The average women’s shoe size is between 7.5 and 8. However, it differs a lot depending on age, genetics and environment. Our feet can expand as we age when they lose their elasticity. But for women, pregnancy and menopause can also affect the size of your feet, so it’s recommended to measure them occasionally.
Are you wondering if your feet are a standard size? Or perhaps you’re trying to surprise someone with a new pair of shoes? Wanting to know what the average women’s shoe size is, is a surprisingly common question.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about women’s foot and shoe sizes. We’ll also share tips on how to measure feet and a general size chart.
What Is the Most Common Female Foot Size?
Telling what the most common foot size is can be challenging since it differs significantly.
However, according to Footwear Market Insight, the most commonly sold women’s shoe size is a 7. Considering this, it would mean that the average foot size is approximately 9.25 inches, give or take.
Keep in mind that they base this on the size most women purchase, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the correct size worn.
What Is the Average Size for a Woman?
Your shoe size depends on a lot of factors, such as genetics, gender and environment. There’s a significant relationship between our feet and body size. Tall women typically have larger feet than shorter women, since the body requires additional support to balance.
In the United States, the average size for women aged 20 years and up is 5 feet 3 inches. The average weight is 170.5 pounds, with a waist circumference of 38.7 inches.
Please note that this is only average and does not reflect any measurement of health or consider the average woman’s BMI.
Average Shoe Size According to Height
Because there’s an established relationship between height and foot size, we’ve included a chart below. This tells you the average shoe size for women of different heights.
|4 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 3 inches
|5 to 8.5
|20 and up
|5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 7 inches
|6.5 to 10
|20 and up
|5 feet 8 inches to 9 feet and up
|9 to 15
|20 and up
Connection Between Foot Size and Height
You can estimate a person’s height using the size of their feet. This is essentially what forensic researchers do, use a foot-to-height ratio.
It’s also one way to estimate your child’s future growth patterns.
Since growth spurts often begin in the extremities before any height difference is noticeable, the foot size can somewhat predict them.
A study revealed that girls experience a fast increase in their foot size about one year and three months before hitting their puberty growth spurt. For boys, it was two years and five months before puberty.
So, when your kids are changing shoe sizes quicker than before, you know they’re headed towards a growth spurt.
Are Feet Getting Bigger?
There’s something strange happening to the evolution of the human body: Our feet are getting progressively bigger.
Through the last three decades, the average shoe size for women has increased by more than a size. But why is that?
Our lifestyles are mostly the cause of this. The human body is always evolving, and as our diets have grown, so have our bodies, including our feet.
During the early years of the 20th century, the average shoe size for women was between 3.5 to 4. From the 40s to the 60s, the number increased to 5.5, until the 70s where it changed to a 7.5.
Now, 40 years later, the average woman in the United States wears a size between 8.5 to a 9.
Because of the weight increase in children, their feet’s soft and supple bones can grow and spread due to the pounds they’re carrying. A study showed that children who are overweight were more likely to have flat and robust feet.
The extra weight puts pressure on the arch, thus flattening it or preventing it from forming altogether.
As an adult female, there isn’t much you can do to change this—unless you dare try foot binding, but we don’t recommend that.
Can Feet Change Over Time?
Our feet change rapidly during our first years of life. Although our feet mostly stop growing once we exit puberty, they may continue to change throughout adulthood. Some may even get bigger and require a change in shoe sizes.
How Age Changes Feet
As we age and gain weight, we put more pressure on our feet. Once you’ve reached your 50s, your feet may have over 75,000 miles on them—those who live a foot-active life will have even more miles. So once you’re 50, your feet are likely to have lost most of the padding in their soles.
Because of this, your feet spread out, increasing their width and length. To compensate, you may need a larger size than you wore in your 20s.
Another cause of growth is the loss of elasticity in the tendons and ligaments. This can also predispose your feet to micro-tears and ruptures.
Menopause and Foot Health
For women, menopause is yet another factor that can affect your foot health.
Menopause is a natural event that begins around the ages of 45 to 55 years. The body slows down the production of estrogen and other sex hormones, which triggers the symptoms like hot flushes and mood swings.
This condition can lead to stress fractures in the bones of the foot. If not treated, it can prompt the bones to shift out of their usual place.
You can counter this somewhat by exercising or taking medications. Consult your doctor for advice and guidance.
How Pregnancy Affects Feet
During pregnancy, your feet swell, feel uncomfortable and unbearably tired at times, all for the sake of bringing new life to the world. During the nine months of growing your baby, the size of your feet may also change.
It’s believed that this is due to a hormone called relaxin that can loosen up the ligaments and joints, making the structure more malleable.
As your belly grows and puts more pressure on your feet, the arches are likely to decrease. This can increase the foot length anywhere between 0.1 to 0.4 inches.
However, first-time moms experience more significant changes than second or third-time moms.
Shockingly, for some women, their feet don’t return to normal postpartum. It may also explain why women are often more prone to arthritis in the foot, knees, spine and hips than men.
How to Measure Your Feet
Wearing the correct shoe size is essential for optimal foot health. You can read more about the effects of wearing shoes that are too big in our guide.
To find the right size, you must measure your feet. We’ve included a brief but easy guide below.
What you need:
- A ruler.
Here’s what you do:
- Place the piece of paper on a flat surface and stand on it. Make sure your foot is even.
- Use the pen to outline your foot. Keep it straight as your draw.
- Step off the paper and use the ruler to measure between your heel and your longest toe. Then measure the widest point on your foot.
- Write down the results and consult a shoe size chart.
Women’s Shoe Size Chart
|Foot length (approximate)
|36 to 37
|37 to 38
|38 to 39
|39 to 40
|40 to 41
|41 to 42
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Most Common Shoe Size?
The average woman’s shoe size bought in the United States is between a size 7 and 8, although there are no official statements for American women.
What Is Considered a Small Shoe Size for a Woman?
There’s no official data on what’s considered a small shoe size for a woman—or at least not for American women. That said, seeing that the average shoe sizes are around a 7 to an 8, it could indicate that anything under a size 6 is small.
Nowadays, we don’t see many American retailers offering anything smaller than a size 6. If your feet are more petite, consider youth sizes or altering the shoe to fit.
Please read our guide on how to wear shoes that are too big.
What Do Big Feet Mean for a Girl?
Although feet are getting bigger every year, some women still feel less than pleased with their foot size. However, big feet don’t mean there’s anything wrong with a woman.
In fact, it has a few perks.
Having bigger feet may make you better at certain sports, such as swimming and soccer since you cover more ground.
It might be easier to find available sizes when shopping—big shoes rarely sell out as quickly as a size 7. There’s also a considerable online selection of styles in larger sizes.
If you want some ideas, please read our review of the best women’s flip flops for wide feet.
Is Size 11 Shoe Big for a Girl?
In the past, we would have considered a size 11 a huge shoe size for a woman. However, because modern-day feet are getting bigger, this size is now a familiar one.
Many manufacturers, though, still consider a size 11 big for women, and some stores might not have an extensive selection in that size.
The average women’s shoe size is a common question. Sadly, women are often judged by the size of their feet, but as sizes are getting bigger, the norm is shifting. In just 40 years, the average shoe size went from a 7.5 to an 8, and it may continue to change.
Shoe size depends on several factors, and it can change over time. For women, events such as pregnancy and menopause can cause noticeable changes. Because of this, it’s essential to measure your feet to ensure you wear the correct size shoe.
We hope you found our guide helpful. Do you have any thoughts on the average shoe size? Please leave a comment below and share it with other curious shoe lovers.