The other day I treated myself to a pedicure. As was the case with every other time I’ve gotten a pedicure, I got questions about my pinky toes. That is, why were the nails on both the right and left feet destroyed? It was from years of not being able to find proper wide width shoes for women and therefore shoving my poor feet into shoes that weren’t nearly wide enough.
If you have wide or double wide width feet like I do, then you know that it’s nearly impossible to find fashionable comfortable affordable wide width shoes for women. I mean you might find fashionable shoes, but they are neither comfortable nor wide width. Or you might find affordable wide width shoes that are comfortable but are a million miles away from fashionable. I don’t need to wear Jimmy Choo shoes but at the same time I don’t want to wear the oatmeal color Velcro-closing orthopedic shoes that my grandmother always wore.
(I realize that women searching for Narrow-Width Shoes face similar challenges.)
At holidays where you’re wanting to buy and wear new shoes always brings this quandary back around. For example, when my girls were little, we always got new shoes for Easter and Christmas, but also for back to school. Unfortunately, my daughters have inherited my and their father’s wide feet. So from a young age, they, too, needed wide width shoes for women–or rather girls.
For the longest time I would visit my local mom-and-pop shoe store to get the wide width shoes I needed. This was the same store where drag queens from the city got their size 13 heels and Catholic school students picked up their new nubuck oxfords. It’s where I took my daughters (also blessed, cough, cough) with wide feet, for their “fancy” shoes for Christmas, Easter or back to school. But then the store closed, and I was out of luck.
After years of living with the quandary of where to find fashionable comfortable affordable wide width shoes, I finally discovered that Meatloaf was on to something–that two out of three ain’t bad. If I could find shoes that were fashionable and comfortable, I probably could justify the price tag. Because I realized that you have your feet for life, and investing in good quality shoes is important. Plus, good-quality shoes tend to last longer than the cheap flea market variety.
How Free Shipping and Lifetime Guarantees Help You Save on Wide Width Shoes
If you’re on a budget, you may be able to shave down some of the cost of buying wide width shoes. For example, whenever Nordstrom has its anniversary sale, which often includes great prices on shoes, I stock up on the double wide width shoes that Nordstrom tends to carry.
Also, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how important time is when spending money. Rather than driving from store to store trying on shoes that, ultimately, weren’t wide enough for my feet, I discovered that ordering shoes and having them sent to my home–where I could try them on at my leisure–was the best way to proceed when shopping for shoes. I’ve even got my husband and two daughters ordering shoes this way!
Whenever shopping online, I always read the reviews. I realize that not everyone has the same feet that I do, but when I hear complaints about too-small toeboxes or heels that slips, then I know the shoes are not right for me. And then I’m not spending money on shoes that are likely not to fit my feet.
Here’s where the money part comes in–I will only order shoes from sites that offer free shipping both ways. Not free shipping, free returns, because the phrase “free returns” doesn’t always mean free return shipping. (Read the fine print before placing your order.)
Some shoe sites will give you a label to send things back, seemingly free, but the fine print says they’ll deduct some amount from your refund to cover shipping. That’s not free. Same thing with free exchanges, which may not mean free shipping when you exchange your shoes or which may mean you’ll be charged a “restocking” fee (like big box stores sometimes do when you return electronics).
Where To Buy Extra Wide Shoes
- Trunk Club from Nordstrom has a great shoe selection.
I just got an awesome pair of Josef Seibel sandals with my latest Trunk. You can also order this brand on Zappos.com.
- Hotter Shoes
- Easy Spirit SALE: Spring Fever Sale – $20 Off Select Styles from 3/28 to 4/4! Enjoy Free Shipping On Orders $50+!
- Rockport SALE: Get 2 Pairs for $89 & Free Shipping with code PAIRUP. Valid 3/28-3/30. Only @ Rockport Outlet!
- QVC Shop stylish shoes at the perfect price from QVC.com!
Wide Width Brands
As far as brands go, here are the ones that I’ve felt work best for my feet and offer a truly double-wide width (which, if you have double wide width feet like I do, isn’t always represented in a shoe that say WW or EE or XW). Also, I believe they offer shoes that I would call fashionable and comfortable:
From each of these brands I’ve bought wide width heels, wide width boots, wide width sandals, and more.
Shoes for Wide Feet That May Not Be Extra Wide Width
I have found a few brands that don’t officially offer double wide width shoes for women but some of their styles work.
For example, this past fall I bought a pair of Cobb Hill booties in regular wide and you know what? They fit my double-wide feet perfectly. They also offer amazing arch support and hugged my heels in all the right places.
I mention the heels, because I believe that a lot of women like me, with wide feet, also have narrow heels. Many of us need a shoe with a wide-enough toe box–I test the toe box by crossing my toes inside the shoe. If I can’t do that, back they go. Despite this wide toe box, our heels are narrow or skinny or whatever you want to call them. What that means is we get a lot of heel slippage–often why women with wide feet cannot wear ballet flats. Before I learned this important distinction, there was many a time when I’d run up a flight of stairs, only to leave my flats on the first step!
Another brand that tends to fit my wide width feet, even though their shoes only come single wide, is Saucony. All of my sneakers are from Saucony–I like to wear retro looking sneakers. My 2015 version was a bright orange pair of Saucony trainers. For 2016 my retro tennis shoes are forest green.
Fun fact: you can often buy men’s shoes, two sizes smaller than what you normally wear, and get away with that for your sneakers. Why? Because men’s shoes are cut wider overall than women’s shoes. In fact, all of my fun Saucony shoes in my closet are actually made for men. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone.)
Another place to looks for shoes for wide feet and that fit double wide feet is Payless. Last summer I got a cute pair of wide width wedges at Payless. Even though they were marked as single wide, they worked great on my double wide feet. Unfortunately for me, they were the only pair in the store that worked for me. Trust me–I tried on every wide shoe in my size. But my wide width wedges purchase proves that it is possible to find fashionable and affordable wide width shoes at Payless.
One more thing to add when it comes to buying shoes. You know that I’m a big believer in supporting companies that stand behind their products. It’s the same with shoes. While Nordstrom and Zappos may not advertise their lifetime warranty or guarantee like Lands End and LL Bean do, I know from first-hand experience that both brands will stand behind the shoes they sell to you. They get top marks in customer service and that, along with offering high-quality shoes, are reason enough to me to go with that two out of three ain’t bad approach to shoes–I’ll take fashionable and comfortable wide width shoes, even if they aren’t always the cheapest.