Difference Between Medium and Wide Shoes (With Table)

Buying the wrong size shoe causes discomfort and sometimes becomes the origin of conditions like ingrown toenails or calluses. People with wider feet find it difficult to get the right size as medium and wide shoes are not readily available in every store. These types of shoes are very comfortable for wider feet and are also easily distinguishable. 

Medium Shoes vs Wide Shoes

The difference between medium shoes and wide shoes is that medium shoes are ¼ inch wider than narrow-fitting shoes whereas wide-fitting shoes are designed for wider feet and are ½ inch wider than narrow-fitting shoes. The wide shoes are also ¼ inch wider than the medium shoes. 

Medium fitted shoes are slightly narrower as compared to wide shoes but they are wider than normal-sized shoes. If someone is uncomfortable wearing a normal-sized shoe because their toes might overlap, they generally end up buying a size up. But, this is a common mistake made as the person needs comparatively wider shoes (they can try medium shoes) and no longer shoes. 

Wide fitting shoes have a similar length as any normal-sized shoes but they are wider to accommodate wide feet. People with wide feet have wider forefoot and toes and that is why the wide shoes come with a slightly increased toe box. The width of these shoes varies from extra narrow to extra-wide. 

Comparison Table Between Medium Shoes and Wide Shoes

Parameters of ComparisonMedium ShoesWide Shoes
Width Medium shoes are ¼ inch wider than narrow-fitting shoes.  Wide shoes have ½ inch more width than any narrow-fitting shoes.
Labels The alphabetical labeling for medium shoes starts from B. The alphabetical labeling for wide shoes starts from D.
Men Medium shoes that are made for men are labeled D. It is the standard shoe size for men.  Wide shoes that are made for men are labeled either E or 2E.
Women The standard or the medium shoe size for women is labeled as B.  In the case of women, D is used for labeling the wide shoes. 
Measurement The difference in width of the feet is less than or equal to ¼ inch than narrow-fitting shoes.The difference in width of the feet is more than ¼ inch and less than or equal to ½ inch than narrow-fitting shoes.

What are Medium Shoes?

The medium shoes are ¼ inch wider than the narrow-fitting shoes and ¼ inch narrower than the wide shoes. Medium-fitted shoes are also designed for people with broad feet but their feet width is comparatively lesser than those fit for wide shoes. 

These shoes are designed specifically to give clinical support to the feet and people who are suffering from edema or feet swelling benefit a great deal. People who require a medium shoe their feet is a slightly broader than normal feet and faces lesser difficulty when wearing a narrow-fitting shoe. 

But, their toes still tend to overlap or they forcefully have to squeeze their entire feet inside a normal shoe. And, if the lack of comfort continues for a long period due to negligence it can give rise to foot or leg disorders.  So, it is always recommended to measure both the width and length of a foot before buying a pair of shoes. 

The sizing for medium shoes also varies for both men and women. For men, the medium shoes are labeled as D whereas for women the medium-fit shoe is labeled as B. 

What are Wide Shoes?

Wide shoes are required for comparatively wider feet but they are the same in length. People with broader feet think that they are uncomfortable in narrow-fitting shoes because they have bought one size smaller than they need. But, wide feet are about the increase in the width of the feet and not the length. So, buying a bigger narrow-fitting shoe doesn’t help. 

Wide shoes are referred to as those types of shoes whose width is ½ inch more than narrow-fitting shoes and ¼ inch broader than the medium shoes. People with wide feet feel very uncomfortable in wearing standard or narrow-fitting shoes which ultimately results in overlapping of toes or causing painful blisters. 

Several causes of wide feet lead to the necessity of buying wide-fit shoes. For example, people with flatfoot have comparatively wide feet and it is problematic for them to adjust in normal-fitted shoes. Another temporary condition is pregnancy because during this time the ligament around the feet loosens up and as a result, a wide-fitting shoe is required. 

The labeling of wide shoes is different for men and women. For men, wide shoes are generally labeled with E or 2E whereas extra wide shoes are labeled as 4E+. For women, wide shoes are labeled as D whereas extra wide shoes are labeled either as E or 2E.

Main Differences Between Medium and Wide Shoes

  1. Medium shoes are ¼ inch wider than narrow-fitting shoes whereas wide shoes are ½ inch wider than narrow-fitting shoes and ¼ inch wider than medium shoes. 
  2. The alphabetical labeling for medium shoes starts from B whereas the alphabetical labeling for wide shoes starts from D.
  3. For men, medium shoes are labeled D whereas the wide shoes are labeled E or 2E.
  4. For women, the medium shoes are labeled B whereas the wide shoes are labeled D.
  5. If the difference in width of the foot is ¼ inch or less, medium shoes are recommended. On the other hand, if the difference is between ¼ inch and ½ inch from the normal size chart for shoes, one requires wide shoes.

Conclusion

The medium and wide shoes are designed especially for people with broader feet. They are extremely comfortable for people who have some foot disorder like edema, flatfoot, or suffering from blisters. Medium and wide shoes leave more space for the feet to breathe properly and move comfortably. 

If someone finds it very difficult to adjust their feet in normal shoes such that their toes overlap or cause pain in the front region of the foot, they should take the right measurements. After taking appropriate measurements for length and the widest part of the foot one can understand if they need a medium or wide shoes. 

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0737080615006590
  2. https://journals.lww.com/corr/Fulltext/2000/03000/Foot_Health_and_Shoewear_for_Women.5.aspx
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2D vs 3D