Here at XL feet, we’re big about stressing the importance of quality footwear. How does one define quality footwear? Well, there isn’t one way. Lots of other people out there will tell you to look for any of the following things.
They’ll tell you to look for premium materials. In dress shoes they’ll tell you to look for quality leather and suede uppers and solid leather soles with brass tacks. In sneakers and gym shoes they’ll tell you to look for orthotics and high tech insoles that will keep you comfortable as you go through all the motions.
In boots for hiking, hunting and work they’ll tell you to look for some of these same things as well as other features to keep you safe and sound. They might tell you to look for a shank to reduce fatigue and protect your foot. They might tell you to look for a safety toe of some sort to protect you against occupational hazards and abrasion.
Some might tell you to look for full grain uppers that are waterproof and insulated to protect you against the incursions of inclement weather. You might be admonished to find soles with excellent traction that are resistant to things like acid and oils.
What you don’t hear a lot is that the fit of the boot or shoe is important. In truth, the wiser from among the bunch will tell you, from experience, that shoes that don’t fit properly aren’t much good at all if any. Boots for working or hiking, shoes for the gym and even dress shoes for the office won’t do much good, even with any of these features already mentioned, but if they don’t fit you they will be your own form of hazard.
One component of size that doesn’t get a lot of air or press time is width. Naturally, you might understand how boots or shoes in the wrong size wouldn’t be much use, but unless you have ever considered the width of shoes or boots you might not have thought of it. To be blunt, width is every ounce as important as the size of the shoe when it comes to ensuring a quality, supportive fit.
Now, if your feet are just a little bit wider than average, you may have never really noticed the need for wider shoes or boots before. You might find that you would be comfortable and less fatigued if you wore shoes or boots in a wider width, but that’s on you to try - and you should. Yet, if your feet are much wider than average, say 4E, then you need 4E width shoes and boots, all the time, without exception.
If you need 4E width shoes, then width should be at the top of your consideration in the boots and shoes you buy every time you go to buy. To put it plainly, none of the benefits that footwear promises to offer you will come with them if they are not wide enough, regardless of whether or not they are in your size otherwise.
If you’re one of those souls that needs 4E width shoes, standard width and medium width shoes just aren’t going to make the grade and there’s not going to be much you can do to counteract that, with the exception of finding shoes that are actually in your size. And while you’re shopping, be aware that, for some reason, there is such a thing as a narrow width. Avoid the narrow width like the plague because it will bring you a whole new world of discomfort the likes of which you have never before seen.
One of the benefits that will be the most pronounced in shoes and boots of extra wide widths (if you need them) is in the area within the toe box. Most often, the biggest gripes about boots, for example, have to do with inadequate room in the toe box. If you need wide shoes, and you are wearing steel or safety toe boots, then guess what. Wear a pair of shoes that’s too narrow and you will be painfully aware of it very soon. That safety toe is going to become the occupational hazard from which you were trying to shield yourself. The irony of it all is terrible, and the lesson is, wear shoes of the right width.
Luckily, here at XL feet, we don’t just sell you the boots and shoes in extended sizes that you need to go about your normal, daily life. We can also hook you up with the good stuff. You know, the boots in shoes so wide that most other retailers didn’t even know they were a thing. Check out our collection today to get your next pair, and don’t be shy about giving us a call either, at 651-797-6000. Honestly, come visit us in the store if you get a chance. You’ll never see more extra large shoes in your life.