What Does Shoe Width Mean? | Shoe Width Explained

What Does Shoe Width Mean

Buying shoes can be an exciting shopping trip with abundant options to choose from. However, it can go wrong in a fraction of a second if you end up with the wrong size. Let’s be frank here, we can’t afford to cramp our feet into something that isn’t fitting, can we?

The major aspect of the shoe size is its width. It needs to be taken into account to get that flawless fitting. Yes, it can vary as per the different measurement systems. But it is important to have an extensive idea about the shoe width to make a knowledgeable decision.

How Is The Show Width Measured?

Having the perfect measurement is ideal if you wish to walk with comfort. This can be achieved by selecting the model shoe width as per the structure and dimensions of your feet.

But before delving into that, let us brief ourselves about how the shoe width is measured after all.

The width of the shoe is measured around the widest part of your foot, known as the forefoot. This area is responsible for providing adequate room for your toes.

What is the Importance of Shoe Width?

Generally, it is said that no two people are the same. The same sentiment goes for feet. It is unlikely for you and your friends to have the same shoe width and size.

Similarly, the dimensions of the shoe matter a lot, especially its width. People often complain about getting their feet and toes cramped up in their footwear. They might get the ideal length of the shoe, but till they get their accurate width, they need to work with those distressing footwear.

Shoe width plays a crucial role in maintaining comfort levels. If you wear extremely tight shoes, you might be causing a long-term foot problem. Choosing the wrong size can create friction and pressure on your feet. This can lead to severe ailments and can potentially lead to hefty hospital bills.

According to research conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 63% to 72% of the participants weren’t wearing the right size of shoes as per their feet.

It is often seen that wearing the wrong shoe width size can lead to the following foot ailments:

Foot Pain

When the shoe width is not according to the contours of the foot, it can lead to severe foot pains. Moreover, it can cause a hammertoe, calluses, or many more such foot problems.

Ingrown Toe Nails

If you wear shoes that are either too narrow or too short, you might be placing extra pressure on your toe. This could eventually lead to the edge of a toenail growing into your skin.

Such a condition can be easily avoided by wearing proper show width shoes.

Pump Bump

Pump bump is a benign growth of a new bone on top of an existing bone. It could also cause a painful bump or swelling on the back of the heel.

Hence, it is vital to get the right shoe width to stay clear of such problems.

What are the Shoe Width Sizes?

As mentioned before, shoe width sizes can vary according to the different measuring systems. Furthermore, this is modified as per the countries.

Coming to the measuring system prevalent in the United States of America, the shoe width is denoted with alphabets, like the following:

  • AAA
  • AA
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • EE
  • EEE

A indicates a narrow width. Contrary to that, E indicates a wider width.

It is divided into Men, Women, and children, there isn’t any gender bifurcation in the children’s width size.

There are certain differences in terms of understanding the sizes based on gender. D-width is considered to be medium for men while it is wide for women. In a similar fashion, E-width is wide for men and extra wide for women.

The following charts can assist with a better understanding.

Children’s Shoe Size Letters

WidthAlphabet
Medium (M)M
Wide (W)W
Extra-Wide (WW, or EW)XW

The aforementioned chart can help you comprehend the following table in a better way:

SizeMedium (M)Wide (W)Extra-Wide (EW)
117/8″21/4”27/16”
1.517/8”21/4”27/16”
22”23/8”29/16”
2.52”23/8”29/16”
321/8”27/16”25/8”
3.521/8”27/16”25/8”
423/16”29/16”23/4”
4.523/16”29/16”23/4”
521/4”25/8”213/16”
5.521/4”211/16”27/8”
625/16”23/4”215/16”
6.523/8”23/4”215/16”
727/16”213/16”3”
7.521/2”27/8”31/16”
821/2”215/16”31/16”
8.529/16”3”33/16”
925/8”3”33/16”
9.5211/16”31/16”31/4”
1023/4”21/8”35/16”

