26 January 2022

How to pick your size?

You surely already know that it can be complicated to choose your shoe size simply because not all brands fit the same way: several lasts, several widths... It is even more difficult when you buy online. In this article, we will explain in detail how to choose your size at Septième Largeur in order to maximise your chances of ordering the perfect size on the first try!


There is nothing special about your foot!

Rest assured, your foot is probably not too wide or too thin. In fact, most of our customers tell us that they have very wide feet or very narrow feet, or that they wear orthopaedic inserts. It is therefore very likely that you have feet that are quite similar to others when averaged out.


Notre façon de chausser

At Septième Largeur, we have an extensive range of lasts. Whether they are narrow or wide, they have all been developed for specific models in a search for comfort and aesthetic balance. They all have their own characteristics and therefore do not all fit the same way. Even if it is a bit of a shortcut, we can classify them into two families; the so-called "narrow" lasts and the "wide" lasts.


Our different lasts


Important point:
Like most of our colleagues in this field, we work in UK size. Why do we do this? Our lasts are developed using the English stitch metric system, i.e. 1 stitch = 2.54cm (which corresponds to 1/3 of an inch). This compares to the French stitch, also known as the Paris stitch, where 1 stitch = 6.66mm. We will see these systems in more detail in the section "Finding your shoe size by measuring your foot".



Find your shoe size according to our lasts


If you already have a reference from us, the choice will be easier. Generally speaking, for your dress shoes, it is advisable to go half size down for our wide lasts compared to our narrow lasts (see the above Figure). For our narrow lasts, use your usual size for dress shoes.

Among our narrow lasts, we can count the Alexandre, the Gédéon, the Gatsby, the Miro, the Tobar, the Prosper, the Rennan Boots, the Ivy... Concerning our wide lasts, we can count the Classic Moc, the Rennan, the Moissac, the Basile, the Anselme II, the Eugène, the Trima, the Anduze, the Smith, the Megeve, the Soho, the Vadillo, the Nicodème...


Let's illustrate!



Focus: use your sneaker size as a basis for comparison

As mentioned above, we are talking about matching dress shoes. However, if you take your sneakers rather than your dress shoes as a basis for comparison, the calculation is different. Indeed, we regularly have customers who come to our shops thinking they are a European size 43 and who end up leaving with a 7UK (European size 41). Most of the time, this is because they calculate their sizes by referring to their sneaker purchases.

It is more difficult to estimate your dress shoe size on this basis. However, as a general rule of thumb, for our narrower lasts, go half a size down and for our wider lasts, a full size down.


Find your shoe size by comparing with other houses

If you have never been fitted with us but have a pair of one of the other brands listed below, you will be able to deduce your size at 7L. However, we would like to point out that these correspondences are approximations, as these brands themselves work with different lasts that do not all fit the same way.

Correspondence table for dress shoes - approximations*.

* We have taken as a basis for comparison a basic Oxford model from all these brands.


Find your shoe size by measuring your foot

In order to choose the right size, we advise you to measure your strongest foot (if you know it) according to the following instructions:

  1. Wear the type of socks you would normally wear with this type of shoe
  2. Place your strongest foot on a flat surface, with your heel against a wall
  3. Measure from the base of your heel to the tip of your longest toe (see Figure below)
  4. Refer to the correspondence table


Correspondence table


Why the English stitch point as a reference?

The invention of shoe sizes is attributed to shoemakers in the 18th century. Their aim was to harmonise sizes. Until then, each craftsman used his own system. To put an end to these differences, the master shoemakers instituted a unified size in points.

The English stitch is the custom among shoemakers in our milieu: most of our assembly techniques have their origins in Great Britain. It is therefore above all cultural. It also facilitates the manufacture of half-sizes. Indeed, there is a 0.846cm difference between two sizes, unlike the Paris stitch for which there is only 0.66cm (which makes production more complicated).


How do you know if you have the right shoes?

In order to know if you are well shod, several points should be checked.

The first point, surely the most obvious, is that you should not feel excessive pain. Indeed, it sometimes happens that clients put on shoes that are too small (although this is quite rare), telling themselves that this is normal at the beginning and that the shoe will fit over the course of ports. However, if you feel pain, particularly in the heel and/or toes, this is a sign that the size is too small. On the first fitting, it is normal to feel some pressure in these areas, but not pain. Of course, your toes should not touch the tip of the shoe, because a shoe will expand in the pressure areas, but it will never get longer.

Next, when you try on the shoe: get moving. Take a few steps and check that your heel doesn't pop out of your shoes when you walk. This would be a sign that your shoe size is too big. (n.b. You should not be able to slip your fingers between your heel and the back of the shoe, as you sometimes read).

Once you have checked these first two points, which are problems linked to the size alone, you need to make sure that the last is right for your foot. To do this, make sure that there is not too much empty space at the metatarsophalangeal joint: this would cause unsightly creases in the leather over time. On the other hand, make sure you are not compressed at this level. A slight tension should be felt at the level of the guarantors (foot strike) but you should not feel excessive pain. This would mean that the upper is too low/fine for your foot or that your instep is quite strong: if this is the case, try a higher/wider last or open lacing models, such as a Derby. 

Finally, make sure there is not too much empty space in the arch of the foot: this would indicate a last that is too wide for your foot.


Q&A
  • What should I do if my shoe size is slightly different from one foot to the other?

We advise you to take the size of your strong foot. You can place a thin sole inside the shoe of your weaker foot, but this is not advisable as it would create an offset in the hips.

  • What to do if your shoe size is too small?

If you feel excessive pain when walking, this may be a sign that your shoe size is too small. In this case, we offer a fitting service.

  • What to do if your shoe size is too big?

If the leather of your shoes is too unattractive in the creases (or "walking creases"), the size is probably too big. You can place thin insoles inside your shoes to raise your foot and fill the gap.

  • What should I do if I have a strong "kick"?

If you have a strong "kick": you should feel pain in the toe box at the top of the vamp. We therefore advise you to choose models with open lacing, like a Derby, or higher lasts.

  • What should I do if I have heel pain?

As explained in the article, it is quite normal to feel pressure on the heel and the toe box: the leather will soften with wear. However, if it is too painful, we can accelerate the softening process in our shop. Do not hesitate to contact us!

  • What should I do if I wear orthopaedic inserts?

Many of our customers have this problem. The thickness of the insoles varies. Some can be quite thick and therefore force our clients to wear oversized shoes to compensate. First of all, it is possible to ask your podiatrist for thinner insoles for your dress shoes. Secondly, you can remove the leather heel pad on the inside of the shoe to gain a few millimetres (3-5mm). 

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