How to Measure Your Feet for Shoes

closeup of person wearing monochromatic red outfit and shoes


You probably know your shoe size—or at least, you think you do. Your foot size can change over time, though, and even with the time of day (our minds were blown, too). We know the frustrations that come along with wearing the wrong size shoes (think: blisters, abrasions, pain, long-term injury, and even back issues). And while you could try a potential prospect on in a store, without proper measurements you may not even realize you should consider a larger or smaller shoe than what you're buying. Case in point: getting an accurate foot size measurement is more important than ever. Keep scrolling to learn how to measure your feet for the perfect shoe fit.

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What You'll Need

You won't require anything special to get an accurate shoe size measurement, just:

  • A chair
  • Socks
  • Two pieces of paper that larger than your feet
  • A pencil, pen, or marker
  • Tape
  • A ruler or measuring tape

Feet are three-dimensional, and most size charts only account for two of those dimensions. In the end, you won't know if you have the precise size you need until you try the shoes on and walk in them a bit.

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How to Measure Your Feet At Home

person wearing puma sneakers


Follow these steps below to find your measurement.

  1. Put on a pair of socks similar to those you plan to wear with the shoes you're buying.
  2. Tape the paper down to the floor.
  3. Sit on the chair and plant one foot firmly on the floor, with your leg bent slightly forward so that your shin is just in front of your ankle.
  4. Trace the outline of your foot, holding the pencil upright and perpendicular to the paper. Don't hold it at an angle: You'll end up tracing under your foot and will get an inaccurate measurement. Make sure the pencil is aligned snugly against your foot as you trace.
  5. Use your pencil to mark the widest and longest parts of your feet.
  6. Repeat for the other foot. (Most people's feet are slightly different lengths and widths. For some people, that difference could be a half or whole shoe size).
  7. Use a ruler to measure the length of your foot tracing. Find the closest mark that you can on your ruler; for inches, use the closest 16th mark. Don't round up or down too drastically.

Heads up: You may find it helpful to have someone else trace your feet.

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Measure the Width of Your Feet

Shoe size is more just one measurement; width is also an important factor. Though widths vary slightly from size to size, the numerical shoe size really addresses only the length of the foot.

Knowing your shoe width can make a world of difference when it comes to finding comfortable footwear. Many people need narrow or wide shoes, so this step is just as important as the last. The width of a shoe is denoted by a letter after the numerical size of the shoe (for example, "7B"). Like shoe sizes, women's and men's width designations are different.

Use a ruler to measure the widest parts of your feet on the tracings. Again, use the closest mark that you can (usually, 1/16th of an inch).

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How to Use Your Measurements

Use the largest of your measurements to determine your shoe size. For example, if your left foot is 1/4 inch longer, then use your left foot's length measurement. If your right foot is slightly wider, then use that number as your width. After you have the length and width, subtract 3/16 of an inch from each of those numbers. This is to account for the small space between your foot and the line made by the pencil. These final numbers are your actual foot measurements.

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