Enjoy the hiking trails without squishing your toes. These wide toe box hiking shoes are super comfortable, with plenty of room for your toes to properly splay.
When I pull on a pair of hiking shoes, it usually means I’m going to be out on the trails, counting on my feet to take me over all kinds of different terrain. Hopefully I’ll end up at an epic view or maybe a waterfall, but I definitely know my feet are going to be getting a lot of use. So, it would make sense that my hiking shoes should be some of the most comfortable shoes I own, where my feet will happily be for hours on end.
Up until a few years ago, this totally was NOT the case. I dealt with cramped toes, blisters, and overall achy feet. It wasn’t until I realized that it was not my feet that were the problem, but the hiking shoes I was choosing to wear, that things finally start to get better.
A few years ago, I gave up on stiff, narrow hiking shoes and boots that cramped my toes. I started wearing foot-shaped hiking shoes with a wide toe box. I could feel the difference immediately, and it was amazing. Since then, I’ve been on a journey of foot health and toe freedom, swapping out all of my old shoes with narrow toe boxes for minimalist and barefoot shoes that are so much better for my feet.
If you’re looking for wide toe box hiking shoes so you can say goodbye to cramped and squished toes forever, then you’re in the right place! After a lot of hiking, I’ve gathered a list of the best wide toe box hiking shoes.
Not only do the hiking shoes in this post have wide toe boxes, but most of them sport other minimalist features, including fairly flat (aka zero-drop) and flexible soles. This means these shoes will allow your body to stay in a natural, neutral position, and won’t alter a natural walking gait.
Looking for hiking boots instead of hiking shoes? Then check out this other post on barefoot hiking boots. This post focuses on lighter weight, low top hiking shoes and trail runners.
Benefits of Wide Toe Box Hiking Shoes
Wearing shoes that are too narrow for your feet and squish your toes can cause a lot of problems. Wide toe box hiking shoes just lets your feet be feet, and function naturally without something getting in the way.
One of the most common issues cause by narrow shoes are bunions. As your big toe is pushed inward, a bony bump can start to grow at the base of the big toe, causing pain and stiffness. By wearing shoes with a wide toe box, all of your toes can stay straight and properly aligned.
Wide toe box hiking shoes will also help you have better balance as your toes properly splay.
Even if you haven’t had any major problems with your feet, the easiest thing to notice immediately is how much more comfortable wide toe box hiking shoes are. Your toes won’t feel squished or cramped, they should be able to wiggle around…..
Want reviews on newly released barefoot shoes? Check out my Instagram account just for barefoot shoes: @thebarefootshoeguide
The shoes are ordered by stack height, starting with wide toe box hiking shoes with cushion, down to those with very minimal soles for more of a barefoot feel.
Wide Toe Box Hiking Shoes with Cushion (11mm Stack Height and Above)
1 Altra Lone Peak 5
Breathable Mesh Uppers | Stack Height: 25 mm | $130
Altra Lone Peaks are a bit of an anomaly when it comes to the world of minimalist shoes – these hiking and trail running shoes have a very generously sized toe box, are flat and flexible, but also provide a lot of cushion. If you’re a long-distance runner or through hiker that wants both the wide toe box and the cushion, then Altras are a great option.
With a 25mm overall stack height, these are the cushiest hiking shoes on this list. This stack height includes a balanced layer of cushion, along with a rugged tread. The outsoles feature Altra’s grippy and durable MaxTrac technology plus canted lugs underneath the toes for optimal traction.
Fit and sizing
The toe box and overall fit of the Altra Lone Peaks are spacious enough for medium width and volume feet. They do offer a wide version in both the men’s and women’s for those with wider feet. The women’s wide is about ½ inch wider than women’s regular, and the same width as the men’s regular. The men’s wide is another ½ inch wider than the regular.
