Is It Better for Shoes to Be Tight or Loose?

Buying new shoes is not a problem. It is as easy as walking into a shoe store and finding a shoe that we like and paying for it. However, where buying new shoes can be frustrating is when we do not find one that is our exact size.

In this situation, what do you do? Get the one that is a size lesser and will be tight? Or go for one that is a size higher and will be loose?

Firstly, it is important for you to know that neither of the options above is good for you. Wearing badly fitted shoes can cause you a lot of problems, aside from the discomfort.

However, if I have to choose one of the lesser evils, I would go for wearing loose shoes.

Do not forget that both options are not healthy for your feet, but the problems that loose shoes bring to your feet can still be managed, unlike tight ones.

You should wear shoes that are loose if the shoes have laces. Laces serve the purpose of fastening our shoes to our legs and making sure they grip.

So, if the shoes are loose, you can tighten the laces hard till it holds the shoes strongly on your feet.

Why is it better to wear loose shoes?

Is It Better for Shoes to Be Tight or Loose

Again, I will reiterate that wearing a shoe that fits your foot perfectly is best for you. A shoe that fits just right provides a good platform for your foot to support your body.

There is nothing good about wearing shoes that are too big or too tight.

Just like tight shoes, wearing a shoe that is loose will cause you to walk in the most unnatural and dysfunctional way possible. If you do this too frequently, you have a high chance of developing serious foot problems.

However, if you are caught between wearing a tight shoe or a loose one, always go for a loose one. This is because loose shoes are easier to manage and do not cause as much pain as tight shoes do.

Extra space between your toe and the shoe

It is better to wear loose shoes because it affords you some extra space to move your feet and provide better comfort than tight shoes.

You can fill space up for more fit

Another reason to go for loose shoes is that you can fill the space up to make them more fitted. Loose shoes have extra space that you can fill up using insoles or thick socks.

All you need to do is to get double insoles or you could wear socks that are really thick till you feel that the shoes grip your feet a little better.

Gives your feet the room to expand

It is normal for our body, including our feet, to expand during hot weather conditions, so wearing loose shoes gives the room that accommodates the expansion in our feet.

Dangers related to wearing loose shoes

Also, people who engage in hiking, running, or general exercises tend to have swollen feet. Loose shoes allow their feet to swell without being too tight.

Loose shoes may be better than tight ones because they can be managed, but it does not mean that there are no bad sides to them.


Blisters are not only caused by tight shoes, they can be caused by loose shoes too. When the shoes are too big and rub against your feet, friction will occur and that will lead to blisters.

Foot corn

Asides from blisters, loose shoes also cause foot corn. Foot corn is a type of callus that develops because of excessive pressure on the toes.

Shoes that are loose or too big increase your risk of falling because they do not provide enough support for your feet and body.

Feet gliding

Also, loose shoes cause your feet to glide around inside, and this is worse when walking up or down a staircase.

Conclusively, it is best to wear fitted shoes but if you will be wearing loose shoes, ensure you fill-up the extra space with an insole or wear really thick socks.

Why is it better for shoes to be tight?

If you are here looking for the answer to this question then I am sorry to inform you that there is absolutely no benefit in wearing tight shoes.

The importance of wearing shoes that fit perfectly can not be overemphasized. It saves you from stress, discomfort, pain, and a lot of medical bills.

Medically, you are advised to stop wearing shoes that are tight as they can have a serious effect on your health and general well-being.

Dangers related to wearing shoes that are too tight

There have been many foot-related medical conditions that are directly linked to wearing tight shoes. Some of them are; toe deformity, blisters, flat feet, bunions, and many others.

Instead of looking for why it is better to wear tight shoes, rather you should look for why it is better to not.

Do you know that wearing tight shoes on a regular basis puts you at the risk of developing long-term cartilage loss in the joints of your feet? Well, now you do.

Heel pain

Heel pain, also known as metatarsalgia, is another medical condition that can be directly linked to wearing tight shoes.

Whatever you need to do to avoid wearing tight shoes, please do, because they can cause you to develop hammertoe. Hammertoe is a condition that occurs when your toes begin to curl instead of lying flat.

This condition is known to cause serious pain and also weaken the muscles attached to the foot.

Do you think it ends there? No, it does not.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Wearing tight shoes on a regular basis can lead to an extremely painful and medically irreversible condition called Peripheral Neuropathy.

A study was done in 2017 on this and according to the result from the study, peripheral neuropathy is linked to people who do not wear the right size of shoes.

This is not written to scare you, but rather to call your attention to the importance of wearing shoes that fit perfectly and to also inform you of the damage you are doing to your feet if you keep wearing tight shoes.

If you experience pain in your foot whenever you wear a particular shoe or you notice that your toenails are bruised or there are calluses or skin irritations, these are common signs that that particular shoe is too tight for your foot.

Do not waste time trying to find the benefits of wearing tight shoes – there is none anyway – when you can spend that time shopping for the right size of shoes.

