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The Best Wide Toe Box Running Shoes in 2022

 

Whatever type of running you enjoy, there’s nothing worse than experiencing chafing, blisters, or even worse problems from shoes that are too tight.

One of the most prominent problems runners face is finding shoes that fit their wide feet properly. As current research shows, there are significant benefits to shoes that allow toes to spread naturally.

When it comes to wide toe box running shoes, there are a few brands–such as Altra– that have positioned themselves as leaders in the industry. However, there are plenty of options at every price point and comfort level.

Finding great wide toe box running shoes for your next road or trail run is easy. We particularly like the Altra Torin 6, it has a unique foot-shaped toe box, a zero-drop platform for natural running form, and a tight but comfortable heel cup for great stability.

Here’s the full list of shoes we recommend if you’re looking for something with space in the forefoot.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

 

Altra Torin 6

 

  • Sleeker heel cup for better positioning
  • Zero-drop with a 6mm footbed
  • Mesh upper gives breathability
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Altra Provision 6

 

  • Guiderail technology for support
  • Moderate cushioning in addition to support measures
  • Wide toe box
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Altra Timp 4

 

  • Relatively heavy at just over 11 ounces
  • Reinforced outsole prolongs the life of the shoes
  • Both zero-drop and wide toe box features
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Best Overall

1. Altra Torin 6

The Altra Torin 6 is versatile and comfortable—everything you need in a shoe. The wide toe box is an extra comfy bonus!

What We Like

The Torin 6 has Altra’s classic FootShape toe box, which allows your toes to splay naturally and your forefoot to rest comfortably without being restricted.

It’s also a max cushioned shoe, featuring 28 mm of EgoMax foam underfoot. It’s the ideal balance of responsive and shock-absorbing, making these shoes suitable for quick runs or long-distance training.

A solid, molded heel counter locks your foot in the right place so you can take full advantage of shoe’s support. It’s worth noting that this shoe, like all Altras, has a zero-drop platform, which offers an exceptional ground feeling underfoot.

The shoe is also surprisingly light, hitting just over 7 oz for a women’s size 8.5, and 10.5 oz for a men’s size 10.5.

On the outsole, a unique FootPod design is made to move with the natural motion of the foot. Multiple flex grooves make for a flexible heel-to-toe transition. It’s also grippy enough to be safe and secure on many different surfaces.

Why We Like It

The perfectly-balanced cushioning, versatile arch support, and comfortably-shaped toe box of the Torin 6 make it an excellent choice for almost all wide-footed runners.

What to Consider

The tongue of the Torin 6 is thin and hard. While some people may find this to be helpful as you can get a better lockdown on your foot, others have mentioned that it cuts into the top of their ankle and causes discomfort.

What’s New

EogMax foam replaces the old Torin’s Quantic foam midsole and provides a few millimeters more padding.

The upper has also been revamped and features more padding around the collar and a better, more dialed-in fit.

PROS:

  • The foot-shaped forefoot gives your toes plenty of room to spread out naturally
  • Great balance of responsive, bouncy, and cushioned Altra EgoMax foam
  • The built-in arch support is suitable for all arch heights, including high arches
  • Molded heel counter offers a secure and comfortable locked-in feel

CONS:

  • The thin, hard tongue may be sharp on the ankle
 

Top Runner-Up

2. Altra Escalante 3

The Escalante shares many of its great features with the Torin 5, but it’s a better choice for those who want to run at an easy, relaxed pace rather than speed. The midsole is softer than responsive making it perfect for recovery runs.

What We Like

You’ll find the classic Altra forefoot shape too; a broad toe box to allow your toes all the space they need.

They also feature the typical zero-drop platform, placing your feet in a more natural position. You’ll be pleased to know that the 24 mms of Ego foam midsole offers good arch support and soft, comfortable cushion.

The knit upper is soft and luxurious. It stretches enough to accommodate a wide variety of feet and has good breathability to it.

