Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can someone explain the shoe size mystery to me?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42453points) May 28th, 2016

I went looking for some old tennis shoes at Goodwill for wading in the lake, for my dad’s wife, who is coming to visit. She said she wears a size 10. Why isn’t a size 10 in women’s the same as a size 10 in men’s?

I found some shoes that I think will work. They like what yacht captains wear. They just slip on. I can’t tell if they’re men’s or women’s, but they have “Size 9.5” on the tag inside.
I measured the soles with a ruler, and they’re 11.5 inches long.

Why don’t we just use regular inches for ALL shoes, from kids shoes on up? Can’t they just measure the damn things and call it what it is?

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27 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Because the sizes aren’t an inch apart.

European (metric) sizes are finer increments but don’t correlate to direct length either.

Women’s sizes are smaller because women’s feet are generally smaller, so to have a better range for women they have a smaller incremental size difference.

Same reason in t shirts a men’s small is about the same as women’s medium to large. The sizing is done to have the most product available to the largest number of customers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But “large” and “small” can mean a lot of different things.

Why don’t they just use inches or metric? In this case, they’re size 11.5. Or if you want smaller increments, 11.25. Or 11.75. Just as long as they call it what it is.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

For greater accuracy I ask for shoes in my European size (42.5.)

Then there is the question of width.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! That’s funny, @SecondHandStoke.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Hmm.

How funny?

Pandora's avatar

It seems that women have more of a variation in their feet and arches than men do. So I guess according to the side, different variations exist where men have less variation, according to this link. Great question by the way.

Pandora's avatar

I forgot to add, that it probably has to do with those differences. When I was younger in my 20’s I could sometimes squeeze into a size 6 sneaker. Which when I held it against a 6½ looked identical in size. Yet the 6 and ½ felt roomier when I put it on. I would even take out the ruler and measure them and it seemed the same. But it had to be that the inside of the shoe was designed differently. I know for sandal the smaller the shoe the more narrow the top strap would be. But boys shoes actually seem different in size when compared to one size or the next. The difference between a 6½ and 7 for women doesn’t seem as large as it does for men, size 7½ to 8 for men.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SecondHandStoke *Dutchess walks into Goodwill, nose in the air, the mink stole she picked up for five bucks there last week wrapped around her shoulders, two little shih tzus at her side and says, “I only want to see shoes in Europeans sizes.”

@Pandora I remember they used to label the shoes as narrow or wide.

Well, it certainly was a crap shoot as to whether they’ll fit her or not. ... I’m going to measure my feet now!

Results: 10¼ inches (I wear size ~7 womens)
21 mm.

Pandora's avatar

@Dutchess_III They did and still do but that is a real crap shoot. Some shoe designers, design their shoes like they design their clothing. They are marketing the same shoe size but they throw on a W and some fool will buy it without trying them on. I wear a wide and yet some regular width shoes fit and some don’t and some are crazy wide. Oh, and of course there is the shoe for the narrow foot. I found this chart for you.
It is pretty accurate. I’m a little over 9 inches and fall into 6½. As for you, you must’ve measured your foot wrong or your wearing shoes that are too small.. Try stepping on a ruler to measure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I measured my actual foot. (I don’t wear shoes if I can at all help and never in the house.) I’ll look again.

In the meantime this may help?

Dutchess_III's avatar

You’re right.. I was an inch high. 9¼.

Cruiser's avatar

I would stay away from slip on shoes for lake wading shoes…slip ons will slip off easily especially in mucky lake bottoms.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We’ll see. She may not even go wading, and if she loses a shoe, no big deal. I only paid a couple bucks for them. Since they’re canvas they seemed like they’d be a little more forgiving of size.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When I was looking for her shoes I came across these. Brand spanking new, and they fit. I didn’t even go look at what size they are. ... Oh. They’re 8½.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Speaking of clothing sizes, has any one noticed that a size “small” is larger than it was 20 years ago? Today it’s more like a large was 20 years ago, and a “large” is more like a plus size 1 is now.

Pandora's avatar

@Dutchess_III Again, it depends on the manufacture. But I find in general a small is more of a medium and a medium is more of a large and large is more of an x-large and so on.
But some sizes really are small and so on.
I have big boobs, so I have a hard time with blouses. Mediums that stretch fit, but if the fabric isn’t a little giving, then I will wear a large but large also usually means wider shoulders, or fuller back. Ok for a t-shirt but not for dressy casual.
I remember when I was 14 I fell in love with this dress that was size 6 (small) It was baggy as hell on me and I was no twiggy. I was thin and the same height I am now. My mom had to take it in for me.
Some designers do the opposite. To save myself time in the dressing room. I try on 2 sizes of a pair of pants and blouse, or dress. Depending on what I’m looking for, and then carry the one that fits, even if I don’t like it, just for comparison. Then I lay out all other pants I like and compare it to what I have. Though the best thing is take something from home and compare. If someone ask what you are doing tell them you are using someone elses clothing to compare for a gift or the truth, you don’t want to waste your time guessing if something will fit in the dressing room.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Big boobs are a pain. I prefer looser clothes for comfort. I have broad shoulders, so a large blouse or Tshirt fits well, but it tends to hang straight down from my boobs, and makes me look much larger than I really am. To avoid, I’d have to get tighter fitting clothes, and then I’m really self-conscious about bouncing boobs.

Sucks all the way around.

Pandora's avatar

I agree, that’s why I try to wear peasant blouses with this type of shape It gives a hint of a silhouette without being too close or enhancing your boobs. Or one of those silky hanging sheer peasant blouses with a pretty design with a very stretchy yet clingy undershirt that is darker than the blouse. It does the same thing. You can see your body shape but the outer blouse is loser around your body and your boobs are not the main attraction, nor do you look like your wearing a moo moo. Like the way people look better with those sheer lose beach dresses over their bathing suits than they do with those huge tank dresses that you can’t see through.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That is super cute @Pandora! I’d wear that! Will you buy it for me?!

Pandora's avatar

Sure as soon as I’m done with all my shopping. Warning, that can take a few years, so maybe you may want to purchase it yourself before it goes out of style. LOL
I mean just in case.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! OK! I’m memorizing your advice BTW.

Pandora's avatar

Quick rule of thumb when I’m picking out my blouse. I hand it up or lay them out. If they look more square than rectangular, I won’t even try them on. Only people who can get away with a boxy look are small to flat chested women who wear tiny boxy shirts. On big boobs, it will always look bad.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Got it. That makes perfect sense. Thanks.

Pandora's avatar

Your welcomed. Us big boob people have to stick together. Especially since the fashion industry only like to primarily design for size 0 people with training size boobettes

Dutchess_III's avatar

And insurance refuses to help pay for a reduction to help with my aching back. They insist that they have to remove no less than a certain percentage before they will help out, and, apparently, it would leave me with a breast size that would not be socially acceptable. In their opinion.

Pandora's avatar

What size is not socially acceptable? Did they perform some poll?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have no idea. It was the doctor’s call. She didn’t exactly say “Not socially acceptable,” but that’s the impression I got.

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