Your say: Do you know your shoe size? Here’s a tip for picking a fairly consistent shoe size

by Paris B on · 36 comments

in Discussions,Shoes,Tips

shoe size Your say: Do you know your shoe size? Heres a tip for picking a fairly consistent shoe size

I was thinking about this quite recently, because I wanted to buy a pair of shoes for my sister online, and when I asked for her shoe size, it turned out she did not know it! Its easy when you step into a shoe store and have a rough idea of what size you usually wear, and then keep trying until you hit the jackpot. Its harder with online shopping.

But there are so many pretty shoes online and at very good prices too! Yet, how often do the shoe sizes really match up? I don’t know what sizes the local brands follow but I used to be a Size 5 in shoes. And then one day, Size 5 felt like I was wearing boats on my feet, and I dropped a shoe size to 4. I once wore UK Size 3 which was really tiny, but not any longer. That was a very strange period of shoe buying LOL!

Yet I sometimes take a 6 if its an American brand with American sizing! I used to be confused as heck until I hit upon the one method of ascertaining consistent shoe sizes, and which has served me well even when I take a stab in the dark buying shoes online.

I use the European shoe size guide.

I noticed that I am consistently a European Size 36 in every pair of shoes that fit me. The UK sizes may fluctuate between 3.5 to 4, the American sizes could be a Size 6 but my experience with the European size has been fool proof so far.

Once, I thought I’d tempt fate and try on a European Size 35. I thought it was a good fit, but prolonged wear soon taught me a lesson. It pinched in the wrong areas and my feet felt trapped and it was uncomfortable. Since then, I stick to using the European size as a general guide and it has served me well thus far, whether for sneakers, heels or even casual flip flops.

The only slight exception is for ballet flats. Due to the nature of the shoe, I’ve found that taking a half size up makes the shoe fit better and feel more comfortable.

I still don’t buy shoes very much online, but when I come across a sale I cannot resist or a shoe I’ve been wanting, at a price that is too good to pass up, I take the plunge, and being able to stab at your shoe size is very helpful. Knowing your shoe size is very helpful too when you walk into a shoe shop, because it helps you get what you want more quickly especially if its crowded. Most international brands will have their sizing in US, UK and EUR sizing. I don’t trust the US and UK sizing (I strongly believe there’s vanity sizing even in shoes!) so I tell them my shoe size in EUR sizing, they bring me the shoe and 95% of the time, the shoe fits.

Do you know your shoe size? Do you find that it is consistent across the board or does it fluctuate wildly?

I used to be able to trust my feet with UK shoe sizes but I can’t these days. Shoe sizes seem to fluctuate quite a lot even within the same brand. Part of the reason may be to do also with the structure of our feet. I do have rather narrow feet and most EUR shoes tend to be designed to be narrow, especially Italian brands. I wonder if that might be why I find that my feet take better to EUR shoe sizes? So, do you know your own shoe size and is it fairly consistent?

Paris B

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[ 36 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Angela March 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

I find my shoe sizes changes quite a bit across brands as well as the type of shoes. When I’m shopping online and not able to actually try out the shoes, I tend to order half size bigger than my usual size.

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I’ve found that thus far, sticking to my EUR size works well. I don’t shop online for shoes a lot, and if I do, I stick to known brands because I have picky feet. But in store, I find that using my EUR size will be most accurate :)

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Rin March 24, 2013 at 10:26 am

Hi Paris!
Very interesting post indeed. I usually wear UK size 4. Only occasionally my size will differ. Like u mentioned earlier in your post: the structure of our feet. I have wide feet. And bunion (runs in the family). My feet fit well in most UK branded shoes. And to be honest (even though it is quite embarrassing to say but I am willing to share :)), my feet cannot feet well in most asian shoes (and I’m actually Asian, LOL). I’ve had many many bad experiences with ill fitting shoes because I couldn’t get those that fit me well & comfy for me to wear. Most asian shoes that come in my size can’t fit me at all because they are narrow for me. Most of my shoes are UK branded ones (with affordable price) :) A few brands are available in Malaysia since these few years so YAY for me :)

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:05 pm

I wear mostly UK and European branded shoes too because they fit my feet best. I can’t wear many local brands. I have narrow feet so European sizes fit my feet quite comfortably. I like UK sizes for their comfort levels but I’ve found that although I generally take a UK size 4, I’ve even gone down to 3 once so it was quite mind boggling. Which are your fave shoe brands?

