A spin-echo single-shot echo-planar imaging (SS-EPI) technique with a reduced field of view (FOV) in the phase-encoding direction is presented that simultaneously reduces susceptibility effects and motion artifacts in diffusion-weighted (DW) imaging (DWI) of the spinal cord at a high field strength (3T). To minimize aliasing, an outer volume suppression (OVS) sequence was implemented. Effective fat suppression was achieved with the use of a slice-selection gradient-reversal technique. The OVS was optimized by numerical simulations with respect to T(1) relaxation times and B(1) variations. The optimized sequence was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. In simulations the optimized OVS showed suppression to <0.25% and approximately 3% in an optimal and worst-case scenario, respectively. In vitro measurements showed a mean residual signal of <0.95% +/- 0.42 for all suppressed areas. In vivo acquisition with 0.9 x 1.05 mm(2) in-plane resolution resulted in artifact-free images. The short imaging time of this technique makes it promising for clinical studies.