Sizing Guide 2.0

How To Use This Guide

Part of the challenge of shoe sizing is that feet exist in three dimensions, and each is unique. Sometimes measuring in length or length and width alone doesn't result in a perfect fit.

In this guide we want to offer you both a concrete idea of where to start, as well as some idea of the variety of factors that influence shoe fit so you get a better idea of what a shoe needs to look like to be a good fit for you (hint: it should look like your feet!).



  1. Use the length of your feet to get a sense of what size to start at in the chart first.
  2. Tweak that result depending on your unique needs. To find out what those might be, you can read the other sections of this page. The result will be your baseline size.
  3. On a product page, try your baseline size when it says "fits true to size," or follow the advice given in the product's sizing and fit description, such as sizing up or down from your regular (baseline) size.

We'll give you some examples of this process below.


Sizing Charts

Adult Chart

Length of your Longer Foot (cm)

US Men's Size

US Women's Size

EU sizes







































































Kids' Chart

Length of your Longer Foot (cm)

US Kids Size

EU size






















*These charts have been reworked and are different from our original sizing guide's chart in order to advise for a greater variety of foot shapes. If we receive consistent feedback about this updated advice we will make adjustments as needed.


How much room is enough?

These charts allow for 0.5-1cm room between where your foot ends and where the inside of the shoe ends for adult sizes, and 1-1.5cm room for kids' shoes so they can grow into them. We recommend 0.5-1.5cm extra space in shoes depending on your needs and preferences to allow for a full range of movement in your minimal shoes.


You may want to tweak your recommended size up if...

  • you prefer a roomy feeling fit
  • you have longer outer toes 
  • you have a square or plateau forefoot shape
  • you have wide feet
  • you plan on wearing thick socks
  • your arch is quite far forward on your feet


If one or more of these applies, add half a size to your baseline and use that as your new baseline size.


You may want to keep the suggested baseline size if...

  • you prefer a snug feeling fit
  • you have slope or mountain shaped forefeet
  • you have naturally narrower feet
  • you plan on not wearing socks or removing the shoe's optional insole
  • your arch is further back on your feet

We don't suggest tweaking your baseline size to a smaller size as we've suggested sizing with just enough room here.


To test the fit of your shoes when they arrive, check out our blog post here.



Example 1: Hannah

  • 25cm x 10cm
  • Wider than average feet, square shaped forefoot, triangular footprint shape, long outer toes.
Based on length alone, Hannah would take a W9.5, but due to the other factors their tweaked baseline size is W10, so this is what they'll try first in models that fit "true to size."
In Euro sizes, they take a 41-42 depending on width. In models where we suggest going half a size up on the product page they take a W10.5. Quite rarely if a model has a nice wide, square toebox they'll take a W9.5, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Example 2: Brody

  • 26cm x 10cm
  • Average to narrow feet, mountain shaped forefeet, rectangular footprint shape.
Based on length alone, Brody would take a M9, and the other factors align. This unchanged baseline size works well for him, so that's what he tries first in models we describe as "true to size."
In models that suggest going up half a size on the product page, a M9.5 works better for him. His European size 42 is consistent in a few brands. Occasionally he will take a W10.5 or 11 because the narrower fit of the women's size isn't a problem for him, and can provide a more secure fit around the mid- and hindfoot on high volume and wide heeled models.


Jump To...

  • Bean
  • Triangle
  • Rectangle
  • Footprint Shape and Fit

    Forefoot Shape and Toebox Shape

    • Slope
    • Mountain
    • Plateau
    • Square

    Foot Width Notes

    • Width in minimal brands
    • Unisex vs gendered sizing and width
    • Where is the width (inside-outside)
    • Where is the width (front-back)

    Muscularity and Support

    • On Arch Support
    • Position of the Arch
    • Arches, Sizing, and Fit

    Foot Height Notes

    • What we mean by volume
    • Instep vs arch

    Useful References



    Footprint Shapes

    This is the overall shape of your feet from above.

