Hiking boots and walking shoes that fit properly for people with wider feet are essential for comfortable and enjoyable walking. Badly fitting ones can lead to sore feet and blisters. Especially painful are ones that are too tight, cramping your toes and rubbing on the sides of your feet. If you have wide feet, as I do, this can rule out most boots on the market.
Some brands do offer different widths in some models and there are a few boots that only come in a wide fit. Note though that because one model fits you that doesn’t mean a different one from the same brand will. Also, if you decide to replace worn-out boots with the same model you can’t assume the fit will have stayed the same. I’ve been caught out by this.
The key is to always try boots on, preferably in a store with trained boot fitters. The fitter should measure your feet for width and length and then suggest ones that should fit. When trying boots on don’t assume they will be fine if they feel ok sitting down or standing still. Walk round the shop and go up and down any stairs (the shop may have a ramp for this). Only if the boots still feel good should you go ahead and buy them.
Fit comes first when choosing boots. The most splendid-looking boots you’ve ever seen won’t feel splendid if they give you blisters. The same applies to boots raved about by reviewers like me. They need to fit your feet not mine.
That said, here is a selection of brands that offer hiking boots for wide feet in various styles. Every model won’t fit everyone with wide feet, but most people should find something here that fits.
Based in Yorkshire, bootmakers Altberg specialise in different hiking boots for wide feet. Six of their models come in 5 widths, including wide and extra wide. Two more models only come in a high volume and wide fit and another two have a slightly wide forefoot and a narrow heel. Altberg’s boots are traditional in style and made from leather or suede. Most have Sympatex waterproof/breathable inners. Models range from the 2-3 season Fremington Walking Boot, which weighs 1308 grams for a pair of size 9s and costs £209.99, to the Mallerstang Mountain Boot, a 3-4 season boot made from 2.8mm thick leather that weighs 1768 grams for a pair of size 9s and costs £264.99.
Best known for their trail running shoes (some of which are excellent for walking) Inov8 also makes some lightweight boots. Inov8 has a shoe width scale that runs from 1 to 5. 4 and 5 are the figures for wide feet. One that comes in the 5 width and fits me well is the Rocfly G 390. These have reinforced mesh uppers, excellent cushioning and tough graphene rubber soles. A pair of size 9s weighs just 780 grams. The Rocfly 6 390 is available with a Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable inner at £170 and without Gore-Tex at £160.
As well as eleven models with a wide fit Hanwag offers nine Bunion Boots. A bunion is a misalignment of the big toe that leads to a bony lump on the side of the foot. Hanwag says that research shows that some 23% of adults suffer from bunions and they are more common in women and older people. Because even a wide fitting boot might still put painful pressure on a bunion Hanwag developed a special last with a bulge at just the point where bunions form at the side of the base of the big toe. Many Hanwag boots come in both wide and bunion fits such as the Tatra II GTX, a leather boot weighing 1520 grams (size 8) that costs £275
Keen doesn’t offer footwear in different widths but several of the models (not all!) have a wide forefoot. A good example is the Targhee III, a boot made from leather and mesh with Keen’s proprietary Keen.Dry waterproof/breathable membrane inside. A pair of size 9s weighs 980 grams and the boots cost £145. I’ve worn Targhees extensively over the years and have found them excellent.
Meindl has sixteen walking boots and shoes with a wide fit, which Meindl calls Comfort Fit. The boots range from the lightweight £224.99 Orlando Mid GTX, which is designed for low level trail and urban walking, to the £314.99 Adamello GTX designed for year-round mountain walking. Both boots are made from nubuck leather and have Gore-Tex inside.