The Best Hiking Shoes For Men And Women With Wide, Narrow And Flat Feet (Over Pronation) For 2016

Boots For Wide Feet

If you’ve got wide feet, you’re going to need wide boots. Some boots run wider than others. But generally, it’s best to go with boots that have been made with the intention of fitting on wide feet. Whether a certain boot will be comfortable on your personal feet, depends on the situation. A ‘wide’ model might not be comfortable, while a normal (non wide) model might run wide, and fitting perfectly. Don’t even bother going on a long hike with boots that are too small for you. You will regret this decision, because it’s going to be a marathon of pain pretty much all the way following after the first 2 miles. There’s a good boot for everybody, so have a look at my wide selection below and take your pick!

ShoeBrandMaterialSoleMen/WomenMy Score

North Plains Mid Waterproof

ColumbiaSuede leather, textileRubberMen4.5

Woodburn Mid Wide

ColumbiaLeather, syntheticRubberMen4.0

Moab Ventilator Mid

MerrellLeather, meshVibramMen4.5

Targhee II Mid Wide

KEENLeatherRubberMen5.0

Altitude IV

Hi-TecLeather, textileRubberMen4.0

Altitude VI WP Wide

Hi-TecLeatherRubberMen4.0

Boots For Narrow Feet

It’s mostly women that suffer from narrow feet. This can be as much of a problem as having wide feet. When your feet are narrow, you are probably having a really hard time finding shoes and boots that fit well. I’m sure you find that most footwear is way too large for you. This is a super annoying problem, because you will never be able to stand firmly in a footwear that is too large. When going hiking, you stand a good chance of seriously hurting your ankles. Joint problems are the worst kind of problems. The cartilage in our joints should be taken good care of. Once it wears, there’s no growing it back. So here’s a good selection of narrow boots, especially for the ladies.

ShoeBrandMaterialSoleMen / WomenMy Score

Renegade GTX Mid

LowaLeatherVibramWomen4.5

Baffin Pro Backpacking

LowaNubuck leatherStiff vibram masaiWomen5.0

Cham Arc 2 Mid

MerrellLeatherVibramWomen4.5

Camino GTX

LowaLeather, syntheticVibramMen4.5

Outdoor Terrex Swift R GTX

AdidasMesh, syntheticTRAXIONMen4.5

Mountain Extreme 400 Insulated

KenetrekLeatherRubberMen4.0

Boots For Over/Under Pronation/Supination

If you have the misfortune of having been born with flat, low arch feet (like I myself have), then I am sure you will realize how important it is to have footwear that supports your feet really well. When your feet are flat, you are looking at a mountain of problems later down the road, if you don’t take your shoes seriously. Flat footed people will have over pronation, meaning the foot tilts inwards. This can really play a number on your knees. Some people have the opposite, where the feet tilt outwards. This is called over supination (or sometimes under pronation). Whether you’ve got over/under pronation/supination, you’re going to need boots that will plant you firmly. So have a look at these babies, which I have cherry picked for your convenience!

ShoeBrandMaterialSoleMen/WomenMy Score

Camino GTX

LowaLeather, syntheticVibramMen4.5

Ticam GTX Backpacking

LowaLeather, syntheticVimbram masaiMen4.5

Khumbu II GTX Trekking

LowaLeather, textileSyntheticMen4.0

Stynger GTX Light

AsoloSuedeLug soleWomen4.5

Baffin Pro Backpacking

LowaNubuck leatherVibram masaiWomen5.0

Momentum Snow GTX Winter

GarmontSynthetic, textileManmadeWomen4.0

Top 20 Hiking Boot Guides For 2016

In case you want the most up to date information on boots, be sure to check out my latest guides, updated for 2016! They list the top 20 best boots from 20 different brands. There’s something in there for everybody. It’s pretty much the last boot buying guide you’re ever going to need all year long!

Don’t just go out and buy any footwear you happen to stumble across. There are so many different boots and it’s really hard to pick the pair that is right for you. I’ve done all the research for you and it has taken me a long, loooooooong, loooooooooooong time. Help me feel like it was all worth it by reading my guides. I’m always happy to help out readers of the Boot Bomb!

