In this post we explain how to accurately convert heel heights from millimetres to inches (or vice versa).
The simple fact is that there are no tricks to converting heel heights!
It is just easy math, with the key formulas being that 10mm = 1 cm and 2.54cm = 1 inch.
In reverse, 1mm =0.039 of an inch.
Conversion guide for heel heights
An approximate conversion guide for common heel heights is as follows:
3 inch heels = 75mm
4 inch heels = 100mm
5 inch heels = 125mm
6 inch heels= 150mm
For half inch heel sizes, just add 12.5mm. For example a 3.5 inch heel converts to 87.5mm.
Why do heel heights need to be converted over?
The need to convert arises because European manufacturers will usually use millimetres or centimetres to refer to the height whereas Americans will typically use inches.
But then almost all online retailers go by inches meaning that they convert from mm even where the heels are European.
Heel height conversions are usually approximate
Generally, heel height calculations are rounded approximately when they are converted.
For an example of a conversion, we will use Christian Louboutin’s popular 100mm (ie 10cm) Pigalle heels.
Because Christian Louboutin is a French brand, these heels are advertised with the height in mm not in inches.
Converting 100mm to inches gives a height of 3.94 inches. However, these calculations are almost always rounded so the 100mm Pigalle is generally referred to as the 4 inch version of the pump.
In a similar way, a 4 inch pump converts to 101.6mm but would ordinarily be referred to as a 100mm (10cm) heel.
Why do some heel heights measure differently to advertised?
Sometimes you will find that a high heel measures differently in mm to its advertised inch height.
If you’re sure that you have converted the height properly, there can be a few reasons for this.
Most commonly, errors in the conversion come because you are measuring the heel height differently to the manufacturer. For help with this, please see out post on measuring high heel heights.
Another common reason that your heels are a different height from the advertised height is because the advertised heel height is on a size which is different to yours.
High heel height will often vary on the same model shoe to keep proportions the same.
Hence a heel height advertised at 4 inches might be correct for a size 8 but the heel might be taller if the size is bigger, and shorter if the size is smaller.