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A guide to wide fit shoes

An adult uses a tape measure to find the width of their child’s foot.

If you’ve ever noticed width sizes when browsing for shoes and wondered what they mean, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about wide fit shoes, including tips on how to tell if they’re right for your children.

What are wide fit shoes?

As the name suggests, wide fit shoes are those that offer a wider fit than standard. This can be especially helpful in getting the best fit for your child rather than settling for something that isn’t quite right. Fitted shoe specialists like Start-Rite offer their styles in a range of widths as well as whole and half sizes.

Wide shoe size chart

Here at Start-Rite, we offer shoes in five different width sizes, ranging from D (extra narrow) to H (extra wide). The below table illustrates how size and width correlate. For more information and to see a wider range of sizes in this table, visit our children’s shoe size calculator.

Length (mm)


D Fit (mm)

E fit (mm)

F fit (mm)

G fit (mm)

H fit (mm)

94 - 103

S 2

119 - 124

125 - 130

131 - 137

138 - 143

144 - 149

104 - 107

S 2.5

121 - 126

127 - 133

134 - 139

140 - 145

146 - 152

108 - 111

S 3

123 - 129

130 - 135

136 - 141

142 - 148

149 - 154

112 - 116

S 3.5

126 - 131

132 - 137

138 - 144

145 - 150

151 - 157

117 - 120

S 4

128 - 133

134- 140

141 - 146

147 - 153

154 - 159

What is the difference between standard and wide fit shoes?

As the table above shows, as the size of the shoe increases, so too do all its dimensions. Therefore, a size 4 shoe is longer, wider and has more room inside than a size 3 shoe. If your child has grown out of a size 3 shoe, then moving to the next size up is likely to be the best option.

However, if your child has wide or narrow feet, then it may be that the standard width shoes aren’t right for them. This could mean that to get a standard fit shoe that suits them in terms of width, they need a size that is too long and loose for their feet. This is where wide fit sizes come into play.

As the fit of the shoe changes from D through to H, the length of the shoe doesn’t change. Only the width does. Essentially, the shoe is the same size, just a little wider, making wide fits ideal for children with wider feet.

How do you know if you need wide fit shoes for your children?

If you’re wondering whether or not a wider fit of shoe would be better for your child than what they currently have, there are things you can do to find out. The first and most accurate of these is to measure your child’s foot. You can then compare your measurements to those listed in the shoe size conversion chart to find out which size and width fitting would be best for your child. If you’re not confident doing this yourself at home, then visit one of our trusted retailers who will be happy to measure your child’s feet and help you find the ideal shoes for them.

As well as measuring your child’s feet regularly to keep track of the right shoe size for them, you should also keep an eye out for physical signs that their shoes don’t fit so well anymore. Pain or discomfort caused by the foot being cramped in a space that’s too small for it could be an indicator that you need to size up, but are there any specific signs to watch out for that relate to shoe width?

The answer is yes! While you should always measure length and width whenever you suspect your little one is growing out of their current size, there are a few physical signs to look out for that might suggest they need the next width size up, too. These include:

  • Marks on the skin from where the buckle or T-bar of their shoes has been too tight on the foot

  • Blisters or sore patches on the side of their feet where the shoe has rubbed

  • Calluses forming on the side of the feet or toes.
  • Of course, you can also ask your little one how comfortable they are in their shoes. If they say they’re too tight, it’s time to measure.

    Some people naturally have wide feet, so there’s not always an easy way to predict if your child will need wide-fitting shoes. However, one group of people who commonly need wider shoes is those with flat feet. That’s because flatter feet tend to have a wider surface area on the sole of their feet, so wide-fitting shoes can help to give them that extra space they need. Therefore, if your child has flat feet, it’s worth measuring to check if a wider fit would suit them.