Lifestyle

How To Tell If Shoes Are Too Big, Small or Fit? A Few Easy Signs

When it comes to footwear, experiencing inconsistencies in size is not unusual.
You might usually wear a size 7, but find yourself struggling to fit into a size 8 or effortlessly walking in a size 6 at the shoe store. This could lead to doubts about the accuracy of shoe sizing. However, it’s crucial to recognize that your shoe size only represents half of the story.
We offers guidance on how to determine if shoes are too large. In essence, your numerical shoe size, which generally ranges from four to 14, merely reflects the length of your foot.
This implies that if you have narrow or wide feet, specific shoe styles may incorrectly influence your size choice.
While it might be more convenient to quickly grab your size at the shoe store rather than trying on multiple pairs, this approach could cause harm in the long run.
Wearing shoes that are either too big or too small can lead to various health issues, such as blisters and bunions.
Spending enough time in the shoe store to try on shoes is an excellent starting point. Nevertheless, there are additional factors to consider before making your purchase.
FootFitter is here to assist you. Explore our recommendations for finding the perfect fit before you buy.

Influences of Shoes which are too Big

Your Foot Slides Into the Shoes

A clear indication that your shoes are too big is when your feet easily slide into them upon wearing.
Perhaps your new shoes fit well initially, but they might stretch over time (especially thin canvas shoes), or your feet might have changed in size due to weight loss or even an amputation. If your foot slides around in the shoe, particularly while walking, it’s a sign that the shoe is too large.
On the other hand, narrow feet in excessively wide shoes can also feel oversized, such as the New Balance 990 Wide Running Shoe.

Excess Space in Shoes

The general rule for shoe fit is that there should be no more than a finger’s distance between your foot and the front or back of the shoe. When you wear socks, this space is filled, ensuring a proper fit.
Ideal shoe space:
  • The longest toe should be a finger’s distance from the front of the shoe when you press your toes.
  • When pushing your toes to the tip of the shoe, your heel should be one finger away from the shoe’s heel.
  • If your fingers can easily slide between your foot and the shoe, it indicates that the shoe is too big. However, if the space is so small that you can’t even fit a finger, the shoe is too small.

To know detail How much space do you have in Shoe? , try on this post!

Overlapping Shoe Laces

Typically, if your shoelaces are too long and overlap, it may suggest that your shoes are too big. The right lace length should allow you to tie your shoes securely without leaving excessive length. Overlapping laces may occur when you have to tighten them excessively to make large shoes fit.
Moreover, if shoes only fit when you’ve excessively tightened the laces, they’re too big.
Not only do overlapping and loose laces look unattractive, but they can also cause tripping hazards. In such cases, it’s better to find a new pair of shoes.

Shoes Cause Rubbing

When your shoes are too large and you walk a lot, you may experience abrasions on exposed areas of your feet, particularly the heels. This happens because the ill-fitting shoe slips as you walk, causing the shoe’s edge to constantly rub against your feet.
Blisters or even bleeding may occur, and if not addressed, can lead to more severe foot pain and issues like heel spurs, bunions, or plantar fasciitis.

How To Tell If Shoes Are Too Big?

To determine if shoes are too large, try them on and walk around the store.
The simplest method to determine if a shoe is too big or too small involves examining the amount of space in the toe area. Typically, there should be approximately a finger’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Note: Higly recomend you to read How much space do you have in Shoe? to protect your feets perfectly!

Trying on shoes as normal wearing

When trying on sneakers or dress shoes, pay attention to the laces. If you need to pull them extremely tight to feel comfortable, the shoes are probably too wide. Don’t forget to bring your sock and try shoe with its to test the tight if it fit or not.
For dress shoes, you can also use the finger test. If you can fit more than one finger behind your heel while your toes touch the front of the shoe, the shoes are too long.
For heels, there should be less wiggle room. Your feet should be comfortably pressed into the front of the pumps, with no more than 1 cm between the shoes and your skin. If your heels constantly slip out, the shoes are too long.

