I have noticed that many shoe selling shops I have visited have the same price tag regardless of the shoe size.

Intuitively I'd think the bigger the shoe the more material and consequently capital invested in producing it. That being the case why would a manufacturer equally price dissimilar shoe sizes?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Why do airlines charge the same price regardless of your weight? A heavy person uses more fuel. $\endgroup$
    – paparazzo
    Jun 7, 2017 at 0:49
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ This is not an economic explanation but another reason could be the desire of not discriminating personal characteristics like size, weight etc for ethical reasons. $\endgroup$ Jun 7, 2017 at 13:31

5 Answers 5


Most of the price of creating a shoe is the cost of labour to make it and the cost to ship it to the store. The cost of the materials needed to make the shoe is negligible. So, they can ignore the difference in material costs without losing too much money.

But why would they want to lose any money at all? Logistics. Keeping track of the different prices per shoe, printing the different labels, making sure the shoes are sold at the right price, paying people to determine how much of a price difference the company should charge are all things that cost money.

So the company is looking at creating a giant logistical nightmare for themselves, costing them who knows how much money, all for a penny difference between a size 8 and a size 13.

Trying to charge a different price would be a case of being 'penny smart; dollar stupid'.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Definitely not typical store, but possible to make price discrimination over Internet. $\endgroup$
    – mootmoot
    Jun 7, 2017 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ I would add that customers prefer simplicity (I only have anecdotal evidence for this). Even if the supplier varied the prices of different sizes by a small amount, I believe the store may decide to simplify the price schedule themselves, by choosing one price. Also, that way, exchanges become much easier for the customer in the event they got their size wrong the first time. $\endgroup$
    – ahorn
    Aug 12, 2019 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ I like your answer. I would guess be that for many shoe companies these days, a big part of the cost comes from design and marketing, not just from manufacturing and shipping. $\endgroup$ Aug 12, 2019 at 18:54

I think the other answers' point about logistics is correct. But just to add another small insight:

There is actually at least one airline that charges by weight: Samoa Air. Samoa is also one of the most obese countries in the world. So its passengers which include both Samoans and non-Samoans (120 kg Samoans and 50 kg Japanese) exhibit a great variation in weight. With such great variation, it may be worthwhile taking on the additional logistical/administrative costs of price-discriminating by weight.

Like others have pointed out, there is actually price discrimination for shoe size, but done coarsely: Men, women, and children.

Within each group, they generally don't bother to price-discriminate more finely (i.e. by shoe size). That's because most men will fall within a narrow range of shoe sizes. Same for women and children. So the logistical/admin costs of price-discriminating by exact shoe size may not be worthwhile.

So perhaps in some country where there is very great variation in shoe size, it would also make sense to price-discriminate more finely.


In fact, fixing price for goods is never straightforward.

@Sane argue that this can be a logistic problem. However, there is always practice that says otherwise, e.g. stock clearance, discount. There is even shoe discount store sort the price according to size. But the price is subject to demand assumption, rather than material cost. Individual goods price discriminations are rather common on Amazon.

In addition, there is specialize shoe maker that charge accordingly.


Even though the seller could sell smaller shoe for a lower price, why he should do it?

Small person and big person gain the same thing. Both are going to have a pair of shoes. Then why two different prices?

The extra amount gained by the producer is the producer surplus.


Infact they do this all the time.

If you have any friends with small feet (usually girls in my experience) you'll find that they constantly brag about how cheap their shoes are because they are able to purchase them in kids size despite being ages 16-17+

For example the Nike Roshe One

Kids Size Priced at £15

Adult Mens Size 12 Priced at £20

From what I can see there is absolutely no difference between the two pairs of trainers besides their size and the smaller variant of the shoe costs 25% less than the adult version of it.

  • $\begingroup$ This is an exception and special case, the OP is asking about typical shoe sizes. For example, they are asking "Why is the price of a size 6 shoe and a size 12 shoe the same price?". So companies don't do this, they just price differently between adult and children and shoes and certain people with small feet can take advantage of this. $\endgroup$
    – Brennan
    Aug 12, 2019 at 16:51

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