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?