Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Wide forefoot/toe box shoe suggestions after pinched nerve
Display Avatars Sort By:
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Wide forefoot/toe box shoe suggestions after pinched nerve on 02/06/2010 13:10:20 MST Print View

Recently I developed a Morton's Neuroma, which is a pinched nerve between the metatarsal foot bones in the forefoot. This is most often caused by shoes that aren't wide enough, especially in the forefoot, a sharp rise in the underside of the toe box which bends toes up, and foot bones that may be spaced closer together. Basically shoes that constrict the forefoot bones and force the toes up at a sharp angle are leading causes.

In my case, my normal width size 11 feet flattened and widened a bit after serving in an elite airborne unit many years ago, and slowly flattened/widened a bit with time, and yet I failed to realize I needed to adjust to shoes with a wider forefoot. Nothing super wide, just wide forefoot. So I need to replace my normal (D) size Salomon Solaris trail shoes with ones with a wider forefoot and toe box.

Also need to use an orthotic with a metatarsal pad right behind the metatarsal bones, which helps spread the bones from the nerve. For now I'm using stick-on metatarsal pads with either the standard insole in my shoes or Superfeet Green (regular arch) insoles before making orthotics.

It was bad enough that when I went on the BPL Bay Area 2nd Annual Pt Reyes overnight recently, I had to wear my Keen Growler 200g Thinsulate winter boots, which had the widest forefoot of all my shoes. A bit warm but the eVent breathed well and at least I got to go on the trip.

I'm 6 ft tall 185 lbs and prefer lightweight to medium weight shoes with good torsional rigidity and decent padding. Bare bones padding (pun intended) isn't going to work for me. I'd describe myself as lightweight in style, not ultralightweight.

I know that the new Montrail AT Plus will be available by late Feb/early March - that shoe has a wide forefoot and toe box and is supposed to be like the Montrail Hardrock 08. The shoe is supposed to have good torsional rigidity and padding and looks like a great replacement shoe for me.

Which other brands and shoe models, such as innov8, would you recommend?

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Wide forefoot/toe box shoe suggestions after pinched nerve on 02/06/2010 13:37:47 MST Print View

I also like a wider forefoot/toebox. I used to look for New Balances that used an SL-2 last, but they don't make trail-runners using that last anymore. I've since switched to Adidas Supernova Riots, which have a wide toebox...

Edited by jdw01776 on 02/06/2010 13:38:35 MST.

Christopher Mills
(Hiker816) - MLife

Locale: Denver
Re: "Wide forefoot/toe box shoe suggestions after pinched nerve" on 02/06/2010 14:51:16 MST Print View

Take a look at the La Sportiva Wildcat. The toebox is wide, and very deep. My feet are shaped sort of like duck's feet, and they fit me great.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Wide forefoot/toe box shoe suggestions after pinched nerve on 02/06/2010 15:00:09 MST Print View


> my normal width size 11 feet flattened and widened a bit after serving
I know ... both my feet and my wife's feet went up a size when we spent 3 months walking in France. New shoes.

> Which other brands and shoe models would you recommend?
My wife and I have had great joy from New Balance shoes in a 4E fitting, and they have lots of those. Even better, their web outlet at allows you to search the entire range with different selection criteria, including width! Love it. Unlike most other companies which won't even list their shoes widths!

(I have no connection to NB, but I do like their shoes.)


Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Wide Toebox Shoes. on 02/06/2010 15:03:36 MST Print View

I too have a wide toebox and I've found that Salomon trailrunners to work very well for me.

Fred Eoff
(fredeoff) - F - M

Locale: Northwest
Wide Toebox on 02/06/2010 15:30:11 MST Print View

You might add the Vasque Blur to your list to checkout. I also have a wide forefoot and the Blur is about the most comfortable trail shoe I have found. For me at least.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Wide forefoot/toe box shoe suggestions after pinched nerve" on 02/06/2010 16:21:06 MST Print View

Hello EJ...

I have toebox issues also...the only shoes that work for me are Keens.

They make a whole line of footwear, including what they call trailrunners and lightweight hikers.

Since the Growlers work for you, maybe stick with that brand.


Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
Re: Wide forefoot/toe box shoe suggestions after pinched nerve on 02/06/2010 17:11:27 MST Print View

You've probably already thought of this, but you can trim the toe off your insole for a little extra volume. Your Superfeet Green has a curved line on the bottom to guide your scissors. Get well.