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Rin April 1, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Have a few but my most fave is Doc Martens. I know they don’t look very feminine & very fashionable but they fit me well. And, comfy. Boots, and flats. I don’t have much choice when it comes to shoes. Heee.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Eh eh I have always wanted a pair of Doc Martens but they’re so heavy! Still very tempted though. Any good sites to get them from? ;)

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Rin April 3, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I’m sorry Paris, I don’t know any good sites to get them from. I buy them whenever I have the chance to travel to UK/overseas or buy them in Malaysia. They’re pretty heavy but I’ve gotten used to them :) They’re no more heavy to me :)

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Tine March 24, 2013 at 11:07 am

That’s why I very very rarely buy shoes online! I have rather wonky feet; flat feet and they’re very picky when it comes to shoes. The only shoes I’ve bought online are my ASICS runners and the Varinas, but that’s because I went in store to try them out for size first. :P
Sizes are weird for me because sometimes I wear an Australian size 37, 37.5 or even 38. It depends on the cut and the material used. For patent leather, I prefer to buy a half or full size bigger. I know people say that the leather will stretch but if they pinch my feet from the beginning, I’ll probably only wear it once. Easier to add inserts to wear bigger shoes than to try to stretch smaller ones.
Shoes are a risky purchase if you can’t try it out prior to buying them. I prefer to just get them in store.

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:09 pm

If I buy shoes online they are usually ones I’ve tried in store or variations of the same brand. I dare not do sneakers. I can’t even get a proper size in store, much less online! So far, I’ve found that knowing my EUR size is most consistent in all brands, no matter what they are. Japanese sizes are quite consistent too since they are baed on length but few brands use that, except or the Japanese brands of course ;)

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synical March 24, 2013 at 11:40 am

Shoe buying on the interwebs is such a crap shoot. I find going by EU sizing is less of a headache for me too. Luckily some retailers also put up actual measurements (in cm) that you could more or less go by…

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Measurements do help a lot but even then I stick to brands I already know. My feet are picky anyway about the shoes I wear so I prefer to just stick to the tried and true. Thank goodness for the consistency in EUR sizes

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gin March 24, 2013 at 11:55 am

i never realised i have always unconciously use EUR shoe sizing as my guide until this post! this is so true Paris! i wear an 8 or 9,but with EUR, i am consistent at 40!
yay for this post!!!

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I yay! I’m glad you too realised this, Gin! Hurrah for the consistent EUR sizing!

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Jyoan March 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm

My shoe size is very consistent when I buy in shops. It’s always 38 for wrapped shoes, and 37 for something that is half or all open. I am not sure what size that is, but I call it the Singapore size.

It never works anywhere else in the world. In Thailand, I am 40. American and UK sizes are perpetually confusing. I try to follow Charles & Keith size as recommended by most blogs. But I have gone wrong way too many times, and no longer buy shoes online.

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:12 pm

I usually only buy shoes online that I’ve worn before or brands I’ve worn before. Strangely, I can’t wear Charles and Keith. The sizing is a bit off for me so although its very popular and trendy I just can’t wear them :(

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milktea March 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm

No idea, wish I knew, then I could order shoes online, especially from Korea.

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:13 pm

I think Koreans have their own sizing guide too lol! The world is a confusing place

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Camy March 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm

its such a good post! thanks for teaching!

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Glad you found it helpful Camy

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kuri March 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm

My shoe size fluctuates across makers, but it’s terrible finding a good fit because my feet are pretty wide with a narrow heel :P
Interestingly I am consistently a particular size in Japanese sizes, and a particular size in U.S. sizes, but invariably conversion charts from US to Japan or vice versa give me the wrong size.

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Boo to poor conversions :P I think Japanese sizing is quite consistent too. I’ve tried a coupe of Japanese shoes and I think I’m a 23.5 but I could of course be mistaken because conversion guides will tell you that’s not a EUR 36 :P

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Holly March 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

my big feet makes it impossible for me to buy fancy Asian shoes…. In term of cheap shoes I can only buy from Zara and H&M, cuz they have bigger sizes (i am a size 40!).

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I have small feet and can’t wear Asian shoes either :P my feet dislike the cheap brands as I need a certain level of padding and a certain slant to the height that just isn’t there so unfortunately for me, I do have to splurge on my shoes. On the bright side, I’m not much of a shoeholic, thankfully so!

