How Should Boots Fit on You? All You Need To Know

Boots should fit comfortably—allowing you the freedom to move while being secure enough to protect you from the elements.

Boots have become a fixed part of our wardrobes. They’re smart enough to wear to the office but rugged enough to survive unpredictable weather. However, lots of people aren’t comfortable in boots, and their feet are often sore. This deters people from buying boots, opting for low-cut shoes instead. But this doesn’t have to be the case with you.

How should boots fit? The purpose of this guide is to show that boots can be comfortable if you choose the right pair. By the end of the article, you’ll be confident enough to invest in a brand new pair of boots that fit like a glove.

pasted image 0 7

How To Get the Best Fit for Your Boots

Do your research when it comes to the brand of boots you’re looking at and the sizing. Unless specified otherwise, always use your regular shoe size when buying boots. If the boots don’t always run true to size, like Sorel boots, it’s best to size up or down accordingly.

Once you’ve chosen the appropriate size, you can take the following tests. These will ensure you have the right fit. If the pair fails in any one of the tests, you should select a different size, as comfort is your number one priority.

Trace Your Foot

If you often find boots uncomfortable, you may be purchasing the wrong size. To avoid this in the future, consider tracing your feet to find your correct size:

  1. Using a sheet of paper, draw a line with a rule top to bottom.
  2. Place the paper on the floor with one edge along a wall.
  3. Put your foot on the paper with your heel against the wall.
  4. Mark the position of your longest toe.
  5. Repeat with your other foot.
  6. Measure the line from the edge to the longest toe mark.
  7. If you want to find out your width, make two marks on the broadest part of your foot and measure.

You can then use these measurements to check against a size chart for your boots.

Shop in the Afternoon

Your feet don’t remain the same size throughout the day. Your body temperature rises as the humidity and weather temperature rise—homeostasis then occurs, which allows your body to cool itself. Besides sweating, your body also dilates blood vessels to improve blood circulation. This causes a slight swelling in your body parts, including your feet.

Because of this, your feet will be slightly bigger during the afternoon. This means you should go boot shopping or measure your feet in the afternoon.

Always Have Socks On

You should go boot shopping wearing the socks you plan on wearing the boots with. This will give you an accurate feel of how comfortable the shoes will be. If you’re buying winter shoes, your socks are most likely going to be thick. This thickness can exceed 5 millimeters, which can make a massive difference in shoe size and comfort.

Take Measurements of Both Feet

Feet change size throughout adult life—often, they become flatter and wider. This explains why many people discover they no longer fit their true size. Podiatrists explain that gravity causes our feet to grow longer and wider over time. Feet can also change in size with health conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes. Therefore, measure your feet before you buy any boots to check for any changes.

We recommend that you measure both feet, as they may not be the same size. One foot can be bigger than the other—most likely a result of genetics. If you’re always feeling tightness in one foot, that foot is probably bigger than the other. If this is the case with you, ensure you take the right size for each foot.

The Standing Test

After taking these steps, you’re ready to try on your boots. You want to have the full weight of your body on your boots, so you should always stand up when trying them on. It’s not enough to sit and wiggle your toes and conclude they’re the perfect fit.

When standing, you should press on the top of your boot. If you’re buying robust boots, try to press as hard as possible without damaging the boot. The reason for this is to check whether you have the recommended half-inch gap between your longest toe and the end of your shoe.

This toe wiggle room is essential for comfort, especially during motion. When walking, your foot pushes forward. If there’s not enough space, you’ll have to clench your toes, which will be uncomfortable.

Rugged Boots

Motion Test

You aren’t always going to be standing in your boots. You need to simulate real life. Before we dive into the specifics of the motion test, try doing other movements with your boots.

While walking, try raising your knees, jumping or even running (just don’t break anything in the store). Some people may think sprinting is unnecessary—but those are the type of people who have never run late when catching a bus, taxi or plane.

The motion test involves assessing your boots when walking. There are four things to look out for when walking:

  • Your heels shouldn’t be escaping your boots. Nor should they be rubbing against the back. In the case of the former, the boots are too big. If they’re rubbing, they may be too small.
  • There should always be some toe wiggle room. The half-inch gap ensures your feet are pressing forward with little discomfort.
  • There shouldn’t be pain-inducing pressure on the sides of your feet.
  • Your feet shouldn’t slide forward. If so, your boots don’t have a snug fit.

Check the Construction

At this point, we’re looking for the finer details, which make a great fitting pair a perfect fitting pair. Carefully inspect the tongue and stitching of the shoe—you want to make sure they don’t dig into your feet or rub.

Well made boots

Final Inspection

You’re now ready for the final inspection. Remove the boots, take off your socks and inspect your feet.

Often, people get used to wearing painful shoes and can no longer differentiate between pain and comfort. That’s why you should check for red marks as part of the final inspection.

