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Women's shoe widths explained

Updated by Janine

Shoe width is just as important as length to get a good fit. But many online shoe stores just have a basic shoe size chart with little or no information about shoe widths. So here's a helpful guide explaining what women's shoe widths mean along with a handy chart of all the different shoe width letters used by US, UK and European shoe brands.

How are shoe widths determined?

There is no standard shoe width size system unfortunately. Instead each brand has their own shoe width measurement chart for each shoe size. So just because 2 brands do narrow (AA) shoes, they could well be different widths.

As a general guide, the difference between women's shoe widths is between 3/16 and 6/16 inch. For example, there's ¼ inch between each width for Munro brand shoes. So a wide shoe is ¼ inch wider than a medium fit and ½ inch wider than a narrow shoe. US designer Marmi have slightly larger gaps of 6/16 inches between each width in their shoe brands.

How do women's shoe widths work?

Usually each shoe width fitting has a letter and the later the letter in the alphabet, the wider the shoe. With the most common lettering, narrow shoes are A width and wide shoes are E width. The same letter repeated means the shoe is extra narrow or wide. So the most slim shoes are AAAA width, which are more narrow than AA. At the other end of the scale, EEE width shoes are much wider than an E width fitting.

UK vs US vs European shoe widths

The same letters can mean different widths in the US vs the UK which is confusing. A women's D width shoe is wide fit in the US, but usually means a standard fit shoe in the UK. Women's normal shoes are B width in the US and Australia, while B shoes are narrow in the UK and hard to find.

In the UK, normal shoes are usually D width. For example, the famous British shoe brand Clarks' standard shoes are D width and they also do a narrow C fit. But certain UK brands consider C width to be standard and D width to be wide fit e.g. New Look and Magnus.

In the US, initial letters are often used as abbreviations for widths instead. So shoes in the US may be labelled SS for super slim instead of AAAA or WW for wide wide. These abbreviations are more intuitive, but you'll see a mix of the different systems on various US websites. So many letters it's like alphabet soup!

Finally, German shoe brands use a different range of letters for shoe widths, going from E (slim) to K (extra wide). Gabor class their F as a standard fit and G as a more generous comfort fit.

Women's shoe widths chart (US, UK & Europe)

Note that repeated letter widths can appear in different formats. For example, AA width can also be labelled A2 or 2A. Similarly, EEE width is also called 3E, E3 or "triple E".

If you can't see the full table, swipe left on your phone to scroll
Shoe WidthLettersUSUKGermany
SlimAAAA, AAASS (super slim), S (slim)
NarrowAA, AN (narrow)B, CE
StandardB, M (medium), R (regular)DF
WideC, D, W (wide)EG
Extra WideEEWW (wide wide), EW or XW (extra wide)H

Are Large Size Shoes & Half Size Shoes wider?

Yes, since your feet are 3D, foot width generally increases with foot length. So the bigger your shoe size, the wider your foot too. A size 11 shoe is both slightly longer and wider than a size 10.

It makes sense that shoes grow proportionally both length wise and width wise. Otherwise the shoe design would change and get distorted at large sizes.

The differences are very slight though. There is only the width of your little fingernail between the length of whole US/UK shoe sizes. The extra shoe width from going up a shoe size is even smaller. For example, US shoe brand Vaneli adds just ⅛ of an inch width for a whole shoe size. So their half size shoes are only 1/16 inch wider. You wouldn't be able to see the difference, but your feet could feel it.

How to measure your foot width

Some shoe brands and stores helpfully include foot width measurements in their shoe size guides. Here's how to measure how wide your feet are at home so you can choose the right shoe width.

You will need a hard floor, a flexible tape measure and ideally a ruler or rigid measuring tape too.

You should wear the socks you will wear with the shoes (if any). It's best to measure your feet later in the day because they can swell slightly over the day.

  1. To measure your foot circumference, stand on a hard floor and wrap a flexible tape measure around the widest part of your foot. This runs from the joint below your big toe across to below your little toe. If unsure, check the measurement at a few slightly different positions to make sure you have the widest point.
  2. Note down the width in both inches and centimetres as accurately as possible using the smallest markings on the tape. This will give you your foot circumference to a 1/16 of an inch and to the millimetre.
  3. To measure your foot width, step with the widest part of your foot on a ruler or tape measure on a hard floor. Note the values on the left and right side of your foot as accurately as possible (as per step 2). Subtract them to get your foot width. It may not be obvious exactly where your foot is widest, so move your foot up and down slightly on the ruler and take a few measurements to be sure.
  4. Repeat for the other foot. Your 2 feet will likely be slightly different sizes. Always use the larger measurements from your wider foot. In shoe size charts, choose the circumference or width for your shoe size that is closest to your measurements but at least as big.

I hope you found this women's shoe widths guide useful. Of course shoe length is vital too. So check out the large shoe size conversion guide to find out your shoe size around the world. Want more help finding shoes in your size? Sign up for the free VIP newsletter to get new shoes & stores straight to your inbox.