How Sandals Should Fit

Authored by Adam Sherman

Sandals come in a wide variety of shapes, styles, sizes and colors. Sometimes finding the right fit can be a challenging task. They also seem to be the shoe type with the most specific designs all intended for different uses. From beach wear and all-day comfort to hiking, sandals are often designed with specific activities in mind.

No matter what you’re hoping to use your next pair of sandals for, it is vital that you take the time to find the perfect fit. According to the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, between 63 and 72% of the population wears the wrong size shoe. It’s a common problem not to be underestimated.

Therefore, to assist you in this task, we will be exploring in this article the different factors to consider when looking for the right sandal fit.

Support Equals Comfort

The number one benefit that any sandal worth your money and time should possess is an adequate amount of support. Without the proper support, your sandals will be uncomfortable and likely to cause rubbing. This will ultimately mean a waste of money on a pair of shoes that you never want to wear.  

Sandals that don’t promote good arch support can result in bad posture. This can be a major cause of problems later on. Luckily, there are many quality, comfortable sandals on the market today. They always include features designed to give good arch support and protect you against associated arch-related issues.


You should always make sure that any sandal that you consider includes a fair amount of support. Look specifically for a pair of shoes that includes a cushioned sole. Cushioning the ball of the feet is an excellent way to relive the pressure from being on your feet all day or for a prolonged period of time. It also helps alleviate the stress put on your feet when you have fallen arches.

Picking a pair of shoes made with cork materials is also extremely helpful to prevent foot-related conditions. Indeed, cork footbeds are elastic and can therefore easily conform to the shape of your foot, for providing maximum comfort. They’re also useful in absorbing impacts from walking, jumping or running relieving the tension on your joints. All these features can lead to a significant increase in comfort. You’re also less likely to develop any issues if wearing these types of shoes regularly.

Consider the Size of the Sandal’s Sole When Considering Fit

When it comes to buying sandals in your size only to find your toes extending over the edge of the shoe, we’ve all experienced this frustrating problem.

Considering that each brand of sandals can have their own uniquely sized sole, it can be difficult to determine exactly what size is the best fit for you. It is for this reason that you should never settle on a pair of sandals without making note of the size of the sandal’s sole.

Make sure to note that the sandal’s sole extends slightly past the width and length of your foot. When in doubt, try it on! If you are purchasing your sandals online, make sure the website has a generous return policy.

While it can take time to break in a new pair of sandals and really get a feel for how well they will conform to the shape and size of your foot, you can at least make sure that the sole won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable.

Take the Thickness of the Sandal’s Sole Into Account

Another thing you can do to make sure the sandal’s sole is the best choice for you is closely examining the sole’s thickness. Depending on what you need the sandals for, this can turn out to be a critical factor.  

For example, if you’re looking for a high-quality hiking sandal that can sustain a high level of activity in the outdoors, you should consider a sandal like the Napali Hiking Sandal.

This hiking sandal is a great example of all the things you should expect from a quality hiking sandal. This sandal features a wide range of options to protect the soles of your feet from any potentially harmful objects you might step on when spending time outdoors.

One of these features includes a thick, EVA foam midsole which offers arch support and impact absorption. This will ensure that your feet are comfortable no matter the terrain and your joints, ligaments and bones are protected. The fully adjustable straps are also a great feature as they allow for customized fit to each foot. This will in turn provide comfort and help support your feet, legs and back while you’re exploring a new spot or hiking on your favorite mountain. Besides, having adjustable straps means they can accommodate any foot size, narrow or wide. That way, no more inadequate soles and shoes that don’t fit!

Pay Attention to Heel Height

High-heeled sandals might be all the rage and while those few extra inches of heel height may seem harmless, it can actually harm your foot and the rest of your body very much.

Similarly, to regular close-toed heels and platform shoes, high-heeled sandals force your foot into an unnatural position. This downward positioning can have very harmful and permanent effects on your foot with prolonged wear. This risk is due to an increase of pressure on already sensitive areas such as the calf or the ankle. High-heeled sandals can even be attributed to the development of foot issues.

It goes without saying that another con of high-heeled sandals is the risk of injury. While the high-heeled sandal may be stylish, you can run the risk of falling, twisting an ankle, or worse all in the name of fashion. Probably not worth the risk, is it? Luckily, there are a variety of sandals on the market that are designed to ensure comfort without sacrificing aesthetic appeal.

One example of a fashion-forward sandals without a heel are the Arenal Wedge Flip Flop Sandals. These gorgeous shoes can provide you with that little bit of extra height that make high-heeled sandals so attractive without the inconvenience and threats other fashionable sandals carry.


