It's wonderful having a whole world of large size shoes to choose from shopping online. But working out what size you need can be really confusing.
Here's all you need to know about the the different shoe size systems used & how to convert your shoe size.
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Brands often have their own unique shoe size conversions. So the best way to get your shoe size right is as follows:
- Use the brand's local shoe size system
This should be the most accurate. So if it is a US brand, the US shoe size should be the true size. Use the conversion table below to find your size for each region.
- Go by the foot length measurement in cm if provided, or the Japanese size otherwise
Find the size that is your foot length or slightly larger
- If both methods give the same size, you can be confident that is the right shoe size for you.
If the methods give different results, more research is needed. You could contact the brand for fit advice or read reviews to see how others find sizing. Personally, I go by the brand's local shoe sizing when in doubt as that has worked best in my experience.
US shoe brands in particular often have strange European size conversions. Size 11 US (9 UK) can be listed as 42 EU or even 41. It's common for UK brands to convert 9 UK to 42 EU too.
While this can mean that the brand's shoe sizes run small, it's not always the case. Sometimes the EU shoe size conversion is just plain wrong.
So please find your shoe size in the brand's local region first and check the foot length measurements too. If they look OK, the shoes could fit like a glove. Don't let a dodgy 41/42/43 euro conversion make you miss out on your dream shoe brand!
If you have narrow or wide feet, width is just as important as length for shoe fit. Read the shoe widths guide to find out about the different shoe widths brands use around the world.
Just find your shoe size in the table below and you will see your approximate foot length as well as your UK, US and European shoe sizes.
This conversion chart uses the true formula for each shoe size system, so it is as accurate as possible. In the real world, different countries and brands have their own shoe size conventions and quirks. There is no one conversion chart to rule them all unfortunately, but this table is a useful benchmark.
Note that UK, US & European shoe sizes are based on the length of the last the shoe is made on. The foot lengths in this conversion table are 1.5cm less than the shoe length to allow for wiggle room.
Women's large shoe size conversion table
|UK||US/AU||EURO||Foot length (cm)|
Get your free printable one-page PDF version of this shoe size guide.
The UK shoe size system is the oldest in the world & uses an inch based formula. US women's shoe sizes are also based on the UK system, just with different numbering.
There is 8.46mm or ⅓inch between each whole UK & US shoe size. That's only the width of your little fingernail! So there's just 4.23mm or ⅙ inch between half sizes. But these very small amounts make a big difference.
Women's shoes use UK sizing in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, India and Pakistan.
Women's shoes use US sizing in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Add 2 to your UK shoe size to get your US shoe size. For example, if you wear size 9 UK shoes, you are shoe size 11 US.
Subtract 2 from your US shoe size to get your UK shoe size. So, if you wear size 12 US shoes, you are shoe size 10 UK.
Women's UK vs US shoe size converter
While UK & European shoe sizes are unisex, US male shoe sizing is different from women's.
There are actually 2 different men's US shoe sizing systems in use (common and customary) which complicates things.
Subtract 1-1.5 from your US female shoe size to get your US male shoe size. For example, if you wear a US women's 12, a men's size 10.5-11 shoe should fit you.
Add 1-1.5 to your US male shoe size to get your US female shoe size. So if you wear a US men's 12, you are size 13-13.5 US in women's shoes.
US male vs female shoe size converter
There is no exact formula because some brands use the common size system, where gender sizes vary by 1.5, while others use the customary system where sizes differ by 1. Compare the US male and female shoe size charts for the relevant brand or retailer for additional guidance.
European shoe sizes use a completely different metric based formula.
There is 6.67mm or .26 inches between each European shoe size. Half sizes are not a traditional feature, but some brands use them as a closer equivalent to certain UK and US sizes.
Unfortunately, there is no simple conversion between European and UK/US shoe sizes.
This is because UK and European shoe sizes use different size increments. European shoe sizes have a slightly smaller gap between each size than UK and US shoe sizes.
