WideFoot needs shoes!
August 20, 2016 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I have super wide feet that aren't all that long--a size 7 or 7 ½ women's. But my feet are 4 inches wide at the toes. Help me find masculine or gender neutral shoes, please!

I am gender queer and wear men's clothing, but have rarely found any shoes that fit because my feet are short and very wide.

My favorite shoes used to be these Timberland boots, but I've ruined two pairs when the leather pulled away from the sole at the pinky-toe side (after 2 years and two resolings each, but the leather was still in excellent condition otherwise). I also wore through a pair of canvas sneakers in the same place. I've recently tried on boots and boat shoes in 7 W, 7½ W and 8 W with no luck. They've all been too tight in the toes, both Timberland and Sperry Topsider (these were waaaay too tight, even the 8 W).

I'm looking for gender neutral or masculine leather boots, boat shoes, and sandals for my super wide feet. Also open to suggestions to oxfords and loafers. Suggestions for brands, stores, or specific shoes are welcome. Ideally I'd like online shopping with excellent return policies, like free return shipping, since I've had terrible luck with finding things that fit right. Brick & mortar is cool, too (I'm in Massachusetts and get to Boston or NYC once a year or so). Boots must be resoleable as I walk everywhere.

Budget: $200-300 per pair. Willing to save up and spend more for boots that will fit amazingly, last a long time, and can be resoled.

I am also interested in tips for making shoes that are two or so sizes too big work when the width is just about right--thick wool socks won't help with extra length but no extra width!
posted by carrioncomfort to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Keens. I have super wide feet and they fit me great.
posted by fshgrl at 10:41 AM on August 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Have you tried men's shoes?

I recommend Allen Edmonds. They are sold in size combos like men's 5 EEE, which it seems like you would need. Either buy online via Nordstrom or Allen Edmond's website, or from an Allen Edmond's brick & mortar store if there is one nearby. (Don't buy from Nordstrom in person because you will be pressured to buy a shoe that is too narrow.) Their shoes are in your price range, can be resoled, and are actually quite wide. I hope you find what you're looking for!
posted by harmonia at 10:56 AM on August 20, 2016

Wide feet here... I like Vivobarefoot
posted by noonday at 11:05 AM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Bogs sells masculine/neutral outdoor boots with a wide toe box. I've had really good luck with these.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:25 AM on August 20, 2016

I think I have your same feet (I just measured my toes to confirm), and the only shoes I've found that consistently fit me comfortably are Birkenstocks. I've had sandals, clogs, and full shoes, and they've always fit just right. Most of their styles are gender neutral, so the main difference between their men's and women's collections is the sizes. I wear a 38 regular, but if you have more consistently wide feet, you may want to go wide. Mine kind of splay out like duck feet rather than being wide for the whole foot, and yes, it is as attractive as you might think.

If you get the classic Birkenstock range rather than a licensed imprint like Footprints or Betula or something, they're made to be resoled. They come in a little under your budget, but I'm assuming that'd be OK.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:38 AM on August 20, 2016

I have your feet too. My rule for shoe shopping: don't waste time looking for anything else. Just get the Birkenstocks.
posted by Corvid at 11:51 AM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Definitely look for a shoe that comes in widths; bonus points if it comes with plenty of E's. I wear women's shoes, but I have been really happy with the construction of SAS shoes (they also have a men's line, but I haven't worn any of them; you'll have to see if the style fits your liking). I only don't wear them now because I found Ziera (who only makes a women's line, although you could see if they have something reading neutral enough for your taste).
posted by nat at 12:06 PM on August 20, 2016

I'd second Keens. As a wide-footed woman those are what I wear, and I imagine their men's shoes are designed the same way. You can also search Zappos or 6pm specifically for wide-width shoes.
posted by MsMolly at 12:08 PM on August 20, 2016

My feet are also 4" wide and I've long favored New Balance 8W sneakers. Last year I discovered Aravon—New Balance brand street shoes. Here is a selection of boots.
posted by she's not there at 12:09 PM on August 20, 2016

I have the same problem as you-- medium-size feet, US 7.5, very wide, US width EEE (I have never measured the width, but 4 inches or so seems right), only wear men's or unisex-looking shoes. I input my requirements to zappos.com and pick the cheapest that look all right. This is the easiest way to get OK shoes shipped to my house; they have free returns.

New Balance 7.5 EEE and Saucony 8W fit great. Dress shoes across manufacturers are hit or miss regardless of whether they are labeled as wide. I got two good pairs at Aldo recently. Skechers do not fit me, even the wides. Doc Martens in the traditional round toe can work if I go a size up and use a heel-only insole (full foot insoles make the shoe too tight at the toes.) If the shoes are too big in general, I use a full-foot memory-foam insole and a heel-protector (if your shoes are too big, they are likely to rub against your heel.) It pads it out and keeps my foot from shifting around.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:17 PM on August 20, 2016

I also have extra wide feet, such that most women's wide widths (including Keens and New Balance) only work if I clomp around in a larger size. These EE boots work though; I found them via the "buy ten pairs of wide shoes on Zappos and return the ones that don't work" method.
posted by metasarah at 12:24 PM on August 20, 2016

If you want to save up for a while, I can recommend Conker Shoes from the UK. They make bespoke shoes, from your foot tracings, and my size 6, 3.75" wide feet finally aren't pinched. Their craftsmanship is excellent and their shoes are resoleable and repairable. Full grain leather, any color you choose, and they make boots, sandals, deck shoes, and regular shoes, with brogue detailing if you like. It didn't take too long to get them made and shipped to the US.
posted by umwhat at 12:47 PM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sorels too are super wide. And for cheap flats payless cannot be beat. A lot of their shoes are too wide for me.
posted by fshgrl at 1:13 PM on August 20, 2016

My coworker tells me that you can get any ole' insert with an arch. This raises the flat arch and decreases the width of your foot for the purposes of fitting into shoes.
posted by aniola at 3:15 PM on August 20, 2016

Female who frequently prefers gender-neutral shoes here: I have been very happy wearing both men's and women's Keens. My arch is both wide and tall, and I find that a lace-up shoe tends to fit me much better than a slip-on; I can adjust the laces as needed. These served me well for years, although now I'm wearing something more like these (and lusting after these!) Zappos has been great for buying online and returning what doesn't fit with minimal hassle.
posted by beandip at 7:54 AM on August 21, 2016

My feet are about as wide as yours. I live in Birkenstocks and men's athletic shoes (EEEE width). When i need a dressier shoe, I go with Munro. They have a few styles that seem like they might fit your gender neutral category. Zappos has amazing customer service and easy returns. You can also search for shoes by size, including width.
posted by FencingGal at 8:20 AM on August 21, 2016

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