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How to measure feet for wide fitting shoes

a woman putting on a pair of wide fit trainers

Finding a pair of shoes that are the perfect fit is a challenging process, especially if you have wide feet. Although plenty of brands sell specially designed wide fit footwear intended to keep those with broader feet comfortable, understanding how the sizing system works and the best methods of measuring your feet to ensure you purchase the right pair can be confusing. 

To help you find the ideal pair of shoes, boots, trainers or slippers, we have put together this handy guide that tells you everything you need to know about wide fit footwear. From advice on the best way to measure your own feet to guidance on understanding UK wide fit sizing, keep reading as we take a deep dive into this specialist form of footwear. 

How to measure your feet 

While standard shoe sizes will fit the majority of individuals, for those with wide or irregular shaped feet or large bunions, specially designed wide fit shows may be required. For this reason, when it comes to finding shoes that fit properly, measuring your feet before purchasing is always a sensible choice. This process is done in two halves - firstly measuring the length of your foot and then the width. Using these measurements, you will be able to determine what size of shoe will fit you best. Below we outline how you can measure your own feet easily and quickly at home. 

How to measure foot length

In order to take a correct foot measurement at home, you will need a pencil, a piece of paper larger than your foot, and a standard tape measure or ruler. It’s a good idea to measure your feet at night, as they may swell during the day, so you will want to take a measurement when your feet are at their biggest. Additionally, it may be worth wearing a pair of socks or tights, especially if you are sizing up for a pair of shoes that you will not be wearing barefoot. 

Once you are ready, follow the steps below to calculate your foot length. 

1)    Sit on a chair and place one foot on the piece of paper   

 2)    Ensuring you are holding the pencil vertically, trace around the outside of your foot, staying as close as possible to your skin without angling the point of the pencil inwards. There is no need to draw around each toe, as long as you mark around the outside of your longest toe. If you believe one foot is a different size to the other, repeat this process for both feet. 

 3)    Using your tape or ruler, measure the distance on the paper from the top of your longest toe to the bottom of your heel outline. Once this is done, note down the figure and subtract 0.2 inches (0.5cm) to account for the diameter of your pencil outline. The measurement you are left with is the length of your foot. 

Once you have your length measurement, you can then determine what standard UK shoe size may fit you best. To do this, simply take your measurements and see which UK shoe size they correspond to using our size guides below. 

How to measure foot width

If you have struggled to fit into standard shoe sizes in the past due to the width of your feet, it could be that you require a wide fit design. To measure the width of your foot, and to help determine if you require wide fit shoes, follow the simple steps below:

1)    Sit on a chair and wrap a flexible tape measure around the widest part of your foot. This is usually at the base of your toes.   

 2)    Without pulling the tape too tight, note down where one end of the tape measure meets the other. It’s a good idea to note down measurements in both centimetres and inches.   

 3)    Repeat this process on your other foot. If there is a difference in width between feet, we would advise taking the largest measurement as your foot width. 

What is a wide shoe size? 

Wide fit shoe sizes in the UK are determined by not only the width of a shoe, but also how this corresponds with the length of the shoe (or standard UK size). This is to say, as the length of the shoe increases, so does the measurement needed for it to be classed as a ‘wide fit’ item of footwear. The table below shows which width (circumference) measurements correspond to narrow, standard, wide and extra wide shoes by size in the UK. 

What are the sizes for wide fitting shoes? 

Specialist footwear brands use a system of letters to indicate the size of their shoes. The meaning of these letters is outlined in the table below. With this in mind, a specialist shoe will be sized using a common UK size to signify length and a letter to describe the width. For example, if a woman’s foot is 25.9cm long and 10.6cm wide, they should look for shoes in an 8E size. 
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