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If you’ve ever wondered whether there’s a right way and a wrong way to measure high heels, then you’re right. And the model in our picture is doing it the wrong way!
The right way to measure heels is to simply measure a *straight* line from the ground to the bottom of the sole at the mid point of the top of the shoe’s back. When measuring a single-sole shoe you *don’t* include the height of the sole because the height that is added by the sole to the heel area is also added to the toe area.
This picture shows how it should be done. Applying the correct measuring method to the high heels above shows that they have exactly 6 inch heels.
**UPDATE: the sandals pictured above are no longer available but for a similar style, please see our popular post 6 inch heels in pink for your inner bad Barbie**
Perhaps surprisingly, not everyone measures heel height quite like this although it is the most common way to go about it. Zappos, for instance, has a diagram showing measurements being made directly along the length of the heel, rather than as a vertical drop.
Australian retailer Shoes of Prey measure heels by ignoring the height of the heel cap (which is the small bit on the very bottom of the heel). Again, this is not the most common method.
Finally, it is worth noting that the advertised heel height for a particular shoe will usually vary depending on the size of that shoe model that you purchase. Varying the heel height this way makes sense because it keeps the same pitch and proportions of the heel no matter what the size.
Often, but not always, manufacturers will not just list the heel size but will also state what size that measurement was taken on (usually a US 7 or 8 but this can vary too). This is common practice, so you shouldn’t get too upset if your heel height varies from that advertised.