Best Shoes for Wide Feet Reviewed & Rated for Comfort

If you have ever tried on shoes and found that they feel extra tight, or pinch your skin, then you may need to start buying shoes that are sized specifically for wide feet.

Shoes for Wide Feet- woman in heels

Whether your feet are naturally wide, or you have a foot condition that affects your sizing, wide and extra wide shoes are on the market for you. All feet are shaped differently, so it is important to consider your exact measurements before purchasing, ensuring that you buy what’s right for you.

Last Updated: January 31, 2018
By Alice Frutis:

This update adds five more of the best shoes for wide feet. We have replaced the Brooks Ghost 9 with the Brooks Ghost 10 and the ASICS GT 2000 4 with the ASICS GT 2000 5. A criteria section was added to give you some insight into how we chose the best shoes for wide feet so that you can go out and make an educated decision when you buy a new wide shoe. A FAQ section was added to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about shoes for wide feet.

Featured Recommendations

Bostonian Bolton Dress
  • Bostonian Bolton Dress
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Elasticized rim goring
  • Price: See Here
BOBS from Skechers
  • BOBS from Skechers
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Memory Foam Footbed
  • Price: See Here
Easy Spirit Traveltime
  • Easy Spirit Traveltime
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Orthotic Friendly
  • Price: See Here

Shoe comfort is vital and can affect our entire day; causing stress and discomfort if the fit is not sized for our feet. Many times individuals with wider feet will size up, but unfortunately, that does nothing for width and can cause rubbing and chaffing as the show is longer than needed. There are many brands that offer wide shoe options, and there are choices for everyday shoes, dress shoes, running shoes, etc. If you need that little bit of extra room, read on to see our selection of top 10 wide shoes currently on the market.

 

15 Best Shoes for Wide Feet

 

1. Easy Spirit Traveltime

When you’re looking for something comfortable to slip-on, the Easy Spirit Traveltime Mule may be just what you’re after. This shoe is available in a variety of sizes, including many options for those with wide sized feet. Numerous colour combinations mean you can find the right shoe for whatever outfit you want to wear. Available in both wide and extra wide sizes, so you can find comfort no matter your foot shape.
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Extended Widths & Orthotic Friendly
Finding shoes for wide feet can sometimes feel like a chore, but Easy Spirit has designed their line of shoes to fit a variety of feet. Designed with width in mind, these shoes maintain a sleek look and shape, that supports and comforts your foot. With no bulk, these shoes can be slipped on and give you comfort throughout your entire day.

Slip On Design
Keeping life uncomplicated, these shoes can easily be slipped on, and do not need to be laced at all. If you’re on the go, throw these on to quickly get out the door and make your day a bit more hassle free. The design keeps these mules flexible, and then solid rubber sole ensures that your foot is solidly supported and that the shock is well absorbed.

Cost and Value
To find well crafted shoes for under $50 is always a bonus, and that’s what you can expect with the Easy Spirit Traveltime Mule. When it comes to wider options, prices tend to increase, but since this line is designed for width, they have kept the prices in line with their other slimmer options. For both comfort and convenience, these shoes are worth the price and are easily one of the cheaper options on this list.
Pros

Lightweight and Comfortable;

Removable Sock Liner;

25 Color Options;

Wide and Extra Wide Sizing;

Rubber Sole

Cons

Machine Wash not Recommended;

Not A Lot of Arch Support

2. Bostonian Bolton Dress

When you need a shoe that helps your outfit look put-together and fashionable, the Bostonian Bolton Dress Slip On may be the shoe for you. This slip on dress shoe is made of full grain leather and is perfectly stitched so that you can wear it to any casual occurrence or formal get together. Never worry about tripping over laces, as this shoe is easily slipped on, and it’s extra width will ensure you the space you need to feel comfortable all day and night.
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Leather Loafer
Nothing says comfort like a loafer, and this dress shoe by Bostonian is designed to let your feet relax in a spacious and cushioned environment. Crafted out of leather, it looks like a typical dress shoe, but the loafer aspect gives it a more sneaker like feel on the inside.

Varying Width
With multiple width options, this dress shoe can be worn regardless of what size your feet are. Not only can those with wide feet purchase these shoes, but if you have larger length as well you will be able to find your size. Ranging all the way up to an extra wide size 16, there is an almost guaranteed chance that you will find what fits you perfectly.

