Giving Care: Senior & Disabled Caregiver Resource Blog

Do You Need Wide Shoes? Here’s How to Tell

a person measuring the bridge of another persons foot
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By popartproduction / Shutterstock.com

When it comes to choosing the right size shoes, length is only part of the equation. If your shoes are too tight or too loose across the top of the foot, that can cause chafing and other issues, just like shoes that are too long or too short. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell if you need wide shoes or not. In this guide, we’ll explain how to measure your feet to determine if you need shoes for wide feet. We’ll also discuss some possible causes of wide feet and whether or not you should be concerned.

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How to Tell If You Need Wide Shoes

The first step to determining your shoe size is to measure your feet. This is best done at the end of the day, after your feet have had time to swell up from your natural movement. If you measure in the morning, you might end up with shoes that are too tight for you by the day’s end. To measure your feet at home, take off your socks and shoes and stand upright on a piece of paper. Trace around the outline of your bare foot, or have a friend or family member do it for you if you can’t bend down that far. Repeat the process for your other foot.Once you have outlines of both feet, measure the length of each foot at the longest point. Do the same for the width as well. It’s normal for your feet to be slightly different sizes. Use the largest of each of the two measurements to determine your shoe size.  Compare your measurements to the brand’s shoe chart to determine your size.

Whether you have a wide or narrow foot is dependent on how long your foot is. For instance, a foot that measures 3.5 inches across would be considered wide for a size 5, but normal for a size 8. Men’s shoes also tend to run wider than women’s, so a “wide” width in women’s shoes might actually be considered a “normal” width in men’s shoes. Different shoe brands also have different cutoffs for each size, so a “wide” shoe from brand A might be the same width as a “normal” shoe from brand B.

When deciding whether or not to size up to a wide shoe, consider the fit of your current shoes. For instance, if a size 7 feels tight across the foot, but a size 8 is too long, then that could be a sign that you need a wide shoe. It’s important to choose the right size of shoe‚ including the width, instead of simply sizing up again and again in the hopes of accommodating your feet. Shoes that are too long will slide around and cause blisters and other foot issues rather than cradling your feet properly.

a person measuring the length and width of their foot
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By melih2810 / Shutterstock.com

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What Causes Wide Feet?

There are many different causes of wide feet. Genetics is one of them. Some families simply tend to have larger feet than average, in the same way that some families tend to be taller than average. Aging can also play a role in foot size. As we age, the ligaments in our body loosen, which can cause feet to broaden over time. Older people are also more prone to swelling and edema, which is why they often need wider shoes for swollen feet.

Certain health conditions also make our feet more prone to swelling and expanding. Some of these include diabetes, heart problems and kidney disease. In fact, a whole category of diabetic footwear has emerged to specifically address the unique needs of people with diabetes! Pregnancy can also result in larger feet. During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin, which helps everything expand to accommodate the growing baby. This can result in larger feet both temporarily and permanently.

a person getting their feet measured for shoes
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By Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Certain foot problems and deformities also necessitate the need for a wider shoe. These conditions may be congenital, meaning they occur at birth, while others may develop later in life. Some conditions to watch out for include bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, claw toes and club feet. A podiatrist can help you treat these conditions and help you find wide shoes that fit your feet properly.

Ready to find your next pair of shoes for wide feet? Shop Silverts’ selection online and get free shipping on all U.S. orders over $20! We offer a wide selection of shoes in various widths for both men and women so you can find your perfect fit. Many of our slippers also have velcro closures so you can adjust them to accommodate swelling and other size changes throughout the day. Try our wide shoes today and you will feel the difference!

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