While it’s great to be able to use the Brannock foot measuring device in the store, you might also sometimes find yourself in the position of needing to measure your shoe size at home. If so, this article is for you.
We’ll discuss why it’s important to know your shoe size (it might not be what you think), how your shoes should fit, and how to measure your shoe size at home.
Plus, we’ve got some tips on correctly sizing different types of shoes. By the end, you’ll be a shoe pro!
Why It’s Important to Know Your Shoe Size
If you’re like most people reading this article, you know what your shoe size is. But even if you’ve always said one number, that number might be wrong. Most people actually wear incorrectly sized shoes.
Studies by the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society found that 70 percent of men and 88 percent of women wear incorrectly sized shoes. This means that you’re likely in this percentage and need to make sure that you’re wearing the right shoe size.
The reason why is because our foot size changes as we age, often from weight gain and/or pregnancy. Most people continue to wear the same size shoe without re-measuring their feet to see if anything has changed.
If you’re older and/or have had several kids but still wear the same size shoe that you did in high school, you might be due to update your shoe size.
Knowing your shoe size is important for anyone to make sure that your feet are comfortable, but it’s especially important if you have diabetes. Wearing improperly fitted shoes can increase a diabetic’s chance of developing foot ulcers, which can lead to amputation depending on the circumstances.
How Should My Shoes Fit?
Different shoes have different fits. For example, with boots, you need to make sure that there is plenty of room for your toes to move around. At the same time, you also need to check that your heel doesn’t slip out.
Dress shoes, by contrast, should fit comfortably, but this doesn’t mean that they should be tight. Make sure that your toes aren’t touching the front of your shoe. If they are, you’re wearing the wrong shoe size.
Finally, if you’ve never purchased running shoes before, you might make the mistake that I did. For my first pair of running shoes, I ordered the size that I typically wear. Nothing seemed super tight, but by the end of a training cycle for a half marathon, my toenails were black and blue.
I talked to one of my friends who is a runner about it and realized that I had made a rookie mistake and didn’t go up a size. For my next pair of shoes I did, and it made a huge difference. Now those original shoes feel way too tight and all my toenails are intact and normal colored.
Most people need to go up ½ size from how it’s measured for running shoes. You may even need to go up a full size depending on the brand. This is to accommodate the swelling that occurs in your feet while running.
To see if your running shoes are the proper size, check to make sure that you have about a thumbs-width between your largest toe and the front of your shoe. If it’s closer than that, you need to go up a ½ size.
How to Measure Adult Men’s and Women’s Shoe Sizes
To measure your foot as an adult, you’ll need to start by taping a piece of paper to the floor against the wall. Put your foot against the wall and trace around your foot. Obviously, you can do this yourself if needed, but it’s easier if someone helps.
Measure the length and width of your foot with a ruler and then convert the measurement to shoe size and width based on the chart below. Voila! You’ve measured your shoe size at home. You might want to subtract 1mm from your numbers to account for the line of the pencil.
|Men’s Size Chart|
|Women’s Size Chart|
|Men’s Width Chart|
|Size||Narrow (B)||Medium (D)||Wide (2E)||Extra Wide (4E)|
|6||3 3⁄8||3 1⁄2||3 5⁄8||3 3⁄4|
|6.5||3 1⁄2||3 5⁄8||3 3⁄4||3 7⁄8|
|7||3 1⁄2||3 5⁄8||3 3⁄4||3 7⁄8|
|7.5||3 9⁄16||3 11⁄16||3 13⁄16||3 15⁄16|
|8||3 5⁄8||3 3⁄4||3 7⁄8||4|
|8.5||3 5⁄8||3 3⁄4||3 7⁄8||4|
|9||3 13⁄16||3 15⁄16||4 1⁄16||4 3⁄16|
|9.5||3 13⁄16||3 15⁄16||4 1⁄16||4 3⁄16|
|10||3 7⁄8||4||4 1⁄8||4 1⁄4|
|10.5||4||4 1⁄8||4 1⁄4||4 3⁄8|
|11||4||4 1⁄8||4 1⁄4||4 3⁄8|
|11.5||41⁄16||4 3⁄16||4 5⁄16||4 7⁄16|
