Cinderella syndrome

I’ve noticed in recent years there have been a number of articles about how shoes aren’t fitting properly and perhaps average shoe sizes are going up, and doing a lot of vintage shopping perhaps I’ve noticed a third observation. So with this too-big-too-small trend in modern day, it seems apt to call it Cinderella syndrome.

Now first I’ll start by saying I’ve always believed I took an UK 8, and always been under the impression that translated to a European 41 and a 10.5 in the US. Apparently that isn’t totally correct, and according to the Society of Shoefitters actually, UK7=EU41, now this was in an article in the Daily Mail which means one should take this information with a good shovel of salt, the one thing I can take from this article is to forget UK sizes and know my European size which is 40.5 (give or take ½ a size each way).

These are an example of how oversized shoes come. These Ted Bakers were labelled as 41/8 but I challenge someone who is actually fits this shoe. It’s a good 2cm too long, which is why there is that patch to improve fit.

Shopping for vintage shoes has always been a problem, it seems that anything that is from the 80’s or earlier is just too small. Not only was EU41 non-exsistent back then, but EU40 seemed to be at least 1/2 a size smaller than they are today. Essentially if you are a 39 today then you are looking at a vintage 40, and if you’re bigger like myself, well sorry but they simply don’t exist. There seems to be good reason why shoe sizes haven’t been extended upwards, shoes haven’t jumped up in size, but instead they’ve somewhat crept up in dimensions.

What doesn’t help is that Gina are the only company still manufacturing heels in the UK, meaning the whole sizing system that many of us have grown up with is largely dead and buried. We still haven’t shaken off pounds and ounces, so it’s no surprise that the vast majority of people I speak to still use UK sizing. Our dependency on a defunct system causes confusion, and manufacturers constantly have to guestimate when translating sizes, explaining these reports where shoes are up to two sizes out from advertised.

Italy is the home to luxury shoemaking. Kurt Geiger London, and Nicholas Kirkwood (left and right) make shoes in Italy, so do Rupert, Charlotte Olympia, Hobbs, Karen Millen, LK Bennett, McQueen, Vivienne, are all British designers who use Italian factories. YSL (pictured middle) are among a large French contingency to do the same.

In a world dominated by creativity, it’s great to see logic and sensibility working so harmoniously with style, Stuart Weitzman is the scientist of the shoe world. He does start with a visual concept, however before a shoe is given a green light for sale, he ensures necessary reasearch and tests are done to make sure shoes fit well for a constantly changing market, and are engineered up to his meticulous standards. When you consider a pair of his shoes which are all leather retail at less than any Italian luxury shoe, it’s really a bargain of the century.

I know it’s not realistic to tell everyone to buy Stuart Weitzman, but the real take home message is to know your shoe size. UK sizing is obselete due to the total and utter collapse of British (shoe) manufacturing, and you’ve got to accept European and American sizing are going to be the dominant force.



    1. Truth all of the commonly available sizing systems are flawed. Even the EU sizing takes it from the last length which means various potential inconsistencies. The NATO/Mondopoint system is very accurate but because it’s very labour intensive and would add a lot of cost to a pair of shoes.


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