Abstract To increase the track density in hard disk drive (HDD), the write head fringing field should be controlled. The side shield is one of the candidates to reduce the fringing stray field. Although the wrap-around type [K. Nakamoto, et al., IEEE Trans. Magn. 41(10) (2005) 2914] and many other side shield structures [Y. Kanai, et al., IEEE Trans. Magn. 39(4) (2003) 1955; D.T. Wilton, D.J. Mapps, IEEE Trans. Magn. 29 (1993) 4182] were proposed, these side shield structures have a trade-off between the track edge field sharpness and the maximum write field strength on the center track. In this paper, we propose the new side shield writer called the stepped side shield (3S) head. The 3S head satisfies both the on-track write field strength and reduction of the adjacent track stray field. The track edge field sharpness is much improved especially in the high skew angle recording. We studied the 3S head effect by the statistic field simulation.