Foot Pain – Do you know what the right shoe size is?

When clients of mine come into one of my New Balance stores or email me after they’ve visited TriCity New Balance online they often complain about foot pain and ask how I can help find the right shoe to help them decrease the pain while playing sports, walking, or hiking. The first thing I like to do is to ask them why they always insisted on having shoes that fit so tight.

To most people when they shop for shoes they don’t shop for the right fitting shoe. They shop for a shoe that is either too small or too tight. I’m passionate in teaching that a good fitting shoe should leave room so that the foot has proper room to shift, and so that the arch in the foot stays arched. It’s also important that for each company you shop with knowing that shoe sizes are a bit different for each. I’d say that 70-75% of my first time clients do not have properly fitted shoes which is why I personally make sure everyone of my employees are taught how to properly measure and consult on the right fitting shoe so that my clients make less trips to the doctors. I find this to be lost in a lot of other companies and stores that only care about moving the product. I believe that our business is about doing the right thing for the customer which includes fully educating them about how their shoe selection will impact more than just their wallet or performance. It’s about educating them about how their shoe selection will also impact their quality of life.

For instance if I take a measurement on a Brannock Device (you know, that old fashion metal thing your foot goes in) and the shoe size that is returned to me is 9 then I’ll start with a 9 ½ or a 10 when fitting one of my customers. One of the other nice things about New Balance is that we have different widths for most of our shoes and can customize the order. If someone is a 9 shoe size in length and an 11 shoe size for width, we can accommodate that. Make sure that when you shop for shoes that you not only have proper length but width as well. While a lot of my clients shoe length stays the same over time the width can change based on weight gained (pregnancy) and lost (surgery).

Some of the complications that arise from improperly fitted shoes can include:

Decrease in foot arch – Your foot is naturally arched to allow the foot to support the weight of your body and maintain proper posture. A decrease in foot arch could lead to the arch collapsing which could cause long term pain or discomfort. Most of the time foot arch is inherited but can be altered based on the way you train your foot and what shoes you wear.

Heel pain – General heel pain or plantar fasciitis can be as basic as pain that is felt close to the heel bone or could be caused by a strained plantar fascia connective tissue which connects the heel bone to the toes. It can occur in all humans but is most frequent in adults 40 or older. Having the correct shoe size which allows for proper stretching can prevent some of the wear and tear on these muscles.

Turf Toe – For those athletes that compete year round outside on the Football field or Soccer field turf toe can be prevented by wearing a shoe that allows for more room. Turf toe is pain that is located at the base of the big toe. It’s usually caused from jamming the toe or pushing off during competition or practice. It can cause inflammation and sideline athletes for weeks. This happens more often for those athletes that participate on a hard surface or artificial surface since those surfaces tend to never soften up after rain.

In closing make sure that you take the time to think about the types of shoes that you currently have and if they are a proper fit. In a lot of cases you are still able to obtain the same “style” being a half size or size larger that you would if you had a size that was skin tight (I know this can be especially hard for the ladies). If you have any questions or would like to chat about this feel free to shoot me an email at or visit my site which has more information at

I hope everyone had a wonderful memorial day weekend the other week and look forward to seeing you all in my stores or chatting with you online or off during the next few weeks as we gear up for fourth of July festivities.


About Wes: Wes McCluney was raised in Memphis, TN where his family owned and operated Athletic Shoes, Etc for over 25 years. He was born into the shoe business and during early childhood was actively involved in the community and especially sports. After playing football for and graduating from The University of Virginia Wes became actively involved in building the New Balance Brand in Atlanta, GA. He joined his Father and business partner in opening several New Balance stores throughout Tennessee and Georgia and was the vision behind


2 thoughts on “Foot Pain – Do you know what the right shoe size is?

  1. Good to know information.

    I wanted to share a piece of advice for those who are on the look out for a good pair of sports shoes but are on a tight budget. Make sure you buy original shoes and avoid going in for imitations as these will give way in the long run and will not provide you the comfort and flexibility that an original shoe will offer.

    You can get great deals in many online stores offering discounts on genuine shoes and can buy them well within your budget without going in for cheap imitations. It’s always a good idea to spend a little more though and get the right shoes and experience the true comfort for which the shoe is designed.

  2. I can personally vouch for your expertise in finding the right shoe size, Wes.

    For other readers: I have an exceptionally wide foot, and I’ve always had a hard time finding a pair that fits well. Wes and I exchanged a few emails (never met in person) and he was able to send me a new pair of shoes that were a perfect fit, possibly the best-fitting pair I own now.

    Moral of the story: Wes knows his stuff! Listen up, peeps!

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