Whether you are looking for boots for work, adventuring in the outdoors, or for nights out, you want something that feels good. One of the biggest factors is having the right fit. This is especially true since boots that are too large or too small are going to cause chafing that might result in blisters. Below, we’ll take a look at how to measure your boot size so that you can get the perfect fit.
Take Your Boot Measurements in the Afternoon
Did you know that your foot expands over the course of the day, especially when you’re walking around on them? For this reason, it’s best to measure your boot size in the afternoon. In addition to taking boot measurements in the afternoon, you’ll want to measure both your feet. Once you determine which one is the larger foot, you’ll take measurements using that one. For most people, that’s their left foot.
What You Need to Measure Your Boot Size at Home
Even if you don’t have a Brannock device like they use in the shoe store, it’s easy to measure your boot size at home. All you’ll need are a pair of socks you normally wear, paper big enough to set your foot on, and a fabric tape measure. If you don’t have a fabric tape measure, you can also use a piece of string or twine and a ruler or rigid tape measure.
Put on Socks
The first thing that you’ll want to do is put on a pair of socks. Since you’re measuring for boot size, you’ll put on the socks that you would normally wear with boots. If you were trying to find out your dress shoe size, you’d wear the same socks you typically wear with dress shoes.
Trace Your Foot
For this next step, it’s possible to do it on your own but can be useful to have someone else’s help. Set the paper on the ground and put your foot on it. Then, stand up so your leg is straightened. Trace all around your foot, trying to hold the pen or pencil at a straight angle for accuracy.
You’ll note that I’m using my left foot. I took measurements first to determine which of my foot was my largest one!
Measuring the Length of Your Foot
Take the twine or ruler and use it to measure between the two longest points on your foot. This is measured from the back of your heel up to your longest toe. In some people, this is their big toe. In others, the second toe on their foot is the longest. To get your overall boot size, you add 1″ to the total length of your foot in inches. This was true for me, since my foot is 10″ long and I wear a size 10.5-11 in boots, depending on width!
Even though you can estimate your boot size for most manufacturers by adding 1″ to the total length, you may also want to get your foot’s measurement in centimeters. This will give you the most accurate results when using a company’s sizing chart. You may also need to make size adjustments based on width, which we’ll get to next.
Measuring the Width of Your Foot
To determine the width of your foot, you’re going to use your fabric tape measure or string and ruler. Wrap it around the widest part of your foot. For most people, that’s the bunion joint near the forefoot. You’ll use this information to find out if a standard size will fit or if you need a wider boot.
How to Measure Your Boot Size Using a Brannock Device
If you happen to have a Brannock device, then measuring your boot size becomes really simple. Chances are, you’ve seen these at shoe stores. They are basically a caliper that’s used to easily measure someone’s feet.
Brannock devices have two heel cups; one for the left foot and the other for the right foot. Choose a foot and put it in the correct heel cup. Then, put weight on the foot so that you can be sure it’s fully expanded like it would be when you’re standing in your shoe.
Slide the arch slider until it’s at the knuckle of your first toe and then move the width slider so that it’s right up against your foot. It should be exerting just a little pressure, but it shouldn’t be so tight that it’s uncomfortable. Then, you should be able to use the Brannock sizing charts to determine your shoe length and width. It can even tell you the size of your arch!
Setting up a Professional Boot Sizing
If you’re investing in a quality pair of boots that you plan to wear a long time, then it might be worthwhile to get a professional boot sizing. When you go the professional route, you take the guesswork out of finding the perfect boot. Most people who go to professionals for their boot sizing are also purchasing custom made boots.
Typically, the shoemaker will start by taking measurements using a Brannock device. They may also measure the circumference of your feet at several points, which helps them get an overall picture of what you need for the perfect fit. If this is something you’re interested in, it’s best to search for shoemakers in your area and see who has the best recommendations. Don’t be afraid to shop around! A quality pair of boots is something that can last a lifetime when you take care of them, especially since you can get them re-soled when they wear down, usually by the same person who created them for you in the first place.
What to Do Once You Know Your Boot Size
Much like when you buy clothing from different brands, there are size discrepancies between boot brands and styles that affect the overall fit. This means that you may find you need a certain size for one brand, but a size up or down when you buy boots from another company.
The reason that there are size discrepancies is because all boots and shoes are made by assembling materials around what is called a “last”. It’s a foot-shaped mold and companies even use different ones depending on the style of boots. For example, some might have a wider toe area than others. This is where your measurements will be helpful, especially if you are ordering online and can’t physically try the boots on before buying them.
How to Use a Boot Size Chart
Using a sizing chart is really easy once you know your measurements. Some manufacturers may use a Brannock device-based chart, while others just go on the measurements of your foot width and length. Once you know what information you need, all you have to do is find the corresponding information on the chart to get your size.
In addition to considering the length of the boot, you’ll also want to pay attention to width if you have wide feet. Some boot manufacturers do offer wider sizes. If they don’t, then you may want to go up by a half-size if you are set on buying boots from a company without wide options.
FAQs About How to Measure Your Boot Size
What do I do if I’m between boot sizes?
If you’re between boot sizes, you should always go with the larger one. Even though boots usually stretch a little as they are broken in, a too-small boot might not fit well even after the break-in period. If half-sizes aren’t available, you should go with the next size up. You can always double up on your socks or add insoles if they end up being a little too big, too!
What if my boot size isn’t wide enough for my feet?
If the boot you choose doesn’t have wide sizes available, then try going 1/2 a size larger than you need. As you break in the boots, they should conform to your feet a little better. The excess in the length will stretch a little on the sides, instead. If you didn’t order a half-size up, you can try stretching the boot leather instead. Use a shoe stretcher or get the boot damp and then wear it around the house to stretch the leather and break it in.
Why do I need to measure both of my feet to get my boot size?
It’s very common for people to have one foot that is bigger than the other. In fact, it’s estimated that almost 80% of the US population has a left foot that is bigger than the right one. Even though this difference is usually small, you’ll want to measure both your feet to ensure you get the best possible fit. You’ll always want to go with the foot that is larger as you decide on the size since this will result in a more comfortable fit.
Samantha is a part-time writer and stay-at-home mom of two boys (and three pets). With all the outdoor activities the family participates in and two growing boys, shoes are something she’s very familiar with.