Finding the perfect hiking shoes can be a daunting task. Even if you don’t suffer from bunions or have a wide foot with a narrow heel as I do, getting the right hiking boot or shoe is extremely important. Before I began hiking and researching shoes, I had no idea what a wide toe box shoe was, much less that I desperately needed them for more than just my hiking.
Now that I have learned about the importance of the size of toe box in my shoes, I only buy shoes that have a wide toe box whether I’m buying hiking boots with a wide toe box, a wide toe box lightweight trail shoe, or a new pair of sandals for the beach (like my absolute FAAAAAVORITE NEW ROSE SANDAL BY KEEN), I always look for shoes with a wide toe box.
In this guide, I’ll share why it is especially important to buy hiking boots with a wide toe box and which ones are my favorite. In fact, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time reading reviews and trying out different types of hiking shoes and boots and I’m pretty convinced which brands of hiking shoes rise to the top when it comes to comfort for those with bunions or simply in need of a wider toe box and more room for those toes!
If you are in a hurry and could care less about why a wide toe box shoe is important, then just skip the guide and go straight to my favorite wide toe box shoe now! Or you can keep reading to learn more about the other wide toe box shoes and hiking boots I recommend both for men and women.
What Does Wide Toe Box Mean?
Unless you are wearing an opened toe shoe, you shoe has a “toe box”. It’s the box at the top of the shoe where your toes go! It’s that simple. Every shoe has a toe box, but not every shoe has a toe box that is designed to yourfoot.
Compare Wide Toe Box Shoes & Hiking Boots
Best Wide Toe Box Shoes
After several years of personal experience and reading hundreds and hundreds of reviews, I’m pretty firm on recommending Salomon’s as the BEST WIDE TOE BOX SHOES for hiking (and daily wear for that matter). My personal favorite women’s hiking shoe by Salomon is the Salomon XA Pro 3D trail runner.
Salomon Women’s Xa Pro 3D W Trail Runner
If you are looking for ultra light waterproof hiking shoes with a low cut, again, Salomon has one of the best lightweight hiking shoes on the market. Salomon’s women’s X Ultra Prime CS Waterproof and the Men’s XA Pro 3D CS Waterproof Trail Runner both have the same great SENSIFIT™ technology that allows Salomons to envelop the foot and create an almost customized fit.
The best wide toe box shoe for women in the low top category goes to the X Ultra Prime CS Waterproof W. This hiking shoe again gets high marks for the wide toe box and previously mentioned comfort, flexibility, and customized fit. The Women’s X Ultra Prime series also brings to the table great breathability for a waterproof trekking shoe. Whether you are trekking through the streams of the Smoky mountains or exploring slot canyons in the national parks out west, these lightweight waterproof hiking shoes will do the trick.
- Moderate pricing
- Great lightweight womens hiking shoe
- Contragrip technology provides excellent traction on the trail
- Gortex technology making these low top trail shoes waterproof
- Same great breathability as other Salomon shoes
- Stylish look makes them great for both trail and every day wear
- Waterproof Gore-TEX (GTX) Technology to keep your feet dry but allow maximum breathability
- SENSIFIT™ technology envelopes foot for a accurate fit
- Protective rubber toe cap.
- Mud guard.
- Less ankle support being a low top hiking shoe
In the men’s category, sadly, the Salomon Ultra Prime CS Waterproof shoe is considered too narrow in the toe box and didn’t receive the same high marks for those needing a wide toe box shoe as the women’s version. In this case, we chose the KEEN Men’s Targhee II Hiking Shoe for our men’s waterproof hiking shoe with a wide toe box.
- Waterproof nubuck leather upper
- Keen dry waterproof, breathable membrane
- Removable metatomical dual density EVA footbed
- Dual density compression molded EVA midsole
- 4mm multi-directional lugs
- Non-marking rubber outsole
- Some reviewers complained that the newer Keen Targhee does not have as much room in the toe box as previous models
Why Does a Wide Toe Box Matter?
Most of today’s shoe manufacturers do not create shoes that are made for REAL FEET! Many manufacturers, I suppose in an effort to be “fashionable”, seem to design shoes with the opposite intent in mind.
