As many of you will agree, there is no feeling quite like putting on a brand new pair of heels. However, shoe purchases are not all glamour and no work. Be honest – when buying new shoes, how many times have you had to ask, “Do these Louboutin / Manolo / Jimmy Choo / Chanel / Valentino / Prada / Aquazzura / etc. heels run small or large or true to size?”
For many of us, it can be tough to estimate the best size in a brand or style we have never tried, especially when trying on (or even returning) is not an option. But fear not, as I have found that most designer shoes follow a fairly predictable pattern of sizing depending on the designer and the style, which I will outline below. It took me a long time and a lot of mistakes to figure all of this out, so I genuinely hope that this post helps save anyone else that waste of time and money.
Also, please note that I am a true US 6.5 / EU 36.5 (TTS = true to size).
TO USE: combine designer + style to determine sizing recommendation.
Example: Christian Louboutin (TTS) + platform pumps (size down) = size down.
SIZING BY DESIGNER
- Aquazzura: TTS.
- Chanel: TTS or size up. Runs narrow and sometimes small (eg. ballerinas).
- Christian Louboutin: TTS. Note, Louboutin varies so much by style, especially in older styles. Usually, older = smaller, and modern styles are TTS. I have 35.5 to 37.5.
- Gucci: TTS.
- Fendi: TTS.
- Jimmy Choo: TTS or size up, especially in boots. Narrow toe box.
- Manolo Blahnik: TTS.
- Prada: TTS.
- Saint Laurent: TTS.
- Stuart Weitzman: TTS or size down. Runs wide. I always size down.
- Valentino: TTS.
SIZING BY STYLE
- Sandals: TTS or size down. Open shoes, especially when open-toed, leave room for the foot to breathe, and thankfully some room for error. I usually take 36.5, my true size, but can go smaller or even larger without a problem.
- Pumps: size down. This is the type of shoe that has to fit right and fit tight, especially when hosiery is worn. In my experience, leather pumps always stretch and become impossible to wear if my heel begins to slip. Thus, I take 35.5 to 36, a half to full size smaller than my true size (ie. the tightest size into which I can reasonably fit my foot).
- Athletic Shoes: size down. I usually take 36, a half size smaller than my true size.
- Flats: TTS. Flats vary most depending on brand. I find that 36.5, my true size, is usually a good bet.
- Boots: TTS or size up. Most people prefer a looser fit in boots in order to have some breathing space and to wear thick socks when needed. I agree that with boots, sizing up is always a safer bet than sizing down. I like to take 37, a half size up from my true size.
NOTE: Platform and heel height are important considerations when determining sizing. As a general rule, the higher the platform, the more comfortable the shoe and the bigger it will feel. Likewise, the taller the heel, the more likely that your heel will slip = the more likely that you should size down. My smallest 35.5 shoes are all sky-high platform pumps.
I truly hope that this was helpful. As always, feel free to contact me with questions!