Wide-fit shoes are just like their normal-sized brethren, sporting the same overall length, but the front section and toe box are extended outwards to help accommodate for wider feet. Wide shoes can also have a higher profile to account for a greater foot depth.
As for what size you are can depend on the manufacturer you buy your wide-fit shoes from, as it’s not strictly universal. Each brand will have its own in-house designation for wide fits, so you will need to do a little bit of research online, although, for situations such as this, we’d always recommend going into a store and actually trying some pairs on.
Some brands will use wording: Normal, Medium, Wide, Extra Wide, for example, others will use letters: A, B, D, E etc, and finally, you can also find letters with numbers: 2A, 2E and so on.
In North America, shoes are sized as A, B, C, D, E, EE, EEE, EEEE, F, G, with ‘D’ referring to normal width. But in the UK, C, D, E, F, G, H are used and ‘F’ is used to indicate a normal width. Australia follows the UK system for men and the US for women’s footwear.
Our expert’s tips for buying wide shoes are below…
In this wide-shoe story..
Considerations buying wide shoes
Experiment With Different Materials
This is kinda sucky if you work in a conservative office, but softer materials generally suit wider feet more than their less forgiving, hard-leather counterpart. Materials like suede and nubuck stretch and move with your feet more, even if they’re on the more casual side and might not pass the test at work. This isn’t a dealbreaker though, as many of the shoes we’ve included below are perfect for even the stuffiest of corporate environments.
Don’t Fall For The Con
Most shoe salesman will spin the age-old yarn that ‘leather shoes stretch’, and while this isn’t a complete lie, your feet will still likely swell up during the day, making your leather shoes almost unbearable to wear. What feels ‘just a bit snug’ when you’re trying on in a store, is likely to cause a world of pain running for the bus to the outer suburbs after six in the evening.
Go To A Cordwainer
Before you ask ‘what the hell is a cordwainer?’, we should probably remind you that some guys just won’t fit any shoe, even if they’re a wide fit. To prevent a lifetime of blisters, trips to the podiatrists, and an unsightly limp that makes women avoid you, you might want to save some money and hit up a shoemaker (or cordwainer).
They can fit shoes to specific specifications, add details you can’t get on any other shoe, and provide you with the smug satisfaction of being able to say ‘it’s bespoke, actually’ when your mates at work ask you where you buy your shoes.
But for those who don’t want to go down the bespoke route, we’ve scoured the web to find the best shoes for men with wide feet, that you can buy right now.
American footwear brand Cole Haan has expanded from its simple origins of just being a retailer of shoes to being a company that sells clothing, bags, wallets and all manner of other accessories. Designs, fortunately, steer clear of styles perfect for middle-aged teachers shopping at Costco on a Sunday but are definitely targeted at the ‘funky’ dads out there.
A vast chunk of Cole Haan’s footwear range is available in a wide fit (although, not extra wide it seems) and many styles are ticked off, including sneakers, Chelsea boots, brogues, Oxfords; making them a brand with some of the best shoes for men with wide feet.
British shoemaker Clarks has been around for nearly 200 years and in that time, has kept up with the changes within the footwear industry, including offering various widths to cater for the individuality of people. It’s this dedication and consistent desire to keep learning about the way feet behave – and to develop shoes accordingly – that allow Clarks to be a shoemaker you really need to consider.
Clarks’ range of shoes for men with wide feet is well varied. From casual shoes and sneakers to formal boots and even the company’s iconic desert boot being given the wide treatment. Clarks simply states its shoes are wide, which, being British, would translate to a G fitting.
American sportswear giant New Balance began life creating orthotic insoles for shoes, so knows plenty about the various types of feet that walk the earth. Today, despite making some of the freshest, retro-inspired sneakers on the market, New Balance has a whole section dedicated to wider fits. No longer just for your dad to wear on his morning walk, much of New Balance’s core lifestyle and performance ranges can be had in a wider fit.
The company uses the lettering and numbers with letters systems, with shoes for men with wide feet being classed as 2E, extra-wide as 4E and xx-wide as 6E. D is a standard fit and B is narrow. The 574, for example, one of New Balance’s most recognisable silhouettes, can be had in standard, wide and extra-wide variants (and even go up to a US size 18), and you can still benefit from the full range of colour options.
ASOS Design is a brand you can always count on to provide a vast range, no matter the category you’re searching for. Big and tall guys, for example, can find an extensive range of clothing to suit their particularly large frames, from t-shirts to suits to shorts. The same goes for those with wider feet, with well over 100 pairs of shoes for men with wide feet available on their site.
Boots, sneakers, loafers and even sandals are all given the wide fit treatment, and for styles you’d actually want to be seen wearing. ASOS doesn’t divulge which sizing method it follows, however, so we have to assume that, by being called ‘wide fit’ (and being a British brand) will follow the UK lettering system, so G or H widths will be implemented.
Marks & Spencer
British premium retailer Marks and Spencer is another to turn to for good looking boots and shoes for men with wide feet. With an illustrious history and reputation to uphold, you can be assured of exceptional quality from Marks and Spencer, without a high price tag, and with Derbies, Oxfords, Chelsea boots and boat shoes all taken care of, you can use Marks and Spencer for all your footwear needs.
M&S, like ASOS, doesn’t give away the system it uses but again, being British, we can again assume the British lettering system is used. However, M&S says in the description of each pair if they rock a wide or extra-wide fit.
