How to Buy a Pair of Different Sized Shoes [Where to Get Them]

Where and How to Buy Different Size Shoes

Spring is in full tilt, and that means that it is time to shop for some new sneakers. While shopping might be easy for some, others need special attention. For example, do you know what a split-size shoe is?

Where and how do you buy different-sized shoes? You can buy ‘split-size‘ or shoes that come in different sizes, at most major retailers. They can also be found online.

The world of shoes for those with different-sized feet can be daunting. No worries! Keep reading, and the information found in this article will lead you down the right path.

Can You Buy Two Different Sized Shoes?

A small part of the population has an illness or injury which means they must buy two different sized shoes. Split size shoes are not only available, certain sites sell strictly split sizes. There are places all around the internet, and some local stores, that allow you to buy different sized shoes or split sizes. 

Where to Buy Different Sized Shoes

If you have to shop for split-sized shoes, there are some companies out there that cater to you. All it takes is a bit of digging on the internet, and you will find that your split size options weren’t as limited as you think. The significant places to search for split size shoes are:

  1. Nordstrom
  2. Birkenstock
  4. L. L. Bean
  5. One Shoe Bank
  7. National Odd Shoe Exchange



The good people at Nordstrom offer multiple ways to buy split-size shoes. The only restriction is that the shoes have to be within a size and a half of each other.

  • In-Store – When shopping inside Nordstrom, all you have to do is find the sales attendant and inform them that you need a split size shoe. The associate will take the shoe and sizes that you need and do an internal company swap. Somewhere out in the wide world of Nordstrom, shoes are looking for mates. 
  • Online – When using, there are a few differences. What you need to do is buy a pair of each size you need and return the unused shoes. They provide free shipping for the returns, and money for the extra pair will be credited to your account. 
  • One Shoe – If you only need one shoe, the process is the same. The pricing will reflect only one shoe and will be added to your account.


berkinstock sandals

Birkenstock (store link) is known for making durable, comfortable shoes that people love to wear. Though mostly sandals and clogs, Birks are one of those brands that have instant recognition. They have an excellent split-size program that comes with some exciting qualifications.  

  • Cork Bottom – Birkenstock sandals that have a cork bottom that makes them comfy and well-fitting. For cork bottom shoes, you must specify which size shoe needs to be adjusted, within a full-size difference, and order the larger size.
  • Closed Toes – A significant aspect of the Birkenstock split size program is the donations. When ordering, get a pair of each size you need. You will get a 40% discount on the second pair. When the shoes make it back to Birkenstock, they will donate them to a person in need. A classy move by Birkenstock.
  • One Shoe – If you only need a single shoe, Birkenstock has something for that too. When ordering, there will be a 40% discount applied to the individual shoe.

Healthy feet store

The Different Sized Feet program at Healthy Feet only allows a discount on the second pair of shoes that you buy. The discount is deep, but you have to talk with the company (article) over the phone to be able to access it. Take the time and contact the company if you have any issues with the discount. It can be tricky. 

4.L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean boots drying in front of the fire

L. L. Bean’s program is also quite interesting. In any 1/2 size and width, and 1 1/2 sizes for women, you can get the split shoe you need. What makes it interesting is the 1.5 times price policy. When you buy a split size, they only charge you 1.5 times the price of a single shoe.

A color match must be made before shipping, which requires both sides of the shoe to be in stock. You’ll need to contact the company (store) to get your odd size shoe order.

5.One Shoe Bank

one shoe bank

One Shoe Bank is a Nike program that is for amputees or specific split-size customers. The cool part about One Shoe Bank is that it is free. Nike ships from their distribution center in Memphis, Tennessee, free of charge, across the United States.

Profits from the corporation fund the program, along with some heavy-duty fundraisers. You can contact Nike to order from their one-shoe inventory of shoes, although they may not have everything you’re looking for. Call 1-800-344-6453 to ask about available shoes. 

6.Odd Shoe

odd shoe finder

Odd Shoe Finder (website) is an essential place to search for odd shoes on the internet. They list the split size numbers right on the item listing. Which is something none of the other companies is doing. Odd Shoe Finder is a kind of mixed bag of shoes and accessories but is a valuable place to find the shoe you are looking for. 

