Have you ever looked at footwear sizes and thought, what does shoe width letters mean? You might know that you wear a 7D, but what does that D stand for?
Shoe width letters range from AAA to EEE, with each letter representing a measurement. It sounds simple enough, yet it’s not as straightforward as you may think.
To help you decipher this shoe alphabet and find properly fitted shoes, we’ll walk you through each letter.
Featured in What Does Letters Mean in Shoe Size:
- What the different letters represent.
- Size and width charts.
- Shoe width letters explained.
- Difference between men’s and women’s widths.
- How to measure the width of your foot.
What Does Shoe Width Letters Mean?
This unique footwear code is there to guide you to a better fitting shoe. However, what the letters mean varies between men and women—as well as boys and girls.
Before we get involved with measurements, let’s take a look at what the letters represent:
- A: Extra narrow.
- E or EE:
- EEE or EEEE: Extra wide.
- AAA: Super slim.
- A or AA:
- EE: Extra wide.
- E: Extra-Wide.
Shoe Width Letters Explained
Now that we know what each letter represents, let’s look at each of them in more detail:
As you could see from the section above, A sizes are more common in women’s shoes. This is because it typically represents Narrow or Extra Narrow widths.
The more A’s present, the narrower the width. You may find them denoted by the following:
- 2A (AA).
- 3A (AAA).
- 4A (AAAA).
Furthermore, women’s shoes are often referred to as Slim and Super Slim, which means the same as Narrow and Extra Narrow.
B width is the most common letter in women’s sizes as it’s considered a Medium, Normal or Standard width.
However, for men, B is deemed a Narrow width and in kid’s footwear, it’s classed as average.
D is the most common letter in men’s sizes as this is regarded as Medium, Normal or Standard.
However, D is considered wide for women and children.
EE and EEE are the width references most commonly used in this category. These represent the widest shoes, meaning with every E present the width increases. Similar to A widths, you’ll come across E’s represented in an alternative format:
- 2E (EE).
- 3E (EEE).
- 4E (EEEE).
For men, 2E sizes are considered Wide and 3E or 4E, Extra Wide. For women, on the other hand, 2E is regarded as an Extra Wide size.
There are shoes available in sizes as large as 10E; however, these are commonly used in diabetic shoes.
If you’re a frequent walker or hiker, we’ve reviewed the best walking shoes for wide feet.
Shoe Width Charts
We’ve put together the following charts to help you find the fit for you.
|US Shoe Size||Narrow C||Medium D||Wide E|
|6||3 5/16”||3 ½”||3 11/16”|
|6.5||3 5/16”||3 ⅝”||3 ¾”|
|7||3 ⅜”||3 ⅝”||3 ¾”|
|7.5||3 ⅜”||3 11/16”||3 15/16”|
|8||3 ½”||3 ¾”||3 15/16”|
|8.5||3 ⅝”||3 ¾”||4”|
|9||3 ⅝”||3 15/16”||4 ⅛”|
|9.5||3 11/16”||3 15/16”||4 ⅛”|
|10||3 ¾”||4”||4 3/16”|
|10.5||3 ¾”||4 ⅛”||4 5/16”|
|11||3 15/16”||4 ⅛”||4 5/16”|
|11.5||3 15/16”||4 3/16”||4 ⅜”|
|12||4”||4 5/16”||4 ⅜”|
|12.5||4 ⅛”||4 5/16”||4 ½”|
|13||4 ⅛”||4 5/16”||4 ⅝”|
|13.5||4 3/16”||4 ⅜”||4 ¾”|
|US Shoe Size||Narrow AA||Medium B||Wide D|
|5||2 13/16”||3 3/16”||3 9/1”|
|5.5||2 ⅞”||3 ¼”||3 ⅝”|
|6||2 15/16”||3 5/16”||3 11/16”|
|6.5||3”||3 ⅜”||3 ¾”|
|7||3 1/16”||3 7/16”||3 13/16”|
|7.5||3 ⅛”||3 ½”||3 ⅞”|
|8||3 3/16”||3 9/16”||3 15/16”|
|8.5||3 ¼”||3 ⅝”||4”|
|9||3 ⅜”||3 11/16”||4 1/16”|
|9.5||3 ⅜”||3 ¾”||4 ⅛”|
|10||3 7/16”||3 ¾”||4 3/16”|
|10.5||3 ½”||3 ⅞”||4 ¼”|
|11||3 9/16”||3 15/16”||4 5/16”|
|12||3 11/16”||4 1/16”||4 7/16”|
|US Shoe Size||Average B||Wide D||Extra-Wide E|
What Does D Mean in Shoe Size?
