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Get to know your feet! Take a minute to find out which category your feet fall into. This way, you'll secure a pair of shoes tailored to your individual needs, reducing discomfort, pain, and even injury.
The "Wet Test"
Then any shoes with moderate stability, good cushioning and durability will suit you fine.
When it comes to shoe shopping, size is step #1!
So, wouldn't it be nice if you had one of those handy metal devices that shoe salespeople use to accurately measure feet? We'll give you the next best thing printable foot measurement tools, or "shoe sizers," for women, men and children.
Click on the links below to download these shoe sizers in an Adobe Acrobat, .pdf format. (The women's and men's sizers take up two pages, so make sure to print them both!)
Need Adobe Acrobat? Download it here.
Attention: These shoe measurement tools are general guides to securing your proper shoe size. Because of differences in manufacturing, styling and other variables, fit characteristics and sizes may vary among brands. Shoe sizer designs are based on the Genuine Brannock Device, a registered trademark of The Brannock Device Company, Inc. © 2002.
You can easily determine your shoe size the old-fashioned way. All you need is a piece of paper, a pencil and a ruler. Just follow these instructions:
1. Place your foot, naturally stretched, on a piece
Once you have your heel-to-toe length in inches, simply match it to its corresponding shoe size.
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You know your shoe size, but that's only the beginning. As you select new footwear, keep in mind these important sizing facts:
3D Ultralite - Outsole material (including EVA, rubber and other compounds) that produces lighter, more flexible, smoother-riding footwear. In a traditional athletic shoe, the rubber outsole is the heaviest part. With 3D Ultralite from Reebok®, no rubber outsole is necessary. As a result, shoes made with this material are 10-20% lighter than shoes made with conventional construction.
360° Fit - The New Balance® goal of providing an all-over design with the perfect dimensions to accurately fit your feet.
Abzorb® - A polyurethane-based material from New Balance. Embedded in the midsole, it disperses shock like a liquid. Upon impact, the shock waves travel horizontally instead of vertically back into the lower limb. The result is maximum shock absorbency while resisting compression set.
adiFIT - A removable insole in infants' and children's shoes that helps parents determine the correct shoe length for a proper fit. From adidas®.
adiPRENE® - A shock-absorbing material from adidas. Located in the heel, it reduces impact forces on ground contact.
adiPRENE® + - Technology from adidas that helps provide better performance. Located in the forefoot, this highly elastic material enhances natural propulsive forces for a more efficient pushoff.
adiWEAR® - A high-density blend of rubber materials in the shoe's outsole for enhanced traction and durability. From adidas.
AHAR® heel plug - High abrasion-resistant rubber in the outsole that helps reduce excessive wear. From Asics®.
Airliner - Nike Air technology (encapsulated pockets of air) that's designed and carefully fine-tuned for maximum, heel-to-toe cushioning.
ANSI - American National Standards Institute
APMA - American Podiatric Medical Association
ARC® Technology - A plate of thermoplastic rubber injected into the outsole for motion control, support, energy return and durability. From Avia®.
Arch Rocker - Material in the midsole that helps prevent foot fatigue by providing support and massage for the arch. From Avia.
ART™ System - A durable plate under the shoe's heel that absorbs shock and returns energy for increased performance. From Avia.
AT Tread - An all-terrain, aggressive tread that maximizes the outsole's durability. From New Balance.
Cantilever® - This Avia system enhances cushioning and stability. It centers the heel over a concave sole, softening impact and providing increased energy return.
ClimaCool® - Fabric technology that regulates temperature and humidity by wicking away moisture. The results: improved airflow between garment and skin, quick-drying properties, UV protection and maximum comfort and performance. From adidas.
Collar - The top of the shoe behind the laces area that wraps around the ankle.
Comfortongue® - Technology from Hi-Tec® that's anatomically sculpted to fit the contour of the foot. The inner tongue distributes the pressure from the laces and the eyelets more evenly, as it gently presses your heel into place, so there's less slipping around in the boot. Also offers added protection from water, snow and trail debris.
