Question: what’s better than a new pair of shoes? Answer: a new pair of shoes that fit perfectly.
Few experiences are more enjoyable than sliding into a fresh pair of hiking shoes or pulling on some beautiful knee-high boots. But what happens when you take your new footwear home (or have them delivered), only to find out that they’re not fitted correctly.
People often forget to ask themselves the question: "How should boots fit?" Side effects can include foot pain, blisters, discomfort, and general regret. This doesn't include the wasted money and time spent.
Whether you purchase in person or online, it’s vital that you know how to make sure that your footwear is tailored to your feet. At Boot World, our mission is to ensure that you’re happy with your boots and wearing them not just today and tomorrow, but a year from now as well. To help you with that, here’s our ultimate boot fit guide.
The Boot World Difference
At Boot World, we’re experts in all things boots.
We carry some of the top brands, including Ugg, Timberland, Klogs,Wolverine, and Dr. Martens. We source boots that only use the highest quality of materials to ensure that they last and provide foot safety. Most importantly, our mission is to make sure that our customers walk out wearing boots that feel as though they were tailored for them.
We recommend that you always come into one of our many retail locations to determine a proper fit. However, not everyone lives near a retail location, and COVID-19 has made it far more difficult to engage in in-person shopping.
We understand. Because of these complicating factors, we’ve sought to make it easy to try on boots no matter where you live via our online portal, offering free exchanges until you have the perfect boot fit.
So, how do you make sure that you don’t have to do several boot swaps to find that match?
Let’s start there.
Advice for Making Online Purchases
It’s no secret that you can often wind up with mixed results when you make purchases online, especially when it comes to buying shoes. At Boot World, our goal is to create an online shopping experience that is just as enjoyable as the in-person one.
How should boots fit?
The most important thing to consider is the size of the boot or the shoe. Many people spend years wearing the wrong shoe size simply because they don’t know there’s a more fitting size. To start, it helps to know the measurements of your foot.
But remember, not all sizes are the same between brands or styles of the same brand. On top of that, your feet are subject to change over time; although they may not get longer if you’re an adult, they can become wider or more slender.
To prepare for sizing, take the following steps:
Measure both of your feet – Although they may seem like it, your feet aren’t identical. It’s important that you know the measurements for both feet, but not just the length, you should measure the width as well. To measure your feet, you’ll require a piece of paper, a pen, and a measurement device:
Stand on the piece of paper, using the pen to trace around your foot.
When you’ve finished, flip it over and trace the other foot on the opposite side.
Use the tape measure to find the length of your foot at the longest point as well as the widest point.
Write those figures down, then subtract a ¼ inch or ½ cm to compensate for the pencil outline.
Compare your measurements to a size guide – Although it can vary between brands, the standard size guide for U.S. men and women can be found here.
Read reviews – It’s important to research brands and see how their sizing works. The best way to tell if boots will fit right is by seeing what other customers have experienced. If a brand’s boot size isn’t in line with standard sizing, they’ll let you know.
Consider form and function – It should go without saying, but certain boots are made for certain types of activity. A thigh-high boot isn’t ideal for a camping trip or a construction site. Rugged climbing boots aren’t best for the boardroom. It’s not only important to consider their fit on your foot, but their fit for your pursuit.
Think about the socks you’re wearing – How should a work boot fit? Snugly, of course, but that can be impacted by the type of sock you wear. For instance, heavyweight wool boot socks will be much thicker than a dry wick, moisture control crew sock. If you plan on wearing a thick sock, it might help to go up half a size.
After you’ve done all of this, take your time browsing for the right boot or shoe. Compare and contrast your options, check out the reviews, and see the best fit for your needs. All that’s left after that is to hit purchase so you can try them on.
Once The Shoes Arrive
So, you’ve bought a pair, and they’ve arrived in a flash. The next step is to channel your inner Cinderella and slip them on.
How should a boot fit? This advice can help:
A comfortable and secure fit is ideal – While fit and comfort are subjective, it’s critical that your boot feels secure and completely enveloped by the boot without feeling too tight. How tight should boots be? It depends, but they should produce a snugness without cramping your toes.
Make sure you're wearing the right socks – Remember, socks can have an impact on fit. It’s important that you wear the same types of socks you’d be wearing on the job site, in the boardroom, or out in nature.
Lace them up properly – It’s critical that you lace up the boots all the way. They help properly secure your foot and give you a better idea of how the foot rides in the boot.
Perform a tippy-toes test – Your first check should be to stand on your tip-toes. This measures your toe’s ability to splay without jamming into the front of the top part of the boot. A good boot will keep your foot firmly in place, even when you’re moving in different ways.
Give them a walk around – You not only need to walk around in your boots, but you also have to test them out in somewhat similar conditions to what they will be used for. Simply walking on a flat surface won’t give you the right perspective if you’re planning for rough terrain. So, try them as you go up and down stairs, jump around (if that’s what they’re made for), and walk up inclines and declines to get a solid feel of the insole.
Lock in the heel – Want to know how to tell if boots are too big? If there’s heel slippage or heel lift, they’re likely the wrong size. To check for this, put your foot at different angles as you walk up and down the stairs. Especially on a job site or in the mountains, a heel slip can lead to falls and foot injuries.
If the boot doesn’t fit, don’t be scared to send it back. Don’t settle for okay when you want perfect. We want you to love your boots. That’s why we encourage you to return them and try another pair (for free), thus ensuring you’re properly fitted.
How to Break In Your Boots
Once you’ve found the right boots, you’ll need to break them in, especially if they're work boots.
A simple piece of advice, don’t purchase a pair of boots shortly before a trip and expect to spend the entirety of the next day climbing a mountain in your new hiking boots. That’s a recipe for disaster—foot pain and blisters will likely result.
Even if they’re the perfect fit, you still have to take the time to break them in. Generally speaking, the lighter the boot, the less time necessary to break it in. Heavy-duty work boots, however, will require a bit more time and effort.
With leather work boots, consider the following measures:
Wear them at home – For starters, lace up your boots when you’re at home and perform your normal activities, including walking, sitting, and going about your daily life. Start with half an hour a day and gradually increase that time.
Don’t submerge them in water – A common piece of advice is to dunk your leather boots in water to help them become more form fitting… don’t do that! While leather can handle certain levels of moisture, needlessly getting them wet can cause the leather to dry out, warp, or crack.
Use leather conditioner – If you want to help your boots fit your form, a leather conditioner can help soften the leather, giving it moisture, which can help the leather bend and move more readily.
After you spend the time needed to break them in, your boots will be ready for a full shift at work.
Boot World: Helping You Find The Perfect Fit
When it comes to your boots, the right size matters.
At Boot World, we’re committed to ensuring that your boot fits perfectly, no matter whether you’re shopping online or visiting us in person.
If you have any questions about sizing or finding the proper fit, please reach out, and one of our helpful experts will walk you through the process.
Please read further if you’re looking for more information regarding lace up vs. slip on work boots