One of the challenges of having extra wide feet is finding the best wide width sneakers and shoes for different occasions. For starters there are everyday shoes, which I can’t always find extra wide. Then, there are wide cycling shoes (which I cover in my blog post review of Peloton bike shoes). Finally, there are wide width sneakers or shoes for working out.
This latter category has become a real challenge, ever since my feet went from a single width wide (before I had children) to extra wide now. Do you know how hard it is to find women’s sneakers in an extra wide width?
Why write about the best wide width sneakers and shoes
I’ve written before about the best wide width women’s shoes, which you can read here. But, one of the reasons I’ve decided to write about wide width sneakers and shoes for men and women is I realize there is a real need for good information for finding wide footwear.
Since getting my Peloton bike in 2016, I’ve become more active overall. In 2021 I decided to add Peloton strength training to my regimen. I’m following the hardCORE on the Floor calendar–it’s a Facebook group, if you’d like to check it out.
Not surprisingly one of the topics that comes up often in that Facebook group is where to find the best wide width athletic, gym or weightlifting shoes. At first I didn’t realize that there was a category of shoes just for weightlifting. I mean, I just wear my sneakers (or no shoes at all) when I do strength or bootcamp classes off the bike.
What are weightlifting shoes
Then I did some digging and discovered that weightlifting shoes are in a category all by themselves. They look a lot like volleyball shoes. You know, flatter shoes without much of a sole. I guess you could say basketball shoes look like this, too.
Anyway, weightlifting shoes are often marketed as cross training shoes or gym shoes. I guess tennis shoes or tennis sneakers could also work, given what the bottoms of those look like.
Regardless of what they’re called, it’s a good idea not to do strength work barefoot, as I’m quickly learning. This is especially true if you have high arches like I do.
Why people with high arches need to wear shoes
Why? Because when you’re walking around or working out without footwear on, you’re not doing anything to support your high arches. People with high arches tend to “supinate” when they step. That means they roll their feet outward to take pressure off their arches.
Supination can lead to problems with your Achilles tendon, plantar fasciitis and ankle issues. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find shoes you can wear for all occasions in your exercise routine.
Extra room in toe box of wide width sneakers
Besides having high arches and a wide foot, I have a wide toe box. That means that my foot is its widest in my toe area. Therefore, I always need shoes that have a wide toe box.
In addition, I have narrow heel and ankle. This makes it especially challenging to find wide width sneakers. Why? Because many manufacturers don’t realize that just because you’re giving extra room in the toe box for a wide forefoot doesn’t mean the heel has to be extra wide.
So, when shopping for wide width sneakers, there are three things I always look for. One, extra room in the toe box. I try to “cross” my toes inside the shoes. If I can do that, I know the shoe is wide enough for me.
Two, no pressure on the bottom of my foot. I’ve learned that if I feel the bottom of my forefoot being squeezed, it means the shoe isn’t wide enough.
Three, lacing that goes up almost to my ankle. That is, there is a hole for the shoe laces that goes up almost to the top of the tongue.
By threading the shoelace through this top hole, I can pull my sneakers tighter around my ankle, thus giving me more support. This is super helpful if I find that aforementioned wider heel area in a sneaker or shoe.
Wide width sneakers and shoes for men and women
My family is quite familiar with the quest that is finding wide width sneakers for working out. My husband has quadruple wide feet. I have double wide feet. And our poor daughters have inherited the wide feet, too. At least theirs are only single wide at this point.
Obviously, I have a lot of personal experience with finding shoes and sneakers in wide and extra wide width. That’s one of the reasons I wrote this blog post.
Below, I’ve put together recommendations for sneakers and workout shoes in wide widths and extra wide widths for all kinds of activities. This includes walking, running, weightlifting, cycling and more. If I’ve missed any category, let me know.
Wide width running shoes
We have a joke in our family that we only run when chased. Ha ha. However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t like wear running shoes. We do.
I find that running sneakers often come wider than shoes made for other kinds of sports. Therefore, you’ll definitely find them in our closet.
For example, my husband swears by New Balance sneakers. They’re the only ones he can find in quadruple wide widths. You can also find New Balance wide width sneakers for men on Amazon.
