It depends on which kind of shoe you’re going to wear. If you’re asking about running shoes, yes, you can wear wide-fit shoes if you don’t have wide feet. Wearing wider shoes like an Altra, New Balance or some Hoka’s, which have a wide toe box, will allow your feet to spread out naturally. If you’re not running at high-speed corners or not performing technical trails, I would go with the wide-fit shoes. However, for a more rigorous running activity, you’d need shoes with a tight and snug fit to secure your feet nicely inside the shoes so that you’d not lose your balance.
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Can I Wear Wide Heels or Dress Shoes?
I’ve heard several people who got their heels hurt due to wide dress shoes. So, if your feet are narrow or normal width, I’ll not suggest you buying wider dress shoes or heels as your ankle will rub or scrape with the shoes back, which can cause blisters on your heel.
However, everyone has a different foot structure. If the back area of your foot is too narrow, but they’re wider on the front, you can go for wide dress shoes or heels or flats if you’re a woman. To prevent heel slipping, you can use heel grips, socks or orthotic inserts. You can check my article on making shoes smaller to learn more about this technique.
Why Do People Need Wide Shoes?
There are several reasons due to which people with standard width have to buy wide-fit shoes. The first possible reason is that people might suffer from bunions. Bunions are enlarged bony protrusions on either side of the big toe joint. The boney protrusions make it challenging to fit a shoe and cause pain while wearing a tight-fitting shoe.
Furthermore, people with other problems like obesity, pregnancy or hereditary conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes develop extra mass on their feet. Even with obesity, the likelihood of getting such feet increases with age and excessive weight gain. For many of these people, fitting shoes becomes difficult irrespective of whether they buy wide-fit shoes because their toes push too much against the shoe’s fabric when they wear any footwear like dress shoes, sneakers etc. Due to such reasons, such people would need shoes with a deep and wide toe box.
How to Find Comfortable Wide-Width Shoes?
Choosing too-wide shoes sometimes can cause different foot problems. Several brands don’t make their shoes in wide widths. So, to get the desired fit, we have to go for a bigger size shoe that is longer in length as compared to our foot size. Studies show that there should not be more than a 2mm difference between your foot and your footwear length. So, you need to consider such factors before trying out any wide footwear with your standard width feet.
Also, you should avoid slip-on shoes in wide widths. They tend to slide your feet forward or backward while you’re walking. Instead, go for shoes with Velcro straps or lacing closure that will keep your foot in place and reduce slippage while wearing them. Furthermore, if you’re wearing lacing shoes in wide widths and they feature two sets of eyelets, try to lace through the ones farthest from the shoe’s tongue.
There are orthopedic shoes that are not entirely flat. Such shoes are constructed on curved or semi-curved lasts. So, choosing a bigger and wider size for such shoes can also disturb the arch support of your normal feet. This is because changing the shoe size also changes the position of curved area on the sole that is meant to contour your feet. As a result, when choosing wide shoes for standard-width feet, make sure the shoe’s arch matches the arch of your foot.
How Much Wider is a Wide Width Shoe?
A wider shoe can be defined as any footwear over width E for men and width D for women. As a general rule of thumb, there’s a difference of around 1mm between each width. That is, the difference between the D width and E width is 1mm. However, the extent of a width slightly varies in different shoes brands. Furthermore, the width in the toe box and midfoot area could also vary with the type of footwear. For more information, you can check out my guide on the difference between 2E and 4E widths.
Is It Better to Wear Shoes Of a Bigger Size than Your Actual Size?
Well, actual size is a very generic term. It depends on which shoe size you’re referring to. For instance, if you’re comparing the size of your dress shoes or casual sneakers with running shoes and athletic sneakers, it is completely fine to wear the running shoes of a bigger size. If you want to know the reason, you can check out my article on dress shoe size vs. sneakers.
Here’s what a real user says about buying a bigger size shoe than the actual size:
I wear a 9 in regular shoes and went from a 10 up to a 10.5 in my most recent Brooks running shoes (Glycerin 13). Not a single blister or lost nail after a marathon this month.
Sometimes, people couldn’t find the desired width in their concerned shoe models, due to which they have to go for a bigger size shoe. In that case, make sure that you’re comfortable in the bigger size shoe. Your feet don’t slide inside the shoes, and arch support is correct. Also, make sure that you don’t go beyond the one size bigger than your actual shoe size.