Walking to test

The next step is walking. If your feet slide back and forth, the shoes are too long, and you may need to go down a half or full size.
If your feet slide side to side, the shoes are too wide. Downsizing in length for wide shoes can cause discomfort and injury, so it may not be the best solution.
However, neither issue means you have to abandon the style you desire.
For slightly oversized heels, heel grips can provide extra cushioning, prevent chaffing, and ensure a snugger fit. Insoles can offer similar benefits for sneakers and dress shoes.
If the issue is with straps and your heels fit but the back keeps slipping, gel adhesive slings can help keep the straps in place. This way, you won’t have to exchange your desired pair for a tighter size that might cause discomfort and leave marks.

How to Tell If Running Shoes Are Too Big?

Running shoes are essential for runners, providing the necessary support and protection. The design and materials of running shoes differ from other types of footwear. Here are some signs to determine if your running shoes are too big:
  • Your feet lack support due to insufficient snugness.
  • You may trip while running because oversized shoes can slide and create uneven pressure on your feet.
  • Long laces caused by tightening excessively to accommodate large shoes can lead to tripping hazards.
  • The tops of your feet will be loose, allowing your feet to move around within the shoe.
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To know how to choose the well-fitting running shoes, read this post for more innformation.

How to Tell If Boots Are Too Big?

Boots usually have thick, stiff soles and robust uppers to support and protect your feet. When your boots are too big, these features can become problematic:
  • The sturdy boot material can rub against your feet, causing discomfort or soreness in your ankles or toes.
  • Your feet may slide within your boots, making you prone to falling while climbing.
  • It can be difficult to tighten the laces sufficiently to minimize the space between your feet and the shoe, as boots are generally stiffer.
  • Boots may come off your feet when attempting to navigate up a rocky surface.

What are differences between Tight and Snug?

Understanding the distinction between shoes that are too tight and those that are snug is crucial.

Too tight

Identifying shoes that are too tight in length is relatively easy, as they painfully compress your toes in the toe box or cause discomfort against your heels.
Detecting shoes that are too tight in width is also simple since you likely won’t be able to put them on comfortably.

Snug shoes

Conversely, some shoes may fit according to your usual size but appear smaller in the store due to their material or style. These are the shoes that you can wear but might feel a bit stiff or more form-fitting.
In fact, certain shoes are designed to be snug initially, but will loosen with wear or with the assistance of specific tools.
For instance, when it comes to leather shoes, opt for a pair that feels snug. Although it might be tempting to choose a pair with extra room for initial comfort, this can lead to increased discomfort over time as the shoes soften and stretch.
In the meantime, tools like shoe stretchers can help make the break-in process more comfortable by slightly widening or lengthening snug shoes.
Dress shoes aren’t the only leather footwear in your collection. Cowboy boots also start off snug. While doubling up on socks can provide relief during the break-in period, boot stretchers can target specific areas and ease the process without requiring you to wear the boots.

If buying shoes too big, how to fix it?

Upon realizing that your shoes are too big, purchasing a new pair that fits well is typically the ideal solution. However, sometimes it can be more cost-effective to invest some effort in repairing your shoes, especially if they were purchased recently. Here are several effective tips:
  1. Full-Size Insoles – Add insoles to provide more cushioning and reduce excess space within the shoe.
  2. Heel Lift Inserts – Use these inserts to lift your heel and improve the fit at the back of the shoe.
  3. Shoe Fillers – Place fillers in your shoes to occupy extra space and create a better fit.
  4. Heel Grips Liner – Apply heel grips liners to prevent your heel from slipping out of the shoe.
  5. Ball of Foot Cushions – Use cushions at the ball of your foot to enhance comfort and support.
  6. Shrinking the Shoes with Water – Carefully wet your shoes and let them air dry to shrink them slightly.
  7. Wear Thicker Socks – Opt for thicker socks to fill in the extra space and improve the overall fit.
  8. Consult a Professional Cobbler – Seek assistance from a skilled cobbler to adjust your shoes for a better fit.
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Tips to avoid buying too big shoes