CoolMax® lining - Uses specially engineered DuPont® fibers to transport perspiration away from the body toward the surface of the fabric, where it can evaporate quickly. At the same time, the uniquely shaped fibers provide great breathability, even when wet.
DCS (Dual Cantilever System®) - This Avia system maximizes stability and cushioning with pressurized dual reverse Cantilever® units. The topside centers your heel directly under the body while using heel fat to cushion the stride. The bottom part softens impact and provides increased energy return.
DMX® I-pak - Two-pod (heel and forefoot) system from Reebok that employs a moving cushion of air to deliver sensational comfort and load distribution precisely where and when the athlete needs it.
DMX® 2 - The original Reebok DMX system that offers heel-to-forefoot walking-specific cushioning, increased stability and pronation control. Within the DMX unit, air moves back and forth between two pods connected by an air channel. By tightly constricting the channel as air flows from heel to toe, the air flow speed is controlled to match the pace of an individual walker's stride.
Dri-Lex lining - Knit combination of Hydrofil (water-friendly) nylon and a hydrophobic fiber for rapid moisture absorption and wicking. From Faytex Corporation.
DuoMax® - Consists of two or more different density midsole materials which enhance the degree and velocity of pronation. From Asics.
DuraSponge® - A new rubber compound from Asics for enhanced durability and cushioning in the forefoot.
Ecto-Cantilever System (ECS) - This Avia system is a new, mechanically advanced technology designed to increase energy return into the next step, while reducing the shock felt upon impact. Two molded plastic plates in the heel, the top for cushioning and the bottom for impact absorption, provide extra support.
Espadrille - A type of sandal, of Spanish origin, which has a woven fabric (usually canvas) upper, and a flexible sole typically woven from rope or grass. Usually with a wedge heel.
EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) - Closed-cell synthetic rubber foam in the midsole that's lighter and softer than the other major midsole fabric polyurethane.
Eyelet - The holes or reinforced rings in which the laces thread through.
Fisherman Sandal - A type of sandal with woven or stitched vertical and horizontal straps, often with a closed toe. And an adjustable buckle strap that goes around the heel. Usually with a rugged rubber sole for extra traction.
Flex grooves - Anatomically designed grooves cut horizontally across the forefoot of the outsole. They allow the foot to flex at its ball (its natural bending point) and roll more naturally.
fom® - This Avia system mimics the way your foot compresses and disperses shock and is located in key impact areas, much the same as the fat pads in your foot. Made of extremely soft yet dense material, it conforms to your foot on impact for excellent cushioning and comfort, then bounces back to its original shape after each impact.
Forefoot - The broad, front area of the foot. It's usually the second point of contact while walking or running.
Gait - The manner of walking or moving on foot.
Gel® Cushioning System - Silicone-based gel from Asics that provides excellent shock absorption in high-impact areas.
GRID (Ground Reaction Inertia Device) Cassette System - Small cassette made of interwoven Hytrel elastomer that's inserted into a gap hollowed out in the heel. When the heel hits the ground, the Hytrel strings bend to the heel's shape, absorbing the shock. At the same time, the midsole compresses. The result is better cushioning and stability. From Saucony®.
Insole - The padded surface upon which the foot rests within the shoe. Usually removable for drying purposes, and should be removed if orthotics are used. Also referred to as a footbed or sockliner.
Last - The three-dimensional wooden or plastic form which composes the shoes' overall shape and eventual fit. Hand carved or made from a mold, lasts may be straight, curved or semi-curved. Different types of last provide different types of support and fit options.
MicroDry® lining - Soft, cushioned material with texture that carries away moisture to keep feet dry.
Midfoot - The section of the midsole beneath the arch and extending to the lateral side of the shoe.
Midsole - The layer of soft, shock-absorbing material between the outsole and the upper. It's an especially important part of athletic shoes, because the construction and materials used will impact the levels of both cushioning and motion control/stability.
Mule - A closed toe shoe with no back. With slip-on styling. Often featured on dress shoes and sandals.
Opti-Flex Zone - Maximizes forefoot flexibility. From Reebok.
