EW is a common abbreviation when it comes to shoe size. It is considered extra-wide for men’s shoe width sizes, which is also known as 4E.
When you are going to buy shoes online or at stores, you usually see an abbreviation marked on the shoes. The acronym is used to indicate the shoes’ size or width, either under the form of a number or letter. Some of the most common abbreviations are AAAA (or 4A), AA (or 2A), B, D, EE (or 2E), and EEEE (or 4E).
But sometimes, you might bump into a shortening like EW. So, what does EW mean in shoe size? Let’s give a glance at the following parts, where you will discover the meaning of EW and other basic terms in shoe size, as well as knowledge of shoe width in general.
What Does EW Mean In Shoe Size?
In the United States shoe sizing system, E is a letter representing wide width in shoes. E is also considered the narrowest width in the range of wide widths. The more letter E is added after, the wider the shoes are. So, we will have E, 2E (EE), and 4E (EEEE).
And when it comes to the wide width of shoes, you will see an abbreviation EW, typically in men’s shoes. Most of the time, you can come across size 4E or EEEE in males’ shoes, which denotes extra-wide width. Depending on different shoe companies, this extra-wide width can be abbreviated as EW, XW, or WW. In this case, W means equal. So, EW simply means extra-wide width in shoe size.
Of course, women’s and men’s shoes will have separate standard widths for each size. You can look at the following chart to understand more about the abbreviations’ meaning for each size, which is applied to both female’s and male’s shoes.
|Shoe sizes (Standard sizes in bold)||For women (abbreviations)||For men (abbreviations)|
|AAAA/4A||Extra Narrow (X, ES, SS)||Extra Narrow|
|AAA||Extra Narrow||Extra Narrow|
|AA/2A||Narrow (N)||Extra Narrow (X)|
|B||Standard (M, A)||Narrow (N)|
|D||Wide (W)||Standard (A,M)|
|EE/2E||Extra Wide (EW, XW, WW, X)||Wide (W)|
|EEE||Extra Wide||Extra Wide|
|EEEE/4E||Extra Wide (XX)||Extra Wide (EW, XW, WW, X)|
If you buy your shoes directly at shoe stores, you can easily find these sizes and abbreviations on the shoes. However, some shoe companies only sell their shoes online. So, it is advisable to refer to their official website for a detailed size chart.
Understanding Shoe Sizing and Fit
It is really crucial to understand shoe widths and sizes to ensure you can choose the most comfortable, which is the best-fit shoes for your feet. In addition, you also need to know the association between women’s and men’s shoe sizes and widths in case you might prefer the opposite gender’s shoe styles.
Generally speaking, shoe length is usually measured as what is popularly indicated as a shoe size. The shoe length range is varied, depending on different elements, such as manufacturers, shoe styles, etc.
However, almost all worldwide shoe companies offer separate shoe size charts for men’s and women’s shoes. In some cases, you can find only one size chart for unisex shoes, typically in Vans. But this is not really common. So, if you are a woman but want to wear a pair of shoes for men or unisex, you should minus 1.5 or 2 sizes from your regular ladies’ shoe sizes. For example, a lady who wears a size 8 in women’s shoes might fit a size 6.5 or 6 in men’s shoes.
Besides shoe length, width is also another critical factor that affects your fit and comfort. Most people with normal feet usually wear standard or medium-width shoes. For men’s shoes, this standard width is usually abbreviated as the letter D, while B is considered the normal width for ladies’ shoes.
Below are the most common letters/abbreviations relating to shoe widths. Basically, there is around ⅕’’ difference between every width.
A: Means Extra Narrow
B: Means Medium for Women
C: Means Narrow Medium
D / REG / M: Means Medium for Men
E / MW: Means Medium Wide
EE / W: Means Wide
W / XW: Means Wide / Extra Wide
EEE / EW / WW / XW: Means Extra Wide
EEEE / 4E: Means 2X Wide
5E: Means 3X Wide
6E: Means 4X Wide
In fact, some women with smaller feet tend to wear children-sized shoes and find it difficult to get a pair with a proper fit. So, if this case is true for you, simply add 1.5 or 2 sizes to the kids’ size to get your corresponding size in women’s shoes. For example, if you typically wear a size 7 in ladies’ shoes, then the equivalent size in a child’s shoe will be 5.5 or 5.
Shoe Width Chart
The following chart shows the common narrow, standard/medium, and wide widths in shoes. In fact, the actual shoe widths can be different, depending on the sneaker style and brand you choose. Having said that, these widths are very similar to the real widths from manufacturers.
|Shoe sizes||Men’s shoes (N-Narrow, S-Standard, W-Wide) inches||Women’s shoes (N-Narrow, S-Standard, W-Wide) inches|
|5||N/A||N – 3.06S – 3.18W – 3.31|
|5.5||N/A||N – 3.31S – 3.25W – 3.375|
|6||N – 3.075S – 3.5W – 3.625||N – 3.18S – 3.31W – 3.43|
|6.5||N – 3.5S – 3.625W – 3.75||N – 3.25S – 3.375W – 3.5|
|7||N – 3.5S – 3.625W – 3.75||N – 3.31S – 3.43W – 3.56|
|7.5||N – 3.56S – 3.68W – 3.81||N – 3.375S – 3.5W – 3.625|
|8||N – 3.625S – 3.75W – 3.87||N – 3.43S – 3.56W – 3.68|
|8.5||N – 3.625S – 3.75W – 3.77||N – 3.5S – 3.625W – 3.75|
|9||N – 3.81S – 3.93W – 4.06||N – 3.56S – 3.68W – 3.81|
|9.5||N – 3.81S – 3.93W – 4.06||N – 3.625S – 3.75W – 3.77|
|10||N – 3.87S – 4W – 4.12||N – 3.625S – 3.75W – 3.77|
|10.5||N – 4S – 4.12W – 4.25||N – 3.75S – 3.75W – 4|
|11||N – 4S – 4.12W – 4.25||N – 3.81S – 3.93W – 4.06|
|11.5||N – 4.06S – 4.18W – 4.31||N/A|
|12||N – 4.18S – 4.31W – 4.43||N – 3.93S – 4.06W – 4.18|
|12.5||N – 4.18S – 4.31W – 4.43||N/A|
|13||N – 4.18S – 4.31W – 4.43||N/A|
|13.5||N – 4.25S – 4.375W – 4.5||N/A|
Looking at the table above will let you know which shoe width you should choose, like medium, narrow, or wide, etc. In case you don’t see the perfect width for your shoe size, it is likely to be extra wide or extra narrow. So, if you are going to purchase your shoes at a local store, just tell the shopkeeper that you are extra wide or extra narrow and give them your foot width measurements.
