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How to Spot the Best Wide Toe Box Shoes

By Softstar @Soft_Star_Shoes
How to Spot the Best Wide Toe Box Shoes

When shopping for barefoot shoes, the width of the sole is one of the first factors customers tend to consider. One would think a wide sole means having a spacious fit, but it's not that simple. While it's true that having a wide sole is important, here are three additional design factors that distinguish the best wide toe box shoes. (Softstar's Primal shoe line in wide width features the widest toe box on the market!)

FACTOR #1: Sidewall Construction of the Toe Box

The sidewall is the material that rises around the edge of the sole footbed and comprises the lower portion of a shoe's upper. The angle and malleability of the sidewall make a critical difference in how the shoe fits.


Consider that the widest part of our feet is not where they touch the ground, but 0.25" to 0.5" higher than that. When the sidewall of a shoe narrows inward, it runs opposite to the bottom portion of our feet naturally widening outward.

How to Spot the Best Wide Toe Box Shoes


When sidewalls are soft and flexible, your toes can push outward beyond the sole and the shoe can conform to the shape of your foot over time. On the other hand, when sidewalls are thick and rigid, the toes are confined and have less room inside the shoe.

The best way to test how a sidewall will affect fit is to stick your hand into the shoe and feel both the angle and malleability of the upper-it may be different on the inside than it looks on the outside. Then reach into the toe box and push outward beyond where the upper is attached to the sole. Is there any give? The roomiest shoes don't only have a wide sole, but also have a flexible sidewall made with forgiving upper material.

How to Spot the Best Wide Toe Box Shoes

FACTOR #2: The Shape of the Toe Box (not just the width)

Every foot has a unique shape. Your toe profile might be squarish, angled in one direction, or symmetrical with the middle toe as the longest. Your longest toe might be your big toe, your second, or your third! Conventional pointy sole shapes often work well for sloped toes, but they can spell disaster for those of us with hobbit feet. Look for sole shapes that accommodate the natural topography of your toes, keeping in mind that some materials will conform to your feet more than others.

How to Spot the Best Wide Toe Box Shoes

FACTOR #3: Upper Materials Matter

The material of the upper surrounding your toes plays a big role in allowing natural foot movement. When upper material is too stiff or thick, it can crease across the toe box when you walk, resulting in irritation along the top of your feet. Over time this can lead to pain and blisters across the forefoot known as "flex bite" or "shoe bite."

How to Spot the Best Wide Toe Box Shoes

Shoe materials should also breathe. What good is it to have a wide toe box if your toes are sweating in a tightly sealed sauna? Look for uppers made of natural materials such as ethically tanned leather, linen, wool, or cotton. Avoid added synthetic liners or glues. Leather and other skins are far more breathable than any synthetic recreation.

At Softstar we value foot health, strength, and movement. We design shoes that allow feet to move, breathe, and mimic barefoot movement as much as possible. This fall, we are celebrating the addition of three wider offerings recently added to our product line-up.

  • The Rogue is now available in a wide width option while the regular version remains unchanged. This convenient, comfortable slip-on is inspired by our Moc3 athletic shoe.
  • Our quintessential Adult Phoenix sheepskin boot now has a wider, more rounded shape. The improved fit makes it more accommodating for a wider variety of foot shapes.
  • The Hawthorne Chukka, like the Rogue, is now available in a wide width option. The regular version remains unchanged. The supple leather and soft sole unite for comfortable all-day wearability.

We are dedicated to making as many feet happy as possible, and to that end we are delighted to bring these new product improvements to our customers. Wiggling your toes is usually a sign of happiness, and we are looking forward to helping you do just that!

Spot Best Wide Shoes

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