NOTE: This list will be updated throughout 2021. For non-plated wide foot running shoes, check out our Best Wide Running Shoes of 2021 list.
The year is 2020 (fortunately only for a few more hours). Almost every major running shoe brand has a plated super shoe built on a chassis of carbon, carbon composite, or nylon, ensconced by a marshmallowy-thick midsole filled with some kind of magical foam.
If you’re a runner, you know what shoes I’m talking about because they take up 90% of your Instagram feed. In short, they are the iPhone of shoe technology –?a leap-frogging advancement that allows runners to race at great speeds, rewarding us no-talent ass clowns for nothing other than tying our shoes and walking outside. And while there used to be just one to rule them all, there are now nearly a dozen vying for the throne.
In a year with no races, it seemed like every other week saw the release of a race shoe that would’ve made Emil Zatopek’s brain explode at the mere mention of it. With this many plated shoes, there has to be something for everyone. Right? Wrong. Kind of.
There’s a whole contingency of neglected runners when it comes to racing, or really any kind of shoes. Those people are my people –?the wide footers among us. And just like “Among Us,” we’re hiding in plain sight, waiting for the chance to take you out. If only we were given the chance.
Unsurprisingly, nobody offers a true 2E width in plated shoes. But as a “normal” wide footer in size 2E, I had to know –?can any of the regular-width shoes actually work? I’m not alone in pondering this question. As the preeminent wide foot reviewer at Believe in the Run (i.e. the only one), I have upwards of dozens of fans messaging me on Instagram (the same person messaging 12 times counts as a dozen), wanting to know the answer.?
So here we are. I’ve heard you loud and clear, guy with ‘runner’ in his Instagram handle. Believe In The Run has also heard me loud and clear in demanding our voice is heard (EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s true, he’s annoying as shit). So I’ve stuck my feet in Thomas’s shoes when his hypochondriac-ass wasn’t looking and stole some runs to see if my theory of wide feet working in normal shoes indeed gains traction like a rockered HOKA or falls flat like a burst Nike Alphafly pod.
Below are a handful of plated super shoe options that just might work for the wide foot fam. I’ve also tried other shoes not listed because they’re absolutely not runnable. As anyone with a foot wider than a pencil knows, there ain’t no Nike on here. I also slipped my foot into the adidas Adizero Adios Pro and knew immediately that it wouldn’t work.
For reference, my foot runs wide in the forefoot and midfoot so these thoughts will be based on that. What works for me might not work for others and vice versa. I’ll be going over the details, fit, likes, and dislikes. Most importantly though, I’ll be mentioning what my maximum distance I’d run in the shoes since they are all standard width.
Should I come across more options, this list (which is organized alphabetically) may get updated. Any questions or comments can be left here or hit me up on the gram gram.
? Brooks Hyperion Elite 2
- Weighs 8.0 oz. (227 g) for a US M10.5
- 8 mm drop (35 in heel, 27 in toe)
- Jarrett’s max distance: half marathon
The Hyperion Elite 2 is the successor to the short-lived Hyperion Elite 1. Like very short-lived. But that’s beside the point as Brooks realized there was an issue and successfully fixed it.?
New to the HE2 is a 2 mm thicker nitrogen-infused DNA FLASH midsole. This midsole isn’t as bouncy or soft as the other shoes listed here, but it’s also not nearly as firm as the HE1. It provides more of a light and semi-cushioned ride. Within the midsole is a full-length carbon plate. The magic is revealed when the DNA FLASH and plate are combined with the Rapid Roll Technology (think curved midsole to assist with smooth turnover).?
I found myself in cruise control when pushing a faster pace. My mid-strike landing rolled through toe-off buttery smooth. I actually didn’t notice the plate too much because the Rapid Roll transitioned so well.
If you need more stability, the HE2 is the obvious choice. With the wider base and firmer midsole, you don’t have to worry about looking like a newborn giraffe in high heels. This is by far the most stable shoe listed here.?
The outsole has rubber placed in the forefoot and heel. The rest is exposed midsole. I was concerned about my footing while running through the leaves (it’s Fall y’all!), but had no issues with slipping during dry days.
