Crimson Reflections

Because sometimes the world is too complex for black and white
The Lolita Collective

Getting the Right Chinese Shoe Size

A lot of people struggle when buying shoes from Chinese indie brands because they look at sizing conversion charts, and pick a size that way and it ends up being wrong.

The reason this happens is that American shoes are measured in Barley corns, which are 1/3rd inch units. Chinese (and Japanese) shoes are measured in CM. That means that Chinese shoe is almost always in between two American shoes sizes, and vice versa. That means if you are on the smaller or larger end of a size, it may match you up wrong. Many conversion charts also try to make it work out evenly, so they don’t repeat sizes, or they match up larger sizes to smaller ones so that the Chinese shoe size range covers the whole American one.

Chinese shoe sizing calculations take a tint bit of math, but, I believe in you. First, you are going to want to get the CM measurement of your foot. You will need a sheet of paper, a ruler with CM, a pencil and your foot.

  1. Lay a sheet of paper bigger than your foot flat on a hard floor.
  2. Take off your shoes so you are just in your socks (wear the type of socks you plan on wearing with the shoes).
  3. Place your foot on the paper.
  4. Stand straight and have someone trace around your foot. If you are alone, try to bend at the waist as you trace around your foot (bending the knee flexes your calf muscles and changes how your foot sits on the paper).
  5. Draw a rectangle around your foot like so:
  1. Measure the long-side of the rectangle in CM and write down the measurement.
  2. Repeat 1-6 for your other foot.
  3. Take the number for your larger foot. and round up to the nearest half CM. If it is exactly a cm size, or less than 0.1cm from a size, you may want to go up a size if you are nervous of your shoes being too small. The calculator below will round up if there is a decimal.
  4. Multiply that number by 2
  5. Subtract 10

This should be your Chinese shoe size. You can also plug the cm measurement in here for an automatic calculation, please use decimal notation (ex: you would enter 24.33 for 24 and 1/3 cm)


Based on our calculation of [not set], the best Chinese Shoe Size for you is [unknown]

That should be it, that should be your Chinese shoe size. If you need to calculate your Japanese Shoe Size as well, you can hop over to the other guide, and just skip all the foot tracing steps.

And, just in case you are thinking of cutting corners… do not measure the bottom of your foot with a tape measure or ruler directly, that doesn’t work. Also, do not skip drawing the box and just measure the length of the tracing, you will get the wrong size. Nor should you measure on an angle inside the box. Don’t try to measure the inside of a pair of shoes either, as that will give you the diagonal measurement from heel to toe most of the time, which is wrong. Nor should you trace the outside of a shoe, as it is bigger than the inside (common sense on this one, I realize, but people have claimed to have tried all these things before, so I figure it was worth noting).

3 comments on “Getting the Right Chinese Shoe Size

  1. Oh wow, the automated calculator is such a neat feature! It confirmed my size right too, so even though I never did this level of calculation (I mostly went by the size charts as given in cm and then stuck to the same brand and size after getting it right the first time), it’s good to know that I got it right anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *