Last updated: July 17th, 2023
The best cycling shoes for wide feet create that aaaahh moment when you finally slip into something that fits.
And when you lay down serious pedal power, they cradle your feet with full support. No squeezing, no pressure points, no nerve pain.
The trick is to find shoes that use a genuinely wide last. Many brands merely use looser uppers, which may accommodate a wide foot but won’t support it.
With that in mind, I’ve gathered some of the best legitimately wide cycling shoes on the market. Below, we’ll see some top picks, then dive into some nuances of fit and construction.
The best cycling shoes for wide feet
- Top pick: Bont Vaypor
- Affordable alternative: Lake CX 219 / MX 219
- Best for flat pedals: Lake MX 201
Renowned fit, stiff yet comfortable support, and cutting-edge materials make Bont's Vaypor line the best wide shoes money can buy. Multiple road and mountain models are available.
The Bont Vaypor line are not just the widest cycling shoes, but some of the best—period.
The mountain, road, track, and aero/tri variations keep racking up acclaim for stiffness and comfort. Those attributes are usually at odds, so excelling in both is a testament to Bont’s engineering.
The key is a distinctive carbon fiber “tub.” It surrounds the sides of your feet, ensuring you’re in the shoe rather than merely on it. It’s also heat-moldable at home for an even more precise fit.
As you probably guessed, this doesn’t come cheap: price is by far the most common complaint. But if that’s not a show-stopper, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a superior shoe for a wide foot.
- Uppers: leather or composite (Duralite), depending on variation
- Fit adjustment: upper and lower BOA® dials
- Stack height: 3.6 mm (all models)
- Cleat type: 2-hole SPD (mountain versions) or 3-hole Look (road versions); also 4-hole Speedplay adapter via adapter
Note: Bont offers two double-wide fits: standard and Asian. The latter has the same forefoot width, but is slightly narrower in the heel, lower in the arch, and squarer in the toe box. Take note of which one you’re ordering.
Though far from cheap, the 219 line is still the most affordable combination of a carbon-fiber outsole and wide, accommodating last. Road (CX) and mountain (MX) versions are available.
Available in road (CX 219) and mountain (MX 219) versions, this Lake’s most affordable model in their roomy Competition last.
Calling Lake shoes “affordable” is a bit of a stretch, but bear with me. That price tag reflects a light, stiff carbon fiber outsole as well as name-brand BOA adjusters. They lack Bont’s lighter composite uppers, but are more budget-friendly and currently easier to find at US retailers.
Both 219 models use Clarino faux-leather uppers, a reasonable but unexciting choice at this price point. And while the CX 219’s heel pad is replaceable, the MX 219’s sole guard is not.
These models are not heat-moldable. Some of Lake’s pricier models are. I believe Bont offers superior design and material at those higher price points, but the rest of the Lake line is also worth exploring.
- Uppers: synthetic leather (Clarino)
- Fit adjustment: single BOA dial
- Stack height: not specified
- Clear type: 2-hole SPD (MX) or 3-hole Look (CX); also 4-hole Speedplay via adapter
Note: Lake offers several lasts, which is great for fit but confusing for shopping. For instance, their wide Competition last is wider than their extra-wide Race last. They also differ in heel width and instep volume, in addition to heel width. Visit their fit matrix for a model-by-model breakdown.
Balancing pedaling support with walking comfort, the MX 201 is a casual but sophisticated shoe for commuters and everyday cyclists.
Flat pedals are ideal for city riding, yet most flat-friendly shoes cater to mountain bikers. Lake answered the call with its generously wide MX 201.
The MX 201’s sturdy but understated design resembles a lightweight hiking shoe.
Its a semi-rigid midsole transfer pedaling forces, but flexes just enough to walk normally. Unlike a running shoe, it doesn’t fully bend with the contours of your foot. But unlike a standard bike shoe, it doesn’t inhibit a natural stride, either.
The flat, rubber sole offers fantastic grip on platform pedals. Unlike most competitors—like Five Ten, or your trusty old Vans—Lake spec’d a simple dial for on-the-fly fit adjustment. No rain-soak, mud-caked laces to fuss with!
