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How Your Shoes - Footwear Should Fit
"But they Slip on my heel", How your shoes should fit. 
 This shoe is fit properly.
This shoe is fit too small.
     "The most common reason people buy their shoes too small is that people worry about heel slip in new shoes, a new shoe should slip in the heel slightly because the sole is stiff and the counter is pointed" says Michael Lukowsky, Certified Pedorthist at Sole Control in St. Louis, MO.  "You cannot get a blister from a shoe being loose, because it is loose.  You can only get a blister from a shoe that is tight and stiff." 

Sizes of shoes:  Shoes for adults come is US sizes 4, 4-1/2, 5, 5-1/2, 6, 6-1/2, 7, 7-1/2, 8, 8-1/2, 9, 9-1/2, 10, 10-1/2, 11, 11-1/2, 12, 12-1/2, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.  Women’s shoes generally are available in sizes 5 to 13, and men’s shoes generally come in sizes 7 to 13 but most of the better brands are available in men’s sizes 6 to 20.  The difference between a women’s size and a men’s size is 1-1/2 size, for example a women’s 9 would be the same as a men’s 7-1/2.  The difference in a half size is small, slightly more than 1/8” in a half size.


European sizes are 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, and 50.  To translate a European size to an US size is for women subtract 31, thus a European 40 is the same as a US 9.  For men’s shoes subtract 33 so a men’s 44 would be an US 11.


UK sizes are 4, 4-1/2, 5, 5-1/2 up to 13.  To translate UK sizes for women add a size and a half, in men’s add a half size.  So a UK size 7 in UK is a women’s size 8-1/2 and a men’s 7-1/2.

About width in shoes: 
Shoes come in widths from most narrow: 4A, 3A, 2A, A, B, C, D, 2E, 3E, 4E, 5E, and 6E being the widest.  When you talk about width, it is not a linear measurement but a circumference measurement.  As you go wider the shoe gets bigger around, not only from side to side.  The difference in a single width is only 1/16” in circumference so most shoe companies skip every other width.  4A, 2A, B, D, 2E, 4E and 6E.  Other companies will list their shoe widths as S (4A), N (2A), M (B), W (D), XW (2E), XXW (4E), and XXXW (6E).  Other companies list their widths as S, N, M, W, WW, WWW and WWWW.  They do that because 2 widths is only 1/8” around.  It is easy to take up width in a shoe by adding an 1/8” insole and that would take up 2 widths.  You may have to buy your shoes wider to allow enough width to use your orthotics. 
So don’t despair if you are prescribed custom orthotics.  There are many great good looking shoes available that can house orthotics.
What Mephisto says about heel slip:


 Avoid buying shoes too small!  When the shoes are on your feet, there should be at least one half inch between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.  If this is not the case, keep trying larger sizes.  When fit properly, a MEPHISTO shoe will feel like an old friend.  In walking, it is important to give your toes a good degree of freedom.  You don’t want them locked in.  (We like to say you should be able to play the piano with your toes.)  The same thing applies to the heel.  The MEPHISTO heel is not designed to fit snug.  A true walking shoe bends with your foot.  There is absolutely no need for the heel to fit tight.  The point is, your foot should be cradled, not bound. 


What Alden says regarding heel slippage:


Backpart fit should be slightly loose not over tight. As the outsoles flex and "break-in", small initial amounts of slipping at the heel should disappear. Going to a smaller size to eliminate ALL initial heel slipping can result in a fit that is just too tight, especially in slip-on models.


Advice from the American Foot and Ankle Society


More than 43.1 million Americans--one in every six persons--have trouble with their feet, mostly from improperly fitting shoes. A huge public health risk, foot problems cost the U.S. $3.5 billion a year.  We’re all susceptible to foot and ankle injuries, but we can reduce our risk by wearing properly fitted shoes that conform to the natural shape of our feet. In selecting shoes, keep this basic principle of good fit in mind: Your feet should never be forced to conform to the shape of a pair of shoes.  "Shoes that do not fit cause bunions, corns, calluses hammer toes and other foot disabling foot disorders."  Start with a good quality sock.  Socks are your first layer of protection from the ground.  Have both feet measured at least once a year. Your foot size increases as you get older.


