The most common problem when it comes to shoe fit is that all shoes are NOT created equal. The following guidelines are intended to help you pick the best shoe with the best fit for the best comfort.
A good shoe fit is imperative for getting the greatest comfort. It is important to remember that the shoe industry does not have standard sizing. What one company calls a size 8, another company may call a size 7 or a size 9. Patterns, or the last forms that are the human foot shapes that shoes are designed on, are important to understand, because all feet are different. Therefore, it is vital you know how to fit your footwear by size and shape. The following information will help you determine your best shoe fit. This information is based on U.S. sizes. Please refer to the conversion chart below for European and U.K. sizes.
- Shoe sizing charts on the web are inaccurate. You should go to a shoe store that uses a Brannock device to have your feet measured. A Brannock device will measure your toe length, arch length and width. Your arch length is the most important measurement to understand, since it is the reference point for a good fit. For most people, their arch length is usually longer than their toe length. However, if your arch length is shorter than your toe length (which is rare), you should use your toe length measurement as your reference. Your width measurement will determine how narrow or wide your fit should be.
- Using your arch length as your reference point, choose a shoe size based on that length. A good shoe fit is not about the toes, it is all about the arch. It is necessary to secure the arch of the foot in the arch of the shoe. Refer to the Foot Placement Guide on proper shoe fit. Notice the 1st metatarsal joint, or the big toe joint, is sitting in the spot on the shoe that is referred to as the cradle. Check the placement of your 1st metatarsal joint when you are standing, because when your foot is bearing your weight, the ball of your foot (the 1st metatarsal joint) will move slightly forward. If your 1st metatarsal joint is forward of the cradle, go to the next size up. If it is sitting too far back of the cradle and is located more in the arch of the shoe then adjust the shoe size down. Most athletic shoes run small, anywhere from ½ to 2 sizes. Dress shoes vary – some run big and some run small. It depends on the pattern of the shoe and pitch of the heel. Some patterns are broad; and some are narrow. Try to find a shoe that matches the same shape as your feet. If your feet are slender and tapered, then a tapered toe-box shape will work well for you. If your feet are a bit broad and have a square toe-box shape, then a tapered-toe shoe will not feel as comfortable to you as a shoe with a broader or boxier shape.
- If the shoes come in widths (higher quality shoes usually do) look for a shoe with your width measurement. Width measurement will be AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE, EEE, EEEE, or N for narrow, M for medium, W for wide, and either WW or XW for double wide. If the shoe comes in medium width only, you will be adjusting up for a wider fit and down for a narrower fit. Do not sacrifice proper length for a better width fit. Width can be altered; length cannot. It is important to know that when a shoe size goes up in length, it will also go up in width. So, if you are working with shoes that come in widths, and you need to adjust your length size up, you will need to adjust the width size down in order to remain at the same width. In other words, a 9A is the same width as an 8 ½B.
- If you are sure the ball of your foot (the 1st metatarsal joint) is resting back in the cradle of the shoe, where it should be, but you have too much play in the toe box, simply add a metatarsal pad to the bottom of the shoe’s toe box. These can be purchased at any store selling foot care products. Each layer will snug 1 width fit until there is finally very little play. Never snug too tightly as the forefoot needs good circulation to remain comfortable.
- If your shoes have removable insoles, and you have purchased the ¾ length ezWalker® Custom Performance Orthotics, simply place the ezWalker® Custom Orthotics under the removable insoles. If the shoe’s existing insole is rather stiff, it may need to be changed for a more pliable insole or simply place the ezWalker® arch support on top of the existing insole. Comfort will depend on the construction of the existing insole. If you have purchased an ezWalker® Custom Orthotic with a full length top cover, you will need to take out the existing insole altogether to insert your ezWalker® arch support. If you have purchased an ezWalker® Custom Orthotic for fashion or dance, simply place the ezWalker® Custom Orthotic in the shoe. Make sure the ezWalker® arch support remains in the heel of the shoe as you place the shoe on your foot. If you are having trouble fitting your ezWalker® Custom Orthotic comfortably, please contact us.
Proper Shoe Fitting
Diagram A illustrates another problem related to poor shoe fit. As the foot moves forward, the longitudinal arch does not support the foot. This lack of support causes undue pressure on the metatarsal heads. The result is that neither the shoe nor the foot can function properly. A longer shoe is needed.
In Diagram A, the shoe does not flex at the point of foot flexion.
In Diagram B, the break point of the shoe cradles the foot and allows proper flexion.
Checking for Shear
Checking for shear refers to the anterior/posterior, medial/lateral, and even oblique/parallel movement of sliding, the gliding motion that produces stress or tissue tearing. This motion creates problems on the plantar surface of the foot.
If the shoe is fitted properly, the foot fits more securely within the shoe, and shear forces are reduced. This is where proper width fit is important.
Shoe Sizing Chart
This information will help you become more knowledgeable and understand that sometimes the shoes that fit your eyes are not necessarily the ones that fit your feet. Comfort starts with a good fit and ends with a custom-fitted ezWalker® arch support from the Walkezstore.com.