Shoe Size System | History Of Shoe And Sizes Calculations Of Different Regions.

Last Updated on September 28, 2023 by Chase Reiner

Shoe sizing systems have evolved historically, with regions like the US, UK, and Europe using different methods. The Brannock Device, invented in 1925, standardized US sizing. The UK uses inches, while Europe employs the Paris point system, where 1 point equals 0.6667 centimeters.

Shoe Size System

The History Of Shoe Size:

“Paris Point” was determined in the mid-19th century in France as a standard for measuring shoe sizes. Paris Point originated from the original stitching length of a sewing machine’s double seams, equating the 2/3rd of a centimeter, i.e., 6.67mm. It then spread around Europe gradually. The system of measuring a shoe is the same as it was centuries ago. 

The only difference is that now the Paris Point is contemplated in Europe as the standard shoe size system. It is also known as the European size, EU size, German size, or French size. The measurement makes a metric system using centimeters. Only Britain uses the measurement in inches with its own measurement system.   

The English measurement system is the oldest official system worldwide. It is based on inches, typically in Anglo-American countries, unlike that of the metric system for measuring shoes in the European region. During those times, the instruments for measurements were very expensive and were not available for everyday use. 

The measurement system was introduced by Edward II, the king of England, in 1324. He used barleycorn as the smallest unit of measurement in Britain and equalized one inch with three barleycorns placing lengthways, one inch = 2.54 centimeters in metric terms. The English measurement of shoe size is labeled as the UK (for the United Kingdom) size.

The Paris Point measurement of shoe sizes was numbered uniformly. In contrast, the English method was complicated due to the distinguished sizes of children and adults.

The US system of shoe size measurement, introduced in the mid of19th century, is based on The UK system of shoe measurement, with a difference of scale starting at 3 11/12₺, whereas Paris Point is that of 4₺, and child size begins from 0, which is equalizes 15 of Paris Point. The US measurement of shoe size is labeled as US (for the United States) size.

ISO 19407 and shoe size conversion

ISO 19407 is an international standard that provides guidelines for shoe size labeling, helping ensure consistency in sizing across different countries. It aims to simplify the process of converting shoe sizes from one region’s system to another, promoting international trade and reducing confusion for consumers.

Here are the key points related to ISO 19407 and shoe size conversion:

  1. Standardized Shoe Sizing: ISO 19407 sets forth a standardized method for labeling shoe sizes based on the length of the shoe’s inner cavity. It uses millimeters (mm) as the primary unit of measurement.
  2. Reference Points: The standard establishes reference points within the shoe, such as the toe and the back, to determine the length of the inner cavity accurately.
  3. Size Labels: Shoes are labeled with the inner cavity length in millimeters. For example, a shoe labeled as “280 mm” indicates that the length of the inner cavity is 280 millimeters.
  4. Conversion Tables: ISO 19407 provides conversion tables that allow consumers and manufacturers to convert sizes from one region to another. This helps individuals easily find the equivalent size in a different sizing system.
  5. Global Application: The standard is designed for global use, making it easier for international manufacturers to produce shoes with consistent sizing labels, thus facilitating trade and consumer confidence.
  6. Eliminating Regional Variations: ISO 19407 helps eliminate variations and discrepancies in shoe sizing that may exist between different countries and regions. This can be especially beneficial for consumers who purchase shoes online or from international retailers.

While ISO 19407 provides a valuable framework for standardizing shoe sizing, it’s important to note that not all countries have adopted this standard. As a result, some regions may still use their own unique sizing systems. When purchasing shoes internationally, it’s advisable to refer to conversion charts or consult with the manufacturer to ensure an accurate fit.

Shoe Sizes Calculations Of Different Regions:

Men’s shoe size is calculated using the shoe size = 3 x length in inches – 22 formula. Calculations differ according to the regions. Some of the measures based on its areas include the following:

1. European Union: Length in centimeter (= length of foot + 1.5 cm)/ 0.667.

2. English Shoe Size: Length in centimeter (= length of foot + 1.5 cm)/ 2.54 x 3 – 25.

3. UE Shoe Size: Length in centimeter (= length of foot + 1.5 cm)/ 2.54 x 3 – 24.

Oversized And Undersized Shoe:

Sizes that exceed the regular adult sizes are referred to as the “large sizes” or “out sizes.” In contrast, the smaller sizes below the average range are termed as “sub-sizes” or “small sizes. These sizes fall under special categories and are sold on various online platforms to make the search easier for their customers. 

The standard or the European industry standard of adult shoe sizes ranges according to the following categories:

1. Women’s Shoe Size range: UK 3.5/ EU 36 to UK 8.0/ EU 42.

2. Men’s Shoe Size range: UK 6.5/ EU 40 to UK 12/ EU 45.

An American named Robert Wadlow (1918 – 1940), who was 8.11₺ in height, wore the 37AA, the largest shoe size ever. It is still the largest foot-holding in the Guinness World Record. 

