Your shoe size isn’t all you need to know when shopping for shoes. There are many different shoe sizing systems in the world. Moreover, sizing varies between men’s and women’s shoes, as well as between different brands, which can lead to confusion.
With all these uncertainties, you can end up with a pair of shoes that’s the wrong size. Some people may decide to go up half a size, but how much bigger is a half a size in shoes exactly? Strictly by measurement, it’s not much bigger; however, there are other factors to consider, which we’ll discuss in this article.
The Shoe Sizing Systems in the World
Table of Contents
There are a few different shoe sizing systems in the world. Let’s talk about the two main sizing systems that you will come across.
The US Sizing System
In the US sizing system, men’s and women’s shoe sizes differ. First off, men’s shoes in the US system tend to have a wider cut than women’s shoes. This is because men’s feet are usually larger than women’s feet. Children, on the other hand, have a different and independent sizing system.
You’ll find that the size range for women goes from 4 to 12 while men’s sizes go from 6 to 16. Larger shoe sizes are constructed as well, but the available sizing range depends on whether a brand constructs them or will customize to meet your needs.
The width of the shoes also plays a critical role in the US system. The law states that shoes need to be made within a range of widths and must be federally recognized. The widths of shoes in this system can be found in one of these four categories: extra-wide, wide, medium, and narrow widths.
So how much difference is in a half shoe size? The difference between half shoe sizes in the US system is about 4.23 mm (1/6th of an inch).
The European Shoe Sizing System
In contrast to the US system, the European shoe sizing system does not cater to age or gender. You’ll find that shoes on the smaller side are designed for women while the larger sizes are for men. The designs as well differ greatly between the US and European systems. Moreover, the sizing in this system uses whole numbers so there are no half-size shoes.
In this system, a woman can wear a size 35 in women’s shoes as well as a size 35 in men’s shoes. However, there is one notable difference: the men’s shoes will be slightly wider than the women’s shoes even though they’re the same size.
Knowing the size of your feet
First, you need to understand how to measure your feet. Both of your feet aren’t going to have the same measurement, so don’t be alarmed if you end up with two different measurements. One foot is going to be larger than the other. Consequently, you’ll find that you sometimes have a hard time breaking in your shoes and that some shoes fit one foot and not the other. Always measure your feet every time you plan on buying new shoes.
To accurately measure the size of your feet, you can have a professional measure them or try this simple DIY method right at home.
- Place a sheet of paper against a flat, even surface anywhere in your house.
- Rest your weight evenly on both feet, making sure that you are comfortable.
- Take a pen or pencil and mark the farthest point of your heel and the farthest point of your toe as accurately as you can on the paper.
- After that, mark the width of your feet as well.
- Once completed, take note of the length measurement and use it as a reference point to get your perfect size.
Use the sizing charts below to find your correct size.
Men’s Sizing Chart
|US||UK||EU||FOOT LENGTH (approximate)|
|7||6||40||~9.6 in / 24.4 cm|
|7.5||6.5||40-41||~9.75 in / 24.8 cm|
|8||7||41||~9.9 in / 25.2 cm|
|8.5||7.5||41-42||~10.125 in / 25.7 cm|
|9||8||42||~10.25 in ~26 cm|
|9.5||8.5||42-43||~10.4 in / 26.5 cm|
|10||9||43||~10.6 in / 26.8 cm|
|10.5||9.5||43-44||~10.75 in / 27.3 cm|
|11||10||44||~10.9 in / 27.8 cm|
|11.5||10.5||44-45||~11.125 in / 28.3 cm|
|12||11||45||~11.25 in / 28.6 cm|
|13||12||46||~11.6 in / 29.4 cm|
Women’s Sizing Chart
|US||UK||EU||FOOT LENGTH (approximate)|
|6||4||36-37||~8.75 in / 22.5 cm|
|6.5||4.5||37||~9 in / 23 cm|
|7||5||37-38||~9.25 in / 23.5 cm|
|7.5||5.5||38||~9.375 in / 23.8 cm|
|8||6||38-39||~9.5 in / 24 cm|
|8.5||6.5||39||~9.75 in / 24.6 cm|
|9||7||39-40||~9.875 in / 25 cm|
|9.5||7.5||40||~10 in / 25.4 cm|
|10||8||40-41||~10.2 in / 25.9 cm|
|10.5||8.5||41||~10.35 in / 26.2 cm|
|11||9||41-42||~10.5 in / 26.7 cm|
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it ok to Wear a Half-Size Bigger Shoe?
It depends on the type of shoe. If it’s a running shoe, then you can up half a size because our feet tend to swell. A shoe that’s half a size bigger will increase blood flow to the muscles in your feet to keep them oxygenated.
However, if you are thinking about going up half a size in dress shoes, then it’s best to go with your actual size for maximum comfort. Another factor to think about is the brand that you’re interested in. Brands have their manufacturing plants based in different countries and follow different sizing systems. As a result, there will be variations in the sizes of shoes in each brand. So, we advise you to find the length of your feet, preferably your longest one and consult the brand’s size chart so you know which size to get.
Are Half-Size Shoes Wider?
No, half-size deals with how long the shoes are. Some people think if they go up half a size, the shoes will be wider in the vamp area. However, this isn’t always true and can result in blisters as your feet rub against the shoe when you walk.
What is the difference between 8.5 and 9 Shoe Sizes?
The difference between an 8.5 and 9 shoe is that the size 9 shoe is 4.23 mm (1/6th of an inch) longer than the 8.5 shoes. Similarly, the difference between a 9.5 and 10 shoe size will be 4.23 mm (1/6th of an inch).
Are Men’s Shoes Wider than Women’s Shoes?
Men’s shoes are generally wider than women’s shoes because men tend to have wider feet. Women’s shoes are often thin and narrow to give them a delicate look.
Are European Shoe Sizes Unisex?
Unlike the US shoe sizing system that caters to gender, the European shoe sizing system does not. It is pretty much unisex and a woman wearing a size 40 women’s shoe will feel comfortable in a men’s size 40 shoe as well. Although unisex, there may be a slight difference in the width of women’s shoes and men’s shoes in the European shoe sizing system.
In the end, the answer to the question of “how much bigger is half a shoe size?” is that it isn’t much bigger. However, there are other factors, such as width, that need to be considered if you are thinking of going up half a size. Moreover, it depends on the type of shoe.
Some people will benefit greatly from going up half a size while others could suffer. Measure your feet following the DIY steps mentioned above or get them professionally measured. Do this every time you’re shopping for new shoes to get the right fit and minimize foot problems. If you are dealing with a shoe that is too big, read this article on how to tell if shoes are too big.