Amazingly, on Zappos you can find quadruple wide width running shoes from New Balance for women, too. I had no idea that Zappos stocked running sneakers in such a wide width.
Unfortunately, though, when you get to these wider widths, you have fewer color choices. However, when you’ve looking for good wide width sneakers, comfort should come first. If you can get in fashion, too, well, then, that’s a bonus.
Wide width New Balance shoes for men
Wide width New Balance shoes for women
Brooks wide width shoes
A few years ago my daughter Annie, also of the wide foot, and I visited a local running store. We both needed wide width sneakers for working out. This was the first time either of us were fitted for Brooks sneakers.
Well, let me tell you: Brooks wide width shoes for women are amazing for running, exercising and everyday walking. Annie was able to get Brooks wides in women’s sizes.
Me? I had to go with men’s Brooks wide width shoes because they were ever so slightly wider than the women’s sneakers.
Since then, unfortunately, Brooks stopped making the style that I like the best. It has a wide toe box and excellent arch support. It is the Levitate style. The only place I can find them now is on Amazon.
Below, you’ll find a wide range of wide width running and athletic shoes from Brooks.
Brooks wide width shoes for men and women
Wide width walking sneakers
Let me confess to you that I actually wear my Brooks running sneakers for my everyday walking. I’ve never been one to invest in so-called walking sneakers. But that’s just me.
Maybe you’re looking for wide width walking sneakers because you have a walking vacation coming up. I get it–you want shoes for that. Or maybe you’re just a big walker and running sneakers don’t do it for you.
No worries. I’ve got your wide feet covered with this selection of wide width sneakers you can wear for walking.
Wide width walking sneakers for women
Wide width walking sneakers for men
Wide width weightlifting shoes
I’d never considered buying wide width weightlifting shoes until the topic came up in a Peloton-related Facebook group. These are people who are following a lot of Peloton strength classes via the hardCORE on the Floor calendar. (You can read more about that group in this blog post about Peloton strength classes.)
During that discussion I learned about brands of shoes that were new to me as well as styles of common shoes that seemed to run wider than expected.
Brands for wide weightlifting shoes
For example, the group mentioned the Altra Footwear brand shoe, which you can buy on Zappos. Also, No Bull shoes, which I found on Amazon. These are wide width sneakers I’ve never heard about before.
In addition, there were certain styles from well-known brands, not known for wide sneakers, that they recommended. For instance, many people said Nike Metcon shoes were worth checking out. Same with Reebok Nano sneakers.
Finally, when looking for these wide width sneakers for weightlifting, you should also consider shoes called crosstraining. Basically, what you’re looking for are flatter shoes with thinner soles.
Well, I’ve ordered nearly all of the weighlifting shoes I’ve listed here. Once they arrive, I’ll be trying them on and reporting back on how they fit.
In fact, I’ll probably do an Instagram LIVE once all of the shoes are in and I can review them. If you’re not already following me on Instagram, you can do that here.
In the meantime, here are links to some of those recommended brands in case you want to check them out.
Wide width weightlifting shoes
Wide width cycling shoes
Over on my blog post about Peloton bike shoes, which I mentioned above, I talk about finding cycling shoes in wide widths. This is a real challenge for Peloton users like me. There are very few bike shoe brands that offer shoes in a true wide width and that take the Delta Look cleat.
For example, the only brand I’ve been able to find for my double wide feet is Bontrager. Again, Bontrager cycling shoes take the Delta Look cleat that fits the original Peloton bike pedals.
You can find other wide options if you ride a bike that takes SPD bike cleats. It’s one of the reasons many Peloton users swap out their pedals to be SPD compatible. That way, they can use cycling shoes they might wear with their outdoor bikes with their Peloton, too.
Note: if you remove the original Peloton pedals, you could void your warranty. So keep that in mind.
Wide cycling shoes
Final thoughts on wide width sneakers and shoes
I hope that this blog post has provided options for you in your search for sneakers and athletic shoes in wider width. If you feel that I’ve missed anything or you have brands to recommend, please post a comment and let me know.