D in shoe size, for men, means you have an average-sized foot, but a wide foot for women. Brands that don’t design different widths will generally use D as a standard for men’s footwear.
What Does C/D Mean in Shoe Size?
C/D in shoe size means it’s a combination of two widths. The ball of the foot is one size (in this case, D) while the heel is another (in this case, C). Combinations like this are also found as E/C, D/B, C/A and more.
Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Widths
Men, in general, have wider feet compared to women. This is why charts are based on gender.
A is generally only used in women’s sizes, whereas EEE and above are predominantly found in men’s widths. However, many brands are changing this to accommodate women with wider feet.
As we discussed at the beginning of the article, a D is classed as Medium for men but Wide for women.
Why the Width Is Important
Choosing the right width for your feet is as important as choosing the right length. Shoes that are too wide or too narrow can be uncomfortable and even difficult to walk in correctly.
Too Narrow Shoes
Shoes that are too narrow for your feet can cause blisters, sores, cramps and bunions. Your toes might be crossing as you’re walking; this can cause ingrown toenails as well as pain.
Furthermore, because the shoes are tighter, sweating increases. If you have open sores or blisters, they could easily get infected in shoes that are too small. The sores will likely be rubbing against the sides of the shoes, giving VIP access for bacteria and fungus.
Shoes Are Too Wide
Shoes that are too wide will cause friction as you walk, leading to blisters and sores. Blisters occur due to shearing force as the shoe slides up and down your foot as you’re walking. Blood blisters underneath the toenails are also possible. This happens when the shoe flexes upward and catches the nail, lifting it off of the nail bed.
Additionally, the shoes won’t secure your feet properly, which can cause you to walk differently. As your toes will be struggling to keep the shoes on, it can lead to cramps and pain.
If you need more tips and tricks, we’ve found 8 ways to make your big shoes fit.
What Is the Average Width?
The average shoe width for women is B and for men, it’s D However, standard-sized shoes aren’t usually marked with the corresponding letters to indicate this. Brands only designate shoes a letter if they consider the width is out of the “average” range.
If a shoe doesn’t display lettering, it’s likely to be a standard width. You should be able to find the shoe measurements on the box or within the shoe on the label.
In shoe types where a correct fit is crucial, such as running shoes, you’re likely to find a range of widths available.
Does Shoe Width Increase With Shoe Size?
As a rule, the bigger a foot is, the wider it tends to be—although this isn’t the case for everyone.
Shoe length and width are proportional to standard sizing, which means, larger shoes run wider and smaller shoes run narrower.
This can create minor issues for people with long, narrow feet or short, wider feet. However, you should be able to find a fitting width to suit your feet giving the wide range of options available.
Here’s a helpful video that illustrates how the width of shoes can differ.
How to Measure Shoe Width?
Here’s how to measure the width of your foot:
- Remove shoes and socks.
- Place your foot down on a piece of paper on a flat surface.
- Use a pen to draw an outline of your foot—as close to the foot as you can.
- Use a tape measure to measure the widest part of your foot.
Can Foot Width Change Overtime?
The width of your feet can change at any given point. It depends greatly on your overall health—such as if you gain weight or retain excess water, your feet may widen.
Other conditions, such as diabetes or pregnancy, can also affect the width of your feet.
With some health conditions, such as diabetes or being overweight, you can help to decrease your feet width. As you lose weight or eliminate your insulin resistance, your feet should reduce in size.
Do All Shoe Brands Come in Width?
It’s mostly US brands that offer shoes in different widths. In Europe, footwear is offered in standard widths. These are typically B for women’s shoes and D for men’s shoes.
Popular brands that offer a wide selection of widths include Clarks, Munro and New Balance.
Learning the ABC’s
As we’ve seen, the length of the shoe is only half the story. Most US brands design their shoes to fit a range of widths, depending on the size of the shoe.
Purchasing shoes according to your correct width and length will ensure you get the best possible fit. This is particularly significant when purchasing running or training shoes.
So, what does shoe width letters mean? Each letter indicates a certain width, ranging from A to E—A being the most narrow and E being the widest.
We hope you’ve found this article informative, feel free to leave a comment in the section below if you have any questions.