As many of you know, the numbers in the shoe sizes correspond to the footwear’s length. However, the US shoe size comes in a different format. You’ll find letters next to the number, e.g. 9BM.
So, what does BM mean in shoes?
For starters, these letters represent the width, which is determined by measuring the length of the ball of the feet. “B” refers to “average” or “medium,” and “M” stands for medium.
What does BM Stand for in Shoes?
You’re probably thinking: If B (M) refers to a medium width, why can’t we just use “M” and do away with “B?”
To be clear,some shoe companies only put “M.” But it is helpful to add “B” as it indicates that it’s a women’s shoe size.
For the sake of explanation, let’s look at all the widths available in the American sizing system:
- AAAA: Also known as 4A or “Super Slim,” it is the narrowest shoe width and goes by the abbreviations “SS” and “ES.”
- 2A or AA: This size means “narrow,” and it measures around 3.6 in width. It is abbreviated to “N.”
Note: A single “A” ranges between 3.4 to 3.9 inches, but this decreases by 0.5 inches whenever another “A” is added.
- B: B is medium for women but narrowest for men. This measures 6 to 4.1 inches wide.
- D: “D” in women’s sizes indicates that the shoes have a wide width, abbreviated to “W.” For these shoes, the width typically measures up to 5 inches.
- 2E or EE: Double-E means “Extra-Wide” in women’s shoes. Some brands use abbreviations like “WW,” “XW,” or “EW” to denote that shoes are extra wide. Shoes with EE measures between 3.2 and 5.2 inches.
- B: B is narrow for men’s shoes, which also goes by the abbreviation “N.”
- D: This letter means “Medium” or “Average,” abbreviated to “M” or “A.”
- 2E or EE: Double-E indicates that the shoes have a “Wide” width. Its abbreviation is W.
- 4E or EEEE: This is the widest width available in men’s shoes, which is abbreviated to “WW,” “EW,” or “XW.” Most of these shoes are custom-made.
By nature, male feet are larger than female feet. As reflected in the size chart above, both men’s and women’s shoes come in a B-width. Even though the measurement in inches may be the same, it is relatively narrower for men. Therefore, it is more common for women. If you’re looking for medium-width men’s shoes, you should opt for D (M).
These days, most safety toe work boots include medium and wide options in shoe size charts to prevent the steel caps from bumping or pinching the toes.
In sneaker sizing codes, however, only Hoka New Balance and a few others provide EE options. It is assumed that the shoe sizes that do not indicate width are medium. Some sneakers, like the Nike Dunk Low, are designed with roomy toe boxes.
Many people do not know the answer to “What does BM mean in shoes?” It’s understandable since adding different widths to the sizing convention is more commonly practiced by American brands. To date, most European-made shoes only have one standard width size.
If you encounter a shoe size that includes both length and width, remember this: The numbers refer to the size in length, while the letters indicate how wide the shoes are.
Veronica is our content editor. She is a talent in delivery. Her main work is editing and writing articles that are both informative and simple to follow. She is in charge of synthesizing our understanding of what personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed in each job, how to best apply it, and how to visualize that equipment.