Flat Feet

flat feetWhen you are suffering from a condition known as flat feet, then this basically means you have feet with collapsed arches. In people with flat feet, the entire sole of the foot makes contact with the ground. It can be full contact, or almost full contact. Most people who have flat (or low arch) feet, will not suffer pain because of this. Walking for longer periods can be hard for people whose feet are especially flat. If you just so happen to be fond of hiking, then having a flat or low arch feet can really put a big damper on your enjoyment of the sport. But fear not. You do not need to forget about your whole passion for the great outdoors, simply because your feet are flat. The best hiking boots for either men or women with flat feet, will offer the stability and the support you require in order for you to go on long hikes.

Why Are Special Shoes Needed For Persons With Flat Feet?

The arch connects the back of the foot with the front of the foot. The arch functions like a spring. If you are carrying a heavy backpack and you are traversing rocky terrains, then you will be exerting quite a strain on your foot. When you have a good arch in your foot, then this arch will absord a lot of the shock of walking on rough terrain. This means the shock will not travel up to the knee and even your thigh. If you have a very low arch, or it is completely absent, then your foot will roll inwards too much when you land. This excess of inwards rolling is referred to as overpronation. This overpronation is corrected by the ankles in order to give the rest of the body support and stability. This is the reason why flat feet people usually developed ankle and knee problems in greater numbers. It’s simply because they are missing the arch as a shock absorber. You need good shoes to make up for a flat arch.

When you are looking for good hiking shoes for flat feet, then you will want to look for shoes that provide you with good support. You will need a boot with an integrated arch, which will simulate the curvature of a non flat foot. This, in turn, will provide ankle protection. You will be able to endure more pressure and bear more weight.

Running shoes will often come with this kind of support. You will need to keep a look out for shoes with labels such as “stability” and “motion control”. These are the types of boots that will give you the most support. You do not want your shoes to be to flexible. Flexible looks nice at first glance, but the fact is that flexible shoes will also lack support in the heel areas.

Motion Control Hiking Shoes For Flat Feet

If you are going for hike boots with motion control, then you will need to have a pretty dense layer of foam right in the middle of the boot. Oftentimes, these foam layers will be described as ‘medial posts’. This is just shoemaker jargon. They use this term to describe the foam layer that is built in in order to provide you with the arch support you require in a good trekking boot. This kind of foam is usually made of polyurethane. It is a good material that has a habit of making shoes much more durable. Boots that are marketed as having motion control, will usually also have a foam layer such as this along the instep.

The more foam you’ve got in a boot, the heavier it is going to be. Usually, these kinds of boots will be heavier than the regular, non motion control ones. But it can be totally worth it, as motion control boots will protect your ankles, calves, knees and thighs from excessive stress, caused by over pronation. You need to be on the lookout for hiking boots with fitted heel cups. These will restrict the rotation of the ankle. Fitted heel cups will prevent you from twisting your ankle and injuring yourself painfully.

Stability Control Hiking Shoes For Flat Feet

Just because you have flat feet, it does not automatically mean you will require motion control shoes. It matters whether you have a low arch or no arch at all. If you have a low arch, then stability control boots might very well be good enough for your hikes. These kinds of shoes have a pretty thick foam layer that runs along the instep. These layers are often marked by a different color than the rest of the shoe. You can prevent excessive inward pronation by getting stability control shoes that feature such a foam layer. Boots with stability control also have a very structured cushioning that will ensure that the shoes are a good fit and it will also prevent excess motion of the feet within the shoe.

You might think that you are going to have a really hard time finding these kinds of boots. But there are plenty of good brands who manufacture them. Think of Brooks, Adidas, Saucony, Asics, Nike and New Balance just to name a few. There are plenty of others who manufacture hiking boots for men and women with flat feet and over pronation. Just make sure you pick the right pair for you, and you will never have to worry about aching feet and injury!

