Five Common Causes of Wide Feet

Five Common Causes of Wide Feet

Do you always seem to have problems finding shoes that don’t squeeze your forefeet and toes together? Do you feel relieved at the end of the day to take off your shoes so your feet can finally spread out and breathe — even when you’re wearing “comfortable” shoes like sneakers?

If the answer’s yes, you may have wide feet. Although wide feet can be harmless, people with wide feet are often more susceptible to problems with their feet and general discomfort. This is because wide feet can make it difficult to have proper foot posture or find shoes that fit correctly.  

But what causes your feet to become wider than normal? Here are the top five reasons.

#1. Genetics

If you’ve had wide feet for as long as you could remember, it’s likely that you inherited the trait from your parents or grandparents. Some people naturally have wide feet, and the trait is passed on genetically — similar to the traits for a big nose or the ability to wiggle your ears.

#2. Aging

Just like the tissues in the rest of your body, the ligaments, muscles, and other tissues in your feet lose elasticity over time. This means that while your feet probably won’t get any longer, they may get wider as your age advances.

When this natural loss of elasticity is combined with the natural wear and tear your feet get through, most people find themselves struggling to squeeze into shoes they used to fit in during their teens or 20’s.

#3. Pregnancy 

During pregnancy, weight gain and fluid retention can lead to an increase in foot size. Many women find that their shoes feel tighter than usual during pregnancy, and some may even have to go up a shoe size or two.

While this change is often temporary, many women experience permanent changes in foot width from pregnancy as well. This is because, in addition to temporary weight gain, the hormones produced by pregnancy can actually cause the ligaments and joints in your feet to loosen.

#4. Foot Deformities

There are a number of foot deformities that can cause your feet to become wider.

 One common deformity is called bunions, which is when the big toe joint becomes enlarged and sticks out to the side. This enlargement can make the rest of your toes appear crowded together, and may even cause your second toe to overlap with your first. 

Calluses, hammertoes, and other deformities can also cause your feet to take up more space in your shoes.

#5. Improper Footwear

If you’re constantly cramming your feet into shoes that are too small, it can actually cause your feet to become wider. This is because tight shoes can cause foot deformities like bunions and hammertoe, which grows on the side of your feet, making them look bigger and wider.

Women fashion shoes in particular, can cause all sorts of health problems. If you haven’t heard about wide toe box shoes for women, you should check them out. There are some great-looking dress/formal shoe options that don’t hurt your feet.

Men’s dress shoes often have similar issues – compromising health factors for modern standards of styling. We found these wide toe box shoes for men stylish and comfortable.  


Genetics, age, pregnancy, foot deformities, and even improper footwear can all play a role in developing wide feet. If you have wide feet, it’s usually not much of a problem. Just make sure you find wide shoes that allow your feet to stretch and breathe, and consult a podiatrist if you run into any problems. 

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