Most people do not know what the letters on their shoes actually mean or even where they come from. The first thing to realize is that there is no universal standard for shoe width lettering and, as such, each manufacturer can decide how wide it wants its shoes to be, which explains why there might be differences between brands as well as some differences within the same brand (for instance, New Balance uses a different method of labeling its men’s models than Adidas).
The guiding principle behind these measures is simply to standardize the size of women’s feet by providing a quick way to determine whether a particular model will fit without having any direct contact with it.
It should be noted that manufacturers have never claimed that this system was being used for any other purpose than to determine size equivalency between their products and those of competitors.
Regarding the origin of this measuring system, it is generally accepted that the first company to label its shoes was Adidas with a scale from 3A to 13C as early as the 1940s as well as a few years later, Keds in 1952. At that time, manufacturers could not agree upon which width letter should be used so there was no consistency among brands whatsoever.
The problem continued for many years until 1972 when an agreement was reached on what’s called today “The American System”. Based on numerous studies covering different areas of shoe sizing, mainly under US conditions (foot length + 1/3 size), it provided for sizes ranging from 2A to 15C for women and from 2.5A to 15D for men. While this system is still used today, the problem of different shoes with a same letter remains as a 5B in one company could be very different from a 5B in another one.
It should also be noted that measuring systems can vary depending on what country they are being used in or who is doing the measuring, i.e., some companies use centimeters instead of inches while others don’t follow either or both standards so there’s no guarantee that two people will always agree on shoe width equivalency.
Also, due to the considerable differences between countries’ sizing conventions (US vs France), what you take as your size may not correspond exactly to other manufacturers’ sizing standards so it might be worth checking their charts before making any purchase.
Last but not least, since there is no standardization for this labeling system, you may find shoes with a wider or narrower width than usual so don’t get too worried if you have very narrow feet and your shoes are labeled “C” as they might fit you just fine. In general terms, labels such as AAAA to E tend to correspond to extremely narrow sizes while letters from D through 2 correspond to the most common ones.
The following chart should provide a good indication of what shoes might fit you based on your foot length and width.
Shoe Width Charts
The average width for men’s shoes is D. The average width for women’s shoes is B. Some shoes might have no letters, but most shoe sizes will have a letter on them. If you don’t see a letter it means the shoe size is standard and should fit. You can find the size by looking at the box or label inside your shoe.
Most shoes in the United States are made with different widths, and many brands offer different widths. Some of these include New Balance, Munro and Clarks.
Shoe Width Chart for Women
|US Shoe Size||Narrow AA||Medium B||Wide D|
|5||2 13/16”||3 3/16”||3 9/1”|
|5.5||2 ⅞”||3 ¼”||3 ⅝”|
|6||2 15/16”||3 5/16”||3 11/16”|
|6.5||3”||3 ⅜”||3 ¾”|
|7||3 1/16”||3 7/16”||3 13/16”|
|7.5||3 ⅛”||3 ½”||3 ⅞”|
|8||3 3/16”||3 9/16”||3 15/16”|
|8.5||3 ¼”||3 ⅝”||4”|
|9||3 ⅜”||3 11/16”||4 1/16”|
|9.5||3 ⅜”||3 ¾”||4 ⅛”|
|10||3 7/16”||3 ¾”||4 3/16”|
|10.5||3 ½”||3 ⅞”||4 ¼”|
|11||3 9/16”||3 15/16”||4 5/16”|
|12||3 11/16”||4 1/16”||4 7/16”|
Shoe Width Chart for Men
|US Shoe Size||Narrow C||Medium D||Wide E|
|6||3 5/16”||3 ½”||3 11/16”|
|6.5||3 5/16”||3 ⅝”||3 ¾”|
|7||3 ⅜”||3 ⅝”||3 ¾”|
|7.5||3 ⅜”||3 11/16”||3 15/16”|
|8||3 ½”||3 ¾”||3 15/16”|
|8.5||3 ⅝”||3 ¾”||4”|
|9||3 ⅝”||3 15/16”||4 ⅛”|
|9.5||3 11/16”||3 15/16”||4 ⅛”|
|10||3 ¾”||4”||4 3/16”|
|10.5||3 ¾”||4 ⅛”||4 5/16”|
|11||3 15/16”||4 ⅛”||4 5/16”|
|11.5||3 15/16”||4 3/16”||4 ⅜”|
|12||4”||4 5/16”||4 ⅜”|
|12.5||4 ⅛”||4 5/16”||4 ½”|
|13||4 ⅛”||4 5/16”||4 ⅝”|
|13.5||4 3/16”||4 ⅜”||4 ¾”|
Shoe Width Chart for Kids
|US Shoe Size||Average B||Wide D||Extra-Wide E|
What Do Shoe Width Letters Mean
There are a lot of shoes. They all have codes on them to show which size they are. The measurements on the code can be different for men and women, and for boys and girls.
Shoe Width Letters for Women
AAA: Super slim.
A or AA:
EE: Extra wide.
Shoe Width Letters for Men
A: Extra narrow.
E or EE:
EEE or EEEE: Extra wide.
Shoe Width Letters for Kids
- E: Extra-Wide.
