling and cracking. Shoe trees can help prolong shoe life by 4 or 5 years! •Let your shoes air dry when storing them. Remember to keep leather styles away from heat sources, which can dry out the leather. •Select shoe-care products (brushes, shoe cream, waterproofing agents, etc.) with care. Always use the products recommended. •A protective spray is an excellent way to shield your shoes from water, snow, mud and spills. •Brush dirt off — at least once a week — with a dry brush before the dirt becomes ingrained. •Lengthen the life of your shoes with protective soles. These thin rubber accessories are applied over the sole of the shoe to guard it against water, skids, wear and tear. •Clean suede and nubuck leathers with a suede brush (or a toothbrush). •Clean smooth-leather shoes with a wax-based polish. Rub the polish into the leather with a soft cloth, then use a small brush to get into creases. Buff with a horse hair brush. Repeat process for a better shine.
• Clean white EVA flip flops with Simple Green and an softbrush. Dirty footprints come right off!
•Avoid silicone-based polishes and lotions. They tend to sit on top of the leather. •Fabric shoes should be regularly sprayed with a stain guard.
The Sure-Fit Option
This handy shoe sizer is a guideline -- we do not guarantee its accuracy. This photo is an exact replica of the Sure-Fit Shoe Sizer we have in our store. This is very helpful when ordering shoes for children. However, for adult shoes your best bet is to order the size you normally wear.
Put a ruler on the floor, up against a wall. Standing up straight with your heel firmly against the wall, measure your foot in inches. Take that number and follow the number in the
Inches column on the sizer below. Look across and align that number with the large Black number in the Custom Size column to determine your size. Example: A foot that is measured as 10 inches turns out to be a size 8 shoe size or a foot measured 9 inches turns into a size 5 shoe size.
Children's sizes show first, up to size 13, then adult sizes begin.
Tech Terms Glossary
What does "EVA" stand for? How is the DMX® system really going to help me? To further enlighten your footwear shopping experience, we've compiled the following comprehensive glossary of shoe terms.
3D Ultralite - Outsole material (including EVA, rubber and other compounds) that produces lighter, more flexible, smoother-riding footwear. In a traditional athletic shoe, the rubber outsole is the heaviest part. With 3D Ultralite from Reebok®, no rubber outsole is necessary. As a result, shoes made with this material are 10-20% lighter than shoes made with conventional construction.
360° Fit - The New Balance® goal of providing an all-over design with the perfect dimensions to accurately fit your feet.
Abzorb® - A polyurethane-based material from New Balance. Embedded in the midsole, it disperses shock like a liquid. Upon impact, the shock waves travel horizontally instead of vertically back into the lower limb. The result is maximum shock absorbency while resisting compression set.
adiFIT™ - A removable insole in infants' and children's shoes that helps parents determine the correct shoe length for a proper fit. From adidas®.
adiPRENE® - A shock-absorbing material from adidas. Located in the heel, it reduces impact forces on ground contact.
adiPRENE® + - Technology from adidas that helps provide better performance. Located in the forefoot, this highly elastic material enhances natural propulsive forces for a more efficient pushoff.
AHAR® heel plug - High abrasion-resistant rubber in the outsole that helps reduce excessive wear. From Asics®.
ANSI - American National Standards Institute
APMA - American Podiatric Medical Association
Arch Rocker™ - Material in the midsole that helps prevent foot fatigue by providing support and massage for the arch. From Avia®.
AT Tread™ - An all-terrain, aggressive tread that maximizes the outsole's durability. From New Balance.
C-Cap® - A firm, cushioned midsole from New Balance made of pressure-molded EVA. Extremely lightweight and flexible.
Cantilever® - This Avia system enhances cushioning and stability. It centers the heel over a concave sole, softening impact and providing increased energy return.
Collar - The top of the shoe behind the laces area that wraps around the ankle.
Comfortongue® - Technology from Hi-Tec® that's anatomically sculpted to fit the contour of the foot. The inner tongue distributes the pressure from the laces and the eyelets more evenly, as it gently presses your heel into place, so there's less slipping around in the boot. Also offers added protection from water, snow and trail debris.
