Long Toes? Short Toes? It Makes a Difference in Picking Shoes

Dear Shoe Lady,
I’m a male, and I have an arch length that is much longer than my foot length. I’ve heard two schools of thought on this:
1. Take the higher of the two measures.2. Split the difference of the two measures.

My foot length corresponds to a size 14.5, but my arch length corresponds to about a 17 (I’m not exactly sure on that, because my arch length is off the chart on the Brannock Device, which tops off at 16. My arch length is 9″). Because of the major difference, would it be better to split the difference or go with the higher number? Thanks ūüôā

The Shoe Lady <Shoelady@designershoes.com>
May 15

to Heath

Dear Heath –

So sorry. ¬†But I can not even find an “arch length” reference on Google! ¬†I use a Brannock device and have never heard of anyone measuring the arch length. ¬†I suggest you not worry about arch length, worry about foot length and width. ¬†Then pick your style of footwear, shape, vamp design, etc., based on whether you have a high or flat arch. ¬†Also consider using orthodics for a better fit.
Best of luck.
May 15

to Shoe
 Thanks for the response. 
I had done some more research since I contacted you and pretty much answered my question.
Shoes are actually made for your arch length; Manufacturers simply count on everybody having regular sized toes. The arch length (heel to ball length) doesn’t concern most people (hence why I and almost everyone else hasn’t heard of it), because most people have arch lengths that correspond to their foot lengths (in other words, they have “normal” sized toes). There are some people, however, who have extra long or extra short toes. This makes the arch length and foot length very disproportionate (short toes correspond to a long arch length and long toes correspond to a short arch length).
I have short toes in proportion to the size of my foot, so the length of my foot will fit well into a size 15 shoe, but the break of my foot is much higher up than the break of the shoe. This makes the shoe too tight on the ball and presses the toes together. The widest part of your foot us supposed to match up with the widest part of the shoe. This can cause big problems in the future and could be part of the reason why I have mild bunions on both feet.
On the Brannock Device, the heel-to-ball measurement is on the opposite side of the width bar. The numbers correspond to the¬†shoe¬†size. When I measure the length of my arch on the Brannock Device, it goes off the chart. My arch length corresponds to between sizes 16.5 and 17. This is the size I’m supposed to wear, even though I will have extra room in the toe box.
People with extra long toes have a special problem: If one’s arch length corresponds to a size 11 but their foot length corresponds to a size 13.5, they can’t simply go with a size 11. Their toes would be squished. These people either have to buy a pair of shoes that are too wide for the rest of their foot to accommodate for the ball, or they have to find a¬†shoe¬†that has a extra longer toe box.
Hopefully that made sense lol.

The Shoe Lady <Shoelady@designershoes.com>
12:49 PM (2 minutes ago)

to H
 Dear Heath-

Thank you for the clarification. ¬†And the detailed description. ¬†I’d never heard this referred to as “arch length” before. ¬†But I am painfully familiar with the “ball to heel” length. ¬†You are absolutely right, this is the dimension that¬†shoemanufacturers use. ¬†And they assume an average toe length. ¬†So people with short toes and people with long toes have to take that into consideration when they buy shoes on line. ¬†I tend to suggest that they think of the shape of their foot in relation to the shape of the¬†shoe. ¬†But non-average toe length alone is often the culprit.
Best to you,
The Shoe Lady