Barefoot Shoe Sizing: The Complete Guide

January 19, 2022
Inside this article:

A barefoot shoe sizing guide is a helpful tool to use when buying new shoes online or offline. This article contains two methods: the tracing method and wall method and recommendations on the best brands for different foot sizes and shapes.

Let's dive in...

How To Measure Your Feet

If we plan on wearing thick or thin socks with these shoes, we should also wear the same thickness socks when we measure our feet.

Before buying costly shoes, measure twice and use the average. When looking at shoes, always check the inner length of the shoe as it may vary depending on the manufacturer or different types of shoes. If in doubt... ask.

It's also essential that you look at how the maker calculates fit. Many people utilize a specific approach, which is often the wall technique.

Method 1: Wall Method - Most Accurate

The wall method yields the most accurate length and width of your foot by measuring it against a wall.

  1. Place a piece of paper under your foot and slide your heel lightly against a wall, don't apply backwards pressure.
  2. Measure foot length by placing a heavy book where your longest toe ends.
  3. Remove your foot, mark the position of the book and then measure the distance from the mark to the edge of the page.
  4. Measure foot width the same way but instead of sliding the heel back against the wall, slide the outside of your foot there.
  5. Place a heavy book along the inside of your foot.
  6. Remove your foot, mark the position of the book and then measure the distance from the mark to the edge of the page.

We don’t want a shoe that’s the same length as our foot. We need to add some extra space. Research has shown that we should add 10 to 18mm to our actual foot size.

So it would look like this:

Measured Foot Length (mm) + Breathing Space (10-18mm) - Pencil/Pen Thickness (~0.5mm) = Ideal Shoe Length (mm)
Measured Foot Width (mm) + Breathing Space (2-5mm) - Pencil/Pen Thickness (~0.5mm) = Ideal Shoe Width (mm)

Keep these measurements somewhere safe so you'll always have them to hand.

Measure both feet. If they are different, use the bigger foot size.

Method 2: Foot Tracing - Least Accurate

A foot tracing is the most common way to measure but also the least accurate.

  1. Place your foot on a piece of paper.
  2. Make sure to put your weight down on the foot you are tracing so it's at its widest.
  3. Draw around your foot with a pencil aiming to keep the pencil upright and against your foot the entire time.

This method is easier if you can get someone to do the tracing for you.

It's important to note that the thickness of the pencil/pen you use matters here. Its thickness will be added to the measurement but we can simply subtract it from the 'additional room number'.

So it would look like this:

Measured Foot Length (mm) + Breathing Space (10-18mm) - Pencil/Pen Thickness (~0.5mm) = Ideal Shoe Length (mm)
Measured Foot Width (mm) + Breathing Space (2-5mm) - Pencil/Pen Thickness (~0.5mm) = Ideal Shoe Width (mm)

Keep these drawings somewhere safe so you'll always have them to hand.

Measure both feet. If they are different, use the bigger foot size.

Side Note On Shoe Width

If you have wide feet, you can often get a better fit by opting for the men's model of the same shoe or vice versa. Typically, unisex shoes have a more generous width.

Width often refers to the width of the toebox rather than the entire shoe, so bear this in mind when researching.

Most barefoot shoe brands make shoes designed for average foot width. That said there are some brands of barefoot shoes that are extra wide.

Best Barefoot Shoe Brands For Wider Feet

On the other end of the spectrum...

Best Barefoot Shoe Brands For Narrower Feet

Foot Shape

Different toe and foot shapes can make it difficult to wear a shoe based on sizing alone. There are many different shapes for feet, so it is important to find the best shoes based on your foot shape.

Image Rights: Anyas Reviews

Best Barefoot Shoe Brands For Slope Foot Shape

Best Barefoot Shoe Brands For Mountain Foot Shape

Best Barefoot Shoe Brands For Plateau & Square Foot Shape

Foot Volume

Foot volume is how tall or small the vertical height of your foot is. It's also called the 'instep'.

If you have to keep your laces loose and shoes feel tight, you probably have high volume feet.

If you have extra space under the laces of your shoes and have to tighten them a lot to prevent moving around, you probably have low volume feet.

Most barefoot shoe brands generally fall on different parts of the spectrum. Sometimes different models of shoes within a brand fall on different parts of the spectrum too. We have to do a little research before we commit to buying.

Best Barefoot Shoe Brands For High Volume Feet

Best Barefoot Shoe Brands For Low Volume Feet

Custom Made Barefoot Shoes

For sure the most expensive option, but also the best option if you have awkward foot shapes. Barefoot shoemakers will make shoes based on your unique feet measurements.

Best Barefoot Shoe Brands For Custom Made Shoes