Getting a Great Fit for Your Boots

Great boots are nothing if they don’t fit correctly. Many boots for men have less to do with fashion than they do with function. Getting a proper fit is important, whether they’re for riding, hiking or work. Here’s a brief guide to getting great looking boots that also protect your feet and feel good.

If you purchased your boots online, make certain to try them on when they arrive, wearing socks of the type and thickness that you intend to wear with your boots. Conventional wisdom says that you should try new boots and shoes on in the evening, as your feet are already slightly swollen by that time of day. Before you put them on, completely unlace and re-lace them, making sure to tighten the laces so they fit snugly, but not too tight, at each pair of eyelets. Once they’re laced, walk around the room a little to get an immediate sense of their fit. Here are some tips to adjust your fit.

1. There should be a more fitted feel at the heel, ankle and top than in the toe area. Toe room is meant to compensate for foot swelling after working or walking all day, but you also don’t want so much space that your foot slides. To check for a proper amount of room, stand up and put your foot in the unlaced boot. Slide your foot forward until your toe touches the front of the boot. There should be a space of about one finger-width between your heel and the back of the boot.

2. If the boot is loose in the heel, tightening the laces where your ankle bends will usually help.

3. If the boots fit properly overall, but you feel tightness on the top of the foot, near the ankle, leave one set of eyelets unlaced over that area to relieve the pressure.

4. If you have narrow or wide feet, but the boot fits well in other areas, there are ways to adjust the boot that will help. Wide-footed persons can try to loosen the laces only over that area of the foot. Another fix is to replace the insole of the boot with a thinner one. People with narrow feet can tighten the laces initially. However, the leather will eventually stretch and make further tightening difficult. A thick insole can be added to close the gap.

Ill-fitting boots and shoes are one of the main sources of foot pain. Your feet support you through thick and thin, so choose a pair of boots that help support them in comfort and style.

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