Wide Feet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you have any significant amount of experience with hiking, then you will realize how darned important it is to have the right kind of footwear. There is no way you will be able to take in all the beautiful scenery when you’ve got aching feet. There are many different brands of hiking footwear to be had. It really is not at all that very difficult to find a good pair for your average paor of feet. But it gets harder when you have feet which are wider than average. Most people do not know what to look for, so they will spend lots of time finding the right pair of boots for them. It costs more time when you don’t know which features are important. I have compiled this handy dandy guide that is going to help you close in on the best kind of boot for you.

Make Sure To Look For A Wide Toe Box

The front part of your shoes, the part that protects your toes, is appropriately called the toe box. By far the most hiking shoes will have pointy toe boxes, which is great for feet of average width. Most shoes are designed for average feet, because that’s what we have the most of in this world. But when you have a really wide foot, then you are going to have to get a boot that has very wide toe boxes. Having a wide toe box, means that the boot will be wider at the box than it is at the ball of the foot. The extra width is going to make it easier for your toes to get in proper alignment. This will make the boots more comfortable to wear. It can also help a great deal in preventing injuries to your ankle.

Not only will a good pair of boots be a snug fit, they will also feel comfortable while you are taking a walk, or a hike. Never buy shoes that are too tight for you. You are going to have a bad time if you do. You will not be able to enjoy your hike in nature with painful feet.

But today is your lucky day. These days, boot manufacturers realize how important it is that they also have wide toe box shoes in their inventory, especially for people who have feet that are wider than average. There are plenty of trekking boot brands that have these kinds of boots, such as for example KEEN, Rockport, Merrell, Wolverine, Hitckcock, Irish Setter, Columbia, New Balance, Caterpillar and Hunter. Shoes made for wide feeted people are usually labeled as such. So make sure that you find the exact right size for you, otherwise your feet will have way too much space in these boots.

What Is The Real Reason For Needing Special Boots For Wide Feet?

Not only is it very uncomfortable to have to walk around in shoes that are too tight. But you also run the very real risk of injuring your legs and your feet. You will not be able to enjoy your walk in the wilderness when you are constantly suffering from sore feet. When you are walking around in shoes that are too tight, then you can strain your muscles, tendons and ligaments. This can cause you serious knee trouble. When you have shoes that are too tight, you will also have a very difficult time balancing yourself on rocky terrains and hills.

A Size Guide For Wide Toe Box Boots

There are various standards for measuring shoe width. And these differ from one country to the next. Shoes have size labels right on the packaging. But these sizes will not tell you anything about the width of the shoes. They only say something about the length.

If you are living in the USA, then the size will usually have a letter next to it, which indicates the width of the shoe. You can have ‘wide’ and ‘extra wide’ for example.

If you’re looking at men’s hiking boots, they will usually have the letter “E” on the box. Right after the size number. An “E” indicates that you are looking at a shoe of average width. And the “2E” code means they are wide. A “4E” code means extra wide.

When you are looking at women’s hiking boots, then you need to be looking for either the letters “W” or “C/D”. Some manufacturers have been known to use “XW” or “E” on wide women’s hike shoes.

If you are living in Australia, a half size increase will usually also indicate that the shoe is wider. Only full sizes will indicate greater length. In Australia, Redback and Steel Blue are two of the most popular shoe brands. So let’s say you’re looking at a pair of shoes with size 10.5 made by these guys. This will then be a wider shoe than the regular size 10.

It’s a different story in the U. K. In this country, shoe sizes will usually indicate not only the length of the shoe, but also the widest part of it. But in the UK, not all manufacturers are using a single standard. So when you are getting a size 10 hiking boot from one manufacturer, it might very well be a different size than a size 10 from another manufacturer. You will still usually find a “wide fit” message on the packaging, though. There are plenty of manufacturers who will make extra wide boots and then they will put a message such as “extra wide fit” on the box.

Make Sure To Go For Good Return Policies

You are going to need a pair of very sturdy hiking boots if you intend to go on a hike and you have wide feet. Be sure to take into account all the sizing info I’ve provided you with above. If you are buying online, then this is extra important. And a return policy quickly becomes essential.

Comfort is the most important thing during hiking. Your enjoyment of the hiking trip is pretty much determined by how well your shoes fit.

Narrow Feet

narrow feetSo, you have narrow feet, eh? Most shoe makers will create boots that fit the biggest amount of feet.

