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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking

Sizing – this is typical.. I mean not knowing anything about it. I usually ask my students about their feet size in the first class – they tell me a number, let’s say 7. Then I ask – 7 WHAT? They can’t answer. Never.

Can you imagine? You wear something, you know you have to look for that certain number, but you don’t know what it means? Well.. I know.. there are numbers, like this around us, but in this community we want a bit more, especially with shoes, right? So, let’s educate you a bit.

There are 4 different systems:

– metric (mm)

– French (European as it is called in the USA)

– English and

– American.

Yes. English and American are different, believe or not. Don’t ask why.

Metric is pretty simple, there is nothing to talk about – they us millimeters or half centimeters.

French is an older system, one Paris Point (that is the unit for this) is 6.666666666… mm, or if you prefer: 2 cm equals 3 PP.

English sizes.  (a) This is where the fun begins. Not just they don’t use any known units, but they just don’t start measuring the foot from the heel. Let me explain: the unit is 1/3 of an inch (or you can call it  Barleycorn as well. I mean no one will know what you are talking about..). So the difference between 7,5 and 8 is…. yes! 1/6 of an inch!) Obviously using inch for measuring foot wouldn’t be too precise.. so it is kind of reasonable… But there is more. The shoe sizes starts at 4 inches (assuming that customers under 4 inch foot focus more on sleeping, crying and to be breastfed than buying shoes.. maybe…) So at 4 inches (12/3) the kid shoe sizes start: 13 exactly.

So if a baby wears a size 2 – that means that the real size is 14/3, or with other words: 4 + 2/3 inch.

The biggest shoe size is usually adult 13, which means: 12/3 + 13/3 + 13/3 = 38/3 =  12 + 2/3 inch (apprx. 32 cm, or 48 PP).

By the way – a little help to find out what is what: you can use these numbers like this: I/3 – kid shoes, II/8 – adult shoes.

American sizes – pretty much the same, described above, with the little difference starting from 4 inch (12/3), they start from 11/3.

1 cm= 0.846 a = 1,5 PP

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