Are Wide Feet Common?

It can be hard for those with wide feet to find shoes that are comfortable but do not sacrifice style or utility. Oftentimes, shoes in retail stores and online are not made for those with wider feet, so it can be hard to find shoes that do fit for those with a wider base.

It is important for those with wide feet to have shoe options that are tailored to their needs, and it is important for consumers to tailor their products to specific markets.

Therefore, it is important to know- are wide feet common? The answer is yes. Wide feet are quite common. Some people are simply born with wide feet, while others’ feet get wider as they gain weight or even as they age.

Causes of Wide Feet

As previously mentioned, wide feet can be very common and are normally nothing to worry about. However, there are some instances where wide feet could be an indicator of a more serious problem. With that being said, it is important to know how to tell if you have wide feet and the causes of wide feet, and when it is necessary to see a doctor. Here are a few potential causes.


Most often, people are simply born with wide feet! They aren’t good or bad, but they can be a cause of insecurity for some people. However, it should be noted that those with wide feet have an advantage when it comes to certain activities such as swimming and other sports. So, if you have wide feet and train hard enough, maybe you’ll be the next Michael Phelps! Another fun fact is that those with flat feet are typically prone to having wider feet.

Foot Deformities

Naturally, if you grow or develop foot deformities such as calluses or bunions, your foot will become wider. Make sure to watch out for these deformities to make sure they don’t cause more serious, long term damage to your foot. If you are concerned, consult a podiatrist.


Aging can cause wider feet. As you get older, your body changes, including the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. As you age, these ligaments and tendons might loosen, which can cause your feet to expand in width.

Improper Footwear

Another cause of foot deformity is wearing improper footwear, which can irritate the foot and cause callouses and bunions, increasing the width of your foot. In order to prevent this from happening, make sure you wear shoes that fit not only your foot size but cater to the uniqueness of your feet, including your width and arches as well.


The medical term for swelling is “edema.” This can occur in your feet as well, causing them to widen. This swelling is often temporary and can be treated after consulting a doctor. Edema can be caused by various health conditions, medicines, and fluid retention.


Pregnancy hormones cause major changes to a woman’s body, including in her feet. The pregnancy hormone “relaxin” can cause ligaments and joints to loosen around the feet, which is why a symptom of pregnancy is often wider, swollen feet, especially in the second and third trimesters.

How To Measure Your Feet

You might think you have wide feet but aren’t really sure because you haven’t measured them! It is important to know your feet measurements before purchasing certain shoes.

Moreover, feet tend to expand in width as you age, so it is important to regularly measure your feet over time. Luckily, it is very easy to measure your feet at home. You can also have them measured at shoe stores.

To measure your feet at home, first put on a pair of socks. Take two pieces of regular white paper and tape them to your floor. Next, trace your foot onto the paper, and with a ruler, measure the width of the widest part of your foot on the traced part of the paper.

It is important to measure both feet because it is very common to have two different sized feet! In fact, about 60% of the world’s population has a foot that is a bit bigger than the other, and about 80% of those people report that their left foot is bigger than their right foot.

How To Find Shoes That Fit Wide Feet

Working with an expert is a good idea when it comes to finding shoes that fit properly. The first step in getting your feet in the right shoes is to get them measured, which you can do at a shoe store or by using the tips in the previous section!

Firstly, make sure your toes don’t feel cramped or smushed. When you try on a shoe, test to make sure there is about 3/8 of an inch to a ½ inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe.

Additionally, make sure that the shoe has a deeper volume to it and a boxier shape so a wide foot can comfortably fit in the shoe. If the shoe feels like it fits lengthwise, but the sides are too tight, then chances are you have wide feet.

Make sure not to buy shoes with a longer length to try to fix the problem. Although they might feel slightly better, the overall fit still won’t be correct, and it can cause blisters, chafing, or tripping, which could cause potential injury.

Of course, there are some brands that actually sell the wide option of a shoe. In this case, the overall length of the shoe is the same (think size 6, 7, 8, etc.) but the toe box and the width of the foot’s forefront are increased to fit wider feet better.

Even still, some wide versions of a shoe may still not be wide enough. If that is the case, for example, some women might wear a man’s shoe for a better fit.

As previously mentioned, many people report one foot being larger than the other. If that is the case, it is important to buy a pair of shoes that fit the larger foot, rather than buying two different shoe sizes.

If you need, you can enhance the comfort of the shoe that might be a bit too big for the smaller foot by adding an insole. There are also different retailers that can provide custom made shoes to fit your unique feet.

Can You Reduce The Width Of Your Foot?

It is possible to surgically reduce the width of your foot. There is even a foot-narrowing surgery that some women have been known to undergo in order to fit into pointy, high-heeled shoes.

It is also possible for some doctors to shorten a person’s toes by removing an entire knuckle of the toe. In some cases, toes can be removed altogether. Additionally, bunions can be removed to make a foot narrower as well.

Most doctors, however, do not advise people to undergo these types of surgeries for cosmetic reasons, but strictly for medical purposes.

In order to make your wide feet look narrow without surgery, you can use special insoles, especially if you have wide and flat feet. In some cases where foot width is due to weight gain, you can lose weight which can reduce the swelling and make your feet look narrower.


The big takeaway here is that feet come in all different shapes and sizes, and there is nothing to be ashamed of, some feet just require a little extra attention! Some folks’ wide feet are due to genetics, and some are caused by aging, weight gain, pregnancy, foot deformities, or other underlying medical conditions.

If you notice your feet are growing in width, be sure to keep an eye on them and consult your doctor if you are concerned. Other than that, it is best to just accept your wide feet and work with what you got!

Kate Edison

My name is Kate, and I created FootwearDynamics to provide information and guidance on problem feet as well as the struggles that arise from having common foot issues. Since experiencing my own difficulties, I’ve decided to share my knowledge with you in the hopes that you’re journey to happy, healthier feet can be less troublesome and quicker to figure out than most.

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