According to the British Footwear Association, the proportion of the UK population (in 2001) with a given shoe size is distributed as follows:
|Drawn in Excel. Data Source: British Footwear Association.|
Assuming that Ireland is similar to the UK, and that the data for 2001 would be similar to 2016, the first thing to note is that the data are distributed normally (bell-shaped curve). You will also notice that if your shoe size is 12, like mine, you will be in a small minority of 1% to 2% of the population. Most men seem to be in the size 7 to size 10.5 range.
Buying footwear is not easy if you have big feet. In the past, I have ended up buying shoes that did not fit properly because the shoe retailer did not have my size. The most common answer I always get in a shoe shop is "We do not have that style/brand in your size". Big footed guys have far less choice than regular sized chaps, and with the exceptions of places like Heathers Shoes (who specialize in big shoes) on Arran Quay, many don't stock shoes over size 11. I am now paying the consequences of buying the wrong shoes with sore feet.
Today I bought a new pair of boots - this was the third shop I visited to buy boots, the previous two did not have anything in my size. It was a fairly easy process: I asked for a particular brand, and tried on one size 12 pair of boots. They fitted perfectly, no need to try on any others - so I bought them on the spot. I felt there was no point in asking for or trying other brands - I was lucky that even one pair in the shop fitted me. I don't blame retailers for not stocking shoes/boots of size 12 and over as they are likely to only need them for 1% of the population. However, the lack of choice riles at times!