Honing in on a comfortable pair of running shoes can be quite a challenge for runners with wide feet. The plight of the wide-footed runner includes constricting toe boxes, cramped heels and laces that aren’t even long enough to tie the shoes correctly. What’s more, when you’re forced to cram your foot into a shoe that doesn’t fit, the midsole and upper often breakdown faster, meaning you have to buy shoes more frequently.
If you’re looking for special sizing, the standard women’s width is “B,” the wide width is “D” and the extra wide width is “2E.” For men, the standard width is “D,” wide is “2E” and extra wide is “4E.” The problem many people with wider feet run into is that only certain models come in wide and extra wide and running stores tend to carry a limited stock.
Luckily, if you’re someone with moderately wide feet, you can often find a standard width shoe that will suit your needs. The trick is to pay attention to some specific details on each model. When you’re cruising the shoe wall, keep your eyes peeled for boxier looking toe boxes; you can often tell immediately if a shoe is going to be too narrow simply by its pointed toe box. You should also pay attention to the overlays on the upper mesh. If there’s a plastic piece running the width of the toebox, it may not offer the same give a mesh upper will.
To give you a jumping off point, check out our slideshow highlighting models that tend to work well for wider feet, even in the standard width. Be sure to try on multiple pairs to compare, and remember that during a longer run, your feet will swell, so if the shoes are snug in the store, they will be even tighter when you’re out pounding the pavement. With a bit of legwork, you’ll eventually find a model that works just right for you, so insist on trying a number of models until you find “the one.”