Why are there different shoe widths and what do they mean?
Shoe width is measured and categorised the same way as shoe length (French Paris point or English inch). These were set not in numbers, but rather letters in order to distinguish better between shoe sizes. The standard range starts from E (very narrow) and extends to M (very wide). In fact, most women have F-width feet, followed by G and H. With men’s shoes, the most popular width is G-width, followed by H and K. Consequently, these are the three most common shoe sizes we have on offer for our women's and men's shoes. G-width is the so-called “standard width” in our range. This is why larger widths such as H, K and M are often referred to as “wide-fit” shoes, with some shoe manufactures also labelling them “comfort widths”.
How can you tell the width of a Sioux shoe?
Alongside the letter on the insole which indicates the width of the shoe, we also add the inscription "extra wide" and the sizes XL (H), XXL (K) or XXXL (M) for clarification. The shoe width is also printed on every Sioux shoe box, features on the insole of the shoe and can also be seen on our online shop in the product description area (below the detailed image). It is worth noting that the width categories differ for men’s and women’s shoes. A men’s G-width shoe, for example, is different to a women’s G-width shoe.
A few more interesting facts when it comes to foot shape: the width of the feet is one particular demographic feature that is homogeneous among indigenous communities and stays the same through the generations. The foot shape typical to China, Latin America or Africa, for example, is very different to the common anatomical form found in continental Europe. This is incidentally the reason why many German manufacturers (and other continental European manufacturers) are so successful in terms of exports to the USA: between the years 1850 and 1945, over 50 million Europeans emigrated to the United States. The descendants of these emigrants still have similar foot shapes as their ancestors to this day, meaning that German or continental European shoe models fit their feet exceedingly well.
As it goes, one exception to this is our Grashopper, which is a real versatile shoe in terms of fit, thanks to its special lacing that can be adjusted to suit all feet, from narrow to wide. For this reason, it has become a standard shoe model which is worn in many parts of the world, across multiple demographic groups: in South Africa, for example. South Africa is a state home to multiple different ethnicities. Our Grashopper has become the standard school uniform shoe in many schools there. This is because of the extremely flexible and impressive fit which comfortably fits people of all ethnic groups. We are particularly pleased about this.
What can you do to prevent your feet from continuing to widen further?
As previously mentioned, the slight widening of feet with old age is a completely natural process. There is, however, the option to undergo prophylaxis or therapy. We would once again like to empathise how important particular exercises are, especiallytaking breaks in wearing shoes and walking barefoot. It is crucial that you regularly train the muscular system in your feet to work against any deterioration in the health of your feet.
As far as shoe selection is concerned, we find it most important to only buy shoes which fit perfectly – this means that they are neither too wide or too narrow. Furthermore, it is also important to make sure that the shoe is flexible, meaning that the sole can be bent so that the toe section and heel move closer towards each other. Many people confuse the softness of the shoe with its flexibility. This is because lots of manufacturers mask a lack of flexibility of the shoe by inserting overly soft padding inside. We cannot emphasise enough how detrimental shoes which are too softly padded are. A shoe must be flexible, soft and padded sufficiently on the inside, whilst providing enough support to accommodate both men and women’s feet well the whole day long. That means that the sole must have sufficient restoring force. Furthermore, you must bear in mind that shoes support the joints in your feet. If in doubt, you should ask the retailer directly – otherwise there are two other ways that you will certainly find out: by how comfortable the shoes feel or, in some cases, at airport security when checking in. If your shoes set off the metal detector, then it is most certainly due to the articulated supports which are usually manufactured from metal (and always from strip steel here at Sioux).