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8 best wide toe box shoes for a more comfortable fit

These roomy picks prevent toes from getting pinched.
According to podiatrists, wide toe box shoes can keep your feet comfortable and help to prevent things like bunions and corns.
According to podiatrists, wide toe box shoes can keep your feet comfortable and help to prevent things like bunions and corns. Birkenstock; Zappos; Amazon

If the sides of your shoes rub against your big toe or pinky toe, they are not wide enough. It may be time to consider shoes with a wide toe box. “This type of shoe is created with a more natural foot shape that widens at the top of the shoe (known as the toe box),” says Dr. Alissa Kuizinas, a board-certified podiatrist in Boston. “This allows space for your toes to splay and spread, so they can bend and flex naturally as you walk.” 

Beyond being more comfortable, sneakers with a wide toe box have a variety of other benefits. “They allow for better balance and stability, reducing the risk of tripping or falling,” says Dr. Isaac Tabari, a board-certified foot and ankle doctor and NYC Podiatry Center of Excellence owner. To help you find the best sneakers with wide toe boxes, we asked experts what to look for while shopping and got their recommendations for shoes worth considering.

SKIP AHEAD How we picked the best wide toe box shoes | The best wide toe box shoes of 2024 | Do you need wide toe box shoes? 

Our top picks

How we picked the best wide toe box shoes

To choose the best wide toe box shoes, we asked experts what to consider while shopping. Here are the key things they said to pay attention to:

  • Width: A shoe with a wide toe box and a wide-width toe are different. “A wide shoe will be wider in the heel and midfoot in addition to the toe box, whereas a wide toe box shoe is only wider in the forefoot area,” says Kuizinas. You do not need a wide-width shoe if your entire foot isn’t wider. The shoes we focused on all have wide toe boxes, but many are available in a regular width and wide width. 
  • Materials: Whether you are looking for walking sneakers, running sneakers or hiking shoes with a wide toe box, you’ll want them to last as long as possible. So we prioritized shoes made with high-quality materials — like sturdy stoles, reinforced stitching and durable mesh.   
  • Shoe type: Wide toe box shoes aren’t just good for working out, they are comfortable for casual wear, too. With this in mind, we included a variety of wide toe box shoes suitable for all types of activities. 

The best wide toe box shoes of 2024

Every wide toe box shoe on this list was either expert recommended or highly rated and aligned with our podiatrists’ guidance. All of the shoes below come in styles for both men and women and we’ve included links to both in the description.

Xero Dillon Classic Casual Sneaker

“These shoes have a wide toe box with soft, flexible upper materials,” says Kuizinas. “They are flexible in the sole, bend well at the toe joint and offer enough cushioning to be comfortable even on hard surfaces.” The shoe, which is available for both men and women and is ideal for casual wear, has an upper made from breathable mesh, which helps keep your foot cool and the shoe is lightweight and weighs just over 8 ounces, according to the brand. 

Altra FWD Experience Road Running Shoe

Tabari and Kuizinas like the men’s and women’s styles of Altra running shoes for their wider toe box. “They are all designed with a foot-shaped, wide toe box, which is great for people with wide feet,” says Kuizinas. According to Altra, the soles have a rocker shape to help propel you forward as you run and the soles are made with compression foam for comfort. The upper is made with breathable mesh to keep feet cool as you exercise.  

Lems Primal Zen

Kuizinas also recommends this wide toe box shoe for men and women, which can be worn for light strength training or casual, everyday wear. It has a wide toe box and flexible sole that wraps around your foot for a comfortable fit. The tongue is attached so that it won’t fall out of place and the sole is made from cork to keep the overall shoe cool and lightweight, according to the brand. 

Hoka Clifton 9

Hoka is a popular shoe brand amongst runners. The brand is known for its shock-absorbing soles and supportive uppers. I have run multiple half marathons in this shoe and my wide feet are never sore after wearing them — no matter how many miles I’ve logged. Along with an overall roomier fit, the shoe has a wide toe box that allows your toes to spread out as your foot hits the ground. The shoe’s bottom has a slight rocker shape for smoother heel-to-toe transitions and the upper is made from breathable mesh, according to the brand. This shoe is also available in a version for men.

Keen WK450 Walking Shoe

Keen is one of Tabari’s favorite wide toe box shoe brands. The brand makes hiking shoes, sandals and walking shoes for both men and women. This sneaker falls into that last category. The sole is curved from heel to toe to help propel you forward and the upper is reinforced in high-impact places for maximum durability and the removable footbed offers arch support, according to Keen. 

Birkenstock Bend Low Leather Sneaker 

Known for their comfortable sandals, all shoes from Birkenstock tend to have a wider overall fit — including a roomy toe box. Along with a wide toe box, these unisex casual sneakers have a contoured footbed made from cork and latex for a cushiony yet supportive feel, according to the brand. The upper is made from leather and the rubber sole has treads for traction on slippery surfaces.

Flux Footwear Adapt Runner

This unisex running shoe has a roomy toe box and is considered a step above a barefoot shoe. Not familiar with barefoot shoes? They have minimal cushioning and restrictions to allow the foot to move freely. While these aren’t quite barefoot running sneakers, Flux says they are good for those who like the idea of that type of shoe but still want a little support and cushioning. They have a knit upper for breathability and a textured insole to reduce impact on your joints, according to Flux. These shoes have a 4.8-star average rating from over 3,800 reviews on Amazon. 

WHITIN Barefoot Shoe

A true barefoot shoe, this style is available for men and women. The brand is one of the more affordable barefoot shoe brands and this style has a 4.3-star average rating from over 9,500 reviews on Amazon. The shoe has a zero-drop sole, meaning there is nearly no cushioning, and an adjustable hook-and-loop closure at the instep for a secure fit. The wide toe box is also flexible, allowing your toes to flex and move as your foot hits the ground. 

Do you need wide toe box shoes? 

“They really are for anyone who is looking for a more comfortable fit,” says Kuizinas. If your toes are constantly pinched, you may notice some not-so-pleasant effects. Compressing your bones together regularly can lead to blisters, corns, calluses, bunions and hammertoes, says Kuizinas. 

That said, some people may benefit from this shoe style more than others. “Shoes with a wide toe box allow for better balance and stability, reducing the risk of tripping or falling,” says Tabari. Because of this, they can be a good fit for those who tend to be more clumsy. “They also accommodate orthotic inserts or padding for additional support, which can help prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis or stress fractures,” adds Tabari.  

How do you know if your toe box is wide enough? 

A wide toe box shoe should allow you to wiggle your toes without feeling the sides of the shoe, says Kuizinas. In terms of shape, both experts we spoke to recommend looking for a toe box that mimics the natural shape of your toes. In other words, rather than a shoe that comes to a rounded point, you want to look for a rounded square-shaped toe bed. 

Are there any activities for which wide toe box shoes are particularly good? 

Kuizinas says that those on their feet frequently or for long periods will benefit from a roomier toe box — like medical professionals, people in hospitality and more. They can also be great for travel if you are taking a trip where you know you’ll be walking around more than you usually do. 

Wide toe box shoes are also great for working out. When your foot hits the ground with a higher impact — like if you are running or jumping — your toes naturally splay out as they hit the ground. A wide toe box will prevent them from getting cramped when that happens. “Lifters also find wide toe box shoes beneficial so they can power their strength moves from the ground up,” says Kuizinas. 

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts with specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Why trust NBC Select?

Bethany Heitman is a contributor at NBC Select and a journalist who regularly covers beauty, home and lifestyle. For this story, she interviewed two podiatrists about wide toe box shoes.

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