You’ll notice that the outsole looks different from the first shoe. Strategically-placed pieces of thick rubber cover the heel, swirl up into the midfoot, and cover most of the toe area.

Although the outsole rubber looks fairly smooth, it actually has some good grip to it on a number of different surfaces.

Why We Like It

The Altra Escalante 3 is a great fit for runners who need extra space in the forefoot. It also has a soft, comfy midsole that’s both protective and supportive. All—in—all, it’s a fairly versatile shoe that’s a little softer and slower than our first choice.

What to Consider

While this shoe offers great space in the forefoot, the upper is a little less supportive than others. It can make it difficult to get a good lockdown on your foot.

It would work for casual runners who don’t mind a bit of a loose fit, but some runners won’t like the loose feeling.

What’s New

The 3 has a softer upper than the previous version. The insole has been revamped to be more durable and the midsole is a bit softer. It’s also almost an ounce lighter.

PROS:

  • Roomy toe box has ample space for your toes to spread naturally
  • The soft, supportive knit upper stretches to accommodate a variety of foot shapes
  • Ego midsole foam provides a soft, responsive, and cushioned ride
  • A versatile shoe that can be used for recovery runs or training runs

CONS:

  • The upper lacks support and is hard to get a good lockdown
 

Best Stability Shoe

3. Altra Provision 6

Overpronators who need both extra support in the arch and a roomy forefoot will love the Provision 6. It’s got all the classic Altra features plus a little extra.

What We Like

Like other Altras, you can expect to find a zero-drop platform and a comfortable, spacious forefoot on this shoe.

The upper is plush and accommodating, allowing for plenty of space not only in front of your toes, but above them as well.

An added feature that overpronators will be pleased about is the GuideRail system; it’s not just a post inside the midsole. Instead, the midsole foam extends upwards on the medial side of the shoe, offering extra support.

The great thing about this system is that it doesn’t feel uncomfortable or intrude on your natural stride. If your feet begin to roll, it kicks in and stops it from happening. But you don’t feel it sticking into your arch on every step.

You can customize the amount of support to an extent by lacing your shoes tighter or looser. That being said, lockdown is one of the things that some users have complained about on this shoe.

The contoured footbed provides excellent and well-placed arch support. EGO midsole foam provides a bit of a snap on the toe-off and it’s great for those who like a bit of a firmer feeling underfoot.

A thick layer of strategically-placed, textured rubber on the outsole keeps you safe and secure on a number of different surfaces.

Why We Like It

Overpronators with wide feet will appreciate the spacious toe box and the GuideRails and InnovArch features that protect your arches. Your feet will stay safe and comfortable in all the ways that count with these shoes on your feet!

What to Consider

There may be some heel slippage when wearing these shoes. This is partly due to the shape of the heel and partly due to the laces being a tad too short to get a great lockdown on the foot.

What’s New

This shoe has received quite a lot of updates since the 5. Firstly, it’s lost almost an ounce of weight!

The upper of the Provision 6 has been updated to create a slimmer fit than the previous versions, and it’s more breathable too!

There’s a new foam in the midsole—Altra EGO foam, rather than the 5’s Ultralight EVA. They’ve also added a bit more rubber to the outsole for extra traction.

PROS:

  • Plush, lightweight, and breathable upper with ample wiggle room for your toes
  • GuideRail System is connected to your laces providing adjustable support
  • Contoured footbed cradles and supports your foot in all the right places
  • Outsole has a thick layer of rubber that offers excellent grip on a variety of surfaces

CONS:

  • There may be some heel slippage in this shoe
 

Best for Wide Heels

4. New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12

Sometimes you need a shoe that’s wide throughout, not just in the toe box. The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 is the shoe for those with all-wide feet.

What We Like

The 1080 v12 is a max cushioned shoe for those with neutral feet. Unlike the Altras, this shoe has a more standard heel-to-toe drop of 8 mm.

