Your shoes are the foundations of your outfit. Having the right pair powerfully increases your style, however its important to ensure that your comfort and function aren’t overlooked when shopping for shoes. Poor fitting dress shoes are painful and can cause problems like blisters and back pain.
Trust me it doesn’t matter how they look, like all other items of clothing how they feel is king! So you wearing the right size dress shoes is important, and this is what we are going to cover in this article.
A great place to start to ensure that you have the right size is by using a Brannock Device. Designed in 1927 this device tells you what shoe size you need by measuring the length of your foot, from heel to toe. The length of your arch and the width of your foot.
To use a Brannock device, first place your heel against the back of the device. Then look straight down over your longest toe to see the measurement. This number marks the total length of your foot.
Next slide the pointer down to the ball joint of your foot. This number represents your arch measurement. At this point you should have your foot’s length and arch length. Out of the two numbers the one that is bigger is your shoe size.
After you have your shoe size your next step is to measure your foot’s width. To do this slide the width bar to the side of your foot and make not of the corresponding letter. A, B, C, are narrow widths. E is considered an average width size; and E, EE, EEE, are wide width.
You can go down to your neighborhood shoe store to get your measurements, or you can buy one on amazon here
Now that you have your foot measurements you have a great place to start in picking the right size; however, understand that sizing and widths vary across the brands. The reason for this is because each brand has their own shoe last.
A shoe last is a wooden mold which the shoe is formed around. Now because each brand has their own unique shape or last, you are going to find that there is variations across the brands so the most important way to know is a shoe truly fits is to … you guessed it, you are going to have to try it on.
What to Look for When You Try on A Pair
Okay since you must try on a pair to really know if those shoes are a good fit for you here is some tips you can look for when trying on a pair. Now first off when putting on a dress shoe always use a shoehorn. Failure to do so will damage the back of your shoes.
Here are some areas that you must pay attention to when you are trying on a pair of shoes the ball of your foot should sit comfortably in the widest part of the shoe. This is called the Shoebox. It should grip closely around your foot but never too tight. You want it to be just right.
Okay we know that mama is always right, but not here. When she pushed in on the front part of the shoe to check your toes doesn’t matter. When it comes to the length understand it’s not really where your toes are that matter too much, it all about the fit in the Shoebox.
Of course you want plenty of room for your toes, you don’t want then to be crushed up. But understand that different shoes have different shapes some are intended to be longer some have a pointed end. Just make sure your toes are not touching the end of the shoe and you will be fine.
Remember it’s the fit around the Shoebox not the toes that matters.
Finally, check the heel of the shoe, your heel should not be slipping around, if the back of the shoe is riding up and down when you are walking you will need to go for a smaller size or to go with a different brand.
Now I need to point out this rule really applies to lace shoes and boots. If you are buying a pair of slip on Chelsea or you are getting a pair of loafers, understand that you can have a little more wiggle room back in the heel.
Its also very important to walk around when trying on a pair. Just sitting or standing isn’t enough to get proper feel for the fit. Lastly make sure there isn’t any pain or chafing when you walk. This indicates that the shoe is just too small regarding the length or width. Also, your feet should not be sliding around inside obviously this would mean that the shoe is too large.
Some Pro Tips on Shoe Size
Tip 1: only walk on carpet when trying on leather sole dress shoes, if you walk on hardwood or concrete you risk scuffing the bottom of the soles and if you wanted to return them they simply my deny your return.
Tip 2: Try on your shoes later in the afternoon or evening, our feet swell up around that time so you don’t run the risk of getting shoes that fit well when you first buy them but in the evening are too tight.
Tip 3: Its normal for one foot to be slightly larger than the other. If this is the case make sure to go for a size slightly larger.
Tip 4: One way to see if your shoes are too tight is to do the finger test. A simple finger test can tell you if you need to go up or down a size. For both men's and women's shoes, stick a finger in between the heel of your foot and the heel of your shoe, if your finger slides in with a bit of space to spare, you should probably go down a half size.
Tip 5: Consider the shoes purpose not all shoes are created equal, if you are shopping for those great fitting basketball shoes you are going to get a different feel then when you are trying on some taps. When buying performance shoes, always consider the activities you’re buying them for and never buy anything you have to virtually choke the lacing to feel comfortable in. Your feet need to splay out when running around so you want to be able to tie the laces somewhat loosely. So, focus on the purpose of the shoes. They should not pinch the edges also not be too loose. If you’re buying sports shoes, stand on the balls of your feet in a semi tip-toe stance and fit your index finger between the heel and the back of your foot- if your finger fits too snugly, go up half a size.
Okay Gents no excuse for getting the wrong size shoes. If you would like to shop for a well-fitting brand check out some well-known brands here