Best Fastening Types For Wide Feet

What is the best fastening type for wide feet?

The answer to the question “what is the best fastening type for shoes?” is very short indeed: there is no single best fastening type! The best fastening type for you is the one that is best for your feet and your personal circumstances.

If you have “normal” feet and no health issues then you might find that any fastening type is fine but, if you have swollen feet, feet that swell or other health conditions, then fastening type can become very important indeed.

And your health issues need not even be foot health issues. For instance, arthritis in your hands or ability to bend down to put your shoes will impact on the most suitable fastening for your feet.

To understand this fully we’ll need to know what the different fastening types are and how each one is better or worse for your feet, depending on your situation.

We’ll also look at the difference between Oxford and Gibson shoe cuts and how that can impact your footwear choice.

What fastening types are there?

There are three main fastening types – laces, straps and slip-on - each with sub-types and additional features that we’ll look into here.

What makes one fastening type more suitable than another?

The key components of suitability, especially when it comes to wide and deep feet, are: security, adjustability and ease of access

- Security means simply how secure is the fit to your foot. Is it likely to slip off or rub against your feet
- Adjustability means the ability to adjust the fitting to loosen or tighten the shoe
- Ease of access simply means how easy is it to get your foot into the shoe.

Which shoe fastening is the most secure?

Lace-up Fastenings offer the most secure fit

Generally speaking lace-up fastenings offer the most secure fit. This is because you can tighten the laces to a snug fit to your foot.

Laces are also highly adjustable. You can set the laces loosely or more tightly and adjust them throughout the day as your feet swell, if necessary.

Ideally an active shoe such as a trainer or walking shoe will have laces to avoid the foot moving around within the shoe, causing possible injury or the shoe flying off at an inopportune moment!

You’ll find laces on most of our trainers, such as Scaup, Whitworth or Barrow.

However, laces aren’t suitable for people with limited hand motility, such as people with arthritic hands and fingers, as these people will require something more easily fastened and adjusted, and that’s why we also offer trainer styles with strap fastenings, such as Pheasant, Fox or Riley.

Straps offer a blend of security, adjustability and ease of access

Straps offer the next level of secure fit, with pull-back straps offering good security of fit due to the leverage of the strap within the D-ring, whilst laid-on straps offer easier access for less dextrous hands but are less secure in the fit.

Styles with pull-back straps include every day shoe Gannet, dress style Trudy and sandal Tundra, plus many more whilst laid-on straps feature on dress style Constance, sandals like Bobbie and Kylie, and men’s style Bahamas, to name but a few.

Slip-on shoes offer little security of fit and no adjustability but ease of access and are a fashion favourite

Lastly, slip-on styles offer the least amount of security of fit as they are simply held on to your foot by the shape of your foot!

They offer great style, like our stunning wide-fitting loafers Diana or smart flats Mandarin, but a less secure fit and no adjustability.

You’ll find this style in loafers, pumps and slippers generally and not in more active styles like trainers or walking shoes. Features like elastic gussets as shown on men’s style Cairo below, inserts or elasticated top-lines - like those on styles such as Tetbury or dress shoe Asia - can improve this security of fit by allowing the shoe to hug your feet a little.

As mentioned, the trade off with security comes with the level of dexterity you have. For instance, if you have arthritic hands you will be unable to tie shoe laces, making this type of fastening unsuitable. A laid-on Velcro strap fastening will likely be more suitable for you as it is easy to open and close, but still offers adjustability and some security of fit.

Conversely, if you have diabetes, it is important that your shoes don’t slip or rub, causing blisters or cuts on your feet as you may not feel these and they may not heal easily, which could cause serious infections and other complications, so a secure fit such as that from a lace-up or pull-back strap is important.

What type of shoe offers the most ease of access?

In addition to fastening types, there are other factors that impact ease of access, by allowing a lesser or greater degree of opening up. One major feature is the shoe “cut”. There are three main shoe cuts – slip-on, Oxford cut and Gibson (or Derby) cut.

As we’ve seen, slip-on shoes offer no adjustability or opening up, so we’ll focus here on Oxford and Gibson cuts.

For most people the cut is merely a matter of aesthetic preference but, if you have wide, deep or problem feet, it can be very important.

What are Oxford shoes?

With Oxford shoes the side panels of the shoe (the quarters) are stitched underneath the “vamp” – the bit that contains the laces.

This means that they open up less, are less adjustable and tend to have narrower openings at the laces, and so are less suited to high insteps or people who need easy access. However, many people prefer the style of an Oxford shoe and it can offer more security. For this reason many trainer styles, like Aditi, Coot and men’s style Seb are an Oxford cut.

