In a world where
drives sales the Brannock device has remained virtually unchanged
through decades of manufacturing. Invented and promptly patented by
Charles Brannock of Syracuse, New York in 1926-1927 this double
sided steel plate is now the shoe industry's standard for helping
customers find the right shoe for their
particular foot. Rather than focus on the company Charles Brannock
founded I would like to explain what his device does and how it has
revolutionalized shoe fitting.
Before the Brannock device was invented a small piece of wood was
used to determine what size of shoe a customer required. There were a
couple of problems with this method two of which Charles Brannock's new
device addressed. Knowing how long a foot is from the heel to the longest toe is
important however it is not the most important measurement of an
individual's foot. Two people can have feet that are identical in
length yet require two different sized shoes for each of them to be
properly fitted. If you're wondering why that is I invite you to continue reading.
The answer to that lies question lies in the second measurement
everyone who measures your foot should be taking. People's feet will
change an average of about five times as they age. Whenever you are
shopping for shoes store employees should be measuring your foot and if
they are not manipulating the small metal pieces on the side of the
Brannock device they are not doing their job the way it should be done.
Heel to toe length is an important measurement however it must be used
in conjunction with the secondary arch length measurement.
Arch length is the measurement from the heel of your foot to the
ball joint. If the ball joint of your foot is not prominent shoe store
employees may ask you to curl your toes, alternatively they may use
their thumb to feel for that joint. This is an important part of
getting a good measurement so please do not be offended by someone
touching the top of your foot. It is also vital that your foot be
properly positioned in the Brannock device so make sure your heel is
touching the back of the heel cup and there is no material other than
your sock in between your foot and the heel cup.
Customer cooperation is an important part of this process. Pulling
your toes back interferes with an accurate read. Besides being a self defeating idea your
sales person is reading your arch length which they will use to determine your foot size. Once someone
has a heel to toe length and an arch measurement they should be
comparing those numbers. If the numbers are the same then that is the
person's shoe size according to the Brannock device. Since those
numbers are frequently different a shoe fitter should choose the larger
of the two numbers before proceeding to the third step.
After you have determined what size a person's foot is that will
help you determine the width. People can be sensitive about these
meaurements, some people will argue with you and the customer may always be right but they may be leaving
the shoe store with a pair of shoes you know do not fit them correctly.
How you handle those people is another writeup entirely so I'll fast
forward to the last two steps. The sliding bar on the side of the
Brannock will help you find out whether the foot you're working with is
broad, medium or narrow
Generally speaking people tend to be asymmetrical so each foot should be measured every time you are trying on shoes.
It might seem like a silly waste of time to sit through someone
measuring your foot but you are only doing yourself a disservice by not
cooperating with someone who offers to measure your foot. Used
correctly the Brannock device has between a ninety-five to ninety-six
percent degree of accuracy. Shoes that flex need to bend where your
foot naturally does. Using the Brannock to measure arch length, heel to
toe length and width helps the people assisting you find a shoe that fits you
Stunningly elegant in design the Brannock device remains an
invaluable commodity for people who know how to use it. Manufactured to
withstand years of use and abuse Charles Brannock decreed that whoever
runs the empire he built would have to agree not to compromise on the
quality of the product he created. Historically he is regarded as a
quiet man. A bachelor until the day he breathed his last Charles left
no children to carry on production of the device he created. Next time
you find yourself confronted with one of his devices observe a moment
of silent tribute to Charles Brannock: the man who changed footwear fitting
Sources: http://www.brannock.com, personal experience.