Shoe Sizes: EU vs US vs UK, How To Know What Fits?

Hello Shoe Lady,
My shoe size in The Netherlands is 43. My search for really nice shoes has taken me far beyond the borders, to the US. I found different size conversion charts, resulting in conversion of my european shoe size to US size somewhere between 10.5 and 12.5. What is the right US shoe size for me?
Hope you can help me out!

Dear Elis,

I am so glad you found me!  I am continually MORTIFIED by the bad information given out to women “who leave a larger footprint” by people in the shoe industry who should know better!
The short answer:  US size 11.
Here’s a little more information:
Take a look at the international size chart here:
Some of the confusion might be that Great Britain uses a women’s shoe measuring system similar to that of the USA.  Except different.  A Euro size 43, US size 11 women’s shoe in Great Britain is a UK 9.
Another source of confusion is that one of the most common sizes in the US is size 8.  It is close to (actually a bit smaller than, but wider than a US medium so feels about the same) an EU size 8.  So shoe people, who should know better, assume if US 8 equals EU 38, then US 9 equals EU 39 and US 11 equals UK 41.  On the surface this sounds logical.  But it is so wrong.  Here’s the mathematical back story.  In 1374 the King of England decided to base shoe sizes on the length of a barleycorn. Each barleycorn represents a jump from one size to the next.  This was refined in 1880 in the USA when Edwin Simpson got all scientific with the inch (I know everyone on the metric system will laugh at this, as silly as barleycorns) and set the standard for US sizing,  In his system, still used, 1/3 of an inch equals one full (not half) size difference.  But wait, there’s more!  Unlike EU sizes which have a standard, proportional width that runs comparable to a US wide, US shoe sizes also come in width measurements, narrow, medium, wide, extra wide.
Your best size may be size 11M ( M equals Medium), but I think you need to know more!  I strongly suggest you read up on Measuring Your Feet and Understanding Shoe Sizes ( so you will be able to pick the right length, width and shoe shape for your feet.  You want to get the right size the first time when you are ordering from another country!
Thanks for asking!
The Shoe Lady