Cost and Value
The price on these shoes can vary significantly as the width and length options are vast. The larger your size, the more costly they will be, but overall you are looking for an average price of under $60 per pair. For leather dress shoes this is a great deal, and you will surely be impressed with how they look for how little you paid.
Pros

Wide Range of Sizes; 

Leather Exterior; 

Elasticized Entry to Fit Ankle; 

Cushioned Footbed; 

Easily Slip On

Cons

Can be Slippery; 

Sizing May Run Larger

3. Nike Air Monarch

If you want a shoe that you can take from the street to the gym, then the Nike Air Monarchs may be the shoe for you. These training shoes offer wide and extra wide options, so you can work-out, run, and live life in comfort. When you’re training and performing you don’t want to be worrying about the tightness of your shoes; let yourself focus on achieving your best and pick shoes that help you do it.
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Support & Traction
These shoes offer quality support and traction, ensuring that you can run and train effectively. Nike has specifically focused on stability to help prevent any rolling of the foot or ankle. Lightweight, these will allow you to run easily on any type of terrain.

Durability
Meant to last, the Air Monarchs have extra features that help to provide a durable shoe that will stay with you for a long time. Extra breathability prevents sweat from building up and damaging the inside, while the durable rubber sole is built to withstand any grass, rock, or gravel that you encounter.

Cost and Value
As Nike is a well known brand, these shoes can run a bit more expensive than some of the others on our list. Generally these will sell for under $100 though, so for the quality and durability the price is reasonable.
Pros

Tough Rubber Outsole; 

Leather & Synthetic Exterior; 

Soft Fabric Lining; 

Pull Tab on Heel; 

Aggressive Tread on Sole

Cons

Can Run Larger; 

May be Squeaky

4. Brooks Ghost 10

4. Brooks Ghost 10
The Brooks Ghost 10 is the latest in the Ghost series. This is a lightweight, well-cushioned shoe designed with athletics in mind. It comes in extra wide sizes. This shoe sports strong arch support, a plush tongue, and collar, as well as a soft fabric lining to maximize your comfort on your run, at the office, or on a walk.
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Synthetic-and-Mesh Upper
The synthetic-and-mesh upper design of the Brooks Ghost 10 is lightweight and breathable without sacrificing durability for comfort. The mesh parts are extra flexible, giving you a more comfortable run.

Removable Foam Insole
The removable foam insole is a well-cushioned insole, but you may have custom orthotics that you want to put in your shoes. This athletic shoe offers more freedom and customizability.

Cost and Value
The Ghost 10 rests solidly in the upper price range, but it’s not so expensive that it would break the bank. However, Brooks is a reputable brand of athletic shoe.
Pros
  • Synthetic-and-Mesh Upper
  • Removable Foam Insole
  • Soft-Blown Rubber Sole
  • Medium-to-High Arch Support
  • Maximum Cushioning
  • Plush Tongue and Collar
  • Soft Fabric Lining
Cons
  • Sizing runs small
  • Upper may wear down quickly

5. Karmen Pump

5. Karmen Pump
Wide shaped feet doesn’t mean you need to condemn yourself to only wearing bulky and drab shoes. The market is full of gorgeous options that are made to include a range of widths; one of those is the Karmen Pump. With a 3 inch heel, you can throw on these for work, parties, or just to spice up your wardrobe.
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Memory Foam Insole
One of the worst things about heels is their ability to make your feet sore over the hours you wear them. The Karmen Pump counters that soreness by including a built in memory foam insole that will give your foot some comfort and relief as you stand and walk.

Comfortably Wide
When it comes to wide feet in heels, you run a high risk of wearing shoes that are both uncomfortable and cause chafing. These heels make sure to give you enough space that your feet have the freedom to breathe and relax, letting you enjoy your day or night in them.

Cost and Value
As far as heels go, these run very cheap, and that makes them well worth picking up a pair or two. For under $30, you can enjoy the comfort and space offered by the Karmen Heel without breaking the bank. In comparison to this list, the Karmen Pump is one of the cheapest wide shoes available.
Pros

Memory Foam Insole; 

Soft Lining; Arch Support; 

True to Size Fit; 

Multiple Color Options

Cons

Scratches/Scuffs Easily; 

Thin Plastic Exterior

6. Rockport Eureka

6. Rockport Eureka
Soft, stable, and extended the Eureka Walking Shoe by Rockport has everything you need to feel comfortable while looking sharp. With flexible leather and a rubber outsole, these are designed for everyday wear; no matter if it’s casual or formal. To keep your feet extra comfortable, Rockport has included a latex foam footbed to support your foot; as well as moisture wicking lining to keep your feet dry and odor free.
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Long Wear Durability
Crafted using a leather exterior and rubber sole, these shoes are built to last. The leather is kept flexible, allowing you to move freely without any stiffness of resistance from the shoe. As it also very breathable, you can rest assured that there will be no moisture build up, protecting the inside from both odor as well as degradation.

Arch and Heel Support
Not only does the built in latex foam footbed provide support to your overall foot,but the outsole is carefully designed to support your natural motion while walking. This helps to ensure that you are getting the most flexibility, stability, and support while moving.

