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The Vine: February 14, 2014

Submitted by on February 14, 2014 – 8:45 AM14 Comments

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I've been buying my shoes in size 6.5 or 7, medium width my whole life (and I have a few gray hairs at this point, so we're talking a few decades).

I was at a shoe store last month that had a computerized shoe-measuring kiosk. I stepped on, and I was shocked to learn that I have been buying the wrong size. I am actually a 6 WW (that's extra-wide, not just wide).

When I tried on a shoe that was 6 WW (probably only one or two pairs in the store), it was an epiphany. No more pinched toes, no more shoe slipping off the heel. Wow! I found my actual shoe size. The problem is, I can't find any good looking shoes in extra wide. I can find a lot of orthopedic-looking walking shoes (not really my style), and I've found some quite expensive styles at the high-end department stores (Nordstrom, Bloomie's). I still haven't found a brand or store that carries extra-wide in an affordable, nice-looking pump or dress shoe.

I am looking for suggestions — preferably online retailers. Can the Tomato Nation help on this one?

Signed,
Extra-Wide, Not Just Wide

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14 Comments »

  • Jane says:

    I think a lot of women have feet that should be in wide shoes and they just don't realize it.

    Yes, you have to go online to get any selection, but there are definitely sources. Amazon absorbed Endless.com and is now searchable by shoe width and size when you get to the Shoes category. Zappo's (and their discount side, 6pm.com) still has quite a few. Naturalizer's own website is actually pretty decent; shoebuy.com has some extra wides; shoes.com also has a few but they're more athletic/wedding in the wide sizes. Clarks (at clarksusa.com as well as elsewhere) is getting some nicer shoes these days and is worth exploring. You can search by extra wide on all of those, though on some you'll have to go into a subcategory first. Old-school catalog vendors who now sell online like Massey's, Maryland Square, and Auditions also have some extra wides.

    Protip: search for width but not size in the category you want. If you find something that you like that isn't available in your size any more, take the brand and style name back to Google and see if it comes up elsewhere. Even online merchants don't stock a ton in the wider sizes, so you get a better selection if you kind of crowdshoesource.

  • Maria says:

    Agree with Jane above. I'm 10WW. I wear Naturalizer, Clark's, and Softspots. You can often find WW in shoes offered in plus-size clothing catalogs, such as Jessica London. It's not easy finding this width, but it makes all the difference to wear the right size. Life just seems easier.

  • Molly says:

    Check out Ros Hommerson shoes — I have a pair of their extra-wide-calf boots that I get lots of compliments on. As I recall, their whole thing is making shoes in a greater variety of lengths and widths than the average company. You'll need to Google them and check out the various sites to see which shoes each has on offer.

  • Angharad says:

    I relied on J. Renee in high school (in the pre-online shopping era). At lot of their stuff now seems too trendy for my style, but they can make some decent looking shoes. They're also a brand that tends to switch stock quickly, so they almost always have new stuff on their site.

    If you're both able and willing to spend a bit more on exactly the right thing, I'd recommend Shoes of Prey. Entirely custom shoes that cost less than most of what you'd find in Nordstrom/Dillard's/etc, and they offer lots of sizes and widths (even the ability to get a different size for each foot, if necessary).

  • RJ says:

    Footsmart caters to people with foot issues, so some of their stuff is orthopedic looking, but they have some cuter styles too in WW widths. Check this out: http://www.footsmart.com/Womens-Dress-Shoes?NavCmd=N:505579-4294967074-4294967094

  • c8h10n4o2 says:

    Planetshoes.com is searchable by width and size. Looks like they have a bunch of Naturalizer and Aravon stuff that looks like normal shoes.

  • Kristin says:

    Where was this computerized fitting kiosk of which you speak? That sounds like something I'd like to check out…

  • Cora says:

    Reyer's. Besides their huge online service, you can visit the store which all the inventory. There's not a lot to do in Sharon, Pennsylvania, but it's a really fun store to go to if you're in the area. It's a hour and a half north of Pittsburgh; take a long weekend and stay somewhere near the Warhol museum, go there, go to Reyer's, see the symphony or the ballet, walk all seven bridges, see the Pirates or the Steelers or the Penguins, go to PPG Place. Make A Thing out of it, why not.

  • Liz says:

    Hi, Kristin –

    Extra Wide here.

    The kiosk I used was at a shoe manufacturer's retail outlet here in Michigan. You can find them more and more at athletic (i.e. running specialy) shoe stores, though.

  • Lauren says:

    I see very cute shoes in the Simply Be catalog all the time. I've never tried them, but you can take a look! http://www.simplybe.com/shoes/icat/shoes

  • Beadgirl says:

    I'm a 6/6.5 WW too, and once I discovered Zappos that was it. Admittedly, I'm not a big shoe person, but the ability to sort by width (and comfort!) makes finding cute and comfy shoes so easy. The biggest success? Strappy heeled black sandals that stayed on my feet an entire wedding and reception. I recommend reading the comments, too — there can be helpful info about fit, and whether to go up or down a size.

  • tadpoledrain says:

    Seconding Ros Hommerson. I would avoid Naturalizer, since I find that even their WW seem to run really, really narrow, but YMMV.

    Plus-size catalogs do have a lot of wide shoes, but they often start at size 7, so you might be out of luck.

    I would also check out Maryland Square.

  • Kemmi says:

    The other thing is making sure you have shoes that work for your footshape. I don't have very wide feet in absolute terms, but their widest point is closer to the end than average, so a lot of shoes narrow too soon on me, but if I size up, then I come out at the heel. Red or Dead shoes work for me a lot, but some brands, like Duo, just don't fit me right at all. Even with shops that offer more width fittings, I can have the same problem– if the widest point isn't on the same model as my feet, then my width fitting will be too narrow for me.

    Or with heels, it can also be a matter of where the balance point is on those. I don't know a better way to describe it, but Clarks seem to throw me forward, like the balance point is too

  • Clover says:

    Depending on what kind of wide foot you have, you might also be able to get wide or even standard shoes and stretch them. I've got one of those wooden shoe stretchers with all the weird little attachments, and it's been a godsend to me and my wide and bunion-afflicted feet.

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