How to Convert Shoe Sizes From Mexico to USA: (and Vice Versa)

Interior of shoe store with shoes, sandals, and boots arranged on shelves.

One of the best parts of traveling is shopping for unique products specific to your destination. They can serve as a reminder of the trip for years to come. The trick is learning what’s necessary to buy the right thing to avoid purchasing items that simply don’t fit.

In Mexico, shoe sizes are different than they are in the United States–and the differences go beyond a straight size-to-size conversion. Anybody traveling in Mexico should know what Mexico shoe sizes are and how to convert them to US sizes. That way, it’s easy to avoid buying the wrong size shoe.

What Are Mexico Shoe Sizes?

In Mexico, shoe sizes can be confusing for people who come from the United States. In the US, there is a numbering system for shoe sizes that has nothing to do with a measurement of a person’s foot. According to Healthline, the average woman wears between a size 8.5 and a size 9, while the average man wears a size 10.5. A person’s height usually correlates to their shoe size, with taller people having larger feet.

Shoe sizes in Mexico are based on the length of the foot measured in centimeters but the sizes are sometimes shortened and that can make purchasing shoes confusing. For example, a size 24.5 may sometimes be shortened to 4.5. Any shopper who doesn’t understand these sizes could easily buy the wrong size, particularly if they bought a shoe online without trying it on.

In theory, the easiest way to determine the right shoe size would be to measure one’s foot in inches and convert that measurement to centimeters. Then, all that would be left would be to match the centimeters to the proper shoe size. It’s best to try on any shoe before buying it to be sure that it fits, but the centimeter conversion is useful for buying shoes online.

How to Convert Shoe Size: US to Mexico

There are several ways to convert shoe size from US sizes to Mexican sizes to ensure that any shoe you buy fits. The first option is to measure your foot in inches and use a converter to figure out your foot’s length in centimeters. There are conversion tricks to use as well. Here are some pointers.

  • If you’re shopping for men’s shoes, the trick is to take the US shoe size and add two to get to the Mexican shoe size. For example, if someone wore a US size 11, they would wear a size 13 in Mexican shoes. 
  • For women, the trick is to take the US size shoe worn and add three to get the Mexican size. So, a woman who wore a size 8 would wear a size 11 in a Mexican shoe.  
  • To convert a US child’s shoe size to a Mexican child’s shoe size, you’ll need to add seven. So a child who wore a US size 7 would wear a Mexican size 14.

You can reverse the conversion to go from Mexican shoe sizes to US sizes. Someone with a wider foot should order either a wide version of the Mexican size or size up to make sure that there’s enough room in the shoe. Anybody buying shoes online should measure their feet while standing up and, assuming that socks will be worn with the shoe, while wearing socks. Trace the outline of the foot on paper and then measure in inches or centimeters. Since one foot is always larger than the other, use the higher number to order shoes.

Large multi-colored shoe hanging outside a shoe store.

Fun Facts About Shoes in Mexico

One of the trickiest things about buying shoes in Mexico is that people in Mexico tend to be shorter than the average American and have smaller feet. For that reason, it may be difficult for people with large feet to find shoes that fit in Mexico. The easiest places to find larger sizes are in major metropolitan areas such as Mexico City and Guadalajara.

The shoe most often associated with Mexico is the huarache, a woven sandal that’s ideal for wearing in the intense summer heat. The history of the huarache is long and dates back to before the European settlement of Mexico, going all the way back to the Aztec empire. Huaraches were always made by weaving thin leather strips in a criss-cross pattern. Early versions had soles made of woven string or sometimes, of thin pieces of wood that were shaped to the foot. These later evolved into rubber soles and versions today may have rubber or leather soles. It’s important to note that a shoe is typically only considered a huarache if it is hand woven.

Of course, people in Mexico today wear shoes of every possible type and style. Anybody shopping for shoes in Mexico can find athletic shoes, fancy dress shoes, sandals, boots, and everything in between.

If the Mexican Shoe Fits, You Can Wear It!

Buying shoes in Mexico can be fun, particularly when it’s possible to find designs and styles that aren’t available in the US. The most important thing to remember is that the sizes are in centimeters and if you’re in doubt, ask someone to help you find the right size by saying, “¿Qué talla de zapato debo comprar?” That means, “What size shoe should I buy” in Spanish!

This entry was posted in Health, Lifestyle, Travel and tagged , , . By Aimee Parrott