Best running shoes for narrow feet

by Solereview editors
Published: Last Updated on

The toe box of the Brooks Ghost 15.

This article has been updated with current models for April 2023. The adidas adios 6, adidas Boston 10, Brooks Ghost 14, New Balance 880V12, and Nike Winflo 8 have been replaced with their updated versions. The Saucony Peregrine 13 is a new addition. The adidas Ultraboost 22, Asics Nimbus 24, Asics Nimbus Lite 3, Asics Novablast 2, Nike Free Run 5.0, and Skechers Horizon Vanish have been removed.

Let’s define what ‘narrow’ means here.

A ‘D’ sizing (and B in women’s shoes) is also known as the standard width. It is the default fit for all running shoes.

A ‘B’ width is one size narrower than D. It is more common for brands to offer wide (2E) and extra-wide (4E) widths than a narrower B size. The exceptions are brands like New Balance and Brooks that offer B widths.

This buyer’s guide combines four categories of running shoes.

The stretchy Primeknit mesh of the adidas Ultraboost 22.

The Ultraboost sells in a single width, but its stretchy upper accommodates most foot profiles.

First, we have shoes in regular D widths with an inherently snug fit. This category includes stretchy knit uppers that can accommodate a variety of foot shapes. Regular mesh uppers with a conforming fit are also grouped into this category.

The second category has running shoes that are not narrow in their standard ‘D’ fit, but offer an optional ‘B’ (narrow) width. The Brooks Ghost 15 and New Balance 880/860 V13 are from this class.

The midsole of the Brooks Ghost 15.

The Ghost 15 sells in a narrow (b) width, but the sizing availability may be restricted in some countries or locations.

However, if you’re located in a country where the full range of widths (including a B) isn’t available, we recommend sticking to the first or fourth category.

The third section has narrow shoes for faster runs – shoes like the adidas adizero adios 7 and Asics Lyteracer 4.

Lastly, we’ve featured a couple of running shoes that are $100 and under. This time, the Nike Winflo 10 and Nike Renew Ride 3 make it on this guide,

Here’s a hack if you happen to have small feet – say, a size US 7 or under. It is not a bad idea to get a boy’s model or even women’s running shoes in neutral colors. Buying a boy’s model will get you a narrower fit with 20-30% of price savings over the adult version.

Here are a few examples of boy’s running shoes that also sell in small adult sizes up to a 7Y:

A. The adidas Ultraboost in youth or teen sizes.

B. The Nike Pegasus 40 in kid’s and big kid’s sizes.

C. The New Balance 880V12 in kids and big kids sizes.

1) Best daily trainer in a ‘B’ width: The Brooks Ghost 15

The Brooks Ghost 15 is an everyday neutral trainer that sells in four widths; a narrow ‘B’ size is one of them. However, not all colors are available in a B width – only in a couple of ‘safe’ colors.

The laces of the Brooks Ghost 15.

The Brooks Ghost has always been a versatile everyday trainer, and that doesn’t change for 2023.

So if you want something tighter than the standard ‘D’ width of the Ghost 15, then the B sizing should do perfectly.

As always, the upper uses premium trims and meshes to create a comfortable and secure interior. The tongue still lacks a sleeve, so expect some sideways slide.

The DNA Loft foam of the Brooks Ghost 15.

The DNA Loft foam of the Brooks Ghost 15 feels a lot like regular EVA, but it gets the job done.

The Ghost 15’s midsole is also based on a similar design as the Ghost 14; the DNA Loft V2 (an EVA foam blend) combines distance-friendly cushioning with smooth transitions and stability.

Be it everyday runs or distance cruising, the Ghost 15 can do it all.

2) Best daily trainer in a ‘B’ width: New Balance Fresh Foam 880 V13

Just like the Brooks Ghost 15, the New Balance 880 has always been a safe and somewhat conservative do-it-all neutral trainer.

By ‘conservative’, we refer to its sweet spot of the ride and fit quality that appeals to most runners – regardless of their skill level.

Doesn’t the Fresh Foam X midsole make a difference? Yes, but not by a large margin. The forefoot is a mite softer and smoother due to the re-arranged stack, but the ride quality feels very familiar. The Fresh Foam X midsole feels like an EVA-based foam, so the cushioning delivery is predictable.

The Fresh Foam 880V13’s smooth, engineered-mesh upper is also offered in four widths. So regardless of whether you’re narrow or wide-footed, there’s an optional width available. However, you should know that the 880 V13’s upper doesn’t have a tongue gusset.

