Looking for narrow shoes

I’m looking for new shoes and 99% of shoes on the market are too wide for. The lower boa/velcro/lace wouldn’t offer much support which partly lead to achilles issues.

I’ve been trying quite a lot already that’s why I’m opening this thread now. The bike fitter I went to suggested fizik and giro. I ordered several fizik (terra powestrap x4, terra x5) in half sizes but they didn’t fit. Giro had none that I’d like in other aspects. I ordered several shimano ones and kept the SH-XC702 but they’re now actually too narrow. They were the first ones that gave me the feeling of a good fit but after 1h or so my left forefoot gets a bit numb. I tried several other brands in the shop – northwave, specialized, sidi – and they were hilariously wide for my feet.

I have size 45, women shoes are no option. I generally noticed that racier shoes, both road and mtb, sit tighter. I’d prefer 2-bolt mtb/gravel shoes for walkability but at this point I’d also go back to my Look cleats if that solves my issues!

I know most people need wider shoes and companies now offer wider models while the regular is still too wide for me.

Do you have any tips or experience? Help much appreciated!

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I also have very narrow feet and wear size 47 or 48 depending on the manufacturer (13 AA in 'Murcan size). Models that “run narrow” are still too wide for me. Specialized narrow shoes are the only off-the-shelf, non-custom shoes that I could find, but they are very scarce and not cheap. Sidi used to make a narrow width. My bike fitter just shook his head when I asked about replacing my old narrow Sidis. I ended up going through Luck cycling shoes in Spain for a semi-custom shoe. Not returnable if you go that route, but beggars can’t be choosy. It’s been a good experience so far and I’ve got 2 years on the shoes. Thanks for raising this issue–will be interested to hear the experience of others.

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I recently added a post for the opposite problem. Just goes to show how challenging it is for manufacturers to cover such a broad a range of differently shaped feet. Sometimes it pays to be average.

I wonder if a woven upper shoe might help address your problem. Rapha makes a powerweave shoe. Fizik offers a knit upper (“Volume Control system”). And DMT makes both road and mountain shoes with a “3D knit upper.” They all claim that this construction helps to serve a wide variety of foot shapes. Just thought I’d throw this in the mix. Good luck.

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What didn’t you like about Giro? I have 4 of their different lace up shoes and like them a lot. Add a thicker insole or Specialized wedge, they can feel narrower. The giros tend to have thin, flexible uppers so don’t work so well with boa dials but are good with laces. Something like the VR70 might work for you.

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I’m in the same boat (and even found the XC7s to be way too wide). I also break Boas regularly because I’m wailing down on them too hard. Currently riding Specialized S-Works 7s, but I hear the newer ones don’t fit the same (and yeah, the narrow width ones are vapor-ware) - my toes bump the front a bit because I sized down, but it’s not enough to cause me problems. For cyclocross, I’ve got the previous-gen Bontrager XXX… But the current generation are a whole lot wider. For both, when things get pointy in a race (or for a whole CX race), I tighten them down a whole lot - feet go numb but they stay in place and don’t wrinkle in odd ways.

Best shoe that ever fit me was the first-gen S-Works with Boas… A size and a half larger than what I’m wearing now. And I replaced the Boas every 6-8 months after they’d catastrophically fail.

I have this problem when buying any shoe though. In a lot of other shoes (e.g. hiking boots), I can wear a women’s 11, but I’ve never actually found a pair of cycling shoes in W11 to try on.

Thank you all for your posts!

@jbhdlp this is funny because my old road shoes are actually LUCK. I got them in the bike shop I got my first bike when I was a teenager 18 years ago. Googled them and didn’t find, their SEO is not top of the game apparently. By custom du you mean fit or just color? Just find color customization on their website…

@C_M I’m not a big fan of knitted shoes cause they’re less resistent and also too “ventilated” as I live in northern europe cold is a bigger issue than heat.

@andrewsalmon It was just the look of the MTB shoes, they didn’t look like road shoes at all… maybe I should have a look at their proper road shoes. And I didn’t consider laced shoes, thanks for the tip!

