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Foot Freedom Almanac

Five Shoe Features You Need If You Have Wide Feet

Five Shoe Features You Need If You Have Wide Feet

Think about everything your feet are responsible for: they support your weight, keep you upright and balanced, and carry you through your day. Foot shapes and sizes vary wildly, leaving some of us out in the cold when it comes to a well-fitting shoe.

We know more people than we can count who have suffered in shoes that are too short, too tight or just plain uncomfortable. With wide feet, wearing shoes that don’t fit properly isn’t just a matter of comfort. It can -- and often does -- lead to a domino effect of other problems.

It’s important for anyone to wear shoes that fit well, but for those of us with wide feet, this can be a tall order. If you have wide feet, we’ve got you covered. Here are five shoe features to look for when shopping for shoes:

    1. A Wider Shoe Base

      Most shoes on the market are designed with a single foot type in mind (medium arch height, average width). It’s the misleading “one-size-fits-all” approach that leaves too many of us deflated in the shoe aisle.

      Pandere knows better. 

      People with wide feet need a shoe that is built on a wider base and last. A shoe “last” is a mechanical form that mimics the shape of the human foot. It is used as a guide for the shoe craftsman in the design and manufacturing of the shoe. It is the foundation of the shoe’s fit and the most significant factor in whether or not the shoe will accommodate a wider than average foot.

      All of our shoes are built on wider-than-average lasts and bottoms, but our Saturday shoe is built on an even wider last and bottom specifically to accommodate up to an EEE width for women and an EE width for men - resulting in a roomier toe-box and midfoot. For extra wide feet, we think the Saturday is pretty much the best thing around.

      “I have only been wearing my shoes for about a week, but WOW! My feet swell and then go back to normal during the day, Pandere shoes go with the flow - so far I love them! I must say that I'm very impressed with the workmanship in this shoe too….these soles are something else….so much thicker than normal shoes - bonus!” - MAUREEN, Pandere Customer, about the Saturday shoe

        2. High-Quality, Removable Insoles

          Insoles, also called linings, are designed to absorb the shock between your foot and the pavement. If you have wide or swollen feet, insoles in off-the-rack shoes are often very low quality and don’t provide much support. 

          Many insoles in off-the-rack shoes are also made from a non-breathable material that doesn’t allow air to pass through. This leads to tired, hot and sweaty feet at the end of a long day. 

          Choosing a shoe with a high-quality, breathable insole will keep your feet cooler, drier and more comfortable. The option of removing the insole will give you more control over the shoe’s fit - a rare treat for people with wide, swollen or hard-to-fit feet.

          Orthopedic shoes on the market that can provide options with removable insoles. Aside from looking like your Great Uncle Murray’s slippers, they provide lots of very large widths. Some orthopedic shoes provide widths as large as 5E, 6E and larger. The width in these very wide options is a surrogate for volume and can work well for people with swelling.

          All of Pandere’s styles feature a high quality memory foam, removable insole that absorbs shock, promotes breathability and gives you the option of removal to customize the fit. The insole can be replaced with custom orthotics or even an over-the-counter insole that you can buy at many retail stores. Replacing with a thinner insole will provide more room in the shoe.

          “I bought (the Saturday) as a sneak attack for my husband. He has many different foot problems, has extra wide feet, wears orthotic inserts, and is a crazy tightwad when it comes to spending money on shoes for himself. Its ok if I spend that money on my shoes, but not him! WELL LET ME TELL YOU!!!!!! He LOVES them!” - PATTI, Pandere Customer, about the Saturday Shoe

            3. Support

              Shoes without proper support can lead to discomfort, pain and musculoskeletal issues, further complicating an already uncomfortable situation. Shoes that provide ample expansion for wide or swollen feet often sacrifice support (not to mention style and comfort) for the wearer.

              Arch support is the most important support feature of a shoe. Arch height varies wildly from person to person and can even change over the course of our lives as a result of medical conditions, pregnancy or aging. Pronation is a common condition for people with both low and high arches, with “overpronation” occurring when the foot rolls too far inward over the arch and “underpronation” occurring when the foot rolls too far outward away from the arch.

              For all foot widths, arch types and pronation types, the proper supportive shoe can mean a world of difference when it comes to comfort and keeping the feet, ankles, knees and hips healthy.

              To us, support is non-negotiable. All of Pandere’s shoes are engineered with a patented design that features internal and external support in the places we need it most - no matter how wide your foot is - keeping you stable and ensuring comfort from morning until night.

                4. Expandability

                  Your typical off-the-rack shoe offers zero expansion, leaving wide feet cramped and tired and putting the wearer’s muscles, ligaments and tendons at risk of injury. A true expandable shoe offers expansion not just by loosening laces or velcro across the midfoot, but through an expandability that is engineered into the structure of the shoe itself.

                  People with wide feet often have wider ankles and toes, meaning multiple areas of the shoe must expand to accommodate them. This expandability can be achieved through both an adjustable system of laces and the use of a material that can stretch while still providing support to the foot.

                  If you have feet that are two different widths, like our founder Laura, you are in the tough position of finding a single pair of shoes that is comfortable and supportive for both feet AT THE SAME TIME.

                  We’d tell you if there were other good options out there for people in this position, but unfortunately there isn’t. There is only Pandere.

                  Pandere shoes are constructed with a patented design that allows for expansion in all the key places - toebox, midfoot and around the ankles - up to three width sizes. Adjustable toggles at the top and back of the shoe expand the shoe’s volume while the high-quality neoprene panels provide flexibility while also maintaining support of the foot.

                  All of our styles are engineered to expand up to three width sizes. For more information on which shoe is right for your foot, visit our sizing guide here.

                  “The neo shoe is perfect. It expands around my lymphedema bandages. The criss cross straps adjust to whatever size of foot I am dealing with at a particular time. Once the shoe is on, I can tighten the elastic in the back to secure the shoe. On the other side, the neo shoe is supportive enough to hold the brace in place without stepping out of it. The removable insole helped me balance out the differences between my two feet. All of this, and they look like real shoes! I feel like I am walking like a normal person, and I can't thank the wonderful people at Pandere Shoes enough!” - KIM, Pandere Customer, on the Neo shoe

                    5. Adjustability

                      If you have wide feet, adjustability is a key ingredient in finding a shoe that fits. An adjustable shoe always provides a customized fit, even if your feet are two different shapes or sizes.

                      Adjustability in a shoe can be achieved in a number of ways, but the vast majority of adjustable shoes on the market today simply offer an adjustable strap at the top of the foot that widens the shoe at the midfoot. Some offer an adjustable strap at the back of the foot, but these styles are usually only offered as (unattractive) sandals or open-heeled shoes.

                      Unfortunately, this isn’t going to cut it for most of us.

                      For a closed toe shoe that offers true adjustability, Pandere is your shoe. Our shoes are independently adjustable in three key areas: the toe box, midfoot and ankle, by tightening or loosening an adjustable toggle. Soft neoprene panels built into the shoe are designed to expand and adjust to your foot’s shape, offering further adjustability.

                      “After reading the other reviews, I decided to try it. I have bunions, plantar fasciitis, a metatarsal injury, different sized feet, and custom orthotics to help. Needless to say, my feet are a mess. It's a very good shoe…...The bungee system is pretty impressive. It allows for excellent adjustability, which really helps when you have two different sized feet.. As a woman in her 60's, I am always on the lookout for shoes that won't torture me. Glad I found one.” - DEBRA, Pandere Customer, about the Barista shoe