We don’t often think about width when it comes to buying shoes, or at least, we don’t if we’ve never had to specifically shop for wide fit shoes because regular shoes aren’t comfortable. If you have wider feet, then focussing on width makes sense – you need the wider shoes or your feet are cramped and painful in regular shoes. But what if you have normal feet – can you wear wide fit shoes? Well, to answer that question, we’ve put together a helpful post to examine it all. And who knows? Maybe by the end of it you’ll discover that wide fit shoes are better suited to you than you first thought!
Can I Wear Wide Fit Shoes With Normal Feet?
There are some important things you need to consider before answering this question. What you need to keep in mind is that shoes are functional first, right? You put them on your feet for a few key reasons (and nope, style isn’t one of the essential reasons for shoes):
So, to decide if you can wear a certain type of shoe, you really need to decide if the shoe is still going to be comfortable for you, usable, and safe. If they meet all three of those criteria, then of course it’s fine to wear those shoes. So, let’s take a look at wide fit shoes with normal feet…
If you’re planning on buying wide fit shoes, but you have normal feet, then the important thing to keep in mind is the reason you need the shoes to begin with. Is it just a casual walking shoe you’ll slip on to run errands? If so, then the wider fit shoe will be absolutely fine. You’re not planning on doing anything demanding in them, and so long as they’re comfortable, usable, and safe for you to walk in, then you can wear them.
However, if you’re planning on buying some trail running shoes to head up a mountain trail this weekend, then no, it’s not a good idea to wear wide shoes. That’s because your feet will inevitably move around in your shoes a lot more when the shoe is designed for a wider foot than you have. This will be more uncomfortable and less safe because you increase the chance of an injury. In this situation, the shoe is unusable for you, so you can’t wear a wide fit shoe when you have normal feet.
So, in summary of the main question ‘Can I wear wide fit shoes with normal feet?’ the answer is – it depends. It depends on the situation, and it depends on the shoes still being comfortable, usable and safe. If they are, you can. If they aren’t, you can’t.
But that leads us on to some more questions, like how do you even know if you have a wide or normal foot to begin with?
What Is Considered A Normal and Wide Foot?
To know this, you need to know what the widest part of your foot is. Start by sticking paper to the floor, and then having someone trace your foot (with socks on, since you’ll probably be wearing socks with your shoes). Then measure the widest part of your foot.
Now, if you follow the guide below, it’ll tell you what the ‘normal’ width for each shoe size is. If you more or less match it, then you have normal feet. If your feet are wider, then you have wide feet, and if your measurement is smaller than the one listed below for your shoe size, then you have narrow feet. So, here’s what’s considered ‘normal’ width per shoe size.
- Size 6: 3.5″
- Size 7: 3.63″
- Size 8: 3.75″
- Size 9: 3.93″
- Size 10: 4″
- Size 11: 4.12″
- Size 12: 4.31″
- Size 13: 4.37″
That guide is VERY general, though, so really the best test is comfort. When you wear a size 8 shoe (if your length is a size 8) then how does your foot feel in the shoe? Comfortable? Then you probably have normal width feet. Cramped? Then you probably have wide feet and might find wearing wide fit shoes to be more comfortable for you.
When Can I Wear Wide Fit Shoes and When Cannot?
If the above exercise has made you realize you might have wider feet than you first thought, then you should head to a local shoe store and try on a pair of their wide fit shoes. If these are suitable to you – then you should opt for wide fit shoes wherever possible. It’ll mean better comfort, and a much more spacious feel for your feet in whatever shoe you have.
Basically, if you have wide feet, you should opt for wide fit shoes whenever you can.
But if you have normal feet and you’ve recently picked up wide fit shoes, you don’t necessarily need to take them back. Here are some examples where wide fit shoes might be more comfortable for you, even with normal width feet:
- Leisure walking
- To wear in the office
- To wear at home
- For running errands
But they can also be problematic if you’re wearing wide fit shoes with normal width feet. For example, you wouldn’t want to wear them when:
- Doing vigorous exercise
- On your feet for long periods
- In a downpour of rain (your feet won’t fill the shoe – but the water will)
There are no hard and fast rules when wearing wide fit shoes with normal width feet – just remember to always bring it back to comfort, usability, and safety.
