Many countries use their own unit of measurement when it comes to shoe sizing, which can become confusing when shopping online or in stores. Europe and the USA are among those that measure with different units and are the most common. Canada doesn’t have its own, unique footwear sizing guide and as a result, a range of sizes from around the world are all available in Canada. Due to Canada’s geographical proximity to the US, US sizes are most often found. Many people when shopping, are accustomed to the US size guide, simply by habit. But it doesn’t hurt to become acquainted with the European sizing system as well. Just in case, those shoes you are dying to own are listed in these metrics.
So what makes them different? While the US measures the length of the foot from heel to toe, European sizing measures the entire circumference of the foot. In that sense, according to European measurements, as we go up (or down) in sizes, the entire fit of the shoe changes slightly. This ensures better fitting footwear and a more comfortable wear through prolonged use.
As we all know, there is no one size fits all for shoes...although that would make our lives much easier, it wouldn’t do our feet any good! For example, a size 7 in a pair of sneakers, for the most part, can fit completely different to a size 7 in an ankle boot. This is often a result of the manufacturing process, something which we can’t control and something which also applies to shoes all over the world.
The manufacturing process is a lengthy one, so let’s highlight the basics (and the most important). Shoe soles and the shoe last (a foot shaped tool used in shoe-making) come in various different shapes and sizes. Ultimately the shape of the sole and/or the last will have an effect on the way the finished shoe fits. Understandably, it is practically impossible to have uniformity in footwear sizing.
Everything comes down to style. Let’s look at the cowboy boot or other western-inspired footwear, they often have a pointed toe, elongating the sole and offering a narrow toe box. These can often be on the smaller side, meaning you have to go up a size to accommodate your foot comfortably. Similarly, there will be a difference between a round-toe shoe when compared to a square-toe shoe. Each shoe will have its own sole, last and manufacturing process – all of which will provide different fits.
Every person in the world is an individual and with individuality comes different feet...no two are the same. Your own two feet are most probably different sizes or shapes. Almost everyone has a slight (and sometimes not so slight) difference between their left foot and their right foot. It’s absolutely normal...so don’t panic if you are looking down and your feet don’t quite match. With this difference comes the knowledge that your shoes will feel a little different on both feet. Most often when we are out buying our next pair of shoes, we only try on one shoe, either the one we know fits differently or the one we, out of habit, offer up as our ‘trying on foot’. We strongly suggest that you break this habit and try on both shoes, this will result in a better fit and all-round a more comfortable experience when breaking them in.
When trying shoes on, the size indicated on the sole should primarily be considered as a starting point, an indication of what should be your correct size. If the sole reads the size you always purchase, still give them a try to ensure they fit you perfectly...this will mean fewer trips for you to return and change sizes. In instances where you buy shoes from a specific brand over and over again, there can be differences between different footwear items that the brand makes – especially when they make shoes, sandals, and boots. All will fit differently. Over time the manufacturing process may change and they may make subtle changes to your tried and trusted pair.
Proudly, Shumaker provides in-depth training to all of its employees, making sure they are all Professional Fitting Specialists. Through training, we will always provide you with at least two different sizes and styles - helping you find what you need and what you desire. We have no doubt that you’ll leave us with the shoes that fit your feet…and life perfectly.