Note: The narrow ‘B’ width is available only in select colors.

3) Best stability trainer in a ‘B’ width: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

In its standard ‘D’ width, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 doesn’t fit narrow. The interiors have a just-right proportion that will fit most runners.

Having said that, buying the optional ‘B’ width will provide a tighter fit for narrow-footed runners.

The inner sleeve of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22.

The Adrenaline GTS 22 has an inner sleeve.

The sleeved upper is comfortable as always; the plushly-padded heel and tongue provide a comfortable and secure fit. The spacer mesh has a sponginess that feels soft against the foot.

Powering the cushioning is a firm foam stack with a firmer Guiderail on the arch side. Though the Guiderail design isn’t perfect, the firm midsole is supportive yet cushioned for most runs. A plush removable insole provides a layer of step-in softness.

The inner Guiderail of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22.

The GTS 22’s Guiderails are firmer than before.

Just know that the Adrenaline GTS 22 is a firmer version of the 21, so if the ‘Guiderails’ bothered you on the 21, it’s better to skip the 22. Our in-depth review of the GTS 22 can be read here.

Also see: The New Balance 860V13 – a traditional stability trainer with a medial post. It’s also available in a narrow ‘B’ width.

4) Best marathon racer for narrow feet: Saucony Endorphin Elite

Even though all three Endorphin racers have a snug fit, the Endorphin Elite has something that the Speed 3 and Pro 3 do not.

The midfoot strap of the Saucony Endorphin Elite

Only the Endorphin Elite has the midfoot strap; the Speed 3 and Pro 3 lack this feature.

The toe box of the Saucony Endorphin Elite

The internal bumper makes the toe-box fit secure.

The upper midfoot is secured by a strap on both sides. This band is connected to the lacing panel, so the fit can be customized for different foot profiles.

The tongue is also connected to an internal gusset, so the straps provide additional fit security. An internal bumper secures the toe-box fit.

The rear view of the Saucony Endorphin Elite

The midsole is more stable than the Pro 3, and the Pwrrun HG foam feels similar to adidas’s Lightstrike Pro.

The Elite also behaves differently on the road than the Speed 3 and Pro 3. The new Pwrrun HG feels very similar to adidas’s Lightstrike Pro foam used on the adios Pro and adios/Boston.

From a cushioning standpoint, the HG is not as soft as the Pwrrun PB on the Speed and Pro.

Nonetheless, the foam has excellent rebound and speed-friendly comfort that a marathon racer should have. The internal Carbon plate and high toe spring do the rest; the Endorphin Elite works efficiently through the gait cycle to build up speed.

5) Best marathon shoe in a ‘B’ width: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V12

And if you’re not familiar with the 1080, it is New Balance’s popular max-cushion shoe that works best for long-distance runs. The Fresh Foam stack provides distance-friendly cushioning without feeling mushy. Our in-depth review is here.

Like most New Balance running shoes, the Fresh Foam 1080 V12 is offered in four widths, ranging from narrow to extra-wide.

The stretchy mesh of the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 V12.

The 1080V12’s upper is soft and comfortable.

That said, its snug upper will fit most narrow-footed runners even in its stock (regular) width. The soft knit mesh is stretchy and wraps around the foot to deliver a custom fit.

Hoka Bondi 8 outdoors

Also consider the Hoka Bondi 8 – a cushioned trainer with a narrow fit.

Also see: The Hoka Bondi 8 – a max-cushioned trainer with a narrow fit. Read our review for more.

6) Best tempo trainer for narrow feet: adidas Boston 11

The adizero Boston 11 is one of adidas’s most popular tempo trainers.

Last year, the German brand went back to the drawing board to redesign the Boston 10. The Boston 11 is strikingly similar to the Boston 10, and that’s much in part due to the identical midsole and outsole.

Despite the new Boston’s recent transformation to a cushioned tempo shoe, the upper retains an old-school styling with a simple mesh and suede exterior.

adidas adizero Boston 10 Energy Rods

The ‘Energy rods’ of the Boston 11.

Inside, the sleeve adds a seamless smoothness to the narrow upper. Most speed shoes are snug for a good reason; the conforming upper keeps the foot fixed over the midsole for a quick touch and go.

Lightstrike Pro foam of the adidas adizero Boston 10.

Here’s a close-up shot of the ‘Lightstrike Pro’ foam. The firmer EVA (Lightstrike) layer functions as a supportive frame.

