Home Ready to wear A size 12 at Nike is not a size 12 at Adidas. Why not?

A size 12 at Nike is not a size 12 at Adidas. Why not?


Size matters, especially when it comes to shoes. If you have particularly wide or narrow feet, are between sizes, or have one foot slightly longer than the other, you know the drill: you can wear one size from a brand, but the same size from another brand is…off — it’s too small or too tight, leaving your toes cramped or your heel sore.

These kinds of discrepancies are not uncommon. For most people, a bit of guesswork goes into buying each one-size-fits-all item – even then, who knows if it will fit. Needless to say, shopping shouldn’t be that hard. Unlike vanity sizing, which is akin to size inflation or the “phenomenon of ready-to-wear of the same nominal size becoming larger in physical size over time”, the differences between a Nike size 12 and a size 12 from Adidas stems from their respective design choices – to have a smaller profile, help you run faster, fit more comfortably, etc.

There is, however, a benchmark that these brands can follow: the Brannock standard, which is measured using a Brannock device. First designed in 1927, the device measures with impressive accuracy, consistency and above all ease. So, based on this guideline, we can determine whether some of the biggest brands are big or small.


measuring equipment for shoe fitting

Karl TapalesGetty Images

Does Converse run large or small?

Depending on the brand, both the Chuck Taylor All Star and the Chuck 70 run a half size wide. So if you usually wear a size 7 – and measure up to a size 7 on the Brannock device – you should order a size 6.5. Some of the brand’s basketball-focused styles — the All Star Pro BB and BB EVO — run a half size small. Then a size 7 should order a 6.5.

man wearing converse shoes


Are Crocs big or small?

Crocs are true to size, but the classic clog is a bit wide. So if you’re between sizes or have narrow feet, it’s probably best to try on a pair in person rather than ordering them online.

someone wearing pink crocs


Are Vans big or small?

Vans run true to size, but if you prefer a looser fit or have wide feet, you should consider sizing. My Vans Authentics size 12 fits snug and I’m a true size 12. If you’re a 12.25, for example, a 12.5 would be a more comfortable choice.

vans shoes on a battery


Are Birkenstocks big or small?

Birkenstocks mold to your feet over time. In addition, both straps are adjustable. So, order true to size. Even if you plan to wear them only with socks, the straps make room for even the thickest ones.

person wearing white birkenstocks


Do Doc Martens cut big or small?

In general, Doc Martens fit true to size, but may feel a little big after the break-in period as is the case with most boots that stretch and mold to your foot. 1460s are a bit large, for example, but Doc Martens doesn’t sell half sizes. If you can wear an 11 or a 12, for example, go for an 11.

person wearing black doc martens boots

Doc Martens

Are UGGs big or small?

UGG boots run large, which means you need to size down a half or full step. UGGs are made from sheepskin, a material that stretches with wear. If you are a 12 and order a 12 they will feel like a 12.5 or 13 after a few months of wearing. You want to work your way to a 12, not get out of it.

someone wearing ugg boots on a couch


Do Nikes fit big or small?

Nikes are notoriously small, and Nike may have realized that a few years ago. They launched the Nike Fit app, where AR and AI technologies scan your foot and find your perfect fit. Nike Cut. The app has since closed, but customers can feel confident ordering true to size. Some customers have complained that the Nikes are narrow, and that may be the case for people with wide feet. Standard feet? True to size.



Does Adidas run large or small?

Adidas sneakers are true to the Brannock standard – that is, true to size. Their size chart confirms this. But he also mentions those between sizes: “For a snug fit, take a size down. For a loose fit, take a size up.” This is especially relevant to the Stan Smith style.

man and woman wearing adidas stan smith shoes


Is Timberlands big or small?

Timberland’s most popular boots are tall. As such you should go half a size down if you are a standard size — 7 to 6.5, for example. If you’re barely a 7, however, you might be able to squeeze through a 6. Their bots are tough, meaning you’ll have them for a long time. You don’t want them to feel stretched after a few seasons.

someone wearing Timberland boots


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