Most shoes are designed for people with a “normal” toe alignment. This means that the shoe makers expect your first and second toes to be quite a bit longer than the others and that your toes will gradually taper in a nice even curve.  Like this:

This “normal” toe shape tends to fit easily into many types of shoes.  But, as the saying goes – “normal is just a setting on your dryer”. Not many people have feet that look like this picture.  One common variation is a more squared off toe shape.

You have a square toe shape if you can draw a straight line along the top of three or more toes.  Usually square toes tend to be rather short and stubby.

You are much more prone to have a square toe shape if you have a high arch foot like the picture below.

People with a square toe shape often have slight widening at both their 1st and 5th metatarsal heads.  See pink areas in the picture below.  These enlarged areas are known as “bunions”; they run in families and can be worsened by wearing the wrong shoes. As bunions progress in severity they continue to enlarge and can limit the motion of your toes. This widening only serves to exaggerate the boxyness of the foot

To make matters worse, it is not uncommon for someone to have a wide, square toe shape along with an extra narrow heel.  This poor person experiences the worst of both worlds. I call this kind of foot a “triangle foot”

People with triangle feet have to somehow find a shoe that gives them enough room for their toes, but also cradles their narrow heel to provide good support. This is a tough order.

Q: Now what in the world of pointy toed shoes does a square or triangular person do?

A: shop savvy.

I am going to list a few of my favorite shoes that cater to the square and triangular crowd.  All of these shoes have a wide forefoot with a medium or narrow heel.  One word of caution: if you are a square or a triangle, you may be used to buying your shoes in extra wide sizes so that your toes do not pinch. Resist the urge to do this, especially with the shoes on the list below. Every time you buy a wider size, the whole shoe gets wider – not just the toes, but the arch area and the heel of the shoe as well.  This means that you won’t be getting good support out of the shoe, and you may experience a lot of heel slipping and extra foot movement with every step.

Instead of buying wider sizes, always rely on appropriately shaped shoes in order to achieve the best fit. One trick is to take the insert out of the shoe and place your foot on top of it. If it looks like your toes are significantly wider than the insert, this shoe is never going to fit you right. See this picture below? This is bad.  No way is that foot going to be happy in a shoe shaped like that. Just put it back on the shelf and step away from the shoe.

Best casual shoes for squares and triangles:

Keen       www.keenfootwear.com

Keen is the king of triangle shaped footwear. Most Keen shoes sport a wide rubber toe bumper that keeps the toe box nice and roomy. As a bonus, they tend to have good narrow heel counters that provide excellent support.

Birkenstock     www.birkenstockusa.com

This German shoe company is best known for its clogs and sandals, but they also make lots of casual shoe options.  Besides their famous arch support, Birkenstock shoes all have a wide, rounded toe shape that easily accommodates squares and triangels.

Chaco      http://www.chacos.com/US/en?grp=B

This outdoor company makes both shoes and sandals with built in arch support. All of their styles have wide, boxy toe profiles and are made with really durable materials.

Crocs          http://www.crocs.com/home/homepage,default,pg.html

Crocs is the shoe company made famous by the light-weight rubber clogs in the picture below. But they actually sell a wide variety of footwear. Besides being cool and comfortable, most of their styles are very square and triangle friendly.

–          Aravon/ Dunham

http://www.newbalance.com/women/shoes/Aravon/211000,default,sc.html

http://www.newbalance.com/men/shoes/Dunham/111000,default,sc.html

These two shoe brands are manufactured by the sneaker company New Balance. Their casual shoes offer many of the fit and comfort features that you would expect to find in a sneaker. Most of their styles easily accommodate square toe shapes.

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should be enough to get you started. Leave me a comment below if you have any questions, or if you would like to fill me in on a good shoe that you have found.

Happy shopping! Walk well.

Pictures from:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/healthtap-public/ht-staging/user_answer/reference_image/7106/large/Extremity-lower-foot-toes.jpeg?1344940222

http://jonesdesigncompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/toes.jpg

http://www.webstershoes.co.uk/library/images/foot_conditions/bunions.jpg

http://cdn.epicski.com/0/09/1000x500px-LL-096bdb79_IMG_4240.JPG

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_BMvf1Cml_3c/S1rkgphJSfI/AAAAAAAACRA/CPYD_SyZWCM/my_foot.jpg

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