|Photo Courtesy Of: Big In Japan
Most of you probably think that I am some kind of chord stuck on repeat, with all of the posts I have about my shoes this and my shoes that, but I’ll truly tell you, if ever you have been involved in the production of a new product, it takes a whole lot longer than one might imagine to get it up to scratch. Granted, some people may rush this out and have it out in no time, but if you are entering a market that is a bit saturated, you are going to want to make sure that your product differentiates itself the best that it can, so that it does not get lost in that sea of monotonous product, but rather stands out like the breath of fresh air that everyone needed. Now, in no way am I guaranteeing that my product line will be that breath of fresh air for you, but you can bet that I am doing my best to make sure that it is as close as possible in every which way: from style, to fit, to quality/price ratio etc. First and foremost, I had to get the style (patterns) and last shapes right, because inelegant and/or ugly shoes just won’t sell no matter what the case. And now that I have this pretty much sorted out, my next hurdle is to make sure that I get the sizing right, not only in how I label my sizes (making sure that my 10 does not fit like an 11), but also in how I offer my range i.e. 7UK-11UK.
The difficult thing about sizing is that most countries have their own way of calculating it, thus creating a bit of confusion for many consumers that are trying to make an international purchase. For example, if you go to Japan, a lot of their shoes are measured in centimeters. If you are American (or are also on the imperial system), you are going to have a tough time figuring out your size without having to measure your feet, and vice versa for people from Japan coming to the UK or US. Now this becomes an even bigger problem when calculating the width sizing as well, and then imagine having to buy online….it’s a mess, and can create a lot of confusion for both the customer and supplier. Every now and then, you can find quite an accurate chart (like the one below), that will differentiate for you what one size might convert to in another system, but even this means nothing in reality, because what it really boils down to is how the shoemaker/designer decided to label his stock lasts. For instance, my “UK7E” last (which would should equate to a US 8D, or about EU40.5) in reality, fits like a UK7EE (which should then equate to a US8E, and bump up to a 41). Now, I could keep my shoes labeled as UK7E and just have them be a shoe that runs a bit on the generous size, or label them a UK7EE, and be standard. Now, funny enough, while they do not look wide by any means, having that “EE” would deter many Americans from buying them, because in their mind, that signifies quite a wide fitting shoe, even though my shoes are not wide, just a bit generous.
So what I am doing now, in order to get this right, is having my shoes made up for me (keeping the way that they are now) in a 6.5E, but then also having them pretend as if my 7E is really a EE, duplicating it and then shaving off one width to make it an actual 7E. That way, I can compare and hopefully get an accurate account of what they really are. But someone who has a bit more experience in English fitting shoes told me that right now, they would compare my width to a C&J ‘EX’ fitting, which would be in between an E and an F. This is not exactly what I had in mind when making the shoes, but I know that this fitting is quite appreciated by the English people whom tend to have a broader forefoot, and high insteps. But that being, while deciding my sizes (and how to label them), I have to take into account, not just the English gentleman, but everyone else. So, as I continue to explain each predicament that I come across, I hope that you can now more easily understand why my range has yet to be released, even though I have been talking about it forever now…