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Wide Shoes, The First Step To True Comfort

Most people know their own shoe size but very few can tell you the width of their feet. That’s too bad because getting the width of your shoes right is just as important as fitting your shoes for length. Wearing footwear that doesn’t fit is not only painful, it can lead to a number of foot deformities. Footwear that’s too tight or narrow can cause blisters and deformities like corns, bunions, calluses, ingrown toenails, crossover, and hammer toe.

The featured image is the Highland II Plain Toe Oxford in Cognac.

Generally speaking, people who have wide feet were born with wide feet. Others can develop the need for wide shoes. Things like age, weight gain, pregnancy, and even standing for long periods of time can result in a wider and flatter foot.

How do you know if you need wide width shoes? If your shoes pinch in the toe area, there’s a good chance you should be shopping for wide shoes for men. Shoe width is measured around the forefoot, the widest part of your foot. Anything from AAA to C is considered a narrow shoe. D is medium width and wide shoes run from E to EEE. The average American male wears a size 10.5. At that size the difference between each width is about 1/4 of an inch. So, the difference between what is considered a narrow shoe (C) to a wide shoe (E) is roughly a half inch. That’s a lot of extra toe room.

About 90% of all people have medium width feet. People who have narrow feet can also usually get by without having to buy narrow shoes. Most can wear a medium or D width shoe. That’s the reason why many shoe brands don’t even offer narrow width shoes. If there is no letter after the number size of your shoe, then it is most likely a D. That’s the default standard that most manufacturers work with.

When shopping for wide shoes for men or extra wide shoes there are some things you can do to get the right fit and find shoes that are comfortable. First, buy wide shoes. Simple as that. Get your width measured on a Brannock device at a local shoe store, and then shop for shoes that match. Next, be careful of the kind of shoes you buy. Avoid slip ons, unless they are wide toe box shoes, your feet tend to slide forward and crowd up in the toe box. Wide shoes with laces are a better option because they allow you to adjust the width and keep your foot from sliding forward.

Stay away from pointy toe shoes and boots or any narrow shoes. You need the room for your toes that comes with shoes with wide toe boxes. Look for styles with removable linings and insoles which can be removed to add interior room, making a normal shoe fit more like a wide shoe. Orthotic shoes are always a good bet because they add support and comfort for wide feet, and help with posture and balance.

Interesting Facts Related to Wide Shoes:

  • Robert Wadlow (1918 – 1940), born in Alton, IL, was not only the tallest man in history at 8’11” but he also had the biggest feet and wore a size 37AA shoe
  • It is estimated that about 75% of all Americans will experience foot problems at some time in their lives
  • Men have a narrower forefoot than women but they have a longer arch and toe bones
  • Ill-fitting shoes can easily cause pain because of the 8,000 nerves in our feet

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