Last Updated on November 14, 2023 by Martina McKeough
Do TOMS run true to size? Well if you look at various answers on the internet I noticed that lots of the information is currently out of date. So I thought it would be a good time to talk about the brand’s sizing and what you should expect from their shoes.
If you don’t know much about TOMS shoes they are a brand that is well known for their canvas shoes. They are also a brand that used to donate a pair of shoes to people in need for every shoe bought. At one point they had given away over 90 million shoes before it nearly sent the brand bankrupt. Now the brand donates a portion of its profits instead.
Whilst this is a worthy enterprise if you are buying a pair of TOMS shoes you are going to want to know do they run big or small. Here’s what sizing issues you can expect to find when you buy their shoes currently.
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Do TOMS Run Big Or Small?
The TOMS website under its sizing information actually states that “TOMS® Shoes run true to size and are available in medium width only.” However, this information is outdated and incorrect because I know that TOMS now sells wide-width shoes which you can buy on the UK section of their website.
Clearly, someone has never bothered to update the entire website which is going to leave customers confused about what size they need when buying TOMS shoes.
I also believe that whilst brands may have an opinion on how their shoes fit the people who buy a pair of TOMS shoes have different thoughts.
So do TOMS run small or do they feel too large? Well, the answer is it depends of course on the style of shoe but if we are talking about their standard canvas style Alpargata shoes you need to take into account:
- TOMS shoes are thin and narrow.
- The canvas the shoe is made from will stretch with wear.
- Whether you need to add orthotics to the shoes because of their lack of arch support.
Whilst the shoes generally are true to size if you have wide feet the thin and narrow design means that the medium-width are probably not going to fit properly if you buy your normal size.
Even if you do buy TOMS to fit your exact shoe size the canvas uppers stretch slightly with every wear which has led many shoe shops and online forums to recommend sizing down in the shoes so they fit properly.
How Do TOMS FIT?
Whilst the TOMS shoe brand believes its products run true to size its customers think otherwise particularly when it comes to their slip-on canvas shoes that have the think flexible soles.
The fact is that many customers have found that when they have bought their normal size shoes they have been too big. Sometimes this was immediately noticeable from when they were first put on but more frequently this occurred when their customers had worn the shoes for a while.
The fact is that the canvas uppers on TOMS shoes do stretch out with wear. So although a shoe may feel snug on your feet when you first put it on this can change after you have been wearing them for a month or so as the canvas fibres expand.
This means that if you are thinking of buying a pair of TOMS shoes it makes sense to size down at least a half or full size to get a good fit.
The key to this is making sure that when you size down you aren’t buying a pair of shoes that is so uncomfortable that it feels too uncomfortable to wear. Remember they should feel snug not cripple your feet!
You also need to make sure that the shoes you are buying are not on the loose side because as your feet stretch the shoes will become unwearable.
Whilst I am talking about their canvas shoes like the Alpargata style their other shoes may be truer to size. For example, their boots are known to run true to size so take this into account when you are investing in their new footwear.
Do TOMS Fit Wide Feet?
If you want to know do TOMS run true to size but you have wide feet then you are going to run into problems.
I own a pair of TOMS Alpargata shoes and I had to size up in the shoes because they are a narrow fit.
It doesn’t matter that the manufacturers call them medium width this is just a label. The fact is the shoes are long thin and narrow and that doesn’t necessarily work if you have wide feet.
I always believe that your shoe size isn’t static. It is something that changes with each brand and every design. Therefore I am a big believer in trying on a number of sizes to get the right fit rather than automatically ordering my normal size.
To get the benefit of comfortable shoes you may need to go up or down a full or half size depending on the width of your feet.
Wearing Orthotics Will Impact Your Sizing
If like me you have flat feet that need orthotics then this needs to be taken into account when you buy your shoes. I always bring my orthotics with me when I am shopping to make sure I get the right sizing.
Full orthotics can sometimes struggle in TOMS shoes because of the narrower toe-box. Therefore I tend to wear three-quarter length low-profile orthotics in shoes like these to support my feet.
If your orthotics are too thick it will impact the amount of room that you have in your shoes causing you to size up.
Do TOMS come in Wide?
Whilst the US TOMS website suggests that they only do medium-width shoes this doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. Clearly, their website data is incorrect because you can buy them on the UK site and on sites like Amazon.
You can buy the wide-width TOMS Alpargata shoes in a number of different sizes and colors.
The wider-width shoes are up to 1/2 inch wider than you would get with their standard medium-width shoe style.
Buying a wider-width shoe makes sense if you find that their ordinary styles are too narrow and you have to keep on sizing up. Sizing up can help in some cases however it means that the shoes may be too long for your feet to accommodate the wider fitting.
Wider-fitting shoes should be better for your feet and fit better in length and in width.
TOMS Sizing Charts
TOMS do have sizing charts that can help with sizing in different countries as well as helping you to determine shoe size in cm.