It has a wide and stable base that provides a solid platform for your foot. One of the best things about this shoe is the rocker sole, although the platform is extremely stable, your foot still rolls nicely through the transition.

The shoe has a traditional padded heel that hugs the Achilles firmly without being restrictive. It does keep the foot in place quite effectively, although it may be too spacious on narrow heels.

A Hypoknit upper conforms to your foot and stretches to accommodate feet of all shapes. The toe box is very elastic, which provides more space and comfort for your toes.

Fresh Foam X in the midsole is plush and soft, great for long runs or moderately paced training sessions. Extensive rubber coverage on the outsole offers you great traction on multiple surfaces.

Why We Like It

New Balance shoes are made for the wide-footed runner, and the 1080 v11 runs wide enough throughout the midfoot and heel to suit those with wide heels as well. It’s got a comfortable fit, a great lockdown on your feet, and rocker geometry to ease foot fatigue.

What to Consider

The 1080v12 runs slightly long, so the manufacturer recommends going a half size down from your usual size in order to get a good fit.

What’s New

The heel counter has been updated to be more robust. There’s also an improved upper, and these work together to eliminate the heel slippage problem the previous model had.

It also has a slightly wider platform and a 4 mm higher stack height. It does come in at ¼ ounce heavier than the previous version.

PROS:

  • Versatile, daily-trainer that can be used for long, moderate, or progressive runs
  • Traditional, padded heel counter offers a comfortable, secure, locked-in feel
  • Rocker geometry allows for smooth and seamless transitions
  • Wide, stable base adds stability to the running experience

CONS:

  • The shoe runs a little large, so it’s a good idea to go half a size down
 

Most Cushioned

5. Altra Paradigm 6

This may be a stability shoe, but the stability feature is unobtrusive and only kicks in when needed. That makes this shoe excellent for both neutral runners and overpronators. Either way, it’s got a lot of comfy cushioning!

What We Like

30 mm of EgoMax foam in the midsole provides a comfortable, cushioned platform for your feet. It’s plush, but still delivers a good amount of bounce as you run.

There’s good arch support in the shoe, made better by InnovArch technology. Interestingly, this tech is more in the upper of the shoe. It wraps around the inside of the arch and supports it once you’ve laced your shoes up tightly.

Wide-footed runners will be happy with the fit. The toe box is, of course, spacious. In this case, so is the midfoot and the heel.

The stability features are light but effective for overpronators. A GuideRail—a piece of foam cushioning in the medial side of the shoe—prevents the foot from rolling inward.

If you have a neutral foot, the good news is that you can still comfortably wear these shoes. The support only comes in when needed, otherwise, you don’t feel it much.

It’s comfortable out of the box and doesn’t require any breaking-in period. You might only need some time to get used to it if you’ve never run in a zero-drop shoe before.

Why We Like It

The Paradigm 6’s substantial cushioning is both plush and slightly bouncy. It offers the perfect combination of features for those who need a cushioned and supportive ride.

What to Consider

While we’re focusing on wide toe boxes, the Paradigm 6 is wide throughout. If your midfoot and heel are on the narrower side, you’ll most likely find the fit of this shoe to be a bit large.

The InnovArch technology is designed to help, but it doesn’t work as well on narrow feet and could be uncomfortable.

What’s New

The EgoMax midsole is an update, adding both softness and bounce. There’s also updated InnovArch technology in the shoe, for better support. The upper is more minimalist than before, and the shoe is lighter.

PROS:

  • Thick slab of EgoMax foam delivers a supportive and cushioned ride
  • GuideRails gently guide your feet helping you to maintain good running form
  • InnovArch technology provides a snug, supportive, and comfortable fit
  • Comfortable out of the box with no break-in period needed

CONS:

  • The shoe runs slightly large throughout, so it’s not great for narrow feet
 

Top Lightweight Gym Shoe

6. Altra Solstice XT 2

If you like to hit the gym when you’re not running, the Altra Solstice XT 2 is a great choice. It’s light and sleek, and the zero-drop platform is great for heavy lifting.

