Footwear Size Guide

Posted by Admin on

Finding the correct walking boots/shoes is essential for a successful hiking trip. The wrong size of boot could result in painful blisters, aching feet and a trip that might put you off hiking for life!

Buying walking boots online? Well, as we know online shopping has become more popular we feel it is about time you learnt the skill of finding a pair of boots that fit you correctly. So take your time with this, it is not something you want to get wrong!

Please remember, there is no harm trying walking shoes/boots inside for a few evenings/days before you decided if they are right. The second you go outside and use them is the moment shops cannot accept them back as new - top tip to give you more time to decide if you have ordered the correct size/style.

Vango grivola boot. See below the Vango Footwear size guide.
Vango Grivola Boots

How to fit a pair of walking boots?

The first thing you need to do is look at your feet without anything on them. Are they the same size? Look at the length, width, shape and if you have any bulges on them too - we do not judge! Feet are complicated, we are amazed when someone walks into our store with feet the exact same size as that is a rare thing. We have even had people measure at over a size difference in each foot! So buying footwear online might not be simple but we are here to try and help!

know is that all brands of shoes and boots are different in size. You can be a size 10UK in one brand and a size 9UK in another, especially if they are designed around EU sizes these do not match UK sizes.

Key things to look out for:

1. When are you trying them on?

- To start with, if you are looking for a walking shoe/boot you need to realise that your feet swell up during the day. That's right, you wake up with skinnier feet than you go to sleep with! What does this mean though? A day out hiking or walking will put more pressure on your feet, hence causing them to swell. So trying boots on in the morning when your feet are fresh and skinny is not the best time to try them on. So what is the best way to try walking boots on then? In the evening, simple as that. Put them on and walk around the house after your long day as that will give you the most realistic idea of what they will feel like outside on your hike.

2. The length/Size.

-Now size matters, no matter what anyone says. Our initial size test is to put the shoes/boot on - without lacing them up - and slide your foot to the front. Once your toes are comfortably touching the front of them, push a finger down the back of your heel and see how much space you have. We initially look for only 1 finger to be able to fit down between your heel and the back of the boot. If you can fit more than one finger down - between your heel and the back of the boot - then we would say it is too large, if you struggle to get one finger down then it is too small.

Why is that a good test? Once you lace the boot up, your heel slides back and the gap you just tested for moves to the front at your toes. On any hike the last thing you want is your toes hitting the front of your shoe/boot as this can cause bruising of the nail and in turn a very bad hiking experience. The one-finger gap will give your toes space to move without sliding around, so it is a great test for checking the size.

3. Make sure heel is secure.

- Now it might be that the length is OK as per part 2, but the heel fit of footwear can change depending on the brand. So a very small amount of movement in the heel is OK, but any heel lift may indicate that the boot is too large or that you need to adjust the lacing to lock your heel in. Try tightening the laces and see if that helps, if not then we might have an issue!

4. Do your feet move around inside the boot?

- If the length is good, the heel is snug but you can feel your foot moving around from side to side it again could mean that you need to adjust your lacing. Otherwise, your foot might be too narrow for that brand. Each brand has a different size guide so not every brand will fit, sorry we cannot help with that!

5. Can you feel any hot spots or pressure points?

- Hot spots/pressure points are likely to turn into an issue - especially if you can feel them as soon as you put them on. These can lead to blisters or discomfort over time so listen to your feet, if they are not comfy straight away then they will not be comfy after a 10 mile hike - trust us we know from experience. If a specific point rubs or feels like it pushes to tightly on your foot, check your socks are smooth and lacing is even across the area. If that is not able to help, then again, they might not be for you.

Walking socks

Wait! You have just tried the new boots and love them (you're welcome) but have you thought about what you will wear with them? Socks are vital to get correct. Think about when you are going hiking, in winter you might need thicker socks than in summer when you need thinner ones. A good pair of hiking socks can make a huge difference in the fit and comfort of your boots as well so it is worth thinking about what you will match up with your boots. Also, keep in note, socks will absorb sweat and moisture to avoid irritation so it is essential you wear a good quality pair - all of the socks Summits sell are of high quality. That and the socks will also provide a cushion between skin and boot which will help on those long hikes.


So does the boot fit but your feet still hurt? Or do you have flat feet that need arch support? There are many reasons for needing insoles for your feet. You can get shock-absorbing insoles to help reduce the impact to your feet - we sell a range of Sorbothane Footbeds to help with the impact. If you have arch issues, we would recommend coming to talk to us or another specialist to see what will work best for you.

Brand Size Guide

Have a look here at the brands own sizing charts to see exactly what they recommend:





The North Face


Printable Footwear Guide

Print off the Vango Guide

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