Foot Length and Shoe Size Don't Correspond

I’ve been thinking about getting some nice new dress shoes recently, but before going out to get them I’m been researching some really quality, reputable brands. For some reason, I’ve ended up reading a lot about proper shoe size and fit. This has led to some confusion on my part, because according to the formulas*, my shoes are too small for my feet. However, they all of my shoes are currently either 10.5 or 11, and they seem to fit well. In fact, I think sizing up to my “correct” size would result in shoes far too roomy. Anyone want to comment on this?

I know the short answer is to go out and try on lots and lots of shoes and get a precise foot measurement, but just for the sake of the intellectual exercise I’d like to hear your thoughts.

*Wikipedia: (male shoe size) = 3 * (foot length in inches) - 22

My foot is about 11.25~11.5 inches. According to this formula, I should be somewhere around a 12. I know there’s some room for variation in each individual shoe, but this would be a full size larger than my largest comfortable shoe.

Shoe fit is more art than science in some cases. If you have a medium to medium narrow foot you can actually fit in a slighter shorter sized shoe than what would be normally recommended as your toe box will narrow enough to extend into the narrow section of the shoe not normally occupied by standard “D” or wider feet.
Plus sizing recommendations tend to be fairly conservative as it’s less risky to be a little bigger than little smaller.

The flip side of this is going up a side if you have wide feet. I wear a 13 EE or I can wear a 14 D.

Here is a partial list of the interior footbed heel to toe measurements for some shoes in your size range.

Shoe and size – Interior heel to toe inches
Skechers 9.5 – 11
Bass Oxford 10.5 M – 11.25
Prince Athletic Shoe 10.5 – 11.25
Santoni Oxford 10.5 D – 11 3/8ths
Rockport Oxford 11 – 11.5
Weinbrenner Military shoe 11C-- 11.5
Streetcars Velcro 11 Narrow – 10 7/8ths
Bass 12 Med Suede Oxford – 11 5/8ths
Converse 12 All star BB shoe – 11.5/8ths
Robert Wayne 12 – 11 3/4ths
Assuming your foot is 11.25" inches in length it could easily fit into a typical size 11. If it’s 11.5 inches it might be a little snug in some 10.5 - 11 shoes so i can see recommending a 12. In the end the truth is that shoes sizes vary between brands so much you really have to either try them on or be familiar with the brand.

That article is weird. How did you determine what size the “last” is? You must of converted it somehow, because you subtracted a different number than in their formula for men. Assuming the last is actually the size of my foot doesn’t get me close to the proper shoe size with either formula they give for women.

I’m not sure what they mean by this, either “Women’s sizes are almost always determined with the “common” scale, in which women’s sizes are equal to men’s sizes plus 1.5 (for example, a men’s 10.5 is a women’s 12)” because I’ve tried on mens size six before while looking for boots, and it’s significantly bigger than a woman’s 7.5.


Even measuring feet by the steel slide-y gadgets is more art than science.

I’ve had my feet consistently measure out at something like 10.5-11.

I’m in agony if I go near anything smaller than a 12.

How bizarre.

My foot is 9.6 inches long, so using this formula I should be wearing a size 7. But I actually wear a size 10. Maybe its because I have freakishly wide feet at the base of the toes.

Look further down the Wikipedia page to the paragraph labeled Brannock Device.

I wouldn’t trust that article. Did you miss the bolded part below?

That is bizarre. My foot is over an inch larger than yours and I also wear a size 10 (which is consistent with the formula). You may be right in your self-diagnosed freakicitis.

Unless you are a cross-dresser of course, and are buying your shoes in women’s sizes. That would explain it as well.

Interesting responses. Thanks for the feedback everyone. It does seem that there is more art than science to this whole thing. I suppose the best solution is to sit tight and wait until I can try on a pair or three in a store.

I’ve been having the same problem with determining my correct shoe size. I’ve measured both feet and my longest foot is around 10.4 inches. My shoe size varies per brand and I have difficulty finding a good fit because my width is much larger than average.

Being familiar with the brand is no guarantee of fit. There can be a lot of variation in size. I found a pair of Klogs at a going-out-of-business sale and fell in love. When I ordered the same model, same size, in a different color I had to exchange them. (I can’t buy shoes in a store, because no one carries my size. I have never seen Klogs in a store since that one, which is gone.:() New Balance is the same. Old model is no longer in production, try a new model 3 times to get a good fit.