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While buying shoes that fit right is always on our minds, choosing the right sock size is an often neglected issue. However, contrary to popular belief, socks are not a one size fits all type of deal. 

In the lines below, we have compiled a detailed guide that will help you make a purchase that suits your needs best - whatever those might be at the moment. So, if you want to find out why knowing your sock size is important, as well as how to determine it depending on several factors, then keep on reading. 


Why Is It Important to Know the Right Sock Size for You?

 Know the Right Sock Size

The answer here is fairly simple - wearing the wrong size socks impacts both your comfort, as well as the lifespan of the pair. On one hand, socks that are too small can cause a myriad of issues, such as:

  • an uncomfortable tightness
  • chaffing of the feet
  • fabric stretching
  • material damage
  • and eventual wear and tear of the sock 

On the other hand, socks that are too large also come with their own set of problems, namely:

  • bunched up fabric while you step
  • blistering of the feet
  • an overall unpleasant sensation 

Therefore, knowing your sock size is essential to both your personal comfort and your investment in new clothing. Not only will you feel better overall when wearing the right pair, but you will also spend a lot less money on replacing your socks every year. 

How to Determine Your Sock Size 

How to Determine Your Sock Size


The easiest way to determine your sock size is through your shoe size. There are two major aspects you should keep in mind from this point of view: 

  • Sock sizes for women are usually listed as Size 9-11 and correspond to a women's U.S. shoe size of 5-10.
  • Sock sizes for men are usually listed as Size 10-13 and correspond to a men's U.S. shoe size of about 8-13.

There are four factors that influence how your shoe size is determined:

  • length
  • width
  • type
  • region

Length

sock Length

Shoe size measurements are usually based on your foot’s length in inches, and so are sock sizes. However, the ways in which they are determined differ from country to country, which is why you need to pay attention to the respective size charts in your region when choosing what goes under your footwear. 

Therefore, you don’t have to look for the sock size that is identical to your shoe size. Rather than making this common mistake, you need to measure your feet first. This is easy to achieve with a common ruler, or a measuring tape, a pencil, and a piece of paper larger than your foot. 

First, place the piece of paper on the ground and step with your foot firmly on it. Be careful not to crumple it. You should find as flat a floor surface as possible to do this. If your foot is larger than a regular sheet, you can tape two pieces together on the opposite side from where you are stepping on to create your ideal canvas.

Next, start tracing the outline of your foot while holding the pencil at a 90-degree angle. Ask a friend or family member for help, or do this yourself if you can maintain accuracy. This will ensure that your shoe and sock size measurement is as accurate as it can be. 

Using a measuring tape or ruler, finally proceed to measure the outline from the central part of the hindfoot at the heel to the end of the forefoot at your longest toe. To obtain a rigorous result, you can retrace this sizing a few times and see if the numbers are consistent. 


Width

sock Width


Width is also an important factor to keep in mind when equating shoe size to the sock size chart. In the United States, the measuring system for this is based on letters A through EE, with A standing for narrow and EE for extra wide. 

For women, B is considered the regular foot width, while its counterpart for men is D. The letter C represents something in between those, and it might indicate either a wider women’s size or a narrower men’s one. A single E means the foot is wider than regular, but not by a lot.

The United Kingdom on the other hand adopts a measurement system that equates foot width with letters C through H. The concept behind it is pretty much the same as its North American counterpart.

Some brands are more descriptive with their lettering, choosing N for narrow, R for regular, and W for wide. The important thing when shopping for socks is to align your sock size chart with your foot width. 

What you need to remember in this particular situation is that everyone is built differently. On one hand, some people have a wider forefoot than their general foot size would imply. On the other hand, others have a wider calf than their foot size would lead you to expect. 

Therefore, when choosing your sock size, you need to consider your anatomical particularities as well. You can also measure your foot’s width when determining its length using the same measuring tape. Wrap it around the widest part of the foot at the bunion joint.

Width is not quantified as a simple straight line across the ball of the foot. The total volume of the foot is what matters, which is why you need to wrap the measuring tape around. Don’t use a ruler for this. A low volume foot is a size narrow, a normal volume is a size regular, and a high volume is a wide or extra wide. 


Type

sock Type

Another factor to consider when discussing shoe size vs sock size is the variation in measurements according to age and gender. With this in mind, there are three main categories to look at initially:

  • men’s shoes
  • women’s shoes
  • children’s shoes 

Moreover, the build of various shoes and automatically their sizes too vary depending on their purpose. Thus, classifications of shoe size by type includes, but is not limited to:

  • sneakers
  • loafers
  • boots 
  • dress shoes
  • high heels

For example, a running shoe won’t have the same type of last as a high heel would. This means that the fit will be different and you might even have to wear another kind of sock underneath. 

Light sneakers pair best with synthetic fibers or cotton blends, while wool is best suited for boots that are worn in cold and humid environments. If you have to wear something more elegant, an ankle-length sock might be the best choice. It all depends on what your needs are. 

Region

sock size by region

Shoe sizes and their sock size counterparts vary depending on the geographic region. You might have noticed when browsing shoe websites that charts are different depending where the store is located. This is because various corners of the world use various systems, as follows:

  • The United Kingdom and North America rely on the old English measurement of the barleycorn, which equates to 1⁄3 inch or 8.47mm.
  • The rest of Continental Europe uses the Paris point system, which consists of 2⁄3 centimetre, 6.67 mm or 0.26 in increments and whole shoe sizes go up one Paris point at a time. 
  • Eastern Europe uses the international Mondopoint metric system that is quantified in millimeters based on 5mm and 7.5mm increments.

With this in mind, we’ve put together the table below that will help you compare sock sizes and shoe sizes according to standards from every region.