The mesh toe area may be a deal-breaker for some climates. Living here in the desert, its ventilation would be welcome. But previously, living in the rainy Northwest, it would have soaked too quickly and dried too slowly for year-round use.
That’s a particular problem for commuters. After all, the point of this kind of shoe is not to need a spare pair at work.
And with the MX 201’s price tag, it’d be a shame to relegate them to sunny days.
- Uppers: synthetic leather (Clarino)
- Fit adjustment: single BOA dial
- Stack height: not specified
- Clear type: N/A
What to look for in bicycle shoes for wide feet
The last comes first
Shoes are built around a form known as a last. It determines the overall fit and feel of the shoe.
Most notably, the last determines the shape of the footbed. Wide feet need a distinctly wide last, not merely a looser fit on a standard-width footbed. We’ll come back to that below.
Lasts are also tailored to the shoe’s intended use. For example, road racers need a snugger fit than commuters, so road lasts tend to be sleeker than their casual equivalents for equally wide feet.
That said, even race-oriented shoes have gotten wider in recent years. Racers can put out incredible power, which translates to immense pressure on the ball of the foot.
For forward-thinking brands like Bont, the solution is a snug heel for retention, but a subtly wider forefoot that gives the metatarsals room to spread.
Understanding volume (sometimes “wide”…isn’t)
What some brands call wide is actually a high-volume version of a standard-width last. Extra upper material creates a looser fit, but the actual footbed is no wider.
Foot volume is, more or less, the distance from the ground to the top of your foot. It reflects the overall contour of your foot, of which arch height is the main factor.
A high-volume foot isn’t necessarily wide. Most, in fact, are average or even narrow. In this case, a good fit requires more material in the uppers: the very definition of a high-volume shoe.
It’s usually possible to fit high-volume shoes on your wide feet. Unfortunately, the narrow sole leaves your forefoot to “spill over,” creating pressure points against the sides of the shoe.
If you have only borderline wide feet with high arches, then a high-volume shoe probably is the solution. But regardless of arch height, truly wide feet need a truly wide last for all-day comfort.
A simple way to guess-timate foot volume
If you typically tighten shoes until the sides are touching, you’ve probably got low-volume feet.
Sleek racing lasts may tend to fit better.
Conversely, if your laces or straps generally feel short, then you’ve probably got high-volume feet. Endurance/touring/cyclocross/MTB lasts might be better starting points.
If neither, then you’re probably right around average, and can more or less take your pick among wide shoes.
The other reasons shoe width matters
Cramming wide feet into narrow shoes not only feels terrible, but affects performance and even leads to long-run joint issues.
Riding clipped-on focuses intense pressure on one small part of the foot. Ideally, your shoes are wide enough to allow your metatarsals to spread out and distribute the force. The harder you ride, the more important this becomes.
But when the shoe restricts your forefoot, “hot spots” or even numbness result.
To lessen the ache, you may find yourself reducing pedaling effort. Needless to say, that’s no way to take KOMs.
At the same time, you may find yourself tilting or rotating your foot to give the pressure point a break. Whether that’s deliberate (through cleat position or arch support) or totally subconscious (through pedal stroke changes), it misaligns the ankle and knee.
The insole solution
Insoles determine arch support, align your ankles and knees, and help distribute pedaling pressure.
But, like street shoes, cycling shoes often have subpar insoles. Even if they’re of high quality—like on the top-tier shoes we’ve covered—they may not be the right match for the contours of your foot.
Big-name brands like Specialized and Bontrager are easy to get hold of, but the best-reviewed insoles tend to come from specialists like G8 and SOLESTAR. The latter tend to offer more customization, albeit at higher prices.
A note on sizing
Label sizes are inconsistent, so defer to the manufacturer’s sizing chart—especially if it’s based on actual foot measurements. Not only do measurement techniques differ, but some brands start with EU sizing and convert to US, whereas others do the opposite.
