Updated: Feb 10, 2019
If you have hobbit feet like mine, you are looking for a wide running shoe. But what about trail running shoes? One of my co-workers mentioned that he always runs in the Asics Nimbus for trail running, but said the new model was too narrow for his foot. He looked into Altra because of the wide toe-box, but said he wasn't quite ready for a Zero Drop™ shoe.
Since I primarily run trails in Altra, I turned to my local trail running peeps, the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers (@wmwranglers) to get other recommendations. Below are the top responses I got in no specific order. I still included Altra in this list for those looking for a wide toe-box, but don't mind a Zero Drop™. I likewise provided a recommendation at the end of this post for an extremely popular Salomon trail shoe, even though Salomon is not known for a wide toe-box.
Altra (any version)
$120 - $150
Altra is king when it comes to wide shoes. I would be remiss if I did not mention them. I am currently running in the Altra King MT and the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Neoshell Mid. Their shoes range from a minimalist-style sole to thick cushiony goodness. Their aim is to create a shoe with a natural, barefoot-style run, but ample protection. They even trademarked the term "FootShape™," in relation to the wide toe-box. For those who don't know, Zero Drop™ is also a term coined by Altra. The term is now an industry standard of discussion when it comes to running shoes. In their words, "Zero Drop™ simply means there is no drop from the heel of the shoe down to the forefoot. Whereas traditional shoes typically feature a 12mm drop from heel to forefoot, our shoes are the exact same distance off the ground at both the heel and the ball of the foot." Read the Runner's World review here and click here for official specs.
Topo Athletic (any version)
$100 - $130
Topo was the top recommended brand from the Wranglers for wide toe-box without Zero Drop™. None of the Wranglers recommended a specific model, but several recommended this brand as an alternative to Altra for a wide toe-box. Topo is a direct competitor to Altra's concept of FootShape™, but not all models are Zero Drop™. Read the Ultrarunner Podcast review here and click here for official specs.
This was by far the top recommended shoe. People had nothing but great things to say about the Hoka Torrent. One person responded, "Torrent has great traction and cushion and is light and nimble." He also added that the Torrent does not have as high of a stack in the sole, like Hoka's are typically known for. A friend of mine who has run in Altra's for years also switched to the Torrent and loves them. Read the Runner's World review here and click here for official specs.
Brooks Cascadia 13
This is a shoe that I have had my eye on personally. Two of our best running pals swear by Brooks. According to Runner's World, the Cascadia 13 added room in the toe-box, but some reviewers said the toe still felt too narrow. So, take that for what it's worth. Read the Runner's World review here and click here for official specs.
New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi V3
New Balance usually has "wide" options for their shoes or they are just wider in general, even though they do not have that "foot-shape" toe-box like Altra or Topo. This was a brand in general that I was going to recommend. Another Wrangler also made a similar comment. Read the Runner Click review here and click here for official specs. New Balance also has the best price for their trail shoes that I can find. The New Balance FuelCore NITRELv2 is only $75 for example.
Saucony Peregrine 8
A couple people recommended these, but one person recommended against them for wide feet. I'll let you be the judge. Either way, this is a pretty common trail running shoe that are worth trying on. Read the Running Shoes Guru review here and click here for official specs.
Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4
Nike is generally known for a narrower toe, but I got one suggestion for this shoe. I also have tested them out in the store and can attest that the toe-box feels much wider than a typical Nike shoe. I was actually quite surprised at the toe-box and comfort. I almost bought them myself...but I found my Altra King MT at a great price. Watch the Ginger Runner review here and click here for official specs.
Salomon Speedcross 4 (Not a wide toe-box)
Don't care about a wide toe-box or the heel-to-toe drop? Look no further than the Salomon Speedcross 4. Salomon is a known leader in trail running. They have a wide variety of trail shoes to choose from, based on what you are looking for in a trail shoe. The most common Salomon trail shoe that I see are the Salomon Speedcross 4. I've been eyeing these puppies and prior iterations for a few years and they will probably be my next trail shoe, regardless of my wide hobbit feet. Read the Switch Back Travel review here and click here for official specs.
ABOUT THE AVERAGE JOE RUNNER
Well, his real name is actually Dave...but "The Average Joe Runner" seemed like a catchy name for a blog. Born a sprinter, but converted to distance running in adulthood, Dave has run for more than 25 years. He is the father of four awesome kids and the husband to one amazingly talented, smart and fast-running wife. The Average Joe Runner blog and website was born after Dave continued to get questions from friends and family alike for running tips and gear advice. However, this blog is also meant to hear from other Average Joe and Jane Runners out there. You can contribute to the blog by clicking Submit or Request. Follow The Average Joe Runner on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @TheAvgJoeRun. Read More