Women’s Shoe Size Width

WidthAlphabet
Extra-narrow (SS)4A or AAAA
Narrow (N)2A
Medium (M)B
Wide(W)D
Extra-Wide (EW)2E or EEE
SizeNarrow (N)Medium (M)Wide(W)Extra-Wide (EW)
52 13/16”3 3/16″3 3/16″3 15/16″
5.52 ⅞”3 1/4″3 5/8″4”
62 15/16”3 5/16″3 11/16″4 1/16″
6.53”3 3/8″3 3/4″4 1/8″
73 1/16”3 7/16″3 13/16″4 3/16″
7.53 ⅛”3 1/2″3 7/8″4 1/4″
83 3/16”3 9/16″3 15/16″4 5/16″
8.53 ¼”3 5/8″4”4 3/8″
93 ⅜”3 11/16″4 1/16″4 7/16″
9.53 ⅜”3 3/4″4 1/8″4 1/2″
103 7/16”3 3/4″4 3/16″4 9/16″
10.53 ½”3 7/8″4 1/4″4 5/8″
113 9/16”3 15/16″4 5/16″4 11/16″
123 11/16”4 1/16″4 7/16″4 13/16”

Men’s Shoe Size Width

WidthAlphabet
Narrow (N)B
Medium (M)D
Wide (W)2E or EE
Extra-Wide (EW)4E or EEEE
SizeNarrow (N)Medium (M)Wide (W)
63 5⁄16″3 1⁄2″3 11⁄16″
6.53 5⁄16″3 5⁄8″3 3⁄4″
73 3⁄8″3 5⁄8″3 3⁄4″
7.53 3⁄8″3 11⁄16″3 15⁄16″
83 1⁄2″3 3⁄4″3 15⁄16″
8.53 5⁄8″3 3⁄4″4”
93 5⁄8″3 15⁄16″4 1⁄8″
9.53 11⁄16″3 15⁄16″4 1⁄8″
103 3⁄4″4”4 3⁄16″
10.53 3⁄4″4 1⁄8″4 5⁄16″
113 15⁄16″4 1⁄8″4 5⁄16″
11.53 15⁄16″4 3⁄16″4 3⁄8″
124”4 5⁄16″4 3⁄8″
12.54 1⁄8″4 5⁄16″4 1⁄2″
134 1⁄8″4 5⁄16″4 5⁄8″
13.54 3⁄16″4 3⁄8″4 ¾”

Measure your Shoe Width

It is always advisable to measure your shoe width at a professional shoe store. However, if the circumstances do not fall your way, you can measure it at your home.

  • Wrap the widest part of your foot with a measuring tape. Put your foot on the ground and disperse your body weight normally.
  • Take the markings of your measure tape and refer to the above-mentioned tables to determine your correct shoe width.

Tips While Selecting Shoes

At times, while buying shoes, we need to prioritize comfort along with the design. You must keep the following tips in your back pocket before selecting your shoes:

  • Walk in the shoes and see if it matches your comfort levels.
  • Do not expect the shoes to stretch out while they’re too tight on trying them out.
  • Keep enough space between the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
  • Check if the ball of your foot feels compressed. If yes, then it is better to go for a wide option.

FAQs About Shoe Width

Does shoe width increase with shoe size?

It is generally accepted that the bigger the foot, the wider it is. Shoe width is more than just the distance between the widest part of the shoe. It also considers the depth.
Large shoes might be wider. This is a safe option to avoid any severe accidents or long-term foot issues.

What is the normal shoe width?

The normal or standard shoe width can differ between man and woman. The medium width for men is D, while the same for women is B.

Should my toes touch the end of my shoes?

Your toes shouldn’t touch the end of the shoes. There should be a generous amount of space in between for utmost comfort. You should be able to curl your toes without any hassle or difficulty while wearing your shoes.

Is it better for shoes to be tight or loose?

Getting either tight or loose fitted shoes will be uncomfortable to wear for a long period. Loosely fitted shoes will cause blisters. On the other hand, tight-fitted shoes can cause friction to the skin and cause rashes, scars, and even blisters.
Hence, it is better to know the accurate dimensions of the foot to get the ideal fit. It can allow you to step out in confidence!

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