What are Gibson shoes?

Gibson shoes have quarters that are stitched over the vamp, which opens up the laces more and allows the shoe to be opened up wider for easy access.

This tends to make them more suitable for people with swollen feet as an Oxford cut can make it difficult to get the foot into the shoe.

You may find a Gibson cut preferable if you:
- Have a high instep
- Need greater adjustment
- Have swollen feet
- Use an orthotic insole

With a Gibson cut, the point where the quarter is stitched to the upper can also be moved further up or down the shoe to offer different levels of opening up.

For instance, lace-to-toe styles like Sinead or canvas pump Yoko have the opening running right down the shoe, meaning the shoe can be opened up extremely wide.

It’s not only lace-up styles that offer this variety in stitch point though. Strap fastening shoes can also be built on a Gibson style, and they can also open up really wide. Styles like Rosalind, Riley or men’s leisure shoe Devon are strap fastening styles that open up really wide whilst lace-up style Lexi, strap fastening Pheasant or men’s Donald are Gibson style shoes that have the stitching point higher up, so don’t open quite as wide.

These styles are still fab for feet that swell through the day as they can be adjusted easily, but may not be suitable for very swollen feet.

Where the stitch point is lower, you may need to be careful if you have bunions or diabetes.

For bunions you should be careful as the stitch point may be in the area of your bunion and could cause rubbing (you would be better off with a higher stitch point and a stretch fabric. Find out more about the best shoes and bunions and hammer toes).

For people with diabetes it is important that rubbing is minimised as much as possible and therefore seam-free toe boxes are really a must, alongside a secure lace-up fastening. (Find out more about the best shoes for diabetes.)

A variety of fastenings for the perfect fit

At DB Wider Fit Shoes we offer this variety of fastenings across our whole range.

You’ll find trainers with laces or straps, canvas pumps in lace-up or slip-on styles, everyday shoes, sandals and boots with all three options - laces, straps or slip-on styles!

You’ll also find that we combine the shoe cut and fastening type in different ways with other features, such as seam-free toe boxes, stretch panels, different toe shapes and a choice of soles to create a suite of footwear that offers something for almost any foot.
Indeed, our range offers the flexibility of a bespoke shoe manufacturer with fashion you’d expect from the high street at competitive prices.

View our full range of wide and deep fitting footwear for ladies >
View our full range of wide and deep fitting footwear for men >



VAT Free Footwear


Did you know, if you need 6E, 6V or 8E fitting footwear and have a qualifying condition, that you might be eligible for VAT relief?

This means that you could essentially benefit from a discount of 20%. And what's more, our promotional discount codes still apply, meaning you can gain further savings.

We make it easy to claim your VAT relief by clearly listing the VAT exempt price against qualifying products, and provide a very short form to fill out as part of the checkout process when ordering your 6E, 6V or 8E fitting shoes.

Qualifying conditions for VAT free purchases include physical or mental impairment that affects your ability to carry out everyday activities, for example, blindness; conditions treated as chronic sickness, such as diabetes, arthritis or lymphedema; and long-term illnesses.

Look out for the link underneath our available fittings on each product page to claim your VAT exemption.


Need help?


If you're unsure about anything at all to do with our styles, features or fittings and whether they're right for you, please do contact us on +44 (0)1933 311 077, Monday to Friday, 9-5 to speak with one of our friendly, knowledgeable UK based customer services team, who will be delighted to help.

“Yes I agree these are great I have Morton’s neuroma and a bunion and these are fantastic. The best shoes I've ever bought. Now I've tried them I will be buying more for other occasions as the first pair were for work.”


“I have lymphedema and so have great difficulty finding shoes to fit me, so it was a relief to find this company. I have brought several pairs of shoes and they are so comfortable. I would highly recommend them.”


We know that it’s really difficult to order footwear online and find the perfect fit, but we want to make it as easy, risk-free and stress-free as possible. That’s why we offer free postage on returns and exchanges on all UK orders so that, if you’re in the UK and have ordered from us and the shoes aren’t right for whatever reason, you can give us a call to discuss the problem and return them to us, unworn except for trying on to exchange for a different size, style or fitting without paying a penny more in postage.

Once you’ve found your perfect fit, you’ll never look back!

We hope that you agree that our wide-fitting shoes, trainers and sandals offer the perfect fit for every wide, deep or problem foot!

Disclaimer: This information is of a general nature and should not be taken as a diagnosis. All questions and concerns should be directed to your Doctor, Podiatrist or other health advisor.