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Wide forefoot/toe box shoe suggestions on 02/06/2010 17:38:24 MST Print View

Since you are already familiar with Keens, you might want to try the Shellrock. They have a huge footbox as do all Keens & coupled with New Balance insoles with metatarsal support, might be a good combo for you. The Shellrocks are not waterproof but ventilate well & have a non aggressive tread best suited for dry conditions. Mine have seemed to hold up well. The only limitation is that they are not well suited to snow & will "wet out" in rain, but dry relatively fast.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
wide toe box. on 02/06/2010 17:58:26 MST Print View

Adidas Supernova Riots.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
shoe suggestions on 02/06/2010 20:25:27 MST Print View

Since you wear orthotics, thought it might help to know about PAL carbon fiber prescription orthotics that come with a reinforced Spenco footbed attached. They are more flexible than hard orthotics, so work better in hiking footwear. Many podiatrists are familiar with them, and will order them with your prescription. Have used them in Zamberlan light boots, Keen mids, and Danner 452s, and they
have held up real well, while also preventing a return to painful issues with my feet.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Golites on 02/07/2010 12:42:31 MST Print View

I just had surgery for Morton's Neuroma on one foot in late Nov, and needed a wide toe box shoe before I got it due to little-toe side bunions (bunionettes). Hmm, I went to jump school too back in the day (1976 ...), but I don't think that's related! :-)

I've been using Golite shoes for the wide toe box, and they made a big difference with the bunionette problem --- my options were basically surgery for that or a wider toe box.

I have no idea if the tread pattern on the Golite shoes contributed to me getting Morton's Neuroma on my 2008 PCT thru-hike. It's possible, in that the deep lugs IMO seem to sort of focus the pressure of each footfall onto certain parts of the foot.

But because I otherwise like Golites a lot, I'm using them again on my AT thru-hike attempt starting in 18 days. Hopefully the result won't be Morton's Neuroma surgery on my other foot next year (!). In fact, I'd been looking for something like a thin kevlar or similar below-the-insert piece to sort of help spread the impact of each step more uniformly around the ball of my foot. Seems like I heard about something like that once, but haven't found it. If anyone has a pointer to such a product, I'd appreciate it!

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
thanks very much, questions on 02/07/2010 15:22:48 MST Print View

Thanks for all the very helpful suggestions. A few questions:

John Whynot:

Do the Adidas Supernova Riots also have a wide forefoot or are they available in wide?


1) which New Balance shoe models do you use? There are so many. I use their running shoes exclusively because of the wide sizes, durability and motion control. I have the 1221 for running.

2) Do you use the 4E because that’s the size of your feet, or because you want to allow for a lot of foot expansion? What size are your feet now? Want to get a sense of whether or not I should just get wide rather than very wide NB.


which Salomon trail running model, does it have a wide forefoot and toe box and does it come in wide sizes?


Do you buy the Vasque Blur in a wide size or the regular size has a wide forefoot and toe box?


My wife and I love our Keen Growlers. Which non-waterproof Keen hiking/trail shoes do you recommend?


Which New Balance insoles with metatarsal support are you referring too? By metatarsal support do you mean padding, or an oval metatarsal pad in center of the insole right behind the metatarsal bones to spread the bones? I absolutely need the pad.


I’m looking into PAL carbon fiber prescription orthotics – hadn’t heard of them yet but given my first podiatrist that is no shocker – left in her hands much longer and I won’t be able to walk. She's a nice person but didn’t even check my shoes when I saw her and just gave me metatarsal pads to put in them (even though the pads would make my too narrow shoes constrict my foot bones and pinch the nerves even more). I even asked her if I should buy wider footwear and she said just try the pads first. Sign of a terrible practitioner. Fortunately my friends know a great pedorthist back East and friends in Silicon Valley referred me to a podiatrist who is a long distance runner that a lot of runners swear by.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Shoe list so far - can you think of any others? on 02/07/2010 15:23:27 MST Print View

List so far:

Montrail AT Plus – wide forefoot and toe box
Adidas Supernova Riots – only available in D but has a wide and deep toe box
La Sportiva Wildcat - roomy toe box, but not available in wide
Salomon trail running – model?
Keen Shellrock
Keen – other models?
Golite - which models?
innov-8 - which models? Do they have enough cushioning?
Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra Wide - very roomy, breathable, quick drying, entirely synthetic, responsive
Mizuno Wave Harriers - wide forefoot, roomy toebox, aggresive sole, very light, but the padding is minimal, so maybe check out other Mizuno models.

