The Austrian research team “Children’s Feet – Children’s Shoes” usually only checks the fit of shoes worn by kids aged 1 to 10. Thanks to an initiative of the Swiss consumer report magazine Gesundheitstipp, the team conducted its first test of adult shoes – and the results were surprising, to say the least.

In Zurich, Bern, and Lucerne, researchers tested the fit of 98 adult test subjects’ shoes, and this is what they found:

  • 71 of the test subjects were wearing shoes that were too short in length (72%).
  • Detailed analysis showed that women are 3 times more likely to be wearing poorly fitting shoes than men.
  • Shoe sizes on adult shoes are just as misleading as on kids’ shoes: 69 pairs were labelled with a size and of these, 64 were smaller than the indicated size. One size-38 model was a full 2 cm (about ¾ inch inch) too short in length, making the shoes only a size 35.

For the best fit, the research team recommends that adults’ shoes should also provide at least 12 mm (about ½ inch) extra space at the toe. Use one of the following methods to test the inside length of any shoe:

  • Using a cardboard template: Trace the outline of your foot on a piece of cardboard. Then add 12mm of extra space to the length of the longest toe and cut a strip about 2 fingers wide out of this template; if it can’t fit in the shoe without buckling, the shoe is too short.
  • Using the plus12: Measure the length of your foot using the plus12 (the extra 12mm are already included in this measurement), then measure the inside length of your shoe. If the numbers match, the shoe fits.

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