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Your Guide To Sneaker Sizing & Fit — Ox Street Magazine

Sneakers should fit properly & comfortably

Buying Guides

Josyula Sanshray
June 20, 2022

How does the sizing of sneaker brands like adidas, Nike, Converse, & New Balance compare? Learn more in our sneaker fit guide:

While it seems like many sneakerheads buy sneakers just to flip it at a higher price in the resale market, there are also those who collect them to wear them out. Be it because they love the design, it goes well with several outfits or simply for the hype, some sneakers are just meant to be worn instead of being left as deadstock at home. 

One of the most important things about wearing sneakers is making sure they fit properly and comfortably. But with sizing and fits varying across different brands and models even do you really trust the sneaker size chart? How would you know if it tends to run big, small or true to size? Ox Street’s guide to sneaker sizing and fit will help you out with differentiating the fits between brands like ​​adidas, Nike, Converse, and New Balance. After reading this guide you can check out online without fear or feeling the dread of having to do an exchange (if the sneaker is even still available).

How to know your sneaker size?

To start things off, how do you measure and know your sneaker size to find what the right size is for you? Your sneaker size might not necessarily be your shoe size and it is not one size fits all in this case. One also has to understand that there is no international standard when it comes to foot measurement, and being a size 10 in the US doesn’t mean you are a size 10 in Europe. Some even suggest that US and EU measurements are not the most accurate, with Japanese sizing which gives the measurements in centimeters instead of inches might be the more precise way to go, so measure away. 

How should a sneaker fit?

A sneaker should fit comfortably without your toes jamming up the front or the back of your ankles getting scrapped up, and trust me they are not going to stretch out that much more. Shoes that have too much room such that they are constantly sliding off are a no-go as well and they will crease or change their shape much more quickly than one that fits well. 

Length

In terms of the length of the shoes, make sure that there is roughly a thumb’s worth of space in front of your big toe. Just try wriggling a finger behind your heel to check. If the shoes run a little big, an extra sock or insole could help fill the gap. A crease protector that protects the toebox from creasing from the inside also takes up space, so if you are intending to use one do keep that in mind as well to make sure your toes have enough space. 

Nike Air Force 1 on Ox Street
You wouldn't want creases on these for sure. Shop the Air Force 1 on Ox Street.

Width

Besides the length, the width of a sneaker is also an important factor when it comes to getting the right fit. If your pinky toe hurts and your toes are being squeezed sideways, the shoes are too narrow for you and definitely difficult to walk in. And if you find yourself pulling up your laces tightly to the point where the eyelets are almost touching to keep your sneakers on your feet, they are too wide and just spoil the look of the entire shoe. Your feet should not look like they are spilling out on the sides over the midsoles and maintains the shoe’s original silhouette if it fits right as its width will expand, unlike its length over time. 

New Balance 990 on Oxstreet
New Balance gives more width. Shop the New Balance 990 on Ox Street.

Lacing

Lacing is also an important part of a shoe’s fit as mentioned briefly above as an indication of whether they are too wide or narrow for you. If they are tied too loosely you will be dragging your shoes around, while tying them too tight will just ruin the entire shape of the shoe making the advice about getting the right length and width irrelevant. We recommend redoing your laces rather than leaving them factory laced to make them the most comfortable for wearing. They should be like a waterfall where it is narrow at the bottom and goes wider at the top such that they can be slipped on and off comfortably without damaging the shoes but also secured. 

Sneaker sizes are different by brand

You read that right, besides looking at US, EU, and other sizings, different brands also fit differently. You will have to do your research for the brand and model of shoe you are getting, and think about how you want your shoes to fit before actually making a purchase. Here are some of the top brands and a general gist of how you might want to approach sizing. 

Nike

This sneaker titan is known for being accurate in its footwear measurements, and you can mostly feel safe choosing your actual shoe size. However, they do sometimes run a little small and if you have wide feet you might want to go a size up. Air Jordans also fit true to size, but do note the differences between the men’s and women’s sizings. 

Shop the Air Jordan 1 on Ox Street
Shop the Air Jordan 1 on Ox Street

adidas

Adidas generally fits true to size, except those equipped with Ultraboost technology where you might want to go one size up. Also under adidas, the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 are known to be a little snug and run half a size smaller from your usual adidas sizing, while the Yeezy 500 and Yeezy 700 are true to size.  

Shop the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 on Ox Street
Shop the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 on Ox Street

New Balance

New Balance sneakers are known for their durability and support. They offer both regular and extended width sizings, and even have experts in stores to help make sure wearers are fitted with the right shoe width. The D width is considered standard for men (B for women), but you can adjust based on your foot shape. Most of the time people suggest sizing up rather than down (depending on the shoe’s model and shape, as well as your foot shape) to prevent getting stuck in the middle when putting it on, though New Balances do run a few millimeters bigger than adidas. 

Shop the New Balance 550 on Ox Street
Shop the New Balance 550 on Ox Street

Other brands

Common Projects is another popular sneaker brand, with sizes on an EU scale which runs a little big and it is safe to go one size down. Classic sneakers like Chuck Taylors by Converse also tend to run big, and you can go down one or even one and a half size down. 

Keep the sneaker fit & other tips

Some additional tips would be to cop sneakers made of high quality materials as they are more likely to keep their shape over long periods of wear, and fit better as well than any regular sneakers. With that in mind, do also take care of your sneakers if you want them to last as long as possible without losing its shape by cleaning it regularly. However, do also embrace the creases and scuffs that comes with wearing sneakers out as it becomes part of its story and the experience. Do also swap out the insoles if they are flimsy or not as good quality for something that you with more substance if you want your shoes to last longer, plus it gives your feet extra arch and support. 

We hope you will not run into the unfortunate situation of getting a sneaker in the wrong size, especially if they are a grail or rare pair you have been eagerly waiting to get. Unfortunately, the only real way of knowing what size suits you best is by trying them on, but it is not always an option when copping sneakers online or if you want to keep them in deadstock condition. The next best thing would be to really not skip your research online on this one because doing your homework is much better than finding out you can’t fit in the sneakers afterwards. Need more help buying sneakers? Check out our sneaker buying guide for beginners next!

Josyula is a Singapore based bedroom DJ, Photographer, and Sneaker Collector. He loves all things culture and music, and writes in-depth articles on sneaker culture in Asia