# So I’m an American but I have no idea how the shoe sizes work. If anyone knows how American shoe sizes work would be happy for an explanation.

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So I’m an American but I have no idea how the shoe sizes work. If anyone knows how American shoe sizes work would be happy for an explanation.

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Each size is a number, bigger is a larger shoe. There are three scales: mens, womens, and kids (there is no boys vs. girls).

Kids: 1-13 (baby shoes), then 1Y-6Y (regular kids shoes)

Mens: 3.5-16ish (the kids 1Y-6Y are basically the same as a “mens” 1-6 but nobody calls them that).

Womens: 5-16ish

There is overlap between the bottom of the mens/womens range and the top of the kids range. There are conversion charts to move between all the different systems (Japan, Mexico, EU, US, UK, Australia, etc.).

Sizes generally go up in halves (so there’s 6, 6.5, etc.) until you get up to 12 or 13, then most manufacturers just do whole sizes.

Widths, if the manufacturer offers variable widths, are noted by letters. A is narrowest, E is widest (you can go up to more Es, like EEEE).

A men’s size 0 shoe will have a length of 8 inches on the inside. Then each size up adds 1/3 inch of length. So a size 5 is 8 + 5/3 = 9 2/3 inches long. This means that a size 12 shoe is 12 inches long, or one foot. Women’s sizes are similar, but size 0 starts at just 7 1/2 inches. So a women’s size 5 is 7 1/2 + 5/3 = 9 1/6 inches long.