With international manufacturing on the rise and department stores with global chains, it’s easier than ever to buy international fashions. However, the sizing labels don’t always translate, especially for shoes. Here are some guidelines to prepare you for your next shoe-shopping adventure, so that you can spend more time trying things on in the dressing room and less time puzzling over which size you are.
It is helpful to know the range of European sizes. The majority of women fall between a 35 (US size 5) and a 43 (US size 10.5). If you can’t remember your size while you’re in the store, a good way to estimate is to remember a benchmark. Size 36, which corresponds to US size 6, is easiest to remember because 6 x 6 = 36. From this benchmark, you can count up or down to get a very rough estimate (within a half-size). Other common benchmark sizes include 38.5 = 8, 40 = 9, and 42 = 10. Consult a sizing chart before you go to the store to estimate the closest shoe size in European terms, but remember to account for different shoe styles. You may be a half size up or down depending on the shoe.
If you want to be precise, you can calculate your official European shoe size by measuring the length of your foot in centimeters, then adding 2cm to this total, then multiplying the number by 1.5. This will give you the shoe size, which is measured in a unit called “Paris points.”
As always, the best measure of your foot can still lead to an uncomfortable fit. Try shoes on before you buy them to avoid discomfort from shoes that are too narrow, poorly cut, or pinching.