Buying guide for Men’s Shoes

This article provides useful information to follow when shopping for men’s shoes. It examines topics like shoe designs, styles, material and sizes.

1. Men’s Shoes Parts

In this article, we will be referring to different parts of a shoe and it is important that you know what we are talking about. The following parts are common to most shoe designs.

buying guide: shoe parts

  • Upper: This is the part of the shoe that covers the top of our foot and ensure that the shoe stays attached to foot. The upper part generally consists of the Vamp as well as the Throat line and the Tongue depending on the design of the shoe.
  • Top Box or Cap: This is the part and area connecting the upper part of the foot to the toes.
  • Eyelets: These are the holes through which shoe laces are inserted.
  • Sole: The exterior part that covers the bottom of the foot and it joins up with the heel at the back of the foot. Also, refers to as outsole.
  • Heel: The heel is the back and bottom area of the shoe on which the back of the foot rest.
  • Welt: This is a strip of material that’s stitched between the sole and upper.
  • Insole: The interior bottom of the shoe on which the foot rest. It is sometimes removeable.
  • Lining: This refers to the inside part of the upper of the shoe. It may or may not be made of the same material as the upper.

2. What type of men’s shoes do I need?

It is important we start with why we need the shoe and what purpose it will serve. The purpose of the shoe will directly determine the kind of shoe you need to buy.

For example, athletic shoes are designed for specific and different sports such as running, walking, or other sports. Boots are typically designed for work or heavy outdoor use. Some shoes are designed to be worn at more formal occasions, and others are designed for casual wear. There are also special shoes such as the orthopedic shoes designed for individuals with specific foot problems and other special needs.

3. When best to buy a shoe

The best time to buy a shoe during the day is in the afternoon. Why you may ask? This is because your feet naturally expand with use during the day and may swell in hot weather. This will ensure that you pick a shoe for yourself that will be very comfortable for you no matter the time of the day.

4. Smell the Leather

If your desire is to buy men’s shoes made with quality and natural leather, then you need to know that such leather do not smell, but the artificial and synthetic ones do have peculiar smell. The only thing a leather should smell like is its own natural aromas or the polish. Any leather with perceivable chemical smell will not be a good leather. If it looks or feels like plastic or if it stays wrinkled when stretched or bent, avoid it. Such leather will eventually crack and will not last long.

5. Tryout the shoe: Stand and walk around

When trying out the shoe in the store, do not do so sitting down. Stand in the shoes. Make sure you have at least a quarter- to a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

You also need to walk around in the shoes to determine how they feel. Ask yourself. Is there enough room at the balls of the feet? Do the heels fit snugly, or do they pinch or slip off? Do not assume or listen to the sales attendant when they tell you that the shoes will stretch and become more comfortable with time. Find shoes that fit and are comfortable right from the start.

6. Do not completely rely on the printed shoe size

Be the real judge of the shoe comfort and fitting. Do not rely on the shoe size and description alone because this may vary across different shoe makers or manufacturers.

It is also important to measure your feet at least once every year. It has been proven that a person’s foot size will marginally change throughout his/her entire life.

7. Feel the insole and linings

Do not be fixated on the outer appearance and design of the shoe alone. Ensure that these parts (i.e. insole and linings) and other interior part of the shoe do not contain tags, seams, or other material that might irritate your feet or cause blisters. This is even more important if it is a shoe you intend to wear without socks.

Check the all stitching (if any) on the shoe too for quality, especially along the baseline, inside and out.

8. Test the sole

The sole is quite an important part of the shoe and its primary role should be protection. Check to be sure that the sole is strong enough to protect against sharp objects. Does it cushion your foot adequately? How does it feel on a hard surface? Does it deliver both safety and quiet or does it squeaks and slip? Insufficient sole friction with the floor or ground should be avoided.

9. Heels matter

According to, unless you are below 5 feet tall you should not be wearing heels that are much higher than 3cm or 1.2in.

10. Test for flexibility and strength

You can check out how flexible and strong a shoe is by grabbing both ends with your two hands and trying to bend it. When you do this, only the front third (i.e. from the Toe cap/box to the Throat line) should bend up. The rear two-thirds of the shoe should be strong and difficult to bend.

Still grabbing the ends of the shoe in each hand, try to twist it by rotating your hands in opposite directions and watch to ensure that it is not easily distorted when released. Press and squeeze the counter too to ensure that it is strong enough to support the heel.

11. Consider your wardrobe

Well this is straightforward. For example, when buying formal men’s shoes, it is appropriate to consider the colors of your belt as matching shoes and belts on formal wears delivers the best result.

12. Understand shoe sizes

Depending on where the shoe is made, the size system used will be different. Below are the common shoe size chart.

Men’s Shoes Size Conversions
US Sizes Euro Sizes UK Sizes Inches


6 39 5.5 9.25″ 23.5
6.5 39 6 9.5″ 24.1
7 40 6.5 9.625″ 24.4
7.5 40-41 7 9.75″ 24.8
8 41 7.5 9.9375″ 25.4
8.5 41-42 8 10.125″ 25.7
9 42 8.5 10.25″ 26
9.5 42-43 9 10.4375″ 26.7
10 43 9.5 10.5625″ 27
10.5 43-44 10 10.75″ 27.3
11 44 10.5 10.9375″ 27.9
11.5 44-45 11 11.125″ 28.3
12 45 11.5 11.25″ 28.6
13 46 12.5 11.5625″ 29.4
14 47 13.5 11.875″ 30.2
15 48 14.5 12.1875″ 31
16 49 15.5 12.5″ 31.8

13. Current shoe prizes

Men’s shoes prices vary depending on quality, design and brand. You can browse some online stores to get a fair idea of how much different types of men’s shoe goes for.  Please note that the prizes may vary depending on the brand or the maker.


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