How Much Wider is a Wide Width Shoe?
It’s difficult to say exactly how much wider a wide fit shoe is, especially considering different manufacturers will do things slightly differently. If you’re somebody who needs a wide fit shoe, then it can feel a little like being the prince in Cinderella, but instead of trying to find the person to fit the shoe, you’re trying to find the shoe to fit the person!
Our advice? Shopping around from brand to brand will help. But as a general rule of thumb, a wide fit shoe may only be wider by 0.1-0.4″ compared to regular shoe sizes, but that’s usually more than enough to make a difference to the feel of the shoe for wider feet, making everything much more comfortable.
Does Shoe Width Matter?
Yes, shoe width really does matter – from both perspectives. If you have normal width feet but wear wide fit shoes for inappropriate activities, then you’ll notice discomfort. It’ll be too loose, and you might find it difficult to walk like you normally would – especially if they’re so loose that they feel like your foot is slipping out of them all the time.
And the same is true in the opposite direction. If you have wider feet and you’re constantly stuffing them into shoes that aren’t wide enough, then this can be problematic. It’ll cause pain more quickly, it’ll make your feet ache, and it can even have long-term implications, causing orthopedic problems later on in life.
So yes, shoe width matters, and getting the right width shoe for you (especially when doing activities that require you to move around a lot or stay on your feet for long periods) is REALLY important.
Is Wearing Wide Shoes Bad For Your Feet?
If you have wide feet, then no, wearing wide shoes is the perfect solution and will provide your foot with all the support and space it needs to function as it should. But if you have normal width feet and you’re wearing wide fit shoes for every activity, then yes, it can cause problems.
For example, if you wear wide shoes whilst running, but you have normal width feet, your feet will move around far more inside the shoe. This could lead to lots of injuries to do with your feet (blisters, etc.), but it will also mean your feet don’t have the proper support. One of the most important things is making sure your feet are cushioned, supported at the arch, and are comfortable whenever you’re running. If you wear wide fit shoes that aren’t suited to your feet, this won’t happen, and will cause sore feet in the short term, and possibly more complex foot problems in the long term.
The key really is making sure you opt for the shoes that are right for you most of the time. Sure, if you find wide fit more comfortable for a leisure walk, then that’s fine. But don’t wear wide fit shoes you don’t need all the time, or you will notice problems.
What Are The Signs You Need A Wide Shoe?
If you’ve been reading our post today and wondering if you have wide feet or not, and you’ve not done the measuring we talked about above, then here are some surefire signs that you need wide fit shoes:
- Corns and calluses – these are often caused by narrow shoes as you walk around and rub your skin against the too tight shoe. This will then harden the skin, causing corns and calluses.
- Bumps – bumps, especially on your big toe, are a sign that your shoes aren’t wide enough. These bunions are created by your foot being forced into a shoe that isn’t wide enough for it.
- Skin swelling – if you take your shoes off after a long day being on your feet and notice a lot of painful skin swelling, again this probably means your shoes are too tight. If you get blisters all the time, or your skin looks inflamed and swollen, then a wider shoe might fix it.
- COMFORT – this is the big one. The biggest sign that your shoes need to be wider is if you feel uncomfortable in regular shoes. If it feels like your foot is constricted, being forced into a space that isn’t right for it, then look into wider shoes. Trust us, they’ll change your life!
We started today asking ‘Can I wear wide fit shoes with normal feet?’, and yes, you can for activities that don’t require a lot of moving around or being stood up for long periods of time. But really, if we were to give you a final take-home message, it would be that you should always opt for shoes that are right for you. If you have wide feet, then that’s wide shoes. If you have normal feet, then that’s regular shoes.
There’s nothing better than finding a pair of shoes that fit perfectly, because that means they’re comfortable, usable, and safe – and after all, those three things are all you need from a pair of shoes. Oh, and style, of course, but that’s not technically essential… Find a shoe that’s all 4 things though, and then you’re really talking!