If you're like me and have wider feet, finding comfortable - and fashionable - shoes that fit can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare - especially on the high street. And we all know that nothing ruins your day like an ill-fitting shoe, especially those that you've spent a chunk of money on.
Thankfully, women’s footwear brands have cottoned on to the fact that we’re not all a sample shoe size 5 and have slowly but surely added wide fit ladies’ collections to their ranges, offering the holy grail of style and comfort. With brands like Marks & Spencer and Clarks being mainstays in the wide fit shoe market, joining them are the likes of New Look, Next and ASOS, offering heels, trainers, boots and more for those who need a little more width to their sole.
Feel like your feet have widened in recent years? They could well have done, according to foot health expert Margaret Dabbs OBE. “Feet can widen with age. As people age, the ligaments and tendons in their feet can lose elasticity so the arch on the foot drops. It is also natural that the cushioning in the feet decreases with age.”
Wide fit shoes – what to look out for, from the experts
Margaret shares her expertise on what makes a comfy shoe for wide feet, and what to shop for: “A good shoe should offer ample toe room, sufficient arch support, and cushioning to absorb impact and reduce pressure points. For wide feet, the shoe should have a wider toe box to accommodate the natural splay of the foot, preventing issues like bunions, corns and discomfort. And for those with bunions, Margaret suggests shopping for wide-fit shoes, too.
“Wide-width shoes provide extra room in the toe box, reducing pressure on the bunion and alleviating discomfort. They can help prevent further irritation or worsening of the condition by minimising friction and allowing the toes to spread more naturally, potentially offering relief and comfort for those with bunions. Also it really helps that shoes are made with elastic material or soft leather.”
Melissa Epifano, Winnoh founder who created her own wide foot shoe brand after struggling to find stylish shoes for herself, echoes Margaret’s comments: “First, the width will be several millimeters wider in the toe box, giving the wearer more room to stretch out—and fewer numb pinky toes! The vamp (which is the part of the shoe that hugs the top of your foot) is often given more volume. Depending on the shoe style, the entirety of the insole might be widened slightly too. It may be surprising, but it’s these tiny design edits that can make a massive difference in how it feels on your foot.”
How I chose the best wide fit shoes
- Size: The brands featured all carry shoes in wide fit, extra wide fit or larger sizing.
- Style: As well as carrying wide-fit sizing, I've chosen the shoes and shoe brands that offer a stylish range, from sandals to stilettos and everything else in between.
- Reviews: I've scoured online reviews to try and bring the most comfortable shoes. At HELLO! we haven't been able to try all the brands featured, but using online reviews I've brought the brands that seem to tick all the boxes in terms of comfort. If I or another editor has tried the brand, I’ve made sure to include our own personal opinion.