When it comes to men’s dress shoes, getting the size right is a notoriously tricky thing.
So once you figure out that your shoes don’t fit, how do you figure out your real shoe size?
Luckily, it isn’t as hard you might think. The absolute best way to measure what your foot’s size is to get it measured by a Brannock device if possible, Allen Edmonds master fitter Ryan Stowe told Business Insider.
A Brannock device is that silver metal contraption found in shoe stores that measures not only the length and width of your entire foot, but the length from the heel to the widest point — the ball — as well. This is even more important, as it dictates where the shoe will bend and flex when you walk.
Stowe emphasises that using this device is the best way to find out your true shoe size. But if there is no access to Brannock, or you’d rather do it yourself, it does get a little bit more complicated.
For that, you’re going to need to use a shoe you already own and find the ball of your foot, which is the widest part of your foot. Check where it is aligned. Is the ball filling out the widest part of your foot, or is it closer to where the arch is? If that’s the case, you’ll need to go down in length (numbered sizes) but up in width (letter sizes).
This will keep the volume in the shoe essentially the same, but changes the alignment so that the shoe better fits your foot’s natural shape.
Unfortunately these letter-size shoes can be hard to come by. Allen Edmonds carries every single variation of the nine standard widths, and most good shoe companies, like Alden, carry at least one wide and narrow size for each shoe model. But many fashion brands however, like J Crew, don’t even make wide or narrow sizes; instead they come only in a “standard” width as making so many different sizes of shoes can be a costly undertaking.
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