large footwear advice
Useful information for bigger men and teens

Clothing fashion advice, and web articles, for outsize UK men

Advice for outsize men on buying shoes and footwear

Buying shoes is like buying a car. You should have a good idea of what you want before you walk into the shop (or onto the website), and you need to find something you'll be comfortable wearing, and to be seen wearing, for at least 2 years.
Although you may hate shoe shopping on the High Street, and would prefer the privacy and time that shopping online gives you, you should at least know something about how to shop for shoes

Shoe shopping tips in general - getting a good deal

For the best fit and selection, and to get an accurate measurement of your feet for shoe size and width, go to a 'shoe-only' retailer, or an upmarket 'dress shoe' shop. If nothing else it will allow you to find out what your correct shoe size is.
Armed with this important information, you can compare online deals to what you are being offered. It also allows you look for cheaper shoes in other outlets like department stores, wholesalers and even discount chains.

Don't shy away from buying shoes or runners that are on sale either. The only thing these shoes are usually guilty of is being a season or two "out of style."
Will anyone notice? Honestly speaking, I don't know a single person who could tell me the difference between a 2003 Loakes Oxford and a 2005 Loakes Oxford, if there is any.

When buying shoes online, try on the same pair in a shop to ensure a comfortable fit if you can, and then go online for a better deal. If you already like a particular brand, and find that they fit and are comfortable, then there's no need to worry about buying shoes online without trying them on first. Most online footwear retailers offer full refunds, including free returns, although it's always best to check their delivery policy.

Go shopping late on a wet day. On wet days customers are not as happy, and are less likely to spend, so often you will find shop owners who haven't made many sales eager to give you discount if you haggle or ask for it.
Other good times to visit shoe shops are on Sunday evenings, or late on weeknights. Chances are you will be the only customer in the store, and the salesperson will be able to give you their full attention. The result? - Knowledgeable, one-to-one service.

Check out whether there are any good cobblers in your area - they can produce business and dress shoes that are perfectly sized, and designed to match your feet and style. Cobblers' shoes last much longer in general too, because, as a rule, they usually use better quality leathers.

Finding comfort and correct shoe size

It amazes me how many big men end up settling for a size smaller or a size larger just because they're too lazy to go on to the next shop, or wait an extra week for a new shipment of their preferred style. It's essential that bigger men get the right shoe size. Shoes should fit right the moment you buy them. If they don't, you risk everything from bunions, corns, calluses and bone spurs to arch trouble.

There's no such thing as "breaking in a shoe". That goes for every type, from runners to boots. It's therefore a good idea to measure your foot each time you buy a different brand of shoes or trainer. Different brands have different sizes. Being a size 12 for your Nike runners doesn't necessarily mean that you are a size 12 for your Doc Martens.

The average outsize man's feet tend to slightly swell up over the course of the day. As a result, you should try on shoes at the end of the day in order to ensure that they will be comfortable throughout. The socks you wear when trying on a pair of shoes should be the type you would normally wear with them. This is particularily true when trying on trainers.

Get a salesperson's advice, but NEVER let them talk you into buying uncomfortable shoes..

Don't depend on your partner or a friend to measure your feet correctly - get it done in a shoe retailers. Always stand up when the salesperson measures your feet, even if, as a big man, you are towering over them. This will ensure that your feet are at their longest, and that you get the most accurate width measurement too. Don't just try on one shoe. Put both on your feet and walk around the shop or your home if buying online - individual feet can sometimes be slightly different sizes.

Comfortable fitting around heels & toes

Always make sure your heels AND toes fit snugly, without causing discomfort.
To know if your shoes are fitting correctly around your heel, put your index finger between your heel and the inside of the back of the heel of the shoe. It should slide between with relatively little force. If your finger cannot fit, the shoes are too tight. If your finger has too much room, the shoes are too big.
Your toes should always be able to wiggle comfortably. You should be able to fit the width of your thumb in between the tips of your toes and the end of the shoe.

Supporting your arch

Many large men have arch problems, but you can help yourself. If you are seriously affected go and see a professional orthotic sculptor who will be able to help.
As I have already said, some people's feet are not always identical in size. In this case buy with your bigger foot in mind, and buy an insole to even out the two if the difference is noticeable.

If you have high arches (and therefore, inflexible feet), buy well-cushioned, flexible shoes preferably with a curved instep.
If you have little or no arch ( flat-footed ) you may notice that your feet lean inward. This condition requires a shoe with a straight instep to keep it stable during walking or running, and we would advise a visit to the orthotic sculptor as a precaution.
Outsize men with regular foot arches are best off with a slightly curved instep. This will provide an ideal mix of stability and flexibility.
As a last resort, if all else fails, head out Boots chemist or similar and buy a Scholl or other inexpensive arch brace or orthotic support that can be used to prevent discomfort.

Advice for outsize men on buying shoes and footwear