When The Shoe Lady isn’t in an 11.5M, she may slip into an 11W or even a 10WW. Wide feet are very versatile and the good news is there are a lot more shoe manufacturers designing for them. Wide feet could be muscular, broad in the forefoot (well, like a duck), thicker from top to bottom so they need a wide size to hold their volume, flaccid and fleshy. Each type has it’s own preferences for shapes of shoes.
Shoe manufacturers have standardized rules for how to measure length but shoe width measurements are much more variable. There is some general agreement that a shoe increases 3/16th of an inch around the circumference of the ball of the foot for every increase in width for the same length. But different manufacturers accomplish the extra width differently. Some may cut more material for the upper part of the shoe. Some may cut the sole slightly wider. Some may only increase the width for every full size length change – or even every couple of size length changes. You never can be sure as the manufacturing processes can differ even for the same style.
Here are the terms used to measure shoe widths moving from the most narrow to the widest:
- SS = AAAA = “extra slim” or “quad”, the narrowest size generally available. Even these widths are increasingly rare.
- S = AAA= “slim” or “triple”
- AA = N = “narrow” or “double A”
- M = B = “medium”, the most common or “average” width for that size.
- W = C or D = “wide”
- WW = EE or EEE = “extra wide”
- WWW = EEEE = “triple wide’
WWW = EEEE = “triple wide’ are even more rare than the SS widths, although that may change as the rate of obesity increases. Obesity is only one of many factors that make for wider feet. And one can be obese but not have wider feet.
Find out about WIDE SIZE shoes here.