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How to measure shoe width size

Updated February 21, 2017

When many people think of shoe size, they think of just one thing -- the number. Yet, this numerical representation only corresponds to the length of the shoe, and not all people's feet are the same width in proportion to the length. This is where shoe widths come into the picture, represented by letters that come after the numbered size. If you want to measure your shoe width, you don't need the special foot-measuring tool that they have at shoe stores. All you need is something to write with, a ruler and paper.

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  1. Take off your shoes and socks and estimate the widest part of your foot.

  2. Wrap a cloth measuring tape around the widest part of the foot, put your foot back flat on the ground and ensure that your weight is fully on the foot you are measuring.

  3. Read off the measurement where the end of the tape overlaps the rest of the tape.

  4. Slide the looped measuring tape a little way up and a little way down your foot to make sure you got the widest measurement. Revise your noted width if you find a higher measurement.

  5. Place a piece of paper on the floor with one of the narrow sides up against a wall. Put your foot on the paper so your heel is touching the wall. Mark the paper just in front of your big toe.

  6. Measure the distance from the back edge of the paper to the mark.

  7. Read off your shoe size from this measurement by consulting a shoe size chart (see Resources).

  8. Use the width measurement to find out your shoe width from a fitting chart (see Resources). This will be represented by a letter. Use the right chart for your gender. The width letter depends on your shoe size.

  9. Tip

    When you are between two sizes, go for the larger size.


    Do not alter your measurements by accidentally tilting your pen or pencil when you create your footprint.

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Things You'll Need

  • Sheet of paper
  • Cloth measuring tape
  • Male or female shoe-size chart

About the Author

Antonia Sorin started writing in 2004. She is an independent writer, filmmaker and motion graphics designer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has completed work for the Long Leaf Opera Company, the former Exploris Museum and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She graduated from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.

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