I have foot problems because I have wide toes! And I'll be you do too, or your wouldn't be here. The urban dictionary says we have "Elite Feet" because of our long BTs. (BT=big toe) If you have a wide foot, you may hit those problems more quickly than most. I had a slip and fall a few years ago that really brought attention bunions and hammertoes, and made them activate. In my effort to protect my foot, I started wearing Dansko and Sanita clogs. And while those are great for wide feet, they aren't so great for wide toes because the toe cap is rounded and will push on your big toe - unless you have a short big toe, or your other toes are longer - these foot types will tell you something - and I've mentioned these before.
I remember searching incessantly one day for more information. Sure, I
could find something that was wide (like Danksos), but couldn't find
something that was wide in the toes. And finally, I did find it. And I realized that all of my sneakers, though they were reputable brands, did not allow my toes to spread out and act the way feet should - which is to grip and to stabilize. Basically, if your big toe is the largest & longest toe on your foot, and all the rest taper down, you need footwear that accommodates that. I think this image from the ALTRA website says it best. And this goes double for hiking or trail running.
I bought a pair of Altras and I am very happy with them. I can't walk very much because of the problems I have been having, but I am hoping I can keep walking more and more to get used to it, and work my way back up to being able to walk without pain.
So when my hiking boots fell apart after 16 years, I knew where to look - ALTRA again. A lot of hiking boots are too stiff and too narrow in the toes. And that's some real trouble for the downhills - not that I do them now, but I used to. This makes toe space even more important. Merril was a little bit better than others, but still problematic. I was told that Keen was a great option because they were wide in the toes, but they were a bit tight and pressed into my bunion. I have to pass on that kind of pressure. Altra's new Lone Peak 3.0 Mid Neo shoe comes with Polartec lining and is waterproof. This makes them great for all kinds of cold weather trail running issues - as well as slogging in the slush. But in comfort for your big toe with their patented FootShape toe box.
I'm super-excited about these shoes! Now, if you want a trail running shoe without the ankle support, they have that in other versions of the Lone Peak 3.0. They have a summer shoe in the plain Lone Peak 3.0 Trail Runner, and greater protection in the Lone Peak 3.0 Low Neo which has that Polartec lining and, but no ankle support. And, of course, the greatest protection in the Mid Neo. They have running shoes of all kinds. I wear the Provision for just walking around and am quite happy with it. Whatever pair you get, consider also getting some Trail Gaiters to keep out the sand or snow.
I really think Altra is the way to go for everything - running and hiking or just walking around town. It's like running barefoot, but with some really great cushioning and support.
This guy from Youtube has a pretty solid grip on how these Altra Provision shoes work and their stabilizing properties in his review. Totally worth looking at. They have both men's and women's styles.
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