Fat Forefoot striker needs help


I am a ladies size 7 forefoot striker and always have been. I have struggled to find shoes that my feet dont try and totaly destroy (always the feet that come the cropper).

I have measured my feet width at 255mm (is that 4ee or 2ee?) and my men's size 7.5 brooks pure connect are simply not wide enough leaving my feet hanging over the sole making a longer run very painful so I have to pad up my feet with blister plaster and bunion shields for the next run. I also have a problem with my toenails coming off every now and again, or at least hurting for a while (the ones next to big toe and they dont sit more forward that the big, just nice and neatly next to it).

I now dont care if I get barefoot or not, I just want a shoe that DOESNT HURT! image

Can ANYONE help?



  • some typos in there, sorry image

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Buy some shoes that fit your feet then.

  • WHERE FROM though and what sort? Ive tried SOOO many! Up and running shops havent helped at all with their range and dont have any barefoot either...

    All I want to do is run and not be crippled afterwards, I can run loads but the shoes stop me image

  • Oh by the way, Im not fat, My FEET are fat! Im a very healthy 5'8 10.5 stone athletic build so its not my weight thats make my shoes hurt!! 

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    New Balance do different widths with some of their shoe models.
  • Problem with new balance is that that while they do do wider fits that are suitable for forefoot runners you have to order them direct from the US. Apparently all Europeans have uniform width feet..... The only wide fits they do in the UK are for larger heel strikers.

    Could try getting some Newton gravities half or a full size up from normal.
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Shoes are designed along conventional lines. The manufacturers are not in the business to make shoes, they are there to make money. if the shoes don't sell, then they don't make them which is one reason size 13 plus are rare.

    If your feet are an unusual shape/ build/ size then you won't get any conventional shoe to fit.

    So either you have them custom built or do something else.

    For what its worth I routinely cut holes out of my shoes wherever sore areas develop. Despite this, the shoes don't fall to bits.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Surely you can forefoot strike in any

    Type of shoe?
  • Of course I can... 

    What Im asking is: Can anyone advise on running shoes, cushioned, natural or barefoot that wont destroy my feet. Im not learning how to run properly, I can do that well, I'd just like to do with without having tons of plasters and padding in there to stop hobbling. 

    Thank you RicF, I could cut them but its the actual sole (minimal anyway) that is the problem as my foot hangs over the sides thus causing pain on the under and outers of my feet. I could cut the ends off to stop my toes losing nails I suppose but its mainly the width... I think I must be a 4ee or a 2ee and probably best with a men's shoe?

    Thank you Surrey, Ill have a look.

    Anyone recommend Vff for this kind of thing? I do have very short toes too!


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    If you are not bothered if the shoes are minimalist or not then you can get regular cushioned new balance in this country. Even in sports direct. My first ever pair were some 2E width ones, as I also have wide feet.

    Now I just go up a size with regular shoes and rarely get issues.
  • I've been using skechers gobionic recently which have a pretty massive toebox, which may work for you. Probably a few places stocking them to try.

  • Sarah, I have feet that are wide, particularly in the forefoot. Best shoes I've found to fit my feet are VivoBarefoot Neo (not Evo - they're slightly narrower), so you might want to try those. I'm a nornal-shoe size 4 and have found I need the Neo in a 38, which is sold as size 5 (although confusingly for the Neo Trail size 37/size 4 is fine). I was going up to as long as 5.5 in other running shoes whle trying (and failing) to get the width I needed not to mash up my little toes.

    They're not "pinched in" at the instep, so you shouldn't find your foot overhanging the sole. They're on sale on the Millett's website in Mens size 7-10 at £44.99 at the moment. Worth a try?

  • Yup, I'd also second everything that Debra's just said about the Neo, well Neo trail with respect to width. Unfortunately the sizes seem to be all over the place, so the size 45 Neo trails are a fraction too small for me, but the size 46 Breatho trails are massively oversize.

  • Thank you Debra (and Ian M)

    It is very helpful to find someone who might have funny feet like me. The [too small] brooks I have are D width so as long as they are wider than that then they should be ok?

    Would you go with the men's or the ladies' sizes (as ladies shoes arent as wide are they?) Im a size 7.5 in the brooks and have been 7 in previous but take 6-7 in normal shoes. My toes always end up at the front trying to get out and causing nail loss! 

    Its a family trait aparently! image

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Sarah, hi. 

    I'm puzzled as to how your feet hang over the edges and ends of what; I assume, are the inner soles of your shoes.

    From what I can see, the inner soles supplied with shoes fit so closely, that there are no gaps.

    If of course you are using orthotics, then that is just a sizing issue. I myself had this problem and solved it by simply adding bits of other inner soles to the orthotics. 

    The wonders of scissors and Duck tape.

  • My feet hang over the insoles, and midsoles in many pairs of inov8s. The fabric of the upper just wraps round the foot and becomes wider than the insole and midsole.
    In the case of the inov8 xtalons 190s and flite 195s there's a ridge on the midsole that causes a blister where my foot sits on top of it unless I cut away the offending bit of midsole. 

  • The sole is rubber, at a set width like all shoes. The bit that holds your foot is fabric. My foot sits fine in that but when running, more pressure is applied and the foot splays. the fabric allows for foot splaying (as it should) but the runber doesn't. So I therefore just need a shoe all-in-all wide enough for my feet not to be landing on any kind of rubber that isn't wide enough for my duck feet! This is happening because the shoe isn't wide enough after getting going (ok in the shop) and the fabric trying to give my foot room.

