Poor fitting shoes can lead to a variety of foot problems.  If they are too big, the arch of the foot may not be properly supported leading to tired feet or heel pain.  If they are too small, which is the case for most people, the toes may be placed in a contracted position leading to foot deformities like hammertoes and bunions.  As a podiatrist, I can tell you, it does not matter if you spend $20 or $200 dollars on a pair, wearing shoes that do not fit your feet will cost you pain.


To help get the best fitting shoes for your feet, here are some tips to remember the next time you are at the shoe store:

  • Shop for shoes later on in the day when your feet have had time to expand.
  • Wear the socks/stockings that you would wear with the shoes.
  • Go to a store that can measure your feet.
  • Take foot measurement while standing.
  • Measure both feet and choose the shoe size that fits the larger foot.
  • Walk around the store in the shoes to make sure they are comfortable and that they bend where your feet bend.


Many times I will see a foot measuring tool called a Brannock Device® in the shoe store.  Since I am a podiatrist and know how to use it, I often help myself in order to measure my kid’s feet.  There are smaller ones designed for children and larger ones for adults.  There are detailed instructions and an interesting history of the Brannock Device® on their website.  If you would like to learn how to use this device to measure feet, here is my step by step tutorial.

1. Place your heel in the appropriate heel cup.

How to measure your feetHow to measure your feet

2. Make sure both feet are side by side and you are standing with equal weight on both feet.

How to measure your feet

3. Get the “heel to toe” length by pressing down on the toes to flatten them against the device. Then, look straight down over the longest toe to read the measurement just past that toe.

How to measure your feet

4. Get the “heel to ball” (arch) length by sliding the pointer to fit right over the ball joint of the foot. Then, read the measurement on the side of the device.

How to measure your feet

The ball joint is at the head of the first metatarsal (long bone) in the foot.

How to measure your feet

5. Determine the correct shoe size which is the larger number between the “heel to toe” length and the “heel to ball” length.  For example, if the “heel to toe” length measures 8 but the “heel to ball” length measures 8 1/2, the correct shoe size is 8 1/2.

6. Get the width. Slide the width bar until it touches the outer edge of the foot.  Locate the shoe size determined in step 5 on the width bar and read the width measurement on the device.

how to measure your feet

Getting your feet measured is the first step toward getting proper fitting shoes.  Talk to your podiatrist about finding the right pair of shoes for your foot type.  If you are in the Tuscaloosa, Alabama area, feel free to bring in your shoes to my office for evaluation and to discuss how to select the right pair for your feet.

how to measure your feet