Shoes with a wide toe box (that aren't zero drop)

I'm looking for a road or trail running shoe with a wide toe box similar to Merrell Pace Gloves or Altras, but with around a 4 mm drop.

I currently run in Saucony Mirage 3s and Saucony Peregrine 3s and find that their toe boxes are tighter than I prefer. Prior to these, I ran in Merrell Pace Gloves and loved them, but developed a tight calf and plantar fasciitis in my left leg/foot and was told some structure and a higher heel-to-toe drop would help.

(It hasn't, but trigger point therapy on my calf has. I'm also working on my form as I believe it's due to me running with my left foot in dorsiflexion. The problem began when I did too much, too soon on a long run and then raced a distance I wasn't well trained for the following weekend.)

I've visited my local running store, read reviews and searched through stores online, but can't find any shoes with wide toe boxes like Merrells or Altras that aren't zero drop. I find Altras incredibly comfortable when I've trialed them at a store, but hesitate going back to zero drop.

Any advice?


  • I have very wide feet.  I alternate my runs between Altra Instinct 1.5s, Xero's, and Skechers Go-Run Rides.
    I really wish the Skechers had Altra's toe box, that would be about perfect.  The Go-Run Ride is about the only shoe I've tried other than the Altra's that I can even tolerate.  They're not quite as wide, but better than most other options.  Also, I had the original Go-Runs, and they fit different.  I tried on the Go-bionic, but it felt a little tighter.
  • The Asics Gel Lyte33 v3 might be worth a look. One of the roomier higher drop shoes I have run in (6mm, but feels less). Ran 14.5 miles in them yesterday and they were great. Definitely on the softish side though, but that works for me.
  • I love the toe box on Pearl Izumi road N1. The drop is a little hard to describe, but it feels comparable to a 4mm drop shoe. I've gotten great durability from my pairs.

  • Merrell All Out Fuse maybe.  I've not tried any of the All Out's on yet.  The Mix Master was not all that wide in the forefoot though.  New Balance MT10 v2 could work as well.
  • I was also thinking about the Merrell Fuse or Rush.  I just got a pair of the Rush a couple months ago and am really happy with them.  The toe box feels plenty roomy, and the sizing was the same as for the Bare Access 2. For comparison, I also have the Mirage 3's which are okay but I would like them a lot more if they were a little more roomy.

    Most references I've seen to the Merrell Fuse and Rush say they are a 6 mm drop, although Running Warehouse lists them as an 11 mm drop.  They feel to me like more like a 6.

  • I'm like a broken record around here, but I really like my New Balance MT110 trail shoes. 4mm drop and lots of toe space - just be sure to purchase a 1/2 size larger than your usual.
  • edited June 2014
    Thank you all for the fantastic responses! I think I have some real options now.

    The Asics Gel Lyte33s definitely are a possibility (Shoefitr shows them to have a roomier toe box than my Mirages). The Pearl Izumis have too much cushioning though.

    I hadn't heard about Merrell's AllOut line, but that looks exactly like what I'm looking for. Even the toe box seems to be similar to the Pace Gloves, but it provides a little cushion and drop.

    The NB MT/WT110 have the shape, cushioning, and drop right, but they seem to be hard to find. They're not listed on the NB website either, so it seems that they might have been discontinued...

    It seems that the shoes with the right shape tend towards trail shoes. I run half/half on roads and trails. Has anyone tried out the Merrell Fuse or NM 110s on the road?
  • Cool Heather.  I will have to drop by Gander Mtn. and see if they have any to try on.  I never have found a trail shoe I really love.  I thought the PI M2 was working, but I kept getting really bad end of toe (mortons) blood blisters.  And it was not too small.
  • The PI is well cushioned, but very firm, not unlike the Mirage. Merrell AllOut Rush is also a very firm shoe on roads, but nice and roomy up front. Have not tried the Fuse, but that one might be a better road option as it isn't as luggy.
  • I second Pete on the Asics Gel Lyte33 v3. Roominess (is that a word?) is comparable to Merrell Road Glove. Probably roomier.
  • Inov-8 Road-x 155 of Road-xtreme 178. Both have a roomy toebox made of stretchy material. 3mm drop for both.
  • I'd like to second the inov-8 Road-X shoes - I've got both the 155 and 233 and they're both toe-spacious. 
    Another shoe I have with plenty of toe space is the Mizuno Levitas (or Cursoris) which, like the MT110 is no longer current in the North American market.
    Skecher Go Bionics are roomy too. I think that the trail version has some drop with the insole in.
  • One issue with the Gel Lyte33 is the forefoot in my pair has kind of a lumpy feel to it. Have heard others say the same thing, and yet others who have not felt it. There may be some manufacturing issues, so if you get that one feel it out during try-on. I feel bumps behind my second toe on both shoes and they seem to irritate my feet over long miles.
  • I've had the same issues with PF and am currently running in the Mizuno Wave Sayonara, which are wide enough (I have BIrkenstock shaped feet...) but they are a 9mm drop.  I found Saucony Kinvara 3-4 not wide enough and the heel wasn't cupped in the shoe enough so that my foot was slipping and making PF worse.  

    Perhaps look at the Mizuno Wave HItogami (ordered a pair into the LRS to try) or Ekiden?
  • I visited my local running store with all this great advice. I ended up getting the men's Brooks PureCadence to replace my Mirage 3s. (Apparently the men's versions can be used as women's wide width, which gives my toes more room, even though I don't have a wide foot.) These ended up feeling the best on the trial runs and are wide enough for my toes to splay and feel free. They're also much more flexible than the Mirages. It seems that a very stiff shoe doesn't work for me.

    I was immensely disappointed to find that Merrell's AllOut shoes have much too wide of a heel for me. There's no way they will ever work.

    My trail shoes aren't as tight, so I'm leaving those for now.

    (As for my PF, I saw a PT and am using OTC orthotics, which have decreased my pain immensely in just a few days. I suspect that I'll be able to use them in conjunction with icing, stretching, and strengthening to heal it and then hopefully transition out of the orthocis.)

    Thanks for all of the advice!

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