The Myths of Widths

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by Neal Lebar (President of ICS Shoes)

Today, we received a call from a women who said, "my husband needs the widest shoe you have". We asked, "what shoe is he now wearing?". We were told, "New Balance with a 4E width and it's too tight on his big bunion". After measuring the man's feet, our Fitting Specialist recommended an Apis 728-E, 10E width shoe. That might seem like a huge difference but, there are many factors to consider.

You've probably experienced trying on the same size shoes and they all fit differently. One of the most misunderstood measurements is the width of shoes. There is no ironclad standard that defines the width of a shoe. Consequently, most manufacturers will have different width measurements. I have athletic shoes from different manufacturers that are medium and wide.

There are several other factors that affect the width of a shoe and how it actually fits on your foot. These include; (1) The Last (platform or footbed), (2) Structure of the toe box, (3) The Upper material type (leather, lycra, mesh), and (4) The tightness of the upper material.

Although the widths of shoes may be different based upon the manufacturer, they are simply a general guideline. When looking at a shoe, observe how the toe box is structured. If you have thicker feet, you'll probably need a fuller toe box and one that comes up a little higher. Consider the type of upper material and flexibility. When looking at pictures of shoes, you can get a good idea if they will provide enough volume. Many shoe are made where the toe tapers and becomes more and more narrow. All you have to do is look at most women's high heel shoes or cowboy boots, as they taper to a point. If your toes are jammed together, you might be able to get your foot into them, but the long term ramifications may cause a myriad of foot issues.

The best way to tell if you have the correct fit is, when the edges of your foot meet and align flush with the edges of the footbed, not narrower and not overlapping. The heel should sit snugly in the heel cup and the general feel without lacing up should be comfortable without being restrictive.

Need help?

We have hundreds of styles of shoes available in: Medium, Wide, X-Wide, XX-Wide, XXX-Wide, 10E, and 14E. Call or email our Fitting Specialists who have extensive knowledge of each manufacturer, style, and sizes available. They will work closely with you to make sure you get the Perfect Fit!

Comfort Lives Here!

~Neal
nlebar@icsshoes.com




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