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Flexible, plush cushioned running shoe for wide mid- and forefoot?
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Hello!


I'm hoping someone might be able to give me some shoe suggestions!


Traditionally, I've always been able to wear standard/regular fitting shoes in normal widths, except until this year. Now I find I need a really wide shoe, even though I don't have wide feet.


I'm female, 5'2'', generally athletic. I've always fit a 7.5 size shoe in every single shoe I've tried, wide-fit or standard, boot or sneaker, etc. But after walking 5k twice a day for 6 months now, I started to notice that the ball joint area of my foot and the base joint of my big toes hurt a lot, and that my big toes feel like they're being pushed inward, so I can feel a lot more pressure against my big toes. My pinkies don't feel squished in standard fitting shoes, but my big toes do. Any pressure whatsoever on the metatarsal area = big toe feels like it's being pushed and angled inwards (I can actually feel it pressing against the other toes).


What I'm looking for: More on the minimal side, but with plush/soft cushioning. Lower stack height (above 23mm is getting insane, unless it's *extremely* flexible). Rounded heel, or at least *extremely* minimal heel flare. Very minimal padding of the upper (tongue, ankle opening, etc). Breathable and flexible upper. Wide toe box. Neutral/no support. Zero drop (4mm max).


What I've tried (all size 7.5):


Topo Magnifly: The soles are way too stiff in the arch (way too stiff in general), and the padding is a bit too much on the firm side (I frequently find that shoes with really high stack heights that are advertised as fully cushioned are actually quite firm). The toe-box is *almost* big enough, and might be fine after breaking the shoes in, but the upper feels a bit tight across the top of my foot along the base joint of my big toes. The shoes are very breathable, though, and the padding of the tongue is perfect, but the padding around the ankle opening is a little on the fat side. The more rounded heel is nice.


Topo ST-2: Like with the Magnifly, the shoe is *almost* wide enough. The flexibility of the sole is awesome, the upper is flexible and breathable, the heel is nicely rounded, the padding of the ankle opening is perfectly minimal, buuuut the tongue is very padded and fat, all the way down to where it sews onto the upper. So the fat tongue, along with the fabric overlays for the seam, creates a lot of pressure over that part of my midfoot and over the base joint of my big toes. It makes the upper feel a lot tighter across my foot in that area, and takes up valuable space inside the shoe that my foot needs. It's bad enough so that I can't wear the shoes, especially with foot swelling after prolonged walking/jogging. If the shoe had a wider mid- and forefoot, the tongue might not be a problem.


New Balance Minimus 10v4 Trail: Perfect fit! No pressure on any parts of my foot. Toes feel relaxed and free, like when barefoot. No irritation to metatarsal area. Very breathable (and very durable) upper. Perfectly and minimally padded upper, tongue, and ankle opening. Rounded heel. Low drop (4mm). Very flexible. BUT I can't walk in those shoes due to the minimal sole padding, and what little padding is there is fairly firm. So the balls of my feet and base joint of big toe end up extremely bruised and stiff.


Altra Intuition 3.0: Stack height too high, cushioning too firm, sole too stiff, and upper was tight against my foot, so my toes felt squished. The toe-box didn't feel wide to me due to the tightness around the midfoot, and there was a lot of pressure against the base joint of big toes, pushing the toes inward.


Altra Torin 2.0: Same as above.


Altra Escalante: Much roomier (but still too narrow), wonderfully minimal tongue and ankle opening padding, but stack height too high for a sole that's still too narrow. Cushioning was pretty good, but on a shoe slightly too narrow, it started to make my feet feel like they were cramping up.


Altra One 2.5: Space! The perfect fit for my foot (*almost* as roomy-feeling as the NB Minimus ones)! Roomy in all the right places, except the heel was loose and therefore annoying. But otherwise, no pressure against my big toes, no pressure against the top of my foot, etc. And the padding of the sole is perfect and plush! No sore feet after walking. The sole isn't too fat (22mm stack height), it's very flexible for the thickness of the sole, and has very plush cushioning. The tongue and ankle opening padding was fine. BUT the upper is hardly breathable, especially since there is a lot of rubber on top of the upper. But the worst part of the shoe is the flared heel, which interferes with my natural stride and causes me to scuff my ankles when I walk/jog. And then the back of the ankle opening (top of heel) is very high and therefore rubs my Achilles tendon raw.


So I'm at a loss. No one shoe actually works. I don't know what to look for next. I'm in Canada, so my selection for what I can try at shoe stores is very limited. I'm left with ordering random shoes from the internet to try, but with being shafted with return shipping, it gets expensive after a while. So it's hard to determine which shoes are worth trying.


Do you have any suggestions?
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Re: Flexible, plush cushioned running shoe for wide mid- and forefoot? [seventh_77] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe the Kinvara? I was going to suggest the Hurricane, before I read the long list of criteria.

