What are the Benefits of Having Wide Feet in Sports?

Our feet can come in different sizes, and while many of us have relatively normal feet in terms of width and length, there are some of us that would have feet that are usually too narrow or too wide. There are a lot of people that see wide feet in a bad light, as having feet that are too wide for regular shoes is prone to causing problems in the muscles, nerves, or bones. However, there are some advantages to having wide feet and consecutively wearing wide shoes for sports and exercise. To know more, here are the benefits of having wide feet in sports.

Your Feet Have Better Balance

When you have wide feet, there is a chance that you will have better balance, especially when you are moving in different directions while playing sports. [1] Having wide feet enables you to have better footing on the ground since your feet occupy more space.

Think of your feet like a stand for a lampshade, and the thinner its stand is, the less likely it will have a proper balance on the table or on the floor. So, if you have narrow feet, you will most likely have a difficult time balancing your body while standing or moving. So, if you don’t want the weight of your body to hinder you from moving efficiently in a specific sport, having wide feet may be a blessing.

Have Better Stability on Uneven Terrain

For those that are fond of trail running, which is a type of running that involves moving on rocky, muddy, and slippery terrain, having wide feet can be an advantage for them, as the wideness of their soles can help them have better footing and stability no matter how uneven their running surface is. [1] Besides providing better balance, wide feet can also help in improving stability on uneven terrain, as your foot can step on more areas of the floor or surface, which can then enable you to return to your most balanced position to avoid falling.

Besides running speed, stability is a trait that you would also need for trail running, as having better stability will allow you to move efficiently without falling, which can affect your running time since getting up would take you a few seconds to accomplish.

If you haven’t tried trail running yet, you will need a pair of shoes that are suitable for trails, and these shoes typically have lugs or studs on the outsole that are effective in gripping muddy and rocky surfaces. Keep in mind that there are trail running shoes that are designed for wide feet, so get those instead of the regular pairs that can be too narrow for your feet.

Can Make You Move Better for Swimming

If you are a swimmer, having wide or big feet can make your move better while in the water. [2] With your wide feet, you will be able to create a stronger force compared to others that have normal feet. The stronger force is made possible by how wide your feet are, as it covers more area in the water, which can then produce more force if your feet and legs are moving in a wave motion.

While the hands are essential for controlling your speed and direction, the feet are still important in your overall swimming speed, as your feet are responsible for propelling your lower body forward through the water. Having wide feet would then help increase your swimming speed, and although the increase is minimal, it can still be considered an advantage for the sport.

Shoes for Wide Feet Can Help Your Toes Move Freely

It is known by people with regular feet that a lot of sports shoes and even other types of shoes can be quite narrow in the forefoot area. Because of how narrow the front of most shoes are, the toes can often feel constricted and won’t have enough room for movement. The narrowness of these shoes can cause complications in the toes, which include hammer toes, claw toes, and ingrown toenails.

The hammer toe is a deformity that forces your toe to bend upwards, while the claw toe is a more severe deformity that bends all the joints in your toe upward, thus looking like a claw. An ingrown toenail is a condition wherein a toenail pierces one side or both sides of your toe.

Fortunately, shoes that are designed and produced for people with wide feet usually have a very wide toe box. By having a wide toe box, the toes of the wearer will have more room to move. So, complications and deformities that may arise due to wearing narrow shoes would be prevented by wearing shoes that have wide toe boxes or are specifically made for people with wide feet.

And those are the benefits of having wide feet and how they can help you in different sports. Because having wide feet is almost irreversible (unless you pay for a very expensive foot-narrowing surgery), you will just have to learn how to deal with them and see the silver lining or benefits of your feet’s condition. Of course, there will be situations where your wide feet can cause pain, discomfort, and other complications, but dealing with those problems is relatively easy as long as you get regular treatments and consultations with your podiatrist.


[1] XLFeet Blog. (n.d.). Why Having Big Feet Is Amazing. XLFeet. Retrieved March 31, 2023, from https://xlfeet.com/blog/why-having-big-feet-is-amazing  

[2] Mortenson, J.P. (2023, March 5). What Makes the Perfect Swimmer’s Body? Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved March 31, 2023, from https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/what-makes-the-perfect-swimmers-body/