7.National Odd Shoe Exchange

National Odd Shoe Exchange

The National Odd Shoe Exchange is a privately funded charity (website) that offers one shoe and split-size shoes to qualified people. It was founded in Ohio to help survivors of polio, and they ship new shoes across North America. 

Can You Buy One Shoe?

one shoe option

If you are an amputee with a lower leg amputation, it may be hard to find a single shoe. No worries, there are places all across the internet that can help you out. Can you buy just one shoe? Yes, there are several sites, like Zappos, that offer a single shoe option. Visit this Link for more information.

Today there is virtually no shoe that a person with disabilities can’t acquire. Just like with some split-size companies, the number of charities that make shoes free and affordable are numerous.

How To Buy Shoes

It is no secret that almost any store or web page can lead you to a pair of shoes. But what do you do when you are looking for specifically-purpose footwear? When it comes to buying shoes, there are three primary schools of thought. They are:

  1. Quality
  2. Comfort
  3. Online


quality shoes

Buying for quality is a generally straightforward process. In this school of thought, you buy the best-made shoe (article) believing that its quality will make it last longer or function better. It involves:

  • Name brand – You can’t go wrong with a name brand shoe. The companies that have built the name take pride in delivering a product that is durable and stylish. Also, using a more mainstream company gives you the option to search for flaws before the purchase. 
    • Customer reviews on pages should not be ignored. These more well-known companies can have customer reviews dating back to the initial release of the shoe you are looking for.
  •  Examine the soles – When you pick up a pair of shoes off the rack, look at the bottoms first. Checking for faults in the glue or binding that connects the boot to the sole is a surefire way to spot flaws. If the base isn’t solid, the shoe will come apart faster. 
    • Please note that if you have high arches or have foot mobility issues that the sole is an essential part of any footwear.
  • Foot support – Once you have checked the sole, you should move to the inside of the shoe. You should look at the insole to determine if your foot is given enough cushion and support. Most shoes come with a molded insert that will provide some relief for sagging arches and plantar fasciitis.
    • A large portion of the population might need extra support for the Achilles tendon or a recovering ankle injury. 
  • Seams – Move on to check the seams on the outside of the shoe. These seams attach the upper boot to the sole and insole. If the lines are uneven, or worse yet loose or missing, the shoe will fail over time much faster.
    • When you move, there’s a moderate amount of torsion and impact on your feet. These seams keep your foot inside the shoe in case there is slippage.  
  • Heel – The last spot to check is the heel. Humans walk with a heel-to-toe motion. This motion makes the heel of your shoe one of the most critical parts. A comfortable heel usually has a wealth of padding between foot and ground so you can walk for long distances.
    • For style, pick a heel that provide cushion and support. A secure heel, the wider toe box is helpful for proper bio mechanical movement (article). 

2. Comfort

Sport shoes, measuring shoe

The most considerable aspect of shopping for comfort (article)is measuring. As your feet swell and return to size during the day, it can make your shoes feel cramped. An incorrect measurement will make all your shoes feel that way. The way the foot works can make it larger or smaller, depending on:

  • Time of Day
  • Socks
  • Professional Measurement
  • Toe Gap
  • Take a Stroll
  • Time of Day – Shopping for comfortable shoes should be done in the afternoon to allow for swelling of the feet to commence. Half a day of being up on your feet can cause excess blood to pool in the foot, which means that when you measure your feet, you will get different measurements at different times of the day. When you go later in the day, you buy a shoe that is capable of fitting when your foot is at its most swollen.
  • Socks – The type of sock you wear will determine the comfort of your shoe. A bigger sock will mean less room inside the shoe, giving it a tight feel. If you are trying shoes that need a thicker sock, like hiking or winter boots, take those with you into the store and try them out. The same goes for thin running socks. Your feet will take a pounding while you are on the run.
  • Professional Measurement – The people who work in the shoe store are trained to measure your feet and determine what size and width shoe you need. They use a shoe measuring device to get an exact measurement of your feet and know your shoe size and width. Once they know what size and width you need, they can suggest a shoe that could provide support in ways that you didn’t expect.
  • Toe Gap – As you walk, your toes are going to slide up into the front of your shoe. When you are picking out shoes, there should be about a half-inch gap between your toe and the front of the shoe. This gap in the shoe is designed to let your foot shift during locomotion. Just like the heel, the top gap is engineered for a specific purpose. A little trick is to stick your pointer finger down in the back of the shoe. If it doesn’t fit, then the shoe is too small. 
  • Take a Stroll – Once you’ve tested the fit and feel it is time to walk around. Shoe stores have long alleyways between the racks, which make an excellent place to test out your new sneaks. If there are lumps or pain, you should make sure they will work themselves out. A few shoe stores take this step to the next level by adding treadmills or step mills that allow the buyer to try the sneakers out as they would run or exercise. There is nothing worse than buying shoes for looks and finding out they have performance issues.

