i want shoes that are both cute and wide
March 19, 2019 4:22 PM   Subscribe

I need advice on shoes, specifically where to find shoes that will fit my unusually wide/tall feet and will look at least slightly professional and feminine, and be comfortable enough to wear all day in an office job.

I think I have "high volume" feet. Very wide, very tall, flat. Since having kids (and gaining some weight), it seems like my feet have expanded a lot. They're especially tall up near my ankle. Clogs mostly don't work for me. Athletic shoes work because I can loosen up the laces to accommodate the bulk of my tall feet. It doesn't seem like it's just fat on top of my feet, either, it feels like bone up there, so I don't think losing weight is going to completely solve this (and even if losing weight did solve it, fat ladies deserve cute shoes too, dammit!)

Currently the only shoes I have that fit are Birkenstocks with the straps on the farthest hole, men's tennis shoes, and big clompy Merrell snow boots that are three sizes too long which I bought in desperation to get through the winter.

I'm starting a new job soon in a new office, and I'd like to find some shoes that are a tiny bit nicer than the above. I'm not interested in heels or sandals right now. Socks are a must. If I squeeze into something snug with straps, by the end of the day the tops of my feet look like bread dough trying to escape. I'm so very tired of wandering every aisle of a shoe store and finding literally zero shoes that fit in the entire women's section (I'm looking at you, DSW!) It's all just kind of embarrassing and dispiriting. I mean, I can mostly get away with plain men's athletic shoes, and that's fine most of the time, but it would be nice to wear something slightly cuter once in awhile!

Is my best bet to just keep trying different wide shoes from Zappos and returning the ones that don't fit? Any suggestions to get me started? I can spend maybe like $100 a pair. Bonus points times a million if there's a shoe store in the Twin Cities that caters to weird feet like mine.
posted by beandip to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
The only brand that I’ve found with dress shoes that fit my extremely wide feet is Munro. They have them at Zappos, but if you can get to a Nordstrom’s, they might actually have your size in stock. That’s the only store where I’ve been able to find dress shoes that fit (and one place in London I’ve forgotten the name of).
posted by FencingGal at 4:31 PM on March 19, 2019

Have you tried something like this in the extra wide width? I have different feet, but I'd also recommend going to the Walking Company. They have a lot of comfortable shoes and if nothing else should know how to measure your feet properly, so you will be more informed if you shop at Zappos.
posted by pinochiette at 4:40 PM on March 19, 2019

The best shoe store in the Twin Cities for figuring this out is Schuler Shoes. They have a couple of locations and their staff really can help tell which shoes might work. In fact, when I started reading this, I thought, too bad they can’t go to Schulers and have them figure it out.
posted by advicepig at 4:49 PM on March 19, 2019

Wouldn't Maryjanes with velcro straps solve all of your problems?
posted by DarlingBri at 5:01 PM on March 19, 2019

I like Ziera shoes, because they are cute but come in a variety of widths. You can get wide or extra wide or extra extra wide.

Do note that your shoe length size might be different than you think, because you might be squishing your feet into something with a decent volume but once you stop squishing them, they'll fit in shorter lengths.

And Ziera does indeed have Maryjanes with velcro straps too (basically what I am wearing right now).

I've also enjoyed San Antonio Shoemaker (SAS) shoes in the past, but they are a bit drab (and the ones I had were all clog-style).
posted by nat at 5:06 PM on March 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

I don't know if we're close to the same size, but I'm like a 9 and when I buy tennis shoes I have to get the EE width, which is the widest, and my feet are also weirdly tall, like even in the EE I have to send 'em back sometimes because they are still too tight on top even when long enough and wide enough. My best, favorite shoes ever are my Born ankle boots, specifically these. I have them in black and a close version in brown leather (but the toes are slightly pointier, so I tend to wear the black more).

I've also had luck with Dansko. I have some Dansko Mary Janes that I love, and they are adorable and clunky, which is basically the aesthetic I have to go for when it comes to shoes that aren't boots or tennis shoes--I am never really going to be able to rock a ballet flat with these feet, no matter how much I might want to sometimes. I've had other Danskos that work, even with heels, so I'd say take a look at them.

If it ever matters, for tennis shoes, New Balance is the best for wide feet.
posted by hought20 at 5:08 PM on March 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Have you tried Propet shoes?

My cobbler also recommended Hitchcock Shoes.

But yeah, it's hard - I have similar feet and do a lot of trial and error. I have had luck with bøc, Clarks, miz mooz, lucky brand "Emmie" flats, Merrell for a pair of wedge sandals that worked, Fluevogs c. 2012, but I don't rely on any of these brands to always work, even with the same size / width.
posted by batter_my_heart at 7:07 PM on March 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

Seconding Ziera shoes. Schuler Shoes in the Twin Cities stocks Ziera, and their website emphasises fit and comfort and shoes for problem feet so they might be a good place to try anyway.
posted by escapepod at 8:21 PM on March 19, 2019

Have you looked at the Barking Dog Shoes Blog? You can search specifically for "wide toe box."
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:02 PM on March 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you can wear men's sizes, go check out the men's dress shoes. They're generally wider in the toe box and also tend to last longer. You can find some nice men's loafers or lace-ups at DSW, Nordstrom Rack, etc. for $100/pair.
posted by mogget at 9:11 PM on March 19, 2019

I have very high insteps and the only Mary Janes with a long enough strap that I have found are Naot.

They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned.
posted by Altomentis at 11:45 PM on March 19, 2019

I have short wide feet. San Antonio Shoes (SAS) are my go to for work shoes but I dress very casual and wear jeans to work. They are not the prettiest shoes but they fit better than any other and last forever. I go to a brick and mortar and they help you find the right fit.
For dresser shoes I have flats made by Lifestride, unfortunately, not all styles fit the same.
Most of my shoe shopping defaults to me going to Shoe Carnival, Off Broadway or DSW and trying on everything I like in my size. normally I find something.
posted by ReiFlinx at 2:44 AM on March 20, 2019

I buy a lot of men's loafers and smoking slippers to meet the same problems that you have. They look very similar to women's loafers and smoking slippers but fit my big wide high flat feet better.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:09 AM on March 20, 2019

This lady seems to have feet like yours, and she has done a few shoe roundups.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:47 AM on March 20, 2019

I have very wide feet, with the "tallness" issue you have. Alegria shoes with the wide insert fit me really, really well, and are super comfy. They have a ton of different styles and colors, too.
posted by sarcasticah at 8:35 AM on March 20, 2019

Thanks everybody! I am encouraged to hear about all the great options out there.
posted by beandip at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2019

Inspired by this thread, I hit the Schuler Shoes in Woodbury last night. They have a bunch of shoes on clearance and I found some great deals. Highly recommend!
posted by superna at 7:37 AM on March 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Update: I went to the Schuler Shoes in Woodbury and in the clearance room I found some shiny purple Alegria Mary Janes with a velcro strap. They are wide and pretty and more comfy than anything I’ve worn in ages, and I am full of shoe joy. Thanks Mefi!
posted by beandip at 7:22 PM on March 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

I have similar shaped feet. I’ve been thinking about ordering a pair of these wrap-around Furoshiki Gru shoes - probably not nice enough for the office but they look like they’d be amazing for running around town.
posted by lakeroon at 10:15 PM on March 24, 2019

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