If you were “blessed” with being born with non-standard feet sizes, trying to find shoes in a regular shoe store is … let’s just say that you would have better odds at winning the mega jackpot on PlayCroco Casino.
Buy a Brannock Device
There are some shoe stores that specialize in non-standard shoe sizes. There are some that specialize in providing good customer service. But in a lot of stores, the sales clerk just expects you to guess. And if you end up visiting a really bad shoe store, you will end up with the sales clerk who wants to just sell you the shoe they have in stock and they do not care if the shoe is actually the correct shoe for you.
“I would like a 6 x-wide shoe please”. “No, you want a 6.5 shoe.” “No, I want a size 6 x-wide.” “No, You want a size 6.5 or a size 7”.
I “politely” handed the shoe back to the clerk and walked out.
The sales clerk may not know how to measure feet properly, but I know how to measure my feed properly. If you want to know how to properly measure your feet, watch the YouTube video “How to use a Brannock Device“. The devices come in US, UK, EU, and Centimeter versions, and they all work essentially the same way. Why all shoe stores do not invest in at least one of these devices, I don’t know.
But good thing there is the internet.
Know your brands
The internet is great … once you know what brand to look for. But shoes are something where at least in the beginning, you need to visit an actual store and try on the shoe. Plus, well-designed shoe stores will set up their website so you can filter by width and shoe size. But be careful. Some stores will say that they have “X-wide”, but when you look at the actual pages for a specific shoe, you soon realize that they have “regular/wide” and “x-wide”. So is the x-wide really x-wide or is it just wide?
From my experience, the companies that truly want to cater to the X-wide (or x-narrow) market, do not group “regular” and “wide” into the same category. Either the shoe size is regular or the shoe size is wide. It cannot be both at the same time.
When you DO find the shoe company that truly caters to the x-narrow and x-wide shoe sizes, you may not get a wide selection. If fact, you might just find one or two designs that come in just white or black and maybe gray. But at least the shoe fits according to measurable standards.
You will not get the sales clerk that says, “Well, every shoe can have a different length and a different width. We just don’t know.”
No, if the company is following standards for length and width, there should not be differences. A size 6 x-wide in brand A should be the exact same length and width as a size 6 x-wide in brand B. So when they are not, especially with two different models within the same brand, the brand cannot be trusted (nor any other measurements of items on their website).
The only exception would be boots where they may run wider to accommodate thicker socks. But that is the exception.
Stride Rite stores excel is great customer service. They not only sell shoes in X-wide (XW) shoe size, but they always have plenty of Brannock devices in their stores and all of the sales clerks in the stores, know how to properly measure feet… especially growing children’s feet.
But once a child gets beyond 8 years old, they are going to have to change to a different brand of shoes.
Saucony is another brand that sells X-wide shoes. On the Stride Rite website, you will see X-wide shoes for “Big Kids” or “Youth”, but those are not made by Stride Rite. They are made by Saucony. I do not know if the two brands are connected or if it is just marketing.
Saucony also sells shoes for women and men that are X-wide.
For women, there are only 2 options to choose from. Although the “Women’s Integrity Walker 3” comes in black, white, and gray, and from personal experience, I can tell you that they are very comfortable shoes. My feet are very happy right now in them. 😁👣
For men, you get the same exact options for X-wide as the women get (but I would assume that they are designed for men’s shoe sizes).
Although the selection is limited, the black shoes are simple enough that unless you really need more formal shoes, they would be acceptable in most work environments.
New Balance sells shoes in size x-wide for:
- Infants and toddlers (0 – 2 years)
- Little Kids (4 – 8 years)
- Big Kids or Youth (8 – 12 years)
For Women, New Balance sells shoes in widths:
- Narrow (2A)
- Standard (B)
- Wide (D)
- X-Wide (2E)
- XX-Wide (4E)
Note: Widths are labeled differently in the UK and the EU.
For men, New Balance comes in
- X-Narrow (2A)
- Narrow (B)
- Standard (D)
- Wide (2E)
- X-wide (4E)
- XX-Wide (6E)
New Balance has a lot more selection, but most of them look like athletic shoes. If you are looking for ones that can pass as “office shoes”, you are again limited to just a couple of choices.
Although, they do have black work boots with a reinforced toe area. On the opposite end, New Balance also sells sandals in X-wide.
Next is another store that claims to sell X-wide shoes. But I am not sure if I would trust their shoes unless you can go to the UK and actually visit one of their stores and try on the shoes.
For children, the only option for X-wide shoes is their “school shoes”. Those shoes only come in black. In the UK, width is called “fit” and X-wide is referred to as “H”.
- School leather single strap
- School leather double strap
- Dinosaur sole leather (the bottom of the shoe shows a dinosaur footprint – very cool!)
- School leather elastic lace
- School lace up
- Clark leather double strap
- School leather single strap
- Clark Sky Scrape, 3 straps
- School leather loafers
- Clarks Multi Fit Leather Loxham Pace Youth Shoes
- Clarks blacks Flare (double strap)
If you are looking for more a dressier shoe for kids that comes in wide, then these are the shoes to look at.
The only problem is that I bought the elastic lace shoe in size 4.5 X-wide. Then I bought the lace-up shoes in 5.5 X-wide. The 4.4 X-wide shoes were wider than the 5.5 shoes. Changing from elastic laces to regular laces should not change the width of the shoe, especially when it is the same brand.
The Next website claims that it has 251 women’s X-wide shoes, but when I looked at individual shoes, they all had two widths: “regular/wide” and “X-wide”. I am glad that they have wide shoes, but I have never heard of a company that truly specializes in X-wide shoes only having two widths of “regular/wide” and “x-wide”. So is it really X-wide or is it just wide? It is great that they have 251 styles of shoes in “X-wide” (wide in reality), but it is the fact that there is no consistency in their own brand’s shoe width, that I would not trust the website’s labeling of these shoes as actually being “X-wide”.
Yes, I understand that some brands “run wide”, but when you are buying from the internet and do not have the ability to try on the shoes, playing games with words does not give confidence to your customers.
For men, they only list 2 X-wide shoes. Actually, there are none, because of the two shoes, neither one of them lists the width of the shoe.
I should note that the “youth” shoes go up to size 8, so if you have smaller feet, the youth size might fit you.