Shoe Size

Last update: April 2016

Knowing which size shoes to buy can be daunting!

For girls who order internationally (because your country doesn’t carry the brand or specific pair of shoes that you seek), often it’s very frustrating to have your parcel arrive after waiting for days and your Cinderella shoes don’t fit. Not only so, there’s US and European sizing, with the latter further dividing into British, Italian, and French sizing which are very different! All this can be so confusing!

So here’s my guide to most luxury shoe brands, with my standard of comparison being the US shoe size.
If you have questions regarding specific shoes, leave me a message and I’ll get back to you. I know Jimmy Choo, Manolo, Aquazzura, Gianvito Rossi, Valentino, and Louboutin shoes very well. I actually had a spreadsheet for almost all CL shoes produced from 2008 to 2014-ish, but stop keeping up to date given the market saturation of his shoes over the last 2-3 years.
Anyhow, below is a general guide only from *my* experience because I had one person stating that she disagrees, which is fine. Everyone’s sizing and foot shape are different, so please keep in mind that your experience may be different as well. I am only trying to help and I know *my* foot shape has not changed, thus relative to myself the below suggestions are true for me. And I believe that based on the comments, most people find this guide to be helpful, so I will continue updating this page as my shopping goes on in the future 🙂

triangle-congruence-20-638

Lesson 1: Math – Understanding Your Foot Size

Yes, you must wonder why I brought up the famous triangle. Well all well-soled shoes start with good math and physics. So the basic here is that most people don’t really understand how their foot size relates to the actual shoe size. They are NOT the same historically and that’s why every brand or even shoe style within the same brand can be different at times. Modern day sizing has tried to eliminate the confusion. However, traditionally speaking, a shoe size is represented by “a,” which is the BASE of the triangle. The shoe’s height is represented by “b” and your own foot length is “c.” Thus depending on the HEIGHT of the shoes, your shoe size “a” will change, if we assume that your own foot length “c” remains the same. This explains why the higher the heel, the SMALLER the shoe size one typically needs because “a” must shorten as “b” increases. The converse is also true, in that the lower the heel is, the larger “a” must increase and approximate “c,” such that when the shoes become completely a pair of flats, then “a” = “c” = foot length. Like I said before, modern day sizing has tried to eliminate this kind of confusion (eg. the famous Louboutin conversion to standard sizing these days caused a heat wave amongst fashionistas), so that when we talk about shoe size these days, some brands have converted over so that their “reference” for shoe size = foot size = “c” instead of historically “a.”

Lesson 2: Shoe Width

I had a comment recently asking what are the letters behind the shoe size. This refers to the width of the shoes. Standard shoes are generally B and because it’s the reference point, most shoe sizes actually do not have this denoted. So if it’s not written, we generally assume that it’s a size B.
A = Narrow width
B = Normal width
C = Wide width
D = Extra wide

Lesson 3: Specifics Amongst Different Brands

Aquazzura:
– New leading Spanish designer brand
– Runs very SMALL to size and narrow, go up by half a size to a full size.
Eg. I’m usually a US 5.5, and typically purchase their 36 – 36.5 size. I have one pair that goes to 37!

Balenciaga:
– Originally Spanish, but now I guess Italian sizing?
– Generally runs VERY SMALL to size, go up by one full size.
Eg. I’m  usually a US 5.5, converts to 35.5 European, and wear 36.5-37 with this brand.

Chanel:
– French sizing
– Generally small to size for their flats, but TTS for their pumps imo
Eg. Ballerinas – 36 fits best on me, whereas for all pumps or anything with a heel, I take 35.5 consistently.

Charlotte Olympia:
– British brand, but adapted to US sizing
– Runs TRUE to size or occasionally LARGE.
Eg. I’m a US 5.5, and I consistently take 35.5 with CO shoes.

Chloé:
– Italian? sizing
– Runs small to size, go up by half a size.
Eg. I’m not too familiar with this brand, but I’ve tried their scallop flats and “Suzanna” booties, which were all a bit small imo.

Christian Louboutin:
– French sizing originally, then since 2010 things changed, see blurb below.
– Original sizing prior to 2010:
Generally runs SMALL to size, meaning go UP by half to one full size
Eg. I’m a US 5.5, but would have to wear 36 or 36.5 with CL shoes.
Exception:
Pigalle 85 runs TRUE to size or slightly SMALL to size
Pigalle 100 runs TRUE to size
Pigalle 120 and Pigalle Plato 120/140 run VERY large to size (go down by 1 full size)

CL is recently changing their system for many shoes, so beware of their famous VPs which now run LARGE to size (was previously TRUE to size). In fact, the company is trying to make their line of shoes more consistent with US sizing, which actually makes everything very inconsistent because the newer styles (NOT new texture/material on an older style) are either running TTS or even LARGE; while the older styles are still made based on the older shoe molds.
I actually liked the old system, because you knew that your true CL size was just half size more than your US size, easy right? However, now we have inconsistencies everywhere. This is why I tell people that there is NO TRUE CL SIZE after 2010, so terminology should be made clear that when one says “TTS” it means true to their US size!
Update April 2015: Most CLs these days actually run TTS, so just stick to you US sizing, unless you have wide feet, then go up half a size to accommodate. Some of the original and very classic styles like Décolleté 554, Rolando, and Numéro Privé still run small.

