What Does H Mean in Dance Shoe Size? A Short Guide

What Does H Mean in Dance Shoe Size? A Short Guide

Most dancers are only too well aware of the requirement for a pair of dance shoes that fit comfortably. The manufacturer takes care of the design, but understanding size and width depends on individual preference.

Most people who have super narrow or extra wide feet will struggle with shoe fittings, as the majority of shoes on the high street or online are not amenable to ultra-narrow or extra wide fittings.

Because comfort and performance are essential for good dance shoes, most manufacturers will offer an extensive range of sizes, half, and widths, including the ‘H’ fitting. 

What is ‘H’ in Shoe Size?

An ‘H’ in shoe fitting terminology is not a size but a width. 

A number denotes size typically. Once you have the size, some styles will allow you to select from a choice of widths. 

Finding the proper width of dance shoes is as essential as picking the correct size to ensure a good fit.

Is ‘H’ a Normal Size?

An ‘H’ fitting would be considered a wide shoe. Indeed, you can’t get wider. An ‘H’ fitting could go along with a perfectly normal size like a size 5 or 6 dance shoe.

Some shoe manufacturers of regular and dance shoes offer very narrow or very wide fittings for some styles. 

However, widths like an ‘H’ fitting are not commonplace as most people’s feet fall into a central band of sizes and widths. It would be uneconomic to offer an ‘H’ fitting in every shoe size in the same way that very narrow widths are not particularly popular.

How is ‘H’ Measured? 

Width fittings measure across the widest part of the foot. The most accurate way to do this is with a Brannock device, a specialist piece of equipment pioneered by Charles Brannock. He developed the device to measure the human foot's length, width, and arch.

Most good shoe shops have a Brannock, the gold standard for measuring feet for nearly the last century. An experienced shoe fitter will be able to tell you the size and width of your feet.

How to Ensure a Good Fit in a Pair of Dance Shoes

Unlike ordinary shoes, dance shoes are for performance. Whether you are looking for a pair of shoes for lessons or competition, dance shoes work very hard, and a comfortable fit is essential.

Most dancers find a make and style that suits their feet and stick with it. Made to measure is a good option if you have unusually broad feet. The bespoke fitting can also help with feet that are very slightly different sizes.

Dancing feet get very hot and swollen from extensive practice, and it's easy for a standard-width shoe to feel too tight. Don’t make the mistake of opting for an overly wide fit with a new pair of shoes, though—they will stretch. You could end up with shoes that are too loose and insecure.

Good dance shoe manufacturers often offer half sizes in most designs. These can help with shoes that feel a little too narrow without going up a size.

What If You Only Need the Shoe to Be Slightly Wider?

You may find that your dance shoes are too tight and restrictive for comfort when you first purchase them. 

There are techniques to gently stretch a pair of dance shoes to offer a fraction more width and comfort. However, it’s a technique that you only want professional shoemakers to perform as even the slightest bit of stretching can ruin expensive shoes. 

For this reason, the best solution is to make sure that you buy shoes made explicitly for dancing. These will consider the inevitable stretching that will occur from wearing them. 


If you have wide feet, it's essential to find the proper dance shoe manufacturer, one which offers half-sizes, wide fittings like ‘H’ and a made-to-measure service. It’s a fine line to find the right shoe that is snug enough to remain securely on the foot but wide enough to retain comfort as the feet heat up as you dance.

For a selection of the finest shoes made for dancers, shop Supadance. We have ballroom and Latin dance shoes in all sizes, including for extra-wide feet.