3. Online

looking online for shoes

Like most things today, you can shop for (article) shoes online. Each distributor has its page and offers its brand discounts and one-time deals. Shopping online can be convenient, but it also presents some problems. The problems aren’t going to be deal-breakers as long as you stick to these guidelines.

  • Read Reviews – When it comes to buying online, you can always count on a robust comment section. Once you have chosen a style, scroll down to the comment section. There you will find the unvarnished opinions of people who bought the same shoe. If you are lucky, you can have a conversation with someone who has the shoe and get even more information. Review pages are packed with amateur writers just looking to steer traffic towards their blogs. Using them for knowledge is never a bad idea. 
  • Return shipping – The major problem with shopping online is receiving the wrong product or wrong size. The main thing to look for when shopping for shoes is to make sure that there is free return shipping. Sometimes free shipping is only dependent upon how much money you spend. For example, Some websites will want you to pay $50 before they give you free shipping. Other pages can make you join a members or VIP club, for an extra charge, that promises free shipping.  
  • Price check – When you are shopping on the internet, you can always find the lowest price. Several shoe buying sites are up and ready to sell their product for the best deal. A good rule of thumb is to check each shoe on three different pages. By checking three various sites, you can get a low, medium, and high number. Remember that some companies will give you free shipping or price matching when shopping with them. If you find a better price, the other company will meet or beat their price.
  • Tech Specs – When you look at some shoe pages, there are only static images of the shoe. Stay away from buying on these types of pages. You want to buy from a page that allows you 360-degree views of the product. A page with the technical aspects required to do this will be better maintained and funded. Also, you have the option of inspecting the shoe as if you were there. As was stated earlier, you need to examine the seams of the shoe to find imperfections. A site that has excellent tech specs allows you to inspect the item as if you were in the store.

Can Shoes Be Custom Made?

costume made shoes

Maybe you fit into a particular category that makes finding shoes impossible. Not to worry, there are companies on the market that will make or customize a shoe for you. Some words to look for when you are thinking about custom shoes are:

  1. Custom Made
  2. Custom Molded
  3. Customized
  4. Pedorthic Assessment
  5. Orthotics

1.Custom Made

Custom made could mean several things, but for this article, we need to focus on what custom-made means in the world of split-size shoes. If something is custom-made (article), that means it was created from raw materials for a specific purpose.

For instance, if you have leather and rubber and use them to make shoes. More accurately, custom-made shoes are shoes that have been designed by you for you. 

2.Custom Molded

When you buy custom-molded shoes, they have been made from a cast of your foot. When you start an order for these types of shoes, they will take a plaster mold of your foot, up to the ankle, and use the casting to create the perfect shoe for you.

Custom molded shoes provide the most support available for you but can be on the expensive side. There are programs and donations available online. 


Dealing with customization is a good idea if you are dealing with a problematic shoe fit. Customized shoes are those that were made by the manufacturer, but have been changed to fit the wearer. Today there are a few companies that will allow you to pick every aspect of your shoe.

The Nike By You (store) program is for everyone but gives a top-notch discount for single and split-size shoes. Some of the things you can choose from are:

  • Color
  • Logo placement
  • Insole
  • Material

4.Pedorthic Assessment

A pedorthist is a doctor who specializes in creating and modifying footwear. They use a series of heels and insoles to help you function without the use of specialized shoes. When you have a pedorthic assessment (article), there are problems with the foot or the bones of the leg. 

Usually, there are gait or flexion issues, and shoe improvement increases their functionality. 


If you have problems with your feet, more than likely, you could use an orthotic. An orthotic is a thin piece of rubber or plastic that is inserted inside your insole (article). Orthotics are made by prescription by a physical therapist or doctor. 

