Shoe widths can be baffling. Sometimes shoe manufacture’s mark widths as narrow, medium, or wide. Then, to your annoyance, none of them fit. But then you find extra wide, and finally, you can buy shoes. However, another brand may have A, B, C, 2E, whereas yet another is A, B, C, D, E, then you find WW, EW, EE, and it gets confusing. So, what is 2E, and how does it relate to all the alternatives?
2E width is extra wide in women’s shoes. It typically follows D, skipping over E. It is also displayed as XW, WW, and EE. In men’s shoes, 2E is only wide, sometimes represented by a single E, rather than 2E or EE. Men that require the extra wide need to look for 4E, as 3E is often skipped.
In this post I have also included a 2E width size chart, and a guide to help you measure your feet correctly.
It is a rare person that can afford custom-made shoes. Yet our feet come in different shapes, some squarish, others rectangular, while some have the classic kite shape. But even those with the classic form still find that some come wider than others. So people try to size up, add heel pads and inserts, or wear different socks. But ideally, what you want is to get a shoe that fits, like getting a wider width.
What Is 2E Width In Shoes?
2E is an extra wide in women’s shoe sizing. Alternatively, extra wide is shown as EE, XW, and WW. Most brands sell wide shoes under the letters C and D in women’s shoes, some forgoing the D altogether, just as they tend to do with E.
However, 2E in men’s is wide. It sometimes is shown as E. D is medium in men’s (also called standard), and their narrow is C and B, often used in the same category. If a man needs an extra wide, he needs to look for 4E, as there is no 3E. A few men’s brands will even go up to a 6E, but it is rare.
Shoe Width Chart For Women In Inches
|Shoe Size||Narrow (A)||Medium (B)||Wide (C and D)||Extra Wide (2E)|
Shoe Width Chart For Men In Inches
|Shoe Size||Narrow (C and B)||Medium (D)||Wide (E/2E/EE)|
How Much Wider Is 2E Than D?
It is said that widths in shoe sizes increase by a quarter of an inch, and occasionally you’ll come across a brand where this is true. Thus, by this logic, a D of 3.5 would be a 2E of 3.75.
However, as you’ll see in the generic charts posted above, it’s nonsense. So instead, the increases make about as much sense as women’s shoe sizes.
Some of the sizing confusion is due to the United States’ love of the imperial system. The figures are rounded up or down, which leads to inaccurate discrepancies. In the metric system, used almost everywhere outside of the States, the width between 2E and D is almost always .5cm.
But that’s only true if the shoe manufacturers use the same width system. Aside from Canada, most countries use a system different to the US one. Moreover, shoe sizing differs in countries, and in Europe, sometimes a shop will sell shoes from various shoe sizing systems, adding to the confusion.
Also, it depends on where the shoe was made or its ultimate destination after being shipped from the factory. Sometimes a brand will alter the mold of a shoe to fit a country where the average foot significantly differs from the United States’ average. Thus, not only does this impact what is considered standard in widths, but it also can mean the shoes are designed for a different average foot shape.
Is 2E Wider Than W?
A 2E is wider than a W in women’s shoes. A W in women’s is “wide,” which is typically C/D. There is rarely an “E” in women’s widths.
However, 2E in men’s is only wide and could be represented by a single W or E instead.
Difference Between 3E And 4E Shoes
The more Es, the wider the shoe. 3E shoes are rare, typically found in women’s rather than men’s, and are theoretically the next size after 2E. Men’s brands often skip 3E and jump straight to 4E and then 6E. Yes, it is baffling and confusing.
How Do I Know My Size Online?
Ideally, you want to buy shoes in person. That way, you can actually try them on while using your phone to check sizing and pricing guides. Also, shoes that look great, and are the right size, might discover a seam rubs across a toe or instep, something that is impossible to know without wearing it.
However, people who don’t live in large cities often struggle to find a shop that carries shoes bigger than an E for women and 2E for men. Thus, often people with feet 2E and up have no choice but to shop online.
But before scanning the online options, get your foot professionally measured and write down your length and width. Even take photos with a camera if you can.
Alternatively, you can measure your foot at home using a piece of paper and a pencil, as I am doing in the above image. You do this by either tracing both feet then measuring the foot’s outline at the widest part, or marking the heel and your longest toe and measuring the distance in between.
Or you can place the largest part of your foot across a piece of string, wrap it (firm, but not tight), mark the size, then measure it. Be sure you are standing up when doing either method. Lastly, pick your width based on the larger of the two feet.
Once you have your measurement, then try to only buy from brands that:
- Have their sizing chart posted.
- You have tried them on in person and know if they “run big” or “small”.
However, even if you have worn shoes from a brand, things may have changed. Nike, for example, sometimes switches things up, so a person wearing a 7 may become an 8 the following year without their foot having grown. New year, new sizing gauge. Thus, even if you’ve had your foot measured by their fancy foot scanning machine, you might need to do it again.
2E width means extra wide for women and wide for men. While the width of sizing should be increasing around a quarter of an inch per letter, this is not necessarily the case. Thus, trying to find your exact shoe width can be frustrating. Measure your feet and read sizing guides and reviews before purchasing if you can’t shop in person.
For more shoe size guides check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).