What We Like

When you’re doing squats, lunges, and deadlifts, the last thing you want is chafing on your toes. The wide toe box of the Altra Solstice XT 2 is perfect for comfort in the gym.

A firm cage on the upper offers excellent stability. There’s also built-in toe protection, so you’re safe from an accidental bump, but don’t drop a weight on your foot!

At around 10 ounces in weight, it’s still fairly light. Certainly light and flexible enough for you to perform dynamic movements with ease and a full range of mobility.

Another feature that makes it great for fast, dynamic movement is the herringbone-patterned outsole. It offers traction for changing direction quickly.

The zero-drop platform is great for heavy lifting, planting you firmly on the ground in a natural stance during exercise.

Why We Like It

The Altra Solstice XT 2 offers a wide fit and all the features a serious gym-goer could want; plus the ability to run for short distances. Perfect for getting in your weight training and a bit of cardio.

What to Consider

This shoe is an excellent choice for the gym and can quite easily handle short runs or sprints as part of your exercise routine. However, you won’t be able to go for a long run in these, they’re definitely more of a cross-training shoe than an actual running shoe.

It’s also increased in weight quite significantly from the previous version—almost 2 ounces. If you want a lightweight shoe, this may not be the one.

What’s New

The XT 2 is one of the few shoes we’ve seen that has increased rather drastically in weight since its previous iteration. It’s 1.6 ounces heavier, which could be a dealbreaker for some.

The upper has been revamped with a firmer cage-like structure, which provides a better lockdown on the foot.

PROS:

  • Excellent balance between stability and flexibility lets you perform dynamic exercises with ease
  • Zero drop allows for a natural stance, ideal for good form when lifting heavy
  • Durable upper with firm cage and reinforced toe
  • Herringbone-patterned outsole offers great traction for multi-directional movements

CONS:

  • Not great for running long distances
  • Significantly heavier than the previous version
 

Most Eco-Friendly

7. Topo Magnifly 4

Some brands are beginning to take steps to make their shoes more eco-friendly, and this is Topo’s offering. With an upper made from recycled plastic bottles, you can feel both stable and good about the planet with these on your feet.

What We Like

Every pair of Topo Magnifly 4s has an upper that’s crafted from 3 plastic water bottles. You’d never think it, as the upper is soft, padded, and breathable.

For wide feet, the platform is stable and safe, keeping your foot in a neutral position. The toe box is shaped similar to the Altra, with plenty of space for your toes to splay.

A dual-density ZipFoam midsole offers both soft comfort and a touch of energy return, making for enjoyable runs, both long and short.

The outsole is generously layered with rubber in the forefoot and heel, upping the durability of the shoe and keeping you safe on almost any surface.

Why We Like It

If you like the idea of wearing a comfy shoe and knowing that you’ve made a difference to the planet, then these recycled-material shoes are a great choice.

What to Consider

This shoe, although eco-friendly, is designed for new runners. If you’re an experienced runner looking for something to boost performance, this isn’t going to be it. It hasn’t quite got the pop necessary for speedy runs.

What’s New

This version is a little lighter than the previous one, thanks to a reduction of about a millimeter of rubber on the outsole.

PROS:

  • Breathable upper is made from recycled plastic water bottles
  • Generously wide platform prevents your foot from crashing medially or laterally
  • Dual-density midsole is soft and energetic, making your runs enjoyable
  • Rubber outsole provides a great grip on any surface and will hold up for many miles

CONS:

  • Designed for new runners, so experienced athletes may not enjoy this shoe
 

Top Lightweight Stability Shoe

8. Topo Ultrafly 4

Stability shoes can be heavy and cumbersome, but not this one. The Topo Ultrafly 4 weighs less than 10 ounces and has a comfortably wide toe box.

What We Like

This is a stability shoe, but it weighs just under 10 ounces. By most standards, it’s lightweight and easier to wear than most other chunky and cumbersome stability shoes.

