Shoe fitting - laces, sizing, etc.
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Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F - M

Locale: Southeast
Shoe fitting - laces, sizing, etc. on 01/29/2013 16:17:32 MST Print View

I'm trying to gauge the sizing of some shoes. I'm ordering online to save $$ and wanted to see if you guys could give me some general rules of thumb.

Right now I have two sizes that I am trying to decide between. The smaller size fits like a glove in the midfoot, but I am afraid that the toe box is a hair too short for steep downhill sections. The larger size fits very well too, but I feel like I have to tighten the laces a little more than I want to. They both fit well, and if they weren't going to be used for hiking, I would probably go with the 12.

Would an insole be a good option to take out some of the volume of a larger shoe? Are there different lacing techniques that I could use to make either of them work for me? Anything you can tell me is great. Especially if there are general rules of thumb for sizing, like how far your longest toe should be from the end of the toe box.

For reference, I'm using heel-lock loops near the tongue. My heel didn't slip without them, but I figured they would be good in the long run.

And I'm not asking about specific shoes, but rather what techniques you guys use to make your shoes fit well.

Thanks!

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Shoe fitting - laces, sizing, etc. on 01/29/2013 17:10:37 MST Print View

Tyler,

Nothing beats trying the shoes on! Nothing!!

From my own experience shoes run small and large in the same sizes from different manufacturers. Sometimes depending on the style of shoe they run differently from the same manufacturer.

1.) Wear the sock(s) that you plan on wearing when you try the shoe on.

2.) It is my understanding that an increase of a half size equates to 1/4" increase in length.

3.) At the end of a long day of hiking your feet will be swollen to a point where an extra 1/2 shoe size and that extra 1/4" may be of great benefit.

4.) The only two lacing tricks that I use are to sung the laces up not "cinch" them and as I tie the knot I lean forward flexing the ankle while my foot is flat on the floor/ground. The ankle flex helps me to avoid "cinching" the laces up at the ankle the same way that I tried to avoid it on the forefoot.

5.) I use thin, synthetic socks without liners.

6.) My rule of thumb for toes is that if my toes hit the toe box at any time I need to 1/2 size up.

7.) I'm comfortable with the laces being loose enough for the shoes to be pulled on without untying the laces using both hands. If you can slip into the shoes without untying or using your hands they are too loose!

8.) In reference to number three, go shoe shopping at the end of the day remembering number one.

9.) Tread patterns on shoe soles may be good for traction but the lugs can become pressure points and lead to blistering for no apparent reason.

10.) I used to run in a pair of New Balance 660s in a galaxy long ago and far, far away. I completed a marathon wearing those shoes. They in effect had no tread pattern other than some 1/8" deep wavy lines going from side to side. I ran miles and miles in those shoes and never blistered once using them. I have not been that lucky with the aggressive tread patterns of trail shoes today.

New Balance 660s

If those same 660s were available today I'd try them for hiking. ;-)

On my last shoe purchase I happened upon some info about the way the sizes ran. I contacted someone who had used and recommended the shoes. I emailed him and asked if the sizing was small, true to size or large. Based on his advice I ordered my shoes 1/2 size smaller than normal. It was a good move.

FWIW I believe the shoe size numbers have crept up over the years. My 660s were size 9 & 1/2. I now use 12s! ;-?

Party On,

Newton

Edited by Newton on 01/29/2013 17:25:38 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Shoe fitting - laces, sizing, etc. on 01/29/2013 18:12:07 MST Print View

Go larger, especially with more minimal shoes. Your feet will swell anyway. Forget insoles. I buy my hiking shoes a size or more too large. Dress shoes are a different matter.

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Shoe fitting - laces, sizing, etc. on 01/29/2013 19:56:39 MST Print View

Good stuff.

While I'm trying these on, I've been wearing my hiking socks - Smartwool PhD running socks (the lowest cut they make) - AND I've been doing this at the end of the day.

I'll try the leaning forward trick while tying my shoes up.

Any other tips? I'm almost set on getting the larger of the two sizes. Since I can't return these after a trip if they don't work out, I'm hoping to make a wise choice now...which I realize is very limited online.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Re: Shoe fitting - laces, sizing, etc. on 01/29/2013 20:54:20 MST Print View

Tyler,

"Any other tips? I'm almost set on getting the larger of the two sizes. Since I can't return these after a trip if they don't work out, I'm hoping to make a wise choice now...which I realize is very limited online."

Here is some advice, quoted in part, from a PM sent to me regarding this same subject a while back.

"...consider ordering your shoes from Zappos or Planetshoes so that you can order several pairs of varying sizes, try them on at home and return (free return shipping)
the ones that don't fit.

...the two companies above have a great policy on letting you try on more than one size and return the ones that don't fit."


I'm not sure where you're ordering from online so this may not be an option for you.

Read the fine print of the return policy carefully. I would imagine anything more than carpet fibers on the soles would negate return-ability.

Ultimately you're going to have to make an educated guess on what and where to place your order. Even after trying them on and deciding what size is right and sending the others back your new shoes may still "surprise" you on the trail.

Good luck with your choice of shoes and sizes.

Party On,

Newton

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F - M

Locale: Southeast
Sierra Trading Post on 01/30/2013 10:15:52 MST Print View

I'm buying from Sierra Trading Post because of a 35% off coupon (on top of an already big discount). You can't beat a pair of trail runners for $40.

I have 3 pairs at home that I am comparing right now. My understanding of their return policy is that you can't return a shoe after it's been worn outside...am I wrong? I have yet to wear any of them outside.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Sierra Trading Post on 01/30/2013 10:29:09 MST Print View

Tyler,

Copy and paste this link to your address bar and hit enter.

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/satisfaction-guarantee/

Guarantee Plaque

From what I see on this page at their website you are in luck!

Nice to know since I ordered my last pair of shoes from STP also. ;-)

Party On,

Newton

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Sierra Trading Post on 01/30/2013 15:06:52 MST Print View

Well that's awesome.

I went for a walk with the wife this afternoon and after that put on the larger size. They feel great once my feet were a little swollen. I'll take them on a little trail run tomorrow to get a feel for how they handle terrain. Thanks for the help!