I spent way too much of my time reading fashion magazines than I did focusing on what my math teacher had to say. While math doesn’t play too much of a role in my life now, I do regrettably wish I would have paid attention to one of the most important lessons I could have ever learned: metric conversions.
I was so terribly flustered last year while on my fist trip to Paris, the fashion capital of the world. I found the most incredibly unique and beautiful shoes while shopping at a small market, but I couldn’t figure out my shoe size. My small Cinderella-sized U.S. 6 didn’t quite fit in a 38 or 35.
I had to try on 5 different pairs until I found the magic number 36. To make sure that this situation doesn’t happen to you while shopping abroad, online or if you’d like to purchase shoes designed for a different gender or age group, continue reading below.
Before anything is said or done, you need to know your foot-size in inches. Use a ruler to measure. As a point of reference, a size 5 is typically 8 inches and a size 12 about 11 inches.
Convert U.S. Women’s Shoe Sizes to Foreign Shoe Sizes
Your shoes sizes will vary depending on where you travel to. While there are in fact nifty shoe conversion charts located on the web (the most popular ones being Online Conversion.com and Zappos.com) you may very well find yourself in an area without your phone or worse with no internet access. That said, it is best you learn how to convert your shoe size the traditional way.
- Continental European Measurement (includes France, Germany and most other European Countries): Shoes in these regions are measured in centimeters. The formula to convert to centimeters is as follows: inches x 2.54 = cm. So for example, if you wear a size 6 (like me) you would plug in 8.88 in x 2.54 and get 22.5 cm (foot length in cm). To find your appropriate shoe-size, you’d then plug-in your new variable to this formula: 3/2 x [foot length in cm+1.5 cm]; Using the same measurements this would be as follows: 3/2 x [22.5 cm + 1.5 cm] = 36. This number is your European foot size.
- United Kingdom and Ireland: To calculate your shoe size in these regions, use the following formula: 3 x foot in inches – 22.5=UK foot size. Using the same measurements, you’d plug in 3 x 8.88 inches – 22.5=4. This is your UK foot size.
Convert Men’s Shoe Sizes to Women’s Shoe Sizes
As a rule of thumb, all you need to do is subtract two shoe sizes from your own. So for example, if you wear a size 6 in U.S. women’s, you would wear a size 4 in U.S. men’s shoes. Granted, no two shoes are ever made the same and you should definitely try on the show before making a purchase.
Convert Women’s Shoe Sizes to Children’s Shoe Sizes
Similar to when purchasing men’s shoes, when trying to purchase shoes in the kids section all you need to do is subtract two shoe sizes. So I if you wear a size 6 in U.S. women’s shoes for example, you’d wear a size 4 in kids. Note that if your foot is larger than an 8 in women’s, children’s sizes will not be available to you.