The wrong fit can cause significant pain and discomfort, not to mention a number of mild to serious foot conditions, even if you have comfortable shoes. One of the easiest tips for how to make more comfortable is to determine your proper shoe size. Whether you’ve been wearing shoes that are too long, short, narrow, wide, loose, or tight, it’s time to get the right shoe size once and for all. Read on to learn exactly how to measure foot size.
The process of determining the length and width of your feet is pretty straightforward. All you’ll need is a pen, a piece of paper, and a ruler or tape measure.²
Here’s how to measure shoe size:
- If you usually wear socks with shoes, you should be wearing socks, but if you’re measuring for sandals or other sockless footwear, measure your bare foot.
- Set the paper on the floor. Make sure it’s a hard, flat floor—carpet won’t work. You can tape it down to make sure it doesn’t slide around, though you might not need to.
- Place your foot firmly on the piece of paper while standing, sitting in a chair, or crouching. Whichever position you choose, your legs should be slightly bent so that your shins are positioned in front of your ankles.
- Now it’s time to trace the outline of your foot. Use the pen to draw a line around the entire perimeter of your foot. Make sure the pen is pointed straight down to ensure your lines stay on the outside of your foot without angling in under your toes.
- Repeat the process with your other foot. (It’s unlikely your feet will be two different shoe sizes—though not unheard of—but most people’s feet vary ever so slightly.)
- Mark the longest and widest points of each side of your outlines. This will be the outer tip of your longest toe, the outermost point of the back of your heel, and the broadest edges of your forefoot.
- Using your ruler or measuring tape, measure the longest and widest portions of both feet. The length starts at the mark from the outer tip of your longest toe and goes down to the outermost point of the back of your heel. The width is the distance between the broadest edges of your forefoot.
- Measure a couple of times to make sure the numbers are accurate. Write down your measurements.
- You might also want to record your measurements in both inches and centimeters, as shoe sizing charts use different units. Otherwise, you can always do a quick Google search to convert your numbers from inches to centimeters or vice versa.
- These numbers will help you determine your shoe size. You should record your foot length and foot width on both sides, but if they vary slightly, go with the larger one.
Since your feet can expand as you age, during pregnancy, or due to certain medical conditions, we recommend taking your measurements at least every few years. This will save you money on ill-fitting fitting footwear and ensure your feet are as comfortable as possible.