Shoe Sizing Systems

The length of a foot is commonly defined as the distance between two parallel lines that are perpendicular to the foot and in contact with the most prominent toe and the most prominent part of the heel. Foot length is measured with the subject standing barefoot and the weight of the body equally distributed on both feet. The size of the left and right foot is often slightly different - in this case both feet are measured and the shoe size based on the larger foot. Each shoe is suitable for a small interval of foot lengths. The length of the inner cavity of a shoe must typically be 15–20 mm longer than the length of the foot, but this relation varies between different types of shoes. There are three characteristic lengths that a shoe-size system can refer to:

The average length of foot for which a shoe is suitable. For customers, this measure has the advantage of being directly related to their feet. It applies equally to any type, form, or material of shoe. However, this measure is less popular with manufacturers, as it requires them to test carefully for each new shoe model, for which range of foot sizes it is recommendable. It puts on the manufacturer the burden of ensuring that the shoe will fit a foot of a given length. The length of the inner cavity of the shoe. This measure has the advantage that it can be measured easily on the finished product. However, it will vary with manufacturing tolerances and provides the customer only very crude information about the range of foot sizes for which the shoe is suitable. The length of the "last" , the foot-shaped template over which the shoe is manufactured. This measure is the easiest one for the manufacturer to use, as it identifies only the tool used to produce the shoe. It makes no promise about manufacturing tolerances or for what size of foot the shoe is actually suitable. It leaves all responsibility and risk of choosing the correct size with the customer.

All these measures differ substantially from each other for the same shoe. LENGTH UNITS The following length units are commonly used today to define shoe-size systems: Customary Units

 

Barleycorn = 1/3 inch = 8.47 mm Paris point = 2/3 cm = 6.67 mm = 0.26 inch

Metric Units

 

Millimetre (mm) = 0.039 inch Centimetre (cm) = 10 mm = 0.39 inch

International standards

The calculation for an adult shoe size in the UK is thus: adult shoe size = 3 * last length in inches − 25 United States and Canada Shoe sizes in North America are similar to those in Britain but start counting at one rather than zero and so equivalent sizes are one greater. and the sizes go up to size 13½ (8½″). English system/ Britain Shoe size in Britain is based on the length of the last. measured in barleycorns(thirds of an inch) starting from the smallest practical size.33. Most of the shoe-size systems listed in this section are not formally standardized. even though men's and women's do. . A child's size zero is equivalent to a hand (4″ = 12 barleycorns). Thus girls' and boys' sizes do not differ. Thus. a men's 10. female shoe size (FIA) = 3 * last length in inches − 23 Children's sizes are equal to men's sizes plus 12.5 is a women's 12). So. known as the "standard" or "FIA" (Footwear Industries of America) scale.The International Standard is ISO 9407:1991. It is based on the mean foot length for which the shoe is suitable. The following descriptions may only approximate the exact sizing systems used by individual manufacturers.5 (for example. A Mondopoint shoe label can optionally also specify the width of the foot. in which women's sizes are equal to men's sizes plus 1. In other words: female shoe size (common) = 3 * last length in inches − 22. used also for clothes. the calculation for a male shoe size in the USA or Canada is: male shoe size = 3 * last length in inches − 24 Women's sizes are almost always determined with the "common" scale. that recommend a shoe-size system known as Mondopoint. measured in millimetres. again in millimetres. TRADITIONAL SHOE SIZES BY COUNTRY N. (This is similar to the way that floors in buildings are numbered from one rather from zero (ground) in these regions). recommends instead that shoes should be labeled with the interval of foot lengths for which they are suitable. women's sizes are men's sizes plus 1 (so a men's 10. the calculation for a child shoe size in the UK is: child shoe size = 3 * last length in inches − 12 An adult size one is then the next size up (8⅔″) and each size up continues the progression in barleycorns. which is size zero. Shoe sizes — Mondopoint system of sizing and marking.5 In the less popular scale. One source of discrepancy occurs when a shoe manufactured according to one shoe-size system is labelled in another system.5). measured in centimetres.5 is a women's 11.B. European standard. The exact relationship between a labelled shoe size and the interval of foot lengths for which that shoe is suitable can vary substantially between different manufacturers.

and the most used in number of people. However.5cm French system This system is the most common system worldwide. but simply correlate to the length of the foot in millimeters. Korea Shoe sizes in Korea have no respect to gender.5cm female shoe size (Australia/NZ) = 3 * last length − 20. expressed in Paris points.65 WIDTH OR GIRTH DESIGNATORS Some manufacturers offer shoes of different width for the same foot length. the shoe size is the length of the last. the shoe sizes are represented by the length of the shoe in centimetres (like in Japan). Sizes are available in multiples of 5. Italy. A number of other ad-hoc notations for width or girth are also used. as well as China. for men the sizes typically range from 24 cm to 30 cm (increments of 0. In the Mondopoint system. Size designations are independent of wearer's gender. the shoe size label can state in addition to the length also the width of the mean foot for which the shoe is suitable.67 For the international market. Japanese feet (hence shoes) appear to be on average shorter and wider than those of American or Europeans. for both genders and for adults and children alike. Children's shoes are also measured in centimetres. the formula is as follows: Japan Shoe sizes in Japan are represented by the length of the shoe in centimetres. Examples include (each starting with the narrowest width): . Brazil and other Latin America shoe size = length of foot (cm) / 0. It is standard in France. Such shoes are then also labelled according to the width or girth of the widest part of the foot (typically measured directly behind the toes with the subject standing on both feet and wearing socks or hose). for men the sizes typically range from 24 cm to 28 cm (increments of 0.5 cm). Spain and most other continental European countries. Australia male shoe size = 3 * last length − 22.5 cm). Mexico In Mexico.5 cm).5 cm).child shoe size = 3 * last length in inches − 11. Germany. ISO 9407 is used. for women sizes typically range from 23 cm to 25 cm (in increments of 0. both measured in millimetres. In this system. As a Paris point is 2/3 of a centimetre. For women sizes typically range from 22 cm to 27 cm (in increments of 0.

extra wide) None of these designations is formally standardized. E. 2E (wide). 6E N. B (medium). C. For men it is 2A (extra narrow). and common step sizes are 1/4 inch (6 mm) or 3/16 inch (5 mm). EEE. EEEEEE 4A. B (narrow). AAA. EE. C. 2E. The A-E width indicators used by some US and UK shoe manufacturers are typically based on the width of the foot. E.   AAAA. B. 4E. 2E (extra wide). extra wide)for women. A. EEEE. D (wide). 3E. The exact foot width for which these sizes are suitable can vary significantly between manufacturers. D (medium). 4E (extra. B. D. . D. AA. 2A. W Another example of a shoe company's widths is New Balance shoes' width system: 4A (extra narrow)2A (narrow). and 6E (extra. 3A. 4E (extra wide). A. R.

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