Women's shoe sizes come in more than just the standard sizes denoting lengths; they also come in different widths. Getting the right width for your shoes is essential to proper fit. Shoes that fit well do not just mean better comfort when wearing them; they also ensure proper foot health. Both wide and EEE shoes are measures of a shoe's width.
How Width is Indicated
Most people are familiar with the numbered shoe sizes but are less familiar with how width is indicated. The width of a shoe is listed as a letter. Thus a shoe has two sizes, the numbered size and the lettered width. 8E indicates both the length and the width of a particular shoe as being a size 8 with an E width.
What "Wide" Means
The letter "W" or the term wide is used in a shoe size to indicate that the shoe is one size wider than the standard width. This is the most commonly seen size for wider shoes. Depending on the manufacturer and nation of origin, W may also appear as C or D. These all indicate the same width.
What "EEE" Means
The addition of more letters means a wider shoe. The letter E standing alone is an extra-wide shoe size. The addition of two additional Es to the size indicates the shoe is two sizes wider than a single E size. Thus a triple E, or EEE, shoe width is an XXX-wide shoe. It is also seen as 3E and 3xW.
The Difference Between W and EEE
Each size up or down in width indicates about a 1/4 inch size change in the measurement found at the ball of the foot. Going from a W width to a EEE width requires three increases in width, so the total difference between the two sizes is 3/4 of an inch.
- Eileen Bach/Lifesize/Getty Images