Searching for a new pair of shoes can be an exciting endeavor, opening up possibilities to transform your style. However, confusion sets in when converting between men’s and women’s sizing. Shoe size conversions are not as simple as adding or subtracting a set number. The differences in shoe lasts and measurement systems means you need to carefully convert sizes to find the perfect fit.
This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know to easily convert your partner’s, friend’s, or family member’s men’s shoe size to the equivalent women’s shoe size. With the right information you can confidently purchase footwear as a gift or borrow shoes knowing they will fit properly.
How Men’s and Women’s Shoe Sizes Differ
Men’s and women’s shoe sizes are not standardized across all manufacturers and brands. However, some general guidelines provide a starting point for conversion:
- Different last shapes: The “last” is the physical foot-shaped mold used to construct a shoe. Men’s lasts are straight with roomy toe boxes while women’s lasts are curved with tapered toe boxes.
- Measured differently: Men’s shoe sizes are measured linearly while women’s sizes account for differences in width.
- Size scale differences: Men’s shoe sizes increment consistently while women’s increments vary across size ranges.
- Half sizes: Women’s shoes come in more half size varieties than men’s.
- Zero points: Size scaling starts at different zero points – men’s at 81⁄3 inches, women’s at 9 inches.
These key differences mean you cannot simply add or subtract a fixed number to convert sizes. Instead you must consider the size, width, manufacturer, and measurement system.
Men’s Shoe Sizes Conversion Chart
Before converting to women’s sizes, it helps to understand the basics of men’s sizing. Some key points:
- Most men’s shoe sizes follow these general size increments:
- US: 81⁄3″=size 0, 1⁄3″ increments
- UK: 8″=size 0, 1⁄3″ increments
- EU: 41=size 0, 2⁄3 cm increments
- Men’s shoes come in standard medium width in full and half sizes. Wide and narrow widths available.
- Higher sizes may come in additional 1⁄4 sizes.
- Different zero points means sizes differ across measurement systems.
This chart shows men’s shoe size conversions across the major measurement systems:
| US | UK | EU | CM |
| 6 | 5 | 39 | 24.5 |
| 7 | 6 | 40 | 25.5 |
| 8 | 7 | 41 | 26.5 |
| 9 | 8 | 42 | 27.5 |
| 10 | 9 | 43 | 28.5 |
| 11 | 10 | 44 | 29.5 |
| 12 | 11 | 45 | 30.5 |
Use this as a reference when you know the man’s shoe size in one measurement system and want to determine the equivalent in another.
Converting Men’s to Women’s Shoe Sizes
Now that you understand men’s sizing, it’s time to learn how to convert to the corresponding women’s shoe size. Follow this step-by-step guide:
1. Identify his US shoe size
Since US sizing is the most common, begin by converting his size to the standard US scale. Use the men’s conversion chart above if he wears a different measurement system.
2. Subtract 2
As a general rule of thumb, subtract 2 whole sizes from his US men’s shoe size to get the approximate US women’s size.
For example, a men’s size 10 converts to a women’s size 8.
3. Consider the size range
However, this 2 size subtraction rule varies in larger and smaller sizes:
- For men’s sizes under 8, subtract 1.5 sizes instead of 2
- For men’s sizes over 13, subtract 2.5 sizes instead of 2
This accounts for differences in size scaling between the genders.
4. Determine women’s width
Most men’s shoes come in a standard D medium width. Convert the width as follows:
- D (standard men’s width) = B (standard women’s width)
- E (wide men’s width) = D (wide women’s width)
- EE (extra-wide men’s width) = EE (extra-wide women’s width)
So a men’s 10 E would convert to a women’s 8 D.
5. Consider brand/manufacturer
Sizing also varies across brands. Some run large or small. If possible, check the brand’s specific size charts for accurate conversions.
6. Try them on
Since so many factors affect fitting, trying shoes on is the best way to confirm sizing when possible.
Use the converted size as a starting point then adjust up or down as needed.