How to avoid buying shoes that are too big is often considered alongside determining if a shoe is too large. Based on my experience, you can employ the following methods to ensure that you purchase well-fitting shoes:
  1. Measure Your Feet – Learn the correct ways to measure your feet.
  2. Test the Shoes – Walk around the store multiple times to test the new shoes, making sure to wear both shoes (some people have differently sized feet but may not realize it).
  3. Check Online Reviews – When buying shoes online, read sizing reviews in detail, as some styles may require purchasing half a size larger or smaller for an optimal fit.
  4. Consider Extra Foot Support – In some instances, you may need additional support to address foot issues, such as inserts or orthotics. Assess whether you need shoe orthotics, and if so, consider buying shoes that are a half size or one size larger to accommodate them.
  5. The most important – Do not buy shoes as your wish: of couse you just buying what you want to, but if do not fit (store has no size for your loving shoe), let’s wait until you have your fit size or consider others. Have to protect your feet first, wishing will not be pink if it’s hurt!

How to choose the perfect shoes?

Finally, with tips on how to determine if shoes are too big or too small, we arrive at the ultimate question: what constitutes the perfect fit? Here’s a summary of what to look for.
The ideal fit in shoes offers sufficient space in the toe area for wiggling without sliding, ensuring a snug feel and proper support for the ankles and knees. Moreover, well-fitting shoes should not chafe your heels or cause blisters.
When your feet fall between sizes, using tools to assist in the break-in process or slightly adjusting the fit can help achieve the perfect, personalized shoe experience.

Q&A about How To Tell If Shoes Are Too Big, Small or Fit?

Is it OK to wear slightly bigger shoes?

Wearing slightly bigger shoes can be manageable, but it depends on the level of comfort and the type of activity you’ll be engaging in. However, in the long run, wearing bigger shoes may lead to discomfort, blisters, and foot issues due to a lack of support and improper fit.

What happens if your shoes are too big?

If your shoes are too big, your feet may slide around within the shoe, causing friction and discomfort. This can lead to blisters, calluses, and other foot problems. Additionally, oversized shoes can negatively affect your gait and balance, increasing the risk of tripping or injury.

Is it better for shoes to be tight or loose?

Shoes should neither be too tight nor too loose. The ideal fit is snug but not restrictive, providing adequate support without causing discomfort or pressure. Shoes that are too tight can cause pain, restrict blood flow, and lead to foot issues, while shoes that are too loose can cause your feet to slide, leading to blisters and discomfort. It’s crucial to find a balance between a secure fit and enough room for natural foot movement.

Does 0.5 shoe size make a difference?

Yes, a 0.5 shoe size difference can significantly impact the comfort and fit of your shoes. Each half size typically alters the length of the shoe by about 1/6 of an inch (4.23mm). This seemingly small difference can affect the overall fit and support provided by the shoe, making it crucial to find the right size for your feet.

Is it bad to wear shoes a half size too small?

Wearing shoes a half size too small can be harmful to your feet and overall comfort. Shoes that are too tight can cause pain, restrict blood circulation, and contribute to the development of blisters, calluses, bunions, and other foot problems. In the long run, wearing shoes that are too small can lead to long-term foot issues and discomfort. It is always better to opt for a properly fitting shoe size to ensure optimal foot health and comfort.

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Olivia Cox
Hi, This is Olivia. I am the owner of F5Active - a refreshing blog with the unlimited power of positivity. I hope to share with readers my point of view, life experiences, adventures, and more. Apart from being informative, my blog will also provide insightful reviews, conducted by Andre - my co-author. My biggest wish is to see F5Active growing every day. Let's get on that journey together!

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