|12||4 3⁄16||4 5⁄16||4 7⁄16||4 9⁄16|
|12.5||4 3⁄16||4 5⁄16||4 7⁄16||4 9⁄16|
|13||4 3⁄16||4 5⁄16||4 7⁄16||4 9⁄16|
|13.5||4 1⁄4||4 3⁄8||4 1⁄2||4 5⁄8|
|Women’s Width Chart|
|Size||Narrow (AA)||Medium (B)||Wide (D)||Extra Wide (2E)|
|5||3 1⁄16||3 3⁄16||3 5⁄16||3 7⁄16|
|5.5||3 1⁄8||3 1⁄4||3 3⁄8||3 1⁄2|
|6||3 3⁄16||3 5⁄16||3 7⁄16||3 9⁄16|
|6.5||3 1⁄4||3 3⁄8||3 1⁄2||3 5⁄8|
|7||3 5⁄16||3 7⁄16||3 9⁄16||3 11⁄16|
|7.5||3 3⁄8||3 1⁄2||3 5⁄8||3 3⁄4|
|8||3 7⁄16||3 9⁄16||3 11⁄16||3 13⁄16|
|8.5||3 1⁄2||3 5⁄8||3 3⁄4||3 7⁄8|
|9||3 9⁄16||3 11⁄16||3 13⁄16||3 15⁄16|
|9.5||3 5⁄8||3 3⁄4||3 7⁄8||4|
|10||3 5⁄8||3 3⁄4||3 7⁄8||4|
|10.5||3 3⁄4||3 7⁄8||4||4 1⁄8|
|11||3 13⁄16||3 15⁄16||4 1⁄16||4 3⁄16|
|12||3 15⁄16||4 1⁄16||4 3⁄16||4 5⁄16|
Ideally, you’ll want to complete this measurement in the afternoon after you’ve walked around and when it’s hottest and your feet are swollen. If you’re planning to get sandals, measure your feet barefoot, but otherwise wear the socks that you intend to wear with the shoes.
Make sure that you are precise. The difference between shoe sizes can be as small as 1/8th of an inch, and you want to get the most accurate measurement possible.
The reason why you’ll want to write down width is because this will help you know if you need a narrow, normal, or wide shoe. If you deal with bunions or other feet issues, the width of your shoe is incredibly important.
As an adult, you’ll probably want to measure your feet once a year just to make sure that everything is still the same. If you’re planning to drop a lot of money on a pair of shoes (maybe even running shoes), it definitely is worth the extra five minutes to double-check your shoe size.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind
While you wear the same shoe size on both shoes, that doesn’t mean that your feet are actually the same size. Thus, you should measure both feet because most people have one foot that is bigger than the other. Use the bigger foot for sizing.
Similarly, remember that feet are three-dimensional. Therefore, length and width are only one aspect. You can really only find your perfect fit by trying shoes on.
You can get a pretty good guess, though, if you’re familiar with a brand and know how it fits you even if the shoe you’re looking at is a new model. You should also remember that manufacturers are not always precise with their sizing, so a shoe that you thought should fit might not necessarily fit you.
Finally, remember that the Brannock device that you find in the store is the most accurate method to determine your shoe size, but tracing is a good home option if you’re unable to get to the store.
How to Measure Child’s Shoe Size
While you’ll measure your child’s shoe size the same way that you would for an adult (so follow the above steps), it’s important to remember that you’ll see more variation in a child’s shoe size.
While it seems like a lot, you should really measure your child’s feet every two months because children’s feet grow fast. And we all know that nothing is more uncomfortable than wearing shoes that don’t fit.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind
Remember that there is no difference in sizing between genders for kid’s shoes. It’s all the same. Toddler or child shoes typically range from 3.5 to 10. Kid or youth sizes range from 10.5 to 13.5. After 13.5, it starts at 1 and corresponds to adult men’s sizes.
|Child Size Chart|
|Youth Size Chart|
While the Brannock device you can find in the store is the best way to measure your feet, if you can’t get to the store or are just dying to buy a pair of shoes online, then you can measure your shoe size at home very effectively.
Keeping up-to-date on changes in your feet by measuring your shoe size every year will help ensure that you’re always wearing the most comfortable shoes and ones that are the best fit for you.
If you do purchase shoes online, using the measurement that you’ve figured out at home is great, but also double-check about the return policy so that you can send them back if they don’t fit when you try them on in person.
In the end, good luck with figuring out your shoe size at home and getting the pair of shoes that is the best fit for you!