When it comes to buying shoes, finding the right fit is crucial for comfort and avoiding foot problems.
One factor that can greatly impact the fit of a shoe is its width. Shoes come in a variety of widths, including narrow, medium, and wide, to accommodate the different foot shapes and sizes of individuals.
Narrow shoes are designed for people with narrow or slender feet, while wide shoes are meant for those with wider feet.
Medium-width shoes are the most common and are designed to fit the average foot.
Understanding the differences between narrow, medium, and wide-width shoes can help you make informed decisions when shopping for footwear, ensuring that you find a comfortable and properly fitting pair of shoes.
Back in the day, every time I brought a new pair of shoes (mainly dress shoes) I had some sizing issues, most of the time the shoes are a too-narrow fit.
The funny part is that I thought it was the perfect fit for me.
So, I never thought about it until I noticed my toes seemed to squeeze together too much.
I think everyone who wears fitted shoes might have experienced this at least once. After that, I research a lot about shoe sizing, and how to properly measure the correct foot widths.
Experts say, wearing shoes that do not fit properly and are too tight not only damages your shoes but also can impact negatively on your feet.
In this post, I will break down the difference between “narrow shoes”, “medium shoes” and “wide-width shoes”.
I’ll also provide some recommendations on how to measure for the proper fit, what brands are best for narrow, medium, and wide feet so you can shop with confidence!
Understanding about shoe widths Things You should know
What do shoe widths mean?
To find the right fitted shoe for you, you’ll want to know about shoe widths. This is because a size 10 shoe in one brand might not be the same as a size 10 in another. Also, the shoe widths are different between the genders.
I know you are a little bit confused. Don’t worry I will explain it in a simple way.
Let’s just dive in,
Mainly there are three different widths for both men’s and women’s shoes: Narrow, Regular (Medium), and Wide.
In the American foot sizing chart, you can see some letters like AAA(3A), AA2(A), A, B, C, D, M, E, EE(2E), and EEE(3E). The letters 3A to C represents the narrow widths, D is the standard width for men and M is the standard width for women. The letter E is wide width, EE(2E) extra wide, and the EEE(3E) is ultra-wide width.
What does a narrow shoe mean?
The narrow-width shoes mean the toe box of the shoes are narrow-sized, they are ideal for people with slim feet or those who like a snug fit.
And also, it is designed for those with high arches, so they’re the perfect shoe choice for people who needed high arch support and small space to fit their feet in. These shoes come in many different styles such as flats, wedges, heels, and boots.
How wide is a narrow width?
The width of a shoe is directly proportional to the length, which means when the shoe size(length) increases the width is also increase.
The narrow width is measured between 2.8 inches to 4.2 inches. The women’s narrow width (3A) starts from 2.65 inches to 3.55 inches and the men’s narrow size(C) starts from 3.2 inches to 4.2 inches
Men’s Size Chart Narrow Width
|US Size||UK Size||Narrow(C) |
|Extra Narrow (B) |
|Ultra-Narrow (A) |
Women’s Size chart Narrow Width
|US Size||UK Size||Narrow(A) |
|Extra Narrow (AA) Inches||Ultra-Narrow (AAA) |
What does a medium width(M) shoe mean?
The Medium width shoes mean the toe box of the shoes are normal(standard) sized, they are ideal for people with medium-width feet. Some of the shoe’s brands only come with medium widths – so the medium width is also known as a standard size.
Usually, Men have wider feet than Women—So that the standard width of men is D width and women is B width.
How wide is a medium width?
Typically, medium-width shoe measure between 3.2 inches to 4.4 inches. The women’s medium widths B start from 3.2 inches to 4.05 inches, and the men’s medium width D starts from 3.5 inches to 4.25 inches. For a better understanding look at the size chart below.
Men’s Size Chart Medium
|US Size||UK Size||Medium(D) |
Women’s Size Chart Medium
|US Size||UK Size||Medium(B)|
What does a wide-width shoe mean?
The Wide width shoes mean the toe box of the shoe is wider width than normal shoes, these shoes are ideal for those with wider feet or like a more relaxed fit.
And also, it is designed for people with flat feet (Wider foot people are more likely to have flat feet). Because it provides an adequate amount of arch support people with flat feet needed.
