The Shoe Snob Blog

January 22, 2013

Written by , Posted in News

Ordering Shoes Online – With Assistance

Aubercy

So as most of you may know, I have just recently put up a post with regards to pre-ordering my collection before they are currently available, as a way to give you all first stabs at my first range of footwear. It has been exciting and I appreciate all of you that have pre-ordered a pair or two. One of the challenging aspects of it, however, is relaying the sizing of the shoes to all of you to ensure that what you get is going to fit. One reader asked me (prior to launching) to provide the dimensions of the bottom of the last, which would theoretically give you the measurements for the insole (where your foot rests). But having provided this and a guide to having one measure their own feet, I am starting to realize that these numbers don’t really add up to give you the size that you might already be wearing. Obviously the insole should be longer than your foot, as one’s toes shouldn’t touch the ends of the shoe, and looking at my feet now (as I am writing), I see that when I am standing, my foot actually splays outside of the insole lines. This made me realize that the measurements should really be used as a guide to understanding approximations but not to give actual defined sizing.

Lovely longwing by Edward Green….Courtesy of Leather Soul

While working in the shoe retail industry (some years back), I measured a lot of people’s feet. While many of these people were American, I did also find myself helping people from many other countries as well. What I noticed is that many people wear their shoes differently and think that their shoe size should be based on not necessarily what their measurements are, but rather what they perceive as comfortable. This is where the idea of selling online, to people around the world, gets real tricky. I noticed that Americans (as a generality – not all of you of course) like to wear their shoes quite loose. One in particular whom had quite a dainty, small foot would always get about a size and a half too big and say that it was perfect. Who was I to argue? After all, comfort is based on perception, not on factual attributes…. On the other hand, I would frequently measure Europeans and they would always want something way smaller than their foot measurement. One memory in particular was of a young Northern European guy who measured at a US11 (EU44, UK10) and ended up cramming his foot into a US9 (UK8, EU42), telling me that it was perfect. It looked as if he foot was about to burst out of the seams. But hey, he was happy, so therefore I was too! But it made me realize just how different we are country to country and how we perceive shoes to fit properly.

Koji Suzuki

Therefore, I have realized that you cannot really give measurements of an insole, last, shoe bottom etc. to dictate ones size. Shoes, while complicated, are still simple. Shoes either run standard, big or small. Factories have ‘standards of sizing’ and gradients to the last making machines. If you tell them, make this last in a 8E, then they will do it to the standard of the sizing system. That 8E might not be exactly the same as C&J’s 8E, but it should not be that far off either. Therefore, if you are buying shoes online but are not sure of the size look at the sizing of your other shoes, notice any patterns and express that to whomever may be assisting. When getting shoes from Ed Et Al and Berwick, they told me that their shoes run about 1/2 size big, and when I got them, they were right (even though the Berwicks were still slightly big, but that’s only because my foot is so shallow). When Pepe of Meermin told me that the New Ray last ran narrow, I knew that it would be perfect for me in a normal size and it was. That being, my TMG and JKF lasts, when compared to other British makers, run fairly standard (clearly not the exact same, but similar). But do remember, when you buy shoes that are made in other countries, bare in mind how the people there perceive the way it should fit….Stick to what feels good on you. If you generally wear a US10, don’t go buying a US8 based on someone else’s recommendation……If a shoe’s fit runs bigger or smaller than a full size, then something is wrong….

Pictures are unrelated to post

Oh, I forgot to mention, due to the popularity of the Wallingford in Antique brown, I have decided not to hold any pairs for Gieves & Hawkes which means that there is now an 8, 8.5 and 9.5 as well as 11 left in that model. So if you had your eye on that and missed it the first time around, then here you are for the second go around….

  • Lano

    Dear Justin,

    I’m happy to see your collection of shoes has arrived. I’m sure your business will do well, just keep on working hard. Will you restock more sizes shortly? I’ll gladly buy a pair of shoes from your first line the next time I go to London, to make sure your shoes touch Swedish ground as well as English 🙂

    Please consider building a website (I’m sure you already have).

    //Anders

  • Jan

    The pair of Mr. Suzuki looks fantastic 🙂

  • Anonymous

    extremly helpful advice. you’re a truly professional.

    good luck with your launch.

    f.

  • Anders – Thanks for your kind words my friend. With all of my pre-ordering, I planned to reinvest the money into replenishment stock, so yes, I will be getting more…unless you were referring to sizes that don’t exist, like 6 or 13? Will look forward to meeting you when you do make it down. In the meanwhile, i will be selling from Gieves & Hawkes’ website…

    Jan – they always do!!

    F. – Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate that!

    -Justin