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If you are someone who has wide feet, I’m sure you are painfully aware of how hard it is to find a pair of shoes in your size that fits comfortably. Even as someone who doesn’t have wide feet, I’m all too familiar with the troubles of trying on shoe after shoe that leave your feet feeling cramped and stuffy. Or that bit into the sides of your feet and leave blisters on the back of your heels. At worst, ill-fitting shoes can cause long-term problems in your back, legs, and feet.
The tedious part is shopping for shoes involves a lot of trial by error, and people with wide feet often have limited choices in shoe options that can properly accommodate them.
"There’s such a wide range as far as you could have a really wide foot versus, not such a wide foot, and a lot of it is determined how well the shoe fits,” founder and CEO of Next Level Physio, Dr. Jerry Yoo, DPT, explains. He recommends always trying on a shoe, in person, adding, "Typically, you know if the shoe is wide enough if you’re not feeling that rubbing on the outside of your pinky toe.”
There’s also the toe box to consider as well as the material the shoe is made of. And, that goes for running, casual, sneakers, dress shoes, and heels, too.
Keep on reading for recommendations for some of the best shoes for wide feet as well as shopping advice from podiatrists below.
Best Overall: Vans Old Skool Sneaker
The laidback skater shoe class never truly went out of style to the point it become a workwear staple, paired with a blazer. What’s there not to love? You can go for their classic, conservative white look or a trendier print. Regardless, they’re a comfortable, stylish unisex choice for all ages that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.
Upper: Canvas, leather | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 5-11.5 | Heel Height: 1.5 inches | Weight: 17 ounces | Fit: True to size
Best White: Superga 2750 Cotu Classic White
The classic shoe was created in 1925 and has remained a timelessly, classy wardrobe staple ever since. They add an understated tastefulness to any outfit. It doesn’t hurt that the sneakers can be paired with almost anything—from pants to sundresses. Each pair has a natural rubber sole to keep your feet supported, whether you’re traipsing around on your next city adventure or need a reliable walking shoe for work. There is a men’s version as well.
Upper: Canvas | Outsole: Rubber |Size: 5-11.5 | Heel Height: 1 inch | Fit: True to size
Best for Running: ALTRA Escalante 2.5
The wrong pair of running shoes will do you more harm than good in the long run. Dr. Lee recommends the brand Altras. “[The brand’s shoes] are actually shaped like your foot so they accommodate a wide footwell,” she says If you’re looking for a shoe suitable for running, the Escalante 2.5 is a good place to start. The shoes offer more room for your feet than most.
Unlike the traditional running shoe (which typically has a pointed toe box), Altras’ FootShape toe box is designed to accommodate the natural shape of your feet so your toes can spread out naturally. The sole has responsive cushioning throughout the sole while the body of the shoes is made of a breathable, sock-like knit fabric for optimal comfort.
Upper: Knit mesh | Outsole: FootPod | Size: 5.5-12 | Heel Height: About 1 inch | Weight: 6.9 ounces | Fit: True to size
Best Loafers: Franco Sarto New Bocca
For those seeking a sleek, sophisticated shoe, this leather pair from Franco Sarto is a good place to start. They have a rounded toe (which means more room for your feet) and the nice metal detail at the heel gives it a nice, luxurious flair.
Upper: Leather or calf hair upper | Outsole: Synthetic | Size: 5-13 | Heel Height: 1.5 inches | Weight: 11.6 ounces | Fit: True to size
Best Heeled Boots: ECCO Shape Sculpted Motion 35
Dr. Lee vouches for Ecco, citing the brand’s “‘freedom fit’ which is designed to allow the toes room to move.” As in, you don’t have to worry about your toes feeling squished or cramped—which can take some trial and error when searching for the perfect booth that can weather the summer slush and winter blues alike. One shoe that fits is the Motion 35 from ECCO, a stylish contemporary take on the ankle boot. Its footbed is anatomically shaped to cup your heel and cradle your foot so you don’t feel the wear of a day of walking on your body.