Presently most brands sell sizes 13 and 14, whereas the Nike and Adidas deal up to 21 and 22 sizes. However, some shoe sizes are also available up to UK 15/ EU 50 ½. 

The Following Table Shows The Largest Shoe Sizes For Men Available With The Brands: 

Table 1.1: Shoe Brands And Largest Available Size 

Brand NameLargest Size Available

Checking Your Shoe Size:

You can check your shoe size by measuring your feet at the end of the day, which is considered to be in its largest form. The numbers mentioned behind the shoe are the length, which is a significant parameter in figuring out the shoe’s size. In contrast, some have letters mentioned behind the shoe, which indicates the width of a shoe. Below mentioned is the classification of the width:

1. Extra Narrow: A, or 2A.

2. Narrow: B.

3. Medium: D.

4. Wide: E or 2E.

5. Extra Wide: 4E.

The average width of men’s footwear is medium, determined by the letter “D.”  

Many measuring devices and products are available to check the foot length and width, which include the following: 

1. Brannock devise.  

2. Footer Foot Measuring Tool.

3. NBC Practical Foot Measuring Device.

4. Ritz Stick Foot Measuring Device.

5. Squatchy Foot Measuring Device.

The shoe size also differs in brands. The prominent brands have distinct measurements for foot length. Each brand has its own charts and guides for shoe sizes. Hence, it is required to check the brand’s sizing chart before buying a pair of shoes. It will help in determining the right size that fits your feet.

Connection Between Height And Foot Length:

The human body’s base is the feet, as it helps maintain the balance of the body. Taller individuals need extra support to keep their balance and manage the weight of their bodies. Hence, taller individuals’ feet size is bigger. These individuals’ height-to-foot ratio is roughly considered 6.6:1, i.e., a man with a 6.6″ height will have a foot length of 1 inch.

Our feet expand and grow with age, which affects the size of the shoe. Some factors contributing to larger shoe sizes are weight gain and loss of elasticity in ligaments and tendons.

Average Shoe Size – Men:

Men’s shoe size can be determined quickly due to the various studies that analyzed the average shoe size for men. However, there is no official shoe size for a man. The size of the shoe for every man differs due to the physique. The standard metrics of shoe sizes used commonly are EU, UK, US, and Japan.

The reports of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2014 showed that the average size of men’s shoes ranges between 9 and 12 worldwide. In contrast, the average size for men’s shoes in America is 10.5. The difference between each size is about an inch. The new size number labeled for men in shoe size number 10 is now size 8. 

The shoe size also varies according to the region. As instanced by the US, the shoe sizes range from 32 – 50, equalizing shoe sizes 0.5 – 15.5. Hence, the average shoe size for men in Europe falls between 42 – 43, i.e., shoe size 10 in the US.

In the UK, the average shoe size for men is 9, which was eight a few years ago. This change is due to the rise in Obesity among individuals. Several experts in the Medical sector claim that hormones present in foods result in larger hands and feet. 

The table below indicates the shoe sizes according to the length of the foot:

Table 1.2: Shoe Sizes As Per Foot Length.

S.NoFoot Size(Inches / Centimeter)Shoe Size
19.5 inch (24.1 cm)6
29.6 inch (24.4 cm)6.5
39.8 inch (24.8 cm)7
410 inch (25.4 cm)7.5
510.1 inch (25.7 cm)8
610.2 inch (26.0 cm)8.5
710.5 inch (26.7 cm)9
810.6 inch (27.0 cm)9.5
910.7 inch (27.3 cm)10
1011 inch (27.9 cm)10.5

The table below indicates the shoe sizes according to the height of men:

Table 1.3: Shoe Sizes As Per Height Of Men.

S.NoHeight Of Men (Feet / Centimeter)Average Shoe Size
15 feet 5 inch (165 cm)5
25 feet 6.1 inch (168 cm)8
35 feet 6.9 inch (170 cm)7
45 feet 8.1 inch (173 cm)9
55 feet 8.9 inch (175 cm)9.5
65 feet 10.9 inch (180 cm)10.5
76 feet 1.2 inch (186 cm)11
86 feet 4 inch (193 cm)11


It is significant to go through the shoe size metrics and guides to choose the right one for yourself as the sizes of the shoe might not apply universally due to the varied measurements set by brands.  Selecting the correct shoe size is essential for your feet as it boosts up your comfort and helps prevent developing blisters or shoe bites. Choosing a shoe similar to your foot shape, and fits perfectly would be the best option. Go ahead and buy your next pair of Shoes!


Q1. What Are The Average Sizes Of Men’s Shoes In The UK And The US?

Ans: The average size of men’s shoes in the US is 10, and in the UK its size 9, that was eight a few years ago.

Q2. How Is The Shoe Size Labeled In Europe, The United Kingdom, And In The United States?

Ans: The shoe size in Europe is labeled as the EU, the United States’ the US and the United Kingdom’s shoe size is labeled as the UK.

Q3. What Is The Best Time To Measure Foot Length?

Ans: The best time to measure the foot length is at the end of the day when the foot’s size is at its largest.


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