It also offers a roomy toe box that gives you plenty of space for the forefoot and toes to rest comfortably. The heel cup, on the other hand, hugs the rearfoot snugly and offers inherent stability and comfort.

This secure feeling is helped by the air mesh upper, which contours to the foot and helps you get a great lockdown. Two unobtrusive lateral laces keep the flat laces in the right place so you can really cinch down without discomfort.

In the midsole, the 3-piece EVA ZipFoam midsole with a 5 mm drop encourages a natural gait without the drastic feeling of a zero-drop platform. It’s surprisingly zippy and great for short to mid-distance runs.

Why We Like It

It’s stable but surprisingly light. The shoe is also comfy for those who want some extra space in the forefoot.

What to Consider

The grippiness of the outsole is a little questionable. It’s best to keep these shoes for well-maintained roads where there’s little chance of needing extra help on rough ground.

What’s New

The previous version’s triple-density midsole has been replaced with a ZipFoam midsole. The upper has also been renewed, making it more breathable.

An updated heel counter keeps you stable, and the collar and tongue have been slightly more padded. The shoe has lost a few grams since the last version as well.

PROS:

  • Airy upper securely locks your foot and the roomy toe box lets your toes splay naturally
  • Non-intrusive medial post encourages a natural gait
  • Slim external heel counter hugs your heel and provides a feeling of security
  • Lacing guide on the tongue holds it in place throughout your run

CONS:

  • The outsole is not the most grippy, so it would be best for well-maintained roads
 

Most Cushioned Stability Shoe

9. HOKA Gaviota 4

Hoka shoes are known for their max cushioning, and the Gaviota is the best choice of stability shoe if you want some serious padding underfoot.

What We Like

Featuring the classic chunky Hoka cushioning and plush foam ankle collar and tongue, the Hoka Gaviota 4 is cushioned everywhere you need it to be.

The stability features are highly effective. An internal heel counter holds your foot firmly in position. The upper uses an H-frame lacing system, which is designed to help you cinch down tightly but comfortably for a custom lockdown.

In the midsole, you’ll find a J-frame. This is a J-shaped section of dense foam, positioned in the medial side of the shoe to stop overpronators from rolling their feet and getting injured.

The midsole is constructed of EVA foam, and has a surprising amount of bounce to it. A 5 mm drop is right in between, not so high that it places pressure on the forefoot but not so low it hurts your calf muscles.

Those who want a wide toe box will be pleased. Hokas run naturally wide, so there’s plenty of room both in width and depth. The wide platform also provides a stable platform, countering out the high stack height.

A Meta-Rocker built into the sole is the final feature that makes this shoe great. While your feet are well-supported, it facilitates an easy heel-to-toe transition and peppy toe-off.

Why We Like It

There’s plenty of cushion underfoot, and although it’s fairly stiff, it offers excellent shock absorption. Hoka also has a naturally wide fit, so those who want a spacious toe box will appreciate the fit.

What to Consider

Despite the max cushioning, the Gaviota 4 isn’t soft underfoot. It’s got a much more stiff feeling than you might expect. If you want soft, plush comfort, this isn’t the shoe!

Also, the laces are extra long. You’ll most likely need to do a bit of experimenting to figure out what’s the most comfortable way to tie them.

What’s New

The upper is where most of the changes have been made. A stable heel counter has been added and there’s extra padding in the ankle collar and tongue.

There’s also 2 mm more foam in the midsole. These changes have added a little less than an ounce to the weight of the shoe.

PROS:

  • Thick layer of EVA midsole foam is bouncy underfoot with a good amount of spring with each step
  • J-Frame provides light support and guides your feet so you maintain good form
  • H-Frame upper enhances the support and allows for a customized lockdown
  • Late-stage Meta-Rocker rolls your feet into toe-off

CONS:

  • Despite the cushioning, this shoe feels stiff underfoot
 

Best Classic Stability Shoe

10. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

Brooks is another fan favorite, and the Adrenaline GTS 22 is a no-fuss, classic-design stability shoe to keep you safe and secure.