How wide is a wide-width shoe?
Basically, the wide-width shoes have a spacious toe box and a more relaxed fit so wide widths are good for someone who has done any foot surgery.
The wide-width shoe measures between 3.5 inches to 4.9 inches. The women’s wide widths(D) start from 3.5 inches to 4.8 inches, and the men’s wide width(E) starts from 3.65 inches to 4.90 inches.
Men’s Size Chart Wide Width
|US Size||UK Size||Wide (E)||Extra Wide (EE)||Ultra-Wide (EEE)|
Women’s Size Chart Wide Width
|US Size||UK Size||Wide(C)||Extra Wide (D)||Ultra-Wide (E)|
Do your feet get wider with age?
Yes, studies say it is actually your feet get wider and bigger as you age. So, before buying a new pair of footwear, measuring your foot is a good idea.
When you are going to buy a new pair of shoes you may think measuring the size is the only important thing. But you should also be looking at the wear pattern and pronation type before buying them.
How to measure foot width with a tape measure (Step by Step)
Most of us are seeing a metal measuring device using at shoe stores to measuring foot size.
Instead of using a metal measuring device to measure your feet, I’m going to tell you how you can measure your feet with a simple sheet of paper a pen, and some sort of measuring device you can use either a ruler or a tape measure.
Step 1. First, you grab a simple sheet of paper and place it on a flat surface. (Place on the floor).
Step 2. And you want to put your foot down on the paper and then draw the outline of your foot with the pen held perpendicular to the paper — make sure to hold the pen snugly against your foot.
Step 3. Once you have your foot drawing, you’re going to go ahead and grab your measuring tape and then you’re going to measure across at the widest part of the foot usually that’s going to be the ball of the foot. Once you have that you’re going to measure from the heel to the longest toe (Length)
Step 4. Write down the measuring’s on paper and take the foot sizing chart then find your foot size (both length and width)
Pro Tip: Some brands offer narrow-fit shoes and some are true to size. If the shoe brand says size is a narrow fit, size it up by half an inch is a better idea.
What’s the difference between men’s and women’s widths? Explained
The shoe widths of men and women are totally different because the women’s shoes tend to be slightly narrower and have a longer forefoot platform than their male counterparts.
Men’s narrow shoes typically range in size from A to C, while women’s narrow widths range in size from 3A to B.
Same in the case of medium and wide widths – the men’s medium width is D, while the women’s medium width is B. And the men’s wide width ranges from E to 3E or 4E while women’s wide width varies more widely, ranges from C to E or 2E.
What to do if my shoes are too wide?
We all may face these situations, where we ordered a shoe online when it came just didn’t fit the way we thought.
It would now we all know how much of a struggle online returns and exchanges can be. So, with these simple steps, you can make your shoes fit just right.
- Wearing Thicker socks (extra thick winter boot socks recommended).
- Try to insert an over-the-counter insole to your shoes.
- For some people, wearing thick socks and using OTC insoles may help, if not using heal pad and tongue pads for better fit.
What to do if your shoes are tight?
Just like getting wide shoes, we can also get narrower shoes when not properly measuring while buying online.
Too much narrow fit may cause many health problems like Bunions, Hammertoes, Achilles Tendonitis. So, I’ll not be recommended to stretch your shoes if it is too narrow.
However, if you need to stretch a little bit you can follow these steps,
- Using shoe stretchers to stretch your shoes.
- Shoe stretching sprays may help (both using shoe stretcher and shoe stretching sprays at the same can give you better result)
- Some peoples will use hair dryer to stretch their shoes, but I will not be recommended to do it in your expensive shoes. Because it may damage your shoes. But if you have a cheap pair of shoes, you can try hair dryer for stretching. (Make sure that the dryer at least 1 meter away from your shoes.)
Does shoe width increase with size?
Yes, shoe width increases with size increases. The width of a shoe is directly proportional to the length.
Usually, the bigger foot you have the more likely to wider it is. However, if you have a narrow foot with a long size, some brands’ footwear runs a bit wider than you needed.
I hope that this article helps you to find the proper fitting footwear for your feet. And also, you will learn how to measure your foot and the differences between shoe widths.
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