Red areas on your feet indicate where the boot is too tight, or rubbing and chafing took place. They’re a precursor to blisters and other problems, so if you notice any marks, it’s best to avoid this pair and keep looking

How Should Boots Fit? What To Look Out For

Flex Point

In addition to the motion test, you should check the flex point—which is the critical part of how boots fit. The flex point (where the boot bends) must correspond to your toe line. That’s the part of your foot that flexes when you walk.

If the flex point doesn’t match your toe line, the shoe isn’t the right fit. Persisting with such a fit will only cause you pain, as it will rub or your foot will move as you walk.

If you can’t work out the flex point on a new pair of boots, ensure the widest part of the boots is in the same place as the broadest part of your foot.

Foot Width

Those with wider than average feet should get shoes designed for wide feet. Don’t just hope for the best that your narrow boots will stretch.

Width is just as important as length—if the foot is compressed, it can cause inflammation and discomfort. Shoe width is indicated with letters, as we indicated earlier.

Heel Slip

Heel slip is the gap created when your foot pushes forward. There is some debate as to whether heel slip is a good or bad thing.

Some brands of boots won’t slip and will hug the foot tightly. However, a small amount of heel slip is acceptable to accommodate your foot’s movement when walking. This will likely disappear once the boot has molded to your foot shape.

Ankle Mobility

Boots offer added protection because they support your ankles, but it’s important you have some mobility. If you compromise ankle mobility, you could develop various problems over time.

Arch Support

It depends on the shape of your foot as to whether you need arch support from your boots. If you don’t have any issues with your arches, then this might not be an important feature. If you have flat feet, it’s best to look for boots that provide arch support or, alternatively, use orthotics to help.


Consequences of Bad-Fitting Boots

Feet in Pain 2


This is the most extreme side-effect of wearing bad-fitting boots. Neuropathy occurs as a result of damage to the nerves, and the consequences can be frightening.

Neuropathy leads to pain, muscle weakness and numbness. Most cases of neuropathy occur in the hands and feet, but it can also occur in other parts of the body.

The peripheral nervous system is one of two nervous systems in your body. The other is the central nervous system, which functions in your brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of all nerves outside the central nervous system. Because of this, neuropathy is often called peripheral neuropathy.

If too much pressure is applied on your feet, motor and sensory impulses are blocked. This either causes pain or numbness—neither of which are good for you. Ill-fitting boots supply unnecessary pressure to the feet, so they should be avoided at all costs.

Pain and Deformity

This is an obvious symptom of wearing ill-fitting shoes. Pain shouldn’t be compulsory—there is a way to live a pain-free life. Foot pain and aches should indicate that your boots need replacing.

If the contours of your boot are badly placed, they change the position of your feet. Any part of your foot can receive pressure it’s not designed to. This can cause many problems.

Foot deformities include calluses and corns. Again, these are avoidable. If you respect your feet, you’ll look for perfect fitting boots.

Ingrown Toenails

Going back to the added pressure—this pressure can cause ingrown toenails. This is when your toenail grows into your skin. Not only is this very unpleasant, it’s not aesthetically pleasing. If you notice an ingrown toenail, check if the boots you wear regularly are the right size.

An Unpleasant Life

Wearing boots should be enjoyable. They should make you feel good by ensuring you’re comfortable and stylish. If this pleasure is taken away by pain and discomfort, there’s no point in wearing them.

People who are comfortable in their boots are easy to identify—they move with ease and confidence. That’s because their boots allow them to be their best selves. This should be the same for you; comfortable boots will improve your life.

Relaxed Feet

FAQs on How Should Boots Fit

How Often Should I Check My Shoe Size?

At least once a year. Measuring shoe size is important as you grow older; it helps you identify which shoes have become too small and if your size has altered. The easiest way to measure your shoe size is to use a foot measuring device. Alternatively, place your foot on a piece of paper with a line, mark the longest part of your foot and measure the length.

How Can I Easily Get Into My Boots?

The shoehorn is a boot-lover’s best friend and removes the need for your fingers. Everything is made much easier as a shoe horn follows the natural curve of the heel. For boots, you’ll need a long shoe horn, which can be made from any durable material such as metal, plastic or wood.

Boot Camp

You should now know how should boots fit. From the toe box and flex point to the heel and arch, you know what to look for when you try your boots on. Try the stand test, measure your feet correctly, shop in the afternoon and wear your socks when you’re trying new boots.

The consequences of ill-fitting boots can lead to many issues with your feet and eventually, you won’t want to wear your boots anymore. So next time you go to purchase a pair, remember the tips you learned from this article.


You May Also Like:

Do Timberlands Run Big or Small?
Chelsea Boots Fitting and Sizing



Read The Reviews First

Sign up to get our latest articles straight to your inbox.