The featherweight stretch woven upper is unchanged from the original Elite. It’s extremely thin and light. The tongue is just a thin piece of fabric that is saved by having the lacing go through it to keep it in place.?
To me, the midfoot feels slightly more snug than the Endorphin Speed (more on that later), but makes up for that with more room in the forefoot and toe box.?
The biggest gripe I have with the HE2 is the heel collar. My first run came with some blisters on both my Achilles. For the next few days and runs, I tried wearing the collar in by smashing it with my foot throughout the day and also wearing band-aids while running. 20+ miles in and it’s feeling much much better.?
Brooks claims the DNA FLASH will last 200-400 miles. That’s a big range, but the life expectancy is appreciated when having to drop $250 on a shoe.?
I enjoy the HE2 more at a distance between a 10k and half marathon. Compared to the other shoes, it was lacking the pop and aggressive carbon plate feeling. It made up for this with the smooth Rapid Roll. If the HE3 has a more traditional heel, it would make the shoe even more killer and could provide me with enough confidence to push the distance even further.Shop Hyperion Elite 2
? Saucony Endorphin Speed
- Weighs 8.4 oz. (238 g) for a US M10.5
- 8 mm drop (33 in heel, 25 in toe)
- Jarrett’s max distance: half marathon
After lots of begging, I was able to finagle a pair of the Saucony Endorphin Speed. The Speed is Saucony’s middle-tier tempo shoe nestled nicely between the Shift (daily trainer) and Pro (racer).?
The Speed has just enough width that it can cater to the wide crowd. Not only did I find the shoe wearable, I’ve had tons of people message me or comment saying it works for their feet too!
The engineered mesh upper is soft and the 3D printed overlays provide structure. Combined with the gusseted tongue, the upper fits like a glove… but like on your foot. I also like that the heel is pretty traditional (i.e. lightly padded and firmer). As expected, the Speed is a tad tight in the midfoot and forefoot. I got around this by wearing thin socks and keeping the midfoot lacing looser. So long as I did the heel lock lacing, my foot didn’t move around at all.?
When compared to the RC, the Speed definitely doesn’t feel as tight. Compared to the Hyperion Elite 2, the Speed has a bit more room in the midfoot and slightly less in the toe box (at least on the lateral side).
The concoction going on below the foot is special. A PWRRUN PB midsole provides exceptional bounce in a lower weight package. Within the PWRRUN PB foam is a full-length nylon plate. You read that correct, this isn’t the carbon plate found in the Endorphin Pro. This nylon plate is less rigid and almost feels non-existent, but assists with turnover. Add in a SPEEDROLL geometry for smooth roll-off and the hits just keep coming.
The outsole is full-length rubber with some exposed midsole foam. I could see some issues with grip as the rubber wears out, but one of the track workouts I did was the morning after a storm and the turns were fine.?
The Endorphin Speed is my favorite shoe of 2020. I need more in all the colors. The Speed can do it all. From crazy fast and fun tempo or track workouts to cushioned and bouncy slower miles, this shoe is a winner. Until a true wide plated racing shoe comes out (I’m not counting my metaphorical chickens), this is my half marathon pick.Shop Endorphin Speed
? New Balance FuelCell TC
- Weighs 9.9 oz. (281 g) for a US M10.5
- 10 mm drop (36 in heel, 26 in toe)
- Jarrett’s max distance in the shoe: 10 miles
I think the New Balance FuelCell TC might be the most accommodating plated shoe for the wide foot fam. The curve of the shoe makes it so the lateral part of my foot stays in the shoe and doesn’t muffin top over. My arches are what hang over on the medial side. However, the structure of the upper keeps my foot held in and my wide feet can fit comfortably!
The upper is a lightweight mesh upper that I find to fit almost perfectly. The heel counter is lightly padded and I have no issue with the elf curl. The outsole has enough rubber in the forefoot to grip the road and the heel is mostly exposed FuelCell with some rubber.
The midsole is a massive stack of FuelCell with a carbon plate shoved in there which helps provide some stability. Although, runners who actually need stability may have trouble with the TC; it gets wobbly if you heel strike. Like real wobbly. The TC is for sure the least stable shoe here.?
