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Vintage Shoe Buying By The Numbers: Finding The Proper Shoe Size

By , 6 November, 2008, No Comment
Vintage Carved Lucite High Heels With Rhinestones

Vintage Carved Lucite High Heels With Rhinestones

There are few things which can make a girl’s heart sing more than a pair of sexy vintage shoes.

Not only do vintage shoes complete your vintage outfit and offer unique styles and amazing details not seen today, but they are of incredible quality.

Most shoes made prior to the mid-1950s were handmade (hand-lasted & hand-stitched), something you are unlikely to find unless you are purchasing modern shoes at several hundred dollars (or more!) per pair. In other words, buying vintage shoes are a great value for the money, making vintage glamour girls incredibly smart & economical as well as stunningly fashionable.

1940s Peep Toe Shoes

1940s Peep Toe Shoes

But there are also few things which can make a girl’s heart sink more than a pair of sexy vintage shoes which don’t fit.

Finding the perfect shoes to compliment your outfit (vintage or otherwise) is made much more difficult by the matter of size.  Most of us who buy vintage fashions are aware that the label’s stated size is rather irrelevant compared to today’s sizing, but with shoes it seems even more difficult. The best way to avoid trouble is to know the size — in inches — of your own feet.

How To Measure Your Foot

How To Measure Your Foot

Start by measuring your foot the good-old-fashioned way with paper and pencil.

  1. Stand with the foot wearing the proper hose (socks, stockings etc.) for the style of shoe you are interested in purchasing firmly placed on a piece of paper. With your pencil snug against your foot and at a 90 degree angle to the floor, trace the outline of your foot.
  2. Draw a horizontal lines at the heel and toes, vertical lines at the widest points at the ball of the foot, as shown here.
  3. Measure the height, the distance between the line at the base of the heel and the line at the toe tips. Measure the distance between the vertical lines to calculate the width of your foot.

If you know you have problems with proper shoe fit (narrow heels, for example) measure those areas too. If one foot is slightly bigger than the other, repeat the process on the other foot.

Next, compare your foot measurements to those of a pair of comfortably fitting shoes in a similar style (high heel to high heel, etc.), silhouette (pointed toe to pointed toe, rounded toe to rounded toe etc.), and of the same heel height.

Brown Suede 1940s Platform Shoes

Brown Suede 1940s Platform Shoes

You can use a measuring tape; or you can cut out your foot tracing and place it inside the shoe. If the shoe is larger, use the shoe measurements as the primary guide. If the shoe is smaller or much-much larger, something likely went wrong with your tracing &/or measurement taking.

Many vintage shoe purchasers will insist you only use measurements from your shoes, but if you are new to buying vintage shoes &/or do not have shoes in similar silhouettes, having your own measurements is a safer starting place.

Compare your measurements with those of the shoes; if the seller does not offer measurements, ask them to. If a seller is unsure of just how to do that, be a little wary — but don’t discount the seller with a bargain who is unsure of what to do. Just ask the seller to use a tape measure and measure the inside of the shoes across the ball of the foot, and from toe to heel.

Now that you know your proper foot measurements, shopping for shoes will be much easier — as long as you don’t ignore those numbers, ladies!

Next week: More tips on what to look for (and avoid) when buying vintage shoes.

Stunning 1920s Red Silk Shoes

Stunning 1920s Red Silk Shoes

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