The agony of da feets
September 18, 2013 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Please help me (a hefty male) find shoes sneakers that are comfortable! Requirements: US size 10.5-11, wide width (3E), wide toe box for bunion comfort and vegan. Preferably shoes that don't look like Herman Munster's. Actually, that's totally OK.

I'm always looking for New Balance shoes with the SL-2 last ( those are the models with a wide toe box and high instep). Do any other shoe and sneaker manufacturers use an easily identifiable designation for shoes with a wide toe box?

Sneakers: I used to buy New Balance 817s. They were so comfy! But they were discontinued. Then I bought the 1012. Fairly comfortable, but they're a running shoe and I didn't get the right kind of support. And they started falling apart after 3 months. Doesn't matter anyway because the old, leather free 1012 has been replaced with a new, leather-trimmed 1012. Bah.

Shoes: Preferably something stylish that goes well with jeans.

To add, I do use a variety of bunion cushions and gel spacers to help with bunion comfort. I will also tape when I have to, but the adhesive on the various tapes has started to cause irritation.

My poor feet thank for your help!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Merrell Trail Glove has a pretty sizable toe box and is synthetic/textile. Not much padding, but that's kind of the point. You can loosen the laces to control the fit of the midfoot area.

Also since the Trail Glove II is coming out, all the Trail Gloves are discounted...
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:14 AM on September 18, 2013

In my similar-shoe-sized, hefty-maleness experience, skateboard shoes (aka skate shoes) are THE most comfortable sneakers, bar none. The several pair that I've owned (made by Etnies and Globe) have all been roomy and cushiony and pretty attractive.

I don't know about vegan skate shoes, but I betcha they're out there.
posted by Dr. Wu at 5:50 AM on September 18, 2013

My wide feet have been using Brooks shoes. They have styles with an arch support and styles that are neutral so I can insert my own orthotics. They do have a specific style for heavyweight people, too, but I can't remember the name of it. All their running shoes are vegan but the walking shoes (that's what I use) are leather.

I'm not going to try to guess which shoes might work for you, but I do recommend you browse their website or go to a running store and try some on. They run nice and wide.
posted by CathyG at 9:40 AM on September 18, 2013

You might look for Salomons. Googling "salomon vegan" seems to show that says that most of their stuff is vegan.

My large-and-in-charge husband has been wearing some for a while, now that I have been loving them for years, and they're definitely made well. I think we both have some variation of the XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 (all of their names are awfully similar, but luckily they're all great).

Side note: you do know that barge cement is still made from horse parts, right? It remains the most durable and flexible adhesive for shoes, so I'm always skeptical about how shoes listed as "vegan" will hold up, or if they use some other sort of adhesive. It's not the kind of thing most people think about, but I learned about it when I took a shoemaking course several years ago.
posted by Madamina at 9:49 AM on September 18, 2013

Are you sure you're a EEE width - or do you assume so because you've never found anything wider?

In any event, hie thee up to Hingham - Hitchcock's showroom is open weekdays until 3:00, so fake sick or burn a vaca day (lovely town to sightsee in). They have a very large variety of shoes designed for hard-to-fit guys who'd otherwise be better off wearing shoeboxes rather than shoes. The sales staff is generally very patient and knowledgeable, and many of their models are in canvas or synthetics. (Wearing a set of their retro canvas sneakers as I'm typing this.)

Most of their trade is via mail order, but I've always found it beneficial to go try stuff on in-person: I've seen people there from Colorado and Maryland, so I'm not alone. Once you find a size/style you like, then you can mail-order replacements.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:20 AM on September 18, 2013

I've looked at the Hitchcock's site and I so want to try some, but they are all too big. Can I piggyback the question and see if anyone knows of a similar site for women's wide shoes or a men's site that offers shoes down to size 5?
posted by CathyG at 12:52 PM on September 18, 2013

CathyG - Check out Propet's Therapeutic line... the guy's version of the Cronus is the "shoe of last resort" Hitchcock offers the guys. Propet's women's version of the line has some nicer designs than that, all of them look like they could fit a size five brick. Also, Nordstrom's apparently has a specialty special-order business in women's extra wide shoes that may offer some options. Worse comes to worse, buy a custom pair of Queen of Hearts from Son of Sandlar, and have them resole once every few years.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:05 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have 11.5/EEEE feet and i love my New Balance MX623v2's.
posted by softlord at 7:19 PM on September 18, 2013

Go to a podiatrist. She/he will relieve the aches and pains and be able to recommend a particular model with padding in the right places for your particular feet. There's a lot more to choosing the best shoe than is obvious to a non-expert. My podiatrist is a genius who has solved every problem and put me in exactly the right shoes.
posted by KRS at 8:03 PM on September 18, 2013

Thanks for the info folks. The vegan bit is non-negotiable. Also, to be more clear, I'm looking for wide width shoes that also have a wide toe box.

Madamina and CathyG: I think Brooks and Saloman might be what I'm looking for. Thanks!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:24 PM on September 20, 2013

Since you're a bigger guy if you have the option go for a model with stiffer cushioning for better comfort and durability.
posted by clorox at 5:05 AM on September 21, 2013

Unfortunately, none of the suggestions have worked out. I went to a few stores today and tried on various pairs of Saloman, Brooks and Keens. None had a wide toe box. And when you ask a salesperson for a wide toe box, they just assume you mean wide. I can find wide width shoes with no problem. It's the wide toe box that I need for my bunions. I think the only real solution may be bunion surgery. *sigh*
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:13 PM on September 21, 2013

OK. You have forced my (wide foot wide toe box) hand... Hersey. Last I heard, they will make custom-order vegan sneaks. Gotta be cheaper than surgery.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:03 PM on September 21, 2013

I'm late to this thread, but a friend who has long struggled to find wide enough shoes has ordered a few pairs of sneakers from Keep (a vegan company) over the past year, and is really happy with them, fit and comfort-wise. They look fantastic with jeans (especially the Elias) and I'll probably order a pair for myself when my current pair of casual sneakers wear out.
posted by mayurasana at 9:11 PM on October 4, 2013

For anyone still reading this. I discovered something that has opened up the wide (ha!) world of shoes to me. A particular lacing method for bunioned feet. Lacing shoes this way lets me wear almost anything. I can now wear almost any shoe, and have found tons of great vegans shoes that can be comfortable now!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:26 AM on January 30, 2014

« Older How does salon dyeing work?   |   One of my tenants is acting erratically, and I am... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.