Women, especially, tend to put our feet through a lot of unnecessary pain by trying to cram our toes into a shoe box that was clearly not designed for human feet! Girls, let’s stop being Cinderella’s evil step sisters and instead pick the slippers that fit our feet! I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be hiking for many more years to come and if your prince charming doesn’t want to hike with you because you wear shoes that fit, then he is clearly not the prince charming you thought he was! (Wink wink guys…we know you want us gals to be comfy on the trail! We want you to be comfy too so we can enjoy those hikes even longer!)
Best Minimalist Hiking Boots
As much as I love my Solomon’s, another great wide toe box shoe is the Xero Shoe. Xero Shoes are designed on the premise that a shoe should be designed to fit the natural shape of a foot. Makes sense, right?
Here is a great video by the owner, Stephan Sashan, explaining why a shoe that fits your foot the way it is created is the best for your feet. I’m pretty excited to see Xero Shoes continues to expand their line of casual and outdoor footwear.
While many manufacturers claim to produce a “wide shoe” the toe box is often still too narrow which leads to cramping and pain on the trail. A shoe that is too narrow in the toe box causes your toes to be cramped and forced into a wedge. After hours of hiking up and down a trail and jamming your toes against the end of your toe box the result is painful and sore feet and toes. However, a shoe that truly has a wide toe box will allow the natural splay during your trekking and will decrease the discomfort as well as risk for long term deformity to your feet.DayLite Hiker EV – Women – Xero Shoes DayLite Hiker EV – Men – Xero Shoes
- Very comfortable and great natural foot to your foot, the flexibility is great for allowing the toes to naturally splay providing superior comfort for those in need of a wide toe box
- Superior ability to “feel” the trail
- Extremely lightweight shoe weighing a mere 9 OUNCES EACH
- Backed by a 5000 mile warranty
- Removable insole for an the choice between an even more “barefoot” feel or more support
- Not fully water proof, but VERY WATER RESISTANT according to the manufacturer
- Consistent comment (and consistent with the manufacturer) is that the Xero Daylite Hiker runs a FULL SIZE SMALLER than your normal shoe size.
Best Wide Toe Box Hiking Boots
It will come as no surprise to you, but in the hiking boots category, once again Salomon hiking boots are my #1 pick for the best hiking boots with a wide toe box! Overwhelmingly, the reviews back up my opinion as well. Salomon’s Quest 4D 3 GTX Hiking Boot does not come in a wide or extra wide hiking boot, however, the design of the shoe still makes it a perfect boot for someone who needs a wide toe box and narrow heel.
Salomon Quest GTX W Backpackins Boots
- Designed with a wide toe box even in regular sizes. You will find if you read the reviews this is a consistent comment.
- The Advanced Chassis system is sculpted to hold your feet in place and prevent slippage on the trail.
- The EVA molded Ortholite® sock liner creates a cushioned and customized fit over time with minimal compression, breathability, moisture management system.
- Waterproof Gore-TEX (GTX) Technology to keep your feet dry but allow maximum breathability
- SENSIFIT™ technology envelopes foot for a very custom and precise fit
- Gusseted tongue helps keep the debris out.
- Protective rubber toe cap.
- Mud guard.
- Very lightweight hiking boot at just over 1 lb.
- Among the more expensive wide toe box hiking shoe.
- Some complaints with durability in the 2 GTX model
The Vasque Breeze III GTX Hiking boot consistently ranked well in reviews for it’s wide toe box. Similar to the Salomon’s, the consistent remarks were that they Vasque Breeze III was very roomy in the toe box with a narrow heel. We remind you, again, the shoes in this review are not all necessarily billed as a wide shoe, rather they are shoes that would be comfortable for those in need of a wide toe box to accommodate a bunion, bunionette, or even a wide flat foot. If you have a wide heel, Vasque Breeze III GTX boots may not be for you.
- Excellent grip and traction with it’s Best in Class grip with Vibram Megagrip compound
- Waterproof protection with GTX technology
- Highly breathable. Feet stay dry and comfortable even in hot temperatures.
- Out of the box comfort
- Roomy wide toe box
- Great heel cup and cushioned foot bed with EVA foam
- While consistently ranked high for roomy toe box, some with overall wide feet found the heels to be too narrow
- Tend to run a bit small so may need to size up by at least one half
- Some complaints of clunkiness and weight, but overall typical for a hiking boot of this caliber.
