The Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

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For plenty of hikers, there are almost too many shoe options available; but if you have wide feet? The options are a lot more limited. Worse, there are plenty of so-called wide shoes that are D or E width in name only. To help you find the best hiking shoes for wide feet, I took a look at some of the most popular models available and solicited feedback from hikers with wider than average feet. 

Testing the Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet

OL has been testing the best hiking shoes and the best hiking boots for years, but to assess what hiking shoes work best for individuals with wide feet, we needed to find the right tester to give us feedback on what hiking shoes were truly wide width and which were wide width in name only. Fortunately for me, I have an avid hiker that wears wide-width shoes in-house: my sister, Diane. 

Diane rocking a pair of men’s Vivobarefoots near the Ptarmigan Tunnel at Glacier National Park.
Diane rocking a pair of men’s Vivobarefoots near the Ptarmigan Tunnel at Glacier National Park. Laura Lancaster

She describes her foot as a D width (or sometimes “hobbit feet”). Like many women, she usually goes straight to men’s shoes, as these are built at a D width to start. 

I called in wide-width shoes from manufacturers with a reputation for excelling in this area, including Keen and Merrell, and also acquired other options that are often recommended for individuals with wider feet. My sister provided feedback on comparative fit across the foot.

Shoe Available Sizes Available Widths Relative Width Arch Support  Toe Box
KEEN Targhee Men’s: 7-17
Women’s: 5-11
D-E Runs wide Low Moderate
Merrell Moab Men’s: 7-15
Women’s: 5-13
D-E Runs true to size Moderate Narrow
Freet Tundra Men’s: 7-13
Women’s: 6-11.5
N/A Runs very wide None Wide
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro Men’s: 7-17
Women’s: 5-12
D-4E Runs true to size Moderate Narrow
Altra Lone Peak Men’s: 7-16
Women’s: 5.5-12
N/A Runs wide Minimal Wide
Vivobarefoot Ultra Bloom III Men’s: 7-15
Women’s: 5.5-11.5
N/A Runs very wide None Wide

Sizing Shoes for Wide Feet

My typical-width foot (left) next to my sister’s wide-width foot (right). We may both wear size 9s, but our experience with footwear is vastly different due to our different widths.
My typical-width foot (left) next to my sister’s wide-width foot (right). We may both wear size 9s, but our experience with footwear is vastly different due to our different widths. Laura Lancaster

If you’re looking to purchase your first pair of hiking shoes for wide feet, you’ll first want to figure out exactly how wide you need your shoes to be. Shoes are typically rated for width using a letter grade system as follows: 

Standard Wide Extra Wide
Women’s B D 2E
Men’s D 2E 4E

While it’s always a best practice to go to a shoe store to have your foot measured (preferably at the end of the day), you can also do it at home using New Balance’s size finder

The Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: KEEN Targhee

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Key Features

  • Sizes: Men’s 7-17; women’s 5-11
  • Widths: D-E
  • Height: Low, mid, and high

Pros

  • Even their regular model is wider than average hiking shoes

Cons

  • Wide sizes only available for a select number of shoes

The KEEN Targhee’s have a reputation for running wide that held up during testing. Even their standard width hiking shoe felt wider than other brands’ wide-width shoes. In fact, they were wide enough that if you are between a D and E width for women (or between an E or EE for men), their wide-width models should go to the top of your list. 

Part of what gives this shoe a wide fit is its toebox. While it has the tapered fit at the toe that is common with traditional hiking shoes and boots, it begins that taper further up the forefoot, leaving extra space around the ball of the foot, typically one of the widest parts. 

Best Arch Support: Merrell Moab

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Key Features

  • Sizes: Men’s 7-15; women’s 5-13
  • Widths: D-E
  • Height: Low, mid, and high

Pros

  • Great colors as part of their Unlikely Hiker collection
  • Large interior volume
  • Higher arch support will appeal to some individuals

Cons

  • Less wide than other models I looked at

One downside to having wide-width feet is that you don’t always have access to the same variety of colors and styles available in regular-width shoes. Fortunately, Merrell’s collaboration with Unlikely Hikers has wide-shoe options available in all cuts and sizes, making it much easier to find the right fit. 

