Trying to buy shoes for your significant other but aren’t sure how shoe sizes convert between men and women’s sizing? You’re not alone. The relationship between men’s and women’s shoe sizes is confusing, with multiple formulas and exceptions to consider. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to easily convert any men’s shoe size to the equivalent women’s size.
How Men’s and Women’s Shoe Sizes Differ
The main difference between men’s and women’s shoe sizing is the units of measurement used.
- Men’s shoes are measured in barleycorns. One barleycorn equals 1⁄3 of an inch. A men’s size 10 shoe is 10 barleycorns long, or around 10 1⁄3 inches.
- Women’s shoes are measured in common shoe sizing units based on inches. A women’s size 10 shoe is around 9 1⁄2 inches long.
This disparity in units is why the same numerical size in men’s and women’s does not correspond to the same actual foot length. A size 10 men’s shoe will be longer than a size 10 women’s shoe. We need a conversion formula to translate between the sizing systems.
The Simple Formula for Converting Men’s to Women’s Shoe Size
The basic formula for converting a men’s shoe size to the equivalent women’s shoe size is:
Women’s Shoe Size = Men’s Shoe Size + 1.5
So if you want to find the women’s equivalent of a men’s size 10 shoe, you simply add 1.5, which gives you a women’s size 11.5.
Let’s look at some more examples:
| Men’s Size | Formula | Women’s Size |
| 8 | 8 + 1.5 = 9.5 | 9.5 |
| 10 | 10 + 1.5 = 11.5 | 11.5 |
| 12 | 12 + 1.5 = 13.5 | 13.5 |
This straightforward +1.5 formula works for around 85% of men’s shoe sizes. But some larger or smaller sizes require slightly different conversions, which we’ll cover next.
Exceptions to the Simple Formula
While the +1.5 formula works for most men’s shoe sizes, there are exceptions for very small and large sizes:
Men’s Sizes Below 7
For men’s sizes below 7, add 2 instead of 1.5:
- Men’s Size 6 = Women’s Size 8
- Men’s Size 5 = Women’s Size 7
Men’s Sizes Above 12
For men’s sizes above 12, add 2 until size 16, then add 1.5:
- Men’s Size 12 = Women’s Size 13.5
- Men’s Size 13 = Women’s Size 14
- Men’s Size 14 = Women’s Size 15
- Men’s Size 15 = Women’s Size 16
- Men’s Size 16+ = Add 1.5
So a men’s size 18 shoe would convert to a women’s size 19.5.
Full Conversion Chart
Here is a conversion chart covering all men’s shoe sizes and the equivalent women’s sizes:
| Men’s Size | Women’s Size |
| 3 | 5 |
| 4 | 6 |
| 5 | 7 |
| 6 | 8 |
| 7 | 9 |
| 8 | 9.5 |
| 9 | 10.5 |
| 10 | 11.5 |
| 11 | 12.5 |
| 12 | 13.5 |
| 13 | 14 |
| 14 | 15 |
| 15 | 16 |
| 16 | 17.5 |
| 17 | 18.5 |
| 18 | 19.5 |
You can use this chart to quickly find the women’s size for any men’s shoe size.
Tips for Getting the Right Fit
Keep these tips in mind when converting sizes to get the right fit:
- Focus on the length conversion. The width does not change.
- European sizes are identical to men’s US sizes for conversion purposes.
- Try both the men’s size and half size down if between sizes.
- The brand of shoe can impact fit as well.
- For athletic shoes, men may prefer going 1⁄2 size larger in women’s.
If unsure, having them try on the shoe directly is ideal to get the perfect fit.
Why the Conversion is Necessary
You may be wondering why shoe companies don’t just standardize their sizing systems. Here are some reasons the confusing conversion persists:
- Tradition: The different sizing methods stem from historical conventions and have stuck.
- Foot differences: Men’s feet tend to be longer and narrower on average.
- Marketing: Unique sizing allows companies to flatter customers with a smaller numerical size. Women don’t want to buy a size 13 shoe, even if it fits like a 9.
