If I'm looking for new kicks, I skip over the Asics completely as I can barely get my instep in the shoe to even start. A narrow toe dress shoe? Forget about it! I look like one of the wicked stepsisters trying to get my foot into the glass slipper.
So what about referee and umpire shoes? Fortunately, for most non-plate shoes, so that's turf and court, we're in pretty good shape. Reebok, New Balance, 3n2 and Official Footwear are all good for the most part. (at least for guys - had to put that in there or would get grief from the ladies who truly have fewer options)
Where it's a little dicey is with plate shoes. Why? By nature, plate shoes are hard. And hard is the opposite of inflexible. So if you have a foot like mine, a hard shoe is not going to give my big ol' foot the flexibility it needs to stretch out a little. For me, I'd be sizing up a 1/2 size or a 2E width if I could.
CONSIDER SIZING UP 1/2 SIZE ON PLATES OR WHEN IN DOUBT
Combine this info with the fact that you typically will be buying online, we always suggest that as a rule you consider sizing up a 1/2 size for plate shoes. It's sort of like a belt. If you are a size 34 waist, you get a size 36 belt. You don't rant and rave about it. It is a little odd, yes, but that's just the way it is. Besides, if you are a 34 waist you really have nothing to complain about, right?
So can you get by with your size in plate shoes? Certainly. You know your foot better than I do so we'll let you choose. We'll keep making that suggestion though for you to think about it. If you normally have no problem fitting into any shoe in your size, you'll probably be ok. If you know some shoes just don't fit right in your size, sizing up a 1/2 size on the plates as it's a good safe bet. And regardless of whether it's shoes or shirts or pants, "size up when in doubt" is our motto.
On the plate shoes scale, New Balance is narrowest and Reebok is about right and 3n2s normally aren't an issue. So balance the shoe your considering with knowledge about your feet when making this decision.
NEW BALANCE TURF SHOES NARROWER
The only exception on turf shoes is that the New Balance MF995s do run more narrow than other turf shoes. I could chalk it up to the synthetic upper, which gives less than leather, but we have other shoes with synthetic uppers that are roomier (e.g. 3n2 turfs and Official Footwear patent leathers).
Ok I'm not sure if I've given any good information yet, so I'll try harder. When you get your shoes, we recommend the following:
- Try them on at the end of the day when your feet are largest. Your feet swell after you've been on them, and there's a good chance you're game is later in the day or at night so this is probably most often overlooked.
- Try them on both feet as it's been said that some have one foot bigger than the other. I don't know the research on this, but if you are a person with this condition, then I suppose you'll know it and try-on accordingly. For those of you who don't know who the "Big Foot" is down there, then simply trying on both will cover your bases.
- Do so with socks you will wear with the shoes as sock thickness can make a big difference. Ok, I know you know that but had to say it anyway.
- And lastly, check the following:
-Do you have the necessary small amount of space between the "toe" of the shoe and your big toe?
-Does your foot stay in and not slip at the heel with shoes tied?
-Does the ball of your foot fit comfortably at the shoe's widest spot?
-And optional for umpires: Do these shoes look sexy with my shin guards?
Shoes too big? If your shoes are too small or slip out of your shoes, besides trying another size or style, consider an extra pair socks and/or heel cups first.
Shoes too small? If you can't get all of your assigned games scheduled for the morning when your feet are smaller, you'll want a new size or style.
In the meantime, we'll be adding at ump-attire.com sizing information on whether a shoe is true to size (or other) on each of our shoe's respective product pages as we continue to make your shopping experience a more satisfying one. Find it just under their product description within a day or two of this post.
Note for Women: We continue to encourage manufacturers to make smaller sizes. We sincerely apologize that we have fewer options for many of you.
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