What Does Shoe Width (AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE, and EEE) Mean?
Finding shoe sizes is a maze of numbers and letters for the layman. The U.S. and Europe measure sizes differently, men and women have different size standards, and all manufacturers virtually share no true standard.
However, amidst this chaos of size descriptions, there is another often-overlooked description. That is shoe width. Choosing shoe width is as important for comfort as length.
This is especially important for shoes that are stiff, narrow, and planned to be used extensively for walking, commuting, and cycling. Narrow shoes can compress the foot and cause cramping, while wide shoes can cause friction as the foot moves, which can lead to blisters.
While it may be possible to narrow or widen the width of a shoe after purchase, especially in the case of leather shoes, it is much easier and more comfortable in the long run to decide on a shoe width from the start. The key to determining shoe width is a series of cryptic letters that are usually listed along with the length.
There are nine different shoe widths used in the United States, and the combination of letters can designate narrow, medium, or wide. Of course, there are deviations from this scale if it is not complex enough.
If you have ever wondered what a notation such as b(m) or 2e on a shoe label means, this article is for you. We will teach you all you need to know about how to read the shoe width letters to find the perfect shoe for your foot width.
Shoe Width Scale
In the United States, there are nine different shoe width scales, in order from narrowest to widest: AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE, and EEE. This scale is somewhat easier to remember because of its alphabetical order, but of course, it is not always obvious at a glance.
Double and triple sizes A and E are often abbreviated as 2a, 3e, and so on. To complicate matters further, some manufacturers have adopted additional designations for oversized shoes, such as 4th and 5th. These unorthodox designations are most often found on men’s boots that are marketed as extra wide.
The physical dimensions represented by the shoe width letter vary depending on the length of the shoe. For example, in men’s shoe sizes, a size 10 D-width shoe may have a width of 10 cm at the ball of the thumb, while the same size 14 D-width shoe may have a width of 10 cm at the same height.
Therefore, if you have to select multiple lengths for the same shoe, you should also check if you need to specify different widths for the two shoe sizes.
The A width is typically used for women’s shoes that are labeled as suitable for narrow feet. Since relatively few men have such narrow feet, it is rarely used in men’s shoes. A-width shoes are generally 3.4 to 3.9 inches in diameter at the top of the foot.
AA or 2A-width shoes are also commonly used for women and are slightly narrower, but the difference between A and 2A is largely due to manufacturer standards.
B width is the standard width for women’s shoes and is considered extremely narrow for men’s shoes. If the width is not specified as wide or narrow in women’s shoes, it is most likely B width. B-width shoes are generally 3.6 to 4.1 inches in diameter at the top of the foot.
D width is generally considered medium width for men’s shoes and wide for women’s shoes. For men, shoes that are not labeled “wide” or “narrow” are generally D-width. D-width refers to a width of 3 to 5 inches at the ball of the thumb, but generally 4 to 4.5 inches.
E-Width is a typical classification of wide shoe size for men and is considered extra wide for women’s shoes. Typically, men’s shoes are between 10 cm and 15 cm at the top of the foot.
EE width, the widest on the conventional scale, is rarely found in women’s shoes and is considered extra-wide in men’s shoes. However, transgender people have created a niche for extra-wide women’s shoes, and many EE-width shoes for women have appeared in recent years. EE-width shoes are generally 4.4 to 4.9 inches wide, but there are also shoes available in 3.4 to 5.4-inch widths.
Manufacturers And Availability
It is important to remember that each manufacturer uses its own footprint to make shoes and specify sizes. Therefore, shoe widths vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and even between different models of the same manufacturer.
In addition, how the physical width of a given character adapts to changes in shoe length depends on the make and model of the shoe in question. Unfortunately, not all shoes are available in all lengths and widths.
In particular, shoes in sizes 2A or narrow and 2E or wide are relatively rare, according to people with narrow or wide feet. These extra-narrow and extra-wide sizes are often only available in short and long lengths, respectively. Unfortunately, extra wide shoe sizes are traditionally lacking in women’s shoes, while extra narrow shoe sizes are traditionally lacking in men’s shoes.
What Does Shoe Width (AAA, AA, A, B,C, D,E, EE, and EEE) Mean | Video Explanation
The best way to determine the width of the shoe you need is to have your feet measured by a shoe expert in a store. Scales sold in stores are very accurate. However, your feet may swell or shrink over time as you gain weight or as your body’s water retention capacity changes, so be sure to have them measured each time you go to the store.
Of course, don’t forget to try on the same shoe in several widths to find the width that best fits your feet in that shoe model. Wearing shoes that fit not only the length of your foot but also the width, is very important to keep your feet comfortable for a long time.
Shoes that are too narrow or too wide can quickly cause discomfort, so a good fit is essential for shoes that you plan to walk in for long periods of time.
Unfortunately, the notation of shoe width is somewhat complicated and varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, from one shoe model to another, and even from one version of the same shoe model to another.
Therefore, it is essential to try on the shoes before purchasing them to ensure that they fit properly, and to use the width measurements as a guide, not as an absolute measurement.
Now that you know how to read shoe-width letters, we’d love to know if this information helped you with your last pair of shoe fittings! Let us know in the comments section below.
You can also share this article with your friends so they know how to decipher the shoe width letter.
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