Sunday, November 29, 2009

Problems with fit

The concept of shoe fit is largely a subjective one. Size alone is not the only determining factor. Research from the Battelle Memorial Institute has shown there are at least 38 individual factors influencing or involved in shoe fit. Many of the 38 factors were subjective involving the opinion and attitudes of consumer and fitter alike. In the end it was the customer who determined whether the shoe fitted or not.

Asymmetry and anatomical variation mean many people are challenged when seeking an ideal fit. Both style and pattern of a shoe bear influence on sizing and fit is determined by the distribution of foot mass within the shoe. Heel height and toe spring are critical for functionality. Shoe types such as fashion footwear and work boots may be fitted with a bit more volume allowance than the slightly snugger fit of an elegant fashion or dress shoe. The type of shoe construction can bare an influence. e.g. welts, cements, slip lasted, stitchdown, injection-moulded etc, will show slight differences in fit on the foot. Some manufacturers or brands apply their own particular specifications of dimensions on their lasts e.g. backpart, forepart, tread, etc. and this makes a difference in fit among different brands on a given size. The foot fitted in the morning will be smaller than the foot fitted in the afternoon. Toe shape of the shoe may influence the fit. Shoes with narrower toes may need to be worn a half size longer (when available).

Further Reading
Belanger R 1997 Big black boots: how to pick the right size
Byrne M Curran MJ 1998 The development and use of a footwear assessment score in comparing the fit of children's shoes The Foot 8 215-218.
Ceeny E The form of the foot in relation to footwear The Chiropodist 304-311.
Foot Fitter Genovation
Gardener R 1856 The illustrated handbook of the foot London
Ledger FE 1985 Put your foot down: A treatise on the history of shoes Melksham: Coin Velton.
Manning JR 1966 Size standardisation: Europoint The Chiropodist 21:6 187-200.
Mondopoint: A metric system of shoe sizing and marking Australian Podiatrist August 1976 102-103.

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