How Should Your Sandals Fit?
Salt-Water Sandals are an American heritage brand, originally designed in the 1940’s and made with our own unique Salt-Water shoe lasts & moulds. A last is a mechanical form shaped like a human foot and used by shoemakers in the manufacture of shoes. The word ‘last’ comes from the old English word ‘laest’ which means footprint.
Salt-Water Sandals sizing is important to get right and whilst fitting will ultimately depend on your personal preference and the overall structure of your foot, we decided to create this post to answer some of the more frequently asked questions about Salt-Water Sandals sizing and how are sandals supposed to fit with the aim of finding you your perfect pair of Salties.
How should sandals fit in the front?
Looking at the sandal you will see a stitched line running all around towards the outer edge of the sole bed. Where should your toes be in sandals? We recommend that your toes come either just on or just behind this stitched line, but not over it.
We use a very traditional method to construct our Salt-Waters. It is called little-way stitching. Each sole is hand stitched to the upper vamps (straps) that make the upper part of the sandal. A little bit of gum (glue) is used to hold the lining & straps in place whilst the sole is stitched on but it is the tough thread running all the way through the sole and along the channel that keeps your shoe together.
How should sandals fit in the back?
A snug fit at the back is optimum; you don’t want your heel to be hanging over the back of the sole. Salt-Water Sandals are designed to fit close at the heel. Remember to take your toes all the way to the stitch mark to create any extra space needed at the heel.
Do Salt-Water Sandals stretch?
Both Sun-San Sandals (the soft sole range) and Salt-Water Sandals are made from 100% leather and coated with a water resistant sealant. Wondering should your sandals feel tight or loose? If at first your sandals feel tight across your foot we advise that you gently pull the leather straps in opposite directions as this will help to loosen them up.
You can also get them wet! Either run them under a tap or paddle into the shallows and wear them until dry. The leather will soften, stretch where it needs to, and ultimately mould to your feet. Your Salties should feel comfortable but not tight.
Are Salt-Water Sandals good for narrow feet?
The Retro Slide, with its intricate woven design, has a narrower fit & covers more of your foot than the Salt-Water Original.
It's important to know how slide sandlas shoud fit when you're considering these styles. Some customers try a size up in the Retro Slide or the Classic Slide because we did design these so that our customers with narrower feet had an option. As with all Salt-Waters, you want your toes sitting just behind or on the stictched line at the front and your heel to be just inside or on the stitched line at the back.
The Shark Originals (the semi closed toe) also fit slightly narrower so is another great flat sandal option for narrower feet.
As with all of our sandals the leather will 'give' naturally over time and can be worn in water to help speed up the process.
Are Salt-Water Sandals good for wide feet?
The Salt-Water Original (with the signature plaited leather front) is a roomy flat leather sandal and fits comfortably wide. It can fit a little shallower. Those with a high instep may prefer the Classic.
Do Salt-Water Sandals run big/small? Should I size up in Sandals?
We tend to find that for most people they need to size +1 if you are used to buying in UK sizes. For example, if you are a UK 5, you will most probably be best off in a Salt-Water 6. This is the number stamped on the sole and NOT the US equivalent. These moulds were designed in the 1940’s and are a little quirky - but we have printed all International sizes on the shoe boxes. We list UK, US, Asia and European size plus our generic “Salt-Water” sole number.
For half sizes, just go up to the nearest whole i.e. 5.5 UK would need a Salt-Water 6.
For specific notes on the various styles please see our style guide here.
What size should I buy my child?
From the Salt-Water range there are 4 styles that come in kids and youth sizes. These are the Original, the Classic, the Retro and the Shark Original. Is shoes size the same as sandal size? For Adults we tend to advise sizing up but with kids Salt-Waters the sizing is equivalent. Therefore a UK size 9 child would need a Salt-Water size 9.
The difference with the Sun-San range is the spongy, urethane sole. There are 6 kid’s styles to choose and an array of fabulous colours. When purchasing a pair of Sun-San Sandals from our website you will be prompted to input the length in centimetres of your child’s foot. Our handy size calculator will then advise you which size to order.
For specific information on the fit of each Sun-San style please check our Sizing info page here. Please note that kids shoes should not be bought purposefully larger in order to make the sandal last longer, the traditional fit of this brand is pretty roomy. If you size up too high your child may trip over a sole that is too long at the front.
For any other questions like, How should sandals fit? Do Salt-Water Sandals run small? What size sandals should I get? Please check our FAQs.
And if you still have a query please Contact Us via our website.