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The Difference Between Medium And Wide Shoes

Do most shoes cause you pain, even when you go up a size? Or do you have to try on 3-4 pairs of shoes whenever you shop for shoes, just because every brand fits differently? It’s likely that you have wide feet and the problem is the width of your shoes, not the length. We all have different foot shapes & sizes, and width is one of the most important factors to consider when buying new shoes.

Many people mistakenly think they need to try the next one-half or even full size up when a pair of shoes feels too tight. But oftentimes, it’s actually the width that’s causing your toes to overlap and feet to hurt. Wearing shoes that are too narrow or too wide can result in foot pain, calluses, ingrown toenails, blisters, and bunions. Shoes that are too narrow can also increase your likelihood of falling or succumbing to injuries like stress fractures. If you’ve been thinking about whether or not you need regular or wide shoes, this guide is for you!

Medium Vs. Wide Shoes

At only about ⅛ of an inch difference, the size of a wide shoe and a regular width shoe is not easily noticeable by the human eye. However, it’s the difference between total comfort and constant pain. When it comes to giving your foot a bit more room, this tiny fraction can make all the difference in comfort.

And though most brands just list their sizes as 8 and 8 Wide (as an example), there are actually several different shoe widths. In the United States, there are actually 9 different widths: AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE, and EEE, where AAA is the narrowest and EEE is the widest. They are sized proportionately to length, but the widths can range from 3.4 inches wide (size A) to 5.0+ inches wide (size EEE).

Taps Moc Star Canvas Sneakers


The best way to determine whether or not you need wide shoes is to have your feet measured in a shoe store. Then you can compare your measurements to the exact style of shoe you want to buy. If your schedule allows it, have them measured at the end of the day; your feet swell over the course of the day, meaning they’ll be wider in the evening than the morning.

And as always, make sure to try the shoe on and walk around the store to see how it feels before purchasing. You’ll be able to tell if it’s too wide or narrow within just a few steps.

Do I need wider shoes?

If your feet don’t comfortably fit into normal width shoes, don’t worry – it’s quite common. And if you’re dealing with some pain or discomfort when walking, you might need to go a size wider if you experience:

Frequent Blisters & Chafing

If your wide feet are packed into a narrow shoe, your toes & feet are bound to rub not only together, but against the edge of the sneaker. Within minutes of wearing them, you may develop blisters on the ball of your foot or between your toes.

Pressure Points & Foot Pain

Narrow shoes force your muscles, tendons, and ligaments into uncomfortable positions. After long periods of standing or walking, you may notice that your feet hurt in certain areas.

Foot Deformities

Bunions & hammertoe are two of the most common foot conditions that plague Americans, and the primary cause of both is narrow shoes. Constant pressure from the edges of your shoe push the big toe towards the second toe, leading to a noticeable physical deformity. It’s quite painful and in severe cases, may require medical intervention.

Poor Balance and Stability

This may seem obvious, but wearing narrow shoes is like walking on a balance beam. If you’re constantly rolling over the edge of your shoes, even while walking on flat surfaces, the shoes are far too narrow. It’s only a matter of time before you fall or sprain your ankle.

While medium shoes are the standard size option, that doesn’t mean that they’re right for you. Wide feet are very common and can be influenced by factors like genetics, pregnancy, and aging. And sneakers aren’t the only type of footwear where width matters; you should also make sure that you wear appropriately sized sandals & boots too. Your feet will thank you, and you’ll save yourself months of pain & potential medical treatment. So instead of trying to fit your feet into shoes that are too small, give your feet the space they need with wide-width shoes from Taos.