Here’s Why Figuring Out Your Exact Shoe Size Is Harder Than It Should Be

man tying his shoes


The internet has made it so much easier to shop for attire online, especially when it comes to shoes. While you used to have to go to a store and get fitted by a guy who seemed to be a little more into feet than you were comfortable with, you can now browse for footwear from the comfort of your own home.

I don’t have any actual stats to back this up, but I think it’s safe to say online shopping has also resulted in a net drop in the number of people who get stabbed waiting in line for a pair of Jordans.

One major downside of shopping online is ordering your ideal shoes and discovering they’re unexpectedly larger or smaller than the size you’re pretty sure you are. As someone who technically wears a size 15.5 (yes, really), I’ve learned to take what I can get when it comes to footwear. However, if you’re a sneakerhead who won a lottery for the privilege of dropping way too much money on a pair of Yeezy’s, the last thing you want to do is have to squeeze your feet into a tiny pair of shoes like a young Chinese girl during the Qing dynasty.

Highsnobiety consulted a few fashion experts to figure out the mystery of inconsistent sizing across different brands and styles, and it turns out it all boils down to the “last,” which is essentially a mold that provides a base for the shape of the shoe.

You can watch this video for a more detailed explanation:

As a result, size nine running shoes might fit perfectly fine, but if you’re investing in a pair of leather dress shoes, the material might not be as forgiving. The prospect of venturing outside your house to a shoe store might sound terrifying, but it could be your best option if you’re having trouble finding the perfect fit.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.