We all know how important it is that shoes fit comfortably, but how do you determine what the “proper” fit is? That’s a highly subjective question, and can be asked of anything we wear such as a suit or a shirt although they probably won’t cause extreme pain or permanent damage if they aren’t right. A shoe is felt with each movement of your foot, so it’s crucial that they’re comfortable.
I always start by measuring the feet with a Brannock Devise. It’s important to point out here that this is a starting point, or guide since each manufacturer has their own size scale on top of which each last and style fits differently. It’s a combination of all these factors that goes into fitting a pair of shoes. Once the approximate size is tried on it then becomes a question of how you like your shoes to feel, meaning snugger, looser or just comfortable. This is where it really becomes a matter of individual preference.
I can usually tell from the sound a shoe makes going on the foot, that whoosh of air that this could be it. But I can only suggest, by feel, and sight what looks right or not. Ultimately each person has to make the determination how they feel. I’ve had customers buy shoes smaller, or larger than what I think is a proper fit but that’s the way they like them to feel, and I respect that. I’ve had people tell me that they’ve bought shoes that kill their feet because the person that sold them to them insisted it was the proper size, so I am sensitive to being insistent.
My advise is to ask questions if you’re not sure about how a shoe fits and what to expect it to feel like after you wear it a number of times. Ask as many questions as come to mind because the answers, plus your own sense of feel and experience will guide you to what will amount to the proper fit.