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EU Shoe Size to UK Conversion – A Guide By Footwear Experts

Do you often find yourself confused by EU and UK shoe sizes? You’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to convert between these two systems. In this guide, we will explain the difference between EU and UK shoe sizes and provide a simple conversion chart. We will also discuss some of the factors that can affect shoe size, such as brand, style, and material. By the end of this guide, you will be able to confidently convert shoe sizes and choose the right size for you.

Men’s EU to UK Shoe Size Chart

EU UK US Foot length (cm)
39 5.5 6 24.6
40 6.5 7 25
41 7 7.5 25.4
42 8 8.5 26.3
43 9 9.5 27.2
44 9.5 10 27.6
45 10 11 28
46 11 11.5 28.9
47 12 12.5 29.8

Women’s EU to UK Shoe Size Chart

EU UK US Foot length (cm)
35 2 4 21.2
36 3 5 22.1
37 4 5.5 22.9
38 5 6.5 23.7
39 5.5 7 24.6
40 6.5 8 25
41 7 8.5 25.4
42 8 9.5 26.3
43 9 10 27.2

UK to EU Size Chart





RELATED TOPIC: Kids Shoe Size Conversion Chart


Background of EU Sizes

Thirty years ago, most of the shoes we sold in our stores were made in the UK and therefore followed the UK sizing. The lasts that the shoes were made on were designed specifically for the shape of feet in the UK. Globalisation has changed the world massively since then and that includes the shoe industry.

The rise of lower-cost manufacturing in Europe and the Far East has decimated the UK shoe manufacturing industry. At Begg Shoes we do still have brands that make some of their shoes in the UK; namely Clarks and Padders. High-quality European manufacturers such as Gabor, Fly London and Legero still make many of their shoes in UK half sizes, and typically higher priced brands adopt this approach to offer a more personalised fit.

Contrary to common understanding, EU sizes do not translate directly to UK sizes. Typically they jump around 5/6 of a UK size, for every EU size on the scale. The conversion chart above illustrates why this is a problem: EU sizes simply do not match up to UK sizes and this can lead to many customers picking the wrong size.

Today, many of our top brands manufacture their shoes in European or continental sizes. We have written a series of guides on our biggest and best-loved EU sized names, answering common questions in this area. These include our Birkenstock fitting guide and an in-depth look at How Rieker Shoes Fit. Also, back by popular demand is our updated Fly London Fitting Guide and Skechers Size Conversion Guide.

EU to UK shoe size

But why is this an issue?

The problem with creating lasts for whole and half UK sizes is that it is expensive to do so. Mass production of shoes can be done at a lower cost if there are fewer sizes to be produced. With UK sizes, due to the size of the gap between them, it would be customary to produce both whole and half sizing to offer a comfortable fit.

Therefore, for any women’s shoe made in the UK size system, there would often be 14-17 different sizes required for each style. However, when producing women’s shoes in EU sizes, there may be just 7-9 sizes making up the full range.

For many brands, manufacturing in EU sizes represents a cost-effective solution. The big problem comes when European sized shoes are marketed in the UK and the USA, where customers expect to see familiar sizes printed on the box front.  Unfortunately, some brands will cut corners and oversimplify the size conversion (e.g. 1 UK size is equal to 1 EU size) and this can be very unhelpful.


Do EU Sizes Translate Exactly To a UK Size?

Many major brands and retailers use exact-match size translation when advertising shoes online. This is a common misconception that can lead to problems for shoppers. While it may be simpler for retailers to advertise this way, it is not always accurate. Original manufactured sizes can vary depending on the brand, style, and even the country where the shoes are made.

EU sizes are often converted to UK using the following methodology for Women:

36 = 3 38 = 5 40 = 7 42 = 9
37 = 4 39 = 6 41 = 8

Confusingly for Men’s sizes, some retailers follow this approach:

40 = 6 42 = 8 44 = 10 46 = 12
41 = 7 43 = 9 45 = 11 47 = 13


In truth, the conversions are misleading for customers and explain part of the reason (there are several others!) that your shoe size can vary drastically between brands. Most of our shoes, including major brands such as Rieker and Ecco, are made in EU sizes.

Finding the Best Fit online

In conclusion, while the shoe size conversion charts above can be a helpful starting point, it is important to remember that they are not always accurate. The best way to ensure that you get the right size of shoes is to measure your feet and compare them to the original manufactured size of the specific shoe you are interested in. It is also important to keep in mind that the fit of shoes can vary depending on the brand, style, and even the country where the shoes are made. So, even if you have found a brand and style that fits you well in the past, it is always a good idea to try on the shoes before you buy them.

When shopping online, there is always a risk that the size will not work out for you. To minimise this risk, check the return policy before you buy. Many retailers offer free returns, so you can order a few different sizes to try on and return the ones that don’t fit.

Feel free to contact us for advice on converting EU shoe sizes to UK sizes, by phone or email. If you can, come and visit one of our stores. Either way, our fitting specialists will help to answer your questions and help you navigate the pitfalls of size conversion.

Happy Shoe Shopping!

Donald Begg