Where can I find an comfortable alternative to New Balance sneakers?
July 15, 2006 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find wide-width casual shoes in New York? I'm looking for alternatives to New Balance.

My best-fitting pair of shoes at the moment is a 9.5/4E pair of New Balance sneaks. I love the fit of New Balance. I do not love the style of New Balance. I think their shoes are a little dowdy and dorky-lookin', to be perfectly frank with you. I'd like to find an alternative to that brand that is equally comfortable but more stylin'.

Sooooo . . . can anyone recommend a store or manufacturer that I can rely on to provide wide-width sneakers that are both comfortable and stylish? Or wide-width shoes in general, such as I would wear at the office?
posted by jason's_planet to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I recommend Zappos.com. They have very quick, free shipping, free return shipping, and lots to choose from.
posted by LoriFLA at 9:29 AM on July 15, 2006

Have you considered that you're not looking at the right New Balances? If you've looked at all their styles, ignore me, but I think that some of them are pretty nice-looking, such as:

The RC750GR
The M587NV
The M801BTO
The M57MGS
The M574PBS
and the M574SMR.
posted by maxreax at 9:45 AM on July 15, 2006

I am another fan of Zappos.com. In addition to the easiest return policy, most shoes are rated and reviewed by people who've bought them. So if a shoe runs narrow or wide, you'll usually know before you buy. And you can search specifically by size, width and style.
posted by kimdog at 10:07 AM on July 15, 2006

Best answer: Timberland and Rockport also have wide widths.

I know what you mean about NB. They are very comfortable, but not especially stylish. I don't like that big N on the side of the shoe. Plus, I see a lot of 50 year olds wearing NB. Nothing wrong with that, but not really cool either.

I wouldn't choose a sneaker that is predominantly white for an everyday casual shoe. I would leave the white sneaks at the gym. My husband has these brown NB sneakers. They aren't uber cool, but a lot better than a bright white tenny. Brown NB shoes.
posted by LoriFLA at 10:11 AM on July 15, 2006

I wear a size 14/4E in New Balance. I haven't been able to find a good alternative for wide-width athletic/casual shoes. However, I used to wear skate shoes. The "chunky" styles tend to be pretty wide--here is an online catalog, I've had shoes from DC, Circas and eS. You'd have to go try them on at the local skate shop to see if they fit. I think the styling is cool, but my taste may differ from yours since I currently wear vintage-style New Balance, which appear to be very trend amongst those trying to be cool.

As an aside...if you're also looking for a source of wide dress shoes, go with Allen Edmonds or Alden. Both carry a large selection of widths and are of superior quality--worth every penny. Again, make sure you try shoes on in person before buying. Like I said, I wear 14/4E in New Balance, but my Allen-Edmonds are 12/3E.
posted by mullacc at 10:53 AM on July 15, 2006

In New York you might find it hard to buy wide-specific shoes...a lot of stores there are cramped for space and don't carry a lot of stock. However, there are many shoe stores on 8th street in Greenwich village, and also along Broadway, just north and south of where it meets 8th Street.

In general, I second the Zappo's recommendation. You can search specifically for wide shoes, as well.
posted by soulbarn at 10:57 AM on July 15, 2006

Depending on what you are willing to spend (for the dress shoes for work), you might consider having a pair of custom-made shoes. If you are in a major city, chances are there is a place that can do this for you. You can get a pair for about $200, which is actually a reasonable price for a nice pair of dress shoes.

I'm a little bit of an odd foot size, and I've had lots of luck in the men's department at Nordstrom. It's hit-or-miss at times, but I've found some great shoes there.
posted by galimatias at 11:05 AM on July 15, 2006

Best answer: Benedetti Shoes : 225 W 34th St, between 7th and 8th

They specialize in the wider width/bigger sized shoes, and for me (14 4E), they're the best shoe store I've ever found. They have several genres of shoes, but don't have sporty, running-type shoes. For dress, casual, and semi-casual shoes in wide sizes, this is the place you need to go to.

The employees (3 or 4 total), are usually pretty helpful, but if you want guaranteed great service, talk to Sal, the owner.
posted by jeffxl at 11:19 AM on July 15, 2006

I used to have a hard time finding my size running shoe but now I swear by Super Runners Shop. They always carry the full run of sizes and widths made for any brand that they stock. And they know what they're doing. I've bought my last 3 or 4 pairs of shoes there. I like the store at 89th & Lexington. Grand Central is too small of a space. Go. I think that my favorite dude there is named Raheem.
posted by bim at 2:29 PM on July 15, 2006

I recommend Keens.
posted by 10ch at 5:29 PM on July 15, 2006

I can also recommend Zappos.com highly. In addition to the free shipping and return shipping, they have a 24/7 toll-free number you can call for assistance/ordering. I got shoes from Zappos as a gift, but needed a different size, and they sent me the new shoes based on the return credit from the gift ones before I'd even received the label to ship 'em back.

I'm also a fan of New Balance (I work retail) and have learned that they have a wider variety of styles than I originally thought. Specifically, I can recommend this shoe, which I own in both available colors in a size 10.5 4E. Yes, that's a men's 10.5 4E. Yes, I'm female. Have I mentioned how I love Zappos? It doesn't appear that it's currently available in your size, but they'll notify you when it is. Same thing happened to me.

If you're really not into New Balance at all anymore, I still would go with Zappos. Every web-based retailer should work so well.
posted by booksherpa at 8:56 PM on July 15, 2006

Response by poster: I know what you mean about NB. They are very comfortable, but not especially stylish. I don't like that big N on the side of the shoe. Plus, I see a lot of 50 year olds wearing NB. Nothing wrong with that, but not really cool either.

Yeah. That sums it up very nicely. NB says "suburban dad in the city for the day." It's not hip and while I may not have cared too much about that sort of thing ten years ago, nowadays, I do. New York is a very fashion-conscious place and in the local dating/mating market style counts.

Great links! I'd just like to thank everybody who posted comments and suggestions here. Each and every one of you has been a great help.

On to Zappos!
posted by jason's_planet at 6:16 PM on July 16, 2006

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