Guide to Footwear and Shoe Sizes in the UK

What is welly wanging? How come a 46 is an 11 in the UK? Should you be looking for shoes in Clarks or Marks and Sparks?

Size does matter

Finding a pair of shoes that actually fit is very important, because uncomfortable shoes are just a pain in the feet. But understanding shoe sizes in foreign countries can be confusing. You might be a woman’s size 9, which is different to a child’s size 9, because your feet are 26.7cm long or 10 and a half inches long, not 16.5cm, and also completely different to a man’s size 9, which in turn is not the same as a man’s US size 9 but is, however, the same as an EU size 42-43 which is of course a Japanese 28.5, although a woman’s 28.5 is a UK size 9.5, half a size bigger than the size 9 we started with. Like I said, confusing. Which is why you need these handy conversion charts to make things simple. 

Women's Shoe Size Guide

UK size
US size
EU size
2.5
5
35
3.5
6
36
4
6.5
37
5
7.5
38
6
8.5
39
6.5
9
40
7
9.5
41
8
10.5
42
9
11
43

Men's Shoe Size Guide

UK size
US size
EU size
6
7
39
6.5
7
40
7
8
41
7.5
8
42
8
9
43
9.5
10.5
44
10.5
11.5
45
11
12
46
12
13
47

Please note that this is just a guide and actual shoe sizes can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Trainers are usually smaller than the size they say they are. But to be safe, always try them on.

Where to find footwear

Now that you’re clear on sizing, it’s time to go and find your new shoes. But where to look? In the UK there are loads of places to buy shoes. From fancy, expensive, formal, handmade leather shoes from the likes of Edward Green, to the latest in trainer trends from JD Sports. Clarks is probably the most famous British shoe manufacturer. There are shoe shops on every high street. Department stores also have a wide selection. Traditional shoemakers can be found across the country, but Northampton is arguably the most famous place of all, and was at one point the shoemaking capital of Europe. 

Walking boots

These boots are made for walking

The Wellington boot and welly wangling

The Wellington boot, originally invented at the request of the Duke of Wellington as a practical, hard-wearing riding boot that could also be worn in the evenings to formal events. These days they are made of rubber and worn by toddlers jumping in puddles, farmers, and festival goers to keep their feet dry. Which is important because it rains quite a bit in the UK. The welly, as it is otherwise known, is used for the peculiar UK sport of welly wangling. A sport in which participants aim to throw a welly as far as they can. The World Welly Wanging Association is based in Upperthong, Holmfirth, where the event takes place once a year. 

Below is a song about wellies. 

And finally a shoe related quote from the man in the video, the great Billy Connolly

“Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes.” 

 

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About the author

Joseph

Leaving rainy Plymouth to move to cold and rainy Hamburg, Joseph has been trying to pronounce ridiculously long German words ever since. If he’s not drinking a cool Weizenbier he spends his time on his bike or reading books by the river. Now working as an intern at bab.la.