Professional Shoes for Wide Feet?

The Best Professional Shoes for Wide Feet | CorporetteReader K has a question about work-appropriate shoes for wide feet…

Could you do a post about work shoes for very wide feet? So few manufacturers make even wide sizes, much less extra-wide. I wear a 7 EW — short, wide, and nearly impossible to find — and it is a major struggle to find shoes that don’t look like they are for the geriatric, diabetic, or both (not meant as a dig against either the geriatric or diabetic, but I am pretty sure those two populations drive most of the demand for extra wide shoes!). I have only ever had any luck with Sofft, and they don’t offer extra-wide in most of their styles. I have a black version and a brown version of these. They are serviceable and unobtrusive, but not especially cute or interesting. I have one pair of black flats that I am only sort-of satisfied with. I have no other work shoes! I have searched on the websites I generally see recommended for shoes and I have gone to Nordstroms to try things on in person. Are there any specialty stores or websites that make young, cute, professional extra wide shoes? Are there any brands that are known for especially wide toe boxes, so that a normal W would be sufficient?

Interesting… We know of Designer Shoes (update 2014: now closed), whose mission is to “trendy, stylish and sophisticated shoes in narrow, medium, wide and extra wide, sizes 4 to 15 and widths AAA (slim) to WW (extra wide)” — you can even shop by shoe width on their site.  (Note: Zappos now has something similar!) We’re also aware of some other extended-shoe size places, such as Barefoot Tess (now part of Long Tall Sally) (up to size 15). From a quick swing by Designer Shoes, we see that your choices are limited — it looks like brands Soft Spots, Bella Vita, Walking Cradle, Elites, Dyeables, and more all offer shoes in your size. (Pictured: Bella-Vita pump, $89.95 at Zappos — 5 widths, 11 colors, 371 reviews, 4 stars.) We also note that Barking Dog Shoes, a great blog for comfort shoes, has a category for shoes that are known for wide toe boxes.

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To the readers with experience here — where are your go-to spots for extended sizes for shoes?

Comments

  1. I’m also unlucky enough to have extra wide feet (10WW). I’m fond of Ros Hommerson shoes (http://www.ros-hommerson.com/)…they have pretty cute styles, and are fairly comfortable. You can order from their website, some stores carry them, and they have some styles on Zappos.

    I’m not sure where “Reader K” is located, but there’s a shoe store in Manhattan called Paradise Fashions (185 Church Street) that has a pretty good selection of extra wide shoes (I stumbled across it one day when I was interning in the Federal building). There used to be another one right down the street called Anna’s Shoes, but they closed, and now she concentrates only on wide width, wide calf boots online (widewidths.com). That woman really knew her shoes, and I miss that store! She sized my feet just by looking at them. Anna is the one that referred me to Paradise when she was closing up shop.

    Hope that helps!

  2. I normally only need a wide, but I have found Naturalizer to make cute, wide shoes that are work appropriate. I

    • A subject close to my heart! I’ve found that Ferragamo & Stuart Weitzman make W size shoes, but they’re expensive. Also, funnily enough, Ferragamo offers D (wide) width in Asia but not in the US where you get only a B or C.

      Naturaliser also is a good brand for wide feet.

  3. Try a search on endless or zappos based on your size (is EW the same as E, 2E, 3E or 4E?) and see what results come up – you might be surprised.

  4. I’ve had good luck with J. Renee shoes (available at Nordstrom and Zappos). I find their wide shoes are often wider than my semi-wide feet really need, so they might fit an extra-wide foot just fine. I have one red pair of pumps that elicits more compliments than practically any other pair in my wardrobe.

  5. I think Talbots offers wide shoes (and narrow) — not sure if it would work if you need extra wide but worth a try.
    Tip Top shoes in NY (they have a great website) also has a lot of comfort brands that often come in difficult to find widths.