What We Like

Brooks fans will appreciate this stability shoe. It features unobtrusive GuideRails that only come into play when they’re needed, making this shoe good for both overpronators and neutral runners.

The system consists of strips of foam along the lateral and medial side of the midsole, visible on the outside. This forms a sturdy heel counter that prevents dangerous movement of the foot.

A plush midsole made of DNA LOFT foam is soft, comfortable, and lightweight. It does a good job of absorbing shock.

Underfoot, there’s a segmented crash pad that also reduces vibration and protects the foot, while offering some energy return at the same time.

Why We Like It

There’s nothing too fancy about the Brooks Adrenaline 22. It’s a classic stability shoe but with an unobtrusive stability feature and it does its job well. If you’re looking for something simple but supportive, this works well.

What to Consider

The Adrenaline 22 is stiff underfoot. The outsole and midsole don’t flex much while you’re running, which could be off-putting to some.

Although the cushion is soft, the stiff outsole makes the shoe a little dull on the road, so those who want some bounce may be disappointed with it.

What’s New

The midsole now features only one foam, DNA LOFT. They’ve also refined the 3D Fit Print technology on the upper, making the upper more structured but still flexible.

PROS:

  • Versatile daily trainer that can be used for long runs, recovery runs, and up-tempo work
  • Soft and supportive foam cushioning that offers a slightly responsive ride
  • GuideRail system provides more stability through the midfoot
  • Segmented Crash Pad absorbs shock and provides smooth transitions

CONS:

  • The shoe is stiff and doesn’t flex much underfoot
 

Best Trail Shoe

11. Altra Timp 4

Trail runners who need a shoe that fulfills their every need—including space in the toe box—will enjoy the Altra Timp 4.

What We Like

The Timp 4 offers all the Altra features for comfort and effectiveness. What makes it excellent for the trails is the MaxTrac outsole, which features differently-shaped lugs for traction on rough ground.

Like all Altras, you can expect plenty of room for your toes and a more snug fit in the midfoot and heel, locking the foot in effectively.

The zero-drop platform encourages a natural gait, which can be an advantage on uneven ground.

On the upper you’ll find abrasion-resistant overlays, which extends the life of your shoes by helping prevent damage.

Quantic foam in the midsole is lightweight but effectively absorbs shock and reduces fatigue in the feet and legs.

There’s also a handy Gaitertrap hook-and-loop tab that you can attach your gaiters to—designed specifically for Altra products.

Why We Like It

The Timp 4 has a wide toe box, grippy, multi-directional lugs underfoot, and fatigue-reducing cushioning. All you need for a day on the trails!

What to Consider

The toe box is sufficiently wide, but it’s lacking a little in depth. If you have high arches or a particularly high-volume foot, you may find that the upper rubs uncomfortably on the top of your toes.

What’s New

The forefoot has changed shape slightly to provide more space. They’ve added overlays to the sides of the shoe for extra support. The heel cup has also been redesigned to offer a better, more padded fit.

These upgrades have added almost an ounce onto the weight of the shoe. It weighs around 11 ounces, which some may consider too heavy.

PROS:

  • Foot-shaped, rounded toe box offers a wider-fit with a snug fit in the midfoot and heel
  • Durable, mesh upper with abrasion-resistant overlays
  • Lightweight cushioning lets you log the miles while reducing fatigue and late-onset soreness
  • MaxTrac outsole with canted lugs is grippy throughout the entire foot on a variety of surfaces

CONS:

  • Not a lot of depth in the toe box
  • A little on the heavy side
 

Top Runner-Up Trail Shoe

12. Altra Lone Peak 6

The Lone Peak is one of Altra’s most popular shoes. It’s robust and just looks like it’s built for the trails!

