This simple shoe shopping secret could be the answer to shoes that fit well right out of the box.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated March 28, 2019
Credit: Getty Images

Finding comfortable flat shoes or waterproof sneakers can be a matter of visiting the right stores, trying on dozens of shoes, and making a day out of shoe shopping. Or, like so many other efforts, success can all lie in the timing. Anyone who has ever tried on a pair of shoes in the store only to bring them home and realize they don’t fit that well at all knows the struggle of shoe shopping. But shoe shopping at the right time of day could fix all of that.

Late morning and early afternoon might be prime time to run errands, leaving the late afternoon and evening for relaxing and social engagements, but it’s certainly not the best time to go shoe shopping. According to a report from Harvard Medical School, feet naturally expand with use during the day.

Feet are a little larger at the end of the day than in the morning, so shopping for shoes too early in the day—before feet have had a chance to expand—can lead to purchasing shoes that are a little too tight. Shoes might fit differently in the evening than they do when tried on at a shoe store in the morning. Anyone looking for foot comfort (everyone, really) will want to be sure their new kicks are the right size all day long, even if that means they have a bit of wiggle room in the morning.

Like learning how to clean white shoes or figuring out how to spot produce that’s already past its prime at the grocery store, making shoe shopping so much more successful is simply a matter of applying a little practical knowledge—namely, when to head to the shoe store—to a recurring situation. Try it out to see if new shoe purchases fit better than previous ones, and your toes, heels, and ankles might thank you.

Of course, this shoe shopping secret doesn’t really apply to online shoppers or anyone hooked on clothes shopping apps. If trying on shoes isn’t involved, this little trick doesn’t have to be, either, so shop at will. If you plan to measure your feet to guarantee a good fit, though, consider pulling that measuring tape out near the end of the day to get the most accurate number.