Having Wide Feet

Person with wide feet wearing one shoe while standing on grass

What It Means to Have Wide Feet & How to Support Them

Feet come in all different shapes and sizes. Having wide feet is normal and common, but it can be a source of discomfort and make finding shoes that fit a challenge. Without the right shoes and support from wide fit insoles, wide feet can lead to painful foot conditions. This article defines what it means to have wide feet, what you can do about them, and why you need PowerStep® insoles for support.

Do I have wide feet?

When you try on shoes, do you find yourself going up a size more than normal? Are most shoes a little too tight at the sides? These are some indicators you may have wide feet. It’s important to know if you have wide feet so you can choose the appropriate shoes. Otherwise, wearing shoes that are too tight can make your feet swell and look bigger while shoes that are too big lack support.

The easiest way to tell if you have wide feet is measuring your feet and comparing those measurements to a shoe width chart:

How to Tell If You Have Wide Feet

  1. First, put on your socks and stand on a blank piece of paper on a flat surface.
  2. Using a marker, find the widest part of each foot, usually the balls of your feet, and mark both inside and outside each foot.
  3. Then, take a ruler or measuring tape and note the distance between each mark.
  4. Compare the widths of your feet with the shoe width chart below to tell if you have wide feet.

 Men's shoe width chart (U.S.)Women's shoe width chart (U.S.)

Be sure to measure both of your feet, as one may be a different width than the other. Also, measuring late in the day after you’ve been on your feet for a while is best as this is when your feet are widest.

What causes wide feet?

The reason you have wide feet may be related to your genetics, foot structure, lifestyle, or certain health conditions. Some notable causes for wide feet include:

  • Genetics: Many people are born with wide feet, which can make them more prone to flat feet. It is important those born with wide feet wear the right shoes or else they can develop foot problems over time.
  • Weight: Being overweight can put excess strain on your feet and cause them to flatten or accumulate fat deposits on the sides. Too much stress on your feet can also lead to conditions like plantar fasciitis, or arch pain.
  • Flat Feet or Fallen Arches: If you have low arches or flat feet, the arch of your foot is less supported. When the arch collapses while standing, the foot flattens and appears wider. Insoles for low arches and flatfoot insoles are a preferred solution.
  • Age: As you get older, the ligaments and tendons in your feet loosen, making the foot grow longer and wider without adequate support. Wearing an everyday insole with arch support can mitigate problems with wide feet from aging.
  • Pregnancy: The pregnancy hormone relaxin contributes to a loosening of ligaments and joints especially around the feet. Some pregnant women may experience larger, wider feet as a result.
  • Foot Deformities: Bunions, calluses, and hammer toes are a few foot conditions or deformities that are both a cause and result of having wide feet.
  • Swelling: Many things can cause your feet to swell and look wider including certain medications, health conditions, healing from an injury, or wearing shoes that are too small.
  • Wearing the Wrong Shoes: About 63 to 72 percent of people wear shoes that do not fit the width or length of their feet. Shoes that don’t fit can make your feet look wider than they are either from swelling or conditions like bunions.

A pair of wide feet

Problems with Wide Feet

Wide feet that are painful limit your quality of life and make it hard to be on your feet for extended periods of time. Allowing your foot pain to go on without sufficient arch support for wide feet and wearing shoes that don’t fit can make you more susceptible to certain foot ailments and inflammation.

Wearing shoes that don’t fit can force your joints and bones to shift out of place to fit the shoe. This causes problems with alignment, as well, which can cause pain in your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back. PowerStep® orthotic insoles are the #1 podiatrist recommended brand of orthotics for preventing and relieving foot pain. They are podiatrist-designed to support healthy alignment for all foot types.

If you have foot pain that doesn’t go away or stops you from enjoying your daily life, see your healthcare provider. A podiatrist can offer treatment solutions like PowerStep orthotics, which you can also buy online. For other related conditions, talk to your primary care doctor.

How PowerStep Insoles Work for Wide Feet

Finding shoes for wide feet is hard enough, but finding arch support for wide feet with wide shoe inserts can also be difficult. PowerStep insoles for wide feet make it easy to find the arch support and relief you need. From full length insoles for maximum comfort to ¾ insoles for athletic and dress shoes, here are our best insoles for wide feet:

  • Pinnacle Wide Fit: Pinnacle® Wide Fit insoles have a wider profile than normal insoles with firmer arch support to resist "bottoming out" under weight. They align the feet for added stability and motion control. Designed to relieve and prevent pain, PowerStep wide insoles fit sizes 3E to 6E.
  • Pinnacle ¾ Insoles: A ¾ length insole will support your arch and fit low-profile shoes without adding bulk to the toe box. PULSE® ¾ insoles are great for athletes with wide feet and Pinnacle Dress ¾ insoles fit loafers and high heels for wide feet.
  • Heat Moldable Insoles: When you need an affordable alternative to custom insoles, PowerStep Heath Moldable Insoles provide a personalized fit with contoured arch support and plush cushioning.
  • Pinnacle Maxx Insoles: Wider feet tend to overpronate, or roll too far inward, which can lead to flat feet and other conditions. While it is not a wide insole, Pinnacle Maxx insoles do help correct overpronation, preventing and relieving discomfort.

Man placing wide shoe insole in black shoe

Can you correct wide feet?

Wearing insoles for wide feet can help benefit the anatomical structure of your feet, but they won’t change the overall shape. Instead, insoles raise the arch to give you better position and support which can make wide feet appear smaller and feel better. Along with a wide shoe, you can use insoles to improve comfort, relieve pain and prevent conditions like flat feet, bunions, and plantar fasciitis.

Man outside placing wide shoe insole in black shoe

The Best Shoes for Wide Feet

If you have wide feet, always buy the right size and width of shoes. The best way to pick the right shoes is to try them on before buying. With your foot in the shoe, there should be about one finger’s width of empty space between your toes and the top of the shoe. If you can, bring your insoles with you to ensure a perfect fit.

Many brands and retailers offer wide versions of the same shoes. Search online or ask a store associate to check their catalog for this option. The best types of shoes for wide feet can include:

  • Therapeutic Sneakers: Casual sneakers or therapeutic shoes usually have a wide fit option. They’re ideal for those who need all day support and cushion during regular and athletic activity.
  • Adjustable Sandals & Slides: Sandals with wide, adjustable straps provide more breathing room so wide feet can expand. Avoid flip flops and instead choose orthotic slides for men and slides for women that can adjust to wider widths.
  • Round or Square Toe Shape: Deep, wide toe boxes on boots, booties, and heels give the balls of your feet and toes more room. If you can, avoid high heels unless they have a wide toe box.

PowerStep Insoles Relieve & Prevent Pain from Wide Feet

It's important to be familiar with your feet, their size, and their health needs. Having wide feet does not have to be painful or stressful and you should never have to compromise on support. To make any wide fit shoe the best possible, PowerStep Wide Fit insoles can provide support, comfort, and relief.


Marks, J. (2019, August 9) All About Wide Feet: Why You Have Them, Concerns, Footwear, and More. Healthline.

Buldt, A. K., & Menz, H. B. (2018). Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: a systematic search and narrative review of the literature. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 11(1).

Shoe Width Chart – Best Guide for Wide Feet. (n.d.).