Dries Van Noten:
– European sizing
– Generally runs SMALL to size, go UP by half size.
Eg. I’m usually a US 5.5, and wear 36 with DVN.

Gianvito Rossi:
– Non-traditional Italian sizing
– Most shoes are TTS for me, but sometimes slightly large.
Eg. Pumps and “Plexi” style are a bit big, so I wear 35 in them.

Giuzeppe Zanotti:
– Non-traditional Italian sizing
– Generally TRUE to size, but can be SMALL to size with some sandals (especially if you have a high arch).
Eg. I take US 5.5, and with GZ I’ll wear 35.5 in their pumps but 36 in their sandals.

Givenchy:
– Italian sizing
– Mostly TTS, but some heels can runs small to size.
Eg. Shark Tooth sandals are small, so go up by half size. Pumps and boots are pretty TTS.

Jimmy Choo:
– British sizing
– Generally runs TRUE to size
Eg. I take US 5.5 and would wear 35.5 with JC shoes.
– Caution:
JC’s espadrilles and wedge sandals runs SMALL to size (go up by 1/2 size)

Lanvin:
– Italian sizing, usually the smallest of all the European sizes.
– Generally runs VERY SMALL to size, go UP at least half size for flats and sandals. Pumps and anything made in satin/fabric, go UP at least one full size!
Eg. I’m a US 5.5 (converts to 35.5 European), and I take 36.5-37 with Lanvin shoes.
– I’m not a fan of this brand’s shoes cuz of the high vamp (yes, I like toe cleavage!), and their flats are just too flat and flimsy-looking for me. I like more structured shoes like Ferragamo’s and Roger Vivier’s flats, which are great for work too.

Louis Vuitton:
– Non-traditional French sizing
– Generally TRUE to size with their flats and and open sandals. Never tried LV’s pumps, so I dunno.
– I’m also not a fan of LV’s shoes cuz they’re very uncomfortable. Their flats are great though, love the Monte Carlos and other loafers.

Manolo Blahnik:
– Non-traditional Italian sizing
– Generally runs TRUE to size or ever so slightly SMALL occasionally.
Personally, I find his shoes are just like Jimmy Choo’s, ie TRUE to size.

Miu Miu and Prada:
– Given that Miu Miu is owned by Prada, I’ll just talk about both together.
–  Non-traditional Italian sizing
– VERY TRUE to size, like most US shoes. These are very much like Manolos for me, but sometimes feel slightly larger.
Eg. I take US 5.5, and with either MM or Pradas, I’m a 35.5 consistently. Only in some flats with elastic, they tend to run small, so go up by half size.

Repetto:
– French sizing
– Runs VERY SMALL, go UP by at least one full size.
Eg. I’m a US 5.5 and I need to take 36.5 in Repetto’s flats. Their boy-shoes and boots I take 37-37.5.

Roger Vivier:
– French sizing
– VARIABLE sizing
Eg. I’m a US 5.5 and range anywhere between 35 – 36.5 in their Chips flats.

Rick Owens:
– European sizing
– Generally runs SMALL to size, go UP by half size.
Eg. I’m a US 5.5, and will need to take 36 with RO shoes.

Salvatore Ferragamo:
– Italian sizing
– Mostly small to size, with a minority of flats being a bit large.
Eg. Most of my Varina-like flats are a size 36.

Sophia Webster:
– Brazil made, based on European sizing?
– Shoes are slightly small to size. I can get away with my TTS in heels, but flats I take a half size up to be more comfy.
Eg. Chiara and Evangeline heels I take 35.5, but all their flats I prefer 36.

Stuart Weitzman:
– Spanish sizing
– Mostly TTS or slightly large to size depending on the style.
Eg. I’m a US 5.5, and generally take SW’s shoes in 35.5

Valentino:
– Italian sizing
– This one brand is all over the place imo and sizing varies depending on style and heel height, and even within the exact same version/style – sizing can be unpredictable!
Eg. Rockstud 100 – Generally TTS, but some are extremely SMALL with straps that could be longer than desired…
Rockstud 65 – All TTS for me so far.
Rockstud Cage flats – VERY LARGE to size, go down by at least 1 full size!
Rockstud Ballerina flats – Some TTS, some small, some large…
Rockstud boots and booties – All seem to be 1 full size LARGE to size!

