The Correct Way to Find Your Shoe Size with Dr. McClanahan

Chances are at some point in your life, you have had your feet measured with the metal device you put your foot onto, called a Brannock device.  Dr. Ray McClanahan  advises us to stop using this method for measuring feet.  Instead, he offers a simple strategy to finding the right shoe size. Understanding how to have healthy feet means understanding how to choose footwear. 

natural foot shape

We all come into the world with a particular foot shape, with the widest part of the foot being the tips of the toes.  Most of you had feet that looked like this at birth.

Natural foot shape at birth

 So, your first baby shoe probably had the widest part at the tips of the toes, just like a natural baby foot.  JC Penney used to make shoes properly a long time ago, back in the 50’s, the widest part at the tips of the toes. But unfortunately, this only lasted about 2 years before people in America started fitting footwear based on the Brannock device.

The brannock device

This device will give you an overall length measurement of your foot and an overall arch measurement of your foot, which are good standards to achieve.  However, the problem with this device is that it is designed to fit fashion footwear. That’s something a lot of the public is not familiar with.

The Brannock device

How to measure shoe size

The third component of this device that is not helpful is that the width measurement is given at the ball of the foot.  Again, the natural human foot shape should be widest at the tips of the toes, not at the ball of the foot. We need to abandon the use of the Brannock device, which is purely for measuring shoe size for fashion footwear.  And instead, if your footwear has a removable insert, take this out in the store, stand on it and spread your toes.  If your whole foot is on top of the insert, that shoe will work well for you. It’s that simple!

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