Figuring out the differences in boot size vs. shoe size is critical to getting the right size work boot. If you blindly follow your typical shoe size, chances are you’ll end up with a boot that’s too small or doesn’t feel quite right on your foot.
While all boots and shoes rely on the same numerical values, what those values mean is relative. Usually, the boot size is not the same as the shoe size, though some people might find their shoe-sized boots to fit perfectly. It’s all about trying on the boots and testing out the fit to determine which size is the right choice.
Do Boots and Shoes Have the Same Size?
Generally speaking, boots and shoes both rely on the same sizing system. Men’s boots and shoes typically run from a size 7 to 13, but someone who wears a size 8 sneaker won’t necessarily wear a size 8 boot as well.
Most of the time, boots run a bit smaller than shoes do. The size difference could be because of the extra fabric and materials needed to make a boot durable and waterproof. Still, the difference is also relative to the brands in question. One boot brand may make their boots as close to sneaker size as possible, while others (like Timberland) are known to run big.
How to Find the Right Boot Size
While it is tempting to order boots online to save time, making the effort to get into a retail boot store is worth it to find the right size. You’re taking a risk when you order online, but by going in-store, you’ll be able to try a few sizes on until you find the perfect fit.
Try them on
The first step to finding the right boot size is trying on a pair that you think is closest to your actual size. If you wear a 9 in sneakers, start with a 9 in boots to see whether you need to size up or down and determine if the boot brand makes their boots true to size.
This is an excellent place to start – if the shoe is too small, size up to a larger boot size and see if that feels better. If it’s too large, size down for a more snug fit. You may have to go up or down more than one size to find the right fit, but use patience, and you’ll be thankful for the boots you bring home.
Accurately measure your foot size
Next, get an accurate measure of your foot size. Boot brands base their sizing off of these measurements, so once you know the length of your foot, you can read the size charts of any brand to find your perfect fit without the need to try it on in stores.
You’ll want to measure the distance from the back of your heel to the top of your longest toe, whether that’s your big toe or your second toe. Keep that measurement in mind or written down somewhere so you can reference it when it’s time to buy new boots again.
Convert the measurements to size
Once you know how long your foot is, you can convert these measurements into the proper size. Keep in mind that one size chart does not speak for them all, and if you want a proper fit with each brand of boot you buy, you’ll need to reference their unique size chart rather than base it off your sizing in other brands.
How to Tell If Boots Fit Right
With your foot measurements down and a good sizing estimated, you’ve ordered your boots, and now they’ve come in. This is another pivotal part of the puzzle – you must test the boots to make sure they are, in fact, the right size.
Try them on with socks
First, you should try them on with a pair of socks that you’d normally wear the boots with. It can be tempting to try them on bare-footed or with whatever socks you already have on, but for the most accurate reading, you’ll need to put on what you typically would wear with boots on.
A boot might fit perfectly on a barefoot, but when you put on the sock, it might feel too tight for comfort. It’s crucial to notice details like that.
Wear both of the boots
If you try on one of the boots and love the way it feels with your sock on, go ahead and put the other boot on as well. You might be asking why it’s important to wear both boots, and the answer lies in the differences in your feet. One foot can be a bit longer than the other or may have a large bunion, for example, causing the boot to fit improperly.
Test out the boots
Next, test out the boots by walking around the house in them for an hour or two. Don’t take them outside just in case you need to return them, but spend a good amount of time doing normal indoor tasks while wearing them to see how they feel.
Inspect your feet for red spots
Once you take the boots off, take a look at your feet and check for red spots. If there’s any pain or tenderness, that’s a sign the boots are too tight in some areas. If this is the case, you might want to size up.
Should You Buy Boots a Size Bigger?
Boot sizing can be finicky. Do boots run small? Often. Do boots run big? Sometimes.
Rather than rely on size alone, use your actual foot measurements to gauge the sizing profile of each brand you’re considering.
Should you buy boots half a size bigger? If you’re finding that most boots you try on are a bit snugger than you’d like, buying a half size bigger can save you time, money, and sore feet.
If you’re still wondering, “Should you buy boots a size bigger?” the answer is maybe. While there’s no cut and dry answer to determine the proper boot size, trying boots on in person or using your actual foot measurement to compare with sizing charts is the best route to finding boots that fit.