Flat, wide, short feet: help finding boots?
November 24, 2008 8:22 AM   Subscribe

I have feet that are flat (no significant arch), wide, and on the shorter side (around sizes 8.5 to 9 mens, US). Where can I find decent winter boots (and shoes in general, for that matter)?

I've been wearing Merrill Radius shoes for the past year, size 9; it always felt like I had a bit of extra room up front, but having the corresponding increase in width helped make up for it. The arch was uncomfortable at first due to my flat feet, but over time it seemed to wear in. Now that those shoes are showing their age (including completely worn-away lugs on the outsole) — and considering that they do nothing to stop the bitter Chicago cold — I figured I'd pick up a pair of winter boots.

The boots are a pair of Merrill Snowmotion 6 Waterproof, size 9.5; despite the increase in size (to accommodate the insulation and whatnot), they still feel too tight; I wore them to the office today, and I could feel my feet falling asleep ... not good. Due to the waterproof material (rubber?), they don't have nearly as much "give" as the Radius shoes; I'm going to return them, but I don't have the slightest clue what to try next since so many manufacturers of decent shoes don't make very much in wide widths. Meh.

ShoeFilter, help? ^_^ I'm in Chicago, if that helps with specific recommendations; I don't care where I buy my boots from, or what brand, so long as they're made well and fit well — but in that vein, I'd like to avoid online retailers since it's so hard to size oneself that way.
posted by korpios to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
You really cannot do any better than http://www.thebootpro.com/
posted by parmanparman at 9:29 AM on November 24, 2008

I don't have flat feet but I do have feet that are a little bit "wide" for my size. I always just get a larger foot size to accommodate the width. I'm probably a 9.5-10 by length, but I usually get a 10.5-11 to handle the width. It is a little bit odd at first adjusting to a longer shoe, but you get used to it and eventually it feels okay. I'm currently working my way through a second pair of Clark boots and I'm very happy with them.

There may be shoes for flat-footed people out there, I don't know. But most shoes are going to be designed for people with arches. So it may be more useful to see if there are any insoles designed for you.

If you can't find a shoe that matches your size, you could always try a shoe stretcher. Leather may give better than rubber, so getting your hands on some weatherproof leather shoes may be a good idea.

I assume you've googled wide boots already, but just in case you haven't Wideshoes.com may have what you're looking for.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:11 AM on November 24, 2008

It's oddly difficult to find a good pair of winter boots in Chicago, no matter what the size and shape of your feet, and every year the search drives me up the wall. I just ordered a pair from 6pm.com and am happy with what I found, though of course this might not be your best option if you want to ensure that they fit before you buy.

There's a DSW at Clark/Halsted/Belmont that has a large variety of shoes and might be your best bet. Hanig's has good shoes and several locations, but a search for men's boots doesn't turn up much. A sporting-goods store might have good boots too (there's a Sports Authority right near the DSW).

Good luck - if you find a store around here with good boot options, let me know too!
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:12 AM on November 24, 2008

Try Garmont
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 10:53 AM on November 24, 2008

For regular everyday shoes (or dress shoes, or sandals, or whatever) I rely on New Balance. I know of very few other companies that work for my feet, and I have the same problem of no arch. Unfortunately, while they offer amazing stuff (I swear, nearly every shoe I've owned over the last 10 years have been New Balance) they don't make a great winter boot.

For that I suggest a camping store like REI. REI rocks, and they seem to be having a sale on winter boots right now.
posted by Political Funny Man at 5:20 PM on November 24, 2008

I have wide and flat feet (9.5 W). I wear shearling lined L.L. Bean winter boots (they come in EE widths). I ordered multiple pairs to check the fit, wearing them about the house until I found the pair that worked with the socks I prefer, and then returned the rest. Nice thing about those boots is the soles are slip resistent and stay relatively clean -- no big lugs to pick up mud; snow and ice kick off easily. One downside for me is they are too warm to wear for any extended period indoors.
posted by Dick Paris at 5:20 PM on November 24, 2008

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