Cost and Value
The Rockport Eureka is stylish, sleek shoe that can be found in the middle-to-upper price range and it’s great for walking. This shoe is perfect for the office, as well.
Pros

Crafted from Soft Materials; 

Extra Wide Sizing Options; 

Secure Tread for grip; 

Latex Foam Footbed; 

Moisture Wicking

Cons

Sole can Feel Rigid; 

Size can Make Them feel Clunky

7. Skechers Afterburn Strike

7. Skechers Afterburn Strike
These lace up walking shoes have the look of running shoes, with the comfortable feel of walking shoes. Ranging all the way up in size to a 4E (which is extra wide), you should be able to confidently find a pair that is designed to fit your foot with ease. The multiple color options allow you to find what best suits your personality so you can look as good as they feel.
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Thick Soles
The thickness of the soles is very important when walking, as it provides the tread needed to keep you stabilized and gripped to the ground. When you’re walking about, you don’t want to be slipping and sliding, and the Skechers Afterburn Strikes have gone above and beyond in creating soles that grip “like tire treads”.

Memory Foam Insole
Nothing is more important than comfort, and when it comes to shoes this rings extra true. Being on your feet for hours means you feet get weary and tired, so it is important to find wide shoes that go the extra mile. These memory foam insoles provide a cushioned bed of comfort that will ease the stress on your feet and make you forget you’re even wearing shoes at all.

Cost and Value
Cost wise Skechers tend to be very middle ground, and tend to stay under $100 per pair. As this is a reputable brand, you can be confident that the shoes will be well made and durable, giving you your money’s worth over time. On this list, these shoes are one of the more expensive options, but if comfort is what you want, then these will be a worthy investment.
Pros

Thick Soles;

Memory Foam Insole;

Extra Wide Options;

Slip Free Grip;

Multiple Color Options

Cons

Sizing Runs Large; 

Foam Insole Can be Slippery

8. New Balance MX608V4

8. New Balance MX608V4
If you are looking for a wide training shoe that offers both comfort and practicality, then the MX608V4 by New Balance is a great option to check out. With over 20 color options, you can get great looking shoe that meets your active needs. New Balance is known for their athletic footwear, so if you’re an athlete with wide set feet, know that the MX608V4 will give you a roomier shoe for you to perform your best in.
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Abzorb Rubber
This specific rubber manufacturer has crafted a rubber sole that provides extra cushioning and compression, giving your shoes the ability to properly absorb any impact. This is crucial if you train on a variety of terrains, as no surface will be too hard or difficult for running or moving.

Cushioning and Support
With extra arch support, these shoes are comfortable no matter how high or low your foot is. Extra padding within the shoe ensures that the foot is securely cushioned and for those with heel issues, you may find that the extra support is useful on the heel.

Cost and Value
Compared with other styles offered by New Balance, this specific model is price effective and cheaper than a lot of other options on our list. The training shoe market can be very expensive, so if you are on a budget then you may find that the MX608V4’s are the best choice for you.
Pros

Pull Tab on Heel; 

Breathable Lining; 

Abzorb Rubber; 

Thickly Cushioned; 

Over 20 Color Choices

Cons

Can Run Smaller in Size; 

No Memory Sole Insert

9. BOBS from Skechers

9. BOBS from Skechers
If you have ever wanted to wear your slippers all day, every day, then BOBS by Skechers might make your dreams come true. This slip-on style fabric shoes are woven to ensure breathability and flexibility, while maintaining both comfort and durability overall. With extra wide options available, these shoes will be comfortable no matter what size foot you have.
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Memory Foam
With a built in memory foam insole you can be sure that your foot will be both supported and comforted throughout the day. Don’t get home with weary feet, and instead let the insole absorb the pressure from standing and walking.

Well Made
No one wants to buy a pair of shoes just to have them ruined within a few uses. BOBS are made to last, and the material is strong and durable so that you can use them over and over again without issue.

Cost and Value
BOBS are extremely affordable, especially given how well-crafted they are. Compared with other shoes that we’ve listed, these are right in the middle price wise. When it comes to comfort and versatility, you cannot go wrong investing in a pair of BOBS.
Pros

Memory Foam Footbed; 

Hassle Free Slip On; 

Flexible Canvas Material; 

Sturdy Rubber Sole; 

Machine Washable

Cons

Memory Foam Flattens Over Time; 

Bottom Can Be Slippery

10. ASICS GT 2000 5

10. ASICS GT 2000 5
The ASICS GT 2000 5 is the fifth model of the GT 2000 athletic shoe. It’s a stylish shoe that comes in wide sizes. This shoe sports a number of ASICS’s best technologies, such as the Impact Guidance System Technology, DuoMax Support System, FluidRide midsole, and GEL cushioning. The ASICS GT 2000 5 shoe promises spacious comfort on your run.
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Impact Guidance System Technology
The ASICS GT 2000 5 Impact Guidance System Technology is designed to give you a smoother step by using linked components of the shoe to create a natural roll step.