  6. Any tips for those of us with wide forefeet (I have bunions) and skinny rest-of-the-foot? I have trouble finding shoes that fit both in heel and toe. Plus wide shoes often seem too tall (from top of foot to bottom) for my otherwise-skinny foot.

    • Ditto (although in my case the “wide” part is like an A and the narrow is like an AAAA, so I’m just doomed). Similarly, does anyone know anything about custom-made shoes (that aren’t orthopedic)? I’ve been assuming they’ll be too terrifyingly expensive to even consider, but I don’t know much about them and I’d be happy to be wrong. (I’m in greater Boston, if it matters.)

      • I recall someone saying that they found super narrow sizes at Ferragamo.

        • s in Chicago :

          This doesn’t help in terms of work shoes, but I saw an article in the Chicago Tribune talking about Addidas offering a custom-made service that wasn’t ridiculously expensive (the person writing in had feet that were two different sizes and a wide toe box or something with one). At any rate, info on the service is here http://www.miadidas.com/US/Main.action . I haven’t tried it yet, but will make my way over there one of these days. The promise of a great fit and ability to choose color, fabric, etc. sounds genius to me. I wish more folks would offer this.

          • s in Chicago :

            Actually, I got that wrong. You have to go in person. Here is the article http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-01-08/entertainment/0901060164_1_shoes-footwear-sizes . Apparently there are two stores in NY, one in San Francisco, and the one in Chicago. Maybe more now?

    • #L: I have the same foot issues, plus one foot is almost 1/2 size shorter than the other. I know not everyone here likes this style, but my latest solution is mary-jane or t-strap type shoes – I can order a regular width to accommodate the bunions, and the straps help to keep the shoes on my feet. If your workplace and climate allow, boots also work really well in the winter.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Nordstrom will sell you a pair of shoes of two different sizes. Yes, Nordstroms is that awesome.

        Arthur Beren (google) also specializes in unusual sizes. My wears at 10AAA and has been shopping with Arthur Beren since before Nordstrom came into being.

    • I like the barkingdogshoes.com blog. They talk about comfortable shoes for hard to fit feet. I’ve found a lot of cute shoes on it. Most are casual, but it is a good resource for brands that you might not think of.

  7. Chicago K :

    Someone mentioned on here before that Paris Hilton started a line of shoes that run very wide and up to size 11 or 12. Apparently, she is an 11 W and has a hard time finding shoes so she designed her own line. I just did a quick seach and while I don’t see widths mentioned on most sites, the reviews do all say they run wide with lots of complaints that they were too wide. Might be worth looking into, while only a few look conservative and work appropriate, it may give you some more options for outside of work.

  8. My feet aren’t that wide–I wear a ten, which seems to be the longest most places stock–so I can’t help but I am curious. Much of my search for work afire, particularly shoes and wraps, is about finding the “perfect” item so I never have to think about it, just put my shoes on every day. The op has 2 prs of work shoes. Why does anyone need more, other than sandals if that works in your industry?

    • I have four pairs of work shoes, about 10 pairs of shoes total (work plus athletic plus flip flops plus casual, all included). It feels very freeing! I used to own about 40 and thinking back on those days makes me feel a bit ill…

      • I’m currently rotating about 100 pairs of shoes. I like shoes and start an outfit from the feet up. I’d have more, but that is the max I can fit in my closet. It is just my thing – some women like bags, some like jewelry, I like shoes. It does not make me feel ill at all and picking my shoe du jour is often the happiest decision I make all day. Go figure.

        • UnSub, props to you and your shoe collection and to each his own :) I’m happy you like shoes, and I’m happy I’ve figured out that I’m content with fewer pairs and more disposable income for other passions.

          • Thanks for the love, kcaco. I’m happy for you and your choices too. This is precisely why I love Corporette – we support each other in all our *craziness*. ;)

    • Only two pairs of shoes? (mock horror…) Seriously, though, did you read that article in the NYT about the Portland couple that got down to 100 possessions, total? I was very impressed by their commitment to simplicity. though it probably helps that she works from home…

    • Well, i can’t speak for the op, but I would be bored to death if I had to wear the same 2 pairs of shoes every day of the week. YMMV, and that’s cool – but it seems a little hyper-judgmental to criticize someone for writing into a fashion blog that is all about shopping because they want to own more than 2 pairs of shoes.

