Dress Shoe Size vs Sneakers – You Should Know the Differences

It is quite normal to get confused between dress shoe size and sneakers size. Should you just sneakers with your dress shoes size? Or are they different in size? Yeah, so confusing, so disturbing.

But don’t worry; we are here to provide you with a solution and answer your questions. This article will discuss every detail of ‘Dress Shoe Size Vs Sneakers.” 

Dress shoe size and sneakers are often so close, but they are not the same.

If you normally wear sports shoes or running shoes or sneakers and want to buy a pair of dress shoes according to your running shoe size, the dress shoes will run bigger for you. As sneakers have thicker padding, they are tighter than normal dress shoes.

Dress Shoe Size Vs Sneakers – A Quick Rundown

Dress shoe size and sneakers size are not the same. Sneakers run bigger than normal dress shoes. Let’s see precisely in which places they differ. 

Key featuresDress ShoesSneakers
Footbed SmallerBigger 
WidthNarrowerLarger than dress shoe
SpaceDon’t have extra space for thick socksHave enough space for thicker socks

Dress Shoe Size Vs Sneakers – Explained!

We learned that dress shoe size runs a bit smaller than sneakers. You may ask, why are they not the same in size? You may also wonder how they are different in size and want to know in detail. Let us explain.

How is Dress Shoes Size Different from Sneakers Size?

dress shoe size vs sneakers

One of the important reasons for the differences in sizes between sneakers and dress shoes is that most dress shoe brands heavily rely on their lasts.

The construction process and the material are different from dress shoes and sneakers.

Moreover, many lasts of varying shoe brands also fit long enough, so if you want to get the perfect size for the dress shoes, you have to play with various sizes, lengths, and widths.

The structure of our feet is three-dimensional. Not only width and length, but also other parts of the feet like the arch height, shape, and heel width also matter. The manufacturer of the lasts designed them like a structure of human feet.

The structure of the lasts is created with metal, and the manufacturer designed them by averaging more than 35 individual feet sizes. So, it lasts, which provides the dress shoes structural integrity, and when you wear the shoes, this structural integrity helps shape your shoes perfectly, preventing your toes and heels from getting crushed.

In dress shoe manufacturing, there are various kinds of lasts to accommodate various types of fit like a snug fit, relaxed feet, etc. Meanwhile, lasts are also used in sneaker manufacturing but their primary purpose is to give a mere structure to the sneaker and nothing else.

Should Running Shoes or Athletic Sneakers be Size Bigger than Dress Shoes?

Should Running Shoes or Athletic Sneakers be Size Bigger than Dress Shoes

Obviously, the running shoes or sports sneakers should be a bit bigger than dress shoes.

First of all, it depends on the padding. Sports shoes have thick padding inside them. On the other hand, regular dress shoes do not have thick padding; they only have a soft and slim lining inside. So they require a smaller place than sneakers.

Secondly, you wear thick socks with sneakers. So, the sneakers have extra room for thick socks also. The size of the sneakers must be bigger than normal dress shoes. You do not wear thick socks with dress shoes, do you?

According to a research report made by a reviewer, around 40% of consumers intend to buy sneakers a half size bigger than the normal dress shoes. Around 30% of consumers intend to buy sneakers a full size bigger than the normal dress shoes. 

That means a total of 70% of consumers agree that sneakers should be bigger than regular dress shoes.

Dress shoes normally run true to their sizes. True size means measurement according to the Brannock size. According to Brannock, the three essential features of your shoes, mean Length, arch length, and width, have been measured.

So the summary is, because of thick padding, better cushioning, and obviously, having extra room for thick socks, sneakers run a half or almost a full size bigger than regular dress shoes.

Do You Size Down for Dress Shoes?

Do You Size Down for Dress Shoes

Now, the question is should you size down for dress shoes?  Compared to sneakers, dress shoes should be a bit smaller.

There are two categories of sneakers. Casual sneakers and athletic sneakers. Casual sneakers do not have thick padding, they just have thin rubber soles but athletic sneakers do have thick padding or midsole.

Sizes of dress shoes depend on their brands and their manufactured lasts. For example, let’s use the brand name Allen Edmonds for dress shoes and use the brand name keds for sneakers. They produce shoes according to the exact sizes.

When it comes to Width, the sizing of Allen Edmonds dress shoes and keds sneakers do not differ much. Most of the dress shoe brands are true to the Brannock size. So you should not size it down for dress shoes. It is sneakers; you should size up half or full when you buy them.

But if you are more familiar with your sneakers size, then yes! You need to size it down half or full. For example, if your sneakers size is 11 in Vans, maybe size 10.5 will be perfect for your Allen Edmonds dress shoes.

Tips to Get the Proper Size and Fit of Dress Shoes

Tips to Get the Proper Size and Fit of Dress Shoes

To find the right fit in dress shoes is a little bit trickier as it mostly depends on the trial approach and hit. 

We came up with some tips you may follow to get the proper fit for dress shoes:

  1. Check if your heels are comfortable in shoes or not. If they slip in your shoes, then it is not perfect fitting.
  2. Make sure that there is some space between the front side of your shoes and the end side of your shoes.
  3. Don’t buy too-tight shoes.
  4. When you are trialing, try to extend your foot and see if it seems too tight or not. There should be a little space even when your foot is fully extended.

What to Do When You are Shopping Online?

What to Do When You are Shopping Online

You may feel reluctant to buy shoes online for this confusing size variation.

It should not be like that. Follow your Brannock size when you are buying dress shoes. And just add a half or full size when you are buying sneakers.

Even after this, if you shop from Amazon and find any problem, you can easily return your product. So, feel free to buy shoes online. Here are some cool product recommendations you may like.

Dress ShoeSneakers
Allen Edmonds Men’s Park AvenueTo shop Click HereAdidas Women’s Grand Court SneakerTo shop Click Here
Clarcks Men’s Tilden Cap Oxford ShoeTo shop Click HereSteve Madden Men’s Fenta Fashion SneakerTo shop Click Here
Cole Haan Men’s Lenox Hill Split-Toe OxfordTo shop Click HereSuperga Women’s 2750 Cotu Classic SneakerTo shop Click Here
Naturalizer Women’s Michelle PumpTo shop Click HerePUMA Men’s Roma Basic SneakerTo shop Click Here
Clarks Women’s Linvale Jerica PumpTo shop Click HereLugz Men’s Stagger Lo SneakerTo Shop Click Here


  • How do I know my dress shoe size?

Take a piece of paper, keep your foot on it, and stand your heel against the wall; you should measure your feet. Measure them gradually. First of all, call someone to help you, and allow him to trace the outline of your foot. You guys can use a pen or pencil to mark the outline. Then by using a ruler, measure the widest and longest part of the outline. Measurement should be both in inches and centimeters.

  • Are sneakers true to size?

Compared to dress shoes, sneakers are not the same in size. You should buy sneakers a half or full-size up.

  • How should I size my sneakers?

Usually, the 2 feet are not the same in size. One is larger than the other, so measure the larger one when you measure your size. And buy sneakers according to the larger foot.

Take Away

We discussed the differences between dress shoe size and sneakers size. We learned how they differ, why they differ, and many more. We hope this article on “Dress Shoe Size Vs Sneakers” helped you to clarify your confusion, and now you know which size will fit you better when you buy a pair of dress shoes or a pair of sneakers.

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