Orthotics - The branch of medical science that deals with the support of weak or ineffective joints and muscles. People suffering from the aforementioned can insert medical insoles in their shoes that protect the feet and ankles from the repetitive stress of physical activities.
Outsole - The bottom of the shoe, usually composed of rubber.
Pronation - Rotation of the medial foot bones inward and downward so when walking, the foot tends to come down on its inner margin.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - Rubber-like material that gives excellent protection against impact and oils.
PU (polyurethane) - One of two major types of midsole cushioning. A dense and durable material, it can add stability to the shoe, but also weight.
Pump - A type of women’s dress shoe. They often feature slip-on styling. And can be found in both open- and closed-toe designs. With raised heel to give your calves a flattering curve.
Rolling Rail - A system of heel-to-toe motion that incorporates heel kick, stability, toe spring and a flexible forefoot to produce smoother, more efficient rolling. From Nike®.
Rubberlon - Lightweight rubber material that provides cushioning and flexibility.
Slingback - A dressy shoe style characterized by having an open heel with just a single strap around the back. This strap is often elasticized for slip-on ease, or is adjustable with a buckle.
Spenco® lining - Closed cell neoprene fabric that helps absorb shock, reduce friction and improve overall foot comfort.
Stability Web® - Made of thermoplastic urethane (TPU) and positioned under the arch, this New Balance system delivers superior support in the midfoot and reduces the overall weight of the shoe. Plus, it allows for torsion and flexion control in the arch while maintaining flexibility in the forefoot.
Stiletto - A high, tapered, narrow heel also called a “spike” heel, named for a type of slim knife. Usually found on women’s pumps or dress boots.
Thermolite® - DuPont scientists created this amazing fabric after discovering polar bears have fur with "hollow" hairs that trap air for better insulation. Made with hollow-core fibers, Thermolite provides warmth and comfort without the weight, even when wet. Plus, these fibers' large surface area helps speed up evaporation.
Tongue - Material beneath the laces area that helps protect the top of foot.
Torsion - The twisting or wrenching of a body by the exertion of forces tending to turn one end or part about a longitudinal axis while the other is held fast or turned in the opposite direction.
TORSION® System - Designed by adidas, this system provides midfoot and arch support while allowing the natural, independent movement of the forefoot and heel.
TPU (thermoplastic urethane) outsole - Imported rubber-like material that is extra lightweight and strong.
TPU rearfoot post - A stability device made of thermoplastic urethane. It's placed medially in the heel of the midsole to aid pronation control, offering support.
TPR (thermoplastic rubber) - A synthetic rubber similar to resin-rubber or a blend of petroleum-based synthetics. Produces rubber-like qualities, but can be fused by heat and therefore processed into soles by injection molding.
TRAXION® - Outsole lugs that are shaped for maximum ground penetration and evenly distributed pressure against the foot. The center lugs grip when accelerating or running straight ahead; the perimeter/lateral lugs grip while making sharp turns or running on slopes. From adidas.
Trusstic System® - A molded midfoot component from Asics which reduces the weight of the sole unit while retaining the structural integrity.
Upper - The soft body of the shoe. Usually made of a combination of materials, from lightweight, durable synthetic mesh to heavier materials like leather. The materials and construction of the upper provide stability, comfort, and a snug, but not tight, fit.
Waffle® - A lightweight outsole pattern invented by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman on his wife's waffle iron. The design, which is similar to a waffle in appearance, provides excellent traction qualities on most surfaces, wet or dry.
Walking Strike Path - Technology from New Balance that stabilizes the foot through the walking gait cycle.
Width - A shoe measurement based on the widest part of the foot. Shoe width sizes are generally stated as letters or as the terms Narrow, Medium, Wide. The letters and terms tend to vary between shoe manufacturers. For Women, a standard (or medium) width is usually a B. For Kids and Men, a standard width is a D.
XT-600® - A highly durable, carbon rubber outsole material. From Saucony.
X-beam - technology for a low-to-the-ground look and feel for working out or stepping out.