Diagonal sizing is the lost art of using the many widths that vintage shoes came in to find multiple sizes that fit your feet comfortably without compromising function. Many also referred to this technique as diagonal fitting. You may have read ‘what’s my size’ and have learned that sizes between manufacturers may vary. There is, however, an industry standard with regard to the actual differences between length and width. Here you’ll find more details of why diagonal sizing is so magical — and how to do a magical search to help you find that vintage gem.
why the name?
The nomenclature simply comes from the common size charts that shoe stores used to take inventory and place their orders. The grid of shoe lengths was usually across the top and widths down the side.
In the example above, let's assume you wear a size 7 B ( 7-medium). You will likely find that a 7.5 A, 7.5 AA, 6.5 C, and a 6.5 D will all provide a very similar fit. On our classic women’s shoe size chart, these sizes line up on a diagonal — hence the name for this fitting technique.
why this fitting technique works
The difference in one full-size measured from heel-point to toe-point equals 1/3rd of an inch (the length of a barley corn, but that’s another story). So a half-size difference is a mere 1/6th of an inch. This difference in a half-size length is even less than this when measuring from heel-to-ball, the critical point where the sole bends.
Adjusting the width in conjunction with the length keeps the shoe’s interior measurements about the same. That is, while a 7 B and 7.5 A differ in overall length by 1/6th of an inch, they are essentially identical in width and interior volume. Given the very small differences in length, the shoe will work well with your foot from a mechanical basis.
not sure of your width?
If you are too young to have purchased shoes made in multiple widths, you may not be exactly sure what your ‘perfect’ shoe size might be. If medium width shoes (or shoes marked only with a length) fit too snugly, you likely have a wider foot. Conversely, if the medium is a bit loose, you probably have a narrower foot. As you look through our inventory, adjust your search accordingly.
how to do a ‘magic’ search
Our site has an added feature that we think is rather ‘magical,’ not to mention as unique as our inventory. Rather than using the length and width filters to find your shoes, use our ‘magical’ Diagonal Sizing Search Feature.
Simply place your size in the ‘search’ box (found at the top of every page) and hit return. Based on the Diagonal Sizing methodology, we’ll show you all of the shoes in our inventory that are most likely to fit! Pretty cool, huh?
IMPORTANT This will only work if you enter your size in the standard length & width format. For example, enter 6 B, 7.5 AA, 8 D, etc. If you wear a half-size use “.5” rather than 1/2.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance.
Have fun shopping!