The globalization of all trades has left quite some traces as to the manufacturing and the sizes of tap shoes. There are multiple reasons for this phenomenon:
1) There are the different traditional sizes to start with: french and italian sizes, british sizes and three different american sizes: for men, women and children.
For all these categories the progression from one size to the next is not the same.
2) In France an old measure, the « point de Paris », used by all shoemakers, is still the current reference with 0,666 cm per size: 39 x 0.666 = 25,9 cm = size 39. In England the current reference is an archaic measure called the « barleycorn » with 0,846 cm per size. The shoes get their sizing number by starting to count from size 0, whereas in the United States, with the same measure, the counting starts with size 1… Lately a new measure is frequently used in Asia: 0,5 cm per size.
All brands have published conversion charts, more or less correct because of uncertain adjustements.
3) Since the manufacturing of practically all tap shoes has been transferred to Asia there are even more measures. We noticed that the starting point (what you may call the size 0) in manufacturing may now vary from one tap-shoe model to another…
Therefore, even within just one brand, the sizes are not exactly the same from one model to another. Example: you feel perfectly well in the Bloch model Showtapper, size 8,5, and you order now the model Time Step in 8,5: you’ll find a difference of 2 sizes…
For all above reasons we have decided to take the lenght of the foot compared to the lenght of the shoe as our measure, valuable worldwide for any tap shoe.
It is therefore absolutely necessary to determine the exact lenght of the foot before ordering!