Do Men’s Shoes Wider Than Women’s? What Are The Different Shoe Widths?

Last Updated on September 23, 2023 by Chase Reiner

Yes, men’s shoes are often wider than women’s to accommodate the average male foot’s wider shape. Common shoe widths include Narrow (N), Standard or Medium (M), Wide (W), and Extra Wide (XW), with measurements ranging from A (narrow) to EEE (extra wide).

Do Men's Shoes Wider Than Women's

Do Men’s Shoes Wider Than Women’s?

Men’s shoes are often wider than women’s shoes. This difference in width is primarily due to variations in average foot anatomy between men and women.

Why Men’s Shoes Are Wider:

  1. Foot Structure: On average, men tend to have wider feet than women. The metatarsal width (the width of the forefoot) and the heel width are typically broader in men’s feet.
  2. Biomechanical Differences: The biomechanics of men’s and women’s feet can vary. Men often have a lower arch, and their feet may naturally splay out more, requiring extra width for comfort and stability.
  3. Historical Footwear Norms: Traditional men’s footwear has been designed to provide ample room and width for the foot. This is partly because many men’s shoe styles, such as work boots and athletic shoes, are intended for rugged activities that demand stability and comfort.
  4. Safety and Comfort: In occupations where safety and comfort are crucial, like construction or manufacturing, men’s work boots are designed wider to accommodate the needs of male workers.
  5. Fashion and Styling: Men’s shoe styles, like loafers and oxfords, often feature wider, more squared-off toe boxes, which are considered classic and masculine in design.

What Are The Significant Differences In Men’s And Women’s Shoes?

There are several significant differences between men’s and women’s shoes, reflecting variations in foot anatomy, style preferences, and sizing. Here are the key distinctions:

  1. Size and Fit:
    • Length: Men’s shoes are generally larger in length than women’s shoes. A men’s size 9 shoe is typically longer than a women’s size 9.
    • Width: Men’s shoes are usually wider than women’s shoes to accommodate the broader shape of the average male foot.
  2. Toe Shape:
    • Women’s shoes often have a more pointed or rounded toe shape, while men’s shoes typically have a wider and more squared-off toe box.
  3. Heel Height:
    • High heels are a distinctive feature of many women’s shoes, while men’s shoes generally have lower or flat heels.
  4. Style and Design:
    • Women’s shoes often offer a wider variety of styles and designs, including flats, heels, sandals, and boots, with more emphasis on fashion trends.
    • Men’s shoes tend to be more conservative in design, with a focus on classic styles like oxfords, loafers, and sneakers.
  5. Width Options:
    • Women’s shoes may come in a narrower range of width options compared to men’s. Men’s shoes often offer more choices, including wide and extra-wide widths.
  6. Color and Detailing:
    • Women’s shoes often feature more intricate detailing, such as embellishments, colors, and patterns, to cater to fashion preferences.
    • Men’s shoes tend to be more understated, with neutral colors and minimal embellishments.
  7. Sizing Conversion:
    • There is typically a difference in sizing between men’s and women’s shoes. For example, a woman’s size 8 may correspond to a man’s size 6.5, but sizing conversions can vary by brand.
  8. Purpose and Function:
    • Men’s shoes are often designed with durability and functionality in mind, reflecting the traditional roles of men’s footwear.
    • Women’s shoes encompass a wider range of purposes, including everyday wear, formal occasions, and fashion-forward styles.
  9. Pricing:
    • Women’s shoes can be more expensive due to the added elements of fashion and design. Men’s shoes, focused on function, may be comparatively more affordable.
  10. Arch Support:
    • Women’s shoes may have different arch support structures, as women tend to have different arch shapes than men. Orthopedic considerations may also vary.