Testers noted that the Merrell wide was similar to the standard KEEN fit and that this was most noticeable at the instep. However, this may be due to the more significant arch support in this shoe compared to others tested. One thing that testers did appreciate about this shoe was the comparatively large volume of the toebox. The top of some other shoes presses down against the ball of the foot, constricting movement (a problem frequently solved by removing the insole). But testers had plenty of room to move toes around in the Moabs.

Best for Flat Feet: Freet Tundra

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Key Features

  • Sizes: Men’s 7-13; women’s 6-11.5
  • Widths: N/A
  • Height: Mid

Pros

  • Widest boot that we looked at
  • Ample space in the toebox
  • Large interior volume
  • No arch support

Cons

  • Stiff upper requires a lengthy break-in period

Flat and wide often go together when it comes to feet, making the more structured support of hiking shoes like the Merrell Moab uncomfortable or distracting. Fortunately, there’s the Freet Tundra, which in addition to being the widest shoes we looked at (Freet doesn’t even bother making a narrow version), also had the least arch support of anything I looked at (essentially none).

Another group that should look seriously at the Freet Tundra is individuals with a larger foot volume, particularly if that volume extends to the forefoot. This was easily the roomiest shoe I’ve ever tried. It was so large, in fact, that when I stuck the Merrell insole on top of the existing insole, I still found the shoe’s interior quite spacious. 

The only downside to this shoe was the stiff upper which requires significantly more break-in time than other models in this test. 

Best for Extra-Wide Feet: New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro

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Key Features

  • Sizes: Men’s 7-17; women’s 5-12
  • Widths: D-4E
  • Height: Low and mid

Pros

  • Largest range of sizes of anything I found
  • Comparatively affordable

Cons

  • Less durable than traditional hikers

One issue that came up time again while searching out wide-width hiking footwear to test is that there just aren’t that many companies making anything extending past an E width for men or a D width for women. The exception is New Balance, which has numerous models that go out to as wide as 4E, ensuring that just about anyone can find something that will fit. While their shoes are typically designed for more frontcountry use than backcountry, there are a few trail-ready models, including the Hierro.

One thing to note is that because these shoes are trail runners rather than traditional hikers, they will have a shorter lifespan—expect to switch these out every five hundred miles or so, sooner if you’re backpacking with an unusually heavy load in your shoes. 

Best for Thru-Hikers: Altra Lone Peak

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Key Features

  • Sizes: Men’s 7-16; women’s 5.5-12
  • Widths: N/A (narrower models available)
  • Height: Low, mid, and high

Pros

  • Wide toe box
  • Durable enough for a thru-hike

Cons

  • Less supportive structure than traditional trail runners or hiking shoes

The more impact you put on your feet, the larger your feet will become. Possibly no group knows this better than thru-hikers: The general advice for someone’s first long trail is to avoid purchasing all the shoes you’re going to need for 2,500 miles in advance, as the odds that your feet will expand while hiking is simply too high. (And there is no guarantee that they will return to their original size at the end of your hike, either.) So if you’ve noticed that your typical brand or style of hiking shoes has started to feel tighter than you’d like, it may be time to switch to the Altra Lone Peaks. 

The ample width at the instep and forefoot is no small part of the popularity of the Altra Lone Peak, the most popular choice for thru-hiking and OL‘s pick for the best hiking shoe. The heel of this shoe is similar to traditional-width shoes, locking most people’s feet into place (important for preventing rolled ankles). But as you extend down the instep, the shoe’s shape starts to widen until you reach the toebox, which is wide enough to splay your toes. If your heel is locking into place fine in regular-width hiking shoes, but there is undue pressure on your forefoot, this may be the shoe for you. 

Read our full review of the Altra Lone Peak 6 here.

Best for River Crossings: Vivobarefoot Ultra Bloom III

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Key Features

  • Sizes: Men’s 7-15; women’s 5.5-11.5
  • Widths: N/A
  • Height: Low

Pros

  • Extremely wide
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not an all-day hiking shoe

During testing for the best water shoes for hiking, I noted that the Vivobarefoot Ultra Bloom was really wide. Not only was it wider than the other shoes in that test, but it was also significantly wider than the other Vivobarefoot shoes I looked at for our test of the best minimalist shoes for hiking and trail running. It’s possibly the widest shoe I’ve ever tried. 