- Profit: More sizes means consumers have to buy more shoes rather than substituting a close size.
While standardized sizing would be simpler, don’t expect it anytime soon. The conversion formulas will still be required.
Buying Kids Shoes: Sizing Junior vs. Youth
Another sizing complexity comes when buying kids shoes. Shoe sizes come in:
- Junior: Sizes 12 to 3 match age (e.g. Size 1 for a 1-year-old).
- Youth: Standardized sizing system. Size 13 youth = Size 1 junior.
To convert junior to youth sizes:
- Size 12 junior = Size 13 youth
- Size 3 junior = Size 1 youth
So a size 2 junior would be a size 11.5 youth. Check the shoe label or size chart if unsure of the sizing type.
Common Men’s to Women’s Shoe Conversion FAQs
What is the formula for converting men’s to women’s shoe sizes?
For most sizes, add 1.5 to the men’s size. For smaller men’s sizes below 7, add 2 sizes. For larger men’s sizes above 12, add 2 up until size 16, then add 1.5.
How do I convert a men’s size 10 shoe to a women’s size?
A men’s size 10 converts directly to a women’s size 11.5 using the standard +1.5 sizing formula.
What women’s size is a men’s size 12 shoe?
A men’s size 12 shoe equals a women’s size 13.5.
If I wear a size 9 men’s shoe, what size women’s shoe should I get?
Since your men’s shoe size is above 7, you would add 1.5 sizes to get a women’s size 10.5 shoe.
How do European shoe sizes compare to US men’s sizing?
European sizes are equivalent to US men’s sizing, so a size 44 European men’s shoe is the same as a size 10 US men’s shoe. Use the standard conversion formulas.
If a men’s shoe fits me perfectly, should I get the same women’s size?
Not necessarily. You may want to try going down a half or full size in the equivalent women’s shoe due to slight size variations.
What is the difference between junior and youth sizes for kids shoes?
Junior sizes approximately correspond to age, while youth sizes use a standard sizing system. You’ll need to convert junior to youth sizes when shopping for kids.
Why don’t shoe companies use a standard sizing system?
While standardized sizing would be simpler, companies prefer separate systems for tradition, accounting for foot differences, marketing, and greater selection/profits.
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Convert His Shoe Size Stress-Free
As you can see, converting men’s and women’s shoe sizes isn’t too difficult once you understand the formula and exceptions. Bookmark this guide for an easy reference anytime you need to translate his shoe size to a pair for yourself or gift a special woman in your life. With the right know-how, you can take the guesswork out and get the perfect fit.
Where to Shop Using Your Conversions
Now that you know how to convert between men’s and women’s shoe sizes, here are some top retailers to shop at with confidence:
- Von Maur
Department stores have large shoe sections and you can usually find smaller and larger extended sizes. Helpful staff can also assist with fit.
- Famous Footwear
- Rack Room Shoes
- Shoe Carnival
The wide selection at these chains makes them ideal for finding your converted size. Also check for exclusives you won’t find elsewhere.
Sporting Goods Stores
- Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Academy Sports + Outdoors
- Big 5 Sporting Goods
- Modell’s Sporting Goods
Athletic and sport lifestyle shoes are available from major brands. Look for specialty shoes like cleats, rollerblades, and golf shoes.
- Cole Haan
- Allen Edmonds
- New Balance
For quality leather shoes and comfort brands, try these specialty stores catering to a variety of styles and widths. Excellent customer service.
- DSW online
The selection of styles and sizes online is unmatched. Enjoy free shipping and returns to order multiple sizes and find your best converted fit from home.
- Men’s shoe sizes use a different measurement system than women’s.
- You must convert between the sizing scales to get accurate sizes.
- Apply the simple formula: Women’s = Men’s + 1.5
- Adjust for sizes below 7 men’s or above 12.
- Refer to the conversion chart for all sizes.
- Focus on length, fit can vary by brand.
- Shop a variety of stores using your converted size.
Converting men’s and women’s shoe sizes doesn’t have to be a confusing hassle. Follow this guide for a smooth transition between the two sizing systems.