Find Your Perfect Width at Shoe Carnival!
Narrow? Wide? Not sure? In part two of our four-part series, learn how to find your right width every time.
When it comes to finding your shoe size, many people only think about foot length. It’s important to remember that finding the correct width for your shoes is just as important as finding the correct length. Check out the list below of frequently asked questions about shoe width and make sure your next shoe purchase is the perfect fit – in length and width!
“Does Foot Width Truly Matter?”
Many health issues can arise from ill-fitting shoes, such as corns, calluses, bunions, hammer toe, and ingrown toenails. Poorly fitted shoes have also been linked to joint and back pain. Choosing the right width of shoes will enhance your comfort and enjoyment of any style of shoe.
“How Do Shoe Widths Work?”
A letter at the end of a shoe size indicates the width of the shoe. There are two common scales used to indicate shoe width. One scale simply uses “N” for narrow, “M” or “R” for medium or regular width, “W” for wide, and “EW” for extra wide. The other scale uses letters AA through EEEE, with AA being the narrowest width and EEEE being the widest.
In general, a B width is equal to a women’s medium width, and a D width is equal to a men’s medium width and a women’s wide width. For example, a women’s 8D, a women’s 8W, and a men’s size 6M would all be approximately the same width.
Have more questions about width measurement and sizing? Check out our Size Chart for more information.
“How Can I Tell if My Shoes are Too Narrow?”
Many of us wear shoes that are too narrow. Wearing shoes that don’t fit can contribute to long-term foot health issues, so it’s key to understand if your shoes are securely snug or far too tight. One tell-tale sign that your shoes are too narrow is that they smash your toes or leave bruises on your foot.
“How Can I Tell if My Shoes are Too Wide?”
There is also a chance that your shoes could be too big or too wide! If your sneakers or oxfords are only comfortable when you pull the laces extra tight, there’s a good chance you’re in too wide of a size. If you’re someone who enjoys wearing heels and pumps, check to see if your heels are popping out of the back of the shoe or if the back of your heel is blistered after wearing. If they are, then the shoes are too big or too wide and you should think about sizing down.
“The Shoes I Want Only Come in a Medium Width. What Should I Do?”
If the shoes you want only come in one width, then for narrow feet it is recommended that you size down and size up if your foot is wider.
“What Brands Are Better for Wide Feet?”
So many brands carry wide-width shoes that it is hard to pick just a few! From sneakers to dress shoes, Shoe Carnival has a huge assortment of brand-name wide-width shoes for women, men, and kids.
Plus, brands like Crocs, Birkenstock, Skechers, and New Balance have a reputation for running wide, so even their medium width shoes may be a little wider than average.
Need to go extra wide? Skechers and Easy Street carry stylish and affordable products for extra wide feet.
You should never wear shoes that are too tight for your feet, but if you are having difficulty finding the right width:
- Wear thin or no socks – Socks take up extra room inside the shoe.
- Loosen the laces – Choosing shoes with laces allow you to achieve a looser fit. If you have a particularly wide heel, avoid lacing up the top eyelets.
- Opt for mules and slides – Open toes and open heels allow for more wiggle room!
- Go up a half-size – Shoe width increases slightly as shoe length increases. A shoe that’s half a size longer will often be a little bit wider.
- Shop in another department – Men’s and children’s shoes are typically wider than women’s shoes, so a similar shoe from the men’s or kids’ section is likely to be wider. To convert from women’s sizes to youth or men’s sizes, subtract 1 ½ size. So, if you wear a women’s size 8, then you would look for a youth size 6 ½. Likewise, if you wear a women’s size 11 ½, try a men’s size 10.
“What Brands Are Better for Narrow Feet?”
Brands such as Clarks, Easy Spirit, Lifestride, SAS, and Ros Hommerson that carry a variety of narrow width styles. Iconic brands such as Bella Vita and Nike have a reputation for running narrow.
Unlike your friends with wide feet, there are many options for you to make a medium-width shoe work for your narrow feet:
- Wear thicker socks – Socks help fill the excess room inside the shoe and prevent chafing.
- Add an insole – An insole is a perfect solution when there’s too much room between the top of your foot and the top of the shoe.
- Tighten the laces – Choosing shoes with laces allow you to achieve a more secure fit. If you have a particularly narrow heel, choose lace-up shoes with eyelets around the ankle.
- Choose pumps and sandals with ankle straps – Having narrow heels can cause shoes to slip. Keep your summer shoes securely on your feet by choosing a pair with an ankle strap.
- Add heel grips to the inside of the shoe – Another way to prevent heel slippage, heel grips have the bonus of also reducing the width of the heel area.
- Go down a half-size – Shoe width increases slightly as shoe length increases. A shoe that’s half a size smaller will often be a little bit narrower.
- Shop in another department – Women’s shoes are typically narrower than men’s or children’s shoes, so a similar shoe from the women’s section is likely to be narrower. To convert from men’s sizes to women’s sizes, add 1 ½ size. So, if you wear a men’s size 10, then you would look for a women’s size 11 ½. Likewise, to convert from youth to women’s sizes, add 1 ½ size; a youth 6 ½ is equivalent to a women’s 8.
No matter your foot width, you’re sure to find your perfect fit at Shoe Carnival!