Even with all the updates, the Boston 11 continues to be a credible speed trainer. It may no longer have the low-profile minimalism of the older Bostons, but the Lightstrike EVA and Lightstrike Pro foams mesh together with the ‘Energy rods’ to make the transitions smooth and quick.

7) Best 10K racer for narrow feet: adidas adizero adios 7

Throughout its history, the adidas adizero adios has always been a narrow-fitting shoe.

There’s a reason why the upper fits narrow. The adizero adios 7 is a road racer, so the upper needs to secure the foot during high-speed runs.

adidas adizero adios 6 Lightstrike Pro

Firmer rearfoot; softer forefoot. The Lightstrike EVA foam cushions the heel, whereas the softer Lightstrike Pro adds ride comfort under the forefoot.

The forefoot of the adidas adios 6.

The forefoot traction of the adios 7 is excellent.

The Lightstrike EVA and Lightstrike Pro midsole pack sufficient cushioning for 5K to 10K speed runs. The traction from the new reconfigured Continental rubber is good as it gets.

Just know that the adios 7 has the same midsole and outsole as the adios 6, so there’s no difference in the ride quality.

8) Best 5K racer for narrow feet: Asics Lyteracer 4

If you’re looking for an ultra-narrow fit, the Asics Lyteracer 4’s upper is an excellent place to find it.

Most road racers fit very tight, as the upper needs to keep the foot locked in for an efficient power transfer to the midsole. However, the Lyteracer’s fit is noticeably narrow due to three reasons.

Besides the narrow last, the non-elastic mesh and high-density printing also make the fit tight. On a racer, this is a good thing – most speed-focused shoes have little to no extra room inside. Football and other field shoes are other good examples.

The Lyteracer’s cushioning delivery is atypical of racing flats.

The thin Flytefoam midsole and non-removable insole provide just the bare minimum cushioning for 5K races, but nothing more. This allows the midsole to provide excellent ground feedback as well as the ‘touch-and-go’ behavior that works so well during fast (4:00 min/km, 6:30 min/mile and quicker) runs.

9) Best trail runner for narrow feet: Saucony Peregrine 13

Trail running shoes usually have a Goldilocks fit – which is not too loose, nor too narrow. However, the Saucony Peregrine 13 is an exception – its upper fits narrower than most trail runners.

The interior toe-box of the Saucony Peregrine.

The Saucony Peregrine 13’s snug upper fit will accommodate narrow feet.

The Pwrrun+ insole of the Saucony Peregrine 12.

The midsole foam is firm, but the Peregrine’s thick Pwrrun+ insole isn’t.

There’s a good reason why the Peregrine fits that way. Unlike most trail shoes, the Peregrine has a low-to-the-ground (4 mm drop) and firm ride for speed work.

Still, it’s fairly comfortable for most trail days – thanks to its EVA foam midsole and thick Pwrrun+ insole. The Peregrine 13’s ride is very similar to the Peregrine 12, a shoe that we reviewed on this site.

Like any running shoe that’s designed for fast runs, the upper needs a narrow fit to secure the foot. And that’s what the Peregrine does; the upper locks the foot on the trail. The synthetic layering on the forefoot and toe-box also adds support.

Also see: The adidas Speed Terrex Ultra – it’s a speed-oriented trail shoe with a snug fit and comfortable ride.

10) Nike Winflo 10

Nike’s budget running shoes usually have narrow interiors. That’s true for the Zoom Winflo 10 as well. It also sells in an extra-wide, but that’s a topic for another buyer’s guide.

The non-stretch upper, strap-based lacing, and internal toe-bumper make the interiors suitable for narrow feet.

Besides the fit, the Winflo 10’s full-length Air bag makes it an excellent and versatile daily trainer – think of it as a watered-down Nike Pegasus, if you will.

The Winflo 10 shares the same sole with the Winflo 9 and fit similarly, so it doesn’t make much difference which version you buy.

11) Nike Renew Ride 3

As far as Nike shoes go, the Renew Ride 3 is excellent value. Its $75 sticker price includes a cushioned ride with sufficient comfort for everyday runs of shorter distances. Depending on your perspective, the Renew Ride 3 looks like a budget version of the ZoomX Invincible or React Infinity.

The midsole isn’t made of anything special – it’s an EVA-blend foam; there’s no fancy React or ZoomX foam inside this shoe.

The narrow upper is the reason why the Renew Ride 3 shows up on this list. The insides are smooth, breathable, and comfort-oriented, but the forefoot is pointy and short-sized. The pointy profile is accompanied by narrowness; that’s a positive if a snug-fitting shoe is what one needs.

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