Different Shoe Fittings Explained

We all know shoes come in different length sizes, but what do you know about the other dimensions and fittings? All feet are different once we get to adulthood and the way our feet have grown can be determined by our lifestyles and the shoes we wear.

With 26 different bones, the complexity of the foot means different shapes and sizes are more than common.  For shoe manufacturers this means to remain inclusive, they must consider the width of their shoes, as well as the length.


Alongside the shoe size, you may also have seen letters from the alphabet. These indicate the width of the shoe. They differ for men, women and children so it is important to know the difference.

Women                                             Men                                                   Children

C – Narrow                                       E – Narrow                                        D – Very narrow

D – Standard                                     F – Standard                                     F – Standard fit

E – Wide fit                                       G – Wide                                           G – Wide fit

EE – Extra wide fit                           H – Extra wide                                  H – Extra wide

EEE – Ultra wide fit

Wearing shoes that accommodate your feet is so important. Especially for children, as we mentioned, the complex structure of your feet can be affected by the type of shoe you wear, more so for growing feet.

For women, shoes are a hot topic and a huge part of women’s fashion. Evening wear often consists of high heels or even stilettos, the pointed fronts of these shoes can over time, cause women’s feet to grow abnormally.

This can lead to issues such as bunions, hammertoe or Morton’s neuroma, amongst others. For women suffering with bunions, the ultra-wide fit shoe may be a solution.


In ancient China, young women had their feet bound to shape them. Creating what was called lotus feet, they wore lotus shoes and this was seen as a status symbol. The practice originated in the 10th century among court dancers.

Foot binding grew in popularity after spreading to the lower classes and by the 19th century it was estimated around 50% of the female population had bound feet. Unfortunately, the practice led to disabilities and was finally banned in 1912.


Your foot’s arch should also be a consideration when buying shoes. There are three types of arches, normal, low and high.

For those of us with low arches (flat), when running your foot collapses inwards. Extra support is advisable in the way of internal wedges on the inside of the shoe’s sole. This will stop the rolling of your foot and provide extra support.

For high arches, extra cushioning is advisable. The pronounced arch means your foot is less able to absorb shock, reliant on just the heel and ball of the foot. Swapping out the wedge for extra cushioning will best protect your feet.

If you are unsure about the shape or needs of your foot, you can always call into a Clarks store where we will be more than happy to take a look.

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