Looking for running shoes with a wide toe box?
Are you one of those people with super wide franken-feet like me?
If so, then you 100% get what I’m about to say… Running is HELL. Well, at least it used to be HELL for me.
I would always get blisters, calluses and damage my toe nails. And my feet felt like they had just been let out of a vice grip every time I got a solid run sesh in.
My running partner convinced me to see a podiatrist, probably because I would always take my frustrations out on HIM instead of my shoes.
That’s when he recommended wide running shoes…the problem there was that running always felt like a contest between my shoes slipping off or me turning an ankle.
But then I found running shoes which come with a wide toe box.
GAME. CHANGER. BABY.
The shoes still fit 100% naturally, except my franken toes get just enough room to breathe while still keeping their natural shape. My knees even feel better because now my whole foot hits the ground naturally and absorbs more of the shock.
You know that running euphoria (the whole reason we torture ourselves in the first place?). Now I can actually get there without googling “foot transplant near me” when I get home.
OK, enough about me. I’m just excited to show you the best running shoes with a wide toe box that I’ve found.
Here’s What I Did…
I went to a few local outlets (REI shopping days are the best), trawled Zappos, and spent way more time on Amazon than anyone should.
I looked at the best wide-toed athletic shoes. I tried out as many as I could, and for the rest, I checked reviews, YouTube, and forums to get a feel for what other franken-foot runners thought about these running shoes.
I ranked them based on comfort, value for money, athletic performance, and, of course, style. Nobody wants to look ugly when running in public.
Here are my top 5 picks
1. Altra Provision 7.0 - Best Zero Drop Running Shoes
After researching and testing more than 20 wide-toe running shoes, nothing even comes close to the Altra Provision 7.0. I mean nothing.
I may be biased, because they’re the ones I’m wearing now, but they were literally life changing for me.
First, I want to say that Altra Provision 6 was probably the most popular mid-cushion running shoe ever made, since it’s perfect for people with wide feet AND has amazing stability on both sides for people prone to foot pronation. The Provision 7 is a major upgrade on what was already one of the most popular running shoes, so I was super excited when getting them, and I was a huge fan immediately.
It really comes down to 2 things…
First off, they let your toe splay out naturally, keeping the form your foot was biologically intended to keep. Altra calls this “Footshape” tech. I call it a miracle. Check it out:
This not only reduces pain and pretty much eliminates hammer-toe, it keeps your big toe in its natural straight position, giving you way more stability and power. I noticed I could run way further, and felt 0 pain in my feet, calves, or knees.
They also give you an almost perfectly balanced landing - at least they do for me. Altra is one of the only shoe companies that builds their shoes so that the heel and forefoot are an equal distance from the ground.
In English, it keeps your foot where it’s supposed to be. Most other shoes SMASH your feet how they want them. “Hey, you. Yeah, you, Mr. Toes. Squeeze in the car and stop complaining”. Altra shoes give you a natural foundation that cultivates the perfect balance for you, so you get a natural landing. This form naturally reduces impact, again saving you from googling “foot, knee, and back surgeon near me”.
Hang on. Don’t buy them just yet. Let me warn you here…
They are NOT CHEAP. If you just want to jog around the block, keep reading. You’ll find a cheaper pair. These are for serious runners with serious foot pains ready to invest $130+ in ending their foot torture forever.
And they are zero-drop, which basically means they’re flat. If you already have flat feet, you’re going to have a bad time. You need more arch support. So, keep on scrolling down.
But if you want the ultimate blend of comfort, stability, and natural breathability, the Altra Provision 7s will put an end to your foot transplant nightmares immediately.
PS, I’m wearing them as I type this.
2. Topo Athletic Phantom 3 - Best Road Running Shoe / Best Daily Trainer
The Phantom 3 is a super comfortable daily trainer that’s ideal if you want a workhorse shoe to take on daily jogs, walks, recovery runs, and even some high-intensity 5ks. If you like how the Altra Provision sounds, but you have flat feet, the Phantoms are for you. They’re almost as comfy, but they have way more arch support instead of being flat (ouch).
Phantom designed these bad boys for the ideal mix of ultra durability, breathability, and comfort. As soon as I slipped them on, I could feel the difference in the new two-piece midsole. It felt like walking on air.
Normally, ultra comfortable shoes are wobbly and expose you to turned ankles, but Topo has totally fixed that issue in the Phantom 3 with a wider base and secure lacing system. You have 0 to worry about as long as you aren’t the Flash or doing high-intensity sprints.
You should buy the Phantom 3s if you identify with what I’m about to say:
I want an ultra comfortable shoe that I can pound into the dirt day in and day out in the gym, around the block, or on the track, but probably not for anything high-intensity.
As soon as I started running around the block, I instantly thought…WOAH.
Here’s a big issue for me though. Phantom’s shoes don’t have nearly the same comfort for the toes as Altra, since Altra has some crazy tech that basically makes the shoe a part of your foot like some sci-fi mindmeld.