Upper: Leather | Outsole: FLUIDFORM sole | Size: 4.5-11.5 | Heel Height: 1.3 inches | Weight: 15 ounces
Best Flats: Everlane The Italian Leather Day Glove
Everlane is much-loved for the brand’s sustainable fashion and The Day Glove is no exception. An update on the classic round toe look, these flats are made from 100 percent Italian leather which means they’re built to last. Not only do they fit like a glove, the flats feel buttery-soft against the skin (so no blisters). The six thousand positive reviews can attest to that.
Upper: Italian leather | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 5-11 | Heel Height: 0.75 inches | Fit: True to size
Best Oxfords: Dr. Martens 1461 Core Oxfords
Dr. Martens is another beloved and trusted brand for its well-constructed and durable eclectic footwear. You can’t go wrong with whatever style you choose. But, if you are just now dipping your toes in what the iconic brand has to offer, we suggest the 1461 Oxfords. Oxford shoes just have a certain eclectic coolness to them, no matter what you wear them with, and this pair doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Not to mention you will get years of wear out of them.
Upper: Leather | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 5-12 | Heel height: 1.5 inches | Weight: 1 pound, 3 ounces | Fit: Runs about half a size large
Best for Hiking: Keen Ridge Flex Waterproof Boot
As any adventurer knows, their choice of shoes can make (or break) a hike. A cross between a sneaker and a boot, this pair from Keen is the best of both worlds. It has a rubber sole with a foam midsole for the right amount of support while still affording you flexibility. The boot has a waterproof exterior with a bellow tongue so you don’t have about wet feet or dirt finding its way inside your socks. Plus, the high neck means good ankle support.
Upper: Leather, mesh | Outsole: Rubber | Sizes: 5-12 | Fit: True to size
Best Sneakers: Sketchers Uno Stand on Air
If you’re up on all your feet for a good part of the day, a shoe with thick support is what you need. The Uno Stand from Sketchers is a pair that will go the distance. The shoe has both a memory insole and a cushioned midsole as well as a rubber outer sole with a one and half-inch thick heel to ensure your feet are properly supported, which means less strain on your back. Reviewers with conditions like plantar fasciitis vouch for them.
Upper: Synthetic fabric | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 5-10 | Heel Height: 1.5 inches | Fit: True to size
Best Mules: Sam Edelman Linnie Mule
These stylish, backless mules are a great option for an everyday work shoe to add a touch of elegance to almost any outfit. Even better, the footbed is lightly padded which means you won’t feel like you’re walking on the ground barefoot like some other shoes.
Upper: Leather and synthetic lining Size: 5 to 11 | Heel Height: 3/4 inches | Weight: 9 ounces | Fit: True to size
Best Hiking for Flat Feet: Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
For women with flat feet, the Merrell Moab 2 is a great boot for hitting the trails. The shoe has all the features you could hope for in a shoe. It is made from a durable yet ultra-breathable material (so no sweaty feet) with a contoured footbed that supports your arch and heel. Though, some reviewers note the shoe may be too warm for summer weather.
Upper: Leather and mesh | Outsole: Vibram TC5+ rubber | Size: 5-12 | Weight: 2 pounds, 4 ounces | Fit: True to size
Best Sandals: Vionic Fleur Heeled Sandal
Biomechanically designed to hug your arches, the Fleur Heeled Sandal from Vionic helps support the natural alignment of your body from the ground up. And if you tend to experience your foot sliding around, this sandal has a stretchy, knit front that envelops the foot and a supportive footbed so your feet are comfortable all day.
Upper: Knit | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 5-11 | Heel Height: 2.5 inches | Fit: True to size
Best Block Heels: Clarks Kaylin Cara 2
Clark is known for its long-lasting, durable footwear that’s as equally comfortable as it is stylish. If you’re looking for a heel that can go the distance, look no further than the Kaylin Cara. An almond toe, these pair of heels add an understated touch of elegance to any work uniform. And its 3-inch block heel adds some length to your lengths while still being wearable.
Upper: Leather | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 4.5-11 | Heel Height: 3 inches | Weight: 8 ounces | Fit: True to size
Runner-Up, Best for Running: Nike Epic React Flyknit 2
Another option recommended by Dr. Yoo is the Nike Flyknit, for men and women alike. “The Flyknit has a material that’s basically made out a special [yarn] where the material actually flexes quite a bit,” he explains. “So it almost looks like you are wearing a sock on top of a rubber sole and because of the way that it stretches out, it gives a lot more room for people with wide feet because the material allows for that give on the sides. As a person with wide feet and a runner, those have been my favorite go-to’s right now.”
