This article will deal with shoe sizing and measurements, including a full international men’s shoe size conversion table.
Note: Click the following link to jump straight to the shoe size conversion chart.
Shoe sizing can be a frustrating thing. This is because there’s barely any industry-wide standardization. While there is technically an international sizing system called Modopoint, it’s nearly impossible to find any retailers who use it.
Even within countries, there’s barely any way to keep track of sizing. In fact, sizing is inconsistent within brands themselves just as often as it’s consistent. It’s not uncommon for a man who wears a 10D ABC shoe brand to wear a 9.5D in another. It’s less common, but it’s possible to wear a 10D in one style of shoe from ABC brand and a 9.5D in another style of shoe from the same brand.
Shoe Size Conversion Chart
Finding complete information on international men’s shoe sizing is far more difficult than it needs to be. We compiled all of our research into the table below and even included length measurements in both inches and centimeters for shoe sizes.
Please note that despite our best efforts to make this table as accurate as possible, 100% correctness cannot be guaranteed. This is due not only to the lack of standardization across the footwear industry, but also the fact that feet are three-dimensional whereas this sizing is two-dimensional.
Foot Width Chart
Foot width is extremely important but often overlooked. Fewer and fewer men’s shoe brands offer shoes in widths other than “medium,” but if you’re a wide or narrow width, the fit will obviously be off.
The chart below explains shoe width symbols and their corresponding widths. Conceptually, width is classified alphabetically, with narrower widths toward the beginning of the alphabet. Widths get wider as you get further into the alphabet, ending with EEE (ultra wide).
It is theoretically possible for a man’s foot to be narrower or wider than the widths shown above. In cases like this, he will more likely than not have to have his shoes custom-made to accommodate his size.
Shoe Sizes & Foot Measurements
In ancient times, the human body was what was used as an instrument to measure other things. An inch, for example, was the width of a man’s thumb. Interestingly, the word “inch” derives from the Latin unciae, from which the English word “ounce” is also derived.
The foot as a unit of measurement underwent various changes in actual measurement up until 1959, at which point the International Pound And Yard Agreement was signed by the United States and the nations comprising the British Commonwealth, which dictated that one foot was equal to exactly .3048 meters.
This is equal to exactly twelve inches and happens to be the approximate length of an American size 12 shoe, at least on paper.
In the U.S. and Britain, shoe sizes change by 1/3″ per half size. Assuming a size 12 American shoe is, in fact, 12 inches long, that would mean an 11.5 is 11 2/3″ long, whereas a 12.5 shoe would be 12 1/3″ long.
How To Measure Foot Size
In the ready-to-wear shoe world, feet are measured using a Brannock Device. Many of us remember these from shoe shopping with our parents when we were kids, but few of us have had our feet measured as adults. They measure both the length and width of your feet and give you a
While a Brannock Device is still just an approximation, there’s value in getting your feet measured about once a year. Our bodies change over time, and anyone who’s ever looked at the mega-cushioned, puffy shoes that very elderly men often wear can deduce that our feet get bigger and more sensitive as we age.
It is imperative that we wear properly fitted shoes. How do we do this?
- First, have a professional measure your feet. It’s not a difficult process and most entry-level salespeople can do it accurately, but it’s not really a thing you can do yourself due to the physical positioning required.
- Second, have your feet measured at the end of the day. This is when your feet are largest, especially if it’s warm outside.
- Third, be honest about how shoes feel on your foot regardless of what you think of them aesthetically. Uncomfortable shoes will make your life miserable, and you’ll stop caring how cool they look very quickly if you’re in pain.
Bespoke Shoe Sizing
Getting bespoke shoes made, much like getting a bespoke suit, involves some pretty meticulous fitting. The length, width, and height of your feet are all measured, test shoes are made up for you to try on, and so forth. The sizing won’t conform to any particular system, but rather will simply have your first and last name on the lasts created specifically for you.
If you have serious issues with shoe fit and sizing, bespoke shoes are an option you should explore (assuming your budget is quiet large, as these tend to run in the thousands of dollars to start). If you fit reasonably well into most shoes, you can still get bespoke ones made, but you’d be doing it for sartorial choice more than anything else.
Conclusion: Getting Shoes That Fit Properly
At the end of the day, the size that’s embossed on the inside of a shoe or written on its box is relatively meaningless. It’s all about how they feel on your foot.
To that end, we invite you to look at our extensive guide to shoe fit. It has everything you need to know about the ins and outs of how a shoe is supposed to wrap around your foot.