It’s a well known and somewhat widely accepted fact that your shoe size can vary from brand to brand or style to style. For example size 17 shoes may be a size 17.5 or even 18 in a walking or safety boot. Throw European and US scales of measure into the mix and you can see why it’s easy to get in a bit of a mess!
How shoes sizes are measured is interesting and unsurprisingly varied. In the UK for example, the unit of measure is a barleycorn, notionally the length of a corn of barley, it’s actually 1/3 of an inch. However Europe uses Paris points which are ¼ of an inch. There are also metric measurements used by the US amongst others! So you can see why your size 17 shoes vary from country to country.
The reason that footwear sizes differ isn’t all about length. Width fittings are having an increasingly important role in our footwear. Although width fittings are more standardised than length, the varying combinations mean that it’s very difficult to make a completely unified scale of measure. The truth is that until every country/brand uses the same methods (pretty unlikely!) then your size 17 shoes will have to remain size 16.5, 17, 17.5 or 18. Here at Walktall we try to make the process as easy as we can by using size conversion charts on our website, if only everyone did!