Everybody’s feet are different in shape, size and detailing. This fact as well as the styling, construction or materials can affect the fit of different footwear.
For example, a shoe made in narrow form will fit tighter than the same size in regular form. Similarly one made from patent leather may feel tighter than the same style made from soft, suede leather. This could be due to the shape or the softness and flexibility of the material and how it moves with your foot. However, leather is a natural material and may stretch over time to adapt the shape of your foot.
Anatomy of a shoe:
- The toe box is the front tip of the shoe that provides space for the toes. It may be rounded or pointed and will determine the amount of space provided for the toes.
- The vamp is the upper middle part of the shoe holding the laces.
- The sole consists of an insole and an outsole. The insole is inside the shoe, touching the foot; the outsole contacts the ground. The softer the sole, the greater the shoe’s ability to absorb shock.
- The heel is the lower part of the rear of the shoe that provides elevation. The higher the heel, the greater the pressure on the front of the foot.
- The last is the part of the shoe that curves in slightly near the arch of the foot to conform to the average foot shape. This curve enables you to tell the right shoe from the left.
There are various combinations in foot anatomy:
- Regular feet: will need a regular width shoe in a regular size.
- Lean/ regular and narrow feet: can fit well into a narrow shoe in the regular size.
- Lean/regular and wide feet: will need a broad toe shoe or a bigger size.
- Regular feet with broad fingers: will need either a broad toe shoe or a size bigger or in some cases both!
- Plump and narrow feet: can fit into a narrow shoe but a bigger size.
- Plump and regular feet: will need a regular width shoe in a bigger size.
- Plump and wide feet: will need a broad toe shoe in a bigger size.
Shoe Styles for Foot Styles:
- A high instep: Shoes that don’t cover the instep i.e. Loafers/ Moccasins/ Espadrilles etc. are recommended. In case of a closed shoe, a Derby or Blucher would be better.
- A broad toe: A broad shoe with low heel would be comfortable. A broad toe Brogue, Derby or Blucher in formal wear and Boots & loafers in casual wear are recommended.
- A high arch: A high cut shoe with a supportive last and sturdy heel is advisable. An Oxford or Brogue in formal wear and Boots in casual wear are recommended.
Most men’s shoes conform to the shape of the feet and have a roomy toe box with sufficient horizontal and vertical space and a low heel (usually about half an inch high). Soles made of hard materials such as leather or soft materials such as crepe can both be worn, but softer soles tend to be more comfortable. If you stand for extended periods of time, shoes with soft, pliable soles will protect your feet and help keep them comfortable.
Work shoes are also available with varying characteristics, depending on the wearer’s occupation. E.g. Broad toe Brogues or Boots made of thick leather.
- You must always loosen the laces as you slip into and out of the shoes. This prevents unnecessary stress on the eyelets (small holes for the lace) and the backs of the shoes.
- Always begin lacing shoes at the eyelets closest to your toes, and pull the laces of one set of eyelets at a time to tighten. This provides for a comfortable shoe fit.
- When buying shoes, remember that shoes with a larger number of eyelets will make it easier to adjust laces for a custom fit.
Mark of a good fitting in a shoe:
- Good fit; comfortably loose when worn with soft, absorbent socks.
- Shaped like the foot; broad and spacious in the toe area.
- Shock-absorbent sole; a low wedge type.
- Breathable material; canvas or leather, not plastic.
- Comfortable the moment you put them on.