The best wide fit running trainers
Trainers aren’t just available in one fit these days – plenty are built for those requiring a wider fit, with brands now designing the same model of trainer in regular fit, wide fit and sometimes extra-wide fit versions for both men and women.
John Jennings, footwear buyer at Runners Need, which is partnering with the Royal Parks Half Marathon for 2022, says that width is one of the big issues that cause runners to visit numerous stores to try on multiple shoes to find one that fits, let alone find one that is comfortable to run in.
‘There are brands whose fit is a little wider,’ he says. ‘Others have very lightweight, pliable uppers that accommodate extra width. Both of these help some runners.’
However, for some runners, this is not enough. ‘By far the biggest step forward in this area is the availability of different width options,’ says Jennings. ‘Take the Brooks Ghost: we carry the wide width for men and women, as well as the standard. It’s an identical shoe, just with extra volume within.’
Being able to try on a wide-width shoe alongside standard shoes gives wider-footed runners options that weren’t available a few years ago. ‘Finding a shoe that matches your gait with a wide option is a game-changer for those that have struggled in the past.’
According to Brooks, if you’re a runner searching for a wider-fitting trainer, you should be looking at the following sizes: D is typically considered wide for women and 2E is extra wide. For men, D is standard while 2E is wide and 4E is extra-wide.
If you’re not sure if you need a wide or extra-wide fit, you can usually tell by how much bulging there is at the sides of previous running shoes you've used, as well as whether you've suffered any pain in your forefoot. To find your exact width sizing, the best option is to get measured by an expert at a dedicated running shop.
For runners with wider feet, we have selected some of the best wide-fit trainers for men and women currently on the market.
The shoe that won our Best in Test 2022, you’ll be glad to hear the Gel-Nimbus 24 is available in a wide fit (2E men, D women). RW testers rated this suitable for longer runs and everyday miles, noting they were impressed with a number of the shoe’s features, including overall comfort and energy return, saying, ‘The ride feels beautifully cushioned but with plenty of energy on take-off.’ Asics also makes one shoe in an extra-wide (4E men, 2E women) fit, the Gel-Kayano 29.
What can we say about the Ghost that hasn’t been said before? A stone-cold classic – the kind of trainer future runners will look back on as a benchmark, a shoe that will get you through mile after mile after mile. Brooks offers a wide range of its shoes in differing widths so you can dial your fit right down: with the Ghost 14, you can purchase it in D, 2E and 4E.
On’s Cloudflow is available in a wide fit in both men’s and women’s, with On saying it is designed to be 4mm wider around the ball of the foot, coming in at a shoe width grade of 2E. The Cloudflow itself is a true all-rounder, built for everyday training runs through to 10K races, and our RW testers felt light and fast when running in them, with the traction pads doing a sterling job in all weathers.
NB’s FreshFoam 860v12 is available in wide options of D (wide) and 2E (x-wide), in both men’s and women’s. Built for a super-soft ride, these have been designed to be even softer than previous iterations, so if you’re looking for cushioning, comfort and room for wider feet, these are well worth considering.
If you want to hit the great outdoors in a wide-fit trail shoe, the ever-popular Speedgoats come in an extra-wide fitting in both women’s and men’s. It features a roomier toe box to accommodate wider feet and keep them comfortable and stable as you pound uneven terrain. The Speedgoat 5s are so popular they sell out of sizes quickly, so if you want to head off-road, keep an eye on stock levels.
Available in regular and wide fit, the Guides are a reliable pair of road trainers for runners looking to rack up training miles. A comfortable upper provides plenty of stretch if needed, and with more foam and less weight comfort is key.
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