CoolMax® lining - Uses specially engineered DuPont® fibers to transport perspiration away from the body toward the surface of the fabric, where it can evaporate quickly. At the same time, the uniquely shaped fibers provide great breathability, even when wet.
DCS (Dual Cantilever System®) - This Avia system maximizes stability and cushioning with pressurized dual reverse Cantilever® units. The topside centers your heel directly under the body while using heel fat to cushion the stride. The bottom part softens impact and provides increased energy return.
DMX® I-pak - Two-pod (heel and forefoot) system from Reebok that employs a moving cushion of air to deliver sensational comfort and load distribution precisely where and when the athlete needs it.
DMX® 2 - The original Reebok DMX system that offers heel-to-forefoot walking-specific cushioning, increased stability and pronation control. Within the DMX unit, air moves back and forth between two pods connected by an air channel. By tightly constricting the channel as air flows from heel to toe, the air flow speed is controlled to match the pace of an individual walker's stride.
Dri-Lex™ lining - Knit combination of Hydrofil (water-friendly) nylon and a hydrophobic fiber for rapid moisture absorption and wicking. From Faytex Corporation.
DuoMax® - Consists of two or more different density midsole materials which enhance the degree and velocity of pronation. From Asics.
DuraSponge® - A new rubber compound from Asics for enhanced durability and cushioning in the forefoot.
Eclipse 2050 IMEVA - Lightweight, durable midsole cushioning that provides midfoot integrity and control.
Ecto-Cantilever System (ECS) - This Avia system is a new, mechanically advanced technology designed to increase energy return into the next step, while reducing the shock felt upon impact. Two molded plastic plates in the heel, the top for cushioning and the bottom for impact absorption, provide extra support.
EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) - Closed-cell synthetic rubber foam in the midsole that's lighter and softer than the other major midsole fabric — polyurethane.
Eyelet - The holes or reinforced rings in which the laces thread through.
Flex grooves - Anatomically designed grooves cut horizontally across the forefoot of the outsole. They allow the foot to flex at its ball (its natural bending point) and roll more naturally.
fom® - This Avia system mimics the way your foot compresses and disperses shock and is located in key impact areas, much the same as the fat pads in your foot. Made of extremely soft yet dense material, it conforms to your foot on impact for excellent cushioning and comfort, then bounces back to its original shape after each impact.
Forefoot - The broad, front area of the foot. It's usually the second point of contact while walking or running.
Gait - The manner of walking or moving on foot.
Gel® Cushioning System - Silicone-based gel from Asics that provides excellent shock absorption in high-impact areas.
GRID™ (Ground Reaction Inertia Device) Cassette System - Small cassette made of interwoven Hytrel elastomer that's inserted into a gap hollowed out in the heel. When the heel hits the ground, the Hytrel strings bend to the heel's shape, absorbing the shock. At the same time, the midsole compresses. The result is better cushioning and stability. From Saucony®.
Hexalite® - Honeycomb structure used in the heel, rear foot and forefoot that acts as a shock absorber, increasing stability and cushioning. From Reebok.
I.C.S. (Ionic Cushioning System) - Saucony system composed of molded triangular pillars at the rear of the midsole, providing additional cushioning for the heelstrike phase of each running stride.
Insole - The padded surface upon which the foot rests within the shoe. Usually removable for drying purposes, and should be removed if orthotics are used. Also referred to as a footbed or sockliner.
Last - The three-dimensional wooden or plastic form which composes the shoes' overall shape and eventual fit. Hand carved or made from a mold, lasts may be straight, curved or semi-curved. Different types of last provide different types of support and fit options.
MicroDry® lining - Soft, cushioned material with texture that carries away moisture to keep feet dry.
Midfoot - The section of the midsole beneath the arch and extending to the lateral side of the shoe.
Midsole - The layer of soft, shock-absorbing material between the outsole and the upper. It's an especially important part of athletic shoes, because the construction and materials used will impact the levels of both cushioning and motion control/stability.
Ndurance™ - A compound in the heel pad that maximizes the outsole's durability. From New Balance.