But, there are still options for those who suffer from narrow feet. If, for example, you have used and liked Vasque Sundowners in the past, then you will need to go for a midweight boot that will let you hike frequently, assuming you backpack lightly. Does that make any sense? Take for example the L. L. Beans Cresta Hiker boots that are made of all leather. These are totally classic. They are a high cut boot, which are just fine for regular backpacking. But you can also use them for a day hike. You will have to look at the “B” code to make sure you get them for narrow feet. If you can find a pair of those, then those are going to work great for you. I have slightly smaller than average feet myself, and the regular Crestas are a really great fit for me.

Another shoe you might want to look at, is the La Sportiva Halite. This shoe does not come in various widths. It’s a mid height sort of boot. But you can still do multi day hikes on this. It also has a Gore-Tex liner. They will make you feel like you just put on a couple of snug slippers. You could also try the Trango Trek GTX boots. I’ve tried the S Evo ones myself. I have found them to be narrow in a very comfortable way. Good memories. Would buy another pair. Both the pairs I named have been built to last.

There are a number of shoe fitting tactics you can apply. The European sizing on shoe boxes is a good one to start. The Euro sizes have smaller increments and will therefore be closer fits. Good Euro boots are La Sportival and Scarpa, for instance. Also, do not be afraid to try out a women’s boot. They are built the exact same way, but they are a bit more narrow. No shame in wearing women’s boots when you are a men, as they are the exact same as men’s boots.

Another thing you can do, is go for after market retrofits. You can replace the standard insoles with superior quality insoles, such as the ones from Superfeet. Think about trying out the Superfeet Orange Premium Insoles, for instance. These have been made with the specific purpose of using up some extra space to make your hiking boots a better fit for narrow feet. Having a boot that is close to what your feet are asking for, will usually require a bit of insole tweaking in order to get it completely right.

Back to the Boot Bomb.

19 Comments

  1. In the last image ALL of the feet shown have hallux valgus. Even the ‘wide’ foot (EE). How about making shoes without tapered toe boxes that are not made to put your foot in a bunion position?

    • Altra has running and walking shoes that are great for “our” problem. I have the provision 2.5 in both. However I really need boots and am dead ending everywhere I look for a “proper” toe box and a zero to minimal drop work boot.

  2. I think from looking at the pics you posted its obvious, a tapered toe box will pull the big toe in thus creating a bunion, like all the pics in your article. Many like me many are of North American decent and have a square toe box, so if you read the doc that accompany the pics you would realize the issue at hand. Most shoes are made from European last vs North American, big difference. A square toe box allows the big toe to be strait and in line with the rest of the foot thus eliminating discomfort

  3. This is what they are referring to: https://www.altrarunning.com/run-better#FootShaped

    Almost ALL commercially available shoes have tapered toe boxes, so most people’s feet look like the feet shown on this page (including mine), but I am trying to change that and have switched to minimalist shoes with wider toe boxes (altra has a wide toe box, but the soles are now thick on their shoes). I also use Correct Toes (toe spacers).

    It is actually really difficult to find shoes that truly do not taper the inside of the shoe so it pushes the big toe inward. I have a narrow foot, so buying “wide” shoes is not an option for me as it won’t fit my heel and mid-foot. I want a narrow shoe with a wide toe box. I have a few pairs of Soft Star shoes now, but I am going to take a workshop next month and learn to make my own custom shoes and am also waiting for a custom pair of moccasin boots to be made.

    These are some companies that make minimalist shoes with a wider toe box (not on ALL their shoes though):

    http://otzshoes.com/
    http://www.lemsshoes.com/
    http://www.softstarshoes.com/adult-shoes.html
    http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us

  4. Brian, Thanks so much for this. It truly helps. Reading the comments I saw the person talking about the tapered toe box vs square toe box. I am one of those people who have 3 toes of the same length (big toe and the next 2) Sizing up means the ball of the foot is not in the right place in the boot. Aside from that what do recommend for people with combination feet. ie Wide or medium toe box with narrow heals and narrower ankles? If I find one that fits my forefoot the heals shifts around way too much= blisters and not supported ankles.
    Thanks Penny

    • Hi Penny,

      What a dilemma you are facing!