Rockport can have its history traced back to 1930 and today the company is still known for its well-made shoes that cover dress and casual occasions. Various technologies are applied across the ranges to provide exceptional comfort, durability and breathability.
The company also uses a simplistic width naming system: N, narrow; M, medium; W, wide and X, extra, so if you find a pair with an XW option, they will be extra wide. With some 200 pairs of shoes for men with wide feet (including both wide and extra-wide variants), you’re not exactly left wanting for choice. With sneakers, boots, loafers, dress shoes and sandals all covered, you’re guaranteed to find a well-fitting pair.
Notorious bootmaker Timberland is a brand you can rely upon for tough, capable and durable outdoor footwear. In fact, the company takes its name from the original and iconic pair of boots that were called Timberland when the company was originally known as The Abington Shoe Company. Their handsome looks, waterproof capabilities and reliability made them an instant success.
Today, not a lot has changed. The classic 6-inch boot retains the same silhouette as its ancestor but now use PrimeLoft ECO insulation and waterproof leather to make them more sustainable and ethical than ever and can be had in multiple colours and can even be customised if you so wish. Best of all, every single shoe size is available in a wide fit too, although Timberland does recommend you buy half a size down from your regular fit.
A perennial favourite with members of the Young Liberals and law & commerce students nationwide, the iconic R.M. Williams boot is steadily encroaching on Oxford and Derby turf as the young man’s office shoe of choice. Made from premium Yearling Leather, these are a definite investment piece, but well worth it for their durability, premium quality, and capacity to make you look like the son of a wealthy investment banker or solicitor
R.M. provides an online tool to help you determine the width of your feet and offers its boots in wide and extra-wide variants. If for some reason there is a huge difference in size between your left and right feet, you can customise your boots accordingly.
Sportswear giant Adidas should need no introduction. The brand has been at the forefront of activewear and technological innovation for decades and caters to the vast majority of sporting disciplines, with footwear options for each.
Adidas also has an extensive range of shoes for men with wide feet, covering golf, trail running and everyday walking shoes. Adidas doesn’t, however, say how wide of a fit its shoes provide, but we imagine they will use the American system, meaning shoes will fall under the ‘E’ category.
Nike should equally need no introduction, finding its way onto the feet of amateur and professional athletes and everyone else from your grandma to your children. Nike, naturally, only produces sportswear-oriented shoes, so it’s refreshing to see so many sports being ticked off with wide fit footwear options. Basketball, running, football, track & field, walking and even just lifestyle sneakers can all be chosen with a wider forefoot.
Nike simply states whether a pair of sneakers is wide or extra wide, and it seems the extra-wide variant is better served.
Johnston & Murphy
American footwear company Johnston & Murphy can have its history traced back to 1850 when it was known as The William J. Dudley Shoe Company and quickly became a favourite among the American public for its range of high-quality custom-made shoes. Even Abe Lincoln and Barack Obama have been known to be customers. Today, the company continues to put an emphasis on quality and comfort, with its ‘XC’ line standing for ‘extreme comfort’.
A vast majority of Johnston & Murphy’s footwear range is available in wider sizes, meaning you can get sneakers, boots, loafers, dress shoes and hiking/walking shoes in sizes to fit the flippers at the end of your legs. The range includes the XC4 series, which focuses on four areas of comfort: moisture-wicking, lightweight, additional cushioning and extra removable insoles to make sure you get the best fit possible.
Founded in 1922, American footwear brand Allen Edmonds found quick success thanks to an innovative new way of making shoes that did away with the metal bar under the instep and made do without the use of nails. Today the company remains one of a minority of shoemakers that still produces its pairs domestically, instead of turning to overseas production.
This means shoes cost a little more than others, but you get genuine quality in return. The range of shoes for men with wide feet is nothing short of vast either, with over 400 pairs available to choose from in widths E – EEE. Dress boots and shoes, loafers, Chukka boots, Chelsea boots, sneakers and more.
American shoe manufacturer Sperry is responsible for introducing the boat shoe into society. Founded by Paul A. Sperry, his older brother Armstong was a writer and illustrator whose work often revolved around a sailing theme, giving Paul the inspiration he needed to develop a new style of footwear.
It should come as no surprise then to learn that the original Sperry boat shoe can be had in wide and extra-wide fits, along with a range of casual canvas and leather sneakers and winter boots.
Florsheim & Co. was founded in Chicago in 1892 and were responsible for making the first shoes in the ‘Windy City’ and is even known for being a shoe brand of choice for the late great Michael Jackson.
Quality is still a dominant focus of Florsheim today, with an extensive range of dress shoes for men with wide feet including Oxford, Derby and brogues, along with loafers in both leather and suede.
Irish footwear brand Robinson’s Shoes has remained family-owned since 1954. The key to its continued success is the level of quality put into each and every pair of shoes it produces. A brand to turn to for dress shoes and boots, Robinson’s makes myriad styles, including brogues, Monkstraps, Oxfords and Derbies, alongside a range of other brands that can also be found in wider fits.
Robinson’s Shoes follows the UK sizing method of lettering, with G and H being wide and extra-wide fits respectively. Navigating the website is a breeze, simply select the width you’re after and you’ll be presented with all the styles that match. Wide-fit brands include R.M. Williams, Barker and Cheaney.