If you are reading this, you probably have a problem.  It is a waste of time at this point to place blame, but we have to understand what the problem is, the probable causes and possible solutions.  We get all kinds of funny correspondence, like:  I always wear a 11D so I ordered a 9 C.  I ordered a woman's shoe for my husband and the size is different.  Then there the regular I once owned a 9M in a tennis shoe, so I ordered a shoe that fits a full size long in 9 and it is too big. (Tennis shoes almost always run a half size short, so she was wearing a 8 1/2 and ordered a shoe that fit like a 10).  Read the Getting the Right Fit articles if in doubt.  If you have specific foot problems, you may want to read the Foot Problem Articles for understanding of the problem and suggestions.

About 84% of the exchanges and refunds made are due to people guessing on size.  Not taking the time to measure their feet, not following the fitting guides and just plain guessing.  However, that leaves about 16% that did everything right and still have a problem.  About 8% of these were people who were trying to buy dress shoes that were inappropriate for their foot problems or tried to stick arch supports or other devices into dress shoes.  The other 8% are people that found the shoes fit, but had a problem with bunions, hammer toes, non-conforming foot proportions and other difficulties that are beyond their control and ours.  These articles are written for the 16%.  Hopefully the information will allow them to make the correct exchange or perhaps to modify the shoe for their problem, so it fits properly and more important - comfortably!

Shoes are made on lasts.  These are wooden or thermoplastic forms over which the leather is pulled to give the correct combination of length, width, heel fit.  The difference between the front of the back and the heel is called a combination last and is in every quality shoe.  Good shoes are made over 3 to 6 weeks start to finish.  Cheap shoes are made in a few hours.  Good shoes come in up to 12 widths to the half size and if a manufacturer made it women's size 5 to women's size 13, then they must have 204 different pairs of last to make the shoes.  Since they like to make the shoes on racks of 24 to 48 pair, they would need 24 or 48 times the 204 pairs of last to make the shoes in a size and width combination.  A tremendous expense, and a huge storage problem.  That is why most companies like to make one width or three to five widths, but no more.

Size and width vary from one last set to another.  Everything made on the same last will fit the same. So different looks, made over the same last will have the same length, width and volume.  Different sets of last may fit similar or completely different.  The change from one width to another or one half size to another is constant within a last set.  3/16 of an inch for a size length change or 3/32 of an inch in circumference for width change within the same length in the 12 width shoes.  Combined widths will double the change.  (N, M, W, WW) instead of AAAAA, AAAA, AAA, AA, A, B etc. to EEEEE.  This is in the women's sizes, but the male counter parts have the same unit changes.  Generally if shoes fit true, a woman's shoe size on the box would be two sizes longer and two widths narrower than a Man's shoe size and would fit the same.  So a man's 9 D is the same length and width as a women's 11 B if both shoes fit true.

So what happens when you are wider or narrower at one end of the foot than the other, have bunions or other problems?  This is what we will now address.

Getting the right size, How to measure, More on lasts etc.

Different Size Feet

When the Shoe Fits but Doesn't and Other Problems