Finding the perfect wedding shoes for wide feet
Posted on January 20 2020
Do you do wide fit wedding shoes? It's a question we get asked a lot so today I wanted to talk through the answer properly, and hopefully help you find the right fit for a wider foot. The simple answer is that we don't do a specific 'wide fit' collection, as many high street shops do. The reason for this is that instead, we try and ensure that all our shoes offer a good quality width fitting, by starting with the last.
Here's a short video with all our top tips for finding the perfect wedding shoes for wide feet, and you can read even more below:
Confused? Don't be- a 'last' is the mould on which a shoe is made. It looks like a solid plastic foot, and it is the starting point for creating the pattern for any shoe so it has to be right in the first place. A lot of high street stores get their shoes from suppliers who use lasts which are more suited to markets where feet traditionally tend to be a little smaller than those in European markets. To give you an indication, the average women's shoe size in China is around a 3.5/4, whereas in the UK it's more like a size 6. And whilst it's not an exact science, widths in the UK, US and Europe tend to run a little wider too.
That's just one of the reasons we develop our own lasts at Rachel Simpson, so we can ensure that they give you a good width fitting, rather than one which has been designed purely for fashion, not function.
So whilst we don't have a specific 'wide fit' collection we design all our shoes to fit properly, so if you have a slightly wider foot you should find that a much higher proportion of our collection fit you in comparison to most high street brands.
Top tips for wide feet
Whilst we endeavour to make sure that as many shoes fit a wider foot as possible, as ever it's also down to choosing the most suitable style of shoe to fit your individual foot shape. It's a bit like haircuts- we may want a sleek, long bob a la Jennifer Aniston, but if we were born with a natural curl we need to think more Beyonce and go with what we were given.
So there are a few things to look out for when choosing wedding shoes for wide feet, and some to try and avoid. It's not an exact science but hopefully it will help.
1. Choose a cut which avoids the widest part of your foot.
If you look at your feet, the widest part tends to go across from where the big toe meets the foot. If any part of the shoe cuts across this it's likely to cause you discomfort. Go for a full cut shoe, or at least one where the front part is high enough to cover this joint completely.
If you have your heart set on a strappy sandal, be mindful where the straps are positioned. Wide fit doesn't mean you can't, just be careful to check that none of the straps sit in the wrong place and hurt your feet.
2. Choose natural materials over synthetic fabrics
There's a very good reason we've been making shoes from leather for, well, forever. Leather is a natural material which expands and retracts as it gets hot and cold. This is perfect for wider feet as it means it has enough elasticity to expand to give a bit of extra space. It's also breathable so it allows heat to escape rather than trapping it all in and resulting in unwanted sweaty feet.
A synthetic material such as satin or PU (otherwise known as faux leather, or pleather) doesn't have any of these features. It's processed or woven which means it has none of the give you'll find with a natural material. It won't mould to your foot shape during wear and as such can be very unforgiving- it either fits or it doesn't. So whilst they can look super pretty, if you have a wider foot it's worth sticking to leather or suede.
At Rachel Simpson we use only high grade, natural materials such as leather and suede which have known benefits including mouldability and breathability. Your feet will thank you, trust us.
3. Check the strap fits
If you want a shoe with an ankle strap or t-bar, double check there's enough length in the strap. We use buckles on most of our shoes so they're as adjustable as possible, and try to make sure the straps are long enough for everyone. That said if you have a wider ankle or higher arch, when you try your shoes on make sure any straps fit. If not it's usually possible to add an extra hole or two at the end of the strap- either do it yourself very carefully with a sharp awl, or take your shoes to a cobbler who will be able to do this for you very easily.
If the straps aren't long enough, chances are that may not be the shoe for you so take a look at a different kind of construction, such as a court or slip on.
4. Don't go too high!
Whilst many of us love the idea of a high heel, in reality they're not always as comfortable as we'd like them. And as you know, we believe that comfort is at least equally as important and style when it comes to wedding shoes, if not more so! Feet were invented to be flat- how many babies do you know with blisters or sore feet? Exactly- it's only when we start wearing heels as we get older that our foot issues begin.
Generally speaking the higher the shoe, the less natural width allowance there is. All that happens is that your foot is squeezed into even less space on the ball of the foot where most of the width is, which leads to pinching, blisters and general hobbling around the dancefloor- not good. We're not saying you have to go for flats, but look for a nice mid-height heel for the perfect compromise. These will give you enough of a lift to be elegant, whilst still giving your feet the space they need to expand throughout the day (and night!).
I hope you find these tips useful. It's easy to think we have funny feet- trust me, most people I meet tell me how awkward their feet are when they find out I'm a shoe designer! But it's not just about wide feet- whether you're wide, narrow, high-arched or flat footed there are shoes for everyone, it's just a case of being realistic about which ones are the most suitable, and taking a bit of time to find the perfect style.
As I said before, there's no exact science and if you have your heart set on a particular shoe for your wedding I always say try it. Feet are funny things and you never know, so start with your first choice and go from there. And don't forget we're here to help if you need any more advice.