Guidance Trusstic System Technology
The Guidance Trusstic System in the ASICS GT 2000 5 is designed to make each step more efficient, requiring less energy. This system also provides extra support beneath the midfoot.

Cost and Value
The GT 2000 5 can be found in the middle-to-upper price range. ASICS is a well-known and well-respected brand of athletic shoes, so it’s sure to be worth the price.
Pros
  • Impact Guidance System Technology
  • Guidance Trusstic System Technology
  • Synthetic Construction
  • DuoMax Support System
  • FluidRide Midsole
  • Rear and Forefoot GEL Cushioning
Cons
  • Short tongue
  • Sizing runs small

11. Clarks Breeze Sea

11. Clarks Breeze Sea
The Clarks Breeze Sea flip-flop is a stylish sandal built with casual walking in mind. It comes with a misdole stripe to cushion your footfalls and comes in medium width sizes. It’s not the widest sandal out there, but it’s much wider than a narrow shoe. It’s a sandal, so it has more space for your feet than a sneaker.
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Synthetic Sole
When you are out in your flip-flops, you don’t want to slip and fall. The synthetic sole on these flip-flops will protect you from slipping and falling on your walk.

Adjustable Thong Strap
The thong strap on the Clarks Breeze Sea flip-flop is adjustable, so you can use the hook and loop closure to tighten or loosen the straps for a comfortable walk.

Cost and Value
You can find the Clarks Breeze Sea flip-flop in the low-to-middle price range. It’s quite reasonably priced for a high-quality brand flip-flop. The customizability of the strap is a bonus.
Pros
  • Synthetic Sole
  • Adjustable Thong Strap
  • Midsole Stripe
  • Comes in Medium Width Sizes
Cons
  • Cushioning may wear down
  • Poor arch support

12. Alegria Paloma

12. Alegria Paloma
The Alegria Paloma Flat is a sturdy, stylish Mary Jane style shoe. It’s designed to look nice and protect your feet from injury. It even comes with features built in to ensure that your feet are comfortable in this flat. You can find this shoe in a variety of colors, making it easy to match it with your favorite outfits.
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Rocker Outsole
The Rocker Outsole is designed to roll naturally with your foot as you walk. This gives you greater stability and better posture while also reducing painful pressure on your feet.

Extra Depth
The Alegria Paloma Flat is deeper than other Mary Jane style shoes, giving your forefoot and toes a little extra space so they won’t be scraping against the leather upper.

Cost and Value
You can find the stylish Alegria Paloma Flat in the middle-to-upper price range, but the durable and sturdy construction of this shoe makes it worth some of the higher prices.
Pros
  • Rocker Outsole
  • Extra Depth
  • Leather Upper
  • Low Platform
  • Cushioned Flatform Sole
  • Leather Insole With Arch Support
Cons
  • Sizing runs small
  • Leather upper is inflexible

13. ASICS Gel Nimbus 18

13. ASICS Gel Nimbus 18
The ASICS Gel Nimbus is a long-running line of quality running shoes. This model of the Gel Nimbus boasts a comfortable cushioning system, including a FluidRide midsole. It has heel clutching technology that teams up with ASICS’s FluidFit upper for a secure fit. The Gel Nimbus is a stylish shoe that comes in wide sizes that won’t squish your feet.
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FluidFit Upper
The FluidFit Upper is built with a stretchy mesh material. It’s reinforced at key points to maximize durability. This shoe has the best fit possible for a truly comfortable run.

Rear and Forefoot GEL Cushioning System
ASICS uses the GEL cushioning system in the rear and forefoot of this shoe, which means your heels and toes will all be protected from the impact of hard footstrikes.

Cost and Value
This shoe has some of the highest price points on this list, but for a serious runner, the technologies this ASICS shoe utilizes are worth the extra money it costs.
Pros
  • FluidFit Upper
  • Rear and Forefoot GEL Cushioning System
  • FluidRide Midsole
  • Heel Clutching Technology
  • Seamless Construction
  • Rubber Sole
Cons
  • Small toebox
  • Sizing runs small

14. Caterpillar 2nd Shift

14. Caterpillar 2nd Shift
The Caterpillar 2nd Shift Steel Toe boot is an excellent work boot that reaches ankle height, boasts a steel toe, and has a leather upper. The oil-resistance adds an extra layer of protection from slips and falls. The wide sizes that it comes in provide extra comfort, which also prevents injury. This boot is also designed to grip the ground.
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Leather Upper
Durable, strong, and protective are three great adjectives for the Caterpillar 2nd Shift work boot. The leather upper protects your feet from injury and is perfect for hard work outdoors.

