Do I Need Wide Shoes?
Do you feel like you’re trying to force a round peg into a triangular-shaped hole when you slip your shoes on every morning? Are your feet discolored or do they have indentations from your shoes when you finally take them off at the end of a long day?
Even if you don’t think of your feet as wide, you might need wide shoes.
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to someone needing wide shoes including genetics, medical conditions that cause feet to swell, pregnancy, weight gain and aging. Millions of people have wide feet and the vast majority of them aren’t wearing shoes that fit properly. Off-the-rack shoes are designed to fit the “average” foot, meaning if your foot is shaped a little differently, finding a shoe that fits well can be a real challenge.
The shape and size of our feet change throughout our lives, so even if you never needed wide shoes before, you may need them now. Without shoes that fit, you're relegated to less mobility, increased risk of abrasions, cellulitis and all kinds of discomforts or disasters.
Aside from just having wide feet, there are a number of reasons why your foot might be well-suited for a wide shoe.
- You have a medical condition that is causing one or both of your feet to swell.
Many medical conditions can cause foot swelling, including lymphedema, diabetes, treatment for cancer, obesity, plantar fasciitis, pregnancy and liver or kidney disease. Sometimes, the amount of swelling can fluctuate throughout the day or even from foot to foot - making it a challenge to find shoes that are comfortable over the course of an entire day. Pandere shoes are the only shoes on the market that expand up to three width sizes and are fully adjustable and expandable in all the key areas. Most of Pandere’s styles feature an adjustable toggle at the top of the foot and at the heel, as well as stretchable neoprene panels that expand and contract along with your foot.
- Off-the-rack shoes are usually tight or uncomfortable on at least one of your feet.
If you find that the majority of off-the-rack shoes are too tight on your foot, no matter what size you buy, you need wide shoes. Most shoes accommodate an average width foot, meaning even if you buy a size up, they will still be too tight. For people with two differently shaped feet, finding a single pair of shoes that fit well can be difficult. A fully adjustable and expandable shoe, like Pandere’s Saturday, means the days of buying two pairs of shoes in different sizes is over.
- You have bunions or hammertoes.
Both bunions and hammertoes can make wearing off-the-rack shoes extremely uncomfortable. Even if you think of your foot as average width, these two conditions are often best accommodated with a wide shoe. Average width shoes can place pressure on bunions or hammertoes, increasing the irritation, creating blisters or callouses and leaving feet in rough shape.
- There are blisters, corns or calluses on your feet.
An occasional blister from a new shoe can be a normal discomfort, but chronic blisters on your feet mean your shoe doesn’t fit properly. Shoes that are too tight can cause blisters anywhere, although they are most commonly found on the heel, toe or balls of the foot. Blisters are painful and can become infected if not treated properly.
Over a long period of time, friction and pressure from shoes that are too tight can cause corns or calluses to develop. While calluses may not be painful, corns are often surrounded by inflamed skin and can cause a lot of discomfort. The best way to treat both corns and calluses is to remove the source of friction.
If you have chronic blisters, corns or calluses on your feet, it’s probably time to invest in some wide shoes.
- You notice discoloration or imprints on your feet at the end of the day.
When you remove your shoes at the end of a long day, do you ever noticed a purplish hue to your toes or imprints on your feet from the inside of your shoe? Wearing a shoe that fits too tightly is probably the culprit. Squeezing wide feet into narrow- or average-width shoes can cut off blood circulation in the toes and feet, leading to a cascade of painful and serious foot problems.
Shoes built on a wider last allow for more blood flow and support the foot properly, rather than squeeze it. Pandere makes the only shoe that incorporates a revolutionary patent-pending expansion system that is both fully adjustable and supportive. The Barista for women and the Bolero for men both expand to an E width and feature adjustable toggles and soft, neoprene panels that promise all-day comfort.
Also in Foot Freedom Almanac
When we began working on a concept for stylish, expandable shoes in 2016, we knew we needed the perfect name – one that would capture both the unique qualities of our product and our mission to give people their mobility and dignity back.
Over the next two years, as we worked on our first prototype, we talked with hundreds of women across the country who were fed up with being forgotten by the shoe industry. Our co-founder Laura Oden understood the frustration. Laura has had lymphedema for 40 years and had always struggled to find shoes that fit.