If the Shoe Fits - Shoe Sizing with Lake

If the Shoe Fits - Shoe Sizing with Lake

Written by Robert & Hutch

Don’t deny it, we’ve all had those awful experiences where we’ve bought a pair of shoes, then started using them, only to suffer pain, cuts to the heal of our foot, blisters or compressed toes. It’s not pleasant, I know; which is why here at Lake we like to measure your feet properly before we suggest the right shoe for you. In terms of the science of shoe sizing though, there's quite a lot going on, and so maybe it’s about time that somebody explained it all to you - here go then.

The Online Cinderella Shoe Purchase

Historically, as shoe sales, particularly sports shoe sales grew bigger and more competitive, the way in which shoes had been sized globally began to change. People in stores back in the day, before the birth of the internet, well, they knew how shoes fitted, and generally you walked into a store and got measured. However, come the internet, and the growth in online shopping, cyclists, like other groups simply believed that they’d have their own ‘Cinderella’ moment, when they place on that super shoe bargain purchased online… when in reality, it’s usually a painful reminder of why online shopping for shoes isn’t ideal.

Even as a global cycling shoe brand, our most common problem is shoe sizing to the end user. There are simply so many variables to it. After all, you’re unique in so many ways, and one of those ways is your hard-working feet. The ‘true to size’ methodology used to be based on what’s known as the ‘Brannock Device’. However, many shops and stores don’t often use this device, which was based around US foot sizing (Shoe makers mark their shoes based on shoe ‘Last’ sizing). In turn, US sizing used to calculate shoe sizes using inches, with a unique conversion equation (measured inches x 3 - 22 = US Men’s size), whereas in turn the U.K., also measured in inches uses a similar equation (measured inches x 3 - 23 = UK Men’s size). However, the difference is US starts with 1 and UK starts with 0. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world shoes were being measured by the metric system making things even more complicated for the global shoe market. So, you see, we can’t even agree where to start - which is not a good start, pardon the pun ;)

Propriety Sizing & Its Issues

Over time, as the shoe industry grew and eventually online became ‘the thing’, brands wanted to show themselves to have a superior shoe, and the ‘propriety’ system evolved. What happened was that well known global sports brands, who shall of course remain nameless… well, they fudged their own sizing and basically the length of the foot against the shoe size, so that when you wore their shoe it seemed to fit perfectly; however, when you tried that same size in their competitor's shoe - well, it simply didn’t feel right, and you went straight back to the first brand. Now, that’s not really very consumer friendly, which is why here at Lake we love to measure your feet ourselves. We’ll tell you what that measurement is, and not only that, we’ll also tell you which shoes from the 332 different sizes that we make, fit your own feet the best. Let’s get back to the science, shall we, and why we love your feet.

How Sizing Works & Why it’s Important

Thankfully, the metric system eventually gained favour, and meant that there was the beginning of some commonality within sizing. However, there were still some differences. Size grading between shoe sizes went in thirds (1/3), so in the US/U.K. a third of an inch, and in the EU a third of centimeter which made conversion between the various measuring systems even more complicated.

Clearly, having such sizing issues globally still wasn’t ideal, and the ‘Mondo Point’ came out. This basically said that size grading would be 1cm for each whole size increment. So, the difference between a size 40 (EU) and a size 41(EU) would be 1cm - simple (half sizes 40(EU) to 40.5(EU) = 0.5cm) - voila!

Now we’re really getting somewhere folks. And ultimately, this is why it’s really important for shoe brands to publish their metric measurement data for the consumer. In effect, you need to know that if size 44 (EU) is equal to 28cm, then a size 45 is equal to 28.6cm using 1/3cm or 28.5cm using 1/2cm. This will help you understand the differences of the grading methods and enlighten you to why brand X in a size 45 fits differently than brand Y in size 45. More importantly, and this is ultimately what we want you to understand - measure your feet, or better still, ask us to do it. We love your feet! 😉

The Lake Philosophy

At Lake we use 1/3cm as our size grading method, as we believe it allows us to offer a greater degree of fine tuning the fit. It also means that the increments between different sizes is smaller, allowing for a fit that is more precise to you. It’s all becoming clearer now, isn’t it - why we like to measure your feet before selling you the most comfortable cycling shoes in the world 😉. Then, add to this length measurement, the variables from width and volume and you see how much data needs to be considered if we’re going to wrap your cycling feet in love, and maximise your comfort and performance. After all, if you’re in harmony with life and our cycling, then your body needs to be in harmony with the bike - and that starts with your feet.

Before we move on though, here’s the rub… pardon the pun (our shoes don’t rub😉) too often, other shoe brands ignore the width and volume issue and simply produce a shoe for the average cyclist's feet, whereas here at Lake, we know that you’re anything but average and that you deserve our attention and expertise. In fact, some cycling shoe brands deliberately still size differently, so that you’ll think that they’re the only shoes for you, when in reality, you just need to get measured - hopefully by one of our Lake Cycling fitting partners, like Mark at Paceline Cycles in the U.K. (read about him here).

Size Variants & the Fitting Stick

Remember earlier, when we told you that we design and make 332 different shoe sizes. Well, of course that’s not simply in relation to length, or there’d be some cyclists riding around with feet longer than their bikes, and hey - they’d need awfully large pedals and look like a circus clown! No, it’s all about those width and volume variables as well as length, so that when you get your feet wrapped in a Lake cycling shoe, it feels like a second skin. For example, taking our CX 302 Road Cycling shoe, against the CX 238 Road Cycling shoe, a size 44 in each of these models will vary in width and volume. One shoe is designed for a more performance oriented cycling experience.

This is where our shoe fitting experts at your locally based Lake Cycling retail partner will use the Lake ‘fitting stick’, to measure the length of your feet, the width and the volume; and ultimately, for us here at Lake, the width is most important, because we don’t want you to feel any lateral pain as your feet are working hard on the cranks. Take a look for instance at our new CX/MX 242 Road Cycling and Off-Road shoe, which is designed with a sectional upper, that pulls the shoe around the sides of your foot in stages, making it ideal for those cyclists with issues such as bunions or injury etc.

Check out the models

Summary

Shoe sizing has clearly evolved, as the internet and as sport and the consumer has also evolved. Yes, we’re afraid to say that some brands are still doing things differently, and their reasons may vary. It’s their choice, but it’s not ours. One thing that you can rely on and trust is that here at Lake Cycling, comfort is our DNA, and that we want to help you to ride with comfort and performance in perfect harmony. We want the shoes that we sell you to last a long time and to wrap you in foot love, bringing huge smiles to those long cycling miles.

Why not take a look at where our specialist Lake Cycling fitting centres are based, and take your feet on a journey. Ultimately, you can be Cinderella and that shoe will slip on nicely - just make sure that you know sizing works first!


1 comment


  • Albert Ford

    That’s great! Where? I mean I read article and I am like yeah where can I get measured? Where in Orlando area?


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