Finding the perfect pair of shoes with an alchemic balance of fit, comfort, and style is rare. Getting-struck-with-lighting rare. And for those with larger or diverse foot shapes, it’s even rarer. Double-lightning-strike-under-a-rainbow rare.
If you’ve experienced the frustration of searching online and in stores for extended shoe sizing only to feel disappointed and lost, you’re not alone. Catering to all foot sizes and shapes is an important and topical issue in the footwear industry. Luckily, now is a better time than ever to find your fit with retailers like Vionic who value inclusive sizing.
Walk with us while we guide you through our extensive guide on extended shoe sizing: why proper-fitting shoes are essential, how to determine your perfect fit, and how Vionic can help you find it.
The Importance of Extended Shoe Sizing
Average shoe sizes across the board are trending upward, while available sizing options remain slim. The National Shoe Retailers Association announced in 2012 that in the last 30 years, the most popular shoe size for both men and women went up by an entire full size.1
Especially for women, the growing demand for larger and wider sizes is not being met by suppliers. To make matters worse, wearing inadequately sized shoes can have negative effects on foot health and overall health.
Here’s an example: a representative for the U.K. charity, The Society of Shoe Fitters, told the BBC in 2017 that 30% of the inquiries they received were from 12-year-old girls unable to find school shoes in the proper size.2
The only alternative to finding extended shoe sizes for these girls was to wear boys shoes. And if you think the style would be the worst part of that compromise, think again.
The Effects of Limited Shoe Sizing
Ill-fitting shoes can have an impact on your entire body’s physiology. If your feet hurt, you may tend to shift your body weight unnaturally to stay comfortable, putting wear on your tendons and joints, which can lead to neck, ankle, knee, or hip problems later on.2
Whether you’re old or young, avoid additional health complications rooted in footwear that doesn’t support your foot shape and size. One way you can proactively fight ill-fitting footwear and start putting your best foot health first is by learning how to accurately measure and size your feet.
Expert Tips for Confident Shoe Sizing
A 2018 review found four studies reporting that between 63% and 72% of all participants wore incorrect-fitting shoes based on length and width.3 That’s a staggering amount of people who walk around in shoes not fully supporting them.
Don’t fall into the same trap. Although your shoe size usually doesn’t change once you reach adulthood, you still should take updated and accurate measurements to ensure you’re wearing footwear with the right fit.
How to Measure Your Foot Size
Here are some handy tips from the pros to confidently record and interpret measurements of your feet:
- Grab some paper, a pencil, and a measuring tape – Place your foot flat on a scrap piece of paper. Now carefully outline your entire foot with the pencil. With a tape measure or ruler, you can now reliably assess your foot’s length and width.
- Dress, don’t guess – For a more accurate and helpful measurement, you’ll want to dress your foot in whatever kind of sock or stocking you intend to wear with prospective footwear. For sandals, that means measuring your bare foot. If you like wearing thick, long socks under your boots, wear them for the measurement.
- Don’t skip the calf half – When hunting for boots or any tall footwear, collecting an accurate calf measurement is just as important as identifying your shoe size. Luckily, measuring your calf is easy and painless. Wrap a flat tape measure around your calf 12 inches from the floor. If you don’t have a flat tape measure, you can also use a string or ribbon.
Now equipped with your accurate, updated measurements, you can refine your search and eliminate thousands of extraneous options that don’t fit your feet.
In the world of extended shoe sizes, here are some of the benefits of taking the extra time to gather your measurements and find a retailer with comprehensive sizing options.
How Extended Sizing Enhances Footwear Experience
The upsides to wearing properly fitting, custom-tailored footwear are plentiful. The most obvious benefit is comfort. Extended sizes ensure you are comfortable in any situation, no matter what unique shape your feet and legs are. You don’t want a pair of boots that look great when you’re seated or standing but feel awful to walk in.
Even more than comfort, the most important benefit of extended sizes is supporting a higher standard of foot health for diverse foot sizes. Wearing footwear of the proper size and shape for your feet and calves will ensure your feet are supported. When your feet are supported, the weight and pressure are relieved from your joints, tendons, and other integral regions like your hips, back, and knees.
