Designer shoe size conversion depends largely on where the shoes are made
As the story goes, shoe sizes in European countries were originally calculated using the metric system: the stated shoe size was the length of the last (the wooden “foot” the shoe is molded and built around), measured in millimeters, and divided by two-thirds.
Today, designer shoe sizing typically follows this tradition, from size 35 (52.5mm) up to size 48.5 (72.75mm). “IT” and “EU” are typically interchangeable and reflect this 34-48 range of sizes for both women and men. The vast majority of designer shoes follow Italian/European sizing because they’re either made in Italy, Spain, Portugal, or another part of mainland Europe.
In the UK, alternatively, shoe size was traditionally (and is still today) calculated by a similar but different method: the length of the last, measured in inches, multiplied by three and minus a constant, which is different for womens and mens footwear. For example, a size 41 IT/EU is approximately equal to a men’s 7.5 UK and women’s 7 UK. UK-centric sizing is typical for men’s dress shoes and traditional brands founded in England like John Lobb.
To add another layer of complication, the US follows nearly the same convention as the UK, only adding “1” for women and “0.5” for men across the board. So a women’s 7 UK is an 8 US and a men’s 7.5 UK is an 8 US.
- Designer brands that primarily use the Italian/European sizing system: Balenciaga, Golden Goose, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino Garavani, Bottega Veneta, Maison Margiela, Jimmy Choo, Malone Souliers, Christian Louboutin, and many more
- Designer brands that often use the United Kingdom sizing system: men’s Prada, men’s Gucci, men’s Tod’s, Adidas, and Church’s
- Designer brands that primarily use the United States sizing system: Nike
As always, it’s best to try shoes on in-person, on your foot, because even knowing your correct size across measurement conventions, some brands and/or types of shoes run big (Prada, Bottega Veneta) and some run small (most athletic shoes).
For a complete overview of the designer shoe size conversion for both women and men between Italian, European (French), British, and American, please visit Convert World.
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