In this video, Dr. Ray McClanahan, a sports podiatrist at Northwest Foot and Ankle and the inventor of Correct Toes, discusses the method that's historically been used for shoe sizing and why this technique falls short (and, in fact, often leads to a variety of foot and toe problems). He also demonstrates a better way to size shoes that respects the shape of the natural human foot.
Here are some highlights from the video:
An important and fundamental truth is that, no matter what foot problem you’re encountering, it’s most likely related to the sizing/fit of your shoe.
The tool that's long been used to size shoes (since it was invented in 1927) is called the Brannock Device, and there are specific Brannock Devices for men's feet and women's feet.
The Brannock Device offers you three types of foot measurement: 1) Overall foot length (which can be a helpful or valuable metric); 2) Overall length of your arch (which can also be helpful or valuable in some cases); and 3) Foot width (where the Brannock Device really fails).
The width measurement provided by the Brannock Device is indicative of ball of foot width, not the width at the ends of the toes, which is where your foot ought to be the widest.
Width results, as determined by the Brannock Device, will cause you to select footwear that is much too narrow for your foot and will ultimately lead to foot and toe ailments.
When selecting footwear, it's important to ensure that the shape of the footwear matches the shape of your natural human foot; that is, with toes well splayed.
Two tips for shoe fittings: 1) Get fitted toward the end of the day, as your foot will be slightly swollen after a day’s use and therefore at its largest (in terms of length, width, and girth); and 2) Make sure that you’re standing on your foot (i.e., that you're weight-bearing) when having your foot length and width assessed (your feet get longer and wider when standing).
The best method for determining appropriate and optimal shoe size is to perform the Shoe Liner Test.
Watch the above video to learn more about the differences between traditional and natural shoe sizing techniques. This article also discusses the Brannock Device and how to determine proper shoe width in more detail.
The above content is for educational or informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or augment professional medical instruction, diagnosis, or treatment. Read full disclaimer here.
Dr. Robyn Hughes is a naturopathic physician, or ND, with a special interest in natural foot health and sports medicine. After completing medical school at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Robyn trained extensively with renowned sports podiatrist and natural foot care specialist, Dr. Ray McClanahan. Dr. Robyn is a co-founder of Natural Footgear, a founding member of the Natural Foot Health Institute, a freelance health writer, and a regular speaker at foot care teaching events. Dr. Robyn lives in Asheville, NC, where she’s an avid road cyclist, trail runner, and yoga student.
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