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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ndidi Ufondu, DPM

How to Choose the Right Shoe Width for Your Feet



Your feet are amazing structures that support your body weight, balance your posture, and help you move around. They deserve to be treated well, and that includes wearing shoes that fit them properly.


But finding the right fit is not just about the length of your shoes. The width of your shoes is equally important, if not more. Wearing shoes that are too narrow or too wide can cause a variety of foot problems, such as blisters, corns, bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, and more.


So how do you know what shoe width is right for you? And how do you find shoes that match your foot width? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and give you some tips on how to choose the right shoe width for your feet.


What are the different shoe widths?


Shoe widths are measured by the circumference of the ball of your foot, which is usually the widest part of your foot. Shoe widths vary by country, but in the United States, they are classified into nine categories, ranging from narrowest to widest:

  • AAA: extra narrow

  • AA: narrow

  • A: slightly narrow

  • B: medium (standard) for women

  • C: slightly wide

  • D: medium (standard) for men

  • E: wide

  • EE: extra wide

  • EEE: ultra wide


Some shoe brands also use sub-sizes to indicate even narrower or wider widths, such as AAAA or EEEE. The width of your shoes is usually indicated by a letter next to your numerical shoe size. For example, if you wear a size 8B, it means you have a medium width foot.


However, not all shoe brands offer different widths, and some may use different systems to measure their widths. Therefore, it is best to always try on shoes before buying them, and measure your foot width yourself to find the most accurate fit.


How to measure your foot width?

To measure your foot width, you will need a soft tape measure and a piece of paper. Follow these steps:


1. Place your foot flat on the paper and trace around it with a pencil.

2. Measure the distance between the two widest points of your foot outline with the tape measure. This is your foot width.

3. Compare your foot width with the shoe width chart below to find your shoe width size.




Some tips to remember when measuring your foot width:

  • Measure your foot width at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest due to swelling and settling.

  • Measure both feet and use the larger measurement as your shoe width size, as most people have one foot that is bigger than the other.

  • If your foot width falls between two sizes, choose the larger size for more comfort.


How to find shoes that fit your foot width?


Once you know your shoe width size, you can start looking for shoes that match your foot width. Here are some tips on how to find shoes that fit your foot width:

  • Look for shoe brands that offer different widths, such as ASICS, New Balance, Clarks, Brooks, and others. You can check their websites or visit their stores to see their width options.

  • Try on shoes before buying them, and walk around in them to feel how they fit. Your shoes should not be too tight or too loose, and they should not cause any pain or discomfort.

  • Check the labels or tags on the shoes to see the width size. Shoe boxes and labels will only identify widths other than standard. For example, if you see a shoe labeled as 8E, it means it is a size 8 with a wide width.

  • If you are buying shoes online, read the product description and reviews carefully to see if the shoes run true to size or not. You can also contact the customer service or use the online chat feature to ask about the shoe width.

  • If you have trouble finding shoes that fit your foot width, you can also try using orthopedic insoles, shoe stretchers, or shoe modifications to adjust the fit of your shoes.


Jimba the hut, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Why is shoe width important for your foot health?


Shoe width is important for your foot health because wearing shoes that are too narrow or too wide can cause a lot of problems for your feet, such as:

  • Blisters: These are painful sores that form when your skin rubs against your shoes. They can become infected and lead to more serious complications.

  • Corns and calluses: These are thickened areas of skin that form when your feet are subjected to friction and pressure from your shoes. They can be painful and make walking difficult.

  • Bunions: These are bony bumps that form at the base of your big toe when your toe is pushed out of alignment by your shoes. They can cause pain, inflammation, and deformity of your foot.

  • Hammertoes: These are toes that curl or bend downward due to tight shoes that force them into an unnatural position. They can cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty wearing shoes.

  • Plantar fasciitis: This is a condition where the tissue that connects your heel to your toes becomes inflamed and painful due to excessive stress from your shoes. It can cause heel pain, arch pain, and difficulty walking.

  • Metatarsalgia: This is a condition where the ball of your foot becomes inflamed and painful due to excessive pressure from your shoes. It can cause burning, tingling, or numbness in your toes.


To prevent these problems, it is essential to wear shoes that fit your foot width properly and provide enough room for your toes to move freely.


A Bunion


Bottom line


Shoe width is an important factor to consider when buying shoes for your feet. Wearing shoes that are too narrow or too wide can cause many foot problems and affect your overall health and well-being.


To find the right shoe width for your feet, you need to measure your foot width yourself and compare it with a shoe width chart. You also need to look for shoe brands that offer different widths and try on shoes before buying them.


By choosing the right shoe width for your feet, you can enjoy more comfort, support, and performance from your shoes.


We hope this blog post has helped you understand how to choose the right shoe width for your feet. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.


Thank you for reading!

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