Are Extra Wide Shoes the Same in Kids and Adults?

As children grow out of kids’ sizes and into men’s shoes, the question about size and width translation becomes common among many families. I have noticed that parents ask this question at the shoe store where I work and also in several online forums. The width of a child’s extra wide shoe may not directly translate to the width of men’s extra wide shoes. In other words, what’s “extra wide” for kids might be labeled differently in adult’s shoes. There might be different wording involved but to keep things simple, I created a shoe width translation chart:


Use this chart as your road map. Remember that these labels are for US shoe sizes and will differ from UK sizes.

Be Aware: Different Online Retailers Have Different Labels for Shoe Widths

You will notice that if you shop at Amazon you might find width labels that are very different from those at Zappos. The same applies to websites such as New Balance or Saucony. For example, Amazon might categorize their men’s extra wide shoes as “X-Wide”, while Zappos might label them as “4E”.

I have noticed throughout the years that the length and overall fit can greatly differ from child to adult footwear. Please keep in mind that men’s shoe sizes don’t always mirror children’s in width designation and fit, so if you still have doubts about what shoe width you should choose for your child who is in adult shoe sizes don’t hesitate to contact me.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes

I am a shoe fitter with over a decade of experience, and I have helped hundreds of parents find the perfect pair of shoes for their child, so I am confident I will be able to help your child as well: [email protected]. If you prefer, you can ask your questions in the comments section below.

Are You Unsure About What Shoe Size You Should Order Online?

I understand that your child’s comfort and foot health are non-negotiable, and getting it right with shoe sizes is a good place to start. Let’s not guess the correct size, especially when dealing with extra wide requirements. Most specialized children’s shoe stores have professional shoe fitters who can aid in choosing the perfect size. You can also take advantage of a virtual shoe fitting service I offer that helps families determine exactly what shoe size they should order online.

It’s not just about length and width; I consider your child’s entire foot shape (such as instep and arch shape) to recommend the best size and width. It’s important to understand that while the designation of “extra wide” might sound the same across children’s and adult’s shoes, the actual fit and dimensions can differ significantly. For example, adults’ extra wide shoes are typically designed to cater to adult feet, taking into account the larger bone structure and the wider range of foot conditions that adults might experience. On the other hand, kids’ shoes have different proportions to provide the necessary support for growing feet.

Let me know in the comments section below if you have any questions or comments. In the meantime, you should take a look at two additional resources I created. One describes the best shoes for boys in men’s shoe sizes and the other one the best shoes for girls in women’s shoe sizes.