Padded Ankle
The padded ankle in these work boots protects your ankle from painful rubbing against the firm ankle-high leather. Less painful rubbing means you’ll have a more comfortable workday all day.

Cost and Value
You can purchase the Caterpillar 2nd Shift 6” Steel Toe boot for middle-to-upper range prices. This is a great buy for a sturdy work boot that comes in wide sizes.
Pros
  • Leather Upper
  • Padded Ankle
  • Synthetic Sole
  • Steel Toe
  • Oil Resistant Outsole
Cons
  • Not very breathable
  • Poor cushioning in footbed

15. Sam Edelman Petty

15. Sam Edelman Petty
The Sam Edelman Petty Ankle Boot is a classy, stylish boot whose upper is built of one of three materials: leather, suede, or Brahma hair. It comes in wide sizes, so it would be an excellent addition to your wardrobe. This ankle boot comes in a variety of colors and textures, making it easy to match them with any outfit.
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Side-Zip Entry
The zipper on these boots makes it easier to put them on. It doesn’t need stretchier materials built into it to accommodate the stretching it would need to do otherwise.

Rounded Toe
A long pointed toe in a shoe used to be very popular, but it has always been uncomfortable. This rounded toe area gives your toes more room to spread out.

Cost and Value
This boot is a little pricey compared to some others, but the materials that go into it are the best. A high-quality, stylish boot is well worth the extra money.
Pros
  • Side-Zip Entry
  • Rounded Toe
  • Synthetic Sole
  • Leather, Suede, or Brahma Hair
  • Synthetic
Cons
  • Sizing runs small
  • Upper may wear down quickly

When choosing shoes for wide feet, it is important to remember that there are lots of options on the market, and you don’t have to settle just because of your foot size. Do you research and find the style that suits your needs and personality, and know that there are styles and shapes to fit every budget. Wide feet don’t have to mean bulky, boring shoes and many brands are now offering their iconic styles in wider options.

Stop sizing up, which only causes discomfort, and instead measure your feet and learn exactly what width you need. Not all wide feet are built the same, so learn your proper size and finally find comfort in a shoe that feels like it was truly built for you.

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Shoes for Wide Feet

Width Options

When you are out shopping for shoes for your wide feet, you might be confused as to what all of the letters stand for. Unfortunately, many shoe manufacturers use letters that seem to be completely random and it can be hard to find a shoe that is wide enough for your feet. I have compiled a list below of men, women, and children’s width sizing indicators you will likely encounter in your search for the perfect shoe.

According to my research, men’s shoes have the widest variety of widths and children’s shoes have the least.

Men’s Widths:

  • AA
    AA or the double-A shoe size is the narrowest of all the shoe sizes available in men’s shoes. If you have wide feet, you would do well to avoid any shoe that has the double-A following the shoe size.
  • B
    Any shoe with a B following the shoe size is narrow.
  • C/N
    Any shoe with a C or an N following the shoe size is also narrow, but not as narrow as shoes marked with a B.
  • D/M
    Shoes marked with a D or M are average or medium sized shoes. They aren’t especially narrow or very wide.
  • E/W
    Shoes marked with an E or a W are wide sized shoes.
  • EE
    Also known as 2E shoes, these shoes are wider than E/W shoes.
  • EEEE
    These shoes are also called 4E shoes and they are even wider than 2E shoes.
  • EEEEEE
    These shoes are called 6E shoes and they are the widest option available for men’s shoes.

Women’s Widths:

  • AA
    The double-A in women’s shoes is, like the men’s sizing, the narrowest option available. It’s best to avoid an AA when you’re out looking for a new shoe.
  • B/M
    The B or M size in a woman’s shoe is a medium or average width. For wide feet, it’s best to avoid these shoes, as well.
  • D
    The D next to the shoe size indicates that this shoe is wide.
  • EE
    The double E shoe is extra wide.

Children’s Widths:

  • M
    The M in a children’s shoe represents an average or medium width shoe. If your child has a wide foot, it would be best not to get them a shoe in this size.
  • W
    A children’s shoe with a W next to the shoe size is a wide shoe.
  • XW
    When the size is followed by XW, the shoe is an extra wide shoe.

 

Environment

When you are looking for the best wide shoe for you, you will naturally have to consider the environment that you are purchasing the shoes for. In the past, it was really difficult to find a pair of wide enough shoes, but today it’s much easier. There is a wide range of shoe sizes in a wide range of shoe styles. You need to consider what the purpose of the shoe is before you purchase one.