Be skeptical of the size equivalence charts that retailers provide. Some are legitimately useful, but others merely slap brand names onto a generic US–EU chart.
Nearly all cycling shoes—and certainly all the ones featured here—have either two or three cleat attachment holes.
Fortunately, the choice is simple.
You’ll need three bolt holes for Look-style road cleats. This category includes SPD-SL, as well as Speedplay via an adapter. It’s the standard on shoes labeled as “road,” “cyclocross,” “track,” or anything along those lines.
You’ll need two bolt holes for SPD-style cleats. These are essentially everything else on the market.
But what if you regularly ride bikes with both styles? Budget permitting, it never hurts to have dedicated road and mountain shoes.
But the best examples of wide cycling shoes cost a pretty penny. To keep costs down, I prefer to stick with two-hole shoes and install SPD-compatible pedals on both bikes.
Why not the other way around, with three-hole shoes and Look-style pedals on both? That’s technically possible, but it’s easier to use MTB shoes on the road than road shoes on the trail.
Indoor cyclists, take note: Peloton pedals also use three-bolt road cleats. However, it’s easy to swap them for SPD-compatible pedals that use a two-bolt cleat.
It’s hard to go wrong with a dial adjustment. Nothing, in my experience, is more precise nor easier to adjust on the fly in all conditions. Naturally, a pair of dials allows more precise fit than a single dial, but both configurations are common.
Dials are a bit complex internally, so they’re arguably a point of failure. Look for shoes with a serviceable (or at least replaceable) brand of adjuster. Many high-end brands use BOA, which falls into this category.
Buckles also work well, and were ubiquitous on high-end shoes before dials took over. They lack micro-adjustment—and frankly seem less modern—but are arguably more robust and impervious to dirt.
Next, good old hook-and-loop (Velcro) straps are durable, and essentially foolproof. They’re harder to adjust on the fly
Laces are a low-tech alternative to dial adjusters. Adjustment is infinitesimal and tension is (mostly) evenly distributed. They’re also a great choice for casual/commuter shoes, since they look downright normal off the bike. They’re also dirt-cheap and, if you care, a tad more aerodynamic.
Unfortunately, laces are slower to adjust, require stopping, and don’t allow separate upper/lower adjustment (as with two dials). They’re also a headache when caked in mud.
Laces don’t prevent a good fit, but there are easier ways for almost every application.
Traction & walkability
Mountain shoes have some degree of tread to tackle those steep, loose hike-a-bike sections.
Thicker soles mean greater stack height (pedal-to-foot distance). As stack increases, it’s harder to keep your leg perfectly vertical while pedaling. That’s not ideal for ergonomics, but it’s a necessary trade-off for traction on the ground.
Road shoes, on the other hand, aren’t intended for walking more than a few feet.
They have minimal soles (to reduce stack height), a larger, three-bolt cleat mounting plate (see above), and far less traction. Trail traction is irrelevant, so designers are free to minimize weight and encourage perfectly vertical pedaling, instead.
What if nothing is wide enough?
As a last resort, choose the widest possible mountain bike shoes no matter your discipline. They’re designed for occasional walking, so they generally use wider lasts than road shoes.
Some folks have had good luck with a shoe stretcher, but success depends heavily on a shoe’s materials. Leather is easiest to stretch; high-end synthetics are difficult to impossible.
Companies like Bont also offer fully custom shoes. Prices typically start upward of $1000, however, so it may be worth exhausting other options before going the bespoke route.
Other wide cycling shoes to consider
No shoes are wider than Bont’s and Lake’s offerings, but several offer different features or price points. I’ve collected them below.
I’ve omitted several popular brands that use high-volume uppers, not wide lasts. Those high-volume fits may suit an E foot with a high instep, but can’t match the support and pressure distribution of a wider last.
- Fizik‘s wide fit
- Sidi‘s Mega last
- Shimano‘s Dynalast Wide, Volume Performance & Volume Tour lasts
- Specialized‘s S-Works Torch
If I’ve omitted any genuinely wide shoes, please let me know so I can improve this resource!