      First of all, you’ve gotta keep those heels in place. Insoles with a deep heel cup might help. One important criteria is that you get shoes that will fit snugly around the heel, otherwise it will never be comfortable.

      You can always stretch footwear to greater sizes, but shrinking it back to smaller ones… that’s a bit tougher. Whichever shoes you end up choosing… makes sure the heels fit. If the toe box is too cramped, visit a shoe repair guy near you and ask him to stretch the shoes where they hurt the most!

      Sincerely,

      Brian

  5. Hi

    This is a very useful site thanks, yet what I think people with bad pronation problems need is custom made orthotics with heel posting. I do have these, made from a cast of the foot, yet the problem is that given the size of the unit, particularly the raised heel, most off the shelf shoes simply are not cut for it. What would be useful is some shoes which are cut for the thicker unit and supplied without foot-beds.

    • Hi Darryl,

      Genius minds think alike. I’ve had this train of thought many times in my life.

      On the upside, a lot of shoes come with removable footbeds. That’s almost as good as coming with no footbed at all!

      The personalized comfort you desire is coming in the future though. The advent of 3D printers will no doubt leave their mark on the footwear industry.

      One day, we shall walk with the comfort that people of days gone by could only dream of!

      Sincerely,

      Brian

  6. Hi Darryl

    I have very small feet and on my left foot the big toe is gong across creating a completely painless bunion – unless I wear walking boots then my bunion foot becomes very painful. . My foot size is 1 UK or 33 EU. I have found boots what are made for those with bunions but not my size. On my ‘bunion’ foot I have toes that are the same length. Physically I could walk for miles however my feet are never happy. My podiatrist has provided me with a special insole to help which it does onto a degree.. I really don’t know what to do about new boots. Any advice would be so gratefully received. BTW my existing boots have round toe shape. I have also had them for many years and such is my despair in buying new boots I had the.m completely refurbished, new soles, new inners etc, etc etc.

    I would be so grateful for any advice that you give me.

    • Hi Patti,

      The name’s Brian. Other than that, thanks for taking the time to comment!

      As for your boot problem… there are plenty of really great boots out there that are going to fit just fine once you’ve broken them in. And some don’t even require that much breaking in at all.

      Why don’t you have a look at my most recent ladies’ boots page to see if you can find something in there to your liking?

      Number 18 is a therapeutic (diabetic) boot by Dr. Comfort. Those are built with supreme comfortability in mind.

      Does this help?

      Sincerely,

      Brian

  7. Thank you so much. However, I live in the UK and the boots you recommend don’t appear to be available. I tried to buy directly from USA but the sites I have looked at do not ship to UK. is there further help you could give me?

  8. Brian

    Thank you so much for the time you spent trying to help with my boot problem. I think the information you provided has equipped me well to go hunting around in the brick & mortar boot shops here. I will go on my quest with a lot more knowledge than I did have.

    Many thanks
    Patti

  9. Hello there

    I am contacting you from Melbourne Australia. Have you previously shipped to Australia?

    I have serious problems with my feet. I have a very wide foot and very high instep. I wear orthotics in all shoes.

    My size is 11 in English shoes or a generous 45 in European sizes. Please let me know what is the matching US size?

    I am going on a hiking holiday in January and urgently need some suitable shoes. Ideally waterproof but not too heavy as I also suffer from hot feet.

    Does the North Plains range suit my needs or do you have a better recommendation.

    I look forward to hearing from you

    Tom Borsky

    • Hi Tom,

      The Boot Bomb itself holds no stock and does not ship. You’ll have to click through to Amazon to see the footwear you want to read more about.

      When you do, you’ll see a link named ‘size chart’ on the footwear’s product page. Click this, and a popup will open up, showing you the sizes of US, UK and Europe next to each other.

      You say you want something not too heavy, so shoes would definitely be better than boots. North Plains are good. But if you’re looking for more suggestions, I have a page dedicated to all the best hiking shoes.

      If you’re looking for good support in your new shoes, I have a page up good orthotics too!

      Sincerely,

      Brian

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