How Much Bigger is Half Size in a Shoe?

We all have faced the struggle of getting the right shoe size for our feet, at least once in our life. We go to the shop and say give us a 7 or give us an 11 and often get the wrong shoe size. Some of us even got our feet measured by a professional to get rid of this confusion but still could not find an escape. Why is that? Do different stores and shoe brands use their custom measurement system? Or are there more than one universal shoe measurement system? Yes, you have guessed it right. Just like different measurement systems in weight and length, we have universally accepted different shoe measurement units.

And in this case, we have three. The US, the UK, and the European shoe sizing units. They have a significantly different take on shoe measurements and they are free to choose whichever sizing system they want. This creates a big problem for us consumers and we face confusion in the stores. But worry no more, we will break down these different sizing methods for you and answer today’s big question “how much bigger is a half size in a shoe?”.

You can also read: When to Replace Running Shoes

Different shoe size measuring standards

There is no universally accepted standard shoe sizing scales. We have three different shoe sizing measurements now. But before these three came into existence, there was another shoe sizing system and that is the original one. That one was developed by the Roman people.

The Romanian method suggests that three barely corn is equal to one measurement unit and people have been following that as one shoe size. Later this unit of measurement came to be known as inches and it was made official in 1384 by King Edward of England. After some time, we have three different units of shoe size measurement. The UK system, the US system, and the European system.

The US size system

The US shoe size units have different shoe sizing charts for women and men. The women's size starts from 4 and ends at 12. For men’s shoes, it is 6 to 16. They also come in various categories like wide, extra wide, medium, narrow.

The UK size system

The UK shoe size system is almost similar to the US shoe measurement system. The only difference is that the UK system starts measuring from 0 when the US system starts it from 1. This makes a 1 unit gap between these two measurement systems.

In short, size 9 in the US system is size 8 in the UK system. But all the other things in these two measurement systems are the same. From half size difference to full-size difference, everything is the same.

The European size system

The European size system is different from the US and the UK shoe measurement system. For context, a shoe size of 6.5 in the US is 37 in Europe. And the shoe size 7 in the US is measured among 37 to 38 in the European system. And no, the European shoe sizing system does not have any half size. They go in the whole number. So it won’t be any surprise to see someone wearing a pair of shoes that are one size bigger than what they needed.

Moreover, European shoes do not have any different scale for men, women, and children. All shoes are unisex. So if a woman’s foot size is 36, she can pick a man’s shoe of size 36. There won’t be any problem with the fitting.

Now you know about the three different shoe sizing standards we have. They all have their uniqueness. So that answers why we always face confusion when picking a shoe size. It's because different brands use any of these three measuring units as they see fit.

So by keeping that in mind, let us talk about the big question that has been floating around our heads for a long time and that is “How much bigger is a half size in a shoe?”

How Much Bigger is Half Size in a Shoe?

Photo By: Lori Andrews

How Much Bigger is Half Size in a Shoe?

Why do you need to know about such a thing? Why is it important to know how much bigger a shoe? That is because we want our shoes to fit perfectly in our feet. Not too large, not a bit small. Just the perfect.

Sometimes you will find that size (for example consider size 10 in the US system) may fit a little tight in your feet. Tight shoes will feel very uncomfortable to walk in. But if you go up one size in size 11, it may be too big. There is an extra gap at the front of your toes. This may feel comfortable to wear, but it can cause serious accidents while running. You may fall over. That is why you need to go only half a size up for the perfect fit. In this case, it is 10.5.

Now, how large is a half size? In the US, this half-size measurement varies for men and women. For men, the standard half size is 0.4 cm. And for women, it is 0.5 cm. This is the standard, but some brands may disagree and use a different number for measuring their half-size (for example using 0.7 cm). The UK half-size system also follows along with the US half-size system, 0.4 cm for men and 0.5 cm for women. But keep in mind that what you know as 10.5 sizes in the US system is 9.5 in the UK system because the UK system starts from 0.

Now for those of you who use the European measurement system, we have bad news. There is no half size in the European system. It would have not been a surprise to you if you have been following this system for a while.


So there you have it. Half a size in the US and UK system is 0.4 cm big for men and 0.5 cm big for women. There is no half size in the European system. So if you are having troubles with shoes too big or small, switch to the US and UK system and pick one. If you are having trouble, don’t be worried. Ask the salesperson and he/she will help you with your feet size.

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