It is easier to understand this visually. The scale below shows the true relationship between UK and European shoe sizes.
Here's the scale renumbered to show US women's vs European shoe sizes.
For large shoe sizes, size 12 UK or US women's size 14 does equal size 47 EU. But that's an exception and other European and UK/US sizes do not match up exactly.
However many shoe retailer size guides equate each European shoe size to a UK/US size for simplicity. This is not that accurate and that makes buying the right size shoes tricky.
Neither a European 42 or 43 is an exact match for shoe size 9 UK. Size 43 is the closest to size 9 UK (11 US). Technically size 43 is slightly smaller than a size 9 UK shoe. Size 42 European is only just larger than size 8 UK (10 US).
Unfortunately, it is common for mainstream shoe brands to sell size 42 shoes as size 9 UK. So for stores that only go up to size 9, pay special attention to the size guide to check that they are selling "proper" size 9s.
Neither 44 nor 45 matches size 10 UK (12 US) well. Size 10 UK is approximately 44.5 European.
European size 44 is a bit larger than size 9.5 UK (11.5 US). Size 45 is very slightly smaller than size 10.5 UK (12.5 US).
The majority of international shoe retailers consider size 10 UK to be a 44 EU and size 11 UK to be a 45 EU for simplicity.
In reality, size 10 UK (12 US) is 44.5 European approx. whereas size 11 UK (13 US) is between 45.5 and 46. So store shoe size guides can be misleading.
That's why I recommend using the brand's primary sizing system used in manufacture to choose your size instead of relying fully on their size guide conversion for your region.
We all know our local shoe size. But do you know how long your foot is?
Think about it. Buying shoes would be much easier if you could just choose the length to match your foot.
Some countries including Japan, Taiwan and South Korea do actually use foot length in centimetres for shoe sizing. So a size 28 shoe in Japan is for a foot that's 28cm long. Simples!
A growing number of shoe brands include foot length measurements in their size guides. Always look for this and read it closely.
Don't just assume buying your usual shoe size will fit. We all know how crazy women's clothes sizing is. A size 12 dress fits perfectly in one store but won't go near you in another brand.
Shoe brand sizes can be inconsistent too. But the length don't lie! So if you struggle with picking the right shoe size, buying shoes based on the foot length measurement could be the answer.
There are a few options for measuring your foot length:
- Use the brand's printable foot measure guide
A few brands provide a downloadable measurement kit, which you can print out, stand on and read off your size. This is the most reliable method, but you must print the guide at 100% for accurate results. So I'd recommend also using another option below to double check.
- Stand against a wall in your bare feet
Lay a ruler or stiff measuring tape alongside your foot and read off the measurement in cm at the top of your big toe.
Alternatively, place a sheet of paper against the wall, stand on the page and mark the top of your big toe on it. Then measure the page afterwards with a ruler.
- Place your bare foot on a sheet of paper
Draw around your foot with a pencil. It can be more accurate to get someone else to do this. Make sure you allow for how far your heel protrudes out above your sole. Then just measure your outline in cm with a ruler.
You should measure both your feet in centimetres to 1 decimal place e.g. 27.2 cm. Multiply this by 10 to get your foot length in millimetres e.g. 272 mm.
It's natural for your feet to be different lengths. Use the length of your longer foot.
Your exact foot length is likely to be a hard number to remember, so keep a note of it somewhere you can easily refer to when shopping online. Add a note on your phone, email it to yourself or jot it down in your handbag notebook if you're old skool like me. There's also a box to write this down on the one page printable version of this guide.
Keep an eye out for foot length measurements on shoe product pages and brand size guides. Choose the size closest to your foot length measurement for the best fit.
If you take just one thing from this guide, measure your feet!
I hope this guide to understanding large shoe sizes is helpful. If you have any conversion questions or insights to share, just get in touch.
You can download or print out a one-page PDF version of this guide as a handy reference.