Do Nikes Run Big Or Small? + How To Get The Right Nike Running Shoe Fit

Nike offers a wide range of running shoes, from entry-level shoes for beginners to racing flats and high-performing carbon fiber running shoes to running shoes that offer various degrees of stability and motion control or cushioning.

But do Nike shoes run small? Do Nike running shoes run big? How are Nike running shoes supposed to fit?

In this article, we will look at the general fit and sizing of Nike running shoes and aim to answer the question: Do Nikes run big or small?

We will cover: 

  • Do I Need to Worry About How Nike Running Shoes Fit?
  • Do Nikes Run Big or Small?

Let’s get started!

A person jumping in grey Nike shoes.

Do I Need to Worry About How Nike Running Shoes Fit?

You will often hear runners say things like, “Nike running shoes fit small.“ Other runners may seemingly report the opposite, noting, “Nike running shoes run big.“

Before we try to answer the debate—do Nike shoes run small or big—let’s cover the basics: does it even matter?

A running shoe may fit your foot properly in the length, but it might be too loose or too snug in the heel, or perhaps the midfoot is squeezing your foot too much. 

Another common running shoe fit issue is that the toe box is too narrow or too wide. This can lead to injuries and foot pain, as well as blisters or black toenails from running.

Even though many runners think that they are wearing the proper size running shoes for their feet, a review in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research found that up to 72% of individuals are actually wearing shoes that do not fit their feet properly. 

Although this statistic involves more than just running shoes, plenty of runners also fall prey to choosing running shoes that don’t fit right.

A pair of neon green Nike running shoes.

Do Nikes Run Big or Small?

In general, Nike running shoes run small. The shoe last, which is the shape of the shoe, tends to be fairly narrow, though the length of Nike running shoes tends to run true to size. 

Therefore, it is often advisable to order a half shoe size up when buying Nike running shoes, but if you have wide feet, you might be unable to get a good fit with Nike. 

However, to actually get the proper fit with Nike running shoes, you should actually measure your feet and then compare your measurements to the Nike shoe size charts.

To determine your Nike shoe size, it is usually best to go to your local running shoe store or athletic footwear store to get your feet properly measured. 

However, if you want to buy running shoes online or don’t have easy access to a running shoe store, you can measure your foot at home before buying Nike running shoes.

Measuring your foot involves measuring the length as well as the width.

Here is how to measure your foot and choose the proper size of Nike running shoes:

A pair of white Nike shoes propped up against a wall.


The first necessary measurement is determining the length of your foot. Grab a piece of paper that is larger than your foot. Most people can get away with normal-size printer paper, but if you have an extra-large foot, you will need to look for a larger piece of paper.

Stand on the paper with your full weight. You should be wearing the socks you intend to run in.

Then, use a pencil to trace the outline of your foot as closely as possible. Try to keep the pencil vertical as you trace so that it is perpendicular to the surface of the paper. Do not allow the pencil point to tilt inwards towards your foot.

Once your tracing is done, use a tape measure or ruler to measure the length of your foot from the very center of the back of your heel to the tip of your longest toe.

Then, refer to the Nike shoe sizing chart for length:

Nike Men’s Shoe Size Guide: Foot Length

Shoe Size88.599.51010.51111.51212.51313.51414.515
Length of Foot (inches)9.910.110.310.410.610.810.911.111.311.511.711.81212.212.3
A close-up of black, white and pink Nikes shoes.

Nike Women’s Shoe Size Guide: Foot Length

Shoe Size55.566.577.588.599.51010.51111.512
Length of Foot (inches)


You can use the same foot tracing to measure the width of your foot.

Measure the width of the very widest part of your foot, which is typically at the ball of your foot or the base of your toes.

Then, use the Nike shoe size chart for width to determine the proper shoe width that you need:

A person running in black Nike shoes and socks.

Nike Men’s Shoe Size Guide: Foot Width

Men’s Shoe SizeNarrowMediumWide
83.6 inches3.8 inches3.9 inches
93.7 inches3.9 inches4.1 inches
103.8 inches4.0 inches4.2 inches
113.9 inches4.1 inches4.3 inches
124.1 inches4.3 inches4.4 inches
134.2 inches4.4 inches4.6 inches
144.3 inches4.6 inches4.8 inches
154.4 inches4.6 inches4.8 inches
A woman in Nike running gear ready to sprint toward the camera.

Nike Women’s Shoe Size Guide: Foot Width

Women’s Shoe SizeNarrowMediumWide
52.8 inches3.2 inches3.5 inches
62.9 inches3.3 inches3.7 inches
73.1 inches3.4 inches3.8 inches
83.2 inches3.6 inches3.9 inches
93.3 inches3.7 inches4.1 inches
103.4 inches3.8 inches4.2 inches
113.6 inches3.9 inches4.3 inches
123.7 inches4.1 inches4.4 inches

One important thing to note is that you need to trace and measure both feet. Many people have one foot that is longer and/or wider than the other. 

When buying Nike running shoes, or any brand of running shoes for that matter, you need to go with the sizing that corresponds to your larger foot. 

A pair of blue, yellow and orange Nike running shoes.

If you have exceedingly differently-sized feet, you may want to consider buying two pairs of shoes and then using the smaller shoe on the smaller foot and the larger shoe on the larger foot. 

According to Nike, if you fall between two sizes in terms of length or width, you should go with a half size up or the larger of the two sizes.

In general, Nike running shoes tend to run small.

One of the reasons that runners often feel that Nike running shoes run small is that the shoe last is more narrow than some competitors, particularly through the toe box area. 

This means that the shape of the shoe overall is fairly narrow and tends to be ideal for runners with narrow feet.

Another reason that people often feel that Nike running shoes fit small is that the Nike Flyknit upper is designed to have a sock-like fit and feel. It hugs your foot to provide light support and intimate contact, but it should not be squeezing or feeling tight against your foot.

Most Nike running shoe models run true to size in terms of length, but if you have a wide foot, Nike likely won’t be a good fit. 

A person walking up stairs with Nike running shoes.

There are a couple of Nike running shoes that do come in a wide width for men and women, such as the Nike Pegasus and the Nike Revolution, but even the specific wide shoes tend to be more narrow than wide running shoes from competitors like New Balance and Brooks.

Nike also has size charts for men, women, and kids that you can refer to if you aren’t sure what size you are.

Finally, runners often want to know how Nike running shoes should fit.

The ultimate answer is Nike running shoes should fit comfortably. What this means is that when you put on a pair of Nike running shoes (or running shoes from any brand, for that matter), the shoes should feel comfortable right out of the box. 

If the shoes are squeezing your foot or otherwise pinch, feel stiff, tight, or hard, then it’s simply not the right running shoe for your needs.

For a complete guide on how to pick the right running shoes for you, click here.

A Nike shoe salesman with boxes of Nike shoes.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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