What to Look For
Wide feet must fit comfortably into the shoe without pinching the sides of the foot. Thread and quality of rubber sole are the first considerations when buying hiking shoes. Loose terrain requires shoes that grip the earth without collecting mud. Slippery shoe soles with little or no tread may wear quickly and need replacing.
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Women with wider feet sometimes buy a larger size to compensate for the foot width. Hiking shoes will stretch over time, but do not fit the shoe just to the width. When hiking down hills, your foot will slip into the front of the shoe and blister. Some blistering from a new hiking shoe can be expected. Protect your feet with socks and bring adhesives or moleskin for any sore spots.
Where to Buy
Wide hiking shoes may not be available in retail shops, but specialty sports stores have a larger variety. Online there are many retail options such as L.L. Bean and Sierra Trading. Fitting the shoe is difficult online with many costly returns. Finding the hiking shoe you like in a sports shop, and researching it online prevents making a sizing mistake.
The best hiking shoes range from $75 to $260. The quality of the hiking shoe is based on the arch support, sole materials and strength of overall design. The difference in cost varies based on the different types of hiking shoes, from light summer sandals to waterproof trail runners.
Consider the types of hiking terrain you will be walking. Buying a shoe that is designed for long backpacking hikes is not necessary if you are hiking only on marked trails. There are several types of hiking shoes for all different types of terrain. The shoe that works best for your wide foot must first be appropriate to its use on the trail.
Socks that wick away moisture will prevent frostbite when hiking through cold climates. Try on your hiking shoes with socks that you use when hiking to ensure the correct fit. Remember, most new shoes will stretch after use. If the shoe is not waterproof, ask about products that you can apply to waterproof the hiking shoes, especially any leather parts. Insoles can be replaced. Choose a shoe with a removable insole to buy insoles that better suit your feet.
The sole of the hiking shoe should never wear down. Vibram or Jeep-engineered rubber soles have a long life and are available in the Merrell brand shoes or J-41. J-41 uses recycled materials in its products and is an eco-friendly shoe company. Comfort is important, so shop for support and appropriate style for climate and terrain.