What are the differences between men’s and women’s sneakers?

We hear it more and more often: “Oh, this release is for women only?!”. It’s a women’s release after all. However, that is not how it works in the sneaker world. In fact, most women’s sneakers are more sought after than the average male sneaker among the male sneakerheads.


What types of sizes are there?

Sneakers for adults are released in MEN (men) and WMNS (women’s) sizes. If you have small feet, you are also eligible for the GS (grade school) and possibly even the Y (young) sizes. Finally, Nike also provides sneakers for babies and small children (for example PS, TD and BC).

Sometimes a pair of sneakers is released in both an adult WMNS/MEN version ánd a smaller GS/Y version. The GS and Y releases usually look slightly different on a detailed level. Besides, these smaller sneakers are cheaper in-store and the market value does not increase like the WMNS and MEN releases do.

Useful: At the bottom of this blog you will find the size tables of the sneakers that we sell the most: Nike, New Balance, Adidas and Asics.

How about WMNS versus MEN?

The differences between WMNS and MEN are different. It almost never happens that a sneaker is released in both MEN and WMNS. The shape and details of these types of releases also look the same to the naked eye. There are small differences in the dimensions. For Nike, a WMNS release is 0.5 centimeters larger on paper. The heel of these women’s sneakers is sometimes slightly narrower. Although these differences are hardly noticeable, WMNS releases are slightly larger. Notice that ‘CM’ is just another way for sizing shoes. The actual centimeters might differ from the size label. Therefor, for both men and women, we recommend keeping your EU size. You could always try a WMNS release in a size smaller, but it remains a guess whether this actually fits.

There is also some difference in the value of the sneakers. In general, sneakers larger than men size US 8 are worth more than smaller sizes. If you have a WMNS release in a large size (larger than women’s size US 9.5), it might be relatively valuable. These sneakers are released to a limited extent in larger sizes.

On the left a WMNS Nike Air Max 1 Aloha Pack Navy (US 10 | UK 7.5 | EU 42 | CM 27) and on the right a MEN Nike Air Max 1 Black Venom Pack (US 8.5 | UK 7.5 | EU 42 | CM 26.5).


How do you know if your sneakers are WMNS or MEN?

On the outside of your sneakers you cannot check whether this is a WMNS or MEN version. You can find this info inside your sneakers. The difference can be recognized by the ratio between the US size and the other sizes. You can find these sizes in the tongue or inside of your sneakers. The Nike Air Max, for instance, a women’s US size is 1,5 larger than the related men’s size. For example, WMNS US 10 equals MEN US 8.5. Our advice is to always look at the UK size or EU size. They are always the same on paper! Good to know is that at Outsole we always base our sneakers’ sizing on MEN sizes.

So WMNS is for women only?

No! It is certainly not the case that a WMNS release is necessarily for women. Also, MEN releases are not necessarily for men. Nike expresses that all their sneakers are unisex. Of course, a WMNS release is limited in large sizes. Their women’s version usually runs up to WMNS US 12 (MEN US 10.5), but this can also be WMNS US 10.5 (MEN US 9) or even WMNS US 9 (MEN US 7.5). WMNS releases are generally even more sought after by men than MEN releases. Usually the women’s colorways are very good. Lovely soft colors such as pink and mint, but also great variations on OG releases. Men with larger feet are therefore pretty pissed off  when  there’s a good women’s release. Do you have small feet? We are jealous of you!

The WMNS Nike Air Max 1 Grape from 2003. One of the most wanted sneakers of all time, a holy grail for all sneakerheads. This sneaker is worth a fortune in larger sizes!

In short: don’t hesitate to buy a WMNS release as a man, or to buy a MEN release as a woman! All sneakers are unisex these days. Wear what you like and especially what is comfortable to you. Don’t let a size label guide you.

Did you know that:

In 2004 a sneaker was released with a gross error in the size chart. The Nike Air Max 1 Sport Pink was launched in 2004 as Asia exclusive as a WMNS release. However, there is a MEN size label in the tongue of the larger sizes. For example, it says US 8.5 – EU 42, while it should have been US 8.5 – EU 40 actually. When this pair is for sale these days, we still notice only a few collectors know about this error.


Size charts


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