How to measure shoe size

Posted on 16 April, 2021 by Jens Jakob Andersen

This is the most simple and quickest method to find out your foot dimensions at home with just a few props.

How to measure shoe size at home

 

Tips:

  1. Measure in the evening, when the foot is at its fullest shape
  2. Be barefoot or put on socks that you plan to wear with the new shoes
  3. Stand on a hard surface

Tips:

  1. ask a friend to help you
  2. stand straight with your weight equally distributed on both legs
  3. trace both feet because it’s normal for one to be longer than the other

Tips:

  1. measure the distance between two most prominent points (from back of the heel to the end of the longest toe)
  2. write down the numbers you get
  3. use measurements of the longer foot

Find out your shoe size

To get the most accurate size, input your longer foot’s measurements and the brand you plan to purchase from. Our conversion tool contains the data from 160+ shoe brands:

Disclaimer: There is no 100% guarantee of shoe size conversion. Our tool is based on the official size charts from brands. However, size may vary depending on the shoe type, model, materials, and your unique foot shape.

Consider foot width

If the shoe length is right but you often get frustrated with the fit of shoes in your regular size (needing extra space or a more snug fit), chances are you need an alternative width.

Shoe width is even more complicated than size (length) because brands don’t provide reference charts for this parameter. You can only get a general idea of a shoe’s width based on the letter indications “B,” “D,” “2E,” etc.:

 

Width Women’s Men’s
4A (AAAA) Extra Narrow -
2A (AA) Narrow Extra Narrow
B Medium Narrow
D Wide Medium
2E (EE) Extra Wide Wide
4E (EEEE) XX-Wide Extra Wide
6E (EEEEEE) - XX-Wide

 

Because there is no universal standard, it’s nearly impossible to determine the right width without trying the shoe on. But the rule of thumb is that there is approximately an ⅛ inch (3.18 mm) difference between widths.

The good news is that companies like Skechers, New Balance, Saucony, and Brooks often release their models in multiple width options.

How to know if the fit is right

Running shoes, gym trainers, sneakers, and most other types of footwear should tick the following boxes:

  • Heel: locked in and not slipping out when you bend the foot, walk, or run
  • Midfoot: snug but not tight, there should be no pinching
  • Toebox: there is a thumb’s width space between your longest toe and the shoe’s front and the toes have enough room to splay sideways without pressure

Some niche sportswear such as track spikes, cycling shoes, and climbing footwear will have different fit standards as they require a snug, second-skin-like fit.

 

 

A shoe should feel right and comfortable straight from the box.

Don’t rely on a break-in period to change the fit significantly.

Some issues like heel slipping, discomfort due to high arches, or a tendency to foot swelling can be helped with a customized lacing technique.

Measure your feet every year

And right before looking for new shoes.

Life is dynamic and so are our bodies and feet. A multitude of factors can impact your foot dimensions over time:

  • significantly increased or decreased physical activity
  • developing foot conditions like bunions, arthritis, edema, hammertoes 
  • gaining weight
  • pregnancy

It can be hard to acknowledge that you need to get a full size bigger but a well-fitting shoe is key to your comfort and health.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com