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Re: Flexible, plush cushioned running shoe for wide mid- and forefoot? [seventh_77] [ In reply to ]
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One option comes to mind with the final pair of Altras that you think are the closest fit; first, try a pair of heel cups, as shown.
Three changes occur with the wedges; first, you will be filling up the heel, therefore tightening up the fit. Second, because you will be raising the elevation of the heel only, your achilles should not be as bothered. Third, the wedge ***may*** help with the scuffed heels. I am not as confident about the third as I am about the first two. With your forefoot widening, this may be something you have to endure (from personal experience ;-). Beware if you choose to start with the wedge, as it can bring on a host of other anatomical problems based on the new angles that your feet are hitting the ground.

The other option is to Google "lace locking athletic shoes". That will help tighten the heel so that it doesn't move around. It will do nothing for your heel sitting too low in the shoe however (I have had this problem in multiple shoes as well because I am also 5'2"). Good luck; I hope this helps!

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Last edited by: SallyShortyPnts: Apr 11, 17 12:18
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Re: Flexible, plush cushioned running shoe for wide mid- and forefoot? [surroundhound] [ In reply to ]
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How wide is the Kinvara? Saucony's site only has M width available for that style. The toe box looks more on the standard fit to me, with more of that taper to a pointy end. My pinky toes aren't the problem--they have plenty of room in standard fitting shoes. The issue is any pressure on my big toes, angling them inward. The shape of Kinvara looks like it would probably do that.

Thanks for the suggestion, though. I'll keep them in mind.
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Re: Flexible, plush cushioned running shoe for wide mid- and forefoot? [SallyShortyPnts] [ In reply to ]
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About heel cups--interesting idea, but I'm really trying to get away from a raised heel. I really want that 0-drop. If the heel cups don't raise my heel over 4mm, then that might be a possibility. But I think I'd rather go with a heel on the looser side rather than a raised heel. I'll give them a try, though. Thanks!
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Re: Flexible, plush cushioned running shoe for wide mid- and forefoot? [seventh_77] [ In reply to ]
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Just curious, what is driving the requirements that you listed:

What I'm looking for: More on the minimal side, but with plush/soft cushioning. Lower stack height (above 23mm is getting insane, unless it's *extremely* flexible). Rounded heel, or at least *extremely* minimal heel flare. Very minimal padding of the upper (tongue, ankle opening, etc). Breathable and flexible upper. Wide toe box. Neutral/no support. Zero drop (4mm max)

Interesting research on running shoes shows that the best shoe for a person is the shoe that feels most comfortable, and all the other shoe "features" are just marketing gimmicks. So just curious if you have some bio-mechanical requirements driving those shoe specs.

BrokenSpoke
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Re: Flexible, plush cushioned running shoe for wide mid- and forefoot? [brokenspoke] [ In reply to ]
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BrokenSpoke, my criteria is based on what causes the least amount of discomfort for my feet, and what makes my feet feel the most refreshed and normal.

I wore Asics Gel Nimbus 17s (standard width, size 7.5) for a year, with a ton of jogging and long-distance walking in them, and the massive heel was very bothersome and the pointy toe caused all sorts of pain and damage to my big toe joints. The cushioning was super plush and awesome in those shoes, but they were simply too much shoe, and not flexible enough. I wore the New Balance Fresh Foam Boracay v3 (wide width) for a while, and the lower drop (4mm) and rounder heel were waaaay nicer, but the stack height was still too high, and the toe was still too narrow and stiff, so it caused my feet a lot of pain. Then I discovered the NB Minimus that I mentioned, and that's when I realized I needed a much wider toe box, because I stopped having all the pain in the base joint of my big toes when I started wearing those shoes and my big toes were no longer being angled inward towards the rest of my toes.


I never heel strike and never have (it's a really foreign concept to me, and I had no idea that so many people heel strike and need to learn how not to), so shoes with a higher heel-to-toe offset and flared heel just get in the way for me. As for stack height, I find most thicker soles are way too stiff, which makes my feet/arches cramp up. My feet feel happiest in shoes that flex with my feet, so I'm not fighting the shoe. Thicker soles also make my feet overheat a lot faster. A sole with *plush* and squishy cushioning works best for my feet, as my feet can't handle the forces of a firmer sole (bruises foot joints and ball of foot and makes everything stiff and sore), but the sole needs to be thin enough to flex with my foot and not feel like I'm standing on a block. The Altra One 2.5 has the perfect plushy-squish type of cushion that I'm looking for, while also not being overly thick. The NB Minimus is nice and flexible, but way too firm so my metatarsal area and ball of foot get damaged just from walking in them. I've tried other shoes with thicker soles that were advertised as maximally cushioned shoes, but the soles were just too firm. And the reason I'm looking for minimally padded upper is because all the shoes I've tried with minimal padding of the tongue and ankle opening have been the most comfortable (such as the NB Minimus), and shoes with more tongue and ankle opening padding 1) make my feet overheat a lot faster and 2) just don't feel as comfortable.


I really have no interest in what articles or shoe companies say about what features make for better running. I just care about what feels relaxing and comfortable for my feet.


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