2 Lems Trailhead
Microfiber and mesh uppers | Stack Height: 17 mm | Retail $130
Lems Shoes was built around the idea that a shoe should fit the natural shape of the human foot. They also wanted to create hiking shoes that were versatile, easily transitioning from mountain-to-town. The rubber soles are meant to handle both travel and pavement equally well.
The Lems Trailheads are a great minimalist hiking shoe, especially for those who are starting to transition to barefoot shoes, or want a bit of extra cushion and don’t need a super wide fit. While the Trailheads do have a wide toe box, they’re not the widest out there. With a 4mm heel drop they are not completely flat, but pretty close. They also offer a decent amount of cushion with a 17mm stack height. There is also a 4.5mm removable insole for additional cushioning. The uppers are made out of microfiber and air mesh so it’s both super lightweight and vegan.
My husband Aaron started wearing the Trailheads almost 2 years ago, and has found them so comfortable he recently bought a second pair. They’ve held up well, but he’s been eyeing the Desert Khaki colorway for a while, a collaboration with Huckberry that has pops of bright teal. Lems has several unique colorways with this style, and most of them are in the men’s sizing. This means if you want a wider fit, you have a few more color options since these do come in men’s and women’s versions.
The soles are flexible, but that flexibility doesn’t compromise the ruggedness and sturdiness of the shoe. The Lems Trailhead offers the grip and protection of a high-end hiking shoe without all the bulk and extra weight.
Fit and sizing
I’ve found these shoes to fit true to size. Check with the Lems size chart here. These shoes come in Men’s and Women’s versions.
3 Lems Primal Pursuit
Breathable | Stack Height: 14 mm | $130
Lems very first shoe, the Primal, has long been a customer favorite for its generously sized toe box, and zero-drop, super flexible sole. I love wearing the Primals for light hiking, but they don’t have the lugs needed for the tougher trails.
Lems decided to tweak the Primals to make a more rugged shoe, optimal for hiking and backpacking. The result was the new Primal Pursuit. The toe box is wider than the Trailheads, and they have an overall stack height of 14 mm. This is less than the Altras/Trailheads, but more than a typical barefoot hiking shoe.
For those looking for more comfort and protection on rocky trails, or people spend a lot of time on your feet on hard surfaces like concrete, the Primal Pursuits are a great option. The tradeoff for the cushion is you don’t get much ground feel. However, if you’re new to minimalist shoes, it’s a solid place to start.
The Primal Pursuits are made with vegan uppers, including air mesh to improve air flow and breathability.
Fit and sizing
Lems recommends ordering ½ size larger than your typical US size. As a point of reference, I’m typically a size US 7.5 or EU 38. I have the Lems Primals in 7.5, and ordered these in a size 8. See the Lems Sizing and comparison chart here. These shoes are unisex.
4 Xero Shoes TerraFlex Trail Running and Hiking Shoe
Uppers | Stack Height: 12 mm | $110
The TerraFlex is a wide-toe, zero drop hiking shoe that’s essentially a beefed-up version of Xero Shoe’s popular Prio running shoe. The 12 mm stack height is comprised of 4 mm lugs that help with grip, a 5 mm sole base, and 3 mm of foam embedded within the sole. These also have a 2 mm removable insole.
Fit and sizing
Compared to other barefoot shoe brands, Xero Shoes tend to be on the narrower end. These hiking shoes come in men’s and women’s sizing. For a wider fit, opt for the men’s sizing.
5 Merrell Trail Glove
Mesh & TPU Uppers | Stack Height: 11 mm | Retail $100
Merrell is well known for their traditional (bulkier) hiking boots, but created a great minimalist hiking shoe with the Trail Gloves. These vary from version to version, and seem to have gotten a bit bulkier in the most recent iteration, the Trail Glove 6.
