Guide on sizing and choosing the correct shoe size

A properly-fitted athletic shoe or technical multi-sport boot is perhaps one of the most important pieces of adventure sports equipment that a connoisseur of the outdoor lifestyle can have at their disposal. Not only does it complement one's collection of

The Importance of Sizing

A properly-fitted athletic shoe or technical multi-sport boot is perhaps one of the most important pieces of adventure sports equipment that a connoisseur of the outdoor lifestyle can have at their disposal. Not only does it complement one's collection of durable clothing, advanced outerwear, activewear, and outdoor fitness apparel, but it also is a means of ensuring safety while engaged in, or en route to, hiking, ultra running, jogging, cross-training, backcountry camping, rock climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, fishing, kayaking or other highly enjoyable athletic pursuits. Properly-fitted footwear greatly minimizes the likelihood of ankle injuries (e.g, ""rolling an ankle""), buffets stress, wear and tear on the knees, legs and back, as well as reduces the occurence of swelling and painful arch or heel skin blisters. Obviously, you'll also want a proper fit so that you don't trip and take a header into a tree or off a cliff! Finally, for those that are using their footwear for endurance training or adventure racing, remember that like that of any well-oiled machine, fluid motion is a principal component in being efficient. Efficiency lends itself to duration; duration to stamina; stamina to victory! A good fit is one that allows you to operate at your peak performance levels, and that's always a plus (or an advantage!) if it pushes you over the finish line of your personal goals.

How to Size Your Foot

If you are unsure what foot or shoe size you are, then you may wish to take a measurement prior to purchasing a pair of footwear.

Some additional sizing guidelines include the following general observations:

  • To convert inches to centimeters, multiply inches by 2.54.
  • If you are not in the US, or not familiar with US sizing, don't worry. Use the conversion chart above to determine your size.
  • For a perfect fit in any type of shoe, you'll want to try them on. In lieu of that, however, measure your foot and compare your findings to a specific manufacturer or model of shoe. Don't always assume your shoe size is the same as it always has been. The shape of your feet changes over time.
  • Because the foot is three-dimensional, any one or two-dimensional measuring tool can only approximate your true shoe size. Keep in mind that manufacturers use different lasts (forms that create shape) to construct their shoes, and sizing may vary accordingly between and across brands. Many shoes have excellent arch support, but still others leave things to be desired. Take into account your specific needs, if any, for arch support inserts or innersoles (insoles).
  • Measure both feet. If your feet are different sizes, it is recommended that you purchase the size that accommodates the longer and wider of your feet. It is recommended that you stand upright, if possible, when using the measurement chart. This is because you can more accurately gauge how your foot shape distributes your weight. Although it is not true for everybody, in many cases, the larger foot is the opposite of that person's dominant hand (e.g., right-handed, left-footed).
  • Depending on your intended uses, what you choose to wear inside your footwear is sometimes just as important as the footwear itself. This will inevitably influence your sizing requirements. Keep in mind that depending on the type of footwear you're considering, you may elect to wear socks. As a result, take into consideration what kind of socks you will be wearing (for example, thick versus thin, wool versus cotton, standard versus wicking). When you measure your foot, wear the socks you'll wear with your new shoes.
  • Some materials, such as non-waterproofed leathers, may shrink when subjected to prolonged exposure to weather elements, water, and other excess water sources, such as snow and ice. Determine in advance whether you need to take a step up to the next level of technical products, namely, footwear constructed from either water-resistant or waterproof materials.
  • We often get questions on inter-gender compatibility. Should you be deterred from wearing athletic shoes of the opposite gender? Absolutely not; in all but a few cases, sizing is comparable if simple guidelines are followed.
  • FAQ: How do I convert men's to women's shoe sizes? Generally, converting men's to women's shoe sizes is an easy-to-remember rule of thumb. We suggest that you should subtract approximately one-and-one-half sizes from your US women's size to find the appropriate shoe in US men's size. For example, if you wear a size 9 US in women's shoes, you would most likely need a size 7.5 US in men's shoes.
  • Vice versa, men would add approximately one-and-one-half shoe sizes to women's sizing in order to determine the proper fit. For example, if you wear a size 9 US in men's shoes, you would most likely need a size 10.5 US in women's shoes.
  • You should not be afraid to purchase footwear online. When making decisions based on experience, be armed with your knowledge of your own feet, your specific sporting activities, your own personal tendencies, and overall, good, practical judgment. This way, you can greatly minimize the chances that you will have any difficulties with regards to size. Fear, in the case of buying shoes online, is rather silly, exaggerated and wisely dismiss