@tsimchak since I don’t do racing but longer rides frequently numb feet are an issue… after a recent 330km ride I had numb feet for several days

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Interesting that you find Sidi too wide. I use size 43.5 road shoes and chose them because I find Sidi to be the best option for my narrow feet. Are you sure you didn’t accidentally try the “mega” version of the respective shoe? Sidi started to make a wide version for some of their shoes as the normal version are regarded as being narrow for most people. I think they have the prefix “mega” for the wider versions.

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I hear you, had been suffering from the same issue for years, with the same experiences.

Fizik was close enough for me (and the distributor had a policy of order there to your shop to try on, buy one no matter what). Those shoes were the best fitting ones I had ever tried, but because the shoe was still wider than my feet i had to fasten the Boa’s to a degree that my feet were so compressed it hurt as much as with wider models.

Instead of wasting more time and money on the “perfect” fit shoe, I got a cheap pair of heat moldable insoles, set them up and - voila - problem solved.

Caveat: shoes have to fit “close enough”, it’s not magic.

Luck offers a limited range of models in at least 5 widths IIRC, and in half sizes (e.g., 46.5, 47. 47.5, etc.) to dial in a fit that works for a large range of lenths and widths, including extra/mega wide. Not the same as doing a plaster cast of your foot like a full custom shoe, but also not the same price as a full custom shoe either. It’s a bit of a gamble in that you can’t return such shoes, but i’ve had a good experience…semi-custom fit for less than half the price of custom.

I appreciate what others have said about tightening wider shoes and numbness…there’s no replacement for good fit.

I have a very narrow foot and use Giro laced shoes for both road and gravel with good success. I’ve found laces to be much better than Boas for my feet because you can really snug them down if necessary.

Had a friend who has extremely narrow feet and they’re angled differently than the majority of the population (forget the correct term for what they call this angle) so most if not all cycling shoes from the angle of the footbed alone was suboptimal and he needed a bunch of wedges under his cleats. Every time I saw him he was in new top end shoes and still uncomfortable and complaining. Finally bit the bullet and had custom Rocket 7 shoes and hasn’t ordered shoes in 5 years (this is a guy who swaps in new bikes every year). A lot of money up front but they appear to be excellently constructed and obviously should fit perfectly.

BONT makes regular, narrow and wide versions of their popular models. I have narrow feet with high arches, so I added an arch support to their narrow shoes. SUCCESS! Ming Tan is the US rep and he has been VERY helpful: mtan@mc2sports.com

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I’ve got the same issue. Giro lace-ups (Empires, VR90s, Privatweers) are the narrowest I’ve found - the laces also enable you to pull them tighter than normal buckles. I’ve also got a set of the Giro Techlace, which I’ve made work but I’ve had to buy shorter techlaces which are quite hard to source.

I have very narrow feet as well (size 46) and Sidi non-Boa models work for me, as do the high end Fizik with the two Velcro straps (name escapes me). The Velcro straps are very wide and allow for a lot of adjustment. I have Specialized footbeds for both.

I have trouble getting Boa-laced shoes to fit properly for some reason. And Giros do not work for me at all. But everyone’s feet are different.

Have you tried Lake? I don’t share the same fit challenge of narrow feet, but i worked with my bike fitter to achieve proper shoe fit by taking a tracing of my foot to determine the proper last and fit. The shoes are not a custom last but are available in a variety of fits with certain models further tuneable by heat molding the carbon heel cup. Just thought I’d mention it as i didn’t see Lake listed and have been extremely happy wirh mine (used to ride Sidi). Plus the assistance of a bike fitter may prove valuable in your case.

I haven’t tried Lake as I’m not US-based. Also they’re way out of my budget.
I’ll try Giro and sidi with laces, found that a helpful hint! Also will try my luck with LUCK, if I can do easy returns.

@abc In all honesty I’m ASTOUNDED to hear you can’t find a shoe the correct width. I can personally atest that you’ll find a shoe sooner then i did - 20yrs… All manufacturers do shoes that narrow. Try Bont!