Converting Specific Men’s Shoe Sizes
Use this handy reference chart for a quick look at women’s sizes equivalent to common men’s shoe sizes:
| Men’s US Size | Women’s US Size |
| 6 | 4 |
| 7 | 5 |
| 8 | 6 |
| 9 | 7 |
| 10 | 8 |
| 11 | 9 |
| 12 | 10 |
| 13 | 11 |
| 14 | 12 |
Remember to adjust the width and size appropriately for small and large sizes as explained above.
Tips for Buying Women’s Shoes Using Men’s Sizes
Follow these top tips to easily purchase women’s shoes when you only know his men’s shoe size:
- Ask about his typical size and width – sizes like 10.5 E vs 12 D convert differently.
- Convert to US women’s sizing – most brands use this standard scale.
- Reference size charts – check manufacturer recommendations.
- Select a width – start with standard B for medium.
- Size up for narrow feet; down for wide – get the right proportions.
- Pick shoes with adjustable elements – straps, buckles etc. allow fit customization.
- Include a gift receipt – allow easy returns/exchanges for incorrect sizes.
- When possible, try them on – always best to test fit personally before gifting.
With the right strategy, you can surprise her with the perfect pair of shoes in the right size.
Women’s Shoe Size Conversion Charts
For further reference, use these women’s shoe size conversion charts when purchasing shoes abroad or converting between measurement systems:
Women’s US to UK Shoe Sizes
| US | UK |
| 4 | 2 |
| 5 | 3 |
| 6 | 4 |
| 7 | 5 |
| 8 | 6 |
| 9 | 7 |
| 10 | 8 |
| 11 | 9 |
Women’s US to European Shoe Sizes
| US | European |
| 4 | 35 |
| 5 | 36 |
| 6 | 37 |
| 7 | 38 |
| 8 | 39 |
| 9 | 40 |
| 10 | 41 |
| 11 | 42 |
Women’s US Shoe Size by Inch
| US Size | Inches |
| 4 | 8.5 |
| 5 | 9 |
| 6 | 9.5 |
| 7 | 10 |
| 8 | 10.5 |
| 9 | 11 |
| 10 | 11.5 |
| 11 | 12 |
Use these handy reference charts plus the tips above to easily convert men’s shoe sizes to women’s for smart shoe shopping. With the right information, you can find her perfect pair!
Frequently Asked Questions about Converting Men’s and Women’s Shoe Sizes
Converting between men’s and women’s shoe sizes can be confusing. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How do you convert a men’s size 10 shoe to a women’s size?
The general rule is subtract 2 whole sizes, so a men’s size 10 converts to a women’s size 8. Remember to also convert the width from D (standard men’s) to B (standard women’s).
Subscribe to our list
Don't worry, we don't spam
What is the difference between men’s and women’s shoe sizes?
Key differences include the shape of shoe lasts, sizing increments, measurement methods, half sizes, width scales, and zero points where scales start. These differences mean you cannot simply add/subtract the same amount for all conversions.
Do women’s shoe sizes run smaller?
Yes, women’s standard shoe sizes do tend to run around 1.5-2 sizes smaller than men’s. But you still need to use proper conversion methods rather than just sizing down across the board.
How do you figure out a women’s shoe size?
The main methods are using a size conversion chart, checking specific brand sizing info, trying shoes on in store, or asking the woman her size and converting it. Measure her foot size as a starting point if needed.
What is the size difference between male and female feet?
On average, female feet are around 1-1.5 inches narrower and 0.5 inches shorter than male feet. But proportions vary individually, so finding the right fit still depends on properly converting sizes.
Can a woman wear a men’s size 7 shoe?
Maybe, but it depends on the specifics of her foot size and the shoe style/brand. As a starting point, a women’s size 5 or 6 would be closest to fitting a men’s size 7 for most women. Trying them on is advisable.
What is the average women’s shoe size?
The most common women’s shoe size is around size 8 in the US and 5 or 6 in the UK. But sizes span from 4 up to 12+ so it varies greatly by height, age, region etc. Proper size conversion helps cater to this range of sizes.
Accurately converting between men’s and women’s shoe sizes takes some work but pays off in great fitting footwear. Use these tips and size charts to take the guesswork out of buying shoes.