Don’t forget about athletic performance in addition to comfort and health. Shoes were made for movement, after all; ill-fitting footwear can impede your movement and balance. If you’ve ever walked a mile in someone else’s shoes (literally), you know this. You’re more likely to trip and injure yourself, or you may tire out faster, expending more energy overcorrecting your stride due to the shoe’s improper fit.
Above all, extended sizing considers these principles for all varieties of feet, not just the most popular sizes. The trick is finding the right retailer that prioritizes diversity in sizing while still upholding the highest standards of style and aesthetics.
At Vionic, we pride ourselves in our ability to do just that.
Vionic’s Approach to Customized Comfort
Inclusivity and comfort converge at Vionic. Our extended size range can meet your needs for sandals, sneakers, flats, boots, and so much more. We take additional steps to enhance your overall footwear experience in a variety of ways so that you can find the footwear best suited to your unique feet.
Vionic is committed to catering to diverse foot sizes. We offer medium, wide, and narrow width options, as well as a wide calf size option for boots like the water-resistant, equestrian-inspired Phillipa Tall Boot.
Not only does Vionic create shoes for all sizes, but our shoes help keep your feet feeling their best by prioritizing your comfort and foot health. The Bella II Toe-Post Sandal is another case in point, coming in three width options.
The Bella Sandal earned the seal of acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) for its bioengineered arch-hugging design, proven in its effectiveness in relieving and treating heel pain from common foot conditions like plantar fasciitis.
Vionic’s shop offers all of the tools you need to confidently select your new favorite shoes in the perfect size for your feet. Read on for a few of the methods and tools we use to ensure your ease and satisfaction in the footwear shopping experience.
Understanding Vionic’s Extended Size Range
Vionic’s aim is to provide the best fit in alignment with maximum comfort and stability for your feet, and this applies to our extended size range as well. We include all the resources you need in determining your best fit—so you can order and walk with confidence.
We include a fit guide as well as helpful recommendations on every product’s page on our platform. For example, our Chardonnay Heeled Sandal includes a fit guide with detailed measurements with both metric and imperial values so you can easily find your size.
You’ll also find relevant tips in the Fit & Care section. For the Uptown Loafer (a perfectly packable loafer available in medium and wide sizes), we recommend slowly warming up to them by wearing them for a few hours the first few days, allowing your feet to adjust to the new standard of orthotic comfort and support.
If you have particularly difficult feet to size, or a shape that needs a little extra care and attention, no problem. The footwear experts at Vionic are available and ready to help answer your questions. With your measurements and information at hand, we can make you a custom recommendation on the best products for your needs. We’re just a call or email away.
Embrace Enhanced Comfort and Foot Health With Vionic
Inclusive sizing is at the forefront of Vionic’s approach to delivering customized comfort. Extended sizing options for footwear can only benefit the wearer when considering the limitless possibilities for better comfort, foot health, and performance.
Vionic’s size range includes options for those with wide, narrow, and medium-width feet, as well as medium and wide calf-width sizes, excelling in providing equal comfort and support to all walks of life.
If you value your foot health and overall health as much as your aesthetic (and you should), shop Vionic. Our commitment to delivering optimal, customized comfort guides our product design. What’s more, we pride ourselves on providing a no-fuss ordering experience with our helpful fitting resources and customer-first support team.
Make the switch today to better-fitting support shoes for women. Order with confidence from our collection today, and experience the difference a tailor-fitted shoe can make.
- “Americans’ Feet Getting Bigger, But Shoe Choices Slim.” Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America. https://fdra.org/latest-news/americans-feet-getting-bigger-but-shoe-choices-slim/
- Bullock, Caroline. “Why finding women’s large shoe sizes can be a problem.” BBC. 18 August, 2017. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-40777046
- Buldt, Andrew K, and Hylton B Menz. “Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: a systematic search and narrative review of the literature.” Journal of foot and ankle research vol. 11 43. 28 Jul. 2018, doi:10.1186/s13047-018-0284-z