As bespoke shoemakers, we spend much of our time finessing a customer’s lasts to ensure a good fit and a comfortable shoe for the customer.
But what of the high street? With New Year’s sales well under way, how do you avoid being swept up in the moment and buying shoes that don’t fit? What should you look for? How do you know if the shoe fits?
There are many things to consider when buying shoes, but these are our top tips to help you to get a good fit.
- Never buy a pair of shoes ‘in your size’ without trying them on. (Standard sizes vary from brand to brand so you do need to try them).
- Some styles will suit your feet better than others. For instance, if your feet swell during the day, a Derby will be more comfortable than an Oxford. This is because the front laced section of a Derby can be opened up/loosened more than an Oxford which is closed at the front. This also applies when you fly or if you live in a warm climate (lucky you!)
- Suede is more forgiving – will stretch more – than box calf.
- A soft leather will be more comfortable in the short term, but will lose shape more quickly and so won’t support your foot where needed.
- Brands from northern Europe tend to be wider at the joint as standard and southern European/Mediterranean brands tend to be narrower.
- One foot is usually bigger than the other so always try on both shoes.
The check list when you try on a pair of shoes:
- Is there enough space for your toes when you are standing upright and walking?
- Does the back of the shoe feel comfortable and cup your heel without slipping when you walk?
- Is there enough room on your instep (the top part of your foot)?
- Is there enough room for your foot across the widest part of the shoe, at the joint?
- Is the joint of your big toe at the widest point in the shoe?
- Does the shoe support the arch of your foot?
- And ultimately the main question is “Does it hurt”? I can assure you, after a miss-spent youth wearing too high, too tight heels, if the shoes hurt now your feet will suffer later!
So gentlemen enjoy the sales, but choose carefully, (we always prefer our bespoke customers to come to us through desire rather than necessity), and leap into 2012 in a pair of comfortable shoes!