While the Vivobarefoot Ultra Bloom is not a suitable choice for long hikes due to its inadequate traction, it is a serviceable shoe for shorter, easy hikes and a great casual water shoe with excellent drainage and stability. The other unique feature of the Vivobarefoot Ultra Bloom III is its eco bonafides. The upper is foam derived from algae, which was harvested from waterways around the world where an excess in algae (which can occur as a result of both rising temperatures and agricultural runoff) has the potential to result in toxins entering waterways.

How to Choose the Best Hiking Shoes for Wide Feet

Build and Quality

While finding the correct width hiking shoe is essential for having a positive experience in the outdoors, you should also consider the level of ankle protection you are looking for, your preferred heel drop, and whether you value breathability over waterproofness or vice versa.

The insoles of wide-width shoes can sometimes vary substantially. From left to right, the insoles for the Freet Tundra, KEEN Targhee, Merrell Moab, and Altra Lone Peak.
The insoles of wide-width shoes can sometimes vary substantially. From left to right, the insoles for the Freet Tundra, KEEN Targhee, Merrell Moab, and Altra Lone Peak. Laura Lancaster

Tip for Checking Fit

One way to check whether the width of your shoe is the issue (rather than the overall size or shape) is to take out the insole. During testing, I noticed that several of the models I looked at had narrower insoles than the base of the shoe would have otherwise supported. If your shoe is more comfortable without the insole, it’s worth looking for a custom insole that reduces both the overall bulk on the inside of your shoe or allows for a wider foot to fit inside. 

Foot Volume

While talking through issues of fit and comfort with my testers, it became clear that there was a secondary issue that individuals with wide feet are also dealing with, which is the interior volume of the shoe. I have noted above that a shoe had a comparatively low or high interior volume, but one trick to creating more interior space in a shoe is to wear it without the insole. While most insoles are designed to maximize comfort and support, having enough space for your foot on the inside of your shoe is more important. 

Return Policy

One problem with having a wide foot is that a lot of times, even when the best boot brands are making wide-width hiking shoes, they aren’t available in stores to test out before you buy. Given the surprising variability in widths found in regular-width and wide-width hiking shoes, you may benefit from ordering a number of likely candidates online, and then returning the ones that aren’t right for you. Check for a generous, easy-to-use return policy before you buy.

FAQs

Q: How do you know if your hiking boots aren’t wide enough?

If you’re feeling sideways pressure along your mid and forefoot, particularly at the ball of the foot, that’s a good indication that your hiking boot or shoe is not wide enough. Your hiking boot should be locked in at the heel, which will help prevent your ankle from rolling, but feeling undue pressure anywhere along the length of your foot is a sign that a wider shoe might be a better fit. 

Q: Do hiking boots stretch?

No, hiking boots do not stretch. If your hiking boot feels more snug on your foot than is comfortable, you should size up or choose a wider-width option. 

Q: Should hiking shoes be loose or tight? 

Hiking shoes should be locked in at the heel, but then loosen up as the foot moves forward. If the balls of your feet feel constrained or your toes are unable to splay (inhibiting shock absorption), then the shoe’s volume is too small for your foot. One option to increase the volume of the shoe is to take out the insole.

Q: How much toe room should you have in hiking boots?

You should have about a 1/2-inch of length between the end of your toes and the front of your boot, and there should be enough sideways width that you can wriggle your toes. Keep in mind that your feet also expand as the mileage and years rack up, due to a number of factors, including loosening ligaments and loss of fatty padding on the soles.

Q: How much do hiking boots for wide feet cost?

Trail runners and hiking shoes both cost in the neighborhood of $100 and $200. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re backpacking, trail running, or just heading out for a casual hike, choosing the best hiking shoes for wide feet can vastly improve your experience. We’ve rounded up our picks based on years of experience hiking, backpacking, and hunting, as well as input from individuals with wide-width feet. 

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Laura Lancaster

Staff Writer

Lancaster is Outdoor Life’s gear staff writer where she focuses on in-depth testing of backpacking and camping gear, with a particular interest in lightweight and ultralight gear. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter.

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