Herring Shoes

The ultimate question: What is my shoe size?

June 4, 2021

A rather complicated question for some. Luckily, we are experts on the subject, and we will try to share our knowledge with you here.

First thing to consider is that handmade dress shoes often come up larger than other styles. It is also worth bearing in mind that everyone’s ‘true to size’ is purely based on what they are used to and consider true, which is often an off-the-shelf dress style-shoes from brands such as Next or Marks & Spencer.

You cannot rely upon your more casual shoe size either as sneakers and trainers do not hug your feet or feel as sturdy and are more generic in shape to give the feel of immediate comfort, but, ultimately, they are not going to support your feet as well as a pair of good quality leather shoes.

Can you measure your feet to get your size? Sadly not. Let me explain why it doesn’t help:

  • All shoes are made on a last shape and each last will measure differently from another, and there are no set measurements.
  • It would be very difficult to accurately measure inside shoes.
  • Measuring the outside sole will not help as this is not an indication of the measurements inside the shoes.
  • Even if we did have the exact measurements of inside the shoes, how would we determine a good fit? e.g. your foot length will not want to equal the length of the shoe.
  • A good fitting shoe is not just about length, but also the volume of your feet and this is something you simply cannot measure.

I could go on, but you get the point.

So how can we get your size right? Well, we would ask you the following sorts of questions:

  • What shoe brands and sizes do you wear now?
  • Are you giving us a US, UK or EU size? If the shoes are US sized for example, give us this size and not a conversion they have on the label.
  • What shoe style are you interested in on our website? Some styles are deliberately more roomy or tight so that matters a lot when advising you.
  • Do you like your shoes to fit snugly, or do you prefer them to fit loosely?

These questions allow us to build a picture of what shoes you are used to and get a good barometer of your general size. We may recommend a size that seems wrong to you (most casual wearers will go down a whole size or more), but please have faith. Even if they feel a little tight to begin with, they will form to the shape of your foot and become unique to you.

How do you know if your new shoes are a good fit?

We advise wearing new shoes for 30 minutes while sat at home (if you walk outside in them or crease them, they may not be returnable) as this will warm the leather and give you a good idea if they are the right size.

You should expect there to be space from the end of your toes to the end of the shoes, depending on the style, there could be a significant gap, but it should never rub. You also want the width to feel snug, but not too tight. The lacing should give you a good indication of this. You want a nice V shape that has room to close a little as the leathers break in. If the V shape is wide they may be a bit tight for you. If they close up completely, then they are a bit too loose because the leather will give over time, and you won’t be able to tighten them any further.

If the length is good but the width is the issue, you may consider a G-wide fitting or another style with a wider last shape.

If the fit seems OK but your heel slips a bit when taking a step, then you may need to get a smaller size as a rubbing/slipping heel can often cause blisters.

Below we have drafted a guide, based on our experiences. Of course, this is not going to be 100% accurate for everyone, but it should help many people get a good indication of their size. You will also find this on every item page on our website under the ‘sizing’ tab. If in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact us.

And don’t forget, if your shoes don’t fit you well, you can return them to us for a refund or exchange, either free or for a low cost label depending on what shipping options you choose during the checkout.

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