Comparison Chart Of The Differences:

SpecificationsMen’s ShoesWomen’s Shoes
Standard SizeTwo widths broader and 1.5 inches longer1.5 inches shorter and narrower by two widths.
Standard WidthAverage width – “D.”Average width – ” B”.
Q anglesNarrow Q angles and do not require extra support.Wide Q angles and need extra support in the area of the shoe.
Overall appearanceWider and longer.Slimmer and narrower.
Style and DesignIt has limited styles and designs.It has a wide range of styles and designs.
VarietiesIt includes varieties like Monk-straps, Derby, slip-on, and oxfords.It includes varieties like Ballet flats, slingbacks, mules, pumps, and high-heeled.
AdditionsWingtips and caps.It has an endless number of additions and combinations.

What Are The Different Shoe Widths?

According to US standards, there exist nine widths, ranging from the narrowest AAA to the widest EEE. Typically, an average-sized man will go for D width, as it is considered a medium. On the other hand, an average-sized woman goes for her typical medium-size B. To find the correct shoe, you need to measure your width correctly.

The range of nine widths includes sizes AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE, and EEE. As the sizes A and E are near to the spectrum, they are further divided into subcategories by adding a letter. The extra letter at the narrower end indicates a narrower width while at the wider end indicates a broader width. The below mentioned three sizes are the most searched:

D Width:

This width is considered as a medium for men and a little wide for women. Depending on the shoe size, it measures somewhere near 3-5 inches across the bottom ball of the foot. For example, in men’s shoes, a size 10D is 4 inches, and a size 14D is 4.5 inches across.

E Width:

This width is considered a medium for men and extra comprehensive for women. Depending on the foot size, it stretches around 3.2-5.2 inches across the bottom ball of the foot. Typically, for men, size 10E is 4.2 inches while size 14E is 4.7 inches across.

EE Width:

This width is considered extra wide for both men and women. This width is not readily available in stores as there hasn’t been much demand for it. However, for the past few decades with changing gender variations, a lot of different options have been included from time to time. Their broad ranges between 3.4 -5.4 inches across the foot, depending on the size of the shoe.

How To Measure The Width Of The Shoe All By Yourself?

With this fast-paced life and the growing popularity of online shopping, we hardly visit stores for our shoe shopping. Now, everything gets delivered within a click. So, as a need to submit the measurements, we have to do it ourselves. But, you can easily measure your shoe width at home, by just following the below-mentioned steps:

1. You can use a measuring tape and wrap it around the widest part of your foot. Keep it a little loose and do not tighten it much. Now, you can put your foot on the ground and try and distribute your weight as you would typically do when you are standing.

2. Now, you can mark on the tape measure how wide your foot is in terms of millimeters.

3. After knowing your exact measurements, you can quickly look up your width on the shoe tables and get to know your actual size.

4. Do make sure that you measure the width of both feet as one can be wider than the other.

If any case, you do not have a measuring tape, you can use the length of the string. It is an easy process as you have to mark the line and then, with the help of a ruler, identify its width.


With the difference in the biological structures of men and women, their shoe width also tends to vary. Men’s feet are broader and larger in comparison to women’s feet, and thus, there exist shoes of various widths in the market.

One needs to measure the width of his or her feet and buy shoes accordingly. The width of your feet might even change occasionally depending upon your weight, diseases and excessive water retention problems. Too narrow or too wide shoes can also cause spurs and blisters. It is essential to wear shoes, depending on one’s feet size.


1. Does The Width Of Foot Changes With Time?

Yes, the width of the foot changes even after your body stops growing. The main reasons include gaining weight, pregnancy, excess water retention, diabetes, etc.

2. Do All Shoe Brands Specify Width?

No. most European and American brands only specify standard widths or narrow-width shoes. But, for the last few decades, many brands have begun offering a wide range of options.

3. What Is The Ideal Width For Men’s And Women’s Shoe?

As men generally have wider feet, so, they usually go for a “D”. And, as women’s feet are usually smaller and wider, so, they typically go for a “B”.

4. What  If My Shoes Are Too Narrow?

Wearing narrow shoes can cause a lot of issues like foot deformities, cramps, excessive sweating leading to fungal or bacterial infections, etc.

5. What If My Shoes Are Too Wide?

Wide shoes can cause a lot of troubles, including uncomfortable walk, bone spur, friction while walking leading to blisters and sores, nail problems as well as hammertoes.


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