A Guide to Foot Shapes Around the World
Foot shapes can vary greatly, even within the same country or region. While Satra, a research and test institute for the shoe industry, conducted a comprehensive survey on foot shapes worldwide, the information is only available to member companies and is quite expensive. However, there is still a lot of information available from other sources. This guide focuses mainly on men's shoes, but the same principles generally apply to women's feet, unless stated otherwise.
Central and Southern Europe: This region has feet that are often considered the standard for a "true to size" fit. Feet in countries like England, Italy, and Spain tend to be medium in shape, width, and arch height. Historically, European feet were relatively bony, but with the rise in average weight, more people now have fleshier feet.
Northern Europe: In this region, people generally have slightly wider feet at the ball, but a more standard width at the heel and rear part. Additionally, the instep is slightly higher, resulting in a higher arch. This can make it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably.
Russia and Eastern Europe: In this region, feet are similar to those in Northern Europe, but even wider and with a higher instep. It can be challenging to find shoes that fit well and look good.
Asia: On average, Asian feet are smaller than Western feet, about 2 cm shorter. Additionally, the instep is lower and the feet are wider and less bony, with more cupped heels. If you have feet larger than UK9/EU43, it can be difficult to find shoes in Asia, as the stores generally carry smaller sizes.
North America: American feet tend to be narrower than European feet, but similar in shape. This is why European brands that use the standard E width in Europe often use the narrower D width for shoes sold in the US. However, with the increase in average weight in the US, this trend may be changing.
South America: Unfortunately, there is little information available on the shape of South American feet and how they relate to other regions.
Africa: Foot shape varies greatly in this region, but many people in central Africa have a unique underside that contributes to a rolling step. Feet are also commonly slightly triangular in shape.
Australia: Australians have slightly shorter and wider feet than the average.