What to do with my sneakers being too small or too big?

The biggest challenge when shopping for second-hand sneakers online: is the size right? Not every sneaker is the same. Even within a certain model there is a difference between the one and the other release. The best tip? In any case, adjusting your socks or cutting your toenails with a hedge trimmer won’t be the best solution. In this blog we tell you what you can do when your Nike Air Max just doesn’t seem to fit.

How do sneakers fit?

Many sneakers are different from other shoe types. They often fit just a bit tighter. Nike in particular has the name to fit small. That’s why you should always check what your actual size is. In the first instance, the model is leading to determine the right size. For instance, the fitting for a Nike Air Max 1 slightly differs from that of a Nike Air Max 90. To check which size you need, the simplest advice is to fit the model in question in a physical store. When you have done this you are already on the right track.

Sneakers often turn out differently. The extremely expensive Nike Air Max 1 Patta x Parra Cherrywood Burgundy fits more than half a size up.

Size differences within a release

Allright, you want to buy a pair of Nike Air Max 1 and you have just fitted this model into the store. You now know how this model fits. But do you have any guarantees for all other releases in the same model? Unfortunately not. There are a number of factors that influence the fit of the sneaker. Consider for example the production location, year of release, the materials used and the type of sizing. Consequently, sneakers might turn out differently than you would expect.

1. In which period were the sneakers produced?

The factory where the sneakers are produced influences the shape of that pair of sneakers. The shape, in turn, influences the size. Nike outsources the production of their sneakers by another factory in another country every few years. Why? Cheaper and more sustainable, which of course is also at odds with each other. Either way, sneakers produced in the same factory often end up with the same fit. In the size label at the inside of your shoe you will find where your pair has been produced.

2. Which materials are used in the sneakers?

The choice of material is the second thing to pay attention to. In particular the material of the lining (the material at the inside of the heel) influences the fit of your pair of sneakers. A sneaker fits smaller due to a thicker lining. If the lining is thin or even absent (the Nike Air Max 1 No Liner for example), the sneaker will fit larger. In practice, we often see that leather sneakers often turn out to fit larger than sneakers with a mesh toebox. Do you have sneakers of the same material as the pair you’re willing to purchase? Then you should be fine in most cases.

3. What’s the type of sizing, women’s or men?
In addition, the type of sizing is also an important factor in determining whether you would fit the sneakers. Are they WMNS (women’s), MEN, GS (grade school) or perhaps a Y (youth) release? The sneakers might fit differently. For example, a WMNS release is half a centimetre larger than a MEN release on paper. Read more about this subject in our blog about the difference between women’s and men’s sneakers.
4. Have the sneakers been worn already?

Last but not least: have the sneakers been worn yet? The more often the sneaker has been worn, the larger they’ll fit. For instance, you can wear down the cushioning after multiple wears. The differences are minimal, but certainly present. So check how often a sneaker is worn roughly. At Nike Air Max you can see this by the “nipples” at the outsole of the shoes. If the nipples are still (partially) visible, then the sneakers are hardly worn. Are the nipples gone, then you know that the sneakers are worn more often. Therefore, always ask for a picture of the sneakers’ outsoles when purchasing.

Our insoles solve most of your size problems.

Solve a difference in size

Each brand has its own size tables (click here for the most important size tables). For a novice collector or a one-time buyer of second-hand sneakers it is difficult to find the perfect size immediately. If you have already built up a large sneaker collection, finding a pair of sneakers matching your feet will be less difficult. But what if you just find that one pair, your holy grail, and the size only deviates a little from your normal size? Do you have to pass for your grail or do you still take the risk? Read our tips to resolve the size difference below. 

A (half) size too big?

Is the size or fit of your Nike Air Max 1 slightly larger than what you’re used to? The solution of thick socks works of course. However, we also understand that this is far from ideal in the summer. Because lacing your sneakers tighter might ruin the shape of your shoes, this is not our first advice. Our golden tip is simple and effective: a double insole! Simply place an extra sole of another pair of sneakers under the original soles. We have the perfect insoles for your Nike sneakers. With an extra sole, depending on the thickness of that sole, you can fill up to a full size! If they still fit slightly larger, tighten up your sneaker laces as a finishing touch.

A (half) size too small?

A size too small is unfortunately less easy to solve than a size too large. We therefore advise to not purchase sneakers in a full size smaller than your feet are. However, there are still possibilities to solve sneakers being too small. Although cutting of your toes is the most effective solution, we advise you not to do this. Then what? First of all, tie your laces less tight. Secondly, try to replace your insoles for thinner ones. As mentioned, at your local shopping mall you’ll find excellent replacement insoles for less than € 1,-. Still not the solution? Don’t worry, simply remove the insoles. You can easily win half a size with this!

Not unimportant!

Within the sneaker scene a question about the fit of a particular pair of sneakers not weird at all. Are you curious about how a specific Nike Air Max 1 fits, simply ask your question in one of the larger groups on social media. For example the facebook group: Nike Air Max 1 Enthusiasts.


Free tip: Prevent annoyance from other enthusiasts and post your question as a discussion post, not as a sales post.


Did you know that: In particular Asics has the name to come up with the most ridiculous size combinations. Honestly, we can’t follow the logic of their sizing principles neither. They have different size tables for different models. Check their website for more details.

Asics Gel Lyte III Patta. One of the most sought after Asics of all time. At Asics, always triple check which size chart applies.


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