Air Force 1 sneakers are popular for many reasons, not the least of which are their durability, great designs, and ability to be used on the basketball court – but are they good for wide feet? Here is a sizing guide to help, plus my own review!
Many sneakers can be bought in various sizes that also accommodate wider feet, but Air Force 1s don’t come in width options other than the standard. So, are they good for wider feet?
Air Force 1s are generally suitable for those with average-width feet or just slightly wider than usual. Due to a spacious toe box area there is enough room for most. However, if you have very wide feet you may experience discomfort as they may not be roomy enough.
My own feet are slightly wide and I love wearing Air Force 1s. Personally I find them to feel plenty roomy in the toe box. When compared to narrower sneakers like Converse, the extra space in the toe box is really noticeable.
Here’s how they look on me:
As you can see the toe box is nice and broad by design. I also find they stretch out even further once broken in after a few weeks wear (I have a full written guide plus a video on this here if you need help once you’ve got your pair of AF1s).
Next let’s take a more in-depth look at the design of AF1s when it comes to accommodating wide feet, plus how to measure your own feet to ensure you’ll get the perfect fit for you.
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Are Air Force 1 Good For Wide Feet Or Not?
Nike’s Air Force 1 shoes date back to the early 80s and were one of the first shoes from the Swoosh brand’s basketball category to feature Air technology. Over almost four decades the Air Force 1 lineup has grown in popularity for being comfortable, durable and easy to wear on basketball courts.
Air Force 1 shoes don’t come in different sizes for width, although you can opt for longer or shorter lengths, which can be problematic if you have overly broad feet.
There is more than enough room in the toe box area for most average-width feet or for those with slightly wide feet, however it may be a challenging fit for those with super wide feet.
Most wearers of Air Force 1 shoes report that these are true to size, which means that whatever size your feet are is the size you need to buy. You won’t have to choose a size bigger or smaller to ensure comfort, as Nike has provided the shoes are accurately sized for length and general width. If you feel you need to buy a bigger or smaller size to get the right fit, you don’t need to worry about that with Air Force 1s.
That being said, Air Force 1 shoes are designed for casual wear, on or off the basketball court. They are historically not great for strenuous exercise or being worn every day and have been known to become uncomfortable if worn too long. Taking this into account, you should consider Air Force 1 shoes carefully if you have extra wide feet, as this will add to your discomfort.
Worn for shorter periods, Air Force 1s can be comfortable for most width feet. So, what can you do if you have wider than-normal feet and want to wear Air Force 1s?
- Sizing is most important when purchasing Air Force 1s. As they are true to size, you must make sure you choose the correct one.
- Do your research. Read as many consumer reports as possible by searching online and in forums. The best feedback that is reliable will come from those with experience with Air Force 1s. You can also connect with those with very wide feet and how they found Air Force 1s. First-hand feedback is always the most reliable and may give you better insight and provide alternatives you hadn’t considered before.
- The toe box of Air Force 1s can restrict overly broad feet but should do just fine for most widths. However, if you need a little extra space, you can consider going one size bigger, provided it doesn’t leave too much room at your heel to cause chafing or blistering. Make sure you spend some time testing this out in person, and consider wearing socks to add some comfort and extra padding.
- If you’re not able to find the right size for your feet to accommodate your foot width, opt for Nike Air Max shoes over the Air Force 1s. Since Air Force 1s tend to have stiff uppers and use leathers and suedes, it isn’t pliable enough to give way to wider feet.
- If you are set on buying a pair of Nike Air Force 1s but are doubtful about sizing due to having a wider foot, it is best to go to a store to ask for assistance. These professionals will be able to give the best advice as they are most familiar with the product.
- Be sure to test the sizes and walk around in a pair of Air Force 1s before making a decision – remember that if it’s not comfortable when you’re fitting, it’s not likely to improve after buying it. Instead, try a different style if you have a particularly wide feed that feels constricted and crushed in Air Force 1s.
You may also like: How To Break In Air Force 1s FAST (7 Ways)
When Are Feet Considered Wide Width?
Shoe sizing is not limited to how long your feet are, and width plays an important role too. When your shoes are too tight across the top half of your foot, it can cause pain, difficulty walking, blisters, and even bad posture. When are feet considered wide, and – other than pain or discomfort – how do you know if your feet are wider than average?
Men and women have different sizes that are considered wide, with men generally having bigger feet overall (captain obvious over here). The logic of the wide width number system is that since men are proportionally bigger than ladies, their feet may be wider, too. This has filtered down into the concept that even when deciding what is considered ‘wide’, larger numbers are allocated to men than women.
For example, a man may have a foot length conducive to a size ten shoe; the same size foot in inches belonging to a lady will be called a size 12. This is a little illogical if you think about it, but this is how it works in the USA. And this basic reasoning is also applied when it comes to foot width. Medium-width shoe size for men is considered wide for ladies.
For women, shoes labelled D, E, 2E, EE, and W are considered wide, with EEE, 3W, 3E, 4E, X, and XW being extra wide. However, 2E and up for men is already regarded as extra wide.
Measuring Your Feet To Get Width Right
Wearing shoes that are way too tight across the top of your feet, you will likely find the following becoming a problem after a while:
- Ingrown toenails and blisters from the toes being rubbed up against each other and forced to squeeze together
- Bunions are incredibly painful and may require surgery if left too long. This is a direct result of prolonged wearing of shoes that are too tight across the width
- Circulation issues from restricting good blow flow, which can include pins and needles in your toes and pain when blood flow returns
- Changes in gait, how you walk, and how you stand to translate to lousy posture, overcompensating in specific movements, and, ultimately, joint and back pain.
To prevent such issues, it’s a good idea to have your feet properly measured. Knowing your shoe size is more than just seeing what you can squeeze your foot into; understanding what the measurement is across the top of your foot is vital.
Visiting a podiatrist is a good investment as this will help you identify the correct shoe size for you – taking width into account – and also give you insight into what shoe is best for you. You can also make use of a shoe-sizing service at most shoe stores free of charge, but if you’d prefer to do the sizing yourself, here is a valuable guide to helping you do so:
Before you jump headlong into measuring your feet, make sure you do so after you have been standing or walking for a while already – mid-day is usually a good time as your feet naturally swell a little, and any shoe you wear should accommodate this.
- Take a sheet of paper and stand on it on a flat surface.
- Carefully trace the outline of your foot as close as possible. Do this for each foot.
- Do this while wearing a pair of socks if you’re shopping for sneakers or winter shoes that require you to wear socks.
- With a ruler you can now measure the widest part of your foot from side to side in inches.
Here’s a photo of me showing how to do this:
The following chart can be used to find the corresponding letter in the USA. There are additional width sizes after this, but these are the exception to the rule and are generally a little more challenging to find
Women’s shoe sizes:
|Shoe Size||Inches – Narrow (A)||Inches – Medium (B)||Inches – Wide (C/D)|
Shoe sizes for men:
|Shoe Size||Inches – Narrow (C/B)||Inches – Medium (D)||Inches – Wide (E)|
If you’re looking at buying shoes that are popular, durable, and can be worn on the sports field or basketball court, Air Force 1s from Nike have been popular for more than thirty years. But while they are available in all the expected sizes, you should take care when shopping if you have wide feet. While the toe box has ample room for average width – or even slightly wider feet – they will not be exceptionally comfortable for those who generally opt for widths twice the average size.
For more Air Force 1s content, check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).