The 10 best podiatrist approved sneakers for wide feet

The 10 best podiatrist approved sneakers for wide feet

If you have wide feet, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of sneakers that pinch and feel too tight around the side of your feet. But having wide feet shouldn’t stop you from having your Cinderella moment. You may just need to turn your attention to sneakers that have a wide width to find the perfect running or walking shoe.

“The right shoe will feel comfortable, provide adequate space for your toes to move freely, and support your foot’s natural shape and alignment,” says Dr. Isaac Tabari, a board-certified foot and ankle doctor and owner of the NYC Podiatry Center of Excellence. Thankfully, there are plenty of sneaker brands — like New Balance, Hoka and Brooks — that make shoes specifically for people with wide feet. I interviewed podiatrists about what to look for when shopping for the best women’s wide sneakers for running and walking. I included their picks along with highly-rated options and NBC Select staff recommendations that come in wide widths. 

SKIP AHEAD How I picked the best sneakers for women with wide feet | The best women’s sneakers for wide feet | What happens when shoes aren’t wide enough for your feet? | How to tell if your shoes are too narrow

How I picked the sneakers for women with wide feet

“A wide width shoe offers more room throughout the entire shoe — including the toe box, midsole and heel,” says Tabari. But with so many wide width sneakers on the market, it can be tough to know what to focus on when shopping. Here are the things podiatrists suggest paying close attention to: 

  • Support: The whole point of getting shoes wide enough for your feet is to make sure they’re comfortable. So along with width look for shoes with arch support and a cushioned sole, says Tabari. You can also keep an eye out on whether or not the shoes are wide enough to accommodate orthotic inserts or insoles should you need them. “These features can help prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis or stress fractures,” says Tabari. 
  • Materials: The type of material your shoes are made out of can also impact comfort. Look for shoes with a flexible upper like knit or mesh. This will provide more room for wide feet to move and will prevent you from feeling restricted in your sneakers. 
  • Toe box: Some sneakers have more of a pointed toe. Podiatrists recommend avoiding these if you have wide feet, as they may pinch around your toes. Instead, look for shoes with a round, square or wide toe box. This will allow you the space you need for your toes to splay and spread without rubbing against the side of your sneakers and potentially causing blisters, says Dr. Alissa Kuizinas, a board-certified podiatrist in Boston.

The best women’s sneakers for wide feet

To recommend the best women’s wide sneakers, I asked podiatrists to share their favorites and included NBC Select staff favorites that come in wide width, along with a few highly rated options. For ease, I separated them by running sneakers and walking sneakers

Walking sneakers for wide feet

Ryka Devotion X Walking Shoe

Featured in our roundup of the best walking shoes, this style from Ryka comes in a wide width and is a staff favorite. “I’ve never had dedicated walking shoes before, and this pair from Ryka showed me just how much of a difference they can make,” says Sadhana Daruvuri, NBC Select social editor. She wears them while walking her dog, in the park or around New York City to run errands. “Even when I’m in them for hours, my feet still feel cushioned and comfortable.” The lace-up sneakers are specifically designed around the shape of women’s feet, so the brand gave them a narrower heel, a roomy toe box and soft cushioning in the midsole. They also have a grippy rubber outsole, arch support built into the insole and extra cushioning in the forefoot and heel. 

Material: Mesh | Sizes: 6 to 12, medium and wide widths

New Balance Women’s 877 V1 Walking Shoe

Like the running shoes from New Balance on my list, these walking sneakers come in wide and extra wide widths. They have a stylish vintage look, in my opinion, but deliver on comfort, too. They have a padded footbed and rubber sole for traction. They are also reinforced around the ankle for extra support as you walk, according to the brand.

Material: Mesh and suede | Sizes: 5 to 12, narrow, medium, wide and extra wide widths

Skechers Go Walk Joy

Skechers’ slip-on walking sneakers are one of the more affordable options on my list and have a 4.5-star average rating from over 87,220 reviews on Amazon. They have a mesh upper so your feet don’t get sweaty, lightweight cushioning and come in narrow, medium and wide widths. The sneakers also have flexible, grippy outsoles and memory foam insoles.

Material: Mesh | Sizes: 5 to 13, narrow, medium and wide widths

Saucony Integrity Walker 3

Another pick from our best walking shoes, these shoes are a supportive stability shoe that help people who overpronate. The sneaker has a light, springy feel, according to the brand, a cushioned insole and a rubber outsole. Not only does this shoe come in wide widths, it is available in an extra wide width, too. The shoe also has a leather upper that looks crisp and is highly durable, according to Saucony.

