Wearing running shoes that fit isn’t just key to comfort, it is also important for the prevention of injuries and for the proper support of your feet during your run. However, finding the proper running shoes can be quite a challenge.
Women tend to have wider feet than men because of their wider hips which make them tend to overpronate or roll inwards. In fact, people who over-pronate often have wider feet than those who do not. When shopping for shoes, it is important to shop for width, not just size
Other common causes of wide feet
- Obesity – increase in weight puts pressure on the feet and eventually flattens out the ligaments and muscles.
- Ageing – feet tend to widen with age as a result of a stretch in muscles and ligaments of the feet
- Excessive standing – people who spend long hours on their feet like nurses, restaurant workers, and security guards often have wider feet due to constant pressure on the feet over the years which makes them
- Pregnancy – there is increased weight which puts more pressure on the ligaments and muscles. In addition, the body also releases a hormone called relaxin which makes the muscles relax. Some feet may go back to the normal size after giving birth but in other cases, it is a permanent change in size.
Tips to guide you in buying shoes for wide feet
Determine the size and width of your shoes
You may assume that you know your shoe size, but it is important to have your feet measured every time you want to buy new shoes. Your feet change over time, and different shoe models may fit differently from others. Have your feet measured later in the day, that is in the late afternoon or early evening when they are at their biggest.
You will realize that you may need a running shoe that is half a size larger than your regular shoes to allow room to flex your foot and for the toes to move forward with every stride.
When you stand with both shoes on, make sure that there is at least a thumbnail’s space between the end of your longest toe and the tip of your shoe. You can also ask to be allowed to do attest run around the shop, sidewalk or a treadmill.
Find shoes with a wide toe area
It is key that you avoid shoes that a pointy toed if you have wide feet. If you find yourself having to squeeze your foot into a shoe, brace yourself for injuries and other foot conditions. Always ensure that your feet have enough space to move.
Some shoe brands may also have a wider than usual toe box in their standard size widths, so you can consider these too. This is why it is important not to rule out the usual sizing just because you have wider feet.
Look for shoes with removable linings or insoles
The insoles or linings can be removed to create wider room for your feet or for orthotics if needed. Orthotics will provide support for your feet problems that could be as a result of wide feet. Alternatively, if you select a suitable pair of shoes, this shouldn’t be necessary. Manufacturers such as New Balance running shoes offer specific models for wide feet such as the 860 2E. Try these out first when you go to your local running store. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Pick shoes with laces or straps
Shoes with straps or laces are ideal for people with wide feet. They allow you to set them as wide as you would wish, which allows maximum space for your feet.
Longer laces or changing the lacing pattern to from crisscrossing to feeding up the sides will make a standard shoe fit better on a wider foot.
Avoid shoes with slip
As much as possible, avoid shoes with slip even if they fit in width. This is because your feet tend to slide forward and your toes are squashed up in the toe box. Shoes without slip will keep your feet at the right place with enough space between the tip of the shoe and the tip of the longest toe.
Look for a shoe that is made with a mesh or fabric that stretches. A hard plastic or leather will restrict the normal expansion or swelling of your feet during a run, which can lead to injuries.
Look for shoes that have a fabric or mesh that stretches, rather than plastic or leather which is hard and restricts as your feet swell during exercise
In case you are having issues finding the right size at your regular shoe store, look for a store that specializes in wider sizes. If you wish to buy online, make sure you have your feet measured by a professional and pick familiar brands that you have used in the past. You may also need to check on their return policy in case the shoe does not fit as expected.