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Amanda March 25, 2013 at 1:43 am

I’m an EU38 in heels, boots, hiking shoes and flats. For Miu Miu, Prada and YSL, I’ve to go for EU37.5. For US sizing, I go for US7.5. I’ve bought shoes online a few times, including my wedding shoes! I’ve been quite lucky so far :)

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:21 pm

It sounds like your shoe sizes are pretty consistent! So far, I take 36 in everything except flats when I’m a 36.5 and its all good. I think knowing the brand, style and general idea of size is crucial to helping you find a good fit in shoes especially when buying online :) haven’t ventured to brands outside of Ferragamo though. I think my wallet will have a heart attack if I do ;)

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Catherine March 25, 2013 at 5:13 am

Aah shoe sizes… Its different not only in different brands but also the model of shoes! For example in Louboutins I have some 38,5- others 39 and even 39,5. Ferragamo have the most crazy sizing, its not really any country sizing- its their own sizing…

But theres much more to size than how long my feet are- also width, how long or chubby toes are and high/low arch. My arch didnt pass in Jimmy Choos for example. I wouldnt risk getting shoes online.

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Paris B March 31, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Is interesting, Catherine. I wear Ferragamo and so far, I’m pretty consistent in them. Haven’t tried other brands so I’m not sure how different it can go :) I will only buy shoes online from brands I’ve worn before or that I’ve tried on before, and then only because they are cheaper than buying in store. Otherwise, if I get a good sale price, I get them in store, instant gratification and confirmation that it fits!

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Sam March 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Mine is fairly consistent, but does vary according to the width (can go up half a size if it’s a narrower fit). I haven’t bought any shoes online and I probably wouldn’t, unless they are the same style and size of what I normally wear.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 12:20 am

It’s safest to stick to a brand olive worn before or a style you’ve worn before when buying online. It’s generally far too tricky but sometimes, the online prices make it too tempting!

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Christina Chiang March 26, 2013 at 12:06 am

Haha! Yes! I always use EUR sizes, and they’ve been very consistent over my last 6 years! Other sizes simply fluctuate too much to be trusted. Such a pity though, when I go to stores and the assistants give me blank looks when I give them the EUR size :(

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 12:34 am

I find that international brands are more receptive to us using EUR sizing as a guide but yes, I do get the blank look too so I just tell them to bring me the shoe and I’ll check it myself lol

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Leila March 26, 2013 at 12:45 am

I don’t think there was vanity sizing in shoes until these past couple of years. Before my size was always consistent, but not anymore. Like you, I have found EU sizing more accurate, but even then I am one of two sizes. I think the main problem is that half sizes haven’t been very common in the UK for a long, long time (except in a few stores like Clarks), so I can’t find them.

If they were available in a half size, I don’t think I would have as much trouble, but it still does depend on the style of shoe. Pumps and ballet flats in particular, are very important to have half sizes because there is nothing holding your feet down keeping them in.

I also check the EU sizes before I buy, just in case the size is American, which are close numbers, but different . I scored a pair of free boots this way once, my sister’s friend ordered from a US brand and didn’t check the sizes properly so she ended up with shoes two sizes too small! She gave them to my sister but I ended up wearing them more so they’re mine now :-)

I don’t know why shoe sizes have to be based on a seemingly arbitrary number, why not have sizes in cm, like the Japanese? I think that will take all the guesswork out of online ordering. Shoes are the worst to order online.

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Ahh thanks for shedding light on this, Leila. I used to wear half sizes but these days I find I have to fit into one of two sizes and they are never quite the right fit. I do wish more brands would do half sizes. Its so much easier to find shoes that actually fit instead of shoes that are just “Oh, ok it’ll have to do”

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Jess March 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I cant because Im between size 4 to 4.5 to 5 and it is so difficult for me to buy a proper shoes :( And many shoes brand carry size 6 and above and sometimes their size 5 is a bit too big for me..,,,I can only stare at the girl next to me shoes and said Ohhhhhh so nice…. thats so sad but it is true…

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Paris B April 1, 2013 at 1:53 pm

But 4-5 is, I have found, a good size to be locally. Its quite easy to find shoes in those sizes, I find :) I’ve found that sometimes, the brands that have Size 6 as minimum use US sizing which is about a UK4 and EUR36 so that’s why I always use my EUR size. If they have my EUR size I then find it hard to gauge my shoe size :P

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Yee July 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Ah how I wish my feet were more of a normal size. It’s so hard to buy shoes via my feet are small. Like really small. I’ve even bought shoes from the kiddy section (American sizing). Yes, really!

I’ve been looking for a good quality, comfy pair of ballet flats lately. Can’t find them in my size though…there’s a site called Pretty Small Shoes but the price is just way out of my budget! So ugh, hard to find a good pair of shoes that fit well.

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