How to tell if your shoes are the right fit

Is It Better for Shoes to Be Tight or Loose

A lot of times, people buy the wrong size of shoes because they do not know the actual size of their feet and this makes them not know how a shoe should rightly fit on their leg.

Basically, to know when a shoe is rightly fitted, you need to look at how much space the toe of the shoe has.

Ideally, there should be one finger’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Just make sure there is enough space for your finger to fit snugly.

If you do not have that much room for your finger, then you know it is too tight. If you have that space and more, then maybe you need to go half a size lower.

Another easy way to quickly know if a shoe is rightly fitted is to stick a finger between the heel of your foot and the heel of the shoe.

If your finger slides in and fits snugly then you have just the right size.

However, if you are unable to get your fingers in then you should go a size or half higher because they will surely be too tight.

Also, if your fingers go in but there is still more space, then you might need to go a size or half lower.

Both methods are sure to quickly help you identify a shoe that fits right on your feet, although they may not apply all the time.

So, asides from the earlier mentioned methods, another way to know if a shoe fit is to actually wear it. Yes, your finger might fit in snugly but you still end up having a tight or loose shoe.

Therefore, here is a guide to help you spot that right shoe:

  1. Firstly, shop in the afternoon. This is because your feet are always smaller in the morning but by afternoon, would have expanded to their highest possible size.
  2. Secondly, take a pair of socks along. This is so that you will know how the shoes fit with socks on. If the shoes are tight when you wear a sock then you should go for one that feels comfortable with or without socks on.
  3. Thirdly, walk around in the shoes. Do not just wear the shoe and assume they fit. You need to walk around with the shoes so you can know if you feel tightness anywhere or if your foot glides when walking.

Trust me, if you try any of these methods, you will never end up with tight or loose shoes again.

How much room should you have in the toe of your shoe?

You can easily determine if a shoe is the right fit or wrong fit by looking at how much room the toe of a shoe has. If you wear a tight shoe, you are bound to feel pain in your toes because of the little room present in the toe area.

The big question now is, how much room should a shoe have for the toes? How do you know if a shoe has enough room for your toes?

According to some studies, the recommended space that your toes should have in any shoe is 10 – 12mm (0.39 – 0.47 inches), however, they emphasized that this is dependent on the toebox shape and the width of the shoe.

If we are to go by this recommendation then we would need to carry a tape rule with us to measure accurately.

In more relatable terms, all your toes need is enough space to wiggle in so you do not develop blisters or calluses. To therefore determine how much room is enough room, use the “rule of thumb”.

This rule of thumb is simply you fitting your thumb between the tip of your toes and the end of the shoe. If your thumb can not fit in the space, then there is not enough room for your toes.

Are shoes supposed to be tight at first?

A lot of people think it is normal for shoes to feel tight at first, so they go ahead to buy shoes that are tight thinking they will stretch over time. If you are one of these people, then it is high time you stopped that habit.

Your shoe shouldn’t be tight at first. If a shoe is tight at first, then it will most likely remain tight forever. Do not buy tight shoes with the hope that they will become fit in the future because that will not happen.

When you are in a store to get new shoes, walk in them to be sure that they feel comfortable and not tight.

The ball of your feet should fit comfortably into the widest part of the shoe and your heel should have the minimum of all friction with the heel of the shoe. With these measures, you are able to avoid buying shoes that are tight.

Shoes that are supposed to be tight at first are shoes that are small for you. Shoes that are your right size and fit would feel comfortable at first wear and even at the hundredth wear.

The tightness of a shoe, no matter how little, is a warning that you should not ignore. Once that new shoe feels tight, put it back on the rack and look for a better one.

How to know your right shoe size

This has to be the biggest headache of many people buying shoes. Without proper guidance, finding a shoe that fits perfectly can be a herculean task.

A lot of people do not know their accurate shoe size so they end up buying shoes that are either too tight or too loose.

This is why we have decided to help you with the two steps to take to know your right shoe size;

The first step to knowing your shoe size is to measure your feet.

Walk into a shoe store and get the measurement of your feet which must include length, breadth, and arch length. It is recommended that you do this at least twice a year.

Look out for a shoe that’s the size of your feet

The next step after getting the accurate measurements is to use a sizing chart to look out for a size that is exactly the same measurement as your feet.

You might want to be careful here though, as men and women use different sizes and many countries have a unique sizing method. Find the sizing method for your country and ensure that you are looking at the sizes for your particular gender.

For example, a man with feet that measures 9.6 inches in length and 2.6 – 4.2 inches in width is a size 7 (according to the US sizing method) or a size 40 (according to the EU sizing method).

A woman with feet that measures 8.5 inches in length and a width between 2.8 inches and 4.1 inches is a size 5 (according to the US sizing method) or a size 35-36 (according to the EU sizing method).

Getting the right size for your shoe is not a problem. Measure your feet and compare them with the sizing chart!


Shoes are more than just fashion items. They play a major role in our well-being and it is important that we use the best ones if we want to be healthy.

Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight or too loose by measuring your feet to know the correct size of a shoe to be bought.

The fitter your shoes, the more comfortable your feet feel and the better your wellbeing.


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