Work Shoes

Work shoes vary by profession and style. If you are a construction worker, you will need a sturdy work boot with a steel toe- a straightforward fact. However, many other professions have much vaguer needs. If you are a waiter or waitress in a small town restaurant, you could probably get by with wearing a pair of nice black sneakers. However, if you are working in a high-class fancy restaurant, you probably have to wear some sort of formal work shoe. An office worker would need a nice dress flat, loafer, or high heel unless it’s a very casual workplace. Ultimately, you know what aspects your shoe needs for your work environment to be safe and effective and this needs to be taken into account before you make your purchase.

Athletic Shoes

Many athletic shoes can be used for casual purposes, but to preserve the longevity of your shoes, it’s best that you only use your athletic shoes for athletics. Similarly, some athletic shoes, such as rugby boots or soccer cleats, are really only suited for the sport they were designed for. When you are shopping for your ideal wide sized athletic shoe, you will need to take into account the type of physical activity you will be participating in and what features your shoe will need to give you the most comfort and safety.

Casual Shoes

Sometimes you can get lucky and your casual shoes can also double as work or athletic shoes, but other times you need something different, such as a comfortable sandal or a cute dress shoe you can’t wear to work or on the ballfield. When you are selecting a casual wide width shoe, however, you still need to take into account the kinds of activities you will be participating in while you’re wearing them. It’s unwise, for example, to wear a tall platform sandal when you’re going to be on your feet all day walking around the city. It would be uncomfortable to wear a sneaker when you’re at the beach and a flip-flop or another style of sandal would be best suited for that.

Flexibility of the Upper

While shopping for a wide shoe, you should consider the upper construction of the shoe before you buy. Why? A stiff, leather upper won’t flex with your movements and becomes a painful, albeit stylish, and wet cage. As such, you should look for flexible, durable materials in the upper construction of your shoe. A breathable, stretchy mesh is best, as it will flex and mold to your foot’s shape and movements. However, an upper consisting entirely of mesh will have little upper support. You should take into account the environment you will be wearing the shoes in. If it’s an athletic environment, you may want to consider a mesh upper with leather or synthetic overlays for support.

Any material in a shoe that is stiff or tight will not flex or stretch with your foot as you move and that makes for a painful experience for anyone, especially people with wide feet.

Support

Some people need more support built into their shoe than others. However, everyone should consider the supportive features of a wide-size shoe before they make a purchase. You should consider the height of your arches, the strength of your ankles, and your normal gait as you look into buying your wide-sized shoe.

A person with flat feet would not benefit from wearing a shoe designed to support someone with high arches. Similarly, a shoe designed for a person with flat feet would not benefit someone with high arches. Someone with weaker ankles or who are prone to rolling their ankles while they’re out would benefit from a shoe with a higher ankle.

Some features that you should look into as you are shopping for a sufficiently supportive wide shoe are as follows:

Upper Construction – Leather or synthetic overlays offer more support to your whole foot than simple mesh designs.

Insole Properties – Some insoles are designed to not only cushion your feet but also to support your arches and forefoot.

Midsole Properties – Some midsoles, similarly, are designed to cushion and support. Midsole caps in the heel, in particular, create a strong stabilizing effect.

Outsole Construction and Design – A good outsole is sturdy enough to support your feet but also flexible enough to bend with your foot’s natural movement. Otherwise, you could find yourself in pain at the end of the day.

Ultimately, you will need to determine how much support you need and desire for your feet before you buy and then consider what you are willing to sacrifice to get that support, if necessary. Many shoes today come with plenty of support and cushioning for ample comfort and safety.

Protection

Depending on the environment you are working in, you will need to consider what protective features your shoe needs. If you will be working or doing something athletic on a gravel road or on a hiking or running trail, then you will need an outsole that works to protect your feet from rocks and other hard debris that could hurt your foot. Similarly, if you are working in a construction environment, you will need protective features such as a steel toe, electricity resistance, oil resistance, and so on.

If you will be out on a trail or on the road at night, you would benefit from wearing shoes which have reflective detailing on them. If you are going to be walking around a gala in your high heels or loafers, you will need slip-resistance and ample cushioning for protection. The upper design is also important to consider here, as the upper will protect your feet- or not- from environmental threats. If you are rock climbing, you will need a firmer upper that can take a beating so your feet don’t get hurt. If you are going to be walking around at the office or at a party, you will need some sort of closed-toe shoes more often than not, just in case you drop a stapler or someone steps on your feet.

 

Cushioning and Comfort

You need your wide size shoe to be comfortable, or else what is the point of having them? You could just as easily wear a tighter, narrower shoe, but why suffer when you can have the comfort of a well-cushioned, well-designed wide shoe?

Many shoes come with insoles, midsoles, and outsoles built with maximum cushioning in mind, but just as many lean more towards being stability shoes with minimal cushioning and others rest somewhere in the middle. In the end, you must decide how much cushioning you want and need in your wide shoes to make your walk, run, or workday more comfortable.