Material: Leather | Sizes: 5 to 13, medium, wide and extra wide widths

Nike Free Metcon 5

Though these sneakers don’t technically come in a wide width, NBC Select SEO editor Nikki Brown vouches for the fact that they work on wider feet. “My feet are very flat and wide and these shoes leave lots of room for my toes,” she says. “I love how sturdy they feel for workouts and casual walks and the fact that they’re also stylish is a major plus.” The molded heel offers support and the breathable upper is lightweight, according to Nike.

Material: Not specified | Sizes: 5 to 12

Running sneakers for wide feet

ASICS Women’s Gel-Venture 9 Running Shoes

At under $60, these sneakers are an affordable wide width option. They have a breathable mesh upper and gel technology in the heel to provide extra cushioning and comfort, according to the brand. The shoe, which has a 4.4-star average rating from over 1,230 reviews on Amazon, also has deep treads, making it a good running shoe for various environments — like parks, streets and trails. 

Material: Mesh | Sizes: 5 to 12, medium and wide widths

Hoka Clifton 9

I have wide feet and these are my go-to sneakers — I’ve run multiple half marathons and they have never felt tight or constrictive. Hoka is known for its shock-absorbing soles and supportive uppers. The toe box is nearly as wide as the rest of the shoe, so your toes have plenty of room to splay out. The shoe’s bottom has a rocker shape for smoother heel-to-toe transitions and the upper is made from breathable mesh, according to the brand. This shoe is also available in a version for men.

Material: Knit | Sizes: 5 to 12, medium and wide widths

Altra FWD Experience Road Running Shoe

These shoes don’t technically come in a wide width, but they are designed with a wide toe box, says Kuizinas. Similar to the sneakers from Hoka, these have a rocker-shaped sole that helps to propel you forward as you run and the soles are made with compression foam for comfort. The upper is made with a flexible and breathable mesh material. 

Material: Mesh | Sizes: 5 to 12

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080v13

Tabari likes New Balance sneakers for those with wide feet because they offer both a wide width and an extra wide width. These sneakers have the brand’s Fresh Foam X midsole to provide extra cushioning without increasing the weight of the shoe, according to the brand. They have a rocker profile to propel you forward and a rubber sole for traction. The shoe also goes up to a size 13 for those with larger feet.

Material: Mesh | Sizes: 5 to 13, narrow, medium, wide and extra wide widths

Mizuno Women’s Wave Inspire 18 Running Shoe

This sneaker made our list of best running shoes thanks to the durability of its carbon rubber outer and cushioned sole. The shoe comes in both regular and wide widths and goes up to a size 12. The heel of this shoe contains Mizuno’s energy foam, which provides cushioning and energy return, according to the brand. The upper is seamless to prevent rubbing and friction as you move.

Material: Mesh | Sizes: 6 to 12, medium and wide widths

What happens when shoes aren’t wide enough for your feet? 

When your shoes aren’t wide enough to accommodate your feet, a number of problems can arise. First, you’ll likely get blisters where the shoe rubs against your feet. Shoes that are too narrow can also put unnecessary pressure on your feet. “Wide shoes provide more room for the toes to spread out naturally, reducing pressure and friction on the toes and forefoot,” says Tabari. “Tight shoes can restrict blood flow to the toes, leading to discomfort and even potential circulation issues.” Other issues caused by shoes that aren’t wide though include ingrown toenails, bunions and cramping.  

When walking or running in shoes that are too narrow for your feet, you may also start overcompensating to avoid discomfort, says Kuizinas. This can lead to back pain, rolling your ankle or a number of other injuries. 

How to tell if your shoes are too narrow

Not sure if your sneakers are wide enough for your feet? “If you experience any rubbing on the big toe or pinky, your shoes are too narrow,” says Kuizinas. “You should be able to wiggle your toes properly in your shoe.” Another area where people commonly notice discomfort in narrow shoes is across the middle of the foot. If your foot feels cramped or the upper feels too tight there, you need a wider width. 

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At NBC Select, we work with experts with specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and experience. We also ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Why trust NBC Select?

I’m a contributor at NBC Select and a journalist who regularly covers beauty, home and lifestyle. For this story, I interviewed podiatrists about what to look for when shopping for sneakers for wide feet.

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