How to fit sandals

Stylish woman wearing black summer sandals with straw soles.

Although trends come and go, the modest pair of sandals never seem to go out of style. Versatile, practical and fashionable, this timeless form of footwear has become an absolute wardrobe essential for men and women alike. However, finding the perfect pair of sandals is not always easy. Unlike other pairs of shoes, when it comes to sandals, you can’t go on style and size alone - you also have to consider the individual fit of the sandal and the unique shape of your feet, as well as how tight or loose they are as you wear them.     

In this post, we take a deep dive into everything you need to know when it comes to selecting a new pair of perfectly-fitting men’s or women’s sandals

How should sandals fit?

From gladiators and sliders to slingbacks and wedges, the variety that sandals offer is great, both for men and women. However, regardless of the style of sandals you’re thinking of purchasing, ensuring they fit well is essential. After all, you don't want to buy a new pair of shoes only to find they are too big or small, or nip, rub and chafe your feet.  

With this in mind, there are four things you need to bear in mind when shopping for sandals. These are:      

1. Soles 

It’s crucial that the first thing you check when ensuring you’re purchasing sandals that will fit your feet comfortably is their soles. In order to achieve a good fit, the base of the sandals should match the shape of your foot. Does the sole look wide enough for your foot and is the sole/heel thick enough to provide the support you need? If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, the sandals are likely to be a good fit.   

2. Length 

While it may sound obvious, ensuring you choose the right length sandal is very important. Often people assume larger shoes make their feet look bigger, so opt for smaller sizes. In fact, the opposite is true - smaller sizes can actually make your feet appear larger. Always go for the comfortable option and remember that when it comes to sandals, a slightly larger size than you are typically used to wearing will often provide the best fit.   

3. Arch contours 

Typically more prevalent in ladies’ footwear, poorly designed arch contours can turn a great looking pair of sandals into foot killers. Most shoes feature arched contours insoles which are designed to provide support for your feet, but when these contours are too extreme or too flat, they can lead to pain when you wear them and even a number of painful foot conditions.   

4. Straps 

When you’re happy with a sandals’ length, sole size and arch contours, it’s time to check out the straps. While the straps on men’s sandals tend to be fairly standard, ladies' sandals can vary greatly. Whether you’re looking at footwear with adjustable straps, such, buckles, zips or touch close fasteners, it’s important to play with the straps to ensure they provide a secure enough fit for your feet. 

How to tell if sandals are too small

As a unique form of open footwear, there are a number of ways to tell if sandals are too small. If you experience any of the following when trying on a new pair of sandals, look for a larger size or a different model. The pair of sandals you are trying on are too small if:     

 ●     Your toes extend over the front of the sole and/or your heels protrude over the heel 

 ●     Your big and/or small toes are hanging over the sides of the sandals 

 ●     The straps are pinching or digging into different area of your feet, particularly your toes and/or heels

 ●     In order to wear the sandals, you have to use the largest strap setting

 ●     Your feet feel generally uncomfortable in them, or you think there is a chance wearing them could cause blisters, calluses or ingrown nails.

How to tighten loose sandals

Tightening loose sandals to ensure a better fit all comes down to the type of straps used. For touch close fasteners, for example, this could involve simply pulling and stretching the straps further over your feet before using the velcro fabric to fix the sandal in a more secure position.   

If you want to tighten sandals that use buckles, however, it might be worth creating a new notch in the straps using a nail, needle or pin. This will enable you to secure a better fit and help to make sure your sandal won’t slip, slide or fall off as you're walking.  

How to measure sandal size

Measuring sandal size is the same as measuring shoe size. To save time, before trying on sandals at random until you find the perfect fit, you may want to measure your feet. By measuring your own sandal size, finding the perfect fit for you will be easier and quicker. If you don’t already know your shoe size, or you think it may have changed, simply follow the instructions below.    

●     Place two pieces of paper on the floor - one for each foot - and trace around the edge of each foot using a pencil.

●     Cut the templates of your feet out using scissors.

●     Measure each template from heel to toe using a ruler or tape measure and record each measurement. 

●     Find a shoe size conversion chart online to determine your sandal size.

Should sandals be a size bigger?

As already mentioned, despite the temptation to purchase sandals in a smaller size in an attempt to make your feet appear smaller, it is vitally important you only wear sandals that fit your feet correctly and that are comfortable. With this in mind, it is not advised purchasing sandals that are too small as they can cause you discomfort, pain and even long-term foot conditions if worn over a long period of time.   

While ordering sandals in smaller sizes is a no-no, there are some occasions where bigger sizes could be a good option. If, for example, your feet are prone to swelling, your feet naturally fall between sizes, or a particular model of sandal you are trying on feels small, opting for a size bigger than usual could be a sensible decision. The key is choosing the best size for you based on comfort and fit.

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