I don’t really know what to believe when it comes to shoe sizes.

I thought I was a size 9, now maybe 9½, but I don’t know which to order.

It depends which socks I’m wearing, of course.

Let me just state that wearing fairly thick socks, my feet measure just over 26cm from back-of-heel to front-of-toe.

Nike’s chart

US shoe size foot length (cm)
8 25.4
9 26.2
10 27.1

Onitsuka Tiger’s chart

These are the shoes I’m about to buy, once I figure out whether to buy a 9 or a 9½.

US shoe size Euro CM
8 41.5 26
42 26.5
9 42.5 27
43.5 27.5
10 44 28

The Nikes I’ve got

I have more than a couple sneakers, I’m not ashamed to admit. They all fall in 2 sizes: 9 & 9½. I’ve got some running shoes1 that I think are 9s, but they’re kinda stretchy and I like them a little tighter than normal, so I won’t list those here.

All of these fit ok, to be clear; no shoe will fit perfectly with every sock. In order of tight -> loose fit,

Shoe US shoe size Euro CM made in actual fit
SB 9.5 43 27.5 Vietnam snug with a thin sock, sockliner tighter than laces
FC 9.5 43 27.5 Vietnam ok with a thin sock, snug with a heavy sock, elastic tighter than laces
PM 9.5 43 27.5 Indonesia snug with a heavy sock, tight laces
AJ 9.5 43 27.5 China snug with a heavy sock, tight laces

They’re all “the same size” but they fit rather differently.

Which Onitsuka Tiger

I think the Mexico 66 will be on the tighter end of the spectrum: I expect that if I get a 43 / 27.5 it will be snug with a thin sock, and might loosen over time to fit a heavy sock.

Looking at the chart, you can’t exactly find a 43 / 27.5:

US shoe size Euro CM
9 42.5 27
43.5 27.5

Hmm. Here lies the dilemma2.

The 43 is not represented in the chart, but the 27.5 is. So, by nature of some unwritten rule, I feel the 27.5 must dictate which row to prefer. I don’t mind getting a slightly looser shoe, knowing I can wear a heavy sock (which I’ve got lots of, it used to be my preferred sock until Nike started puttin’ the squeeze on my ole metatarsals).

So I should get the 9½ Mexico 66, and just return/swap if I got the wrong size.

The advantage of a too-tight shoe is that it doesn’t really need lacing.

One last comparison

I have dress shoes, too, but I usually wear thin socks with those. I have a pair from 2014 that have loosened to the point of heavy socks being fine, but generally, I can’t wear heavy socks with a size 9. Which is funny, because that used to be my normal shoe size. Now it’s 9½, I guess.

People do say to size down a half-size when it comes to these Mexico 66s, so I may just want to try the 9, and maybe stick to thin socks at first.

The shoes don’t look fantastically-well constructed, but they look to be mostly leather & suede, so they could be a lot worse. The sole isn’t too likely to separate from the upper, even at the crease point: the toe upper fades away before the seam, so it’s just leather next to your pinky toe. This area is where my usual sole-glued-to-canvas-style skate shoes fall apart. The upper will crease, and the stiff sole (sometimes close to an inch thick) will have to crease pretty sharply.

Shoe failures

Let me look back at the shoes I have worn out (in no particular order):

shoe worn cause of ultimate wear
adidas sambas 4 years, mostly every day? squeaky when I walked, no glue had separated, but finally, as yard shoes the sole came unglued
vans bali 3 years, off and on? insole was wearing flat, sole was cracking at crease point, utterly wrinkled, canvas dirty
vans authentics 3 years, off and on wore them to a music festival, too much rain & mud to recover, canvas really dirty
circa lopez 50 3-4 years, often inside of heel was fraying, heel sole was wearing through
converse chucks 2 years, mostly every day sole was cracked at crease point, sole was getting slick, canvas dirty
asics ?? 2 years, running off and on, yardwork foam got “crunchy”, really dirty, not very comfortable
nike PMs 1¾ years, most of the time upper separated from sole at crease point, thick white sole kinda stained

Overall, suede sneakers really do outlast canvas sneakers, it’s not even close. The sambas were leather w/ suede toe box and the lopez 50s were suede all over.

Maybe I should just save up for some Air Jordan 1s, that’s probably the intelligent thing to do.

I think I’m going to roll the dice on these Mexico 66s, I only need 1 pair3, and these should last 4-5 years if they’re any good.

I ordered the size 9s, and I’ll send them back if they’re too tight.

  1. now erging shoes 

  2. and yeah it’s literally 2 cases to sort out 

  3. are if they 9½ are good, I won’t mind stocking up another pair if the price drops/holds