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What Is The Difference Between Wide And Extra Wide Shoes? – Get The Right Shoe Width For Your Child!

Shoes For Kids With Wide Feet

Have you always wondered what the difference between wide and extra wide width shoes is? I noticed several parents say that their kids’ have wide feet when their kids feet are actually extra wide! Just so you know, there is a big difference between wide and extra wide width shoes!

Did you know that extra wide width shoes existed? They are not just available in everyday sneakers or running shoes, but also in soccer and baseball cleats, dress shoes, and sandals!

Have you ever worn shoes that pinched your feet? If you have, then you probably know how bad and uncomfortable this can be for your feet. Shoes are available in different widths for a reason! Wide width shoes can definitely help children whose feet are wider than others, but some children who have foot problems such as blisters, bunions, or corns, will benefit also from an extra wide shoe that will reduce or eliminate abnormal pressures involved in these foot conditions. Children who wear orthotics might also require an extra wide width shoe!

Shoe fitters will be able to tell you whether your child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet.It is always important to take your kids’ to your local kids’ shoe store so they can have their feet properly measured and their shoes properly fitted.

Did you know that the biggest mistake parents make when buying shoes for their kids’ is purchasing longer shoes in an attempt to compensate for the width? Many parents don’t even know that shoes come in different widths, and when they are trying a pair of shoes that is too narrow for their kids’ feet, they think that all they need to do is get a longer size so the shoe can fit their kids’ feet.

You must STOP doing that! This will end up compromising your kids’ stability, and will create several foot and leg problems!

Extra Wide Shoes For Kids

Let me explain this further with an example: Let’s say you measure your kids’ feet and he measures a shoe size of 9. You try the shoe size 9 and the shoe is perfect in length, but too tight around the small toe area. The parent then decides to try the shoe in a half a size or a whole size bigger in order to relieve the pressure from the narrow width! Now, the child stopps complaining about the shoes being too tight in the width area, but there is too much extra space in the front of the shoe! This will end up compromising your child’s stability and cause our child to fall and trip when he or she walks or runs.

The parent then decides to keep the same size 9 shoe size, but tries them in a wide width. However, the shoe is still putting a lot of pressure around the small toe area.

So…What do you do?

It’s simple, try the shoe in an extra wide width! If the shoe doesn’t come in extra wide, then it’s just not the right shoe style for your child! Find another shoe style that comes in extra wide, and you will see how it’s possible to keep the same shoe length, and relieve the pressure from the widest part of the foot at the same time!

I have been fitting children’s shoes for over 7 years, and I know exactly which shoe styles fit best for a child who has wide or extra wide feet. We fit a lot of children with extra wide feet, and stock every style that shoe companies make in extra wide!

In this post, I will describe the best shoe styles that come in wide and extra wide widths!

Extra Wide Shoes For Babies

Does Your Child Has Wide Or Extra Wide Feet? – Learn The Secret!

While most people believe that there are two elements to shoe sizing: shoe length and shoe width, they forget another important and crucial factor you want to consider if you want to get the correct shoe size for your child: The instep of the foot!

Did you know that if your child has a medium width foot with a high instep then they might need a wider shoe? I know this might sound confusing, but I explain how to tell if your child has a high instep in more detail this post. I also describe which shoes fit the shape of their feet better:

The Best Shoes For Children With High Insteps – Stop Getting The Wrong Shoe Size For Your Child!

There is no magical table or scale that will tell you exactly which shoe width your child needs. While I can’t precisely tell you if your child has wide or extra wide feet, I CAN confidently tell you if the shoes that your child is wearing are too narrow.

Take a look at the picture below, do you notice how there is a bump around the widest part of the shoe? That is your child’s small toe feeling increase pressure by the other toes pushing against the shoe. This means that the shoe is too narrow for your kids’ feet and you will have to try the shoes in a different width or a different shoe style.

In the second picture,  we can see the same shoe style, but in a wide width. Notice how the small toe is not feeling as much pressure in the medium width shoe, but we can still notice a small bump pressing against the shoe. This means that the shoe is still too narrow, and will end up creating a blister on your kids’ small toe!

Wide Shoes For Children

In the third picture, we have the same shoe style but in an extra wide width. Notice how the pressure on the small toe has been completely eliminated, since we can’t see a bump anymore. This is the correct shoe width for your child!

Extra Wide Shoes For Kids

Now that you know how to check for the width of your kids’ shoes, below you can find a selection of the best fitting shoes for kids’ that come in wide and extra wide widths!

The shoes in the first-row fit “short”,which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

The shoes in the second-row fit “true to size”,which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

The best way to tell if your child has a wide or an extra wide width foot is to have his or her feet properly measured at your kids’ local shoe store. However, if you don’t have a local shoe store in your area that you trust, I provided you with a set of guidelines that explain how you can tell if your child needs wide or extra wide shoes. Several parents have asked me where they can get their kids’ shoes online. Amazon offers the best selection and the best prices by far the when it comes to kids’ shoes. I explain this in more detail here:

Kids Shoes On Amazon – Is Amazon The Best Place To Buy Your Kids’ Shoes?

What is the difference between a shoe that comes in wide width and a shoe that comes in extra wide width? I took a picture of the insert of a wide shoe and an insert of an extra wide shoe (same shoe length), so you can see the difference yourself! Do you see the difference? There is a big difference, so start providing your kids’ with the correct shoe width!

Wide Shoes For Kids

The Best Shoe Brands For Kids With Wide And Extra Wide Feet!