Omni-Grip™ - Lightweight, abrasion-resistant outsole from Columbia®. With a multi-directional lug design for better tracking and durability.
Opti-Flex Zone - Maximizes forefoot flexibility.
Orthotics - The branch of medical science that deals with the support of weak or ineffective joints and muscles. People suffering from the aforementioned can insert medical insoles in their shoes that protect the feet and ankles from the repetitive stress of physical activities.
Outsole - The bottom of the shoe, usually composed of rubber.
Phylon - Lightweight EVA foam that is heated and molded to form a midsole. Lighter and more flexible than other midsole foams. Also provides very resilient cushioning.
Pronation - Rotation of the medial foot bones inward and downward so when walking, the foot tends to come down on its inner margin.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - Rubber-like material that gives excellent protection against impact and oils.
PU (polyurethane) - One of two major types of midsole cushioning. A dense and durable material, it can add stability to the shoe, but also weight.
Rearfoot - The section in the back of the foot just behind the arch. Usually the first point of contact while walking or running.
Rolling Rail - A system of heel-to-toe motion that incorporates heel kick, stability, toe spring and a flexible forefoot to produce smoother, more efficient rolling. From Nike®.
Rubberlon - Lightweight rubber material that provides cushioning and flexibility.
Sidewall - A reference to part of the shoe's upper area, between the midsole and laces.
Spenco® lining - Closed cell neoprene fabric that helps absorb shock, reduce friction and improve overall foot comfort.
Stability Web® - Made of thermoplastic urethane (TPU) and positioned under the arch, this New Balance system delivers superior support in the midfoot and reduces the overall weight of the shoe. Plus, it allows for torsion and flexion control in the arch while maintaining flexibility in the forefoot.
Thermolite® - DuPont scientists created this amazing fabric after discovering polar bears have fur with "hollow" hairs that trap air for better insulation. Made with hollow-core fibers, Thermolite provides warmth and comfort without the weight, even when wet. Plus, these fibers' large surface area helps speed up evaporation.
Tongue - Material beneath the laces area that helps protect the top of foot.
Torsion - The twisting or wrenching of a body by the exertion of forces tending to turn one end or part about a longitudinal axis while the other is held fast or turned in the opposite direction.
TORSION® System - Designed by adidas, this system provides midfoot and arch support while allowing the natural, independent movement of the forefoot and heel.
TPU (thermoplastic urethane) outsole - Imported rubber-like material that is extra lightweight and strong.
TPU rearfoot post - A stability device made of thermoplastic urethane. It's placed medially in the heel of the midsole to aid pronation control, offering support.
TPR (thermoplastic rubber) - A synthetic rubber similar to resin-rubber or a blend of petroleum-based synthetics. Produces rubber-like qualities, but can be fused by heat and therefore processed into soles by injection molding.
TRAXION® - Outsole lugs that are shaped for maximum ground penetration and evenly distributed pressure against the foot. The center lugs grip when accelerating or running straight ahead; the perimeter/lateral lugs grip while making sharp turns or running on slopes. From adidas.
Trusstic System® - A molded midfoot component from Asics which reduces the weight of the sole unit while retaining the structural integrity.
Upper - The soft body of the shoe. Usually made of a combination of materials, from lightweight, durable synthetic mesh to heavier materials like leather. The materials and construction of the upper provide stability, comfort, and a snug, but not tight, fit.
Waffle® - A lightweight outsole pattern invented by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman on his wife's waffle iron. The design, which is similar to a waffle in appearance, provides excellent traction qualities on most surfaces, wet or dry.
Width - A shoe measurement based on the widest part of the foot. Shoe width sizes are generally stated as letters or as the terms Narrow, Medium, Wide. The letters and terms tend to vary between shoe manufacturers. For Women, a standard (or medium) width is usually a B. For Kids and Men, a standard width is a D.
x-FLEX™ - Internal and external flex grooves under the ball of the foot for a more efficient and balanced foot strike. From adidas.
XT-600® - A highly durable, carbon rubber outsole material. From Saucony.
X-beam - technology for a low-to-the-ground look and feel for working out or stepping out.