Collection of female shoes on wooden floor.

Most people know their shoe size, but that magic number really only addresses the length of your feet. If you’ve ever bought shoes because they look nice without taking the time to test them out in the store, you may have found them to be too big or too wide, ending up in pain or discomfort. Your comfort is the biggest indicator of sizing, but there are some other surefire signals that you’ll need to replace a pair of shoes that don’t fit you properly. Make sure you've got the right fit by following these guidelines.

Put on the shoes and lace them fully if they have laces. If the shoes only fit your feet when you cinch the laces or the shoelace panels overlap at all, the shoes are too wide.

Walk around the room. Take note if your feet are sliding backward and forward or from side to side as you walk. If they slide around or you have to curl your toes to keep the shoes from slipping, the shoes are too big or too wide. If you are wearing pumps and your heels slide out of the shoes, they're too big. If you can see clear gaps between your foot and the side of the pump, they're too wide.

While seated, feel for your big toe inside your shoe. You should be able to feel a small gap in front of your toe. If you can compress the top of your shoe to the footbed in front of your toe, the shoe is too big.

Wear the shoes out and about and take note at the end of the day if they're comfortable or if your feet slide around.


Leather shoes tend to loosen over time, so if leather shoes are too big or wide, the problem will only get worse.

Test out shoes with the kind of socks or stockings you plan to wear.

If the shoes look okay with a variety of sock types, you can wear thicker socks to make shoes that are too big or wide fit better.


Shoes that are too big or wide may give you blisters.