The bounce is real in the TC. It’s like a damn trampoline. Once I hit my stride, I’m propelled forward by the plate and up from the FuelCell. I can’t help but go fast in this shoe and it feels so easy!
Lots of people had an issue with the TC being heavy when compared to other carbon racers out there. Most wide shoes weigh more than the TC. I don’t feel like the TC is chunky or soul-sucking at all.?
I have the TC listed for my max distance at 10 miles because I find my form starts to fall apart as I get tired. With the FuelCell being so soft and the stack height being so high, I pronate pretty bad during the later miles.?
I really like the New Balance FuelCell TC for tempo runs (although it could easily be used for race day). The midsole bounce is so much fun and makes me feel like I’m galloping along. If you’re struggling with fit on the other shoes listed here, try the TC!Shop New Balance TC
? New Balance FuelCell RC Elite
- Weighs 7.9 oz. (224 g) for a US M10.5
- 10 mm drop (32 in heel, 22 in toe)
- Jarrett’s max distance: 10k
Once I figured out that I could run in the New Balance FuelCell TC, the FuelCell RC Elite became one of my most hyped shoes of the year. I prayed the fit would be the same as the TC, but in a lighter package. Well, my prayers were answered … to an extent.
I loosened up the laces enough to get my foot in and immediately noticed the RC felt tighter in the midfoot and forefoot. It’s also a little shorter than the TC. You might get the same TC sizing if you go up half a size in the RC, but I can’t confirm that.?
The upper is a light synthetic mesh with minimal overlays. The collar and heel are lightly padded for comfort. Like other New Balance shoes out right now, the RC has the elf heel flare. It might look silly, but it stops any annoying rubbing and also acts as a nice tab to hold on to when putting them on.?
The tongue is just about the same as the TC, except for one great feature; The RC has a spot for the laces to pass through to help keep it in place. The TC needed this.?
The FuelCell RC is a high powered machine. The midsole foam in the RC has been tweaked again and is lighter and more responsive than the TC. With the slightly lower stack height, the RC also feels a touch more stable. A full-length carbon plate is located within the midsole. It feels stiffer towards the front of the shoe to help with a snappy toe-off.?
I found myself flying in the RC. Even when trying to slow down, I was going way faster than I expected. In the past few weeks, I’ve set a few new unofficial PRs. While running, I focused on landing midfoot since it’s not the most friendly heel striker shoe. The plate propelled me forward and I just couldn’t stop.?
After a few miles, I started feeling the tightness in the midfoot and forefoot. All my runs in the RC were between around 3 and 6 miles. While the tightness of the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 upper was similar in the midfoot, the RC was more narrow throughout the shoe and caused more discomfort.
The outsole is made up of some rubber in the heel for durability, lots of exposed FuelCell foam, and little spiked rubber pieces in the forefoot. If you’re looking for solid grip, look no further than the RC. Sharp turns were easy no matter if the pavement was wet or dry.
I really like the FuelCell RC. What’s holding me back from loving it is the fact that it’s the most narrow shoe on this list. That’s why I have only been running in it up to a 10k distance. Maybe I could have gone up half a size, but I’m not sure how that would affect my mechanics with the plate. The RC is a killer shoe for someone in between a standard and wide width size.Shop RC Elite
Feel free to disagree, but this is my opinion regarding fit from most accommodating to least accommodating:
- New Balance FuelCell TC
- Saucony Endorphin Speed
- Brooks Hyperion Elite 2
- New Balance FuelCell RC Elite
I realize that’s only four shoes, but at least it’s something. And for once, you can wear a shoe that doesn’t have a colorway that falls somewhere on the color palette between nuclear ash London-fog grey. Like I said, any questions or comments (or further recommendations!), just drop it in the comments below or hit me up on Instagram!
Robbe is the Senior Editor/Review Manager for BITR. He lives in Baltimore with his wife and two sons and runs with the Faster Bastards when he’s not MAF training. His favorite race distance is the marathon and his favorite beer is anything but Blue Moon.