How to Shop For the Most Comfortable-Fitting Shoes — Even If Your Feet Swell

Shopping for shoes on the internet may save time while also affording limitless selection. However, we’re all too familiar with the challenges that arise when it comes to fit.

For those willing to battle mall traffic, a more comfortably fitting shoe could very well be the reward. So before heading to your laptop for some shoe shopping, consider heading to your favorite brick-and-mortar store.

When looking for that Cinderella fit, there are some things to consider. The first rule is time of day. Since feet tend to swell as the day progresses, it’s better to shop from mid-day to evening.

Don’t guess your shoe size. Have your feet accurately measured. While many department stores typically don’t offer the service, there’s always a measuring device around, so ask a sales associate. As we age, our feet can expand a size or even two.

Better Fit
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

Naturalizer Cyprine slide, $99; naturalizer.com

While having your foot measured, take note of its width. In order to achieve a truly comfortable fit, both size and width need to be taken into account. Shy away from compensating for shoes that are too narrow by going up a size. Instead, look for styles available in wider widths. While more trend-driven designs are typically available only in a medium width, you may be surprised by the wide-width choices available at independent fashion-comfort shoe stores. Some brands to consider are Clarks and Naturalizer.

When shoe shopping, don’t forget to consider your leg wear, especially when shopping for sneakers from names such as performance brand New Balance and fashion brand Common Projects. If you plan to wear socks, bring them along. They can alter the fit of a shoe since they take up room inside.


Think about a shoe’s breathability for both health and comfort reasons. Sweaty feet can lead to a range of issues from athlete’s foot to skin conditions. While hiking and athletic styles from brands such as Merrell and Ahnu often feature breathable mesh linings, when it comes to dress shoes, leather linings from high-profile labels including Jimmy Choo are always a better option.

Lastly, if shoes don’t deliver immediate comfort in the store, don’t buy them. The likelihood they’ll feel better as you continue to wear them is low, no matter what a sales associate says.

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