Because Size Matters: Foot Size Survey

Everyone's are different

As Knitty’s technical editor for socks, I get to talk to a lot of knitters and designers about sock patterns. The number one question I hear from designers and knitters is how to size socks.

When sizing socks, foot circumference is the key measurement. For the vast majority of sock designs, the length of the foot is controlled simply by working fewer or more rounds in that section- totally independent of the number of stitches you cast on.

The challenge is that information about foot circumference is very hard to find. When sizing shoes, foot length is the primary measurement; and so all of the information out there in the world about foot size is focused on foot length.

Since foot length is remarkably unrelated to foot circumference – small feet can be wide, long feet can be narrow – telling me your shoe size tells me very little about how big your socks should be. A lot of the time, when designers are creating socks, we’re guessing about how they should be sized.

With help from our friends and collaborators at Sock Summit and Cooperative Press, we’re trying to change this. We’re launching a foot size survey, and we’re hoping you can help us out.

Send email to footsurvey@wisehildaknits.com with the following info:

  • Your shoe size: US or European size & gender (e.g. US Women’s size 8)
  • Your foot length
  • Ankle circumference around the narrowest part of your ankle
  • Foot circumference around the ball of your foot
  • Circumference around your foot at your ankle
  • Diagonal measurement around your heel, from the base of your heel up over the top of your foot
  • Circumference of your calf six inches (15cm) up from the ground

The measurements we need

And if you can talk your friends and family into letting you measure their feet, we’d love that info too.

We’ll crunch the data and come up with a set of measurements that we will publish here and on the Cooperative Press website, for all sock designers to use.

Thank you! Your reward for participation will be better sized sock patterns for everyone – and our eternal gratitude, of course!

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23 thoughts on “Because Size Matters: Foot Size Survey

  1. Seanna Lea

    This is an awesome project. I think I already have these measurements for myself and my husband, but I’ll check and send them off tonight or tomorrow.

  2. Pingback: Size Matters • Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts

  3. Solarmama

    Ha! This bothers me every time I try to knit socks for someone else. So I had a brainstorm: I just posted on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to ask my peeps to measure their feet for me. I offered to knit a pair of socks for one person, name pulled from a hat, of the folks who respond. Hopefully I’ll get a dozen or so takers to submit here, AND I find out their foot sizes for future gifts! FTW!

  4. Lacey

    I posted this on my blog to see if I can get some friends to help out, and I’ll be sending in my measurements ASAP! 🙂

  5. Marcy

    Excellent project! But. . .

    “…all of the information out there in the world about foot size is focused on foot length.”

    Um, not quite. How about the sizing charts in Charlene Schurch’s _Sensational Knitted Socks_?

  6. Lauren

    Haha! When you tried to write “US Women’s 8 )” it turned into a smiley face with sunglasses. Damn you autocorrect!

  7. Dragonfire

    I’ll wrangle my husband’s feet when he gets home and send this stuff to you guys. I actually think my feet are ‘tall’ – I have problems finding shoes that don’t squish down painfully on the top of my feet. Getting a bigger size or even wider doesn’t help, so it’s got to be something else!

  8. Amy C

    Oh Thank you for doing this, I have a high instep and have trouble making socks fit because of that and the diagonal measurement..sometimes more so with certain patterns…I will take family’s measurements and send on !

  9. Pat

    Saw this on Ravelry in the Sock Knitters Anonymous group. Sent in my measurements and will be interested to see what becomes of the data.

  10. Terri

    Sent mine and my husband’s measurements. About time I got around to measuring our feet anyway–after several ill-fitting pairs of socks resulting from just taking a wild wag at it. 🙂

  11. Ellen

    You might want to contact the various services uniform boards under the freedom of information act & asking for their biometric data. I’m retired Air Force & I know the unit in Ohio collected measurement data on tens of thousands of men & women every few years to make sure uniforms were made to fit properly. For feet specific, I’d contact the Army & Marines.

  12. Daphne

    Great idea – I have sent in both left and right foot measurements as there is about half a size difference between them. I also have a very high arch, and wonder how you can take that into account.

  13. G. K. Green

    Ellen makes an excellent point … and you may find that interesting data is readily available you on publicly accessible government web sites.

    To get an idea of the type of detailed measurements made, take a look at NASA’s ANTHROPOMETRY AND BIOMECHANICS document at http://msis.jsc.nasa.gov/sections/section03.htm

    The most extensive foot measurement study ever undertaken by the US government was at Fort Knox and resulted in 27 different measurements of the foot from a total of 6,775 soldiers; the references are:

    Freedman, A., E. C. Huntington, G. C. Davis, R. B. Magee, V. M. Milstead and
    C. M. Kirkpatrick 1946 Foot Dimensions of Soldiers. Project No. T-13,
    Armored Medical Research Laboratory, Fort Knox, Kentucky. (AD 658 652); and

    Jeffery, T. E., and L. L. Thurstone 1955 A Factorial Analysis of Foot
    Measurements. (Contract Report, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill,
    N.C.) Technical Report EP-10, U.S. Army Quartermaster Research and
    Development Center, Natick, Massachusetts. (AD 66 971).

    The most recent government measurement effort in the 1990s collected 11 foot measurements —
    Ball of Foot Circumference
    Bimalleolar Breadth
    Foot Breadth
    Foot Length
    Heel–Ankle Circumference
    Heel Breadth
    Instep Circumference
    Instep Length
    Lateral Malleolus Height
    Medial Malleolus Height
    Sphyrion Height

    See http://www.everyspec.com/DoD/DoD-HDBK/download.php?spec=DOD-HDBK-743A.016856.pdf
    for literally hundreds of pages of the resulting measurements.

    Hope this also helps!

  14. Abby

    I love this idea! I am always fascinated by the infinite variety of foot shapes and sizes. I will measure mine (and my daughter’s) as soon as I get home from Sock Summit.

  15. ElizabethD

    There is a similar project available on the web, here: http://www.knittingzone.com/Sockproject.htm
    That’s the home page; move on in and you’ll find results for women, men, and children. Perhaps you could ask to include all that info as well, gathered in a similar fashion.

    I will measure my feet tomorrow; right now the only thing I’m interested in is finding my bed!

  16. Jennigma

    Could you add calf at widest point as a measurement? I make lots of knee sock/kilt hose, and have found NO data on this measurement anywhere.

    Thanks!

  17. Judy D

    I will send my numbers in later today, but I thought I would share this trick with you. My mother has a problem with swelling in her feet, so guessing her size for a pair of socks was out of the question. She lives an hour away from me, so I couldn’t just try socks-in-progress on her foot. Instead, I made a “mold” of her foot with duct tape to keep with me. I put an old stocking on her foot, wrapped it with duct tape, and carefully cut the duct tape mold off. After, I taped up the seam that I had cut, stuffed the mold with crumpled newspaper and put it near my knitting bag. Now, I can try a sock on her “foot” anytime, and all the socks that I knit for her fit!

  18. richard fifer

    Un mueble de madera maciza, sencillo y de calidad, puede ser suficiente para llenar de belleza una estancia. La naturalidad y calidez de la madera, los bellos colores y vetas, las formas rectas tradicionales… aportan sencillez y buen gusto.

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