Whether we like it or not, many women have wide feet and need extra wide width shoes. But, too often this leaves them with limited choices, as shoes come in only standard widths.
Or do they?
Luckily, today, women can have it all with stylish wide width options that are good for their feet.
Why do our feet widen?
There are a lot of reasons why a woman may have wide feet.
For some, it’s simple genetics and they’ve likely always needed wide width shoes. For others, life and aging can result in changes to the feet and widen them.
As we age, decreased elasticity in our tendons and ligaments will make our feet longer and wider. Weight gain can also produce this result, since increased pressure causes the fat pad on the bottom of the foot to spread.
Many women’s feet grow in size during pregnancy, meaning they will need wider width shoes because of hormonal changes or fluid retention.
Swelling of the feet may also occur due to peripheral artery disease, which is more common with age, and due to diabetes.
Understanding widths 101
As mentioned above, most shoes that are seen in stores or online are offered in one standard width – medium.
Specialty footwear brands understand the need for multiple and extended widths, and design shoes accordingly. These widths range from the narrow all the way up to the extra wide widths.
Understanding these widths is key to choosing shoes that will match your feet and fit perfectly.
Wide width shoes are wider across the shoe, deeper from top to bottom, roomier in the toe box area and have a generous instep to accommodate wide feet and provide extra width to swollen feet.
Men and women shoes have different width sizing and are as follows:
Narrow: Women = A; Men = B
Medium: Women = B; Men = D
Wide: Women = D; Men = 2E
Extra Wide: Women = 2E; Men = 4E
Extra Extra Wide: Women = 4E; Men = 6E
In addition to the measurements of the shoe being larger, other features are also proportionally larger as you go up in width. For example, if the shoe has straps or laces, they are usually longer and wider.
Important features of the best wide width shoes for women
Varying Widths. Despite a wide range of lengths, many shoes fall short when it comes to offering varying widths.
Purchasing shoes many sizes too large to accommodate for width is not a good solution. Look for shoes that are specifically made in Wide, Extra Wide, or Extra Extra Wide widths.
Wide Toe Shoes. A wide width shoe with a narrow toe box is not beneficial to women with wide feet.
Shoes should feature extra width around the toes to avoid inward pressure. This will ensure toes are not overlapping one another and if there is a bone protrusion, it is not being damaged any further due to a lack of space.
Stretchable Upper. Even in a wide width shoe, a stiff upper material can squeeze your foot and cause rubbing, especially on bunions or hammertoes. Stretchable fabrics will conform to your foot shape without additional pressure on sensitive and wide areas.
Width Adjustments. It’s very possible to have a wide foot in the front and a narrow heel. Shoes with multiple adjustment points, such as forefoot and heel straps, allow you to customize the fit of a wide shoe to accommodate for every foot shape.
Arch Support. Women with low or fallen arches need wide width shoes along with proper support. Arch support can help keep feet and ankles in-line to reduce pronation.
Cushioned Insole. Aging and excess pressure can cause the fat pad on the bottom of the foot to thin and spread. A cushioned insole provides shock absorption and protection to make walking a breeze.
Depth. Extra depth along the entire shoe is very important in keeping feet comfortable and creating a pressure free fit.
As you go up in widths, the depth increases accordingly. Extra depth is also essential for those who need to insert a custom orthotic, AFO or brace.
What are the best wide width shoes for women?
Here’s a list of shoes that offer all the features mentioned above and are perfect for women with wider feet.
Best stylish extra wide women's shoes
Every woman needs a stylish pair of boots in her shoe collection. If you’re looking for a pair of booties to wear at an evening out, hurry and get your hands on the Emma booties.
These boots have a round and deep toe box, so your toes have ample space to move naturally and freely, even if your feet are wider than the standard width, and the non-binding design eliminates pressure on the foot.
Even though they have a 2-inch heel, they don’t add extra pressure on the forefoot and will even feel like you're walking in regular sneakers.
Thanks to the soft, flexible leather that’s padded with foam, the boots contour the foot, fitting like a glove. There’s also an adjustable strap that allows you to customize the fit.
