Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sock Sizing

Here is some information for those who knit socks without having the recipient's foot nearby...

shoe size and foot length (including length of heel flap)
EU and American conversions

 Since I knit with a pretty consistent type of yarn (4m/g or thereabouts) I always knit mens' socks with 72 sts in circumference, and ladies' socks at 60 sts or so (give or take 4 sts for pattern alignment). The only variable is then foot length (where to start the heel for toe-up; where to start the toe for top-down).

To find where you need to start your heel for toe-up socks, you'll need to do some math:

My husband has a size 10 - which, according to the link, means a 10.75 inch foot length (27.3 cm). I start heels at 20cm from the tip of the toe ("forethought" or short-row heels).

So if you want a men's size 9: the foot length is 1/2 shorter, so start the heel 1/2 inch sooner (1.3 cm).

For flap-style heels, start the gussets at 3-3.5 inches short of total foot length. I have a harder time getting a good fit with this style of heel, as it's harder to judge when to start the heel. For this reason, my current favorite heel is the "forethought", for toe-up models.


Here's a post on using a paper template to get great-fitting socks!


  1. You switch from cm to inches? I'm confused? So, on a woman's shoe size 7, when would you start knitting the heel turn ( I do fleegle heels)

    1. No, I don't switch. I'm Canadian, and we are metric. But most of my readers appear to be American, so I oblige by providing both systems.

      Fleegle heels should start at the same place that flap-style heels do. Start the heel 2.25-2.5inches (5.7-6cm) after you've started the gusset. This distance determines the height of your heel flap.

      That said, I don't knit socks using measurements. I knit using cardboard templates, see the link at the bottom of the post.