Nothing is worse than ordering a new pair of boots, waiting a few days, and tearing into the box only to find out they don’t fit.
In this Helm boots sizing guide, I’m going to break down the differences between Helm’s three most popular lasts, the 415, the 512, and 432 so you can get the right fit the first time.
The Ultimate Helm Sizing Guide
Three of these styles are built on different lasts. If you’re not familiar with what a last is, it’s the implement boot makers use to make the shape of the boot. Typically it’s made from either wood or plastic, and then the upper leather is stretched around it.
Most boot brands use several different lasts, or shapes, across their collections, which is why one pair of boots from a brand can fit differently than another.
So in this guide, I’m comparing Helm’s three most popular lasts to note the subtle differences in fit between them.
Helm uses the Brannock measurement for their shoes and boots, though in my experience, ordering a half-size smaller than my Brannock size landed me the perfect fit. While I’m usually a 10.5 in sneakers and dress shoes, getting a size 10D is my best fit for Helm boots.
Helm also offers EE sizes (extra wide), so even guys with wider feet can find the sweet spot for their boots.
415 Last (Zind and Hollis)
This fit is more narrow in the toe than Helm’s other offerings. I picked up the 10D across all my boots and shoes, and this fit felt the more narrow at the ball of my foot.
Helm’s own sizing advice is that you should either order your standard sneaker size, or opt for a half-size smaller. So it can be difficult to choose which you should actually do.
My foot is a D-width, but it borders on E-width—just slightly wide.
For this, I could’ve gotten a size 10.5D and been happy with the fit. It would’ve been a more relaxed fit, but certainly not loose.
While I think the 10D was perfect for the 512 and the 432, sizing is a bit more snug with the 415 last.
I don’t think there’s a wrong way to go—it just depends on how you like your boots to fit.
512 Last (Charlie)
The 512 last is more roomy than the 415. My Charlie boots have more room in the toe area and around the ball of my foot.
If you’re thinking about getting a Charlie boot, then I recommend ordering a half size smaller than your usual sneaker or dress shoe size.
Boots typically fit a little larger, and that’s true for the Charlie.
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The Charlie also has more room in the “waist” of the boot, so if you ever want to wear a thicker pair of socks, these won’t pinch your feet or overcrowd them.
432 Last (Wilson)
If you’re thinking about getting a pair of Wilson shoes and you’re in between sizes, definitely order the smaller of the two choices.
An interesting note on these: they’re much longer than most shoes and boots. This can make it feel like your foot is sliding around in them a little when you first wear them, but after the upper leather breaks in more, your toes slide around less.
D vs EE Widths for Helm Boots
All Helm boots are slim and modern, so they might feel snug for guys with wider feet.
If you have wide feet, definitely take advantage of the EE widths. EE widths are wider through the entire last, so it’s difficult to give an exact measurement of how much wider an EE is compared to a D.
But a good approximation is this: EE boots are about 1/2” wider than D boots. Again, the last is roomier in a few key locations, so there are plenty of other considerations to make when deciding your boot width.
The best way to figure out your width is to go into a store and get measured on a Brannock device. Then you’ll know for sure.
Designed in 1927, The Brannock foot-measuring device is a must in all retail footwear stores. Specially calibrated for men's footwear, measures size 4 to 16, width sizes 3A to 3E.
Most guys are a D width, though, so if you’re not sure, there’s a good chance you’d fit best in a D boot.
Are Helm insoles removable?
The insole of Helm boots isn’t removable, so you should make sure you get the correct size before wearing your new boots outside. The insoles Helm come with have a lot of arch support and padding, and are very comfortable.
How Do I Know I Have the Right Fit for Helm?
Once you wear your boots outside, you’re no longer able to return them.
I usually wear new boots around the house for an hour or two before deciding if I have the correct fit.
If I start to feel my feet tingling, then I know I got a size too small.
If they’re a little snug, that doesn’t bother me so much because I know the leather stretches a little as I wear them and that’s all part of the break in period.
That said, there isn’t much of a break in period to speak of with Helm, so you should be close to a perfect fit when you first put your new boots on.
Take the Helm
Now you’re armed with everything you need to know about Helm boots to shop confidently.
Luckily, their sizing is pretty standard and straight-forward. I have no doubt that, if you’ve read this whole guide, you’ll be able to get the right size Helm’s on your first try.
And once you get the right size the first time, it makes it easier the second and third time, too.
Are Helm boots true to size?
Helm boots are nearly true to size, though I’ve found they run a little less than half a size larger than your standard sneaker or dress shoe size. I recommend getting a half-size smaller than you would for your sneakers for a snug, but comfortable fit. Get your true size for a more relaxed fit.
Where are Helm boots manufactured?
Helm boots are made in Brazil.
Should I go up a size in Helms if I have wide feet?
Instead of going up a size, try Helm’s EE wide sizes. Sizing up too much might fit the width of your foot, but leave you with other problems from having your boots too long. EE widths are more suitable for guys with wide feet.