Feet come in all shapes and sizes. Finding a running or walking shoe that properly fits the width of your foot is key to good foot health, injury prevention, and helping ensure you’re feeling comfy and performing at your best. Let’s explore why foot width matters and how you can find your perfect fit.
When shoe shopping, the width of your feet can be just as important as the length. Shoes that are too narrow or wide can cause a variety of aches and pains, including blisters, foot corns, and cramps, not to mention ankle sprains, stress fractures, and nerve impingement. That’s why finding shoes that support the unique shape and size of your feet is key to keeping them comfy, healthy, and happy in the long run. Let’s dive into the details of foot width below, so you can find the right fit.
Signs you may need wide or narrow shoes
If you’ve always slipped into shoes comfortably without a second thought, you’re likely a medium/standard width. However, if your feet fit the length of a shoe but have extra space on the sides, you might need a narrow shoe. On the other hand, if your feet fit the length of a shoe but you feel pressure on the sides or tops of your feet, this could indicate that you need a wider shoe.
Of course, these aren’t hard and fast rules and there’s no such thing as a normal foot width. Our feet can change over time, so sizing may also change. Sizing can also vary by brand and model—a medium width might fit you in one type of shoe, while you might need a wide in another. It’s more important to pay attention to how your feet feel when you’re trying them on, rather than the size on the tag. You might also need to size wider to fit orthotics or custom inserts in your shoes, or to accommodate for long-distance runs. Take it from Brooks Run Happy Team member Adam Kovach, who switches up his shoes based on his runs:
Choosing your shoe width
Brooks offers shoes in four different width options: Narrow, Medium, Wide, and Extra Wide. While not every style or colour is produced in every width offering, we do have several models with alternative widths available. This includes our Addiction walking shoes, as well as the Beast 20 men’s running shoe and Ariel 20 women’s running shoe—both of which have earned the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance for promoting good foot health.
If you want to find out which shoes are available in a particular width, you can apply the "Width" and “Size” filters on our shoe product pages to reflect the options you're looking for. You’ll see the shoes we make in your desired width and size, and you can then check on colour availability. Apply as many filters as needed to further narrow down your search results.
Let’s find your perfect fit
When it comes to getting the right fitting shoe, here are a few tips to keep in mind: Try on shoes at the end of the day when feet are more swollen, and wear the kind of socks you would typically wear with your running or walking shoes to ensure a comfortable fit. If you wear orthotics or inserts, don’t forget to bring them with you to make sure your new shoes fit with them inserted.
Shopping online? Take our Shoe Finder quiz for a personalized recommendation or ask a Guru for help picking a size and fit. Our Run Happy promise means you can take your shoes for a 90-day trial run to see if they fit just right. If you don’t love them, return them for free.
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Brooks Run Happy Team.
An avid outdoorsman, Adam can be found going for walks, playing pickleball or spikeball—and running, of course. A self-professed marathon junkie, Adam has run eight full marathons and counting. With a Master of Divinity from Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas, Adam uses running at work and play as a tool to foster community so that the world feels less isolated and we get to see more of the natural beauty around us.
Disclaimer: Our writer's advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition, or fitness routines.