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Vintage to Modern Shoe Size Conversion Chart

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Elaine Higgins, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Elaine Higgins

    Elaine Higgins Registered Guest

    Is there a chart somewhere that converts vintage shoe sizes to modern sizes? Thanks!
  2. Interesting question, Elaine. I don't think sizes have changed over the years. Others, Jonathan, would know for sure.

    Below is the chart I use as a guide when measuring shoes. It has inside toe to heel measurements in either inches or centimeters and above these measurements are the corresponding International shoe sizes for both men and women.

  3. Pinkcoke

    Pinkcoke Alumni

    It doesn't exist, the trick is knowing which country's sizing you are looking at, the shoes can be marked for the size in the country they were made in, or intended for export to. I have found that the majority of pre, 1960's british shoes used american sizing. That isn't exclusive, there is the odd company that used English sizing but it seems to be far rarer.
    You can start guessing the country's sizing from the way it's written:
    UK can appear: 6 or 6 1/2 or even 60 (size 6) on older shoes. width letters on british shoes are less common and if present go from C, D is standard width in Clarks at least, has been for some time. E is wide, F extra wide. they tend to be marked slightly apart from the shoe size, unlike US methods:
    US tends to go 6 or 6.5 and with width letters directly after the size number: AAAA, AAA, AA, A, B Narrow to standard in varying degrees I believe.
    Italian sizing is one size big, so always look out for 'made in italy' and double check.
    US sizes are traditionally one and a half sizes above UK, I was told by Rayne this was the difference on their sizing chart. However more modern shoes tend to be closer to 2 sizes difference between UK & US.

    If in doubt, measure carefully inside with a soft tape measure along the insole and compare against a pair you definetly know the size of. Remember high heels will have a longer insole measurement than a flat shoe of the same foot size so you need to account for this.

    P.S. I have used that chart before and would say you cannot rely on it as the measurements of shoes in my size do not match the sizes given, especially the crossover's seem to get more far fetched towards the larger end of the size chart. I would probably refer to it for an unusual country's sizing only.
  4. Retro Ruth

    Retro Ruth Administrator Staff Member

    I suspect, like clothes, shoe sizes also vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, especially over the years. So as with clothes it's really down to measurements.

    That chart doesn't even seem accurate at converting European to UK shoe sizes. Perhaps as pinkcoke says at the upper end especially, which is where my feet fall. So I know, for instance, that no-one would call a Euro 43 an Women's UK 8, as that chart does. A 43 is a UK 9 or even a 10. A UK 8 converts to 41 or 42, depending which shop you're in.

    So you can see how complicated it is!
  5. Retro Ruth

    Retro Ruth Administrator Staff Member

    Also, more useful/accurate shoe size converters, are based on a scale, rather than a direct "US size X = Euro size Y" kind of chart.

    The different countries systems are based on different measurements, so there is never exact conversion.

    Here's a couple of scale-based charts, but there may be better ones out there somewhere.


    Whether they have also changed the measurement systems over the years, I don't know.
  6. Ruth, I agree that the first link (Deborah's) isn't accurate - it makes the common mistake of equating Australian sizes with UK sizes, when they're actually like US sizes - and I also agree that the UK and European sizes are off.

    I like your two links, but perhaps because they don't include Aus sizes - they seem fairly accurate for the others.

    Shoes are the hardest things to size, you have to go by the measurements but depending on the style they can be misleading too: eg, you need to allow room for pointy toes as your toes aren't shaped the same way. I find them problematic to buy online and have a high failure rate unless they're fairly modern and adjustable - eg, I like to buy lace up boots, you have a bit of room to play with these styles.
  7. Retro Ruth

    Retro Ruth Administrator Staff Member

    Yes I was trying to find a scale chart that included more international sizes, like Aus and Japan, but couldn't find one.

    But the methodology of those ruler-based charts is much more sound, than the X=Y boxes on most conversion charts.

    Totally agree shoe style is yet another factor.
  8. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Technically, shoe sizing hasn't changed since it was established in mid 18th century. The English/German size system has been the same since the beginning and is based on increments of 1/3 inch, starting with 4 inches as a size 1. The U.S./Canada size system is the same but it was altered in the mid 19th century from the English/German system and I cant' remember how right now, but it started somewhere different than the English system. The Paris Point system, which is based on 2/3 of a centimetre increments, was created in Paris in the 19th century and is now used by Italy and most of the rest of Europe and South East Asia.

    Having said that, there are discrepancies from manufacturer to manufacturer, as well as different fits according to non-standardized width and depth measurements. For instance German made footwear tends to be wider than English or French footwear and Italian footwear tends to be more shallow than English or French footwear. Because feet are three dimensional - all measurements count. Technically, if I had my shoes made by a shoemaker, I would wear about an 11 1/2 EEEE (I got German feet). However, because that size is not mass produced I have to buy 13D. Now that all the cheap shoes are being made in China, I have started buying 14D because 13D is a bit tight in the ball, but I find 14D is a bit loose in the heel. Honestly, shoe sizing is just a guideline - nothing more. You have to know what brands and country of origin shoes fit you best and just try them on.
    Leonardo Da Vintage likes this.

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