What We Like

The MaxTrac outsole features chevron-shaped lugs in multiple directions, providing excellent traction on rough terrain.

It also uses Trail Claw technology, which features sizable lugs at the front of the shoe that work with the natural movement of your toes to form a claw-like grip.

The woven air mesh upper features overlays for increased support and a better lockdown, which adds to the protection when side sloping.

There’s also a reinforced toe guard that protects your toes from bumps and bruises against rocks and other hazards.

EGO foam in the midsole provides a great mix of cushioned comfort and responsive bounce, ideal for casual runs or competition.

Why We Like It

The Lone Peak 6 is built on a classic, spacious last so it’s great for wider-footed runners. It delivers everything you need on the trails, from upper to outsole.

What to Consider

The Lone Peak’s heel is on the wider side, which may not fit well for some runners. Sizing down to fit the heel properly may result in a narrower toe box!

What’s New

The overlays on the upper have been revamped. The upper itself is more stripped down and lightweight, which has resulted in a loss of an ounce of weight.

They’ve also added a handy little eyelet in the midfoot. This gives you the opportunity to customize your lacing and lockdown.

PROS:

  • Woven airmesh with welded overlays is durable and securely locks down your foot, especially when side sloping
  • EGO foam midsole offers a great balance of cushioning and responsiveness
  • Multi-directional chevron lugs offers superb traction and perform well across a range of surfaces
  • Toe guard offers protection from roots or rock strikes

CONS:

  • The heel may be too wide for the average runner
 

Best Quick-Drying Trail Shoe

13. Topo Ultraventure 2

Topo’s adventure shoe, the Ultraventure 2 is a great choice for wet trails. It dries surprisingly quickly, and the breathability keeps your feet cool on hot days.

What We Like

The breathable upper of this shoe may feel like it allows water in, but it’s excellent for drying off thanks to its porous nature that allows air to flow freely through the shoe.

At the same time, there’s a tighter layer underneath the shoe that prevents sand, stones, and other debris from getting in. Surprisingly, there’s no drainage system but it does a great job of wicking moisture.

Topo’s traditional roomy toe box means there’s less chance of chafing and discomfort. Another thing we like is the 5 mm drop, which isn’t as drastic a change for those who may be used to 10 or 12 mm drop.

It has plenty of EVA foam underfoot, especially in the heel, which aids with shock absorption and increases the comfort of the shoe. The naturally wide platform offers stability even on uneven ground.

Another thing that keeps you safe on rough ground is the Vibram outsole. Chunky 6 mm lugs are grippy on a number of different surfaces. You can easily catch your footing or push yourself forward for more speed.

Why We Like It

The air mesh upper is more breathable than before, making this shoe dry very quickly on the trails. You can take it through puddles without worrying about your feet getting—and staying—wet.

What to Consider

This shoe is best for medium-paced runs at mid to long distances. There’s very little pep in the shoe, and some may find it to be frustratingly dull underfoot.

What’s New

The upper is more breathable than before. There’s a new microfiber strip connecting the heel counter and midfoot, and a new gaiter eyelet. The lacing eyelets have also been redesigned with wider spacing.

PROS:

  • Abrasion-resistant mesh does a good job of releasing water so it dries quickly
  • Three-piece EVA-injected foam provides a smooth, comfortable ride
  • Wider platform provides a stable ride over muddy, rocky, and uneven terrain
  • Durable Vibram outsole with multidirectional and well-spaced lugs is sticky, inspiring confidence over rugged, rocky terrain

CONS:

  • Minimal cushioning makes for a bit of a boring ride
 

Buyer’s Guide – Wide Toe Box Running Shoes

Fit

Even though the toe box is wide, the shoe should still fit properly on the rest of your foot. If the rest of the shoe is too wide, it won’t do its job properly and can lead to chafing or other problems.

There should be at least a centimeter—0.4 inches—between the tips of your toes and the front of the shoe. You should be able to spread your toes naturally with no bumping or chafing.