And the two-piece midsole will start to cause some stability and power issues if you go on extended runs (hence, why I don’t recommend them for hyper-intense or long runs).
That, and the balance and shock absorption just aren’t on the same level. I know they made some upgrades, but you just can’t mess with Altra’s precision balance. That’s kind of their thing, ya know?
Long story short, if you want something super comfortable to hit the gym with or jog around the block day in and day out, the Phantom 3s are more your thing than the Altras (especially if you have flat feet).
3. Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 - Best Neutral Running Shoes
This is pretty wild…
The Saucony Endorphin 3s are the ultimate “go-fast” running shoes for athletes and serious runners. This isn’t your jog around the block shoe. I’ve never felt pop or rebound like this in a shoe before. It’s mind bending.
I dug into just how on God’s green Earth Saucony managed to skip ahead 20 years in the future, and apparently it’s the S-Curve carbon plate plus Saucony’s superfoam that are behind this black magic.
Basically, this shoe is designed to “pop” you forward and spring you up as you hit the ground, making you faster than pretty much everyone else. Plus the carbon rubber (XT-900) outsole grips the road like a magnet, saving you from an emergency room trip if you start reaching inhuman speeds. Think of it this way, if you’re running a race, the Endorphin 3s will help you run faster than you normally can WITHOUT endangering your life.
If you’re trying to get that oomph you need to win a race, Saucony Endorphin 3s will make you harder, better, faster, stronger (that that don’t kill me…)
I just want to say that these are neutral running shoes, meaning they’re ideal for athletes whose feet don’t “pronate”. That’s when your feet tend to lean outward or inward rather than staying straight.
If you are a serious runner looking to compete at a high level, run marathons, and do high-intensity workouts at the track, the Endorphin 3s are the best running shoe money can buy (unless your feet pronate).
4. HFS XERO Shoes - Best Minimalist Running Shoes
The HFS Xeros were inspired by mankind’s oldest footwear: our feet. Seriously, they weigh next to nothing, contour perfectly to your foot, and still provide great balance, protection (for minimalist shoes), and road feedback.
If you’re into running on the treadmill, the track, or the street just for exercise, the Xeros are a solid, more affordable option than the elite competition shoes I’ve put above them. They are so light, airable, and comfy that they won’t ever get in your way. That does have drawbacks though (I’ll explain later).
I’m not the biggest fan of minimalist running shoes, since I want to run as fast as I can for as long as I can. But after running for a few days in these, I can see why people swear by them.
Here’s what stood out to me:
The downsides are pretty obvious though.
These are minimalist shoes, which means they are basically air with a logo. Great for comfort. NOT great for protecting your feet from rocks, asphalt, alligators, and whatever else you’ll find on the roads these days.
And since they barely exist, you aren’t getting any pop or spring from the ground, so don’t expect to get peak athletic performance from these.
And remember, the membrane is thin. If you take them off road, be prepared to get dirty, wet, and bruised. Stick to the track, gym, or roads if you get them.
5. Hoka One One Clifton 9 - Best Cushioned Running Shoes
Last up on my main list, Running Warehouse’s #1 bestseller: The Clifton 9s.
This one is kind of weird, because it’s the most popular shoe, but the ONLY one on this list I didn’t even wear.
I didn’t try the Clifton 9s, because I immediately knew they were not for me.
The Clifton 9s are a super comfortable, durable running shoe for light jogs, walks, and some less intense running. These are the “eh, I guess I’ll go jogging again tonight for a mile or so” shoes.
That doesn’t make them bad. It’s just not what I’m after, you know?
It makes sense why they’re so popular, though. Most people just want to jog at the track or at the gym in a super comfortable shoe, and not worry about wearing them out quickly. I totally get it.
These are the type of shoes you get if you want to do a 5k down at LA Fitness or on the track, and don’t care about competing in races or beating personal bests. Nothing wrong with that.
Another thing is, the toe box is wide, but the shoe is actually pretty narrow. Remember my franken-feet? Yeah, they aren’t fitting in there.
So, yeah. The long and short of it is that these are super comfortable, durable, and stable enough to take to the gym and outside for light work, but nothing more or nothing less. Just steer clear if you have wide feet.
6. Brooks Beast 20 - Best Running Shoe with Wide Toe Box for Overpronators
Overpronation is a four letter word (kids might read this), so even though I **luckily** don’t suffer from it, I want to help you out if you do.
Brooks Beast 20s come with ultra sturdy “GuideRails” on each side of the shoe to keep your foot locked into its natural stride, but to cancel out overpronation. Now, when your feet hit the ground, they’ll only pronate to a natural level rather than going too far down.
Brooks is one of the best companies out there for making shoes that reduce swelling in the feet and ankles, alleviate foot pain, and improve mobility in the ankles, knees, and hips. They’re even recommended for diabetics!
If you suffer from overpronation (excess fallen arches causing pains and swelling), the Brooks Beast 20s will go a long way in alleviating those symptoms and helping you walk, jog, or even run further pain free. Just don’t expect a serious athletic shoe - these are more for pain relief.
