The shoe guide: Find your fit.

Want to know how to find your shoe size? How about whether a wide, narrow or medium width is right for you? This is the place. Buying shoes in the right size is important for ensuring a comfortable fit. Fortunately, finding your size is simple and easy.

Kids’ Shoe Sizing

printable kids’ shoe sizing guide

Because baby and toddler feet can grow half a size or more every few months, you should measure their feet every 2 months to avoid putting your child in shoes that are too small.

To measure the width, have your child stand up with both shoes on. Check to see if the shoe fits their foot’s shape by feeling for any pressure against the widest parts of their feet. The ball of their foot should be comfortable and snug all the way around, without any pinching or irritation.

To ensure proper depth, run your thumb over the top of the shoe. You should feel the fabric ripple slightly. If the fabric is too tight, the shoe may not be deep enough. But if you can pinch the fabric into a ridge, it’s likely too deep.

If your child is trying on a low-cut shoe, feel how much space there is between their toes and the top of the shoe, or vamp. A wide gap means the shoe is too deep. If their foot presses uncomfortably against the vamp, the shoe is too shallow.

Next, press the tip of your thumb against the toe of their shoes to check length. Your kid’s toes should have enough room to wiggle around without pressing against the front of the shoes, but not so much room that their feet can slide forward.

Finally, take a look at the shoe straps. Because kids’ feet change constantly, you want shoes with adjustable laces or hook-and-loop closures that let you customize the fit.

Signs your kid’s shoes are too small:

  • Their shoes cause blisters or press deeply into the skin.
  • Their toes are jammed against the front of the shoe. There should always be enough space in the toe box to press the tip of your thumb down without hitting a toe.
  • He/she appears less active. If they don’t feel like playing outside as often, it could be a sign that they just don’t want to put on those uncomfortable shoes they’ve outgrown.
  • They tell you that their feet hurt. Bigger kids will let you know if their shoes are bugging them. If your kids start complaining of knee, hip, back or joint pain, it could also be a sign of poor-fitting shoes.

Signs your kid’s shoes are too big:

  • Their heel lifts out of the shoe when they walk.
  • They trip or twist their ankles often.
  • Their walk is affected.
  • They drag their feet.
  • They get blisters.

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Adult Shoe Sizing

If you’re buying new shoes, you don’t just need to be concerned with getting the right length. You’ll also need to take foot width into account. Different shoe widths mean that the tread on the soles of shoes change from size to size. For example, with wide-width shoes, the sole has a greater width and the toe box is deeper than a standard fit. There are multiple sizes (Normal, Medium, Wide, Extra-Wide), plus letters (M, D, E, etc.), and even letters with numbers (2A, 2E, 4E).

You’ll know your shoe fits correctly when:

  • The edges and bottoms of your feet align perfectly with the footbeds.
  • The heels rest squarely in the heel cup.
  • Your toes have at least enough space in the toe box so they’re not bumping up against the shoes.
  • Your feet don’t hang over the sidewall while you're wearing sandals.
  • The side of your feet don’t feel pinched or overly constricted.

How can I measure my shoe width?

Follow these steps to measure your feet and find a pair of shoes with the right width:

  1. Wrap a tape measure around the widest part of your bare foot.
  2. Place a foot on the ground as if you were standing normally.
  3. Mark the width of your foot in millimeters on the tape measure.
  4. Use this measurement to determine the shoe width you need.

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What are the Shoe Width Sizes?

Choosing the right shoe width is important to your foot health. Shoes that are too narrow can cause sores, cramps and bunions. They’re also likely to be too tight, increasing the chance of sweating and the risk of bacterial infection.

Shoes that are too wide won’t secure your foot properly, causing friction while walking, potentially leading to sores and blisters. To walk properly, your toes need to grip. If they don’t, it can lead to issues such as hammer toe and nail problems. Here are the shoe sizes you should know:

For women:

  • C = narrow fitting
  • D = standard fitting
  • E = wide fitting
  • EE = extra-wide fitting
  • EEE = ultrawide fitting

For men:

  • E = narrow fitting
  • F = standard fitting
  • G = wide fitting
  • H = extra-wide fitting

For children:

  • D = very narrow
  • F = standard fitting
  • G = wide fitting
  • H = extra-wide fitting

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How your shoes should fit.

Although measuring your foot can give you a rough idea of your size, it’s also important to try on a shoe to see how it feels. Your desired fit may vary based on the type of shoe you’re purchasing.

Athletic Shoes + Sneakers

  • Walking shoes: With walking shoes, the key is to have plenty of room in the part of the shoe that covers your toes (toe box). If it’s too small, it will restrict the muscles in your foot. Aim for a thumb’s width between your longest toe and the front of your shoe.
  • Running shoes: Running shoes should have a snug fit throughout the foot, with room in the toes. When pressing down with your thumb, there should be about a half to a full thumb’s width of space at the front of your shoe.

Boots

  • Rain boots: Rain boots tend to sit high on the leg, so it’s important that the opening at the calf is large enough for your legs to slip in comfortably. However, if your heel slams down when you walk, that’s a sign your boots are too large.
  • Winter boots: When walking in winter boots, your heels should not come out of the boot or rub against the back of it. Winter boots tend to have more width to accommodate thicker socks. Therefore, it may be beneficial to go for a slightly wider fit.

WATCH BOOT FIT + MEASUREMENT GUIDE VIDEO

Sandals

  • Flip-flops: Your entire foot should be fully supported by the sole of the sandal. If your toes are hanging over the front of the shoes, that means that they’re too small. There should be a bit of distance between the edge of the soles and the edge of your feet.
  • High-heel sandals: Sandals shouldn’t move around much on your feet. You need a pair with sufficient room in the front and back of the foot. If you’re worried about your feet slipping out of them, opt for a pair with straps on the back of the heels.