Plus, the medial side zipper allows you to get in and out of them easily and quickly.
The Emma boots are available in black and brown in Standard (B) and Wide (D) widths.
If you don't want the heel but need something appropriate for work, church or dressier occasion, Chelsea is your option.
Designed with a wide opening, the Chelsea slip-on shoes are super easy to wear or take off, while the innovative two way strap system enables fastening on either side of the shoe and easy fit adjustment.
In these loafers, your feet will be cushioned on all sides thanks to the foam padding in the upper, tongue and collar, and the extra width and depth create a roomy fit for any width.
The supple leather upper, together with the extra width in the toe box and mid foot, will make sure your feet aren’t cramped, no matter what width they are.
Best walking shoes for wide feet
If you need wide sneakers that are great for walking, then you need a pair of Tahoe Tie-Less.
Active ladies will love that it’s available in up to Extra Wide width in blue or pink, and Extra Extra Wide width in black. The additionally extra wide toe box is particularly important to allow toes to spread during walking and running.
The tie-less lace system features two hidden tabs on both sides of the shoe, allowing easy on and off, and no fumbling with laces.
Inside Tahoe is a seam-free polyester lining and a moisture wicking insole cover. Not to mention the breathable upper that also helps keep your feet dry.
Under your foot is an amazing orthotic and ergonomic sole system that provides arch support, extra cushioning and shock absorption, and makes walking much easier.
If you’re looking for walking shoes that are both stylish and super supportive, the Sanibel is a great choice.
The leather and fabric uppers are soft and flexible enough to not squeeze your feet, yet durable enough so you can wear them every and any day. Plus, the materials are breathable, which prevents bacterial formation and odor, and keeps your feet dry and aerated even when you go on long walks.
Although an adjustable strap across the instep is something you’d expect to see in Mary Janes, the Sanibel takes adjustability even further with a heel strap that allows you to fully customize the fit at the heel. Plus, the instep strap allows for a very wide opening, for easy access.
The entire shoe is padded with foam lining, including the heel and instep strap, for ultimate comfort.
Sanibel is available in black, blue and olive gray, and widths ranging from narrow (A) to Extra Extra Wide (4E).
Best wide sneakers
Coral is a popular sneaker choice for women on the go and is available in up to Extra Extra Wide width and in nine colors - black, gray, white, silver, turquoise, lavender, gray wool, blue and black with a black sole.
The stretchable upper is what makes this shoe so popular. It conforms to the foot and offers a pressure free fit that is super comfortable and lightweight.
So, if your feet swell significantly as the day progresses, these shoes will stretch with you! And because it is made of fabric, it is airy and allows air to easily circulate, keeping your feet cool.
The wide toe box doesn’t squeeze the toes as you’re out being active. It is also high and gives your feet plenty of space to move around.
And if you hate tying laces, the Coral in black with black sole is designed with a bungee lace toggle for easy in and out.
The Verve sneakers are probably one of the smartest sneakers out there.
They offer a one-step fastening technology, meaning you only need to tie the laces once, customizing the fit to your unique foot, and from that point on you can only use the hidden tabs on both sides of the shoe.
This is extremely helpful for those of us who have trouble bending down or a hand mobility issue that prevents us from tying laces.
In addition to the hidden tabs, these sneakers are also designed with a heel strap that allows you to adjust the fit to any and every heel type - whether you need a snugger or more spacious fit.
The toe box is wide, the fabric upper offers breathability that keeps your feet dry and contours to your foot’s width and shape, and the depth is generous.
Verve is available in three colors: pink and gray, blue and white and all black, while the widths run from Standard (B) to Extra Wide (2E).
Best wide width boots
Some say the Florence boots are the highest benchmark all women’s shoes should aspire to. Yes, they are that good, masterfully blending style and comfort for those cold winter days.
These boots offer plenty of space for the toes to move comfortably, while protecting your feet.
The two straps across the instep makes fit and adjustability extremely customizable and allows you to completely open them up, so you can step into them effortlessly.
