When it comes to gift-giving, many people rule out the idea of giving clothing or wearable items as gifts because not only is it difficult to know for sure what style or fashion your recipient may like, it also simply comes down to understanding their sizing and individual fit. For footwear, these challenges can seem even more daunting, as a shoe is a personal piece of clothing that has a direct impact on the comfort and fit of the wearer.
So, is it possible to give shoes as a gift? Absolutely! At Happy Feet Plus, we make it our job to not only know how to help those who shop with us for themselves, but also for others. Below we’ll go over some of the nuances of shoe fit and sizing and look at a few of our brands and how that sizing affects choices.
So exactly how does shoe sizing work? And how does that have an effect on fit and comfort?
If we start with UK shoe sizing, which is the oldest system in the world, we find that sizing starts with the length of the “last”, or the template or foot form used for making the foot base of the shoe. This measurement was originally expressed in “barleycorns”, which translates to one-third of an inch. So, if we start with an adult UK size one, that would equal roughly 26 barleycorns, or 8 and 2/3 inches. Therefore, a UK adult size 10 would then equal a foot about 11 2/3 inches long, or 35 barleycorns! Some of our models of shoes at Happy Feet Plus have UK sizing, such as our Finn Comfort Paisley Black Textile Sneakers.
The sizing for shoes in the United States follows this system, with one difference: the smallest shoe size is zero in the UK system, but is size one in the U.S. system. Since these two systems are closely related, the general rule of thumb is U.S. sizing is roughly 1/2 to 1 size larger than the UK equivalent—a US size 10 would be 9 UK or 9.5 UK for men (7 UK or 7.5 UK for women). Our Brooks running shoes, for instance, come in US sizes.
The European model of sizing is a little different, however, as there is one range of sizes from 15 to 50 (without half sizes), based on what is known as Paris points, which equal approximately two-thirds of a centimeter. Also, interestingly, there is usually no difference in sizing between men’s and women’s shoes, unlike the US and UK sizing methods. Some of our Finn Comfort shoes and all Birkenstock shoes follow this method.
Another sizing method is one used by our world-famous Kenkoh massage sandals, which is the length of the shoe “last” in centimeters. In our above example, a US men’s size 10 or US women’s size 11 would be equivalent to a 28 in Kenkoh sizing. You can get more information on finding the correct U.S. size equivalent on our website here.
Shown in image: Kenkoh Spirit Sandals
Which sizing system can also tell us about how the shoes will fit in a more nuanced way. For instance, European manufactured and sized shoes tend to be narrower at the heel, with a wider front of the foot (or toe box). Also, what type of shoe can also play a role in how they fit and their specific shape and style, as running shoes such as Brooks can provide a different shape and curve than perhaps a comfort sandal such as Birkenstock or Kenkoh.
Does all of this talk of shoe sizing and fit make it seem even more difficult to shop for shoes as a gift? Well, if you start your search at Happy Feet Plus, our shoe experts can use their experience and knowledge to help find the perfect gift for that special someone both online and in-person! You can either stop by one of our many locations and talk to our specialized sales folks or contact us online and we will be happy to assist in finding that perfect pair of footwear for your intended recipient. Even if it’s not perfect, our return and exchange policy makes it easy to get it right!
We hope you will check out all of the offerings here at Happy Feet Plus and find that perfect pair of footwear for yourself or your loved one!