    Not an inner sole problem though.. Just need something with wide toe box and wider than a D abc preferably natural or barefoot.
  • Hi Ian, I have my scissors right now, I'll let you know!
  • have you tried bigger shoes..........i'm normally a size 7 but in my asic shoes I run in a size 9.....always have done since i started and got help at a local running shop...........

    some shoes do come in extra wide........i would go to a good running shop........

  • This sort of shows the bit that I cut away (not the hole in the upper, that's just wear and tear image , but just next to the hole there's a wavy ridge which I cut off.



  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    I find shoes where the uppers are made of flimsy fabric a real pain. The Nike luna racer is one example. Uppers that don't hold your feet in place are a source of all sorts of things especially blisters.

    If your feet are bulky enough to splay out, the only solution is to go for a shoe with a really robust upper. Fell running/ off road shoes are usually pretty tough. 

    Shoes must fit well, movement causes blisters.

  • ^ That is a fell running / off road shoe image

    Tough off-road shoes are tough.
    One's built to other metrics aren't. 

    "If your feet are bulky enough to splay out, the only solution is to go for a shoe with a really robust upper."

    Or to find a shoe that's the right width. All a 'robust upper' is doing is forcing your foot into an unnatural shape.  




  • Sarah, with my little feet I've never had cause to check if there's any difference between men's and ladies' VB Neos. You could always telephone the London store, or send them an e-mail, and ask - details available online. Or accept you're going to pay one return postage and order one pair of each and see if there's a difference/which fits your feet better.

    Ian, I recently bought a pair of Inov 5 Trailroc 235s ready for the Lakeland 50 (on the Lakeland trails of rock & shale I want a little more underfoot protection than I get from Neo Trails - which were fine for North Downs Way 50). Anyway, I've been recommended to reinforce that area where your shoes have developed a hole, using shoe goo, before wearing them - apparently it's a well-known weak spot.

    RicF: if the outer sole of the shoe (and the corresponding inner) sole is narrow, and your foot is wide, then your foot will hang over the side of the sole, pushing into the fabric of the upper, and the inner sole will dig into the sole of your foot*. Interestingly, I tried on a pair of VFF Sprints recently and found this to be a problem - the middle of the foot was simply too narrow for my feet. If your feet are very wide, you might have to go up several sizes - and end up with the shoes an inch or more too long - before the sole is sufficiently wide.

    *Get a piece of 2-by-1 wood and try standing on it with bare feet. Your feet hang over the edges, which dig into you - same thing with shoes if the sole is too narrow.

  • How have you found the 235 Debra? I bought the 245 and have found it has a bit of a sort of dead feeling to run in. There's nothing particulary wrong with it, but somethings lacking and I'm not sure what. Might be the rockplate just making it a bit too stiff, and I think the 235 might be quite a bit different in that respect.

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Debra, the shoefitr application may help you.  Its a US-based system but if you have a look at the shoes on runningwarehouse.com you can access it.

    This compares different shoes from most of the major manufacturers and highlights where the pinch points are.  For example I used it recently when I bought a pair of Saucony Fastwitch from Wiggle - the shoefitr app showed I needed a half size bigger than my Saucony Mirage, and it was spot on - the shoes fitted perfectly.  It will show you which shoes are roomier in the mid-foot and the toe box than your current shoes.


  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Well it appears this problem is unresolvable as regards conventional solutions.

    Horses for courses. Personally speaking, if any choosen activity was causing me so many problems then I wouldn't bother with it. 

  • I can run like the wind... I love running, its fun, its free, Id never give it up! If the gym allowed it  If stones, glass, mud and rubble didnt exist I'd run barefoot... Unfortunatley we have been accustomed and are now expected to wear shoes. I just cant find any that dont hurt my feet, thats all! 

    Had lots of great help though from here, thanks everyone!

  • Ian, I was lucky to visit Lakes Runner and try on the 245 and 235 and compare them with each other (I'd wondered whether I wanted the rock plate) and with the VB Neo Trail. Trying them on made it very easy to decide I didn't want the 245, for exactly the reasons you give - just too stiff and unyielding.* I know they're bringing out an even-more-minimalist version in the spring (215, I think), but since I was looking for a bit of protection and the 235 is nice and flexible, I thougth they would work. I wore the shop's trial pair of 235s in my size (4.5) for the Ambleside-to-Coniston evening (dark) recce for Lakeland 50 and they felt really good - gave some protection (which I think I'll want on a 50-miler on those trails)image, but very flexible, no rubbing or anything, and stuck to the rocks very well. So yes, if the 245 is too inflexible for you, try the 235.

    *Now I'm used to running in flexible minimalist shoes, conventional running shoes feel like blocks of wood strapped to my feet! I have several pairs are only lightly worn but which I need to give away or throw away, because I'm honestly never going to wear them again.

    stutyr: thanks for the suggestion. Doesn't actually include the shoes I'm interested in, but a great tool which might be useful for many runners.

  • try merrell glove barefoot shoes (probably the bare access would be best as a starting place), they have super wide toe box's, and as someone else suggested the sketchers gorun range also are very wide in the toes. 

  • Thanks Debra!, I think I'll have to try/buy a pair then : ).
    I'm quite tempted by the Lakeland 50 too, or maybe the 10 peaks short-course. 50 miles is roughly twice what i've done in the past, so might be biting off a bit too much. I'll probably come to a decision after a few beers : )

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