You're probably wearing the wrong shoe size
Depending on who you believe, somewhere between 50-80% of all people are wearing the wrong size shoe. While there are many reasons for this, us retailers are partially at fault for this epidemic. The retail game has changed, so many places no longer fit their customers for shoes; either boxes with many sizes are left out or associates will just grab whatever size a customer asks for. All too often, customers are left attempting to understand how to measure their foot properly, generally without a proper measuring device. We aim to address this problem in our stores and Shoemobiles.
We always strive to measure every customer that comes into our stores, mobile or otherwise, this makes sure that we know what we are working with when we recommend shoes, and the customer is confident that we are striving to take care of them.
What you can do about it
In short, make sure your feet are measured. Most shoe stores will have something called a Brannock Device; you've probably seen these, a (usually) metal plank with lines designating a size. Many of these will also have a slider to measure your arch and a slider to measure the width of your foot.
Make sure you use these if available. Many times (especially in safety footwear!), your arch measurement means more than your toe. This is because your arch measurement determines where the shoe flexes at the outsole and on your toes. If your arch is too short, a steel toe cap or tight laces could cause you pain in your foot, if it is too long, it will cause your foot to slide around, which can damage the shoes and cause blisters.
If you don't have access to a Brannock device, there are some tips you can use to check fit. First, you should have room to move your toes freely; if you can't wiggle them, your shoes are too tight! Next, your laces should run parallel to one another in roughly straight lines, if they are touching, the shoe is too big, if they are spreading, they are too small. Third, there may be some heel slip in a new shoe, this can be because the soles are stiff when new. About a quarter inch of slip is generally acceptable, any more will cause premature wear of the lining of the shoes. Leather will stretch but do not rely on it, lower quality leathers or action leather will not stretch or may become weak when stretched.
Safety footwear MUST be fitted
One final point of conversation; Per OSHA, all PPE must be properly fitted, donned and doffed. This means that a trained person must make sure that your footwear fits correctly, just like a respirator or fall arrestors. This includes properly putting the shoes on (lace them up!) and taking them off (untie and don't kick them off!) Our trained personnel make sure that your footwear is fitting the way that it should to protect you and be comfortable.