7 Shoe Shopping Tips for Wide Feet

If you have feet like me, here are 7 simple shoe shopping tips to help you avoid ending up with a closet full of shoes you never wear. Narrow, slim, small; these words have never been used to describe my feet. If I were living in the early part of the 20th century, my feet would have been very out-of-vogue. Ultra feminine, small, narrow feet were the trend of the day and larger-footed women were deemed peasant like. I grew up on a farm. Does that make me a modern day peasant? Perhaps I am in denial, but I consider my feet to be an average size EU 38. They are just a bit wide. I do like my feet most of the time and lovingly call them ‘my fat feet’. Obviously I have lived with them all my adult life and come to terms with the challenges that having wide feet brings to the table, or in this case floor, when buying shoes.

Or have I? Being aware of the challenges has not stopped me from continuing to buying an endless array of expensive shoes that just don’t fit. This became startling obvious when I returned to Australia after 3 years working in the United Kingdom and was unpacking all of my personal belongings that had been put into storage before I left. Stuff that included two large packing boxes full of shoes. Some remembered, some forgotten. Some fit. Some didn’t. Also the handful of shoes I originally took to the UK in my suitcase had miraculously bred and multiplied several times over during the three years. Combining the two ‘collections’ was a real eye opener. Especially because I am a shoe box hoarder and the stack of shoe boxes I unpacked looked more like a giant, life-size game of Jenga. So yet again I had purchased shoes that were gorgeous to look at but uncomfortable for my poor wide feet. The time had come to drastically transform my shoe shopping habits. Surely if I write something in black and white I will have a better chance of avoiding future shoe shopping mistakes?

After years of shoe shopping experience, you think I would have learnt my lesson by now. Perhaps I have selective all-shoes-are-perfect amnesia when shopping? The shoes seem to fit perfectly when I’m surrounded by the luxurious sparkle and shine of the designer shoe department. As soon as I step over the threshold and onto the lush carpeted area my right brain and lower body immediately hijack my logical left brain function and pain interpreting parietal lobe. I miraculously become numb from the waist down. Case in point are these gorgeous Jimmy Choo shoes which I bought about five years ago when working in Dallas, Texas and have never worn. At the time my emotional right brain kicked in, silencing the left brain and coercing my feet into thinking that these Jimmy Choo patent leather nude pumps were must-have, drop dead gorgeous divine creatures that should adorn my feet at all times. My feet were bombarding my logical left brain and pain interpreting centre with a piercing signal to warn of the imminent danger of being squeezed into shoes that just didn’t fit. However, somewhere around the waist area these signals from my poor feet crashed into an invisible wall and bounced right back down to where they came from, never to reach my rational left brain or pain receptors. My emotional right brain was free to continue oohing and ahhing over how gorgeous and sexy I would look wearing this pair of patent leather stiletto heels. I slipped, or rather forced, them on my feet not feeling a thing. I just broke tip (or rule) number 2: avoid patent leather shoes at all costs.

Sometimes I envy women who have lovely slim, normal feet and can perfectly slide on any pair of shoes with graceful ease, like Cinderella and her glass slipper, before dashing off into the night (or day). Then again, perhaps its not such a bad affliction to have – my wide feet – as I would probably be broke and in mountains of debt, having spent all my money buying loads and loads of gorgeous designer shoes. Too many to realistically wear in ones lifetime. The Imelda Marcos of Australia. I finally realised the percentage of shoes I can comfortably wear from my Jenga shoe box pile is relatively low. So from today I have banished myself from buying new shoes for a while. And for now, I am happy to wear few of my favourite comfy shoes (suede leather boots, flip-flops and fashion sneakers among others) that count as my feet’s best friend. And I am equally happy to part ways and sell those that just don’t fit. Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to have gorgeous, fit-like-a-slipper shoes custom made by my favourite shoe designers. A girl can dream. Until then, I MUST remember to follow my tips below!

My 7 Shoe Shopping Tips for Wide Feet:

  1. Shop in the afternoon. Feet swell throughout the day, so shoes you try on in the morning will feel tighter by the end of the day.
  2. Avoid patent leather at all costs. This type of leather will never stretch!
  3. Only purchase soft leather or suede shoes. These will mold easier to the shape of your foot.
  4. Open-toe mules, wedges, pumps etc will give your toes more room. Happy toes, happy feet.
  5. Buy sandals with the strap running the length (instead of the width) of your foot. These are more flattering and give the illusion of slimness.
  6. Avoid all types of man-made closed-in shoes (synthetic, fabric, plastic etc). Except for comfy sneakers.
  7. Before you go shoe shopping, put your hands on your head and repeat: Right brain – you are staying home to mind the house while left brain and I go shoe shopping. Feet – I solemnly swear to only buy shoes that fit you like a cashmere slipper, in and out of the shoe department.

If you have wide feet like me, I hope these simple tips can help you avoid the mistakes I have so often made. Until next time, happy shoe shopping!





Via Spiga rasberry suede platform sandals | House of Holland skirt | Jimmy Choo Marla navy suede boots

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