Find Your Irish Dance Shoe Size



We know that getting the correct size Irish Dance shoes can be a difficult and frustrating process. 

Sizing is not as straightforward as could be hoped for several important reasons: your foot dimensions are as unique as a fingerprint; every shoe style fits a little bit differently; and dancers usually have a fit they prefer.  We want to make this process as easy as possible so please use this guide to help you find your fit.


If you are able, we would recommend that you order a few pairs around the length you measured and then return any pairs you do not need once you have a fit you are happy with. This saves time and expense sending single pairs back and forth and will allow you to be confident in your choice. We would also recommend that you show your dance teacher your preferred fit before returning the unwanted pairs so they can give the pair you have selected the thumbs up. Unworn shoes can always be returned for a refund!



A new pair of ghillies should feel very tight when they are first worn.  If they fit comfortably from the first wear then they will be too big after a few weeks of dancing.  Your new ghillies will stretch out a fair bit as they’re broken in, so too tight is better than too loose when they’re new. Your toes should be slightly curled under when you first put them on.  Loose leather at the toe or too much “room to grow” can create a tripping risk and, especially with the popular short toe styles, your toes can poke out between the bottom laces.  It’s always safer, as well as more tidy looking, to have your ghillies fit as snug as possible. 


A new pair of hard shoes should fit with little room at the toe and snug around the heel.  Hard shoes are expensive and it’s understandable to want to size up so they’ll fit a growing child for longer, but you should never go more than a half size above the ideal size.  If the shoe slips on the heel then you’ll need to go to a smaller size or a different style or brand of shoe.  Heel slipping can lead to some very painful blisters. 



This is a less accurate way to find your size than by foot or shoe measurement, but sometimes it’s the only option available.  The size conversion charts are complicated by the fact that big kids and adults sizes don’t overlap in UK shoe sizing the way they do in US sizing, which creates some confusion.  For example, a “big kids” 5 in the US is the same length as a women’s 6.5, which is also about a UK 5.  Based on information from our customers, we find these to be what generally fits best from US to UK sizes.  As always, if you are a beginner or have a wide foot or high instep you might want to try 1/2 size up, and if you’re an experienced dancer or have a narrow foot you may want 1/2 size down.


Kids Sizes

9-13.5 even or up 1/2 size

1-1.5 even

2-7 even or down 1/2 size


Women’s Sizes

4.5-8.5 down 1 1/2 sizes

9-11 down 1 size





If you’re buying a shoe that has a dedicated sizing chart by foot measurement, please use our guide on measuring your foot which can be found here.  As always, if you are a beginner or have a wide foot or high instep you might want to try 1/2 size up, and if you’re an experienced dancer or have a narrow foot you may want 1/2 size down.




Some shoes, such as the Rutherford hard shoes, list the actual length of the inside of the shoe.  If the shoe you’re purchasing is sized in this manner, your likely fit for ghillies is just above your foot measurement if you’re a beginner or want a comfortable fit, and just below your foot measurement if you want a tight fit.  For hard shoes, measure your foot and add whatever length you think you’ll want for a good fit OR use a soft tape measure to measure the inside of a pair of shoes you already own that fits you well.



No matter which sizing guide you are using, you will want to go 1/2 to 1 full size up if you’re a beginner or a causal dancer who likes a more comfortable fit, if your instep is unusually high, or if your foot is wide.  You will want to go a half size down if you are an experienced dancer who prefers a very tight fit.