Is It Better for Shoes to be Tight or Loose?

tight or loose shoesDo all of your shoes fit properly? Before you answer that, how do you define a good-fitting shoe? Should it hug your feet, or feel a bit wiggly? Truth be told, excessively tight or loose shoes are equally destructible for our feet. Therefore, finding shoes that fit you perfectly is the most important factor to consider when you make a purchase. So is it better for shoes to be tight or loose  when you’re struggling to find the right size or shopping online without trying them beforehand?

It is safer to go half a size up loose than down. After a long day or some heavy on-foot duties, your feet swell up a bit which isn’t actually visible. But if you’re wearing a pair of tight footwear at that time, you will feel the tightening sensation and soon you will start to feel uncomfortable. You don’t want that, do you? So to be on the safe side, go half a size bigger.

Why It is better to size up in shoes?

“The snugger a shoe feels, the better.” Well, that’s a common delusion many of us might have. In reality, if your shoes feel too snug, you’re more likely to feel uncomfortable in them. That discomfort leads to bunions, blisters, and so on. So does that mean you should have some wiggle room in your shoes? This may sound like a good idea, but unfortunately, it isn’t. So what is better— going a size up or down? In a nutshell, none!

The main purpose of your feet is to support your entire body while you’re standing or moving. Therefore, wearing a pair of shoes that fit you properly is undoubtedly a need. The shoes shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. Why? Because a well-fitted shoe will provide a better platform for your foot to support your body. Although the quality and comfortability of the shoes are key factors to consider, we often forget how important it is to wear the right size of shoes.

As you can imagine how painful it is to wear a shoe that is too tight will hurt your feet terribly. It will also lead to several foot ailments, like— blisters, calluses, and bunions. Worst case scenario: your blisters may get infected and cause greater complications. Let’s not forget how it will disrupt the natural blood circulation of your feet. Wearing shoes that are too tight or too small will make you curl up your toes. It will force the joints of your toes to be in an abnormal position. Over time, it will increase the risk of serious foot deformities as the muscles cannot stretch out at ease. One of the common results is hammertoes.

So what if you wear shoes that are a bit too big for your feet? Well, as you slip your feet inside, it may feel comfy, but wearing them for a long time will modify your natural walking/running style. This unnatural and dysfunctional way of walking/running will also cause major foot problems.

Big shoes will make your heels slip out of the footwear again and again as you take steps. To prevent that, what you naturally do is— you contract your toes and engage your forefeet more than you should do to hold the shoes onto your feet. Such unnecessary and repetitive dorsiflexion of the foot is counterproductive, and sadly, it aids in the formation of hammertoes and bunions.

Wrong size shoes will make your life a living hell! When you’re shopping for a new pair, always buy the ones that fit you comfortably. Keep in mind, a particular shoe size of one brand will not equate to the same size in another. One of the best ways to measure the length and width of your feet is using the Brannock Device. This can help you find a pair of well-fitting shoes.

When you’re shopping for closed-toed or peep-toed shoes, you can go half a size up to achieve perfect fitting shoes. Avoid this method if the shoes have open heels. If you’re shopping for open-toed shoes going half a size bigger might make the shoes feel too loose. If you’re shopping online and your chosen brand doesn’t offer shoe sizes like 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, etc. it’s best to avoid them. But if you’re purchasing from a physical shoe store, make sure you try them out first. Remember, our feet swell up as we go by the day. Due to gravity, fluid accumulation, prolonged standing, and other activities, our “right-size” shoes may feel tighter at the end of the day. So the best time to go shoe-shopping is after your work or school to find the best match.

Does a half size make a difference in shoes?

The difference between half sizes and regular shoe sizes is 4.23 mm (US system). Although it may seem insignificant, half sizes do make difference in shoes. Let’s assume you wear a size 9, but the shoe brand you’re trying on feels a bit tight. The amount of tightness that you know won’t be okay even after breaking the shoes. What to do then? Going for a size 10? Definitely not! That will be too loose to wear. This is when half sizes come to the rescue. So, yes, the difference is only a little but not completely avoidable.

Does a half size larger in shoes mean longer, wider, or both?

It’s a common misconception that a half-size bigger shoe means it will be bigger in width as well as length. But that’s not the case. Footwear companies that manufacture wide shoes have a completely different size chart that’s only for people that have wider feet. A size 10 and a size 10.5 have the same width, but not the length. When you’re getting half a size bigger shoe, you’re only getting a 4.23 mm longer shoe. Nothing more than that.

What shoe should I buy if I’m between 2 sizes?
First of all, we’d recommend not to buy shoes that do not fit perfectly. But if that’s not an option for you, and you really have to get them despite the issue, we’d say go for a size up. If it seems too loose, abort the mission. But if it feels slightly loose, then don’t worry, the shoelaces will take care of the rest. You can tie them tighter to achieve a better fit. Also, do not forget to put on some comparatively thicker socks to fill up the space better.


Shoes should support your feet with comfort— not the other way around. Once you put on your shoes, your feet shouldn’t do anything to support the footwear. Did you just put on a shoe that doesn’t feel right? Take them off immediately! As mentioned, it will cause you nothing but painful and troublesome medical conditions, like— arch pain, joint pain, heel spurs, neuromas, and Achilles tendonitis. This will eventually impact your other body parts, like the knees, back, and neck

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