The heel should fit comfortably, but tightly so there’s no heel slippage. Throughout the midfoot, the shoe should also hug your foot and feel natural.

Durability

If you’re only going to be taking shorter runs on softer surfaces, this isn’t really something you need to worry about.

But if you’re going to be doing longer runs and your shoes will be coming into contact with abrasive ground—asphalt, tarmac, rocks, etc—consider a shoe with a significant amount of rubber on the outsole.

Max cushioned shoes also tend to last longer before the cushioning flattens.

Cushioning

The amount of cushioning in your shoes comes down to your personal preference. Some shoes, like Hokas, have a lot of cushioning underfoot but that comes at the expense of ground contact feel.

Other shoes are fairly minimalist when it comes to cushioning, but you can feel the ground beneath your feet much more easily.

It goes without saying that more cushioning provides more shock absorption, protecting your feet from being jarred. But it does come down to what you feel comfortable with in the end.

Stability

If you’re a neutral runner, then you can wear almost any kind of shoe. But if you overpronate, you’ll be much better off buying a stability shoe.

They’re designed to offer extra support in the arch to prevent the potentially dangerous rolling of your foot, which is a common cause of injury in overpronators.

Take note that many of the best wide toe box running shoes have a zero-drop platform. These shoes often come with less stability than others, due to their minimalist style.

Zero or Low Drop

While many of these wide toe box shoes come with a zero-drop platform purely because the brand makes their shoes that way, it’s worth thinking about whether or not this is something you want before buying.

Zero-drop is a much more natural-feeling shoe, close to barefoot and often comes with less cushioning. If you’ve never worn them before, they may take some getting used to as they put a bit more strain on your calf muscles.

They are an excellent choice for runners who have previously worn minimalist shoes but want a bit more protection and support.

However, if you’re used to wearing 10 or 12 mm drop shoes, we recommend choosing a shoe on this list that’s got a bit of a higher drop.

Terrain

If you love trail running and don’t get out on the road much, it makes sense that you should choose a dedicated trail running shoe. On the other hand, if road running is all you do, a road shoe would be the better choice.

Each specific type of shoe comes with features designed for that terrain. For example, trail running shoes have grippy, multi-directional lugs underneath them to better grip the sandy, rocky, or muddy ground you find on trails.

But you wouldn’t want to be running on the road with trail shoes, as they’d get in your way and wear down much faster.

FAQs

Are shoes with a wide toe box the same as wide-width shoes?

No, they are not. Shoes with a wide toe box are wider up at the top where the toes are, giving your toes more room. They are usually sized as a “B” (women) or “D” (men) width, which are standard, medium width shoes. But the last (the shape of the shoe) allows for more room at the toes. The midfoot and heel are medium width.

Wide width shoes offer more room in the entire shoe, not just at the top with the toes.

Why do so many wide toe box shoes have a zero drop?

A zero drop shoe means that your foot is flat to the ground. In other words, the heel is at the height of the ball of the foot. There is no heel on the shoe.

The idea behind zero drop shoes is that they mimic running barefoot. The wide toe box allows your toes to splay naturally (as if you are barefoot) without a shoe constricting them together.

Does running or walking in a zero drop shoe feel different than other running shoes?

Yes, running in a zero drop shoe will feel slightly different than in other running shoes with more of a drop. It actually will feel more natural to land on your midfoot in a zero drop shoe, and it will be easier for you to correct if you heel strike in zero drop shoes, as you will feel it in your feet and body. It will be easier to run with good form in zero drop shoes.

I have bunions – are shoes with a wide toe box right for me?

Yes, absolutely! When you have bunions, you can experience intense pain at the base of your big toe, so the wider the toe box, the better off you’ll be. A wide toe box will give your toes more room to breathe, which will help greatly if you have bunions.

As Karen Langone, a podiatrist based in New York notes, “the widest point of your foot should correspond with the widest part of the shoe.” That means that if you have bunions, you need a wide toe box.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

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