Whether we like it or not, many women have wide feet and need extra wide width shoes to accommodate. But too often this leaves us with limited choices as shoes come in only standard widths. Not anymore. Today, women can have it all with stylish wide width options that are good for your 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. But life and aging can result in changes to the feet that send many women searching for the most comfortable shoes for wide feet.
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 as we get older, and due to diabetes. Finally, physical changes such as hammertoes and bunions become more common as time progresses and will necessitate buying wider shoes to adjust for altered foot shape.
Understanding widths 101
As mentioned above, most shoes that are seen on the shelves 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 or swollen feet. Men and women shoes have different width sizing and are as follows:
Women narrow = A
Women medium = B
Women wide = D
Women extra wide = 2E
Women extra extra wide = 4E
Men narrow = B
Men medium = D
Men wide = 2E
Men extra wide = 4E
Men extra extra wide = 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 in a wider width.
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 toebox 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-width 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 or an AFO/brace.
The Best Women’s Extra Wide Shoes for 2021
This Mary Jane is every woman’s dream when it comes to extra wide width shoes. The classic black color comes in every width from narrow to extra-extra wide. The toe box is spacious and won’t crowd sensitive hammertoes or bunions. There are also adjustments galore. The hook and loop instep strap allows you to adjust the shoe wider or tighter which is especially important to women who experience periodic foot swelling. Meanwhile, the heel strap adds extra adjustment for women with wider or narrower heels.
The upper material is lightweight, breathable, and perfect for summer or feet that tend to sweat. The fabric is flexible and provides a lot of give to any shaped foot. The combination of mesh and suede give this style a fresh look.
But the features don’t stop there. Sanibel is equipped with the premium Ortho-Cushion System. An anatomically shaped insole is paired with an arch boosting insert while a foam heel pad provides shock absorption. The soft and protective interior won’t rub. You’ll be able to walk all day long in these stylish and practical shoes for wide feet. Also available in blue and olive gray.
If you need wide sneakers for women, then you need a pair of Tahoe Tie-Less. Active ladies will love that 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 means easy on and off and no fumbling with knots and bows. Inside Tahoe is a seam-free polyester lining and a moisture wicking insole cover. Not to mention the breathable upper that keeps feet cool. Below your foot is an amazing orthotic and ergonomic sole system that provides arch support, extra cushioning, shock absorption and makes walking much easier. In short, this is one of the best wide shoes for women.
A popular sneaker choice for women on the go with wider feet is Coral Stretch Knit. Coral is packed with features that take it to the top among the best wide-width shoes for women. It’s ideal for alleviating sore feet due to arthritis, neuropathy, diabetes, and swelling. Available in up to extra wide in five colors—black, gray, white, turquoise and black with a black sole
Now, let’s break it down. The stretchable upper is what makes this shoe pop. It conforms to the foot to accommodate for bunions, hammertoes, and other structural changes and offers a pressure free fit that is super comfortable and lightweight. So, if your feet swell as the day progresses, they 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. Lining the upper is a smooth fabric with foam padding to protect the heel and forefoot. It is also seam free which is important for sensitive feet and ensures blisters or friction don’t occur.
The technology which comforts and prevents many foot conditions includes a premier orthotic insole that provides anatomical support under the arch, aligns the body and controls the foot from rolling inwards. The several thick layers within the sole and orthotic disperse shock forces and cushion the feet from the heel to toe. Put simply, you can’t go wrong with Coral.
Next up, we’re heading to the sunny coast with Malibu. This open-toe sandal has multiple straps for full adjustment for women with wide feet. The two-way midfoot strap adjusts from one side to slide your foot out and completely opens from the other side so you can step directly into the sandal and adjust all your straps as needed. The heel strap is perfect for keeping your feet secure as you traverse any surface with the slip-resistant sole. The toe strap is made with stretch fabric that expands over wider, swollen or bunioned feet.
And Malibu wouldn’t be one of the most comfortable shoes for wide feet if it didn’t feature the premium Ortho-Cushion System. The optional arch booster can be paired with an already ergonomically shaped insole that makes walking all day a delight. Plus, the straps feature added padding so there is no rubbing or pressure on sensitive bunions. And did we mention? It comes in black, pewter, brown, and now bone, all in up to extra wide width. Don’t wait to start feeling great on your feet!
Another great beach option is Laguna. This closed toe sandal keeps you active all day long considering it has all the features of great extra wide width shoes, while protecting your toes. This is a perfect option for those who do not want to or cannot expose their toes, such as diabetic or neuropathic feet. It comes in stunning blue or stylish gray, both available in medium, wide, and extra wide widths. Open the heel strap and loosen the tie-less lacing system to slide your foot into this roomy, wide toe box sandal. Let the stretchable upper conform to your unique foot shape before adjusting your heel strap and lightly tighten the bungee laces.
As you walk, feel the support of the arch boosting orthotic and the cushion of the comfortable, ergonomic sole. The rocker design also helps with your stride to absorb pressure and reduce negative impacts on your feet. Laguna is a perfect option for an active summer day.
If you need shoes that stretch and give for wide and swollen feet, grab a pair of Palmas. This casual style fits your foot perfectly with everything it offers. First, we have to mention the knit upper that stretches around your foot rather than holding it in and rubbing on sensitive areas like hammertoes and bunions. The soft, protective interior is made of a smooth, foam-padded polyester and the insole is covered with a moisture wicking fabric to keep feet cool and dry.
Whether you choose black or gray, you’re going to have the option of up to an extra wide width. In addition to the wide widths, it boasts a wide toe box design that feels great on the toes.
For those with heel pain, heel spurs or plantar fasciitis, the ergonomic, sole with extra foam and air cushioning under the heel is a dream. Coupled together with the supportive arched insole to reduce pronation and keep feet, ankles, knees, and hips in line, injuries and developing other conditions will be kept at bay. We definitely recommend this shoe as fantastic wide every day staple style for women. It has a simple yet sophisticated look that pairs with leggings, dresses, jeans and much more!
Hit the trails or traverse the city streets in the versatile Delta. This ankle boot offers maximum stability especially when paired with the optional arch booster. All-around, this boot can’t be beat for comfort for wide feet. First, there’s the amazing built in insole, full length cushioning, and rocker bottom sole with a minimal heel to toe drop for pain relief and all-day comfort even during more strenuous activities. These features work to reduce heel and arch pain in people with neuropathy, arthritis, diabetes, or other conditions that can result in widening feet.
The insole top cover is moisture wicking while the padded interior lining is smoothed over with a polyester fabric. Of course, it has everything a wide foot needs with the generous toebox that doesn’t squeeze toes as you keep going all day long.
We couldn’t leave out a pair of women’s wide width dress shoes. Meet Vera, a 2” heeled pump in a sleek supple black leather. The innovative construction of the sole makes it super healthy for your feet and does not transfer any extra pressure to the forefoot. This design makes it feel as though you are walking in a comfy pair of sneakers rather than a heel!
This shoe is available in wide width and has an extra wide toe box not found in other dress shoes and heels. This shoe also offers full customization for your unique foot size. The signature insole and padded layers will ensure your feet are fully supported and aligned from the ground up all the way up the knees and back. Add the arch booster under the insole for added support. Adjust the fit of the shoe with optional accessories such as the heel and metatarsal pads. And keep the top of your foot comfortable with a fully adjustable midfoot strap. Your feet will be so happy with Vera, you’ll be wearing them to all your dressy occasions.