Skip to Content

Should I size up or down in Chuck Taylor All Star?

Chuck Taylor All Stars, also known as Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars or simply Chucks, are one of the most popular shoe styles ever made. Since their introduction over 100 years ago, these iconic canvas sneakers have been worn by countless people around the world. Their timeless design and versatility have allowed them to remain fashionable decade after decade.

However, many first-time Chuck Taylor shoppers find themselves unsure about the sizing. Should you buy them in your normal shoe size, or size up or down? Here is a detailed look at how Chucks fit and what size you should get them in.

How Chuck Taylors Typically Fit

Most wearers find Chuck Taylors to fit differently than standard shoes. Here are some general guidelines on the fit:

  • They fit more snugly overall than typical sneakers.
  • They are narrower, especially in the toe box area.
  • They have less arch support than most shoes.
  • The canvas material has little give or stretch.

These attributes often make sizing tricky. Going up or down a half or full size is common to get the ideal fit.

Factors That Affect Chuck Taylor Sizing

Several factors influence what size Chuck Taylors you should get:

Foot Width

One of the biggest factors is the width of your feet. Chuck Taylors run quite narrow, especially in the toes. Those with wide feet often have to size up by a half or full size to get a comfortable width.

Foot Volume

The overall volume or dimensions of your feet also impact the fit. Those with high insteps or high arches may need to go up a half size or more to get the right amount of room.

Sock Thickness

Since the canvas material has no give, the thickness of your socks makes a big difference. Thicker, cushier socks like in cold weather may require sizing up.

Orthotics or Insoles

If you wear orthotics or custom insoles, these take up volume in the shoe. You may need to increase a half or full size to accommodate them.

Break-In Period

Brand new Chuck Taylors are known to have a break-in period where they feel stiff and snug. After a few weeks of wear, they stretch and soften. Some find going a half size down works well to account for this.

Preferred Fit

Personal preferences in fit also vary. Those wanting a roomier fit may size up, while people wanting a snugger fit may consider sizing down.

Sizing Recommendations

Based on these factors, here are general recommendations on sizing for Chuck Taylors:

Foot Type Women’s Sizing Men’s Sizing
Narrow feet True to size True to size or size down 0.5
Average width feet True to size or size up 0.5 True to size or size up 0.5
Wide feet Size up 0.5 to 1 full size Size up 0.5 to 1 full size
High arches Size up 0.5 to 1 full size Size up 0.5 to 1 full size
Wearing orthotics Size up 0.5 to 1 full size Size up 0.5 to 1 full size
Prefer snugger fit True to size or size down 0.5 True to size or size down 0.5
Prefer looser fit Size up 0.5 Size up 0.5

As you can see, sizing varies a lot depending on your needs. Those with narrow feet can often wear their standard shoe size, while those with wide feet or high arches commonly need at least a half size up or more.

How to Determine Your Chuck Taylor Size

To determine what size Chuck Taylors to get, consider these tips:

Try on In-Store

Trying on a pair at the store is ideal. Walk around and assess both width and length. Compare to other sneakers you own. Order that size online if needed.

Measure Feet

Use a Brannock device or printable foot sizer to measure both length and width. Compare to a Chuck Taylor size chart online.

Print Out Outline

Some online retailers provide printable foot outline charts. Stand on paper and trace feet. Measure against size chart.

Consider Typical Sneaker Size

As a starting point, go with your regular sneaker size. Adjust up or down based on factors like foot width.

Read Reviews

Online reviews often mention sizing. Look for feedback from those with feet similar to yours.

Order Multiple Sizes

When uncertain, order two sizes such as your regular size and one size up or down. Keep the best fitting pair.

Tips for Getting the Right Chuck Taylor Fit

Beyond just the size, you can dial in the ideal Chuck Taylor fit using these tips:

Wear with Orthotics or Insoles If Needed

Those with high arches or foot pain may need additional arch support. Custom or over-the-counter orthotics can help.

Try Different Socks

Experiment with low-cut socks versus crew socks in varying thicknesses to get the right snugness.

Lace Techniques

Different lacing methods like heel lock lacing can cinch up loose areas if needed.

Break Them In

Brand new Chucks need a break-in period. Wear them around the house to soften and stretch them.

Add Inserts or Insoles

Adding cushioned inserts or insoles can make Chucks more comfortable if too stiff initially.

Men’s vs Women’s Sizing in Chuck Taylors

Chuck Taylors come in both men’s and women’s sizing. In general, women should order 1.5 to 2 sizes down from their men’s size equivalent.

Here are some examples:

  • A woman who wears a size 8 women’s shoe would wear around a men’s size 6 or 6.5.
  • A woman’s size 10 would convert to a men’s size 8 or 8.5.
  • A women’s 12 would equal a men’s 10 or 10.5.

However, since Chuck Taylor sizing differs so much, it’s best not to rely strictly on conversion charts. Your ideal women’s size may be different than typical conversions. Focus more on fit and feel rather than just the size marking.

Big Kid vs Adult Chuck Taylor Sizing

Chuck Taylors come in big kid sizes that run from 3 up to 7. The sizing differs from standard children’s and adult sizing in a few ways:

  • Big kid sizes 1-3.5 are the same as standard little kid sizes.
  • Big kid sizes 4-7 convert to about 1.5 sizes smaller than adult.
  • For example, a big kid size 6 is approximately an adult size 4.5.
  • Those with narrower feet may fit well in big kid sizes.

Refer to a size conversion chart if interested in big kid sizes. Again, trying shoes on in person is ideal if possible.

High Top vs Low Top Chuck Taylors Sizing

Chuck Taylors come in two main styles – the original high top version which goes above the ankle, and low top models that end below the ankle.

In terms of fit and sizing, there is little difference between the two styles. The shoe sole is the same shape and dimensions. The only variation is the height of the canvas upper.

So you can use the same shoe size in both high top and low top Chucks. Choose based on your height and style preferences rather than fit factors.

Breaking in Chuck Taylors

As mentioned earlier, brand new Chuck Taylors have a break-in period. The stiff canvas needs time to soften and conform to your feet. There are a few tips to help speed this process:

  • Wear them around the house for short periods at first.
  • Wear them with thicker socks at first to put more pressure on stretching them.
  • Consider rubbing the insides with a cloth to warm and soften the material.
  • Machine washing once can help soften them faster.
  • Wear bandages or moleskin on any pressure points.
  • Add tongue or heel pads for more cushioning.

Give new Chucks several weeks of regular wear for the best break-in. The canvas will give and form to your feet for a custom fit.

Caring for Your Chuck Taylors

Chuck Taylors are fairly easy to care for. Here are some tips on cleaning and prolonging the life of Chucks:

  • Spot clean canvas exterior stains with soap and water.
  • Use white vinegar to whiten soles.
  • Air dry completely after washing.
  • Stuff with newspaper or towels when not wearing to absorb moisture and maintain shape.
  • Use protective sprays to guard against dirt, stains, and water.
  • Consider replacing the laces regularly.
  • Get them resoled once the original soles are worn down.

With proper care, a good pair of Chucks can last for years.


Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers have a well-earned reputation for running narrower and smaller than standard shoes. While tricky, with some trial and error you can dial in your ideal Chuck Taylor size and achieve the perfect combination of comfort and classic style.

Focus on sizing up if you have wider feet or orthotics. Consider sizing down if you want a snugger fit right out of the box. Be prepared to wear them around the house at first to properly break them in.

With the right size Chuck Taylors, you’ll be able to wear these iconic shoes for years in both high top and low top styles.