Where Can You Buy Custom Made Shoes?

custom shoes

Using custom-made shoes means that you have to buy them from somewhere. Luckily enough, there are many places online that you can buy custom-made shoes. 

  • Nike By You (store link)- Once again, Nike is going to cater to most any request that they receive regarding your needs. On the website, you choose from styles ranging from sport to casual and all points in-between. 
  • Vans Customs (store link)- Going through all the things that can be customized on a pair of Vans could take a while. They have an impressive 360-degree view that shows you the shoe in real-time as you create it. 
  • Alive Shoes (store link)- An interesting concept when customizing shoes is allowing that design to be mass-produced. At Alive Shoes, they do just that. You can choose from over 70 different shoe types to create a shoe unique to your fashion. The most intriguing part of Alive Shoes is that you can create a personal logo and apply it to the shoe. 

How Shoes Lasts Help Make Shoes

The Last is one of the most critical parts of the shoe. It determines how your feet rest inside the shoe. For runners, the last will determine comfort based on the arch height. It comes in three types; they are:

  • Curved
  • Semi-Curved
  • Straight

Curved Last

Curved lasts are for those of us with high arches. The Last is made so that it doesn’t fail from the excess pressure created by high arches. These shoes are C-shaped when you look at the soles. They have a curve on the bottom that helps pad the arch. 

Semi-Curved Last

Semi is a combination of straight and curved. The sole is rigid but has a higher rise on the inside to cushion the bottom of the foot. They don’t have as much size as a straight shoe and more stability than you would get with a curved heel. 

Straight Last

These are long flat shoes that have a bit of bulk on them. They are called straight because they do not curve from the heel to the toe. Straight shoes are not as standard as regular shoes, and most often are only used in mobility issue patients. The solid sole makes locomotion easier for those with plantar problems.

The Parts Of A Shoe

parts of a shoe

If you are a shoe aficionado, you should be able to name all the parts of a shoe. Knowing how the shoes are made gives you insight into how they will begin to fall apart once they are in use. It also shows you how to shop for shoes. The main parts of a running shoe are:

  1. Upper
  2. Tongue
  3. Heel
  4. Toe Box
  5. Midsole
  6. Outsole


The upper is the part of the shoe that covers the top of the foot. The laces connect the parts of the upper that isn’t sewn to the heel and toe box. The seams will be along the bottom edges around the pattern. Inspect for missing threads or loose loops. If there are defects, move on to the next pair.


The tongue of the shoe resides between the laces and is sewn into the toe box. The tongue’s primary purpose is to protect the wearer from the pressure that is created by tightening the laces. Other shoes use laces to protect from the elements. Specific tactical boots have a tongue that is sewn into the upper—making the boot better in harsh climates. 


The heel is responsible for securing the Achilles tendon. Excess irritation could lead to a tear, which is a painful injury with a long and challenging road to rehabilitation. Heels are made from a sturdy material that can withstand large amounts of pressure.

4.Toe Box

This is the fullest part of your shoe where your toes reside (store). Often the toe box could be the most uncomfortable part of the whole shoe. It is also the source of several seams that connect the box to the other parts of the shoe. Specialized toe boxes, like steel inserts, are made for all types of industries and functions. 


The midsole is the name for the large chunk of plastic, foam (store), or rubber that goes between the upper and the sole. Its primary purpose is to keep the foot and from moving side-to-side, which prevents ankle injury. As a bonus, it helps to soak up more of the force that is created when we walk. It doesn’t just cushion your feet, but your knees and ankles as well. Stability in joints means there is as much comfort as possible provided for the rest of the body.  


The outsole is what we would most think of as the tread. It is a thin layer of molded rubber that fits against another layer of foam padding. People who are running would need a more rigid outsole made from the same rubber as tires. While a person who just wanted some comfortable shoes would need much softer rubber or plastic. Loafers and slip-on shoes have what are known as blown rubber outsoles. These are more pliable and easier to wear.


When buying a split shoe size, you have various options available to help you get the size you need for your feet. I usually buy a half a size larger shoe myself because my left foot is a bit larger than my right. If you need two different sixes, I hope this article is helpful for you. Thanks for visiting!

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