Sock Size

US Women’s Shoe Size

US Men’s Shoe Size

UK Shoe Size

European Shoe Size

9-11

5-10

3-8

4-7.5

36-41

10-13

10.5-13

7-12

8-12.5

42-46

14+

14+

12.5+

13+

47-51

However, many brands nowadays are resorting to a newer and simpler sock size chart that is a lot easier to read, separating measurements into small, medium, large, and extra large. Just as the numerical system, this one encompasses multiple shoe sizes under one category. 

Each size is denominated by a letter or a combination of letters. Thus, small equates to S, medium to M, large to L, and extra large to XL. The correspondence to shoe size in each relevant geographical space would look as follows.

Sock Size

US Women’s Shoe Size

US Men’s Shoe Size

UK Shoe Size

European Shoe Size

S

4-6.5

5-6

2-4.5

34-37

M

7-9

7-8.5

5-7.5

38-41

L

10-12

9-12

8-11

42-46

XL

13+

13+

11.5-14.5

47-51


The latter measuring system is the one we also use in the Nordic Socks Shop. Our products come in two sizes, namely:

  • Medium, which corresponds to a men's UK size 4-8 and a women’s UK size  Women's UK size 2-7
  • Large, which corresponds to a men's UK size 9-11 and a women's UK size 8-11

What Size Socks Do I Need? 

What Size Socks Do I Need?


Considering all the particularities that come into equating your shoe size with your sock size, you might be left wondering at this point - what size socks do you need? To determine what the best choice for you is, you need to keep a few factors in mind.

What type of shoes do you plan to wear them with? As we mentioned before, shoes serve different purposes. The socks you wear with them should align with them.

Where will you be wearing them? Sock sizes might differ depending on where you’re going. Indoor socks look nothing like their outdoor counterparts. Going to work is far less demanding on your clothes than hiking in the mountains is.

What will the weather be like? Wool socks are better suited for rainy days, while cotton is the ideal fabric for leisurely activities. Depending on the thickness and functionalities of the fabric, you might have to size up. 

What will you be doing? Hiking socks are different from running socks, walking socks aren’t the same as dress socks, and so on. Before considering the sock size you need, you should first of all think about your plans for the occasion. 

After answering these three essential questions, it’s time to measure your foot and determine your accurate shoe size. The correspondence for women goes as follows. 


Foot Length in Inches

UK Women’s Shoe Size

8.75

4

9

4.5

9.25 

5

9.375

5.5

9.5

6

9.75

6.5

9.875

7

10

7.5

10.2

8

10.35

8.5

10.5

9


When it comes to men’s shoe sizes, the story is a bit different. The table below will clarify what you need to know. 

Foot Length in Inches

Uk Men’s Shoe Size

9.6

6

9.75

6.5

9.9

7

10.125

7.5

10.25

8

10.4

8.5

10.6

9

10.75

9.5

10.9

10

11.125

10.5

11.25

11

11.6

12


After pinning down your true shoe size, you can consult our sock size chart and find out what will fit you best. 

Extra Large Socks for Men and Women

Extra Large Socks for Men and Women


Are your feet larger than a size 13? Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, that means you will need extra large socks. However, depending on your gender and preferences, you will need to take some aspects into consideration.

First of all, if you are a man with feet that are size 13 and up, don’t worry. Extra large socks are designed to fit sizes as big as 16. Nonetheless, you should check the label of the product before buying it to make sure it is actually designed for your specifications.

If you are a woman shopping for extra large socks, we recommend taking a look at the men’s section too for sizes that go above a 10. You might find that the fit of those is better for you, unless your feet are just long, not wide as well. 

Whatever your situation might be, keep in mind that shopping for extra large socks doesn’t have to mean settling for boring white pairs. Nowadays, you can find fun colors and bold patterns regardless of what size you wear.

Kids Sock Size Guide
kids socks guide

Are you looking to buy socks for your kids? Sock sizes for children are wildly different from sock sizes for women or for men. This is because the correlation between measurement and numerical value is made through age rather than any other unit. 

There are three main categories of sock sizes for children, which we’ve listed below with a brief explanation for your convenience.

  • Infants, which are usually listed in months because babies grow very fast. However, please keep in mind that The Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists in Great Britain advises putting shoes on your kid at that age because it can stunt foot development. Letting them go barefoot helps strengthen their muscles. Still, soft socks should be fine, so you can use the shoe size as just a reference point when buying those.
  • Boys/Girls, which get their own separate categories but are determined after similar criteria. Once your child is no longer an infant and enters the toddler stage, shoe sizes start at 10.5 and go up to 13.5. Then, they reset back to 1, which can be a bit confusing. Keep this in mind when equating their shoe size to their sock size, as the two are correlated. 
  • Youth, which are unisex in United Kingdom and can cover ages as old as 12. Your child will transition into them after they outgrow the boys/girls sizes. Once again, this is important to know when correlating your child’s shoe size with the sock size they need. This is true at any age, after all. 

The table below illustrates the approximate relationship between your child’s age, their shoe size, and the corresponding sock size.

Age

UK Shoe Size

UK Sock Size

New Born

0-0.5

0-4

3-12 Months

1-3

4-5.5

1-2 Years

2-6

5-6.5

2-4 Years

2-10

6-7.5(XS)

3-7 Years

11-4

8-13(S)

5-10 Years

11-4Y

8-9.5(M)

10-16 Years

5Y-6Y

9-11(L)

Adult

6Y->

10-12(XL)


Final Thoughts
sock size guide

Determining your sock size seems like a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be like that. As long as you accurately measure your foot and correlate your shoe size with the results, you will be able to shop for socks that fit you well and serve their purpose.


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