Cushioning and Padding Placements:

Tongue – A padded tongue can be a boon to your upper foot. It protects your foot from painful rubbing. Plus, it’s soft and absorbs impact!

Padded Ankle – A padded ankle protects your ankles from abrasive rubbing with each step. An insufficiently padded ankle can cause pain and injury.

Insole – A good insole has sufficient cushioning for your whole foot from heel to toes. Some shoes come with specialized fore- and rearfoot cushioning while others come with more cushioning and support in the arch area.

Midsole – Some midsoles come with more cushioning capabilities than others. Some midsoles are designed with a focus on stability rather than comfort.

Outsole – You want your outsole to be sturdy, but you also need it to absorb shock well. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a pair of shoes that feel like running with wooden boards strapped to your feet.

Removable Insoles

If you require custom insoles for your feet, then you need to look for wide shoes which have removable insoles. Sometimes, the insoles already installed in wide shoes aren’t sufficient enough in terms of cushioning and/or support and you need a custom insert. Many shoes do not come with removable insoles, so this is definitely something you will want to consider before you make a purchase.

Closure Style

There is no point to buying a wide size shoe if the opening is too small to get your foot in. Either the upper needs to be stretchy and flexible, the opening needs to be large enough to slip your foot in, or the opening needs to have some type of closure. If you have a knee-high boot, for example, you will need the boot’s upper to be flexible enough to allow your foot to slide in and bend to go into the foot area.

The most common closure styles that lend themselves to wide shoes are as follows:

Lace-Up

This is one of the most prevalent closure styles and it’s used in athletic shoes as well as work shoes. With a lace-up shoe, you can stretch the mouth and tongue of the shoe to accommodate the entry of your foot and then tie the shoe closed around it. It can be a great, secure fit, but generally, office work prohibits this type of closure unless it’s in a lace-up loafer or something similar.

Velcro Strap

Like the lace-up closure, the Velcro strap can be adjusted to fit your foot more securely after stretching the mouth of the shoe enough to get your foot in. This closure style gets a little flack sometimes, but it’s easier than stopping to tie and re-tie your shoes.

Hook-and-Loop Buckle

This style of closure generally does not get used in athletic shoes, but it’s common in office and casual dress shoes. The strap closing the shoe over your foot acts like a belt around your waist and hooks into a belt-buckle style fastener. Generally, the material in the shoe’s upper construction is flexible enough to accommodate the stretching that is required to slide your foot in and then fasten it.

Zip-Up

The zip-up closure is what makes shin, calf, and knee-high boots easier for anyone to wear, but especially for people who have wide feet. The zipper usually starts at the side of the foot, so the opening is large enough to slip your foot in. When you zip the boot or shoe up, it results in a secure fit so your boots don’t come flying off.

Value & Durability

All of the above-mentioned traits are worthless in the end if your shoe falls apart after one walk, run, or day at the office. When you are shopping for your new wide size shoes, you need to consider the durability of the shoe and to do that, you need to consider what it’s made of.

The most durable materials used in shoes are rubber and leather. Synthetics and meshes are the least durable and are prone to ripping and tearing, though some are better than others.

Always do your research into the shoe you want to purchase to confirm that the shoes are consistently high quality, long lasting, and wide enough.

Why You Should Care About Finding Wide Enough Shoes

It can be easy to just throw your hands up in the air and say “I quit! I can’t find a shoe that fits me properly and this shoe fits well enough! I’m just going to buy this shoe and hope for the best!” However, choosing to settle for a shoe that is too narrow for your feet can lead to serious medical complications and conditions.

Pain & Discomfort

Your feet should not hurt. If they are, then something is wrong somewhere. Either your shoes are too tight or you have an injury. Either way, continuing to wear shoes that are not wide enough for your feet will exacerbate any existing foot injury and will be incredibly uncomfortable. Remember that your feet and legs are your primary mode of transportation. You need them healthy and strong.

Bone Weakening

Believe it or not, wearing too tight shoes over a long period of time can cause the bones in your feet to weaken. This is a result of your toes and bones in your feet being squished together, which damages them.

Lower Back Pain

If you have been wearing shoes that are too tight, perhaps you have noticed that your lower back has been aching. The unsuspected culprit? Your too tight shoes. The squeezing of the bones in your feet allows more impact to glide up your legs and into your lower back. Your natural gait and posture are affected and this can lead to permanent damage to your back.

Bunions

A bunion is a bony growth on the side of your big toe’s joint that is painful and may cause calluses to form. A bunion is tender and forms when you wear too tight shoes regularly. If you have already formed a bunion, then wearing wider shoes will help manage the discomfort it causes.

