Wearing exercise shoes that fit isn't just important for comfort; these shoes can help prevent injuries and properly support the feet during activity. But finding the proper footwear can be a challenge for those with wide feet. In addition to seeking out brands and models for wide feet, there are some steps that can make the shoe-buying process easier for those who are searching for the right wide fit.
Shop for Width, Not Just Size
The default width for shoes is categorized as "B" for women and "D" for men. Some companies also make wider shoes: "D" for women and "2E" for men. These wider widths can usually be found online, but are harder to find in retail stores. But ordering a side-by-side comparison of shoe widths may be instructive for those who have a hard time finding shoes that are wide enough. Some shoe companies even offer free shipping both ways, so you can test your width without having to pay extra.
What Makes a Wide Shoe Work
Whether you are looking for running shoes, cross trainers or walking shoes, paying attention to a shoe's details can make your search easier. Look for shoes that have mesh or fabric that will stretch, rather than hard plastic or leather that restricts as your feet swell during exercise. Some brands are known for having a wider toe box even in their standard-size widths. Look for shoes that have a deep enough body to cover your entire foot and give your toes plenty of wiggle room. Sometimes buying longer laces or changing the lacing pattern to feed up the side instead of criss-crossing is enough to make a standard shoe fit better for a wider foot.
Know Your Brands
All of the major athletic shoe companies offer at least one exercise shoe that comes in a wide width. New Balance even offers a detailed fitting chart that tells you the heel width, instep height, toe-box depth and forefoot width for every shoe they make. If you don't have access to knowledgeable staff at a running or sporting goods store, all of the major brands have tools on their websites to assist you in selecting a shoe that fits; some, but not all, take width into consideration.
Five Exercise Shoes for Wide Feet
Most top brands have shoes for wide feet that offer qualities to support you as you exercise. For example, Asics offers a shoe with a wide toe box that is a good choice for anyone who needs a lot of stability and support. Brooks has neutral shoe designed specifically for those with flat or wide feet. It is flexible, but still gives plenty of cushion. Mizuno has a moderate-stability shoe that has a wider platform all around and is supportive without being bulky. Nike has a shoe with a toe box that is not only wide, but overlaid with stretchy mesh. The shoe provides moderate stability and is surprisingly light for how much support it gives. New Balance offers a minimalist shoe for wide feet with a wide toe box and a flexible shoe body that will stretch during exercise.