Women’s C Width Shoes Disappeared

Dear Shoe Lady,

What happened to women’s C width shoes? I can’t find them anywhere these days, just “W”. Problem is W’s are often too wide because W can be C or D. Should I give up looking for C widths and either squeeze them into B’s (as one sales person suggested) or settle for a sloppy fit with D’s?


Dear Marie,

I wish the world were so simple.  The reason more people refer to “W” rather than “C” or “D” to denote wide size women’s shoes is because the “C” vs. “D” width implied a precision in shoe manufacturing that wasn’t really there!  As shoe manufacturers moved to more different factories, it became harder to assure that dimension.  And the other change that happened, more shoe manufacturers decided to make extra wide (WW) widths so to control their costs, the cut out at least one of the widths, the “C”.  Narrower footed ladies will also tell you that they cut the AAAAA, the AAAA, many AAA’s, and the “combination last” (one width in the heel, another in the forefoot).
Read more about the REAL truth of wide size shoes, how they are made and how to think about your best size here: http://www.designershoes.com/about-size/width
Don’t assume that you should buy medium widths and they’ll be too tight or wide widths and they’ll be too loose.  I recommend that you try on your favorite brands in your size medium and your size wide AND in half a size smaller in wide.  Do this for a few brands and styles until you can determine a pattern for what is the best fit in each brand.
Then, remember that the fit will also vary according to the style (high heel, ballet flat, sandal) of the shoe!
Happy Hunting!
The Shoe Lady