    • You can trace the outline of your feet to get a sense of your footprint shape (though this is not a reliable way to take measurements as how you hold your pen can affect the numbers).
    • For shoes, the best way to get a sense of their footprint shape is to look at the sole or a top-down view.

    We tend to use Anya’s Reviews system for describing the footprint shape, with the common shapes being bean-like, rectangular, and triangular.



    A Bean style footprint shape is narrow in the heel and wide in the forefoot. The forefoot width is on the big toe side, and sometimes there is midfoot width on the pinky toe side. Sometimes the overall shape appears curved like a kidney bean.



    A Triangle style footprint shape is narrow in the heel and wide at the forefoot, like a Bean shape. However here, the forefoot width is centered or skews towards the pinky toe side of the foot. It’s not usually curved.



    A Rectangle style footprint shape has a similar width throughout the foot, whether narrow, wide, or average.


    Footprint Shape and Fit

    Ideally you would want a shoe to have a similar footprint shape to that of your feet, though you can sometimes make due by adjusting the sizing.

    • A triangle or bean foot may need to go half a size up for width in a rectangular shoe.
    • A rectangular foot may prefer not sizing up in a triangular shoe to get a more secure fit.
    • A bean foot may need to size up generously in a triangle shoe and vice versa.


      Forefoot Shape and Toebox Shape

      Again, here we defer to the excellent system we’re familiar with from Anya’s Reviews. While the traditional system of Country-based taxonomy can be useful, we find these shape-based names easier to remember and more useful in describing fit nuance.

      • Anya lists four forefoot/toe shapes: slope, mountain, plateau, and square.


      You can see your forefoot shape by standing and looking at your feet. For shoe toebox shapes, try determining their shape by looking at the sole or a top-down photo, similar to the overall footprint directions.

      • You can find the shape of your forefoot not only by looking at the toes themselves but also by looking at the shape of the ball of the foot– the knuckles of the toes.


      *The black dotted line in the following forefoot shape photos indicates where the fourth toe lines up length wise in comparison to the other toes (adjusted for how the models were standing).

      Slope-shaped Forefeet…

      • Have the big toe ending at the longest point and the ends of the other toes gradually ending at shorter and shorter lengths in a diagonal or curved shape that slopes down the farther out you go.
      • Most shoes can accommodate this forefoot shape, though shoes that are shaped for square and plateau forefoot shapes may feel extra roomy and wide.
      • You generally will not need to size up for extra width. Sleek fitting models are often very comfortable for you.


        Mountain-shaped Forefeet…

        • Have the second toe ending at the longest point and then slope down. 
        • If the shoes aren’t mountain shaped with extra length near the middle of the toebox to accommodate your long second toe, you may need to go up half a size.
        • More sleek fitting models are likely to fit you well.


          Plateau-shaped Forefeet…

          • Have the big toe, second toe, third toe, and sometimes fourth toe all ending at similar points, and then slope down from there to the pinky toe.
          • You will likely want to tweak your recommend size higher.
          • You can usually describe this forefoot shape as having long outer toes. Look for shoes with lots of room on the lateral aka outside side.
          • If you are looking at sleek fitting models especially those with a sloping toebox shape, you may end up with a lot of extra length in front of your big toes to get enough room for your outer toes. 


            Square-shaped Forefeet…

            • Have the toes ending at a roughly similar distance from the heel to form a squared off shape of the forefoot. Sometimes square forefeet look very square and sometimes they look more rounded based on what the big toe and pinky toes.
            • You will likely want to tweak you recommended size higher.
            • You can usually describe square-shaped forefeet as having longer outer toes. Look for shoes with more width on the lateral aka outside side.
            • If you are looking at sleek fitting models especially those with a sloping toebox shape, you may end up with a lot of extra length in front of your big toes to get enough room for your outer toes.


              Foot Width Notes

              Shoe width is often measured in conventional shoes across the ball of the foot, and we tend to see this continued in the minimal shoe realm.

