Shoe Width

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.

2 thoughts on “Shoe Width

  1. I find your articles interesting. Women who need large sizes are one thing, but here I am with a small, WIDE foot and I cannot find a pair of shoes other than athletic shoes. I have been wearing orthopedic-looking Reeboks for years. Now, even those don’t really fit my size 6 or 6.5 wide (D) foot as the shoes are now made of “man made leather” and do not stretch to conform to my foot. As a young woman, I wore size 5B heels and usually had aching feet (and a bunion) because I didn’t realize I should have a wider shoe. Recently I went into one of the big shoe stores locally where they had thousands of shoes for sale, but I found only two pair in my size, and they were those ugly athletic shoes. Well, as soon as evening comes, I put on my house slippers.

  2. My Dear,

    That is a misery. But you have come to the right place. You are missing some key information. Wide width shoes are not as well regulated as the length measurement of shoes (see my articles on this subject!). You should be looking first for shoes in 6WW. Sometimes this is referred to as 6XW. You are lucky because there are a lot of brands that make some lovely, interesting styles in this size and width. When you find the brands, be loyal! Look for Bella Vita, Naturalizer, Trotters, Soft Spots, Ros Hommerson and more. Look for these brands on line. Don’t even bother searching by size. Google search is totally irrelevant for this, every shoe company lists every size even though the brand does not make shoes in that size. Stick with the brands I listed. Look only for leather. Do your shoe searching on line.

    Best to you and your toes,
    The Shoe Lady

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