Should Sandals Be A Size Bigger?

Shoe sizes vary depending on their style, and that can be really frustrating. You may fit into a smaller size sneaker but need a larger sandal option. You have come to the right place because we have done our research. Let's get this question answered, so you'll know how to size sandals.

Your sandals should be a size or half size bigger than your normal shoe. The reasoning behind this is solely due to the fact your heels and toes are exposed versus being fitted into a closed shoe. Regular shoes have a constricting effect on your feet, while sandals allow feet to extend fully. It's always better to have a little extra wiggle room than to have your toes pouring over your shoes. 

Please stay with us as we provide you insight into sandal sizing. Sandals are tricky when it comes to how they fit your foot, and proper sizing ensures they will be comfy after purchasing when you bring them home. Every foot is different, as are sandal styles, so we'll take a look at all the considerations.

A woman's feet in yellow stylish summer sandals with dark nail polish, Should Sandals Be A Size Bigger?

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Typical Sandal Sizing

Here we have a pretty standard sandal that is being worn as a summer look paired with blue jeans. Even looking at these sandals might make you think this model could have gone up a half size bigger. You'll want to avoid your toes spanning out past the end or sides of the sandal when standing and walking. This makes for a very uncomfortable feeling and sloppy looking shoe.

Steve Madden Women's Travel Flat Sandal

These upscale sandals by Steve Madden give you a perspective about sizing and how you should measure yourself. To check these out on Amazon, click here.

Should flip flops be tight or loose?

When considering whether your flip flops should fit tighter or more on the loose side, there is some grey area. This depends on where and how you plan to wear your flip flops. Recent trends have actually seen flip flops take on a more luxurious look and style, so you may want to go with a tighter option. We would suggest sticking with a looser and more comfortable fitting shoe for those of you who may want some beachwear. It all comes down to the occasion and purpose for wear.

Tighter Fit

In this first example, we are showing you a more narrow and tight flip flop fit. These flip flops have that luxurious look to them and can be worn to more upscale events versus a looser and more casual design. You may want to still go up in size by a little, but these should snugly fit your foot.

LowProfile Rhinestone Flip Flops

Here are some upscale flip flops we found while searching the internet that is coming from the LowProfile store. These are advertised as casual beach sandals, but in our opinion, they are going to fall better into a fancy flip flop genre. Try pairing these with a cute dress or dress pant look. Follow this link to view these sandals on Amazon.

Looser Fit

In this next shoe example, we have a more casual and outdoor pair of flip flops for you to take a look at. Wearing this type of flip flop out at the pool or a family barbeque may be the way to go. These shoes are a rubber base and maybe more flimsy than a higher-end style.

Havaianas Women's Top Tiras Flip Flop Sandal

Here we have a casual Havaianas flip flop. These will be loose fitting and worn in more low-key settings than a luxury flip flop. See this product on Amazon here.

What do I do if my sandals are too big?

If you just received your sandals in the mail or are trying them on in person and they are too big, we suggest swapping them for a smaller size. If that is not an option for you, we will help you make this situation a little better. We found cool alternatives to completely ditching your oversized shoes. Here is our list of ways you can revive your oversize sandals:

  • Wear or insert a foot cushion to make your foot a little taller/wider.
  • Spray your shoes with water --allow drying completely before wearing --to shrink them.
  • Consult a shoemaker to alter your shoe.

This list is not foolproof but maybe a quick fix to a minor sizing issue. Most brands and stores take returns, so we always recommend checking their policies when buying shoes.

Are Nike sandals true to size?

When it comes down to Nike and their sandal sizes, we would say go up a size or two. Nike is known for making smaller sandal sizes, and from the reviews and forums we reviewed, this is not a rare occurrence. This may be a brand to be careful with when buying sandals and will take more extensive at home or in-store sizing.

Nike Sandals

Here we demonstrate a popular style of Nike sandals that will run a little smaller than usual. Make sure to choose a comfortable size so you will not have to go through the dreaded return process and can immediately rock your new sandals.

Nike Tanjun Sandal

This Nike Tanjun design has experienced a rise in popularity among younger buyers and is definitely trending during 2021. Follow this link to Amazon to check these shoes out.

Are Birkenstocks true to size?

Birkenstocks are a fan favorite when it comes to sandals and actually tends to be true to size as well. However, these sandals are a bit wider than other designs, which may take some time to get used to. Birkenstocks have been around forever and really don't go out of style or change sizing. These may be the perfect fit (literally) for you and your feet.


For those of you who may have no idea what we are talking about, here are Birkenstock sandals in all their glory. These sandals have an earthy vibe and can be considered much more durable than standard sandal designs. These are going to cost you anywhere from $25 to $100, depending on style and materials.

Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Essential Sandals

This unisex Birkenstock comes in various colors and is true to size. Follow this link to see these on Amazon.

Our Final Thoughts

Whether you are a sandal addict or simply eyeing a pair for the summer/spring months, size is everything. Your sandals will be your go-to shoe pick, so why not make sure they fit your foot perfectly? The cool thing about sandals is that they do not always have to be for the poolside. Maybe a fancier style is exactly what you need.

When it comes down to Nike or Birkenstock sandals, their sizes tend to differ. Nike does run smaller than typical sandals and needs to be paid a little more attention to pre-purchase. On the other hand, Birkenstocks have been true to size for decades and are a durable and wide foot option. Going with either of these branded shoes is bound to be a long-lasting and on-trend purchase.

You're already here, so why not check out these super helpful related articles?

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