How to Try on Shoes to Guarantee Best Fit

Rules and Tips for Trying on Shoes

Shop assistant trying shoes on a client's foot
Betsie Van Der Meer/Taxi/Getty Images

For some people, trying on shoes is merely a necessity, for others, it's a pastime — but either way, there are a few rules you should follow when trying on footwear. Be sure to check them out before your next trip to the shoe store.

Here's How

  1. Feet swell over the course of the day, so to ensure a proper fit, always try on shoes later in the day.
  2. Always try on BOTH shoes. Most people have a slight size variance from one foot to the other. Obviously, the larger of the two will dictate which size you actually buy.
  3. If you have your feet measured, be sure to stand up while doing so.
  4. Be sure to stand and walk a bit in any shoes you're considering.
  5. Wear the socks or hose you'd normally wear with the shoes you're considering.
  6. Don't allow for a "breaking in" period. Shoes should be comfortable when you first wear them.
  7. Try on a variety of brands, styles, and sizes. You might find shoes that are far more comfortable or stylish than what you're used to.
  8. If you have trouble finding shoes that fit properly, visit a full-service shoe store, and have your feet professionally measured. A knowledgeable staff member may be able to recommend a specific style, brand or insert that will help accommodate your feet.
  9. If you actually end up buying a pair of shoes, choose the actual pair you tried on to be certain you're getting exactly what felt good.
  10. There should be just a bit of space between your heel and the heel of your shoe. Too much is bad, but the heel of the shoe should not be rubbing or pressing into your skin.
  11. You should be able to move your toes freely in any shoes you're planning to buy. Shoes that constrict or pinch your toes will make you miserable fast, and lead to painful, and more serious problems down the road.