If you need running shoes with plenty of room at the forefoot then it can be tempting to opt for a wider fit. But choosing a shoe that is wider overall may not necessarily be right for you and may cause chafing in other areas of the foot.
The solution is to look for shoes with a wide toe box. These will give your toes room to splay comfortably, whilst still ensuring a snug fit elsewhere.
With such a wide variety of shoes on the market, it’s not always easy to find a pair that suits your running style and offers the comfort you need.
So we’ve designed this guide to help! Here you’ll find our top 8 wide toe box running shoes, along with our tips for choosing the most suitable pair for your needs.
Signs that you Need Shoes With a Wide Toe Box
There are several good reasons for buying shoes with a wide toe box rather than a standard wide-fitting shoe.
- Blistering on the toes or the sides of your feet
- Numbness in the toes (caused by excessive pressure)
- Running with bunions, hammertoes, or corns
- Toenail blackness caused by stress (also known as ‘runner’s toe)
- Running with flat feet, which causes the toes to splay wider on impact
Even without these problems, you may prefer wide toe box running shoes because they simply feel more comfortable!
They can help your performance, too, as the ability to spread your toes and grip the ground helps with a more powerful push-off.
If you’re in any doubt as to whether you need more volume in the toe box, consider having your feet measured professionally or consulting a podiatrist.
What to Look For in Wide Toe Box Running Shoes
Here’s what to consider when buying shoes with a roomy forefoot.
Ensure that the shoe fits properly on all parts of your foot. If it is too wide in other areas, you will experience chafing and blisters.
The heel should feel secure with no slipping, and the midfoot should cradle your foot comfortably.
Heel to Toe Drop
This refers to the difference in height between the heel of the shoe and the toe.
Many wide toe box running shoes feature a zero drop platform as this gives a more natural, barefoot feel. But you might find this uncomfortable if you’re used to a bit more cushioning in the heel. In this case, you should consider a shoe with a higher drop.
Choose your shoe according to the type of terrain in which you do most of your running.
The focus of road running shoes is to absorb shock and protect your joints against the impact of hard surfaces.
Trail shoes, however, are built with grippy lugs to give you traction on muddy or rocky ground. They are somewhat heavy for road running and would wear down very quickly.
The 8 Best Wide Toe Box Running Shoes in 2022
– 5mm heel-to-toe drop, breathable mesh upper, and a Vibram Megagrip outsole
– Ideal for trail running in wet conditions
With a spacious toe box typical of Topo shoes, the Ultraventure Pro is built for comfort and protection in rocky and rugged conditions.
The slanted lugs on the outsole ensure a good grip whilst the wide platform provides the stability you need to run with confidence on uneven ground.
The ZipFoam midsole is firm, providing both resilience and responsiveness.
And you’re well protected from the elements with a forefoot ESS rock plate, a quick-drying padded upper, and gaiter attachments on the external heel counter.
The EVA foam cushioning in the heel helps minimize impact and the overall ride is comfortable, with the company’s highest available heel drop giving the shoe a more conventional feel.
– 5mm heel-to-toe drop, ultralight midsole foam, and extended crash pad at the heel
– Best choice for long, comfortable runs
Hoka running shoes are a favorite with wide-footed runners as most models provide plenty of room in the forefoot.
The Clifton 8 may be one of the most popular out there, with a design so plush and comfortable that you won’t want to take them off when your training is over!
This shoe may not be built for speed, but the generous cushioning will keep you comfortable on longer runs. Despite this, the overall feel is sleek and lightweight, with Hoka’s distinctive Meta-Rocker technology acting like a ‘wheel’ to propel you forward.
The newly increased rubber coverage makes this a durable shoe that will last the distance.
Our only complaint would be that the attached tongue is a little on the short side and has a tendency to slip down.
– 10 mm heel to toe drop, redesigned external heel counter for stability, and a supportive mesh upper
– Best shoe for controlling overpronation
This iteration of the Gel Kayano has the roomy toe box of its predecessors with the added benefit of an updated, stretchy upper.
The end result is a supremely comfortable road running shoe that comes in wide and extra-wide sizes, guaranteeing a great fit.
It is primarily designed for people with low arches or flat feet, providing the stability features needed to prevent overpronation.
These are relatively subtle, however, and even neutral runners may find this shoe suitable.
Comfort is enhanced by Asics’ Gel Technology. These gel pods at the heel and forefoot reduce impact during heel strike – allowing for a much smoother transition – and assist with shock reduction as you move forward.
The FlyteFoam Blast midsole and thick Ortholite insert give this shoe a pillowy feel.