When a child has extra wide feet, 90% of the time I end up fitting them in a pair of New Balance shoes. There are different shoe brands that make wide and extra wide shoes for children, and you have probably heard of them before:

  • New Balance
  • Saucony
  • Stride Rite

When a child has really wide feet, I always feel more comfortable fitting them in a pair of New Balance sneakers. You are probably wondering why New Balance? since there are other shoe brands that make shoes in wide and extra widths!

New Balance shoes tend to have the widest, roundest toe-boxes! They also tend to be deeper than the other shoe brands, which means that your kids’ feet will fit deeper inside the shoe.

Take a look at the picture below where we have two different shoe styles, one from New Balance (left picture), and the other one from Saucony (right picture). These shoes are of the same length and the same width (they are both extra wide), but notice how the New Balance shoe is so much wider than the other one! Can you see how the toe-box of the shoe is rounder and wider?

Extra Wide Kids Shoes

This is the number 1 reason why I always end up fitting children with really extra wide feet in New Balance shoes. Also, if they wear orthotics, this is the to go to shoe brand for them!

Socks For Children With Wide Feet? –  Magical Socks!

If your child has wide or extra wide feet, it is important to get them socks that stretch nicely that are also seamless, that way they won’t put any extra pressure on their toes and their toes can move freely. These socks also work great for children with sensory issues who feel every bump and lump in their socks, and have the hardest time keeping their shoes on!

If you are always fighting your child to put and keep his socks on, you need to read this post where I explain the best seamless socks for kids in more detail!  You can find that post here:

Seamless Socks For Kids – Stop The Struggle Of Putting Socks On!

I have equipped you with some good information about the difference between wide and extra wide shoes for kids’, and I also described the best shoe styles for a child who has wide and extra wide feet. Now you also recognze the importance of wearing the correct type of socks!

STOP getting shoes for your children that are too narrow and START taking care of their feet!

Does your child have really wide or extra wide feet? Have you found a particular brand or shoe style that works better for his or her feet? Please share your thoughts and experiences so we can all benefit from them!


I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

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10 Comments on What Is The Difference Between Wide And Extra Wide Shoes? – Get The Right Shoe Width For Your Child!

  1. I kept buying wide shoes for my child that has wide feet, but he still complained about them being too tight! I thought there was nothing else to do until I order one of the shoes you recommend and magic happened! The extra wide widths fit him perfectly and he stopped complaining about his feet hurting. Thank you Juan Pablo!

    • Hello Collins.

      Most parents are not even aware that shoe companies make kids’ shoes in extra wide widths! Did you notice what a difference it makes when you provide your child with the correct pair of shoes? Now your child can run and play comfortably without complaining about his or her feet hurting!

      Did you know that they make kids soccer and baseball cleats in wide and extra wide widths? I wrote a post where I describe the best soccer cleats for children with extra wide feet, and you can find it here: Soccer Cleats For Kids – Finding an Extra Wide Boot That Fits

  2. Juan Pablo,

    You have just made my day with this information about children’s feet and shoes. As adults we don’t buy shoes that are to narrow for our feet, so why would we do this to our children? Is it due to people thinking that their kids out grow their shoes before they really ever start to wear them, because to me your feet are one of the most important features of our body that helps us to develop our posture and back muscles, and also are ability to run correctly for speed and agility.

    Excellent source of information! Thank you


    • Hello Kelly,

      I agree with you that our feet are one of the most important parts of our body, and we must take care of them! The earlier we start taking care of our feet, the better! We will prevent further injuries down the road and keep our kids feet healthy.

      It is important to know that children shoes come in wide and extra wide widths, and no matter how wide your kids feet are, there is a particular shoe that will fit him or her just perfectly, I have fitted even the widest feet out there, so if you are having a hard time finding a particular shoe style for your child, don’t hesistate to contact me!

  3. That’s a great piece of advice about checking that your kids toes aren’t bulging out to the side as it’s an easy thing to notice even if you are not a shoe-fitting expert

    I recently bought New Balance training shoes for my kids without realizing that they had extra wide options. Pleased to hear that you can buy extra wide shoes from well known companies that look great and that kids will want to wear. I am ordering from your website as a way of saying thanks for the info man!

    • Hello Kristian,

      I knew the images where going to clarify a lot, and yes, you don’t have to be a shoe fitting expert to realize when you are fitting your kids in shoes that are too narrow. Your child will be so much more comfortable in a pair of extra wide widths shoes, as long as he or she has an extra wide foot.

  4. My kids have very wide feet and it is hard to find shoes that come wide enough for them. I am glad you provide a selection of shoes that come in extra wide widths. Do shoe companies make soccer shoes in extra wide? My kids had to stop wearing cleats because they always complained about them hurting their feet.

    • Hello Katie,

      There is only one soccer shoe style that comes in wide and extra wide widths. I wrote a post about this shoe that you can find here: Soccer Cleats For Kids – Finding an Extra Wide Boot That Fits

      It is important to provide our children with soccer cleats that are wide enough for their feet, or they will end up with calluses, blisters, or corns since there is a lot of friction when playing soccer.

  5. I was unsure about whether my child needed wide or extra wide shoes. Your post made it really clear. I realized I was providing him with shoes that were too narrow, even though they said wide widths. Now I know he actually needs extra wide shoes, thank you man! This was really helpful! Are there any wide baseball cleats for kids? Do shoes companies make them?

    • Hello Bassam,

      Baseball cleats in wide widths for kids do exist and New Balance is the shoe company that makes wide baseball cleats for kids. I actually wrote a post about them and you can find them here: Wide Width Baseball Cleats – They Do Exist!

      Remember that when children are playing sports they are stressing their feet and legs at a whole different level. Wearing the correct type of shoes is important not just to prevent foot problems, but also to allow your kids to perform at their best.

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