Next in our review of hiking shoes with a wide toe box are the very popular Keen Targhee WP Mid Boots. Both the men’s and women’s Targhee II and III models rank well for roominess in the toe box. These hiking boots are available in both regular and wide sizes.
- Lightweight hiking shoe with consistent reviews mentioning the wide toe box
- Keen’s all terrain grip ranked very well among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts
- Keen’s offer their own proprietary waterproof membrane system known as KEEN.Dry® which keeps water out, but allows vapors out creating a breathable environment
- Durable Leather mud shield
- Easy lace adjustment due to speed hooks
- Heel stability
- Unique probiotic CLEANSPORT NXT™ technology system creates a natural odor control environment
- Great value hiking shoe for budget conscience looking for a more sturdy day hiker or light load backpacking adventure
- Some reviewers complain of poor ankle support, however, it is superior to a low cut boot and adequate for day hiking or a light load backpacking trek
- Runs at least 1/2 size small and even Keen recommends purchasing a 1/2 size larger than your usual shoe size
Merrell’s Moab (supposedly stands for Mother Of All Boots) Mid Hiking Boots rank among some of the best hiking shoes for wide feet. The Moab Mid Waterproof hiker comes in both wide and regular sizes, but the toe box is considered adequate for those needing more room in both types.
- Merrells Moab gets high marks as being a great lightweight boot with comfortable fit right out of the box
- The regular and wide versions both provide wide toe boxes. Some reviewers found they needed to size up 1/2 a size, but most felt comfortable ordering their normal shoe size
- Moab utilized their M-Select Technology in their Waterproof hiking boot.
- Moab hiking shoes are comprised of a solid construction with an upper suede leather mesh for comfort and breathability
- The tongues are gusseted to help keep moisture and debris
- Solid outer rubber toe cap
- The Vibram sole is great for grip on those technical trails with a 5 mm lug depth
- Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability
- Merrell Moab receive overwhelmingly positive reviews on every review site we read. The only consistent complaints were that they may not be entirely waterproof in all situations.
- As with so many of our other reviewed hiking shoes, Merrell’s run a tad small and it may be advisable to size up 1/2 a size. Keep in mind they do come in regular and wide versions.
If you find yourself searching for “womens shoes wide toe box narrow heel” and coming up short, then we think you should take a look at the Oboz Women’s Sawtooth Low Bdry Hiking shoe. The reviews consistently ranked these as an excellent shoe with a wide toe box and narrow heel. Ironically, the men’s shoe in this style did not fare so well by those in need of a wider toe box so we did not include it in this buying guide.
- Over and over again the reviewers said these shoes were “Very comfortable right out of the box”
- Perfect for those needing a wide toe box but a narrow heel
- Billed as a very versatile hiker that crosses over well into a daily shoe due to it’s stable and cushioned midsole and excellent traction
- Waterproof and breathable upper
- Lightweight weighing only 13.8 oz.
- The “sawtooth” classic Oboz sole helps in great grip and mud shedding
- The “O”-Fit insole with EVA cushioning provides underfoot support as well as a sculpted arch to place the foot in a neutral position
- Very few negative reviews, but the consistent review is that they seem to run small so, again, may need to consider a 1/2 size above your normal shoe size
- A few complained that they are clunky
Our final selection in the men’s category is the Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking boot. This boot ranks well again for those looking for a wide toe box and narrow heel. Lowa provides sizes in narrow, regular, and wide making it the most versatile in terms of size of all the shoes we reviewed.
- Lightweight boot for such a sturdy more rugged mid hiking boot
- Wide range of sizes from narrow, to regular, to wide making it one of the most versatile hiking boots on the market for those in need of a wider toe box
- Receives high marks for out of the box straight to the trail comfort
- Eploys the VIBRAM® sole technology for excellent grip and traction
- Utilizes a MONOWRAP® Support Frame to create secure fit
- Excellent waterproofing due to the GORE-TEX® lining technology
- As with any boot of this caliber, breathability isn’t great though manageable
- Probably the biggest draw back is the price point on these European hiking boots being on the upper spectrum of all the boots we’ve reviewed
- Durability has been questionable based upon some reviews
Do you have a favorite wide toe box shoe? Let us know your suggestions.
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