              • Usually shoe width increases gradually as you go up in size, so if you have long and narrow feet or short and wide feet, it will be crucial to find a model that mimics the shape and size of your feet in all dimensions.


              Width in Minimal Brands

              You probably know by adulthood if you have very wide or narrow feet as you've had to make sizing adjustments for that already.

              Most minimal shoes start out at what conventional shoes call “wide” but check the product page sizing notes for more details as some brands and some sleek fitting models are more suited to naturally narrower feet.

              • We like to specify "naturally" narrow to differentiate from feet that have adapted to cramped, too-narrow shoes, as the latter will spread out slightly over time once they have the room to do so again.


                Unisex vs Gendered Sizing and Width

                We carry brands from all over the world which use a number of sizing systems, including (with examples):

                • European, unisex (41)
                • European, unisex with width options (41 regular)
                • European, gendered (41 women's)
                • American, gendered (9.5 women's)
                • American, men’s and women’s sizing both included on each shoe's label for effectively unisex sizing (8 men's/9.5 women's)
                • Japanese, unisex (26cm)


                Read the sizing notes on different product pages to find out which system they're using. You may get a better fit by choosing a size that doesn't match your identity.

                • Sizing built for men is usually wider and higher volume (taller/deeper vertically) than shoes built for women (and vice versa).
                • In American sizing a M9=W10.5 for length in most of our brands.
                • In European sizing a M41=W41 in length, BUT has a different width and volume unless it's unisex.
                • American sizing tends to go up by increments of half a centimeter for every half a size. European sizing tends to go up by about 7mm a size, so there isn't an exact translation from American to EU sizes.
                • M and W in the sizes refers to gendered sizing variants for men's and women's sizing (NOT for medium and wide versions). Sometimes you'll see M and L (men's and ladies') instead on the label.


                  Where is The Width (Inside-Outside)

                  Comparing shoe footprint shapes reveals a curious detail about width in shoes: it can be centred across the foot, or give more room on either the inside (medial or big toe side of the foot) or outside (lateral or pinky toe side) of the foot. 

                  • Bean-shaped shoes give a little more lateral room along the midfoot and more medial room along the big toe (and sometimes at the heel too).
                  • In rectangular shoes the width is centred and the overall shape of the sole or view from above is boxy, sometimes with the exception of the arch area.
                  • Triangular footprint styles shoes seem to vary, sometimes the width in the forefoot is centred and sometimes it's skewed to the lateral side.

                  If you have wide feet where the width is on the outside, but try on a bean shaped shoe, even if the shoe is wider than your foot, the placement may mean your outer toes feel smushed together. Conversely if your big toe knuckle and big toe jut out compared to the heel and midfoot, a shoe with enough width in the forefoot may feel too loose around the heel.


                    Where is The Width (Front-Back)

                    You can stand on a shoe’s insole to see if the arch area and the wider ball of the foot area of the insole (and therefore of the shoe) line up with your anatomy.

                    • If the shoe is too long it may feel too narrow around the ball of the foot or on a bunion, as its arch area is extending up over the knuckle of your big toe. If this is the case, you can bring the width down to where you need it by going down in size, given that you can afford to do so in toe room.



                    Muscularity and Support

                    People's sizing can change a lot during a transition to minimal shoes due to changes in your muscles, including the ones that make up your arches.

                    • Your feet may spread out when the cramped confines of conventional footwear are no longer a regular part of your life.
                    • Your arches may get stronger, which could result in them lifting up and pulling your toes back for shorter but taller foot measurements.
                    • You could gain muscle mass overall in your feet, resulting in their volume increasing slightly.


                    These changes are often quite subtle, but a few millimeters' change can be enough to make a difference for your best fitting size. If it's been a few months since the last time you bought a new pair of shoes, it doesn't hurt to double check your measurements.


                    On Arch Support

                    Arches are not literally part of the anatomy, but a shape your muscles and bones make. Depending on your physiology (and what you are doing with it at any given moment) it may be normal and functional to have very low arches, very high arches, or in between.