Lukowsky has more to say regarding shoe fit.  "Soles on new shoes are stiff.  When your foot bends to take a step in a new shoe, your heels should slip slightly.  1/8” movement is normal but can feel like much more.  Loose slipping in the heels will not cause blisters when broken in gradually, but tight shoes that are too small and slip can form too much friction.  It is much more important to give your forefoot lots of room.   Breaking in shoes gradually is the best strategy.  There should be at least 3/8” to 1/2" space from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe while you are standing. Your feet get longer while moving.

Fit new shoes to your largest foot. Most people have one foot larger than the other.  Walk around in the shoes to make sure they fit well and feel comfortable.  If necessary, use a fitting aid for the smaller foot.

Sizes vary among shoe brands and styles. A last is the foot shape that the leather is pulled over before adding the soles, and every last has a different shape.  Every shoe company has it’s own lasts and are sized to their specifications.  Every last is a different size and different volume.  A size 8B in one company could fit like a 9-1/2 EE in another."



Judge a shoe by how it fits on your foot not by the marked size.  When the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes. If the shoes feel too tight, don't buy them. Shoes should fit and feel roomy.  “They will stretch to fit your feet" can be risky and wasteful.

Most high heeled-shoes have a pointed. narrow toe box that crowds the toes and forces them into an unnatural triangular shape. As heel height increases, the pressure under the ball of the foot may double, placing greater pressure on the forefoot as it is forced into the pointed toe box. Women should not wear shoes with heels higher than 1 1/2 inches.  High heels are what Lukowsky calls "Sit down shoes, shoes wear to church and sit down, shoes to wear to dinner and sit down." 

Trust your shoe fitting experts, pedorthists.  They are professionals who have extensive training in shoe fitting.  Pedorthists are here to help you solve foot problems. Your feet should feel good.  Pain is an indication that your shoes are not properly fit.

To find out more information from the American Foot and Ankle Society 

How long should my shoes last? 

Depending on your height, weight, and how fast or slow you walk everyone wears shoes differently.     A 100 pound woman who walks very fast with many more steps may wear out a shoe quicker than a 300 pound man who walks very slowly.

The average foot perspires 1 pint a day.  This can cause shoe linings to break down.  It is important to alternate your shoes and orthoses to give them a day or 2 to dry.  Removing custom orthoses so air can reach all surfaces helps them last longer.

 Every shoe has a limit to the wear it can give.  When polyurethane soles wear past the outer shell they rupture across the point of contact, most often across the ball of the foot.  On average, this occurs after about 1,500,000 flexes.  Like wearing a hole in a leather sole, which occurs at 500,000 flexes, soles do wear out.  Rubber soles tend to wear the longest.  Many of the better quality shoes today can be resoled.  There are many different grades of leathers used in footwear.  Naturally, vegetable oil tanned, aniline leathers are the very best for long wear and breathability.  The better the leather the longer shoes will last.  Avoid shoes made of man-made materials.  Nubuck (brushed leather) is durable and easy to care for. For nubuck leathers use a soft wire brush.  For aniline, use a good cream polish like Melotonian or Kiwi.  For athletic shoes, wipe off with a damp cloth and mild cleaner.  What causes my shoes to smell?  Click here to find out.   

 Why go to good feet if you can have great feet at Sole Control in St. Louis, MO? 


shoes don't fit.  My shoes hurt my feet.  My shoes are too big.  My shoes are too tight.  My shoes slip off my heel.  Why don't my shoes fit.  4 E ass equals a 4 E foot.  My toes are being squeezed.  Why do my toe nails turn black?  Do all runners buy their shoes too small?