We’re sorry to break it to you, but your shoe size is probably wrong.

Before you panic and start throwing away all your shoes (unless you were looking for a good reason to do just that), let us explain.

First, you’re not alone. Research shows that up to 72% of people are wearing incorrectly fitting shoes. Right now, you could be wearing shoes that do not accommodate the length or width of your feet or be wearing shoes that do not comfortably solve for other specific foot-based needs – or some combination of these issues.

What are the risks of ill-fitting shoes? Wearing the wrong shoe size can result in foot pain and foot problems ranging anywhere from inconvenient chafing and blisters to more long-term issues like chronic heel pain, metatarsalgia and more.

How can you make sure you’re wearing the right shoe size? The solution is simple; measure your feet.

Your best and most accurate option would be to utilize a Brannock device, which is the metal measuring instrument found in shoe stores that measures both the length and width of your foot. If you’re saying to yourself “oh right, I remember that thing from when I was a younger”, you’re probably long overdue for another measurement.

Want to get an accurate shoe size measurement from home? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

How to Accurately Measure Your Shoe Size at Home

Before we get started, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing the same type of socks you plan to normally wear with the new shoes. Also, for a more accurate measurement, wait until the end of the day. Once you’ve got the right socks and the right timing, here’s how to accurately measure your shoe size at home:

  1. Take a piece of paper and secure it with tape to the floor.
  2. Stand with one foot on the paper and a slightly bend your knees. You can also sit in a chair, but if you do, make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground.
  3. Next, using a fine pen or sharp pencil, trace the outline of your foot on the paper. Try to draw a precise outline. (A friend or family member can be useful for this step!)
  4. Repeat the process with the other foot.
  5. Take a ruler or measuring tape and measure the distance between the tip of your big toe and the outermost part of the heel to find the length of your feet.
  6. Lastly, measure the widest points of your forefoot and the distance between to find your foot width.

From here, you can match up your measurements to the shoe size charts provided by your favorite brands. If you notice one foot being longer or wider, which is not uncommon, we recommend using your larger measurement when selecting a shoe size.

The Importance of Knowing Your Shoe Size for Product Testing

A shopper finding the right shoe size

It’s important that you reference you favorite brands’ sizing charts as not all brands use the same sizing. Brands are not only building shoes on different lasts but also may have different sizing measurements. Initially you may think that the shoes just need to be broken in, however, the brand’s size chart might indicate that you could be a totally different size.

Understanding your shoe measurements and brand-specific sizing can help you enjoy your product testing experience without the hassle of dealing with incorrect fitting shoes. Here, we recommend adding your known shoe size to your tester profile, or simply matching up your measurements to your favorite brands’ sizing charts and updating your profile accordingly.

On MESH01, there’s even an option to include your running shoe size, should you wear a different size for running.

Tips for Getting a Great Fit

You have measured your feet correctly for an accurate shoe size. Great! We’ve gathered some expert tips to ensure that you get the most out of your shoe purchase and testing experiences!

  1.  Carefully look at reviews for the product you are interested in, making sure to read the good and the bad.
  2. When possible, try the shoes on before you buy. You should have at least a quarter- to a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe, depending on the shoe type and end use. Some specialized footwear like climbing approach shoes may be sized with your toes snug up against the toe box, etc. Make sure to match your fit for your intended use.
  3. Walk around in the shoes to determine the fit. Take note on the amount of room at the balls of the feet, toe box and heels. Make sure your foot doesn’t slip in and out and your ankle collar doesn’t rub. These are all indications of shoe that don’t fit. Don’t overlook these factors and instead find shoes that fit from the start.
  4. Take some additional time to examine the feel. Determine whether they give proper cushion both on hard surfaces and carpet and take into consideration additional performance attributes important to you.

Figuring out your real shoe size is easy to do. Ill-fitting shoes can be the cause of short term and long term injury. Do your feet a favor. Get to know your measurements to improve your daily life and get the best out of your product testing experience.