The Surprising Reason Why Shoe Sizes Change in Countries — And How to Convert

Making sure your shoes fit right is important — and that can be difficult when buying them from outside of your home country, especially if you’re looking at shoes online and won’t have a chance to try them on before making the purchase.

The easiest way to figure out how your shoe size stacks up? Look at a sizing chart. Find your size and look across the chart to see how it compares with another system’s sizing. While there may be some variation from brand to brand — try the shoes on or read reviews to see whether the brand’s products have a standard fit — a conversion chart will usually do the trick.

The U.K.’s shoe-sizing metric, based on the size of a barleycorn, has the most storied history: It was developed by King Edward II in 1324. The American system developed in the 1800s, with sizing based on 1/3-inch intervals for whole sizes. In the European Union, your shoe size is the length of your foot plus two centimeters for comfort. The twist? The length is measured in Paris points, which equal 2/3 of a centimeter.

The Japanese system is perhaps the most straightforward of them all — in this system, all shoe sizes are measured in centimeters, with no difference between men’s, women’s and children’s sizing.


Why shoes design is still critical

Though there are many ways footwear producers can add value to footwear, design still plays a key role in consumer decisions
Sometimes it is said that design no longer plays such a key role in consumers purchasing decisions. It’s easy to say that when we look at footwear and realize that shoes are no longer just shoes. More and more, they include extra features, such as GPS trackers, eco-friendly materials, and other tools that technology and science brought to the footwear industry.

So, it’s easy to ask, how can design still be relevant, while there are so many other aspects to take in consideration? Plus, most footwear available is somehow attractive and cheap. Brands should realize that many times, brands get inspired by each other, and with fashion shows, to design their products.

Nonetheless, this is exactly why creative ideas and creative design can boost a footwear company very easily. Consumers already have expectations from shoemakers, but if brands can surprise them, it’s guaranteed they will get their attention.

Bucketfeet is a footwear company taking shoe design to a whole new level. Since 2011, the company has been selling online shoes and sneakers that are customized by artists from all over the world. And that’s not all, any artist can become a contributor after completing an online profile on their website, which will be reviewed.

In this web platform, consumers can easily see and know more about shoes that are available before buying. Plus, they can meet and connect with the artist who created it through social media. And this is why they are willing to pay a high price for these shoes: because: they want something premium and unique.

Brazilian footwear exports on the high

According to the Brazilian Shoe Manufacturers Association, the country’s footwear exports recovered pace. From January to May, 49 million pairs were sold abroad, generating 441 million US dollars

This positive performance resulted in a 1.1% increase in volume, compared to similar period last year, and a significant increase in value terms (+20.1% in US dollars).

According to Heitor Klein, Executive President of Abicalçados, the Brazilian Shoe Manufacturers Association, the devaluation of the dollar has contributed to the increase of the prices for Brazilian products (up by 13.9%, from 8.57 US dollars to 10.86 US dollars a pair). The appreciation of the Brazilian Real continues and astrong domestic currency results in higher prices for the Brazilian products, as the companies will face higher production costs (expressed in the Brazilian currency). Mr. Klein expects that the rest of the year will be impacted by a slowdown of the Brazilian exports as a result of the currency fluctuations and the domestic situation with Brazil being impacted by the uncertainty in politics.

In the first five months of the year, the main destination for Brazilian footwear was the United States, to where 4.7 million pairs were sent, generating 79.3 million US dollars, a decrease of 10.8% in volume and -1.3% in US dollars from similar period last year.

Second destination was Argentina, with 3.6 million pairs with a total value of 56.2 million US dollars, increasing both in volume (28%) and value (62.8%) in comparison with the same period of 2016. Paraguay follows with 5.8 million pairs and total value of 39 million US dollars, lower numbers in volume terms (-9%), but an outstanding increase in value terms, with revenue more than doubling value (+120%) compared to similar period in 2016.