If you’re a barefoot shoe enthusiast, you may find the slight taper at the toe box, 11 mm stack height and small amount of arch support to be too much. They still make a good transitional hiking shoe with a wide toe box and zero drop sole. The Vibram outsoles have 3 mm lugs. With a stretchy tongue and mesh uppers, these are meant to fit like a glove (or a sock). At $100, these are the most affordable hiking shoes on this list. Plus you can get 15% off your first order when you order directly from Merrell.com.
Wide toe box hiking shoes with minimal cushion
We’ve talked about some great wide toe box hiking shoes that also have some noticeable cushion, but now I’m moving on to shoes with thinner soles. These barefoot hiking shoes offer more responsive, flexible soles with greater ground feel.
6 Vivobarefoot Primus Trail FG
Breathable | Stack Height: 6.5 mm |$165 – $180 | Code NMB10 for 10% off
Vivobarefoot has been at the forefront of the barefoot shoe movement for over 10 years. The Primus trail hiking and trail running shoes have a wide toe box, are flat, and have a 6.5mm stack height (2.5mm base + 4mm lug height). The outsoles feature Vivobarefoot’s hex flex design. This means good ground feel, but the grip isn’t compromised.
The Primus Trail comes in three different versions: The original Primus trail made with recycled plastics; the Primus Trail Knit made with a knit material for breathability; and the Primus Trail All Weather made for colder weather.
Fit and sizing
I ordered my typical sizes in the Primus Trails (EU38/USD7.5). Vivobarefoot has a tool on their website that will scan a photo of your foot to give you a size recommendation for a specific shoe. I recommend going through this process several times to get the most accurate result.
Vivo’s fit those with average width feet best. These are available in men’s and women’s versions, with the men’s shoes offering a wider fit.
For 10% off at Vivobarefoot, use code NMB10.
7 Freet Kidepo
Breathable Mesh Uppers | Stack height: 6.5 mm |$107 | Code KELLY10 for 10% off
Freet is a British company launched in 2011 with a mission to free your feet! The Freet Kidepo is a wide toe box hiking bootie with mid-rise tops. It’s so lightweight and breathable, it feels more like a shoe than a boot. The mesh uppers on the Kidepo barefoot shoes are made from recycled coffee grounds. This innovative knit fabric is lightweight, durable, super breathable, antimicrobial and quick drying. They work well for hiking through water as they drain and dry out quickly.
These barefoot hiking shoes have a 6.5mm stack height, comprised of a 4mm outsole and 2.5mm insole. The insole is removable, but provided a bit of cushion and shock absorption. Even with the insole, these have good ground feel.
Fit and sizing
Freet makes some of the best barefoot hiking shoes for wide feet as both the toe box and overall shoe accommodate those with wide, high-volume feet best.
That said, I have average width/volume feet, and find these super comfortable. Shoes are unisex. Sizing can vary a bit from model to model, so check the measurements at the bottom of each shoe page. I typically wear a size EU 38, and opted for a size 38 here. My longest foot measurement is about 233mm, and the 38s have a 240mm insole. The toe box is very roomy as the mesh uppers curve out and up, so you have even more room beyond the insole.
Get 10% off using the code KELLY10 when purchasing directly from Freet. Shipping to the US is about $20, and with the coupon these boots are less than $120 delivered.
If you’re based in the US, you can also order them from online retailer PedTerra, which offers free shipping and free returns in the US. Use code NOMANBEFORE for 10% off at PedTerra.
8 Be Lenka Trailwalker
Suede Leather Uppers | Stack Height: 4 mm | Retail $199
Be Lenka has greatly expanded its barefoot shoe styles over the last two years, including the launch of a hiking-specific shoe in summer 2021. The Be Lenka Trailwalker is a barefoot hiking shoe with a wide toe box and grippy tread.
The thin, flexible soles are designed to rewild your feet and bring you closer to nature along the trails. These hiking shoes have a total stack height of 4mm as there is no padded insole. These shoes are a good option if your focus is on ground feel.
Fit and sizing
Be Lenka shoes tend to fit wide feet best. I’ve typically found them true to size based on their size chart.