This is to say that Valentino seems to have different factories with various shoe molds that are all non-standard or inconsistent with each other. Definitely a must to try the shoes on first before purchasing!

Vince:
– US sizing
– Consistently TTS

(Yves) Saint Laurent:
– Non-traditional French sizing
– Runs TRUE to size or slightly LARGE
Eg. I’m a US 5.5, and take 35.5 consistently in their sandals and pumps, but their boots run quite LARGE! So if you tend to size up in your boots like me to wear thick socks in the fall/winter, then DON’T! Otherwise they’ll be too big on you!

136 thoughts on “Shoe Size

  1. Hi! I’m looking too purchase a pair of JC sandals (Trapeze). I’m normally a 7, but was thinking of getting a 7.5 so I can add a full shoe pad in them. Do you think they’ll still be too big? Or will the shoe pad make them too tight?

    Thanks!

  2. Hi C.N. May I ask if the shoe padding is for comfort purposes only? If yes, I would recommend a half pad for just the ball of your feet. A full length pad may look awkward in my opinion for an open toe pair of sandals and may also be too loose making the padding more obvious. JC runs TTS for every single pair of shoes I’ve tried on and even with padding, I don’t find them too loose or tight. So I guess my recommendation is to stay with your usual size 7. HTH!

  3. Hi! I’m looking too purchase a pair of MB BB105 pumps. I’m normally a 6, and wearing Jimmy Choo Abel 6, but since MB size guide says it’d be better to wear a 1/2 size largger, so I am a little confused about which size, 6 or 6.5?

  4. Hi Summer, I generally find that Jimmy Choo shoes are about the same size as Manolos, so I would recommend a 6. The half size larger recommendation is usually relative to a person’s US shoe sizing which tends to be larger. That’s why they recommend that for European designer shoes to go up half a size. Good luck!

  5. Hi! I’m looking forward to buy a CO flats, been dreaming about it for quite a long time. But I’m not familiar with the US sizing and such since there are no comparison in my town (and I’m in SEAsia).
    I’m wondering if you have any enlightment for the US size in inches/centimetres since I’ve been wondering about whether it will be a fit for me. I’ve tried to search around but none of the gave me the same result. I’ve once bought Clark’s in size 4. Thank you.

  6. Clark’s is UK sizing, not US sizing. It’s very different. I don’t know anything about Clarks. However there are many size charts and in general a UK 4 woman’s sizing is about a US 6. So approximately you’d take a CO 36 in European sizing.

  7. Do you know how Céline boots fit? I know the brand is french but they might be manufactured in Italy… I wear a size 40 in Saint Laurent boots but they only have a 39.5 available in the Céline boots I want. Any ideas?

  8. Do you have any references for Casadei? There is a pair I am in love with, but I don’t want to run the risk of getting them and they are too tight. Thank you.

  9. HI Celia,

    First of all, thank you so much for creating and maintain this site. I love shopping online, however, at times sizing can be a challenge. I’m currently looking at Saint Laurent Mary Jane pump, the sizing indicates a size IT 9 is a US 8.5. however, I’m concerned that the US size 8.5 might still run small. Typically I’m an 8 and have a slightly narrow heel, hence why Euro shoes work well for me. My Prada’s and Mui Mui are sized eight with the exception of one style which I took 8.5. Have you found all Saint Laurent shoes to run narrow by chance? Also any chance a 9 is actually a size 8 US.

    Thanks in advance,

    Helen

  10. Hi Helen, I generally find YSL/Saint Laurent shoes to be TTS, as well as Prada and Miu Miu shoes. So if you’re a size 8 with these 2 latter brands, it’s probably safe to say that you’d be an 8 as well in YSL. Of course, if you can go in store to try on your size, that would be best. It’s great that these days, most department stores have very good return/exchange polices. Best of luck shopping!

  11. Hi Cecilia.
    Can you advise on SF Varina flats? I usually wear US size 6, feet length 23.1cm. What size should I pick for SF flats? 6D or 6.5C? Will 6.5 be too big? Thank you.

  12. Hi I need your help and advice for my pretty wedding shoes. I ordered a pair of MIU MIU glitter mary janes, closed toe in a 38. I am a US 8 pretty consistently but have slightly wider feet. i saw that miu miu/prada run true to size but these killed me when I tried them on. they were so tight in the toes especially width wise with 1/4″ room between big toe and shoe front . My problem is that the store only has a 39.5 a whole 1.5 sizes larger left. would adding a pad make it worth it to exchange( ordered from Gilt so cant try them in store) or is it a hopeless cause and i should just find a new shoe? any advice would be greatly appreciated

  13. Hi Cecilia,
    Thanks for sharing this note. It’s certainly very helpful.
    Do you know if the CL Simple Pump 85 run TTS or small? I’m normally a size 36 or US 6. Will size 36 too small? Thanks.

