6 tips for choosing the perfect shoes for wider feet

When I was younger, I wanted to be taller. I dreamt of having long, willowy legs. Now that I’m older, I’ve come to terms with my height (kinda). But my feet….  Aaargh, being an E width in a world where the standard is a C width is just plain annoying at times.

Only a handful of fashion shoe brands make different widths or consider wider feet (don’t get me started!!!!!), so we just have to work with what’s out there. Just like clothes, each label varies so it’s trial and error. But, regardless of the label, there are some shoes styles that suit a wider foot better than others.

Here are my essential shoe shopping tips to help shopping for a wider foot become less of a chore!


Tip 1 – avoid the points

Yup, they’re “sexy” and great for giving someone a kick in the shins if needed, but they’re not made for us wide-footed ladies. Step. Away. From. The. Points.

The Pointer Sisters – Celine , Dries van Noten and Nicholas Kirkwood – gorgeous, but not for me.


Tip 2 – watch those straps

Beautiful dainty straps are lovely until they start digging into your feet.

A smooth, unstitched piece of leather will mould to your foot better than any sort of stitched strap or edge. Also, pay attention to how the straps look on your feet. No matter how attractive the shoe, the foot version of “muffin top” ain’t a good look!

So elegant, but potential muffin top and little-toe-escapee issues.


Tip 3 – hold yourself in

Not all straps are created equal. There are some good ones out there. T-bars or Mary Jane styles help hold your foot back in the shoe, leaving more wiggle room for your toes.

If you fancy an open-toed number, look out for shoes that gently hold the front of your foot in (as opposed to those annoying straps). These Sophie Webster shoes do both beautifully.

Sophie Webster shoes

Sweeties from Sophie Webster


Tip 4 – go for give

Suede and soft leathers will mould to your feet better than patent leathers. This is because the coating applied to patent leather stops it from stretching as much.  Unless it’s for an ethical reason, stay away from the synthetics. Always go for leather uppers and linings.


Tip 5 – stretch it out

If shoes are tight around the balls of your feet (usually the widest part of your foot), then you may be able to stretch the leather.  (Note: This works best on shoes that have a leather lining and upper.)

There are two ways to do this – either pop into your friendly shoe repairs store and they’ll put them on a shoe stretcher for a couple of days.  Otherwise, buy yourself a shoe stretching spray (available at shoe repair shops and online).  Always patch test first to check that it won’t change the colour of your shoes.  Spray, pop the shoes on and wear them around the house for a couple of hours.  You’ll be good to go!


Tip 6 – adjust

Keep an eye out for adjustable straps (with buckles or elastic) as these will help you get the perfect fit.  Unfortunately, very few non-orthopedic shoes allow you to adjust the width across the front of the foot. I couldn’t find any ones suitable for wide feet on a recent shopping trip, so here are some from the wardrobe.

Adjustable straps – great too if it’s hot weather and your feet have swelled

Adjustable straps – great too if it’s hot weather and your feet have swelled


Rememberif the shoe isn’t comfortable when you try it on in the shop, there’s a good chance that it will never be comfortable.  If the shoes are a little bit tight in an area that you can stretch (tip 5), then you’re likely to be OK.  If not, put them back on the shelf and take a photo as a keepsake.  Believe me, your feet will thank you for it!

We hope these tips help. Have you ever had trouble finding stylish shoes to fit your feet?

If you have any experiences or insights to share, please leave a comment below.

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