How to Find The Best Fit Shoe Width
It is true that women’s shoe width sizes are not the same as men’s. The shoe length can be similar, but the shoe widths will be very different. One clear example is that the standard/medium width for male shoes is considered wide for ladies’ shoes.
For instance, the standard width for a pair of size 12 in men’s shoes is 4 5/16, whereas a lady’s size 12 medium shoe width is only 4 1/16. So, always refer to the shoe width chart above to find your equivalents to get the exact shoe length and width.
But what if you don’t find your width on the chart. For example, my foot width is 4 6/16 inches. So, what is my perfect shoe size? In this case, I need to measure my foot length for a more accurate result. The measurement of my foot’s length is 11 ½ inches. So, I will get a pair of size 12 shoes.
How to Measure Your Foot Width
The above section lets you know how to find your equivalent shoe width based on your foot width. But some of you might not know how to measure your foot width in the right way. Basically, a pair of shoes with one more letter A has a narrow width. On the other hand, it tends to be wider if labeled with one or more letters E.
Fortunately, you can completely measure your foot width at home with some simple items. And here are the detailed directions on how to measure your foot width on your own.
- Put your foot on a paper placed on a flat floor
- Outline your foot using a pencil or pen.
- Make sure the lines are straight and parallel to each other and your foot. The lines should reach the widest point of your foot on both sides.
- Measure the distance between these widest spots using a ruler.
- Remember to measure both of your feet as each might be smaller or wider.
Tips on Getting a Better Fit for Your Shoes
If you have sized your foot length and widths and referred to the shoe size chart above, you will now have a close estimation of the shoe type you should buy.
For instance, your feet are 4 6/16 inches. Then you might want to get a normal size 12 according to the chart above. However, your foot width is between wide and medium/standard width. So, in this case, you should wear shoes with size 12, which will be fine for a lot of shoe brands.
Of course, the best way to ensure this is to try on the shoes. For most shoe styles, the sizes can be similar. However, you might find some brands offer a size that is broader or tighter than you may expect.
That is why you need to measure your foot length and width and double-check with the brand’s shoe size chart. So, you will get the best fit possible.
Consider Ordering Custom Shoes
In fact, most shoe manufacturers provide only standard shoe sizes that fit almost all normal foot types. These are AAAA/4A, AA/2A, B, D, EE/2E, and EEEE/4E in the United States shoe sizing system. But you can also get tailor-made shoes to ensure the best fit.
You can measure your feet at home by yourself or have them measured at a store to make sure they fit your feet well. Besides, you should consider the purpose and frequency you will use your shoes, like for walking or running. Keep in mind that your feet can be changed a little bit around all day. So, don’t purchase shoes that feel snuggly fitted if you expect to run or walk a lot.
Shoe Size Conversions
As you might know, each nation has its own method to decide shoe sizes. Let’s say, shoe sizes in the United States will be different from Asian countries like Japan, Korea, etc. You can refer to the above shoe size conversion chart or find your right shoe size here. It allows you to convert your shoe size by country, size, and gender.
Does Your Foot Size Increase or Decrease Over Time?
It is always suggested to measure your foot size again every so often. Generally speaking, your foot size will not change after 21 years old. However, some life events or factors can change your feet sizes, such as weight gain, pregnancy, etc. In addition, your foot arch and shape might change a little bit after a while.
So, when your feet might become a bit looser or tighter, weaker or stronger, you should always measure it again. Make sure you measure both your feet’s width and length to get the best fit size possible. This is also crucial if you want to purchase tailor-made shoes.
Will Your Shoes Stretch Out Over Time?
It depends on the shoe materials. So, some might stretch while others don’t. For example, if your shoes’ upper is made from leather, it can not only stretch but also shrink. So, you should be really cautious when using or cleaning them. Synthetic fibers, on the other hand, might not stretch after a while unless they are specifically designed to be stretchy.
However, in some cases, stretching shoes is considered a good way for shoes that are too tight. In general, it is still best to try your new shoes on before deciding to buy them or not. In case you can’t, stretching might be one of the best solutions possible for tight sneakers.
If you are afraid of shoes being elastic over time, you should avoid models made from leather. Of course, premium-quality leather can still retain its shape. In addition, synthetic fibers are another excellent alternative.
What does EW mean in shoe size? I believe that you now understand its meaning. In shoe size, typically men’s shoes, EW is popularly abbreviated as extra-wide width. But you can also see another letter that indicates extra-wide shoe width in male’s shoes, which is 4E or EEEE. These are the same as both refer to extra-wide when it comes to shoe width.