When it comes to finding the right running shoe, the width is often overlooked and yet can solve a lot of foot issues. If you’ve been dealing with blisters, bunions or other foot pain it’s time to see if wide toe box running shoes might be something to solve your issues.
A wide toe box refers to the front part of your shoe. Think of how high heels or cowboy boots taper to a peak, that’s generally going to coincide with a more narrow toe box.
That means less room for your toes to spread out and grip the ground for push off. It also means less room for a wider foot to find enough space and avoid issues from rubbing the shoe. Which might lead you to wonder if we should all be looking for running shoes with a wider toe box?
A wide toe box is not just for those with wide feet. In fact, a wide shoe has more room throughout the entire width of the shoe. Where a wide toe box is focused on increasing the space for the widest part of your foot, known as the ball of your foot.
How to Know if You Have a Wide Foot?
You may simply know based on the comfort of many shoes, but there are also measurements that determine foot width.
From the example below, you are going to measure at point B. The determination of a wide foot actually changes based upon the length of your foot as well.
For example, a women’s size 8 at 3.95″ is wide and 4.3″ is extra wide.
A men’s size 8 is considered wide at 3.9″.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having wide feet. But now the goal is to find shoes that FIT WELL.
Do You Need a Wide Toe Box Running Shoe?
As noted above, most of us could get some benefits out of having more space for our toes. But there are a few clear signs that you really should be looking in to a wider running shoe.
Or you may simply discover that a regular running shoe doesn’t give you the room that feels good. This could be because you have wide feet or that the additional space around your toes simply provides more proprioception (feeling the ground).
If you’re not sure whether or not you need a wide toe box shoe, it’s always best to consult with a doctor or podiatrist. They’ll be able to help you figure out if you have any problems with your feet that require a wider shoe.
Issues With A Shoe That Is Too Wide
While a shoe with a wide toe box can be great for people with certain foot problems, it’s important to make sure that the shoe isn’t too wide.
If a shoe is too wide, it can cause blisters and other issues. This is because your foot has too much room to move around in the shoe and as a result creates the friction that leads to blisters or even chaffing.
Make sure that you try on the shoe and walk around in it before you buy it to make sure that it’s the right fit.
What Running Shoe Has the Widest Toe Box? Our Top 3 Picks
Before diving in to specific shoe models, there are a few brands that have a lot more options to fit the wider running foot and provide a wide toe box. I want to cover these first so you can look at additional models if needed.
Each of these plenty of room and extra wide sizing so your toes don’t feel cramped.
Altra Running Shoes
Altra boasts its Altra FootShape toe box that allows the toes to fan out naturally while the big toe remains in place. This gives your toes the space they need and allows the foot to naturally stabilize unneeded pronation.
In other words, instead of tapering like a traditional running shoe the Altra shoe remains more rounded for the toes to lay in a more natural position. Mimicking your barefoot posture.
It is important to understand that Altra shoes have a zero-drop platform, meaning that when wearing the shoes, your heel and forefoot are at the same distance from the ground making it a neutral shoe. For some runners, it easily lines up with their natural gait, but it’s not everyone’s thing.
HOKA ONE ONE Running Shoes
Hoka running shoes are great for runners who need wide width shoes.
If you tend to feel like shoes are tight on you, Hokas may definitely be worth a try. While the normal shoes generally seem to be a bit wider and certainly have a bigger toe box, Hoka also offers all of their key running shoe models in wide widths.
It’s a great idea to test these out in a running store and see how both the regular and wide width feel on your feet.
New Balance Running Shoes
New Balance has been offering wide widths in their shoes for pretty much forever. They offer different widths for their models of shoes so you can find one that works for your feet especially if you have a wide midfoot.
In fact, they are some of the most expansive when it comes to offering a variety of widths from 2A narrow to 2e and 4e wide.
7 Best Wide Toe Box Running Shoes
There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re choosing a new pair of running shoes. If you’re looking for a pair with a wide toe box, these are our 7 picks for the best running shoes you can buy right now.