TOMS Sizing Charts - Women
TOMS Sizing Chart - Mens
As you can see there is little difference in men’s and women’s sizes when it comes to wearing TOMS shoes. The only difference is that the women’s shoes come in smaller sizes than the men’s shoes and the men’s shoes go up to a larger size.
There are no comprehensive shoe size charts to explain the differences between their wide-width shoes vs their medium-width brand.
Buying The Right Size – Helpful Tips
Getting the right size of TOMS and a comfortable fit is key so that you can enjoy wearing your shoes without any foot pain or discomfort.
If you are buying shoes in a store then I would always say do your shopping in the afternoon when your feet are slightly larger from standing up and walking around.
If you intend to wear socks with your TOMS bring a pair with you and the same with any orthotics or insoles so that you can judge the correct size.
Don’t be rushed by any assistants. Take your time and try on a variety of styles and sizes so that you get the correct fit. Don’t stick with your normal size. Try on sizes larger and smaller to see what suits your feet better.
TOMS shoes should be quite snug on your feet especially when they are brand new. Consider sizing up if you have wide feet or you are wearing orthotics to get the best fit.
If you are going to buy shoes online measure your feet to judge what size you need. Don’t be afraid to order a few sizes when buying TOMS online so that you can see what fits best when they arrive. Most stores don’t have a problem with you sending products back but you might find that they will charge for this service.
Breaking In Your Shoes
Generally, if you have bought the right size TOMS you are unlikely to need to do much breaking in to make them fit comfortably. However, there are some things you can do to break in your TOMS shoes if you need to.
If they are too snug you can check out my article on “Do TOMS Stretch?”This should give you some handy tips on what to do if you need a more comfortable fit and need to increase the size of the shoes slightly.
For ordinary breaking in of your shoes, the easiest way to do it is to wear a pair of thick socks with your TOMS shoes and wear them around the house for short periods of time. Build the time up that you are wearing them each day so that you gradually get used to the shoes as they mold to your feet.
Can you wear shoes without insoles? Well, you can but if you read my article it isn’t always the best choice if your shoes are too tight.
I know that despite getting shoes that fit I sometimes need to make adjustments to my shoes. This isn’t always about getting a better fit as sometimes I need more arch support or comfort to make my shoes feel comfortable.
Whilst thick socks can help with breaking your shoes most people tend to wear TOMS shoes in the summer months barefoot so this isn’t a great solution for comfort.
Instead, I tend to buy comfortable cushioned insoles or orthotics in my shoes. Usually, these can be slotted into my TOMS without the need to remove the existing insole so they just add another layer of comfort.
Whilst TOMS do have a cushioned insole it isn’t particularly deep especially when the shoes have flat soles as well. Getting another insole and slotting in inside can really make a difference to how comfortable they are.
Of course, adding insoles or orthotics takes up room inside the shoes so take that into account when you are buying your shoes.
What To Do If Your TOMS Are Too Big
As I mentioned earlier you can think that you have bought the right size of TOMS shoes only to find that they stretch over time and start to feel loose on your feet.
If this happens thicker cushioned insoles can reduce some of this extra space making your shoes more wearable.
When the additional insole trick doesn’t work you can try actively shrinking your TOMS but this can be a little bit hit-and-miss.
Washing them in hot water in a machine can help to shrink them as the fibers tighten. Alternatively, you could try and soak them in hot water for half an hour and then let them air dry.
Just be aware that using methods like a washing machine or a tumble dryer to shrink shoes can impact their integrity and call them to fall apart so only do this when you have no other options available.
Caring For Your Shoes
Finally don’t forget that caring for your shoes properly will prevent them from stretching on shrinking as well as help them to keep looking good for longer.
As many of TOMS shoes are made from canvas they can start to look shabby relatively quickly in comparison to leather shoes. It therefore makes sense for you to take basic precautions when you are wearing them.
Are canvas shoes waterproof? Well, I never wear mine when it is raining to avoid ruining my shoes. I also try and avoid walking anywhere where they are going to get too dirty. Stick with sidewalks and shopping malls rather than trying to hike in them!
Rain or snow for that matter is going to soak into the canvas uppers of these shoes really quickly. Whilst they can withstand the odd rain shower they are not designed for heavy rain.
I have an article you can read on how to clean TOMS shoes which can give you some tips on how to keep them clean and stop them from smelling.
I also spray mine with a shoe protector spray to help them repel dirt and to prevent them from marking. This keeps them looking good for longer. Also, remember to store them somewhere that is well ventilated and don’t pile your other shoes on top of them.
So do TOMS run true to size? As you can see getting the best shoe to fit your feet I believe it is more a case of trial and error. Don’t just pick your normal shoe size and hope for the best. Take your time to try on a number of different sizes, take into account the fact that they stretch and you should find a pair that works well for your feet.
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