Converting men & women shoe size chart: 7.5, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, UK, US, EU

Shoe sizes are defined differently across the globe. Some regions make use of US sizes, while some regions use UK sizes. Shoe sizes are technically the same when measured in centimeters or inches. The differences lie in what they measure, the measurement unit they use, and where you position the size zero or one.

Some shoe systems indicate the shoe’s width in either number, but commonly in one, two, or three letters. Certain regions use different shoe sizing systems for different shoe types, such as women’s, men’s, and children’s. Depending on the manufacturer, shoe size is not standard across several brands. For example, a person who wears a US 8 in Adidas may be a US 9 in Nike.

If you would like to know more about shoe sizes, read through the following sections. There is a shoe size conversion chart below that should serve as a guide for you. It should be helpful when converting shoe sizes across different shoe sizing systems.

woman in sneakers

Shoe Size History

When determining shoe sizes, various regions across the world follow different standards. We think it would be beneficial to discuss a bit of shoe size history for you to know its origins.

Back during Roman civilization, shoemakers used barleycorn, a former English length unit equal to 0.33 inches. Roman shoemakers used barleycorn to measure foot length in making sandals. In the present time, three barleycorns are equal to an inch.

It was during the time of King Edward of England when barleycorn was recognized as the measurement unit for shoe sizes. A royal decree was signed and put into order in 1324, making barleycorn the official unit of measurement. Since then, the derivation of shoe sizes in England came from barleycorn lengths.

The shoe size of 39 barleycorns is equivalent to the size 13, which is the average men’s shoe size for the English. An infants’ shoe size is a different story. It starts at zero and is usually 1 to 13 barleycorns in length. In the present time, Ireland and the United Kingdom still use the barleycorn system as the basis of shoe sizes.

Moving on to the United States (USA), the same barleycorn measurement concept applies. However, there is a slight difference from the traditional English system. Instead of starting the measurement point from zero, the US measurement system starts at one. For example, a UK 12 size is equivalent to a US 13 size.

Deriving Men and Women Shoe Size

The shoe size is technically a person’s foot length. You can define it by getting the distance between a person’s most prominent part of the heel and the longest toe. The subject should be barefoot and in a standing position to get an accurate shoe size measurement. Distributing the body’s weight equally between both feet helps in getting an accurate measurement.

The right and left feet are, most of the time, different in terms of length. When purchasing shoes in-store, it is important for the wearer to try on both shoes. When shopping online, always measure both feet and reference from the larger measurement.

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Three Characteristic Lengths

When measuring the shoe size, shoe manufacturers often reference three characteristic lengths.

The first characteristic a manufacturer considers is the median length of the feet. Manufacturers need to test every shoe model they release to see which range of shoe sizes is recommendable. They need to ensure that the shoe will fit a given length of the foot. However, this characteristic is not often considered by manufacturers because it takes too much time and resources. On the other hand, customers have the advantage because these measurements are directly related to one’s body.

The length of the shoe’s inner cavity is the second characteristic of length. You can easily measure this length with a finished product. The catch is that manufacturers have different tolerances. Measuring it yourself would be the best way to go.

The third characteristic is the last’s length. The last is a foot-like object manufacturers use when creating shoes. It is usually the easiest one to use because you will only have to refer to the tool used to manufacture the shoe. However, it does not consider for which shoe size it is suitable nor any manufacturing tolerances.

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Shoe-size System Lengths

Across the many sizing systems in the world, they differ in the measurement units they use. As a result, sizing systems differ in increments between sizes. Shoes for the youth are smaller than the ones for adults.

In the present time, shoe-size systems use the following units of measurement.

Barleycorn

As discussed in an earlier section, the barleycorn is an English unit that measures 0.33 inches. In the present time, North American and UK shoe sizes make use of the barleycorn system.

Paris Point

The Paris point equals 0.66 cm, 6.67 mm, or 0.26 inches. A whole size increments by 1 Paris point, which translates to 0.131 inches or 3.33 mm between half sizes. In the present time, Continental Europe, excluding former USSR countries and Russia, makes use of the Paris point measurement.

Metric Measurement

The metric system measures in millimeters. It has intervals of 5 mm. Speaking of the metric system, we have a chart that converts SAE to metric.

Shoe-size System Widths

A few shoe-size systems include the width of the foot. The Mondopoint system measures the foot width in millimeters. Some systems make use of letters or a combination of letters to express width. The following are examples, each starting from the narrowest width to the widest width.