Upper: Flyknit upper | Outsole: Foam | Size: 5-12 | Heel Height: 1.1 inches | Weight: 7 ounces | Fit: Snug
Best Stilettos: Sarah Flint Perfect Pump 85
Unlike other heels that can run narrow, this pair of pumps has an expanded toe box to accommodate wider feet. Plus, this shoe will stretch in width with wear over time for the perfect. If that hasn’t sold you, the footbed of the shoe is extra padded for even more comfort, bolstering the insole that is shaped to support the natural arch of the foot. Now, these are a pair of heels you could go all day in.
Upper: Varies | Outsole: Leather, full rubber forepart | Size: 4-13 | Heel Height: 3.3 inches | Fit: True to size
Best Boots: UGG Classic Mini II
These boots are bestsellers for good reason. UGGs are the quintessential fall and winter boots. There’s not much else that can be said about them. Though, they now come pre-treated for stain and water resistance so you don’t have to worry about the snow soaking through. Many reviewers note that these ankle boots fit their feet super comfortably, thanks to the wide footbed and roomy interior.
Upper: Sheepskin suede | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 5-12 | Heel Height: 1 inch | Weight: 10 ounces | Fit: True to size
Best Sneaker Boots: Vionic Shawna Bootie
Formulated with Vionic Vio-Motion footbed technology, these high-top sneakers were specifically made for people who experience plantar fasciitis. The stylish leather shoes come in medium or wide. Many reviewers note that the arches are not as high as the other brands, which means less strain. Available in five different colors, they make a good pair of daily shoes. If you’re interested in true sneakers, there’s also the Walker Classic. Plus, you might want to check out the brand’s selection of sandals, slippers, and ballet flats as well.
Upper: Nubuck or Nappa leather | Outsole: EVA | Size: 5 to 12 | Heel Height: 1.25 inches | Weight: 8 ounces | Fit: True to size
Best Slides: Birkenstock Arizona
There’s a reason Birkenstocks are one of the most spotted shoes on college campuses across the U.S. These best-selling shoes were truly made for walking. The footbed strikes the right balance of proper arch support and shock absorption for your feet. ICYMI: The sandals also mold to the shape of your feet. They also have adjustable straps to ensure the best fit.
Upper: Leather | Outsole: Cork | Size: 4.5-12.5 | Weight: 9 ounces | Fit: Narrow or regular
Best Hiking Sandals: Teva Hurricane XLT2 Sandal
If you need a sandal for longer treks, TEVA is one of the top brands of hiking gear and the Hurricane XLT2 is a fan favorite (with over one thousand positive reviews). The sandals are vegan and lightweight with an EVA rubber traction footbed that keeps your foot rooted securely to the ground.
Upper: Recycled plastic, polyester | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 5-12 | Weight: 7.75 ounces | Fit: True to size
Best Slippers: UGG Fluff Yeah Slide
The plush slippers were an instant hit when they dropped. And what’s not to love? They’re warm, fuzzy, and fluffy. And the slides come with a flexible strap to keep it firmly secure so you don’t have to worry about your foot accidentally sliding out the shoe while walking around the house. Plus, it has a sturdy rubber sole in case you need to pop outside to grab something.
Upper: Sheepskin | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 5-12 | Heel Height: 1.5 inches | Weight: 1 pound, 6 ounces | Fit: True to fit
Best Clogs: Crocs Classic Clog
It’s arguable if they ever truly went out of style but the iconic shoe is seeing a resurgence like never before. It is the ultimate fashionable “lazy shoe.” The lightweight, breathable clog affords your feet plenty of room enshrouded in a soft, foam cocoon of comfort. The shoe is available in more than 24 different colors so you find the one that best fits your style.