                    • Your foot can make arch shapes in various places, but unless otherwise specified, we're referring to the one which most relates to shoe sizing: the medial longitudinal arch, which is located on the inner side of the foot, between the ball of the big toe and the heel.

                    If you have questions about how much arch support is appropriate for you, see our article on arch support here.


                    Position of the Arch

                    The location of your arch is useful data when looking at the fit of your next minimal shoes. Some people have very long arches, or short ones, others have them closer to the toes or closer to the heel. Ideally you want the shoe's arched area to line up with yours.


                    Arches and Fit

                    Some shoes feel very sculpted with negative space in the arch area (eg. Merrell Trail Glove), others have a more generous “boxy” fit around the midfoot (eg. Xero Kelso).

                    • If you have lower arches, a sculpted shoe that is hollowed out to accommodate high arches could be uncomfortable. A shoe which has a more boxy design will probably feel way better for you.
                    • For those with high arches, those boxy midfoot fitting shoes may feel loose on your feet. Sculpted arch shapes usually feel comfortable and mildly supportive for you– a feeling of the shoe wrapping around your midfoot rather than having firm arch support.
                    • A different size of shoe won't change the design and how it is shaped around the arches in this case, but see the note under "Width- Front to Back" also.



                    Foot Height Notes

                    The height of a shoe can make a difference in getting your shoes on and off, how they feel on, how they look, and how you move in them. It's especially important to consider when shoes don't have laces like a Chelsea style boot, a slip-on low-top, or ballet flats.

                    Looking at the profiler of your foot, try to find a good match by looking for shoes that look to be a similar shape. If your feet are quite shallow to the ground all over, look for brands which make a shoe that is shallower to the ground as well. If you have a tall midfoot and a short forefoot, look for that etc.


                    What We Mean By Volume

                    We tend to use "volume" to describe height in relation to average length and width measurements for a given shoe size.

                    • A high volume foot would use up more of a shoe’s height allotment or require the laces to be loosened greatly.
                    • A low volume foot might need the laces tightened up a lot to feel secure or would require a shallower slip-on design.
                    • If this has never been an issue for you, you probably have an average volume foot.

                    Sometimes people with shallow forefeet may still want extra height in the toebox to accommodate post-conventional shoe issues such as hammertoes, etc.


                    You can find information about the volume, and how much you can adjust it, on our product pages under sizing and fit. Sizing up or down by half a size isn't going to change the volume very much, though it does scale as you go up in size. 

                    You can adjust the volume by...

                    • Tightening or loosening the laces
                    • Adding or removing an insole
                    • Trying a functional lacing method for a more secure or more roomy fit (see links below)
                    • Trying a similar style by a different brand

                    That said, for high volume feet folks looking for boots with a gusseted tongue design, sometimes going up half a size makes it easier to slide your foot into the boot.


                    Instep Versus Arches

                    Instep is the area on top of your foot near the ankle. High instep may be a useful search term for folks with pronounced arches and/or high volume feet, as there are several ways of defining the instep in different industries.

                    • A person with very high arches and a high instep may technically have a low volume foot (the foot itself is shallow) but could require a high volume shoe to accommodate for the negative space under the arch in addition to the space needed for the foot itself.



                    Useful References

                    We've learned from trying to find ourselves shoes in addition to customer feedback, but we also do research. We really can't mention her enough, this is the article that inspired and informed this new version of our sizing advice: Best Barefoot Shoes for Your Foot Shape by Anya's Reviews. 

                    • There's some crossover here, so if our explanations don't make sense her wording might help things click for you and vice versa!


                    Sizing Advice Direct from the Brands

                    While we aim to offer advice based on our experience fitting hundreds of customers every month in store, it can be valuable to compare our advice with what the designers and testers from our brands recommend. See brand-specific advice here:


                    Customize the Fit

                    For troubleshooting the fit by making adjustments to the lacing and other modifications, here are some resources we like.