Wide front, narrow heels, hope me!
November 8, 2017 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Walking shoes for narrow heels, wide front foot, bunions, and plantar fasciitis. Plz hlp.

I have bad feet (bunions and plantar fasciitis despite generally wearing good shoes for much of my life.) I like walking. At work when I need to be on my feet a lot I wear Sanita (like Dansko) clogs that I've stretched out enough to be OK for my bunions, but they don't have enough (or any) cushioning to be good for walking several miles (which I like doing.) Plus I'm starting to feel like wearing clogs so much is affecting my knees, which is not good. When it's anywhere near warm enough I wear Teva Tirra sandals which are perfect, but I need something comfortable for when it's colder. I own Superfeet insoles and can put them in various shoes but just finding something that fits seems hard right now.

I wear a women's size 7.5. I would prefer something with laces, or at least a buckle to make it more secure. Something solid leather rather than nylon mesh would be great for warmth, but at this point that's flexible. Trying to spend less than $100 (ideally way less, I'm pretty low-income right now.)

I'm looking for suggestions of specific models of shoes more than just general brands. I ordered some Dansko "Helen" sneakers online and they were slightly too narrow in the front. Ahnu "Taraval" shoes had a seam that hit my bunion, making them too narrow too.

Also open to recommendations for specific stores in Philadelphia, but I stopped by Macy's and The Walking Company yesterday and didn't see anything promising at all.
posted by needs more cowbell to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have bunions or plantar fascitis, but my feet are "curvy" like yours, super-wide at the ball but narrow heel, and I just got some Alegria and Keen boots for winter which are really comfortable AND affordable!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:43 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

We have similar feet. Saucony is my go to sneaker brand. I've been running in the Excursion TR shoes for what seems like forever. When new ones come out, the older styles get pretty cheap. I've even found them at TJ Max for under $40. Their sizing is so consistent that I can also order new shoes from Amazon and they always fit. They have enough give in them to accommodate my bunions without making my heel slip around. I run outdoors year round and my dream used to be to find non-mesh shoes for cold weather. I eventually gave up on that and bought really good socks. Cabela's makes a thermax liner sock that works for me. On really cold days, I wear 2 pairs. They are really thin, so I don't have to size up in shoes or worry about thick seams causing blisters. I went through a year of plantar fasciitis but hated insoles because of how they changed the fit of my shoes. I learned how to use athletic tape to tape my arches for support and it was amazing.
posted by August Fury at 6:44 AM on November 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

August Fury do you get wide width or medium width on the Excursion TR?
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:56 AM on November 8, 2017

I second Saucony, which I discovered by happenstance. I also have a wide ball of foot and a narrow heel, and my Saucony sneakers fit great, have very flexible soles, and are very lightweight. And they accommodate my orthotics with no slipping. I think I have the Bullet model, not sure. A++, would Saucony again.
posted by Liesl at 6:56 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have the same foot type as you, minus bunions, plus high semi-fallen arches and oversupination that's worn away a lot of the fatty tissue that cushions the balls of my feet. On the off-chance that your profile location is also still relevant, I'll mention that I got a semi-custom pair of half-length insoles with a metatarsal "cookie" made at On the Run in the Sunset, and like them quite a bit more than full-length insoles, which make my shoes too tight. I've also cut down Superfeet to half-length, but they don't have the metatarsal bump, do they?

As for specific shoes, I've had decent luck with some Clarks, though they don't seem to sell the specific pair I liked the fit of anymore. Mostly I wear the Birkenstock Mayari about a size too small to fit my arches snugly (their closed-toed shoes don't fit me quite right because of this). I used to love Chacos, which makes sandals but also closed-toed shoes now, though they changed something about the footbed and now the arch is slightly too far forward for me.
posted by tapir-whorf at 7:19 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have your feet minus the plantar fasciitis and have these shoes and love them. For this shoe, I ordered in a wide and half a size up based on product reviews. I am watching this post eagerly for more suggestions :)
posted by eeek at 7:21 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I get medium width. The other thing I really love about my sauconys is that the initial try-on is pretty accurate to what they will feel like after they have some miles on them. So look for a pair that feel good when you try them on.
posted by August Fury at 7:46 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have these Comfort Mocs from LLBean. They are flexible and soft, easy to walk in. I have a narrow heel and wide foot due to going barefoot, and I have arthritis in my feet. In the summer, I wear these in a kids size because they're cheaper and a bit wider. I wear an adult size 6.5, kid size 4 or 4.5.
posted by theora55 at 8:17 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes to Alegria - I have wide ball/narrow heel feet with little-toe bunions that come and go, and high arches that need either really good support or nothing/thin soles, and I dig these. Good support, wide toe box, narrower heels.
I have 2 pairs of their mary jane styles, and got them both off the clearance rack at DSW. They're sized in Euro sizes, and run a bit big, so you can probably go with a 37 (and this works in your favor as the smaller sizes get marked down further - I wear a 35 in these and got each pair for like 10bux after 80% off). They don't come in wide, but I find I wouldn't need a wide.

I can't speak to any of their other styles, though they all seem to be made on the same footbed model so I'd imagine they're similar.
posted by dust.wind.dude at 9:00 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

On my phone so can't link but seconding Keens (I have the Bern boots and have had their classic sneakers) and Brikenstocks (Boston, London are great). I'll also add the Merrell Mocs as being good for your needs. Finally, what you might want to search for is a wide/roomy "toe box"--that's the spacious bit you'll want to accommodate the wider part of your foot.
posted by stillmoving at 10:10 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

theora55 do you get the Comfort Mocs in wide or medium?
(sorry everyone for these follow-up qs, I know everyone's feet are different but I feel like it's helpful to know if the ankles are still narrow enough in a wide width/etc. and I'm trying to avoid ordering 20 pairs of shoes because I am not always on top of returning them on time.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:25 AM on November 8, 2017

My feet are a similar size and shape. These are all the shoes I've bought in the past couple years that worked:

Altra Olympus 1.5 in 7.5 M (the updated versions of this shoe did not fit me right, but they were close so might work for you)

Bellville boot 7.5 C/D

Keens in youth 6

Crocs in 8 M
posted by metasarah at 10:47 AM on November 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'll try to update this more as I keep trying other shoes, but in the interim I found a size 7.5 (med width) pair of Keen Presidio sneakers in a thrift store and they turned out to fit well. They don't rub against my bunions at all even though my feet are about 4" wide at the widest.

They were missing the insoles that came with them so I threw an old pair of Superfeet in. Even with that they don't feel extremely supportive but I'd gotten used to wearing Sanita clogs, so perhaps anything will feel a little unstructured for awhile.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:50 PM on November 18, 2017

Final update from the OP:
For anyone with similar feet still following this thread: Altra shoes have been a real boon, especially for my bunions and for being on my feet all day at work. They don't come in different widths but they all have extremely wide toe boxes, and some models have a lot of cushioning. The very cushiony Altra Olympus was great for work, and for running (which I can do now because I'm not aggravating my body at my retail job anymore thanks to the pandemic!) I just bought a pair of Altra Torins that have the wide toe box and then this interesting internal lacing system for the midfoot which makes the fit feel very secure, which can be hard to come by for someone with narrow heels and a wide front.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:25 AM on May 21, 2020

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