      • I didn’t read Jen’s comment as judgmental at all. She said she was just curious. And kcaco’s comment about feeling ill seemed to refer to her own past, not to anyone else’s current shoe collection.

        Everyone has something that they feel “two is enough” and another where they “can’t imagine having fewer than 20.” It isn’t necessarily judgmental to ask about your 20 (or 40 or 100).

        I pass entire stores in the mall, thinking “I don’t have any of those. I wonder who does, and why?” For instance: all my bras are exactly the same brand and style, in beige, white or black. The whole concept of Victoria’s Secret is therefore rather lost on me. And yet, I have 20 pashminas. Why? Why not?

        • Louise – thank you and yes. For me, 40 shoes wasn’t a happy collection that I enjoyed purchasing and mulling over while getting dressed, but rather it felt like an attempt to fit into a mold that I didn’t feel comfortable in. Now, I look 10 times better because I’m actually HAPPY with who I am and what I’m wearing (which happens to be a smaller collection of shoes, a larger collection of fantastic button downs, etc).

    • 2 would probably be the minimum for longevity of shoes. You should rest leather shoes for a day between wearings I’ve heard. I think 3 (black, navy, and brown) is my minimum for work.

      Of course, you could have 2 of the exact same pair if color isn’t an issue in your wardrobe!

  9. I actually tried on Jimmy Choo shoes at one point and was shocked to find out they were so narrow. Nike, I’ve also heard, makes a lot of narrow shoes. What’s up with that? Don’t they know they’re narrowing the number of people who can buy their products by not making more wide shoes?

    • Then again, they’re a godsend for people like me, who generally has to size down half a size in order to find shoes that won’t slide off my feet.

    • Seconding Amanda – there’s a market out there for narrow shoes, just like there’s a market for wide and extra-wide widths. In my experience, more brands offer a wide width than offer a narrow, but that may be a perception issue, since I can never seem to find what I want! Almost all of my shoes have ankle straps, because that seems to be the only way to keep them on.

  10. I’d like to second the recommendation for barkingdogshoes. That site has helped me so much!

    I also recommend visiting a “walking” specialty store. I hadn’t been to one in several years, but recently visited one again due to a foot problem. The specialty shoe manufacturers have really upped their game in the style department over the last few years.

  11. Lots of places let you search by size. Here’s a link to shoebuy.com’s listing for 7 extra wide “business shoes.” I like shoebuy, because they have free shipping and returns, frequently have 20% off sales, and also give you an extra 10% off for creating an account. I’ve gotten some great deals.

    • OOPS! Forgot the link: http://www.shoebuy.com/size-7-extra-wide-womens-dress-business-shoes.htm

  12. Anonymous :

    Masseys.com offers some nice extra wide width shoes. They offer a lot of brands made by Bella Vita, which is how I became hooked on that particular manufacturer. I’ve never been disappointed by them. Zappos.com also sells a variety of nice shoes for extra wide sizes. Also, as the cool weather months approach (in my neck of the woods, at least), there’s a website called widewidths.com that exclusively sells very cute knee high boots, which are also difficult to find in extra wide width sizes.

    I know how you feel, seeing as I’m a 9WW…and I’ve been cursed with extremely high arches, making my choice of shoes very limited. Good luck in your search, Reader K.

  13. The Aravon line from New Balance is probably worth taking a look at too.

    I have some other foot/ankle issues that severely limit my shoe selection and found the most help from a local store that specializes in fitting shoes for diabetics. They had no issues finding me some cute, wearable options and knew their stock well enough to not raise my hopes on shoes that would never work for me physically while directing me to choices I would never have found myself. I was actually directed to this store from other local shoe stores, after asking where I could go for hard to fit feet.

