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Two Quick, Easy Ways to Tell If Your Boots Fit

Two Quick, Easy Ways to Tell If Your Boots Fit

Make sure your boots fit before its too late to exchange them! Ft. Red Wing Moc Toe 8138

Make sure your boots fit before its too late to exchange them! Ft. Red Wing Moc Toe 8138

There is no worse feeling than buying a pair of boots that you absolutely love (like my beloved Red Wings), only to realize you bought half a size too big! There is a lot of misleading information out there coming from people with weird shaped feet, so I’m here to tell you how the average/normal foot should feel in a new pair of boots! Your boots must fit right for you to truly get the most out of them!

So here are two foolproof ways to tell if you’re boots fit. The only disclaimers is that this is referring to casual boots, not dress boots, being worn with socks of normal thickness.

The first method I use may surprise you- It’s the width of the laces!

The eyelets remain roughly one inch apart when tied on these Red Wing Iron Rangers 8111.

The eyelets remain roughly one inch apart when tied on these Red Wing Iron Rangers 8111.

How far apart are the sides of the boot when you lace up your shoes? The laces should pull together, but I see way too many people whose shoes are clearly much too wide/big on them. What you want to see is the eyelets come together with about an inch between them. These should feel very secure and snug around the foot which keeps it from sliding around. When the boot is too loose, you may not slide around too much, but from my experience there will be a lot of friction making my foot overheat. If the laces pull the opposite eyelets so close together that they almost or indeed touch - your boots are too big!

See that there is almost no space between the eyelets on these Doc Martens, indicating too much room in the boot, and a lot of friction.

See that there is almost no space between the eyelets on these Doc Martens, indicating too much room in the boot, and a lot of friction.

This is my complaint with the way Doc Martens 1460 boots fit. There is too much “height” to the top of the vamp, resulting in an insecure fit and a lot of slipping and sliding. I also feel this is a problem with Blundstones. Being that there are no laces on Blundstones, it makes sense that for many, there will be too much “height” on the boot. The goal of the lace-up system on boots is to secure your unique foot shape in place. Everyone’s foot has different shapes and curves, and the laces will help accommodate these variances.

The second method is testing the way your heel fits in the heel cup.

I hear a lot of people talking about the space between the end of your big toe and the tip of the boot. But I find that the movement, or stability of the heel is a much better indication of whether the length of the shoe is right or not.

Coincidentally, I find this to be a problem again with Doc Martens. The heel cup is too big/wide to keep the back of my foot stable and in position. I find the best way to test this is to walk up a flight of stairs. If the back of the boot is slipping, it’s probably too big.

Try walking up a flight of steps and feel if your heel is slipping or securely in place.

Try walking up a flight of steps and feel if your heel is slipping or securely in place.

Now, I know I have seen some testimonials of people who tried on dress shoes that slipped in the back and when attempting to the shoes, were told that after the shoe molds to the foot, the slipping would stop. I have never experienced this to be the case with shoes that slipped, despite having the opportunity to try it multiple times. My best example is a pair of Ace Marks that I have. I measured a size 10 on their chart, and upon asking, was told to get this size. The shoes are still slightly too big and I experience slipping, although I still wear them quite often. If you have any insight with this specific issue, please leave a comment! I’d really appreciate it!

Obviously the same methods can be used to tell if your boots are too small. If your laces are too far apart, chances are the boots are too small. Another possibility is that you may need a wider boot. That’s another reason why Red Wing and Allen Edmonds are great places to shop; because they have wide sizes too!

Finally, if you find that your toes and heel are too tight, don’t fight it. It’s normal to get blisters while you break-in your boots, i.e., soften up the outer leather of the boot. But your toes and should not be touching the tip of the boot and the heel should not be crushed either.

A perfect pair of Red Wing Blacksmith 3340 in Briar Slick Oil Leather I stupidly returned! Part of a Brooks Brothers Collaboration, these ditched the speed hooks, which were replaced by more eyelets.

A perfect pair of Red Wing Blacksmith 3340 in Briar Slick Oil Leather I stupidly returned! Part of a Brooks Brothers Collaboration, these ditched the speed hooks, which were replaced by more eyelets.

I hope this article was helpful to you! If you disagree or have more insight, I invite you to start a conversation below. Of course, I can only speak from my own experiences and that comes with limitation!


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