Finding Footwear That Fits – A Quick Guide

Feet come in many shapes and sizes. Buying footwear that fits well and is comfortable can make a huge difference to your enjoyment when walking; this means not just getting the right size, but also the right shape to match your feet; i.e. the right width (in the right places) and the right volume (depth). This can be tricky; that’s why it’s always best – if you can – to visit us at our specialist footwear store at 15 Green Street for an expert boot fitting. We carry a wide range of walking boots, shoes and sandals, from brands such as Meindl, Scarpa, Hanwag, Altberg, Salomon, Teva, Keen, and Haglöfs, which cover most foot shapes and sizes.

With the Coronavirus situation, our physical stores are temporarily closed, so that’s not possible for now. In the meantime, if you want some new shoes to help you get out walking for your daily exercise, and you can’t wait for us to reopen, please call us on 01223 324666 and we’ll do our best to help you with your choice. We can guide you on fit, and also advise which models are suited for walking in different conditions.

As a (very) rough guide to start you off, this chart shows a few of the models we sell and approximately which sort of foot shapes they are suited to:

Use with caution!

However, this can never be a complete description: Some models may be similar overall in size, but have a very different shape at the toes or the heel, or simply have the widest part of the shoe/boot further forward or back, so that they flex at a different point. Some shoes and boots also come up slightly longer or shorter for size compared to other brands. Some models – such as the Scarpa Terra – have very flexible uppers and lacing further down towards the toes, allowing a wider range of foot shapes to be accommodated.

Two examples of this:

Altberg’s Keld boots and Meindl’s Bernina boots are both wide around the toes and forefoot, but they have quite a different shape: as well as being shallower, the Keld has a rounded toe box and tapers towards a narrower heel, whereas the Bernina is straighter and has more room around the ankle:

Two very different wide-fitting models: the Altberg Keld and Meindl Bernina.
Note in the left hand photos how the Keld (on the left) narrows towards the ankle.
The difference in volume is less obvious in the right hand photos, but the Keld (top) is shallower

Hanwag’s Alta Bunion boot is not especially wide in general, but offers additional room around the big toe joint. The boot’s seams are designed to avoid the joint and further reduce pressure:

Hanwag Alta Bunion boots are designed to give extra room and reduce pressure around the big toe joint

Whilst we can’t offer our full in-person footwear fitting service right now, you can:

  • use the chart for a rough idea; 
  • call and discuss your requirements with us;
  • tell us your footwear history, to help us understand what might have worked for you in the past;

And we’ll do our best to find you the right boots!

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