Florence is available in soft, water resistant suede upper, lined with thick synthetic fur that keeps your feet warm; and in soft, waterproof treated leather with sealed seams and a gusseted tongue that prevents water from seeping through.
The waterproof version also has a rubber sole with a unique tread design that gives you better traction and grip.
The water resistant version is available in black and camel, and in widths ranging from Standard (B) to Extra Wide (2E), while the waterproof version is available in black and brown and in widths ranging from Narrow (A) to XX Wide (4E).
Thanks to their soft water repelling upper, extra depth design and wide toe box, the Alps boots are an excellent choice for women whose feet are on the wider side.
These boots offer a relaxed fit and full protection against pressure points, while the orthotic insole and cushioning outsole soften your every step.
The ergonomic, rubber sole also enhances grip and stability, and the mild rocker design feature improves mobility and helps reduce pressure on the heel and feet.
You can count on the Alps boots to keep your feet warm and dry in every winter weather condition, as they are designed with waterproof uppers. In addition, any irritation is eliminated thanks to the soft, padded and seamless fabric interior.
Even though they have a high shaft, they are very easy to get in and out of thanks to the side zipper so you never have to re-tie your laces over and over again.
The Alps boots are available in two colors - beige and black - and in widths ranging from Standard (B) to Extra Wide (2E).
Best wide width casual shoes
One thing is certain: these casual, everyday shoes will take very good care of your feet no matter what you do.
The Sierra shoes are constructed with a non-binding, breathable wool blend upper that looks extremely stylish and keeps your feet aerated to prevent bacteria build up and odor. The upper is also flexible, which means it hugs your feet without putting any pressure on them.
And did you know that wool has unique properties, such as regulating temperature? This means Sierra is a wear all year shoe that will keep your feet warm in winter and cool in summer!
The extra, generous depth design feature provides a fit that is completely pressure free, and also leaves enough room for custom orthotics.
The deep and wide toe box means your toes have plenty of room to move comfortably and naturally, and the lightweight cushioning sole provides full support - all the way up to your lower back.
Sierra shoes are available in dark gray and in Standard (B) to Extra Wide (2E) widths.
If you're looking for comfort, the Solerno casual shoes are the ideal choice for you. The soft, rich full grain leather upper gives them a refined classic look that can be dressed up or down.
Not only will your ankle and arch be supported, you will also get all the cushioning you need when you’re on your feet.
By adjusting the strap across the instep, you can personalize the fit of the shoes to any foot width. If you need to accommodate custom orthotics or braces, simply remove the footbeds and use your own inserts.
The deep toe box gives your feet extra space, keeping your toes aligned all day long, while the cushioned heel disperses shock forces upon impact.
You can get the Solerno shoes in a variety of widths - from Standard (B) to Extra Wide (2E).
Best wide width slippers
These moccasins could become your best friends this winter.
Yes, they are slippers, but have similar construction to shoes and provide the utmost support and control with the closed back design. The lace across the instep is fully functioning and can be tightened or loosened to your liking.
The entire slipper, as well as the footbed, shoe tongue and top cover, is lined with fluffy, soft faux fur, so if you like feeling like you're walking on a cloud, these slippers are perfect for you.
The wide forefoot and extra depth provide a roomy fit that leaves enough space for toe movement and protection against pressure points.
The premium orthotic insoles support the arches and provide cushioning from heel to toe, and the durable ergonomic rubber outsole adds more ease to walking and is also suitable for outdoor use.
Capri slippers are available in Standard (B) and Wide (D) widths.
These adjustable slippers are designed with a wide opening and an adjustable strap at the instep, which opens up both the top and the side of the slipper so you can truly adjust the fit to your foot width and shape.
The Charlotte slippers are designed with an ergonomic and durable rubber outsole, that allows you to step outdoors without taking them off.
As soon as you put them on, they will cradle your feet with soft, cushioning comfort thanks to the warm, faux fur interior including the footbed.
Charlotte slippers are available in black and brown, and in Standard (B) to Extra Wide (2E) widths.