Managing Challenges Brought on by Wide Feet

Oct 01, 2022
Managing Challenges Brought on by Wide Feet
Are you tired of shoving your feet into shoes that don’t fit comfortably? Wide feet can limit your shoe options and cause discomfort. Here’s what to do about it.

If you are one of the individuals born with wide feet or have found through the years that your feet have widened with age, you will know the struggles of finding a comfortably fitting pair of shoes.

Double board-certified podiatrist Eric Gilbertson, DPM, FACFAS at Renew Foot & Ankle, LLC offers the following tips about living with wide feet and offers surgical solutions for certain situations involving wide feet.  

What causes wide feet?

Feet come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some factors contribute to the likelihood of having wide feet, including:


Most people who have wide feet are born with them. If you’re born with flat feet, they also tend to get wider than typical feet.  


Age can play a significant role in wide feet. As we age, the tendons and ligaments of our feet are prone to loosening and stretching a little, allowing the feet to not only widen, but also grow longer.


Development of conditions such as calluses, bunions, or hammer toes can widen your foot. An estimated one-third of adults in the US are affected by bunions. Dr. Gilbertson offers conservative and surgical bunion treatment to reduce discomfort and help make your feet fit better in your shoes.


Wearing ill-fitting shoes can lead to deformities of the feet. Studies have shown that an estimated 63 to 72 percent of individuals today do not wear shoes that properly fit the length or the width of their feet.

How to deal with wide feet

Although we are limited in changing genetics and age when it comes to our feet, there are other steps we can take that can aid us in better managing the challenges faced with wide feet. 

Wear properly fitting shoes

First, make sure you wear shoes that fit correctly. Before purchasing a new pair of shoes, don’t just guess at the size, actually measure your foot. Over time, the size of our feet changes, so it is best not to rely on past measurements for sizing today. Also, the best time of the day to measure your feet is in the evening, when they are at their largest.

Don’t cramp your toes

When trying on any new pair of shoes, ensure they are not bunching or cramping your toes. You will need to ensure that there is a comfortable 3/8" to ½" space, approximately the width of your finger, between the end of the shoe and your longest toe. Also, ensure that your toes are not cramped from side to side and that the fit is snug without being too tight.  

A square boxed-toe shoe is suggested for those with wider feet.

Surgical treatment for wide feet

While surgery is typically only recommended to fix problems causing discomfort, pain, or long-term health issues, there are surgical options that can reduce your foot width. 

Cinderella procedure

Surgery that narrows the foot, dubbed in the medical field as the “Cinderella procedure,” has grown in popularity recently and is commonly used by those individuals who want to have the option of wearing pointy, high-heeled shoes. 

Bunion removal

Another surgery that makes the foot slimmer is removing an existing bunion. The procedure not only involves the removal of the bunion but other foot repairs at the same time.

Feet are not a one size fits all situation; some people are born with wider feet than others. Age and foot deformities can also produce wider feet. There are several methods of managing the challenges of wide feet, ranging from wearing correctly fitted shoes to having a surgical procedure performed.

Dealing with wider feet does not need to be something you do alone. Renew Foot & Ankle can help. Call the office in Grand Rapids or Bigfork, Minnesota, or book your consultation with Dr. Gilbertson using the online scheduling tool now.