Edited by mountainwalker on 02/08/2010 15:50:55 MST.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Brian on 02/07/2010 15:35:48 MST Print View

Brian, I really hope to avoid surgery. I’ve heard of 1-3 months recovery on crutches in a foot brace. How long were you off your feet? If I have to I have to but it would drive me crazy.

The other concern is that in the surgery they don’t just remove the nerve but cut the tendon that runs across the metatarsal bones to spread the bones and prevent a recurrence, and I’ve read this can result in some loss of forefoot control. Have you experienced this?

From what I’ve read the number one contributor to a neuroma is narrow footwear and the sole rising too aggressively under the toe boxes pushing the toes up too much, second is your metatarsal bones being spaced closer together. It’s certainly possible your lug pattern contributed – a good pedorthist or podiatrist who makes orthotics could help you pinpoint.

You should definitely see one to help you make a good long term orthotic for both feet, even if you had the surgery already. You see even with a wider toe box you need to make sure your insole and shoe are spreading the forces of each step, minimizing injury to any one area.

Search the Superfeet website for the Morton’s Neuroma article, and you might find this article on orthotics helpful:

Also a related recent thread I think you commented on:

Which Golite model do you use?

Jump school is quite an experience. Had a blast with my buddies. However, regular circular military chutes drop you like a lead rock. Civilian jumpers don’t realize what an impact it is.

Edited by mountainwalker on 02/07/2010 15:37:49 MST.

Fred Eoff
(fredeoff) - F - M

Locale: Northwest
Wide Forefront on 02/07/2010 15:40:35 MST Print View

I am not aware that the Blurs come in a wide. In any event I bought the regular. I did buy them 1/2 size larger than my normal size and that may have some influence on the comfortable fit. But even with the larger size they do not at all feel loose. Just very comfortable with lots of toe room. The lacing system seems to hold the foot snugly in the heel socket and no problem with excess forward slippage on downhill terrain.

Edited by fredeoff on 02/07/2010 15:42:20 MST.

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Mizunos? on 02/07/2010 15:45:49 MST Print View

I too need a wide forefoot, and am currently using Mizuno Wave Harriers. They have a wide forefoot and roomy toebox, and an excellent aggresive sole. They are very light, and the padding is minimal though, so maybe not what you are looking for. Maybe other Mizuno models may suit, if these are too minimal.

Tim Heckel
(ThinAir) - M

Locale: 6237' - Manitou Springs
Mortons on 02/08/2010 09:52:00 MST Print View

EJ etal,
I too have Morton's neuromas, in my case on both feet.
Some suggestions that have not been mentioned in this thread, but I have mentioned them before:
- Alternatives to surgery are Cryosurgery, or Sclerosing Injections which worked pretty well for me personally. Here is a link to get you started on research
- I had some success with accupuncture but it is very expensive and not covered by my insurance
- You can do a lot with lacing, don't overlook this. I lace my boots so the forefoot is loose and the arch is snug to keep the foot well back in the boot.
Good luck,

Edited by ThinAir on 02/08/2010 09:56:02 MST.

adam blanton
(adamallstar) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
off trail on 02/08/2010 09:59:32 MST Print View

Off trail, I had the best results with a neuroma wearing Chaco sandals. The supportive footbed and wide front foot area made a huge difference.

A pair of my everyday shoes agitated my foot the most and after I replaced those my foot problem hasn't been as bad.

My podiatrists suggested orthorics, but recommended using some superfeet inserts since she said she saw mixed results with orthotics.

Good luck!

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Wide forefoot/toe box shoe suggestions after pinched nerve on 02/08/2010 10:35:19 MST Print View


Give these a shot: Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra Wide-

You currently wear Salomon's so you may have good success with them. They're still my favorite trail runners. I've been wearing them for about 3 years now. I used to wear the regular width, which seemed to stretch after a few days' use but have since moved to the wide sizing and they're very roomy. They also fit the bill for most things we look for in footwear here at BPL- breathable, quick drying, entirely synthetic, responsive.