It’s an age-old tale: You see a pair of shoes you absolutely love and insist on buying them, even though the fit isn’t perfect, reasoning to yourself that you’ll be able to wear them in. Unfortunately, according to podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a Vionic Innovation Lab member, this shoe-shopping philosophy is an absolute no-no, especially when you’ve got a wider foot.
“From the moment you try them on in the store, the shoes should fit comfortably and feel just right,” Sutera explains. “If they’re tight, try the next width up or a different style. Breaking shoes in damages feet in the process.” Luckily, finding sneakers that comfortably fit a wide foot isn’t that hard. According to Sutera, styles with adjustable straps and a more rounded or square-shaped toe box tend to better suit a wide foot. Many brands also allow shoppers to pick their preferred width (e.g., M for medium and W for wide).
Another top tip for spotting the best sneakers for wide feet? Make sure the shoe width matches the width of your foot. “Put the shoe next to your foot to quickly see if it’s the correct shape,” Sutera says. “Shoes that don’t match your natural shape will be too tight and cause short-term—and possibly long-term—pain and potential problems.”
Sutera notes that ingrown toenails, bunions, hammertoes, calluses, corns, pinched nerves, and bone spurs are some long-term effects of wearing footwear that don’t fit properly. She also listed Vionic, New Balance, and Saucony as three of the most trusted offerings. Speaking of which, see and shop our favorite trainers from each brand—plus a few others—below.