If you have wide feet, finding the perfect pair of shoes can be sometimes a challenge.
According to the National Shoe Retailers Association, since the 1970s, women’s feet have grown at least two sizes bigger in Western Countries. This is down to genetics and richer diets, meaning we are growing bigger and living longer, with our feet spreading as we age. But still, there is so much cultural stigma surrounding women with big feet (as well as unpleasant jokes) and buying a fabulous pair is not always so obvious.
Fortunately, the fashion industry is slowly becoming more inclusive and today you can count on so many styles and brands out there that cater specifically to those with wider feet.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the key factors to consider when shopping for shoes for wide feet, as well as some top recommendations to get you started. So, if you’re tired of squeezing into shoes that just don’t fit quite right, read on to discover how you can find the perfect pair for your feet.
Understanding shoe sizing for wide feet
In midlife, you may already know whether or not you have a wide foot from years of trial and error when trying on shoes but just in case you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to measure your feet or book an in-store personal fitting.
When it comes to finding the perfect pair of shoes for you, the first thing you need to understand is the shape of your foot. Regardless of whether you were born with wide feet, they broadened naturally with age, or sometimes there are some medical conditions to consider (such as plantar fasciitis, corns or bunions, including swollen feet), it can be a good idea to speak with an expert or your podiatrist before purchasing new shoes.
As a rule of thumb, you should look for shoes that are specifically designed for wider feet, with a wider toe box and more room in the midfoot area. Usually labelled as “wide” or “extra wide” in size charts, they will allow you to move around in comfort without putting yourself at risk for injury.
Bear in mind that simply going up a half size won’t solve your problem. This can often lead to a poor fit, as the shoe will be too long and not provide the necessary support. Always look for shoes that are specifically designed for wider feet, and avoid those ones that are too narrow; trying to squeeze into a shoe that you love, can only lead to foot pain and discomfort.
Finally, consider the weight of the shoe. Shoes that are too heavy can be uncomfortable and may cause foot fatigue. Invest in shoes that are lightweight and flexible, as these features will allow for natural movement and help to keep your feet comfortable throughout the day.
Finding the perfect pair of shoes for wide feet
Sneakers, platforms, and boots are all popular options, and each comes with its own unique set of features to consider. But, don’t assume that all shoes labelled “wide” will fit the same.
Different brands and styles may have different definitions of what constitutes a “wide” shoe, so it’s recommended to check the specific measurements and width options before making your purchase.
Another important factor to consider is breathability. Generally, shoes or boots that don’t allow for proper airflow can lead to sweaty and uncomfortable feet. So, look for those ones with breathable materials such as mesh or perforations, as these options will allow for proper airflow and help to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
Sneakers are usually a great option for those with wide feet (better if equipped with a cushioned sole and good arch support). You can wear them all day long, mostly with almost any outfit and are perfect for your daily walking.
If you’re a fan of boots, it’s worth considering styles with adjustable closures such as laces, buckles and flexible straps. Also, opt for quality materials (the softer the leather, the more glove-like the fit) and shapes that will help to keep you comfortable throughout the day like square toes, low heels or block heels. You may also want to consider shoes with a rocker sole, which can help to distribute weight more evenly across the foot and reduce pressure on certain areas.
- Dress shoes
If you’re up for a glamorous evening out or a special event, don’t renounce wearing sexy dress shoes. All you have to do is choose a pair with a comfortable platform, preferably made from suede, as they will provide cushioning, comfort, and a better grip on the ground, you can last all day long without sacrificing style.
You may also want to consider dress shoes with a wider toe box or a lace-up closure, and a cushioned sole as these features will allow for a more customized fit in case you want to channel your inner “dancing queen“.
“Ideally, you should opt for Square toe pumps or Open-toed sandals“, say pedorthists at Podexpert. “For a chic evening, square pumps are an ideal alternative to high heels. They give your toes room to grow and ensure that your body weight is well distributed. Alternatively, open-toed sandals are the way to go. With their fashionable design, wide-strap sandals combine comfort and optimal support for your wide foot, allowing you to adjust the support of your wide feet“.
If you have flat feet or high arches, you may also need to look for shoes with specialized support. Shoes with built-in arch support or removable insoles can help to alleviate foot pain and provide a more customized fit.
Tips for shopping for wide feet online
Shopping for shoes for wide feet online can be a bit tricky, as you can’t try the shoes on before you buy them. However, there are a few tips you can follow to ensure that you find the perfect pair.
Look for brands that offer a range of width options, this will ensure that you can find a shoe that fits you properly and read reviews from other customers who have purchased the same shoe. This will give you an idea of how the shoe fits and whether or not it’s comfortable.
Also, be sure to check the return policy before you make your purchase. Many online retailers offer free returns or exchanges, which can give you peace of mind when shopping for shoes online.
Brands with wide-width options
There are a number of brands that offer shoes with wide-width options. Some popular options include New Balance, Brooks, Clarks, Vionic, Finn Comfort, Neut, Podowell and the Italian brand Podoline, offering a range of styles and sizes, so you’re sure to find a shoe that fits you properly.
If you’re a midlife woman more on the chic side, Vivaia, Each x Every, Sargasso & Grey are the ones for you. Each season they expand their collection creating exquisite wide-fitting shoes for women who have wide feet, bunions, or who simply need a wider-fitting shoe, without compromising on style.
In case you don’t know where to start, Wide Feet Shoes is also a great online footwear retailer to check out with plenty of shoes designed for extra comfort. These include seam-free soft padded leather uppers, large toe box areas that give height as well as width to the fitting and removable socks that allow for the insertion of orthotic devices.
Gone are those days when women couldn’t find great and stylish shoes for their wide feet. Today, even if it’s still quite challenging to find the pair of your dreams, you can give your feet both the space and the support they need and allow the foot to function properly thanks to new brands catering especially for women with wide feet.
And guess what? According to urban culture, these types of feet can also give an indication of how hard you work – and not just from the calluses on them. Yes, apparently, women with wider feet are considered hard workers with a go, go mentality, while those with more delicate, narrower feet prefer to delegate.
So, what are you waiting for? Time to put your foot down ladies and enjoy the second chapter of your life to the fullest.