I often talk about that fit is the single most important thing when it comes to shoes. An aggravating factor when it comes to this topic is that our feet are in constant change, they change the size through the years, from season to season, and even during the day. Here’s a little more about this fact.
Our feet are in many ways one of the body parts that are exposed to the toughest strain. Large parts of the day they carry up all our weight, we walk and stand, we run and bang them in hard things. Day after day, month after month, year after year. There’s no ones feet that look the same when you’re 70 years as they did when you were 50 or when you were 25. Most feet becomes flatter and wider, but not always so much larger in circumference, which is important to distinguish. The feet are also affected by our weight, which many including myself have experienced. If you go up in weight your feet also does in almost all cases, they simply become fatter. Similarly they reduces in size with weight loss.
All these circumstances can make shoes that once fit really good become quite bad in fit a few years later. And over time, it’s not unusual that you actually get to start buying shoes in a size other than you’re used to. I have, for example, gone up from a standard size EU44/UK10 a couple of years ago to EU45/UK10,5 as standard, although in some cases it can work with to go up in the width instead. This of course collaborates with the fact that I in the same period went from size 50/150 to 54/154 when it comes to jackets and suits.
The climate also affects the size of our feet. As a generalization, they are smaller during the cold winter months while they swell during the hot summer period. It’s therefore not unusual for shoes which you wear comfortable during winter, spring and autumn can be experienced as really tight on a hot summer day, so tight that you get pain when you use them. I usually have a few pairs that quite simply gets put away when it’s summer, they are simply too tight, so there is no point in squeezing the feet into them.
But it’s not only over time that the feet vary in size and shape. During a day, a lot happens. Generally, your feet swell during the day and are a bit larger in size in the evening when you come home after work and used the feet for a whole day, which led to blood and fluid accumulated in them to a greater extent. But also what you do affects them. If you lay down and rest an hour the feet will shrink. If you go up and down stairs or visit the gym or go out running they swell. Likewise they collect a lot of fluid when traveling, which is why many have found out that the shoes they took off when the flight began is hardly able to put on when you land.
These shifts during the day is obviously the most difficult to adapt to, but what you can do is to try to be a bit predictive and for example if you know you’re doing something that feet often swell of you choose some shoes that are more spacious.
That it’s for bespoke shoemakers is ideal that customers use test shoes for a few days is partly because of the fact that you want to see how the shoes feel even with fluctuations, not only in one fixed size so to say. Likewise, there are many who prefer to take measurements later in the day, for the customer to have a little more swollen feet so you don’t measure when they are at a minimum in size.
Overall, it’s about listening to how it feels, and then customize the conditions to that. Sometimes it’s easy to opt out some shoes at some situations, sometimes it’s necessary to make modifications at your cobbler, sometimes it may be that you have to sell shoes that doesn’t fit anymore, and so on.