Upper: Foam | Outsole: Foam | Size: 6-12 | Weight: 6 ounces | Fit: Roomy
Best Strappy Sandals: Naturalizer Vera Dress Sandal
These leather block heels are the perfect cute and classy dress shoes that you can wear to work, a brunch date, or a night out on town. The pair of heels are available in narrow, medium, and wide with an adjustable buckle strap and non-slip sole, and, the heel is a modest two and a half inches, which Dr. Yoo recommends. “Because of the way the mechanics are with heels, [they] also do cause back pain in some women because it makes that curve in your back to be even more accentuated,” he explains. To add to that, many reviewers praised the heels’ comfortability. Your feet will feel as good as they look in these babies.
Upper: Leather | Outsole: Synthetic (non-slip) | Size: 4-12 | Heel Height: 2.5 inches | Weight: 8.6 ounces | Fit: Narrow, Medium, Wide
Best Knee-High Boots: Naturalizer Jessie Wide Calf Knee High Boot
Riding boots are a perennial cold-weather classic and, with a 16-inch shaft, you won’t have any trouble fitting this pair of knee-high boots to your calves. As far as fit, these boots are available in medium, wide, and extra-wide. The boots also feature a round toe, which means more space for your feet. Their leather upper and wraparound straps with gold-toned buckles add some extra style factor that gives them a timeless, year-round appeal.
Upper: Leather | Outsole: Synthetic | Size: 4-12 | Heel Height: 1 inch | Weight: 1 pound, 9 ounces | Fit: Medium, Wide
Best Sock Boots: Stuart Weitzman Yuliana 60 Boot
If you prefer your boots to have a little stretch, consider these sock boots. Available in stretch suede or leather as well as a python print, they’re as comfortable as they are stylish.
Upper: Stretch suede or leather | Outsole: Rubber | Size: 3.5-12 | Heel Height: 2.4 inches | Fit: True to size
What to Look for When Buying Shoes for Wide Feet
The toe box is the front area of the shoe that surrounds the toes on closed-toe shoes and can come in a variety of shapes and styles. According to Dr. Lee, one that looks like the shape of your foot is better. “Put the shoe next to your foot and imagine what your toes would look like in the shoe,” she says. “If they look like they are cramped, it's not the right shape for you. Also, avoid shoes that have straps that cross right at your widest point (ie a bunion) as this can lead to blisters and irritation.”
“People with wide feet should purchase shoes in a wide width, and also look for adjustable straps or velcro so that the fit can be customized for ultimate comfort.,” shares nationally renowned podiatrist Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, DPM. “Also, look for softer materials like mesh and avoid tight, narrow, or pointy styles, especially if you have bunions, bone spurs, bunionette, or hammertoes.”
Dr. Yoo recommends that there should be about half a bump nail of space between your big toe in front of the shoe. “As you’re walking trying the shoe—whether it’s sneakers or regular dress shoes—you want to make sure that you’re heel is not lifting off the back end of that shoe. If it is, that is not the right fit. Even if it has a wide toe box,” he says.
How do you tell if you have wide feet?
“A wide foot is when the width of the forefoot measures larger than what would fit into an average or ‘M’ size width shoe. This can happen as a result of ligaments and tendons that have become a little bit laxer over time,” Dr. Sutera explains. “Gravity plus age, weight, and/ or pregnancy can make feet wider gradually. Feet with deformities such as bunions, taylor bunions, and hammertoes also can make the width of feet wider than normal.”
What is the proper way to measure one's foot to determine your shoe size?
Dr. Ashley Lee, DPM, a podiatrist at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, recommends using a Brannock device to correctly measure one’s foot. These devices are usually readily available in stores but you can also purchase one from retailers online like Amazon as well.
“If you do not have one, you can draw a line on a piece of paper, stand on the line, and mark where the longest toe is and where the back of the heel is, then measure the line,” Lee adds. “Regardless of how you measure your foot, always make sure you are standing and that you are measuring from the longest toe. The big toe is not always the longest toe; often the 2nd toe is longer.”
Why Trust Byrdie?
This article was written by Danielle Ransom, an NYC-based freelance Byrdie contributor. She has covered a myriad of topics ranging across beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. For this article, Danielle researched different styles of shoes from multiple brands across different prices and spoke with podiatrists for further insight.