Morton’s Neuroma

Nerves allow us to feel things, painful and not. Tissues cover these nerves to protect them. When you develop Morton’s Neuroma, one or more of those tissues covering nerves swells and thickens, which causes pain and discomfort in the ball of your foot. To prevent Morton’s Neuroma, it is recommended that you wear shoes with wide toe boxes and that otherwise fit properly.

Hammertoes

When your toes are squished together in your too-tight shoes, then pressure is put on the muscles and ligaments in the toes. This added pressure creates an imbalance that causes the joint in the middle of each toe to lock up. Hammertoes can result in other serious complications, such as ulcers and infections of the toes. The best way to avoid these things is to wear shoes that are wide enough to accommodate your feet.

Other Toe Deformities

You may also develop a clawed toe, a mallet toe, an Adductovarus toe, or a curly toe from wearing shoes that are too tight. These toe deformities are physically uncomfortable in your shoes and to walk on, but they are also embarrassing as they worsen over time.

If you don’t take action and invest in properly fitting wide shoes, the only recourse to correct these deformities years down the line may be surgery.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: How do I figure out what my shoe size is?

A: There are a couple of ways you can do this.

You can determine your shoe size by trying on a number of different shoes to find one that fits “just right,” which means that your feet are perfectly aligned with the footbed and aren’t pressing against the sides of the shoe.

Do not buy a new pair of shoes that feel too tight and hope that they will stretch out. You will only do damage to your feet, as the shoes will not stretch enough.

If you are looking for a more precise way to determine your shoe size, perhaps because you plan on shopping online for shoes and cannot try them on first, then here is how you can measure your feet:

  • You will need the following materials to measure your feet:
    • Legal size paper
    • A pencil
    • Tape Measure (or if you don’t have a tape measure, a ruler can work, but it’s not recommended)
  • Wear the socks or hose that you intend to wear with your shoes or that you most regularly use when you go to trace your feet. Always trace your feet in the evening, because feet naturally swell a little as the day goes on.
  • Place a piece of legal size paper on the floor and sit in a chair behind it.
  • Place your foot on the paper. Don’t stretch or flex or do anything unnatural. Just place your foot on the paper as if you were just sitting with your feet on the floor. Relax.
  • Trace your foot with the pencil, but be sure to keep the pencil perpendicular to the paper the entire time. Don’t bother with tracing between all of your toes. Just make sure you go around the front of your toes to make a sketch of your whole foot.
  • Measure the distance from the end of your heel to the tip of your longest toe. Write this number down and then subtract a quarter of an inch or half a centimeter from the figure you came up with- this accounts for the pencil’s width.
  • Measure the width of the ball of your foot and mark down this number. Subtract a quarter of an inch or half a centimeter from this number as well.
  • Flip the paper over and repeat the above steps so that you have measurements for both of your feet.
  • This website has a chart for men’s, women’s, and children’s shoe sizes that will help you convert your measurements into common shoe sizes. Use this chart to determine your shoe size.
  • To determine the appropriate width for your feet, take the measurement you made earlier of the ball of your foot, which will tell you how wide your feet are. Compare the width you came up with to the sizes in the chart on the same site.

Q: Which brands offer great wide shoes for men and women?

A: Most shoe brands these days offer wide size shoes for men and women. However, Skechers, New Balance, Clarks, and ASICS are some of the best.

Q: What if I have high arches? Is there a wide shoe for my high arches?

A: Yes! It may take a little more effort to find a shoe that is a wide size and also provides adequate support for your high arches, but it can be done. For more supportive shoes, look for firmer materials in the design of the shoe and for responsive cushioning.

Q: Why do I need shoes specially designed for my wide feet?

A: Wearing too tight shoes will result over time in serious medical conditions on top of being very uncomfortable and painful. Some of those medical conditions include hammertoes, Morton’s Neuroma, bunions, and other toe deformities.

Q: Where can I buy wide shoes?

A: Any place that sells shoes on or offline should have shoes for wide feet. If you’re having trouble finding them, ask a salesperson or check the reviews and frequently asked questions on the product page.

Q: Do I have to sacrifice comfort and durability to get a pair of wide shoes?

A: Nope! Shoe manufacturing technology has come a long way. Today, you can get a well-cushioned, durable, and supportive pair of shoes in just about any size and width that you need!

 

Sources

Footwind, Best Running Shoes for Wide Feet, December 30, 2016

SizeCharter, Best Brands for Wide Men’s Shoes

eBay, The Foolproof Way to Finding Your True Shoe Size, March 3, 2016

Fitting Children’s Shoes, Best Shoes for Wide Feet, 2016

WebMD, What Are Bunions?, 2017

MayoClinic, Morton’s Neuroma, August 4, 2017

WebMD, Understanding Hammertoes- The Basics, 2017

Northwest Foot & Ankle, Crooked Toes

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