FAQ Shoes

What Does the Letter H Mean In Shoe Size

Last Updated on November 2, 2022 by Nicholas

Finding the right shoe size can be a nightmare, but it shouldn’t be with the right advice and explanation. There are so many sizes to choose from, but you also need to know how narrow or how wide your foot is. This article is solely about what does the letter H mean in shoe size. Knowing just your shoe size isn’t always enough.  As if this wasn’t hard enough, different countries and manufacturers worldwide have different ways of measuring shoe size. 

This can make buying shoes in international stores and on international websites difficult.  Fortunately, there is some degree of cohesion amongst the confusion.  This article will explore what the letter H means in shoe size. 

What does the letter H mean in shoe size? 

The letter H can signify two different things.  On the one hand, it refers to the width of the shoe.  An H width size correlates with the widest shoe for men.  This is called an extra wide fitting.  On the other hand, the letter H sometimes refers to half-sizes.  If your foot is between a size 9 and a size 10, you can buy size 9H, or 91/2, for a more comfortable fit.  

What does letter H Mean in shoe size: Extra width or Half size
What does letter H Mean in shoe size: Extra width or Half size (image by HoodMwr)

Why is a right shoe size important?

Finding the right size of shoe is important. It is vital for the health of the feet, improves hygiene, enhances the quality of life, and keeps the shoes in the right shape, helping them keep looking great for longer.  

For all these reasons, you must know what the letter H means in shoe size.  Shoe shopping can be baffling at the best of times.  With so many numbers and letters jumping out at you, it’s so easy to make a mistake.   

The letter H can mean two things in shoe size and you must clarify which one is being referred to. 

1. Letter H in shoe size refers to the width of the foot. 

A H width designates the shoe’s “extra-wide fitting”.  This is the widest shoe you can get in men’s shoes, measuring 4 11/16 inches.  The female equivalent is called EE rather than H.  This is the most common meaning of H and it applies internationally.  

Understanding that H means “extra wide fitting” is important information that can help ensure you find the right pair of shoes.  Shoes that are too narrow can rub the skin, cause blisters, distort the shoe’s shape, and in extreme cases inflame the bones and tendons of the foot.  Conversely, a shoe that is too wide can make walking difficult, damage the skin, and harm the ankle joint.  

Measuring your foot is the best way to determine whether you need an H shoe size.  You should wrap a tape measure around your foot at the widest point.  If you measure between 11-16 inches, then a extra-large fitting is for you.  Doing this can ensure you don’t buy the wrong shoes and end up losing money or having to go to the trouble of returning them.  

2. Letter H in Shoe Size means “half” size

  In this context, an H next to the size indicates that the shoe is a half size.  For example, a size 9H is a size 91/2 shoe.  Half sizes can help ensure that shoes fit snugly onto the foot.  This makes the experience of wearing them much better, and the shoes perform better.  Not only does this stop them from rubbing or hurting the foot, but they make walking, running and daily activities much easier.  

The half-size H is mainly found in shoes from the UK and Europe, although it is in some US stores as well.  At a time when so many of us buy shoes from international stores and online websites, we must be aware that this can be what the letter H refers to.  Letter H mean in shoe size can be tricky.

What is the best way to be sure what the H means for shoe size?

The best way to know for sure what the letter H means in shoe size is to ask a store assistant, employee, or to work it out from the context.  If you are buying sneakers or sports shoes, the chances are the H is referring to a half size.  This is because these kids’ shoes often don’t have width sizes.  On the other hand, an H for smart shoes will usually refer to an extra-wide male fitting.  The best policy is to consider the context and determine the most likely meaning.  

What are the other shoe widths?  

Men’s shoes range from extra narrow to extra-wide.  S is an extra-narrow fitting, C a narrow fitting, R a medium,EE wide, and H an extra wide fitting. You will need to determine the width of your foot to determine which size best suits you.  You can measure this yourself by taking a measurement of your foot at its widest point with a tape measure. 

Alternatively, if you’re thinking of buying some shoes, you can ask to get your feet measured in the store.  If you are buying smart shoes, the shore assistant is likely to do this anyway just to be sure.  Since shoe size varies so widely between manufacturers, it’s always a good idea to measure your feet before buying.    

How to know your shoe width?

Around 70 percent of all people walk daily with shoes that aren’t wide enough.

We made a go through the below checklist, based on this expert article

  • Measure your feet every time you buy shoes. 
  • The end of the day is the best time to measure your feet.
  • Always fit shoes with your most wide foot. 
  • Don’t trust the size indication of the brand you’re buying.
  • Please don’t buy a pair of new shoes that you need to break in. (if so read some tips how to do so here) 
  • Stand up and walk around when fitting your shoes. 

Can I wear H shoes if I have normal feet?  

You should only buy or wear H size shoes if your feet meet that measurement.  The H shoe is a normal size but it is for extra-wide feet.  If your feet are too narrow for the shoes, the shoes could damage them.  They will rub, cut the skin, be generally uncomfortable, and prevent you from walking properly.  In extreme cases, wearing shoes that are too wide for you can damage the ankle joint and the ligaments in the area.   

Shoe Width explained: What does letter H mean in shoe size?

How to size shoe lengths and widths by Robert Powers (including letter H mean in shoe size)

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