  14. 10.5 WW (Who often wears an 11W) here! I can vouch for Bella Vita as cute, reasonably durable, and reasonably priced.

    Plus size retailers often carry wide shoes (both web and brick and mortar) so you might try that route. Unfortunately, like plus sizes and petite sizes it’s not that you aren’t searching, it’s that there is simply much less available. Good Luck.

  15. Just a small remark: I’m diabetic (have been since I was 7), the insulin-dependant, auto-immune kind, not the insulin-resistant, usually older and/or overweight kind, and I have never, not once in my life, bought special shoes…

  16. as a PP noted, we don’t know where reader Kay is located but I am in Charlotte, NC, and we have a Wide Shoe Warehouse here. I’ve never been in b/c I wear narrows, but I’d be happy to go, gather intel, and send photos….shoes are my thing and if I’m not shoe shopping for me, I’m still happy shopping for shoes for anyone :)

    • Anonymous :

      I know this post is 4 years old but does anyone know if the wide shoe warehouse is still open in Charlotte NC??

  17. I wear 6 1/2 EE shoes. For years I’ve purchased my shoes at Chic Wide Shoes in Tarzana, CA. They have a website (www.chicwideshoes.com).
    They sells many brands. My personal favorite is Munroe which is American made. They are expensive but very comfortable. If I find a pair I like, I buy multiples in every color.

  18. Hi lovely gals of Corporette–thanks so much for the link love. I’m reading through the comments of your loyal readers learning much about where to find wide width shoes–things I never knew before :-) Let me give a plug for Naturalizer’s upper-end line, Naya–beautiful, eco-friendly, supremely comfortable for heels AND they come in narrow, medium and wide widths. I have a pair of their Maher sandals and they feel wonderful on my achy feet ( I have rheumatoid arthritis), but the fall line coming out looks equally as gorgeous as the summer.

  19. By accident I came across yout corporette blog- and loved your shoe post!
    Since I was a little girl, I have been blessed/cursed with wide feet in front and normal in back. What to do when blessed/curved with an eye for style?My five feet saving faves:
    1. Shop for soft leather shoes, insoles and outersoles (never manmade).
    2. Consider Italian or German shoes(though it is increasingly difficult to find at reasonable prices).
    3. As another contributor suggested, Asian and European shoe stores seem to have wider toebox options that are more stylish and well-made.
    4. Great online solutions for my duckish feet:
    www.shirise.com, www.nordstroms.com(much more than in the store!),
    www.gorsuch.com
    5. Great brands (best on sale): silvia fiorentina, chanel, emma hope,walter steiger and robert clegerie boots.

  20. I wear a 5W and wore children’s shoes for years, until I suddenly had to wear heels again. I searched for a year. threw out a batch of nordstrom’s shoes one night when I actually meausred my feet and discovered they were an inch wider than the soles of the shoes. tried Zappo’s and couldn’t get my foot into their “wides.” After a year, I discovered Payless sells wide shoes, and for next to nothing. Not much choice, but I buy them all. Not high style, perhaps, but they cover my feet. There is another store in Chicago, Alamo shoes, that sells wide, but they’re not cheap.

    • Anonymous :

      I 2nd payless– It’s the only place where I can buy fancy-ish heels that I don’t have to take off 5 minutes into the evening.
      Also, I’ve had some luck with certain ninewest heels (but I’d recc’d going to their store & not buying online).
      Zappos is also really great & I’ve had mixed results w/ naturalizer.

  21. I wear a 7W and my first struggle was always trying to find shoes to fit me for corporate events or interviews. I never had much luck and would always try and wear sandals where I could so my feet would be able to breathe. I came across Wider Fit shoes earlier this year and they have helped dramatically. They have shoes of a stretch fit which are great and you can wear with a number of outfits to make it more corporate. For me the most important thing is comfort and I found it with them. http://www.widerfitshoes.co.uk/ladies

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