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Shopping for wide width shoes can be frustrating enough to make a grown woman scream. You know they're out there, but finding them can feel a little like a treasure hunt. Thankfully, most shoe stores make wide width shoes easy to identify. However, if you find a gorgeous pair of shoes while browsing in unconventional places, such as a clothing swap, knowing if they are the right width may take a bit of investigation on your part.
Recognizing the Terminology
Learn to recognize the correct terms for shoe width sizes. Wide width shoes are represented by the letters "W", "C" or "D." Extra wide shoes will have the letters "WW", "EE" or "EEE" behind the shoe size. Very rarely, you'll come across the letters "WWW" or "EEEE." As you've probably already guessed, this means that the shoes are triple wide.
The Shoe Box
If the shoes in question are in a shoe box, look to it for the answer to your question on width. On the outside label of the box, look for the shoe size. The letter behind the size indicates what the shoe width is. For example, if the label indicates the shoe is a size 7W or 7D, then you'll know that you've got your hands on a wide width shoe.
On the Shoe
If the shoe box is history, don't worry about it; the shoe may have all of the information that you need to figure out if it is a wide width. Look at the innersole or the bottom of the shoe. If there's a tag, label or sticker on it, it may state the size and width. Again, look for the "W", "C" or "D" that will indicate if it is a wide width shoe.
Measure and Look Up the Width
If checking the box and the shoe itself is leaving you with more frustration than answers, flip the shoe over and get a ruler -- it's time to measure the shoe. Use the ruler to measure across the widest part of the shoe and jot that width measurement down in inches. Use a width sizing chart (available either online or from a shoe store) to give you an idea if the shoe is in the wide width range. To do that, locate the size of the shoe on the chart and place your finger on it. For that shoe size there will be several different measurements that represent the different shoe widths. Slide your finger directly to the measurement that matches what you wrote down as the width of the shoe. Directly above, below or to the side of that measurement (every chart will look a little different) the chart will tell you whether it is a wide width. For example, if the shoe is an 8.5 and the measurement that you just took was 4 inches, slide your finger over or down to the column or row that has 4 inches in it. At this point all you'll need to do is look at the heading for that column, it will say "Wide", "W", "C" or "D" for wide width.