  14. Hi Cecilia,

    I’m new the the European sizing but have found that I wear a 5.5 in Manolo, Stuart Weitzman, and Loubitans. I generally wear a size 6 U.S. normal/standard width. Most of the reviews for Aquazzura say “true to size” but some say small. I’m confused should I order 5.5 or 6 (specifically the Sexy Thing cut-outs)?

  15. Aquazzuras generally run small to size from my half dozen pairs that i own. The Sexy Thing booties depend on your arch height. If you have high arches, then go up half a size. Otherwise go with your normal size because it’s open back/toe, which accommodates various foot lengths, but over time the leather will stretch.

  16. Hi Aly, I’m sorry about your shopping experience. However I would not recommend going up by more than half a size. You cannot pad the 1.5 larger size. Also depending on the height of these Mary Janes, it’s generally not a good idea to have too loose shoes then you can fall easily. If the current pair is not wide enough, you can always take it to the cobbler and have them stretched. It’s much more doable this way than to go too big of a size. Good luck!

  17. Hi can you pls share tips re Roger Vivier sizing for patent flats, chips, and heels?

  18. Hi Tin, I’m sorry I’m not very familiar with RV’s flats. I’ve only tried on the Chips and with all the shoes, they’ve been inconsistent ranging from a full size of a difference up or down from my TTS.

  19. Hi Cecilia, thanks for your post! I’m looking to purchase a pair of JC pumps LOTTIE for my wedding.I’m normally a 7,5, but I dont know if buy 37,5 or 8. What size would you recommend me?

  20. Hi Darma, the length of the shoes are TTS so you can stay with your 37.5. However if you have a high arch, you may want to go to 38. Good luck shopping 😀

  21. Hi! So happy to have found your blog! Thanks a lot for it! I’m crazy about beautiful heels but it’s a huge struggle since I’m a size 4… 🙁
    I buy most @prettysmallshoes.com since I live in Holland, Netherlands, and the shipping within Europe is easiest..
    The problem is that most great brands/designer start with a 5 IF you’re lucky. Reading your blog I believe ‘Aquazurra’ (I LOVE it!!), Repetto (dont know this one), Lanvin & Balenciaga are best worth trying for me. Do you agree on that? I love wedges (high heeled), pumps, ankle straps, ankle booties and sandals all high heels (but also lots of sneakers and a few pairs flats/ballerinas!).

    Thanks again and warm regards from a chilly Holland 🙂

    Corine

  22. Hi Corine!
    Yes those brands definitely run much smaller, especially Aquazzura and Repetto. Repetto is a French brand stemmed from the shoes that ballerinas wear. Also many Asian boutiques or eBay have very small sizes as well. It could be a bit of a hit or miss with some, but there are good quality shoes as well when I go back to Asia for vacation. Good luck and thank you for visiting!

  23. Thanks for coming up with this amazing site! I appreciate it so much. I’m just so thankful someone was thoughtful enough to sit down and compile this information.
    Best

  24. Hi Cecilia,

    Thanks for posting this. Im wondering if you know why some Chanel flats have sizing with C after the number (eg.38C). Do you know if the pair with C at the back has different cutting than the one without? I normally wear chanel flats size 38 and i recently saw a pair that i really like with size 38C but not sure if the size would be any different than my current ones. Really appreciate ur help on this Thanks

  25. Hi Cherries, the letter codes are for the shoe’s width. Chanel is typically B (normal) and when letter are marked it refers to out of the standard sizing. Thus C is for wide feet and D is for extra wide. Lastly on the other hand A is for narrow width. Good luck.

  26. HI there,
    Great Site, I “too” truly Appreciate your Help also…:-)! I’ve never Purchased a Pair of Prada’s. I’ve fallen in Love with a Pair of the Women Black Paten Leather Sneaker Lace up, and I was wondering does Prada Sneakers run true to Size/Bigger or Smaller. I’m an 8 and the Shoe is an 8. Thanks!

  27. Hi,Cecilia,
    Just want to thank you and say how much I am amazed by the job you’ve just done here. Found very very practical and with what I have tried/own/returned/exchanged – I actually absolutely agree with all your conclusions. Well done, you basically structured something I was trying to remember about all the shoes I ever touched :)))))))

  28. Thank you Katya, good to know that I’m not totally off and this is helpful to all you lovely ladies 🙂 Have a great day!

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