  • 4A, 3A, 2A, A, B, C, D, E, 2E, 3E, 4E, 5E, 6E – Variant North American
  • A, B, C, D, E, EE, EEE, EEEE, F, G – Typical North American
  • C, D, E, F, G, H – Typical United Kingdom

Some manufacturers express width more generically. They express it as either N (narrow), M (medium), or R (regular), W (wide).

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Men vs. Women Shoe Size

woman on a bench

In most cases, there is a difference of two sizes between men’s and women’s US sizes simply because a women’s shoe is two sizes smaller for the same fit length. To illustrate, a men’s US 12 is a women’s US 10.

In terms of width, women’s feet are more narrow than men’s feet. However, it is not safe to generalize this notion across all shoe brands in the market. Some manufacturers have their shoe-size system. A men’s US 9 from manufacturer X could be smaller from manufacturer Y. So, what might be the best thing to do? Aside from knowing your US, UK, and EU sizes, it is also a great idea to know your metric system size in millimeters or centimeters. Most of the time, the metric system is much accurate than any other sizing system. The only issue we see is the manufacturer not having the equivalent metric system sizes of their footwear.

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Shoe Size Conversion Chart

A shoe size represents small intervals of a foot’s measurement. You may refer to the below conversion chart for the different shoe sizes in US men, US women, EU, and the UK. This chart should give you a clearer comparison of different shoe sizes.

Chart to convert men, women, UK, US & EU shoe sizes
US sizes, men EU sizes UK sizes US sizes, women EU sizes UK sizes

6

40

5

4

35

2

6.5

40

5.5

4.5

35

2.5

7

41

6

5

36

3

7.5

41

6.5

5.5

36

3.5

8

42

7

6

37

4

8.5

42

7.5

6.5

37

4.5

9

43

8

7

38

5

9.5

43

8.5

7.5

38

5.5

10

44

9

8

39

6

10.5

44

9.5

8.5

39

6.5

11

45

10

9

40

7

11.5

45

10.5

9.5

40

7.5

12

46

11

10

41

8

13

47

12

10.5

41

8.5

14

48

13

11

42

9

15

49

14

11.5

42

9.5

16

50

15

12

43

10

Reading the conversion chart is quite straightforward. A men’s US 6.5 converts to a women’s US 7.5. A women’s US 4.5 converts to a men’s US 6.5.

The EU and UK sizes for men’s and women’s US sizes are different. For example, a women’s US 5.5 converts to EU 36 and UK 3.5, whereas a men’s US 7.5 converts to EU 41 and UK 6.5. If you don’t completely understand it, here is another example. A men’s US 10.5 converts to a women’s US 8.5.

Let’s say you are in a store in Europe and you are looking for a pair of shoes that fit your size, which is a women’s US 8.5. When looking at the shoe sizes chart, your equivalent EU size is EU 39. Depending on the shoes’ design, you may go a size up – EU 40.

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man tying his laces

Difference between UK, EU & US shoe sizes

There are no major differences among UK, EU, and US shoe sizes, except how they are expressed. UK shoe sizes are measured in barleycorns, which was discussed in detail in one of the above sections. US shoe sizes are very similar to the UK shoe sizes, but start counting at one instead of zero. Lastly, EU shoe sizes use the Paris points system, which comes from the last’s length.

Measuring in the metric system should clear out any confusion for most people. Let’s say your feet measure 28 cm in metric. You will only have to look at the manufacturer’s shoe sizing chart and check the corresponding UK, US, or EU size.

If you noticed, not all shoe size tables you see are the same. Under Armour’s shoe size table could be different from Nike’s. The tables you see on the internet might also differ, which leads to more confusion. The following factors contribute to these variances:

  • The shoe size system is not standardized. You will often see differences between shoe manufacturers because of differences in manufacturing processes, the method of measuring the shoes, the difference in the allowance, and several other factors.
  • Different shoe widths could impact your shoe size. For people with wide feet, you may need a longer shoe to accommodate your feet’ width.
  • Children’s shoe size table could take future growth into account.
  • Any indication of measurement in the metric system pertains to the length of the shoe’s inner cavity.

The best way is to wear the shoe to see if it fits well. If you are into in-store shopping, this should not be an issue. When shopping online, most stores offer a free return or free exchange policy, so you can change size if needed.

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