What Do Letters Next To Shoe Sizes Mean?

It is commonly accepted that math was a completely fine subject until it started introducing letters.

This is probably why people have begun to feel betrayed when it comes time to look for a new pair of shoes and they realize that someone has gone ahead and added letters next to the traditional shoe sizes.

A change like this is not only confusing for many people, but also a tremendous inconvenience if you don’t know what they mean.

If you go shopping for shoes and realize that someone added letters to the shoe size of the product that you’re looking for, don’t worry.

You didn’t accidentally slip into an alternate reality where shoes are sized differently.

These fancy new letters are actually a matter of your convenience.

The letters next to shoe sizes are used to let you know the width of the shoe.

Check out our Shoe Size Converter Tool

What Does Shoe Size Actually Mean?

In the past and largely in the present as well, shoes have been commonly sized using only numerical values. 

These numerical values have been used to indicate the length of the shoe.

For most people wearing most shoes, this has been enough to indicate whether or not a shoe would comfortably fit. 

For most general shoes, you can bank on the numerical value being relatively consistent.

However, depending on the type of shoe or brand, you might end up wearing a different size than you are used to.

Most people know that the best way to get shoes that fit is to physically try them on and walk around them a little bit.

Now that shoe styles have begun to change and we have gotten a more realistic understanding of the fact that everyone’s feet are shaped a little bit differently, many brands have begun to add an additional sizing element.

This is where the letters have come in when you look at shoe sizes.

These letters are their own scale that are designated to help indicate the width of a person’s foot.

In the same way that we know to measure the length of someone’s foot to determine the numerical size, we have now begun to consider the width of a person’s foot in the same way.

This letter element indicates how wide or narrow a person’s foot is independently of the width.

Why Do We Indicate Foot Width?

Most people know the feeling of having shoes that are the right length but not the right width. 

You might have ended up with shoes that were too narrow or too wide, but at the end of the day, the width of your foot impacted how the shoe fit.

This is a pretty big issue considering the potential impacts of wearing shoes that don’t fit. 

Wearing shoes that are too small can injure or damage your feet in horrible ways.

Shoes that are too big might cause your feet to slide, which can lead to injury or result in blisters.

Though it would be nice if we could all guarantee that our shoes would be sized appropriately based on length, everyone has different feet and that has to be considered.

Sizing shoes based on width is an excellent way to help people find a more comfortable shoe experience.

Since some styles of shoes are more likely to be wide or narrow, it is helpful to know where they fall.

Accommodating the differences in foot width in the same way that we accommodate length is a great way to make sure that everyone can find shoes that fit well.

High heels have a tendency to be narrower while sandals might be more wide.

These factors impact our experience with them, which is why we should take more time to accommodate different widths.

While people traditionally have to either size up or size down to match the width, providing shoes that are sized to width can help people get a more comfortable experience. This is great for shoe sales.

What Do The Letters Actually Mean?

The letters that you see in shoes indicate different widths. These letters are actually a scale.

In the same way that you might see small, medium, and large when browsing for shirts, these letters indicate how wide a person’s foot would be in inches.

The range in most US sizes ranges fromabout two inches to nearly four inches. 

The letters being used are determined in relation to the actual length of the shoe.

The reason that these vary is because some people have more wide or narrow shoes than the length of their foot would generally accommodate.

What is wide for one shoe length might be narrow for another. 

The Most Popular Shoe Widths Are As Follows:

• AA— This rating is considered a narrow fit. 

• M/B— Shoes that fall in the medium or standard width range are often marked with these letters. This indicates that you are a more normal width.

• D— Shoes with this characteristic are considered wide when it comes to width.

• EE— This indicates that the shoe is an extra wide width. 


Providing labels for shoe width is a great way for shoe brands to easily appeal to more consumers.

Acknowledging the fact that we all have different sized feet. Some people have feet that are short and wide while others have feet that are long and narrow.

These differences exist widely for most people, which is what makes it so pleasant that we can now all get shoes that fit us better.

Being able to wear comfortable shoes can promote health all around the body.

Companies know this and are working to accommodate all kinds of feet in order to better suit the needs of their customers.

In the future, we’ll probably all have custom shoes that match the exact dimensions of our feet, but this is a pretty good start.