Size 7. Size 8. Shoes are sized by the length of your foot. That is not, however, the only thing which varies. Many people have wider than normal feet, and may not even realize except that they know certain brands of shoes are more comfortable than others. Because of this, some brands offer wide shoe sizes that give the right support to people with wider-than-average feet, and help deal with the problems they can cause.

What Causes Wide Feet?

Larger feet tend to be wider, but some people have feet which are wider than normal for their length. Standard shoe sizing often does not fit these feet.

Most of the time, wide feet are genetic. If one of your parents has wide feet, you are more likely to have them (and more likely to find out earlier in life). Some medical conditions can cause your feet to be wider; in that case you should be talking to a medical professional about how to compensate for this and which athletic activities are okay for you.

If you are pregnant, your feet will temporarily get wider because of a hormone called relaxin.

How Do You Know if You Have Wide Feet?

Many people don’t realize they have wide feet. You might notice that you are more comfortable in certain brands, which then appear to be wider. You might be prone to corns or bunions. You might find that to not pinch, you have to go up a size in shoes. All of this affects your performance.

To establish whether you have wide feet, you can measure your feet. Do this at night (when your feet are a little narrower). Measure your feet wearing the same type of socks you normally wear with the kind of shoe you are getting. Stand on a piece of paper, and trace all the way around one foot with a pencil, or get somebody to do it for you. You can then measure the width of your foot and find your foot width on a sizing chart.

How To Choose Shoes?

First, here’s the most important thing not to do: Don’t go up a size just to get enough width. Wearing shoes which are too big for you can cause foot injuries and will definitely worsen your performance. Shoes are designed to flex in just the right places. This is particularly the case with discipline-specific athletic shoes. Ill-fitting shoes increase your risk of bunions and ingrown toenails.

Some brands allow more width than others. If your feet are only a little wider than average, then you can get a good fit by shopping around. A better option, however, is to find a brand that has wide sizes. Properly designed wide shoes also offer better fit for the width of your foot, reducing rollover, which can even cause an injury. Imagine if your foot rolls out of your shoe while running…

Look past that for brands which offer a variety of widths, not just “regular” and “wide.” Ideally, you want to get your shoes professionally fitted. Up to 72% of us are not wearing the correct shoe size. Omega Sports offers professional shoe fittings in which we will use state-of-the-art foot scanning technology to help a trained expert guide you to the right shoes for your feet and your athletic activity.

Correctly fitted shoes will support your health and help you do better at the activities you love. Omega Sports has a wonderful selection of wide sizes and can help you find the perfect shoe to keep you in motion. Check out our options online or in stores, and talk to our Active-Play experts to help you find the right shoes and gear for you.