Sock Math! Converting Shoe Sizes
We regularly get questions about converting sock sizes into shoe sizes and vice versa. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question.
Our Dreamer in charge of Dream Stockings explained sock and shoe sizing to me, and holy cow is it complicated! Sock sizing itself is pretty straightforward, at least in the US. Your sock size is how long your foot is in inches. To be accurate, imagine your foot contained by an invisible box from the back of your heel to the tip of your longest toe.
And that’s why a sock like the Loving Horses Crew, which is sock size 9-11, fits US women's shoe sizes 6 - 10 the best. Though there’s no way a shoe size 10 could fit in a size 6, they both fall within the stretchy range of that most common sock size, 9-11. And because feet differ so much, we test fit and let you know what real-life testing says the sock size is.
You may already be familiar with how different countries have different sizing systems for shoes. Our European brands, like Cronert and MP, use the European shoe sizing system, which we then get to translate to US shoe sizes.
Most military services and Asian countries use a very straightforward system that sizes shoes based on length and width measurements of the feet that are going to fit in the shoes, down to 5 millimeters! The US, Canada and most European countries, on the other hand (or foot), base their measurements off the length of the “last”, the foot-shaped mold used to make shoes.
Of course, a last isn’t a foot, they’re most often approximately ½ to 2/3 an inch larger than the foot they’re making a shoe for—so a size 8.5 in US women’s shoe may be 9.5 inches long, but the last will be anywhere from 10 to almost 11 inches long! It makes the already complicated process of shoe sizing even more tricky. And when you throw in how there are totally different lasts for all the different kinds of shoes, it is brain-whirling.
There’s a very informative article on Wikipedia about all the different shoe sizing systems, but if you join us after the jump we’ll break down some of the most common shoe sizing systems for you.
Though the UK uses the same shoe sizing math as the US and Canada, they start counting their sizes at 0 instead of 1 and they don’t have a separate measuring system for “women’s shoes.” UK sizes will be about one to one-half smaller than US sizes. That makes it easy enough to convert sizes, though it means a nasty surprise if you don’t remember to convert them!
So, if you’re a men’s US size 7 like me, then you’ll be a 6-6.5 in UK sizes. And to get your men’s US shoe size from women’s US shoe size, just subtract 2 (so I’m a size 9 in women’s US shoe sizes).
Now, Australia uses similar shoe size math too, but they also have a different starting point and slightly different math. I tried figuring out if there was a simple math conversion, but for some reason converting to and from Australian shoe sizes totally confounds me. I ended up looking at several different shoe size conversion tables online (there are so many!). On average, the Australian men’s shoe size is a half size smaller than same the US size in men’s and the Australian women’s shoe size is 1 and a half sizes smaller than the same size in US women’s. So! My size 9 in US women’s is a size 7.5 in Australian women’s shoe sizes. And if I use the US men’s sizing of 7, then it’s 6.5 in Australian men’s shoe sizes.
Whew! I don’t know why something as fun as shoes needs to be so complicated. At least European sizing is super straight forward (and doesn’t have different numbers for “men’s” and “women’s”). There’s even a very simple way to find your Euro shoe size based off your foot length! No lasts!
To find your European shoe size, first add 1.5 to your foot length (in centimeters!), then multiply that number by 1.5. We’ll use my measurement of 25 centimeters in this example:
And that number (in my case, 39) is your European shoe size! And once you have your European shoe size you can very easily convert it to US shoe sizes, or whatever you need.
Dang, all we wanted to do was give you a basic idea of how shoe sizes work, so when you’re reading the Sizing Tips on a product page you can have a better idea of how they’ll fit, if you’re not used to using US shoe sizes. I didn’t expect this to be so complicated! It's summer, not time for school! (although the School Days Crews are cute . . .)
Well, thank goodness there are sock sizes. All you have to know for those is how long your foot is in inches.
Of course, if you ever have any questions about sizing (and not just feet, but inseams and circumference and all those wonderful variables!), just drop us a line and we’ll help you figure it out. The most basic sizing info we have is also all compiled on our Measurements & Sizes page.
Have you found a great conversion chart for shoe sizes? Do you use non-US shoe sizes and how is finding sock styles that will fit work for you?