Shoe sizes can be confusing with all the different sizing systems used around the world. The most common systems used are the Mondopoint system, the UK system, and the US system. While they may use different measurements and numbers to designate sizes, they all aim to quantify the length of the foot to find the best fitting shoe. This article will focus specifically on the sizing and dimensions of a UK shoe size 38.
How the UK Shoe Size System Works
The UK system uses barleycorns to determine shoe sizes. Historically, the average size of a barley seed or corn was used to quantify shoe lengths. Today, a UK shoe size is calculated by taking the length of the foot in barleycorns and dividing it by 3, then rounding to the nearest whole number. Here is the basic calculation:
UK Shoe Size = (Foot Length in Barleycorns / 3) Rounded to Nearest Whole Number
For example, a foot that is 15 inches long is equivalent to 38 barleycorns. Dividing that by 3 gives 12.67, which rounds up to 13 UK shoe size.
While simple in principle, this system results in fractional sizes when converting to inches or centimeters. That’s why it can require some math and memorization to find your correct UK size.
Dimensions of a UK Size 38
So what is the actual foot length of a UK shoe size 38? Here is a breakdown:
- 38 UK shoe size = 12.67 inches
- 12.67 inches x 2.54 cm/inch = 32.2 cm
As you can see, a UK size 38 roughly converts to a foot length of 12 2⁄3 inches or 32.2 cm. However, since shoes sizes differ across brands and styles, this is just a general guideline.
To ensure proper fit, you should always measure your feet and reference the size chart of the specific shoe you are buying. Be sure to measure at the end of the day when your feet are the largest. And remember to leave a small gap between your toes and the tip of the shoe for comfort.
Buying Tips for UK Size 38
Finding well-fitting shoes can be difficult, especially if you have feet sizes outside the average range. Here are some useful tips for buying shoes when you take a UK 38:
Reference Multiple Sizing Charts
As mentioned, sizes can vary significantly across shoe brands and styles. What may be a size 38 in one brand could equate to a 37.5 or even 39 in another. Rather than relying on conversions from your size in other systems, always check the manufacturer’s sizing chart for each shoe. This will give you your exact size based on their own measurements.
For example, Dr. Martens runs large, so you would likely take a UK 37 in their iconic boots and shoes rather than your typical 38. Referencing their chart ensures the best fit.
Look for Shoes That Come in Half Sizes
Some shoe brands will carry half sizes while others only carry whole sizes. This can pose a problem if your converted size from other systems falls between two whole UK sizes.
“Brands that offer half sizes, like Made in England Docs or Birkenstock, will give you a truer, customized fit if you fall between standard sizes,” says Maria Johnson, shoe size expert.
When possible, look for UK 38 shoes that come in half sizes so you can select that ideal 37.5 or 38.5 size.
Try Both Wide and Standard Widths
In addition to choosing the right length size, you need a shoe that fits the width of your feet properly. Those with wider feet may find they need to size up or select a wide width option.
- “Be sure to always try shoes in both a standard D width and wider EE width before determining your best fit in any particular style,” recommends shoe sales associate Tom Wu.
While it may take some trial and error, finding footwear that accommodates the width of your feet helps ensure all-day comfort when wearing your typical UK 38.
Common Questions About UK Size 38 Feet
If you have recently discovered you take a UK 38 or are curious about what foot conditions may correlate to this length, you probably have some questions. Here we address some common FAQs:
Is a UK Size 38 Big for a Woman?
Traditionally, the average shoe size for an adult woman is between a UK 4 and 7. However, a UK size 38 lands on the larger end of the spectrum.
- “I wouldn’t categorize a UK 38 as abnormally large for a woman,” says podiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Roberts. “But it is definitely much rarer than smaller sizes like 36 or 37.”
Only about 10% of women have feet larger than a UK 7 based on retail shoe demand. So while not extremely uncommon, a UK 38 certainly qualifies as above average in terms of women’s foot lengths.
What Height is a UK 38 in Women’s Shoes?
Correlating height and shoe size is not an exact science, as proportions vary substantially across body types. However, very generally, a woman’s height of 5’7″ – 5’11” often correlates to a UK size 38.
- “Taller women and those with naturally bigger builds most commonly fall in the size 36-40 range,” explains nurse practitioner Helen Wu.
Of course, height depends on so many factors (like genetics, nutrition etc.) so taller or shorter women can certainly also take a 38. But that median 5’7″ – 5’11” range serves as a decent benchmark.
Can a UK 38 Indicate Wide Feet?
Do those that take larger shoe sizes inherently have wider feet as well? In many cases, yes – people requiring shoes bigger than the average size also frequently need wider width options.
“There is a strong correlation between foot length and width,” says orthopedic technician Tim Jones. “Particularly for women’s feet longer than size 8, we see most also fall into wide or extra wide categories.”
So if you take a UK 38, checking product pages for wider width selections can help achieve an optimal fit. Brands like Hotter, Evans, and Simply Be carry fashionable wider width options at larger sizes.
Determining your correct UK shoe size takes some effort but achieving great fit makes all the difference in comfort. For those that take a size 38, understanding the approximate foot dimensions, using brand-specific size charts, and looking for width/half size selections helps you find footwear that feels like it was made for you. With so many online shopping options now, you can locate stylish UK 38 shoes from retailers around the world.
Hopefully this overview gives you insight into buying and wearing a UK 38 properly. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!