Shoe Widths Explained

Published by Brady Stout on Sep 13th 2016

Feet come in giant variety of shapes and sizes.  Luckily, shoes do too!  The only problem is that each shoe company picks which method they use to denote size and width.  Below I will quickly sum up the different methodologies that are used to denote widths by the major shoe brands and answer the most common questions that shoe buyers ask regarding widths.  Hopefully I can help you pick your best fit on your next shoe purchase.

FAQ regarding shoe widths:


Q: Do all brands come in widths?

A: No.  Most European brands only come in standard widths.  This is true of many US brands as well.  However, in the past 20-30 years more shoe manufacturers have embraced multi-width sizing.  Today, brands such as New Balance, Munro, and Clarks lead the way by providing a wide selection of widths across their full line of shoes.


Q: Does width apply only the the length across the foot?

A: No.  The wider a shoe gets the deeper it is as well.  For example, size 10 B shoe will be narrower from left to right and have less depth in the toe box compared to a 10 D shoe of the same model.


Q: What's the difference between men's and women's widths?

A: A men's medium width is a 'D' width whereas a women's medium is a 'B'.  Men typically have wider feet and therefore the standard width for a men's shoe would be a wide for a woman's shoe.  You can review the charts below to better understand how widths vary between gender.


Men's Shoe Widths

Standard DenotationSpelled OutCommon Abbreviation
4EExtra WideWW or XW

Women's Shoe Widths

Standard DenotationSpelled OutCommon Abbreviation
4ASuper Slim (Extra Narrow)SS
2EExtra WideWW or XW

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