The Only Shoe Sizing Guide You'll Ever Need

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Buying shoes might seem like a menial task, but buying the wrong size footwear can be inconvenient and quite frankly, majorly annoying. So whether you're buying your new shoes online or in store, we've put together your go-to guide for grabbing the best fitting footwear. 

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We've all been there. You've found the perfect pair of shoes online, and when they finally arrive you discover they're an annoying inch too small or slipping off your heels. Then comes the whole palaver of returning your parcels - and we won't even get into the frustrations involved there. So what if you could avoid the whole painful process and quite simply get the shoe size right the first time? Look no further than our specialised shoe sizing guide - you're welcome!

International Shoe Sizing Guide

So first things first, unless you've never bought shoes before, you'll know that EU to UK shoe sizes are all different in terms of numbers - and then there's the added issue of US sizing which can be even more of an issue. Let's face it, there's nothing more embarrassing than the confusion of not knowing what on earth the shop assistant is on about when she says "we only have a 43".

So here you go - a shoe size conversion chart that'll see you through all problematic shoe sizing and awkward conversions. Learn it and never again will an ill-fitting pair of shoes darken your doorway. Side note: it's worth knowing that men's and women's shoe sizes are different - so a men's UK size 7 won't be the same size and a women's UK size 7. As if it wasn't confusing enough already.


shoe size international conversion chart
PHOTO CREDIT: Shoe Sizing Charts


Buying Online

Buying anything online can be infuriating at the best of times - and when it seems that each different store and brand have their own different variations on sizing, buying footwear online can definitely be one of life's biggest trials and tribulations. Generally speaking, most stores follow the standard uk shoe sizing guide, but it might not come as a surprise that a trainer will not fit the same as a brogue, for example. So how do you get around this tricky conundrum?

The trick is to know your exact foot measurements to the centimetre, and if you don't know how to measure feet, your best bet is to head to a shoe store. We're not talking JD Sports or Footlocker here. It's more a job for those stores your mum dragged you to for new school shoes - think Clarks or Brantano, you know the ones. Since you may not have been in since you were 7, they now use a whole host of technology to measure your feet, both width and length wise.

However, if you're buying your shoes online, chances are the point is you don't want to leave the house. So, your best bet is this: grab a piece of paper, a pencil and a ruler, and trace the outline of your feet preferably wearing a pair of socks to account for extra room. You might feel and look like a nutter, but bare with us here. Using the ruler, measure the distance from the very bottom of the heel to the top of the longest toe, and then the same across the widest point of your foot. Once you've got these measurements, check out this foot size chart to find your corresponding size.


mens shoe sizing guide


The width of your foot is a massively overlooked factor in buying the correct shoe size, and probably accounts for the majority of issues you'll encounter. Most high street stores and brands usually only cater for a 'regular' width, but there are a growing number of retailers (other than the holy grail, Clarks) that are beginning to design shoes in varying widths. So how do you determine what width shoe to buy? Width is relative to shoe size, so a foot that is 3 1/2 inches wide might be considered regular width for one size but narrow for a larger size.

Check out this shoe size converter to see what width shoe you should be buying:


shoe width size chart


Buying In Store

While it's all well and good to measure your feet at home and order online, there's nothing quite like trying on a pair of shoes before you buy them in store. It might seem obvious, but the feel, style and material of a shoe can completely change the way they fit - and that's something that is really difficult to gage from a website page. It's not rocket science. Just try on several different sizes, have a walk around the store, do that big toe wiggle thing and judge what feels most comfortable.

So you might have conquered how to measure shoe size, but unfortunately that's just half the battle. Apparently, your feet change over time due to gravity and pressure, age, weight gain, fluid retention, and many other factors. Experts say that you should measure your feet once a year to see if they've changed, to avoid slowly ruining your feet over time. Although on this one, men definitely have the upper hand over women - apparently men are more likely to purchase the correct shoe size because they have no cultural or societal standard to adhere to as far as having slender, beautiful feet.


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Types Of Shoes

While you might now know how to measure your feet, there's still no one standardised shoe size chart used around the world - combined with the fact that different styles of shoe fit differently, it's appealing to just completely give up and carry on wearing the same knackered trainers you've been wearing for years. But persevere. When it comes to smarter shoes, you generally want them close fitting so they don't slop around, but not so tight that they will cut off your blood supply to your feet.

The fit of your shoes probably matters most when it comes to trainers. As far as a running shoe sizing guide goes, the size itself is should be the same as the one you normally take, but there are some additional factors to consider. In your trainer, your foot should be able to move side-to-side in the shoe’s forefoot without crossing over the edge of the insole. You should be able to pinch a quarter inch of upper material along the widest part of your foot. If the shoe is too narrow, you’ll feel the base of your little toe sitting on the edge of the shoe last.

Side note: your feet swell and lengthen over a run, so make sure there’s a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe (which isn’t always the big toe) and the end of a shoe.


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Shoe Sizing Guide

  • Shopping at the wrong time of day is one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to buying the right size shoes. Your feet swell throughout the day, so shop in the afternoon when they're at their widest to ensure you're not buying a pair that are too small.
  • Follow a shoe size converter to ensure you're getting a precise fit according to each individual brand if you're shopping online.
  • Pay attention to the measurement descriptions if you're shopping online. They might give you a bit more information if their sizes are slightly bigger or smaller than the standard.
  • UK to EU sizes differ, so make sure you double check the conversions if you're buying shoes from abroad.
  • If all else fails, go to a shoe store and get your feet measured professionally. You should do this once a year, as your feet often change due to weight, age and water retention.


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On That Note

Buying the right size shoes doesn't have to be as big an issue as it may seem. The trick is to learn the exact measurements of your feet and the size conversions off by heart so that you can suitable deal with any problems that might pop up. This way you'll avoid ruining your feet and most importantly, the unnecessary stress of returning your parcels. So now you're in the know, what better excuse to buy a couple pairs of new shoes?


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