Indeed, with the Arenal Wedge Flip Flop sandal you get that extra bit of height without forcing your foot into a potentially harmful downward position. They also feature beautiful crisscross straps that are stylish and appropriate for any event from casual to slightly more formal. There’s even a variety of colors to choose from so you can find a great fitting sandal without compromising your love for fashion. No matter your outfit, there’s an Arenal Wedge Flip Flop sandal to match it 😉

Sandal Strap Length and Fit Also Matter

One of the most important tests in the hunt for the best fitting sandals is finding the proper strap length and fit. While many of us tend to overlook the sandal’s straps, they provide one of the most important functions of a well-fitting sandal.

Before shopping around for sandals, you should be aware of the various types of straps you’re likely to come across: quarter straps, forefoot straps and ankle straps. You may have never questioned the difference in these strap types or given much thought to the differences between them. It’s important to note, however, that each type of strap will mean a different method of sizing. It is likely that you may be one more shoe size in a shoe with ankle straps than you are in comparison to forefoot strap sandals.

Quarter Strap Sandals


Let’s start off with discussing how you can find the proper fit in a quarter strap sandal. It is important to pay attention to the positioning of a quarter strap as well as the overall snugness of the shoe on your foot.

A quarter strap should always be positioned perpendicularly to your heel as this will allow for maximum amount of comfort and support. It is also especially important that the length of the quarter strap isn’t too short and isn’t too long when you try the sandal on.

The quarter strap sandal is also designed to have a looser fit than the other strap types and you shouldn’t assume that the sandal doesn’t fit properly if your heel rises above the sandal’s footbed as you walk.

Quarter straps are meant to be looser fitting because of the positioning of the straps. Considering these straps wrap around the ankle at the top and then extend down the length of your heel, tightening the straps too snugly can restrict blood flow and even cause swelling. It is always a good idea for a sandal to be slightly looser than too tight and this is especially true in the case of a quarter strap sandal.

Forefoot Strap Sandals


With a forefoot ankle strap sandal, you are allowed a bit more room for a snugger fit. At the same time, you should always make sure that the strap isn’t so tight. It shouldn’t be strapped too tightly against your skin as this can also restrict blood flow and cause some pretty nasty blisters.

Ankle Strap Sandals


An ankle strap sandal should fit comfortably around the curve of the heel. These sandals typically have adjustable straps that can be loosened or tightened to the wearer’s preference. It is best practice to tighten an ankle strap just enough to allow around an inch of the strap left after securing the sandal with a buckle. This will reduce the chances of foot swelling and will provide maximum comfort.

How to try on sandals

You might think you know how to try on a pair of sandals and tell whether they fit or not but you’d better be sure as wearing inadequate shoe sizes can lead to a very uncomfortable fit. To help you understand how to try on sandals so you know whether they fit or not, we’ve listed below some tips:

Try them on barefoot. This seems obvious but some people try sandals with socks on which, unfortunately, doesn’t give an accurate insight into how well the sandal fits.

Flex your feet to see whether they will be easy to break in. Brand new shoes can cause blisters and discomfort so if you feel the material won’t be easy to break in, this might not be the right pair of sandals for you.

Adjust the straps and make sure you heel doesn’t stick out at the back and your toes don’t overhang at the front. If that’s the case they’re too small. Straps shouldn’t dig in any part of your foot. Similarly, make sure that your foot can’t move and that it feels secured. Straps should provide stability and comfort.

As we walk, our feet tend to swell a bit so make sure your feet don’t feel squashed once you’ve buckled the straps. This is particularly true during the summer months as our veins expand in order to cool our feet down. Therefore, you should allow for a bit of extra room.

Walk around and see how you feel when wearing them. They shouldn’t slide when you move your feet and nor should they constrict your feet.

Find the Right Sandal For You

No two feet are exactly alike and there is no sandal that is a best fit for everyone. To find the most success in choosing the right fit, consider what is most important to you in a comfortable, supportive sandal. When identifying the features, you require in a sandal, consider the factors we’ve discussed here and apply them in your search.

We wish you the best of luck in finding the right fitting sandal for you. Happy shopping!

Reviews (2 comments)

  • Lewis On

    Man, I’ve had sooo many blisters thanks to the wrong fitting sandals. I also hike pretty frequently and sometimes hiking boots feel too restrictive. Maybe I should consider a pair of hiking sandals? I’ll use these tips to try to find the right fit for sure though. So.. many… blisters.

  • Martina On

    Oh, the things us girls will do for fashion LOL. I’ve spent so many years doing serious damage to my feet because of high heels. I’ve recently started wearing wedge sandals instead. Once I found the right fit, I was upset with myself for wearing anything else up to that point! The Arenal Wedge Flip Flop sandal looks like my style. I’m going to check it out.

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