One of the most frequent topics of conversation that we have with our customers is whether or not a shoe will be wide enough. If you have wide feet (or one wide foot) you know that an ill-fitting shoe can make or break your run. Many of us have been limited in our footwear choices from a young age. For me it was the much-coveted Doc Martens when I was 15 years old. I hoped that, as my grandfather promised, the leather would stretch to fit my foot. No such luck for this girl’s right foot. I accepted that combat boots and cute ballet flats were not in my future.
When I started running I didn’t think fit would be an issue. The uppers will stretch enough to fit, right? Wrong! I found that some brands of running shoes were more comfortable than others, and as I grew to appreciate all that a running shoe can provide, I didn’t want to be forced into making my choice based only on how it felt around my wide, right forefoot. Additionally, while many are like me, it’s possible that you have only recently been experiencing issues with shoe widths. Feet tend to spread with age, and losing your favorite running shoe because it no longer fits the way it once did is a hardship that I wish upon no one. There are also shoes whose standard widths run narrow, which can be an issue even if you don’t have wide feet.
What to Do
If a shoe is too tight, there are lacing techniques that you can employ to adjust the fit of your shoe. You can find a helpful tutorial here.
If you’re a lady runner whose favorite shoe is too tight, you have additional options. Trying the men’s size equivalent will bump up the width from a women’s standard B-width to the wider men’s standard D-width. The size difference is one-and-a-half sizes, so a women’s size 9 would be equivalent to a men’s 7.5. Sorry guys, no easy equivalency for you…unless narrow is what you’re looking for, but that’s another blog post.
Finally, there are also specific shoe models that come in wider widths to help accommodate wider feet, and if you aren’t sure which wide width shoe is right for you or where to start looking, here’s a breakdown of our favorite options in each category.
Standard Neutral – Nike Zoom Pegasus 34
This update to Nike’s bestseller has tweaks to the upper that provide a stretchier, roomier fit. A lightweight shoe with a soft underfoot feel, grab this shoe if you want a neutral ride.
Premium Neutral – New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v7
With plush cushioning and a wide, stable base, this little number is designed for the high-mileage runner. The mesh upper incorporates minimal overlays for maximum forefoot expansion and a lighter weight while still being protective. For more about this shoe, read our review: here. Also available in Extra Wide.
Standard Support – ASICS Gel Foundation 12
Extra volume along the entire length of this shoe makes it a great wide width shoe to pair with orthotics. It’s stable and supportive where it needs to be and cushioned throughout.
Premium Support – ASICS Gel Kayano 24
The updated mesh upper on the new model offers volume without making the fit sloppy, and the last is extended on the sides, so no pinching! It also has the cushioned yet responsive underfoot feel that we expect from the very popular Kayano.
Premium Motion Control – Saucony Redeemer ISO
This shoe is good for someone needing volume throughout whole shoe as well as a high level of support for overpronation. It also features a supremely cushioned midsole for a plush feel.
Trail Running – New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v2 and Leadville v3
If trail running is your thing, New Balance is your pal. For the neutral trail runner, the Hierro is the play, and for the support runner, go with the Leadville. Because the uppers of these shoes are not stretchy, as protective trail uppers should be, the roomy fit in both of these shoes comes from a wider last design. I’d like to note that the length on both of these shoes is long, so I recommend sizing down a half-size. Both are available in Extra Wide as well.
HOKA ONE ONE – Bondi 5 and Arahi
A large number of questions about wide widths also include inquiries about HOKA ONE ONE and whether they have wide width models. HOKA’s current models tend to run narrow, so even if your foot is only a little wide, you may experience slight discomfort. But, if you’ve come to enjoy the maximal comfort of HOKAs and want a wider shoe, you’re in luck! As of 2017 we are carrying two HOKA models in wide widths: the Bondi 5 for the neutral runner and the Arahi for the support runner. We will also begin carrying two additional models in wide widths in 2018: the Clifton 4 and the Gaviota!
HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 5 – HOKA’s most popular maximum-impact protection shoe, the Bondi is the standard for many runners. HOKA’s Early Stage Meta Rocker provides increased propulsion to keep you moving forward while the high underfoot stack height protects your foot from impact related stress.
HOKA ONE ONE Arahi – If you want the cushioning that many HOKA models offer but you also need some additional support, the Arahi is your jam. Protective and supportive, you might consider putting a ring on it!
Liese is a guest writer for our blog who drops knowledge on the regular. She started running around the fields surrounding old collective farms when she lived in Ukraine six years ago. Ask her about Post-Soviet fitness culture sometime! She loves running for the physical and mental health benefits, and in her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and, not even kidding- organizing her tiny house!