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That the size of a shoe is important for how well it fits is no secret. But less well known is the important role that width plays. This is because if your shoe is too tight in the area around the balls of your feet, it will press against your metatarsophalangeal joints. This is not only painful – over the long term, shoes that are too tight could also lead to misalignments.

But if they're too loose, your heel will lift up from the shoe. Your foot will then slide forward and your toes will push against the front of the shoe. This might explain why people buy shoes that are too wide and too short. However, even if the person wearing the shoe feels better, the problem posed by shoes that are the wrong width is not solved – it's merely shifted. In this case, a misalignment of the foot is inevitable.

The right shoe width will hold your foot firmly in place at its widest point – the area of the ball line – without constricting it. The ball line is the imaginary line between the balls of the big and small toes. Because foot size changes over the course of the day as a result of pressure (your feet are bigger at the end of the day right before you go to bed than when you first wake up), you should be sure to have sufficient room on the sides.

Most shoe manufacturers only have one standard width. Fashionable shoes, in particular, are usually cut too narrowly in order to make the foot look more slender. The logical consequence: pressure points, painful feet and severe complaints.

BIRKENSTOCK offers most of its models in two widths: a standard width for normal feet, and a narrow width for smaller feet. In addition, many models are adjustable. You can use the straps and buckles on BIRKENSTOCK sandals and shoes to adjust them individually to fit your foot. This ensures a high level of comfort.

Look out for these symbols when making your selection:

- Regular Fit = normal width
- Narrow Fit = narrow width