However, the combination of the foam padding and thick upper significantly reduces its breathability, so we wouldn’t recommend these shoes for running in warmer weather.
– 8mm heel-to-toe drop, removable profile sockliner for underfoot support, and a TPU Mud Guard
– Best trail shoe for extended runs
Offering plenty of width and height in the toe box, the Cascadia 16 has a fused bumper at the toe for protection on the trail.
A Ballistic Rock Shield stands between you and sharp rocks and pebbles, whilst the grooved outsole gives you the flexibility you need to cope with uneven terrain.
The medium-depth lugs provide decent grip (although we feel this shoe is better for sandy or rocky trails and prefer Topo’s Ultraventure Pro for really wet or muddy conditions).
The overall build is sturdy and dependable, with a rugged and long-lasting TrailTak rubber outsole.
This shoe manages to strike just the right balance between giving you the ground feel you need whilst still providing enough cushioning.
We also appreciated the padded tongue and collar, plus the Velcro gaiter attachments for added protection against sand and debris.
– Zero heel to toe drop, grippy multi-directional TrailClaw lug pattern, and quick-drying mesh upper
– Best trail shoe for natural movement
Altra offers a somewhat unique approach to running shoe design with its proprietary Footshape Fit. As its name suggests, this has a foot-shaped forefoot that provides lots of room for your toes to splay.
This is neither a fit – or a look – that suits everyone. But many wide-footed runners find the overall wider profile of Altra shoes makes them some of the most comfortable out there.
They are still pretty snug at the heel and midfoot, so you will feel secure if all you need is a roomy toe box and a more narrow fit elsewhere.
The zero heel drop means that both your heel and forefoot are at an equal distance from the ground. Whilst this might take a bit of getting used to if you’re more accustomed to a higher drop, this is designed to improve your form and reduce impact on landing.
If you like the idea of barefoot running but want more comfort than you’ll get with a minimalist shoe, the Lone Peak 6 is a great shoe to try.
#6. Altra Rivera
– Zero heel to toe drop, responsive EGO midsole, and lightweight engineered mesh upper
– Best road running shoe for a natural fit
Another great offering from Altra, the Rivera has a distinctive rounded shape and generous toe box for which the brand is famous.
This allows your foot to stabilize naturally and prevents pronation. Unlike many other Altra shoes, however, the fit elsewhere is rather slim.
The cushioning is moderately soft and ideal for medium-length runs of around 9 to 12 miles.
We found the uppers light and breathable and liked the flexibility provided by the InnerFlex midsole
The heel counter is wide, with a rubber overlay around the back to provide a bit more structure. Some runners, though, may notice a little slippage in the heel area because of the width.
– 8mm heel to toe drop, comfortable Ortholite sockliner, and excellent shock absorption
– Great choice for all-around comfort and ideal for new runners
The New Balance brand has always been popular with wider-footed runners as their range has long included wide – and even extra-wide – sizes.
This is one of its plushest offerings – a responsive shoe with the cushioning and versatility to see you through everything from gym workouts to long training runs.
The rubber outsole feels durable and the mild rocker effect is great for transitioning smoothly through your foot strike.
This shoe features Ultra Heel technology, with a molded cup that is designed to hug the back of the foot and provide a more supportive fit.
This is pretty subjective though, and the lack of padding around the collar may lead some runners to feel that the heel doesn’t fit quite tightly enough.
#8. Altra Provision
– Zero drop platform, contoured footbed, and a durable, grippy rubber outsole
– A good choice for overpronators who like a foot-shaped shoe
Altra’s Provision has it all – a supportive footbed, roomy toe box, and excellent arch support. But what makes this one of our favorite shoes is just how subtle that support actually is.
The shoe uses Altra’s GUIDERAIL technology to prevent excess pronation.
Rather than the medial post typically found in stability shoes, this is a layer of midsole foam extending upwards from the footbed and running along the medial side of the foot. The result is unobtrusive support that you simply won’t notice during your run.
The 30mm stack height provides the cushioning you’ll need for longer runs and there is a thick layer of textured rubber on the outsole.
This provides quite a bit of traction, meaning the shoe will perform as well on light trails as it does on the road.
The best Wide Toe Box Running Shoes: Key Takeaways
We hope this guide has helped you identify the best shoes to suit your running style and individual needs.
You’ll be amazed by the difference that the right-sized toe box can make to your training and how a shoe suited to your foot shape can really enhance your run.
Looking for Ways to Increase Your Speed?
Whether you’re aiming to shave time off your personal best or need to step-up your pace in other sports, working on ways to boost your speed will help you reach your goals.
Try these 14 Exercises to Run Faster and you’ll soon see a big improvement in your performance!