If you are confused about the U.S., EU and UK shoe sizes then check out the Shoe Size Conversion Chart.
What Do These Different Shoe Width Letters Mean
There are two widths for women’s shoes. The more A’s there are, the narrower the width. For example, 2A (AA) would be narrower than 4A (AAAA). Women’s shoes also have two names. If they’re slim, then they’re narrow. And if they’re super slim, then they’re extra narrow.
The most common width for women is the B width, which is a Medium. In men’s sizes, it is a Narrow width. In children’s sizes, it is an average width.
D is the most common letter in men’s sizes. D is the normal or average size for men, but it can also be wide for women and children.
There are different widths in shoe sizes. 2E is a wide shoe, 3E is a bigger size, and 4E is an even bigger size. But these sizes are not for everyone! For men, 2E or 3E is a wide shoe, but for women 2E is the widest size they have. The largest shoes you can find are 10E but this size isn’t used very often because it’s generally only good for people with diabetes.
What Does C/D Mean in Shoe Size
C/D means that there are two different widths on the shoe. The ball of the foot is size D and the heel is C. This can also be E/C, D/B, C/A and other combinations.
- E/C—wide-medium for men, extra-wide-medium for women.
- D/B—narrow medium for men, medium-wide for women.
- C/A—narrow and extra-narrow for men, medium-narrow for women.
What Does D Mean in Shoe Size
If you wear a size D shoe, it is average for men but wide for women. Brands that don’t make many widths usually use D as the standard for men’s shoes.
The Difference Between Women’s and Men’s Width
Men’s feet are wider than women’s. That is why there are different sizes for men and women. Men usually wear size EEE or above. Women can wear size A, but they usually wear D because their feet are narrower than men’s.
How to Know What Width is Best for You
The best way to know what size shoe you should buy is to have someone at the store measure your foot. They will use a scale that is accurate.
You should also measure your foot every time you go into a store since it can change depending on if you gained weight or lost weight, if your body’s water retention changes over time or after standing or walking al day, your feet might be swollen.
And when shoes are available in different widths, try them on so that you find the right width for your foot with each shoe model.
If you can’t go to the store and want to measure your feet yourself at home, do this:
- To measure shoe width, you need to take off your shoes and socks.
- Then, put your foot on a piece of paper and draw it as close to the foot as possible.
- Use a tape measure to find the widest part of your foot.
How to Determine if You Have Wide Feet
If you keep trying on shoes and feel they are good at lengthwise but your toes are cramped on the side of the shoe, then you might have wide feet. If your shoes are too tight, you might need wide-width shoes.
A common fix is to get a longer shoe. But this can be bad for your feet – it can cause blisters or pain in your toes and lead to tripping. So make sure that the shoes fit correctly at all times. You can also test by using the Brannock Device (a device used to measure the length and width of the foot).
Are Wide Feet Bad
If you have wide feet, it is not bad. You just need to find your shoe size and width. If you have flat feet, that’s worse.
How Much Bigger is a Wide Shoe
A wide shoe is not much different from a regular one. Sometimes, the width of the shoes increases by 0.25 inches. But some brands do not increase the width by that much, or even less at times, like 0.188 inches instead.
Why Shoe Width is Important
If you want to be comfortable in your shoes, they need to fit. The good ones are the ones that fit the length of your foot and its width. You should try on any pair of shoes before buying them so that they will be a good fit for you.
If you have the wrong size shoes, you’ll be in pain and uncomfortable quickly. If you walk a lot or you have a job where you stand all day, you need properly fitting shoes.
If your shoes are too narrow
Your foot might be too big for the shoe. That could cause blisters, sores, cramps and bunions. Your toes could cross in the shoe when you’re walking; that can make ingrown toenails and pain happen.
The shoes will also make you sweat more, and if you have an open sore or blister it is easy for them to get infected in a tight shoe.
If your shoes are too wide
It is important to buy shoes that fit your feet. If they are too wide, your toes will move around and you will get blisters. Blisters can happen when the shoe slides up and down your foot as you walk.
You can also get blood blisters underneath the nail if the shoe lifts up your nail off of the bed. Your feet will not be secure so it can lead to cramps and pain in your feet.
Can Shoe Width Change
Yes, it can. Sometimes our feet can get wider. It changes because we gain weight or we have too much water in our bodies. Or sometimes it is because of diabetes or pregnancy. Also, after a long-distance run, waking all day or being on your feet all day, your feet will get swollen and hence may be bigger.
Usually, the bigger foot, the wider it is. Wider shoes are larger than narrow shoes. This is the case for most people, but not all of them. Shoes that are too big or too small can be difficult to wear and may not fit properly. With a wide range of sizes available, you should be able to find a shoe that fits your feet as long as they are not too long or too short.
Sizing for shoes is confusing. The United States and Europe have different ways of sizing, there are different standards for male and female sizes, and not all shoe brands use the same standard.
To make sure that your shoe is the right size, you need to remember two things: length and width. When shoes are too tight, it can lead to cramps and rubs. If they’re not tight enough, then your foot will move around and cause blisters.
You can sometimes widen your narrow shoes after you buy them. However, it is easier and more comfortable to get the right size from the start. So make sure you measure your feet and get the right size shoes.