Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

October 9, 2007

You Asked for It: Get Moving

Filed under: Shoes,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 4:14 am

Our internet friend Tanya wrote:

I love your blog, and was hoping you might have some suggestions. I’m short and a bit heavy and have wide feet… I would like to become short and not so heavy with wide feet, and to do so need a pair of gym shoes that will fit and possibly be semi-attractive without being so expensive that I can’t bring myself to buy them. Any suggestions?

Once again Francesca states that on this blog we neither encourage nor discourage weight loss. Rather, we encourage good health, and we believe that our readers are intelligent enough to decide for themselves when, if, and how they wish to lose weight.

So, Francesca applauds Tanya’s decision to take action toward reaching something she wants, and wishes her good health. Francesca, herself, is not a gym person. When Francesca wishes to exercise, she prefers playing sports, or doing aerobics in the comfort of her own living room, or carrying home Chinese takeout or heavy bags of groceries which contain, among the fruits and veggies, only one box of Entenmann’s cupcakes. So you see, to each her own!

The important thing about gym shoes is not whether they are attractive, but whether they will support and cushion your feetsies. However, blinding colors are to be avoided, and detailing should be as non-busy as possible.

Tanya did not say whether she plans to use the gym for weights or for dance / aerobics classes, so Francesca searched for a good general all-purpose fitness shoe, available in wide widths and costing under $100. She suggests that Tanya try the WW744 model by New Balance, which is a sturdy walking shoe and comes in all-white or with light blue trim:

Happy shopping and happy exercising!

xoxo, Francesca


  1. Can I also suggest that Tanya swallow her pride and try some MENS shoes? I have wide feet too and know that nothing will stall an exercise session faster than sore feet. I have found that mens sports shoes are more likely to be comfy on my wide feet than womens. And most styles are so unisex in appearance that it doesn’t really matter!

    Comment by kirsty — October 9, 2007 @ 5:43 am

  2. The Annalucia will most heartily second the recommendation of the New Balance shoes. They come in the wide widths, and if the built-in support is not sufficient (although it is very good) the Spenco shoe inserts are a great help to those of us who are flat of foot.

    Comment by Annalucia — October 9, 2007 @ 11:04 am

  3. I have been a NewBalance fan for years now. They carry nice styles that are perfect for exercising and come in all different widths. I’m with Kirsty, though– men’s shoes are usually designed in a way that they are naturally wider. Even with New Balance, a regular width usually suffices for a women’s wide-width.

    Comment by curvalicious — October 9, 2007 @ 11:29 am

  4. Adding my vote for New Balance tennies – although, if you can, go to an actual New Balance store to get fitted. It was an eye-opening experience for me. And, besides, I’m no runner, but one model of their running shoes actually fit me the best and felt the most comfortable.

    Comment by sara — October 9, 2007 @ 11:56 am

  5. Should Tanya or other wide-footed ladies happen to be in New England, there are New Balance factory stores in Brighton, Mass., Skowhegan, Maine, and Oxford, Maine. Maybe others, too, but those are the ones I know about. Nice prices and a wider style/size selection than most stores carry.

    Comment by Jane — October 9, 2007 @ 12:03 pm

  6. I’m not sure where Tanya is, but it is a very good idea to get fitted for shoes, and to wear the right shoes for the right exercise. Depending on how she walks, she could actually really hurt her feet by wearing the wrong shoes, and no one wants that! If she happens to be in the Bay Area, See Jane Run is a great women’s sports store with awesome staff that will hook her up with the right shoes.

    Comment by meloukhia — October 9, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  7. I have spent the past 4 months buying sneakers only to find that they rubbed one part or another of the foot wrong – even if they were wide widths! I learned 1 important thing, even more than picking the right brand, is to pick a sneaker that has mesh or fabric around the area of the foot that is widest – for most women this is the ball of the foot/area just down from where the toes meet the foot proper. The reason is that the mesh/fabric has more flexibility than an all-leather upper over this area, and the sneaker will fit your foot better.

    I can personally recommend the Nike Air Max Moto – it is available in wide, it has a nice high arch because it is a running shoe so it is very comfy to wear, and very flexible over the wide part of my foot. (Usually available for under $90, plus super cute in white & silver with bright blue accents)

    Comment by lizb — October 9, 2007 @ 12:44 pm

  8. forgot to add, has wide widths available in brands you won’t find in actual stores

    Comment by lizb — October 9, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

  9. I’m with Sara, go get your foot measured at a running store and get a fitter to help you. I was intimidated by it at first but I’m so glad I did it. I was wearing the wrong size shoe and it made such a difference when I switched. Good luck!

    Comment by Kimocean — October 9, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

  10. There are two important things to keep in mind when buying athletic shoes. First, no matter what width you wear, get your shoes 1/2 size larger than your dress shoe size. My sister, who has run the Boston Marathon twice, gave me this tip and it makes a huge difference — it keeps your big toes from slamming into the end of the shoe, thereby preventing ugly black toenails that fall off. Second, even if you plan to use your shoes for walking and general gym use, those of us who are heavier do best in motion-control running shoes, not walking shoes or cross trainers. They have more support and more lateral stability, which is very important when you consider how many pounds of pressure your feetsies will be taking, even at a moderate fitness walking pace. Two very good shoes for heavier women are New Balance 767 (the pair I wear) and Brooks Addiction. I would strongly recommend you NOT buy men’s shoes, despite your wide feet. Women have narrower heels and higher arches than men, and women’s shoes are designed to take this anatomy into consideration. I had a great experience buying shoes at Lady Footlocker — their staff is trained to fit women of all sizes and fitness levels.

    Comment by Rubiatonta — October 9, 2007 @ 5:15 pm

  11. I can only strongly recommend the utilization of fitting. I recommend a running store. Even if you aren’t going to be running. :) The shoes will fit better and you will have experienced people assisting you. I used my old shoes for the first 300 miles of walking and had to cut back on my speed. I got new shoes fitted and miraculously all of the pain went away.

    Be prepared to spend 80-100 for them. The money will be well-spent.

    Comment by Adenike — October 9, 2007 @ 5:23 pm

  12. I have a high arch and Nike fit me best – there are a lot of things to take into consideration, material, where the seams are, where the lacing starts, how wide the toe box is, arch support, composition of the sole, lateral support, whether you pronate or supernate (check the wear on your soles to see if you have uneven wear), etc.

    A shoe fitting is probably good – but also trust yourself. If they are not comfortable in the store – they won’t get any better.

    Comment by g-dog — October 9, 2007 @ 7:09 pm

  13. I’ve had great experience with NB as well. Tanya might like to treat herself to some plush socks – esp when breaking them in – like Thorlos (as well as some cute little pairs in wild colours for lounging around in post-workout. Pom-poms optional.).

    Comment by Margo — October 9, 2007 @ 7:41 pm

  14. I have wide feet that are wide, with high arches, and of two different sizes, and I just assumed that agony was the deal for me and exercising (or even just for standing around for a few hours). But I finally got fitted for running shoes and bought a pair of Sauconys and they are HEAVEN. It feels like I’m walking on air. Saucony shoes are naturally on the wide side and they aren’t that pricey – also, Foot Locker carries them and has some really good sales several times a year.

    Comment by Kimberly — October 13, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

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