Hockey Skate Boot Width (D, E, EE, R, W, C, N)
When you're ordering hockey skates, the letters you see next to the skate sizes are used to identify the width of the boot. There are many different types of foot shapes out there, so in order to accommodate everyone's feet the manufacturers produce 1, 2 or sometimes even 3 different widths for each boot model. For instance, you may come across a pair of skates that are available in 'C', 'D' and 'EE' widths. But, what do these letters actually represent as it relates to the way that the skate boots will fit on your feet?
Boot Width Definitions
This is basically how the boot width system translates into plain English:
- D & R = Standard/Regular width boot
- E & W = Wide boot
- EE = Extra wide boot
- C & N = Narrow boot
Boot Width Letter Sets
The letters 'C', 'D', 'E' & 'EE' are used conjunctively without the use of the other "set" of letters, 'N', 'R' & 'W', which are also used together without the other set of letters. So, any time you see a skate offered in 'D' width, 'E' or 'EE' will be used to represent the wide option rather than 'W'. When you see a skate offered in 'R' width, the wide option will be represented by a 'W' rather than an 'E' or 'EE'. So you'll never see a pair of 'D' width skates that are also available in 'W' width, nor will you see 'R' width skates that are also available in 'W' width. Although the systems are interchangeable, they are not intermingled.
In a perfect world, every 'D' width skate would fit exactly the same, regardless of the brand and model. But, the truth of the matter is that each manufacturer has a slightly different idea of what "standard width" actually equates to. This is a double-edged sword, though, because the fit differences that exist from model to model provide a broader array of options for the skater to choose from. That being said, since it's nearly impossible to adequately describe the fit attributes of each model of hockey skates from the major manufacturers, and account for the unavoidable variations that occur during the manufacturing process, we recommend that you take every opportunity you have to try on hockey skates from different manufacturers. This is the only way to become completely familiar with the fit characteristics of any particular hockey skate model.