For people with wide feet, wearing the wrong type of shoe can have adverse effects on your feet and overall health. However, it is never really easy to identify which shoe will fit your feet best. The most common mistake that men and women make when buying shoes for wide feet is to go in blind and get a bigger shoe. First off, you need to have an idea of how wide your foot is and what width size shoe will work best.
Walking Sneakers With Wide Toe Box
1. Orthofeet Coral Sneakers for Women
If you’re feeling constant foot pains, these are the best shoes for pain relief hands down. They are a godsend for anyone with foot pain, arthritis, or foot bunions (yum).
Coral sizes their sneakers differently than standard shoes, giving them a wider toe box and extra space for all of my monster-footed people out there.
Most people struggling with plantar fasciitis and heel pain struggle to even wear shoes. Yet, they still say Coral’s are the most comfortable shoes they’ve ever worn. They’re everything you’d want in an orthopedic shoe: deep, wide, comfy, and they look pretty much like regular shoes.
If you’re just trying to get back up and out there again, Coral will get you back on your feet and walking pain free. Don’t keep living with pain if you don’t have to!
2. Lems Primal 2 - Walking Shoes You Can Take to Work
Lems Primal 2s aren’t as comfortable or snug as Coral’s, but dang do they look good.
If you’re struggling with foot pains so bad you can barely get to the office, Lems Primal 2s will get you back on your feet and even pass for semi-professional shoes at the workplace.
I’d wear these out to the gym, work, or even a restaurant - that’s how nice they look.
They’ve got plenty of space and padding, so you get all of that comfort and pain relief, plus they look good doing it. Plus, you won’t have to buy an extra pair of shoes for work. Win win.
Q: Is Wide Width same as Wide Toe Box
No, not quite. They are very similar, though. Wide width shoes are wide throughout the entire shoe, giving more room for your toes, mid-foot, and heel. Whereas wide toe box shoes are only wide in the toe area, giving more wiggle room and space to breathe for your toes.
Q: Can Lacing the Shoe Differently Increase the Toe Box
Yes, lacing the shoe differently can increase the toe box, but not in the way you might think. If you use a criss-cross pattern instead of standard “full lacing”, you can increase the amount of breathing room and give extra space for your toes to breathe which decreases pain. So, while it doesn’t necessarily make the toe box bigger, it does provide the same effect as a wide toe box.
Q: Round Toe Shape Vs Foot Shape - Which is better?
Round toe shape is a style of making shoes with soft rounded edges on both sides. This is desirable for people with wide feet, since it gives more space for the toes to breathe and reduces the chances of pains or bunions. Foot shape is the toe box in the shape of a foot. It would fit the foot in its natural shape inside the shoe without squishing the toes. The toe box of the round toe shape is not as wide as the footshape toe box. The foot shape toe box can look a little clunky on your feet.
Q: What are Bunions?
Bunions are boney bumps that appear at the base of the big toe. These painful bunions are caused when tight shoes, foot stress, or natural causes such as arthritis exert too much stress on the big toe and push them up against the second toe. If you’re experiencing bunions or foot issues, consider getting shoes with a wide toe box to alleviate the pain.
How to Make More Toe Room in Your Shoes
Like most fashion lovers will tell you, there is nothing more heartbreaking than trying to manage an uncomfortable pair of gorgeous shoes. This is why most people end up choosing hours of mind numbing pain for class and beauty. It does not have to be this way. Fortunately, there are plenty of methods you can use at home to make more room in your favorite pair of shoes. These techniques include:
There are ample factors that could contribute to the comfort and fit of your shoes. Each pair of feet is unique, and while your shoes may feel super today, they may not behave so well the next day. Even with high-quality construction, immense cushioning and all the bells and whistles that come with today’s shoes, some factors could make it almost impossible to enjoy a nice walk in the park.
One of these factors is the lacing techniques used. If you use the wrong lacing method for your feet, you could end up squeezing some areas more than others while leaving parts of your feet too loose. For those of you with wider forefeet, lacing the shoe loosely at the front might make things a bit easier. Also, if your feet are wide all over, try skipping out a few holes when lacing to give your feet room to expand.
Stretching the Shoes
Hands up if you can recall what your science teacher was trying to teach you back in the day about solids, liquids, and gasses? Just as I suspected; nobody. The main point here is that when you freeze water, it expands and takes up more space than when it was a liquid. So, where does frozen water and shoes come in? Well, if you want to make more room in your shoe, here is what you need to do.
Fill two plastic bags almost all the way up and make sure that they are completely sealed. The next step is to place the bags carefully in your shoes and then throw the entire shebang in the freezer or out in the snow. As the bags gradually freeze, they expand and gradually stretch your shoe outwards. After the bags are fully frozen, take them out and immediately wear your shoes (ignore the cold). After a while, your newly expanded shoes should mold to your feet as they constrict due to warming up.