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Shoes -- Wonderful but Difficult and how to walk in them
by Tina Marie Holmboe

Who said that life was meant to be easy ? Certainly not anyone trying to buy a pair of shoes.

There are 3 different ways of sizing a shoe. If one looks closely, there are probably even MORE ways, but these are the only ones I've run across so far...

"These are the only ones of which the news has come to hahvard and there may be many others but they haven't been discahverd. "

What this little text is trying to do, is give some information on how to "translate " sizes, how to figure out YOUR size and generally give some hints and tips.

The Translations
How to measure Length: Sitting on a chair, wearing your usual hosiery or socks, place your foot on a plain piece of cardboard.

Have someone hold a different piece of cardboard vertically at the heel, then draw a line where the two cardboard pieces meet. Then hold the cardboard at the end of the longest toe. Draw a line here as well. Now remove your foot and measure the distance in centimeters between the two lines.

mm. Europe USA England France
=== ====== === ======= ======

117.0 20 - - -
123.1 21 - - -
130.0 22 - - -
136.5 23 - - -
143.1 24 - - -
150.0 25 - - -
156.9 26 - - -
163.1 27 - - -
170.0 28 - - -
176.8 29 - - -
183.0 30 1 - -
188.0 - 1.5 - -
190.5 31 - - -
192.4 - 2 - -
196.8 - 2.5 - -
197.1 32 - - -
201.2 - 3 - -
204.0 33 - - -
205.6 - 3.5 - -
208.3 - - - -
210.0 - 4 - -
211.0 34 - - -
214.4 - 4.5 - -
217.0 35 - - -
218.8 - 5 - -
220.0 - - - -
221.5 - - - -
223.2 - 5.5 - -
224.0 36 - 4.5 3
227.6 - 6 - -
228.1 - - - -
231.0 37 - 5 4
232.0 - 6.5 - -
234.7 - - - -
236.0 - 7 - -
237.2 38 - 6 5
238.0 - - - -
240.8 - 7.5 - -
241.0 - - - -
244.5 39 - 7 6
245.0 - 8 - -
247.9 - - - -
248.0 - - - -
249.6 - 8.5 - -
251.0 40 - 7.5 7
254.0 - 9 - -
257.2 41 - 8 8 [beyond this point, ]
258.0 - 9.5 - - [the UK and French sizing ]
259.0 - - - - [is uncertain per date ]
261.1 - - - -
262.7 - 10 - -
263.0 - - - -
264.0 42 - - -
266.0 - 10.5 6.5 39.5
267.7 - - - -
269.0 - - 7 40
271.1 43 11 - -
274.0 - - 7.5 40.5
275.8 - 11.5 - -
277.6 - - - -
278.0 44 - - -
279.0 - - 8 41
280.2 - 12 - -
282.0 - - 8.5 41.5
284.0 45 - - -
284.6 - 12.5 - -
287.5 - - - -
288.0 - - 9 42
289.0 - 13 - -
290.8 - - - -
291.0 46 - - -
292.0 - - 9.5 42.5
293.4 - 13.5 - -
294.1 - - - -
295.0 - - 10 43
297.8 - 14 - -
298.0 47 - - -
301.0 - - 10.5 43.5
306.0 - - 11 44
310.0 - - 11.5 44.5
314.0 - - 12 45
321.0 - - 12.5 45.5

Please remember that these are approximations only. There is no real 1-1 relationship between the sizing, and the best method is, like always, to try shoes on! There are however, some mail-order stores that will determine your size for you if you send a tracing, I have been told, of the LEFT foot with your order/inquiry.

I have used this table myself, though, converting from my Norwegian size to its US equivalent, and that went smoothly. Remember also that 1 inch = 2.54 cm.

Now for something a bit more difficult:

Germany

Width  Code
=====  ====
Normal  F
Medium  G
Wide    H
             

USA

Width     Code (sports) (dress)
=====     =========     =======
Normal    N             AA
Medium    M             B 
Wide      W             C

Conversion from male to female sizes

Male size   Female size
=======     =========
Narrow      Medium
Medium      Wide

Add :
Your size + 1/2 --> + 1 (Any feminine style shoe with an open toe)
Your size + 1 --> + 1 1/2 (Any feminine style shoe with a closed toe)

Whether or not this conversion is a must, I do not know. I buy my shoes in the same size as I once bought the 'boyself' ones, and have no problems. Do remember that there is a HUGE difference between BRANDS. I have pumps that are too big, sandals that are just right and ballerinas that are too small -- all in the same size.

On High Heels -- and How to Walk in Them
by Tina Marie Holmboe

High-heeled shoes can roughly be separated into three categories:

  • Everyday wear ones, with heels from 1-3 inches.
  • Shoes for more special occasions, with heels from 4-5 inches.
  • Fetish type shoes, with heels between 6 and 9 (!) inches.

Some people will, of course, use 5 inch heels in the office, and 1 inch for a party, and so forth. This is not meant to be a strict division, merely an indication on how most manufacturers view heels. In the general public,the shoes that get above 3-4 inches are very often viewed as "cheap", something worn by showgirls and those in the world's oldest profession. For those of us who enjoy heels, this, n'est ce pas?, seems a bit silly.

Enough rambling, how then to walk in heels that are above the average height?

First, as in so many areas, you get the shoes you pay for. A pair of REALLY cheap shoes might become the most expensive ones you've ever bought. Even flats can, if bad quality, damage your foot. So, when buying shoes with heels that are a) high, and b) thin, make sure the heel is reinforced. This is usually done with a steel tube inside it. This gives a better chance of not losing it while walking/dancing/etc., and subsequently a better chance of not breaking your ankle.

Secondly, if this is your first pair of HIGH heels, buy a pair that has an ankle-strap. These shoes have a better support, and by all means, STAY AWAY from the Hollywood Style Mules when learning to walk in 5 inch heels! Mules can look good, but they offer no support for the foot. Leave these to a rainy day -- when you have laid down some miles in heels with support. Sandals with no heel-cap have some of the same problem, but here the straps tend to overcome some of it. The best advice for a novice is to start gradually, pumps with ankle straps, regular pumps, sandals, THEN mules.

Walking
When I first put this info-text together, I used information given to me by the owner of Fantasyland, Canada. I soon found, however, that even in my 4 1/2" heels it was quite impossible to follow her advice. When I asked my mom (who, in her marriage photo, wears higher heels than I've EVER worn), she told me that it was, simply put, gibberish. My apologies for this, and to anyone that says differently. Taking into account the rather longtime my mom has used heels, and NEVER broken her ankle... I trust her.

Now, for the heels between 1 and 4 inches, it is simply a matter of balance. As always, you put your heel down first, and what you must learn is to stay on the .3 inch wide tip of a heel whilst setting the REST of your foot down.

When you get to the 4 1/2 inch heels, something strange happens. A (GG) friend of mine and I have discussed it sometimes, and watched each other,and for some reason it is VERY hard to walk on these. Putting the heels down first, we seems to get a twist in the ankle, making the steps looks very strange. (It is HARD to explain!) Once the heel-height reaches 5 inches, this is gone again. (Explanations are encouraged!)

When heels reach 5 inch and above, the trick is to set the foot down first.

As for heels above 7 inches, I wont even make a guess on how to walk in them, but IF I should, I would say: you don't. We are here, for instance, talking about the Ballet Style Boots, with heels up to 9 inches, and I would guess that crawling is the idea here. I'll let you know when I get a pair...

For further info., take a look at the Alt.Sex.Fetish.Fashion FAQ, in which there are several small texts on high heels.

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