We’ve looked at some of the best brands and shoes so that you can be sure that your feet will be happy no matter how far you run.
Best Everyday Trainer – Hoka One One Clifton 8
We already mentioned Hoka’s ability to build a shoe that is comfortable for a wider fit. The Hoka Clifton 8 also has a lightweight design, so even though it has the comfort you need, they won’t feel big and bulky.
The responsive midsole makes them easy to run in, and the newly extended heel makes for a softer landing. While they are not as pillow-like as the Bondi, I thoroughly enjoy keeping this shoe in my rotation.
Best for Stability – On Cloudflyer Wide
Cloudflyer running shoes are known for their comfort and style. They feel super nice on your feet, due to their soft cushioning, but they also have the stability you need. Having run in these, I’d label them as a firmer shoe providing more support and less of that plush cushion.
Great if you need some additional stability or arch support.
The wide version of a Cloudflyer shoe still has all the luxuries but is constructed 4mm wider than the regular fit. It might sound like a small amount of difference, but your toes will thank you the very first time you go for a run in them!
Best for Speedy Trails – Brooks Cascadia
If you’re a trail runner and need a wider shoe, Brooks Cascadia has got you covered. It is an extremely protected shoe so you don’t have to worry about your feet getting banged up on rough terrain, while remaining light and agile.
I used these on all the trails when we first moved to Colorado!
They’re also built for distance meaning they won’t wear down on you. Trail runners need shoes that offer stability and comfort whether their feet are wide or narrow. Cascadia delivers.
Best for Light Trails – Nike Pegasus Trail
The Nike Pegasus line is a popular line of running shoes and for good reason! The Nike Pegasus Trail is great for trail-to-road running. Its durability allows it to perform well on both surfaces and looks super stylish as well.
My husband has been using this shoe and with his flat feet, it’s felt like a really great ride. It remains comfortable for your wide feet even for long trail, marathon, or ultra training runs. All of this while still offering a quick ride so you can keep up that speed!
Best Traditional Shoe – New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 Wide
New Balance’s Fresh Foam is every bit as lovely as it sounds. These shoes feel fabulous when you slip them on and yet maintain good responsiveness. Unlike the super plush HOKA Bondi that you can sink in to, you’ll remain quick off the ground in these shoes.
These shoes do not have a padded collar which some runners may dislike, but I didn’t notice any issues with that. I did the normal heel lock lacing as will all my shoes and they felt great.
Other commonly recommended options in traditional running shoes are the Asics GT-2000, Mizuno Wave Rider and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. Truly they are good shoes, but my goal is to help you move away from stability shoe models. Only a small % of runners have enough pronation caused by foot issues to need them.
Best Zero Drop Road Trainer – Altra Provision
We know I’m not a big stability shoe person and yet these don’t feel like a stability shoe at all. I think it’s because they have a good amount of cushion and aren’t stiff. Technically the Altra Torin is their neutral model, but I don’t like the tongue on the current version so I’d rather direct you to this shoe which I do enjoy.
I’ve taken these out for quite a few miles now and surprised myself by finding my calves didn’t scream. I think a good sign that I’ve been rotating through a large variety of heel stacks.
This is one that I’d recommend if you’ve been considering a stability shoe, but aren’t going to let up on all the hip, glue and core work that will make sure you aren’t relying on the shoe.
Best for Hiking or Rocky Trails – Salomon Speedcross Wide
Many experienced trail runners swear by their Salomon Speedcross shoes. The Salomon Speedcross Wide takes everything we already loved about the Salomon Speedcross and adapted it to a wider shoe.
This shoe prides itself on its push-off and braking grip on all types of surface conditions. It cradles your heel, making it both comfortable and stable, but also giving a clean foot strike.
Hopefully this helped provide you with more understanding about wide toe box running shoes and wide running shoes in general. They really can be more comfortable for many runners and are just worth seeking out.
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