Finding shoes that are the right length and width is a good start, but you also want to consider the toe box. As you may have guessed, this is the area of the shoe that houses the toes. When the toe box does not provide enough room, it can crowd the toes, affecting the way that you step and possibly leading to damage.
The shape of the toe box is one of the first things to consider. Rounded or square shaped toe boxes tend to be better than ones that are pointed. A pointed toe box is more likely to crowd the toes and prevent them from lying flat, which can lead to a condition known as Metatarsalgia. This condition causes pain and inflammation in the metatarsal bones and the ball of the foot so the pointed toe is a shape that you generally want to avoid.
When you try on a pair of shoes, you want to make sure that your toes have enough room to move. Stand in the shoes and wiggle your toes around. If they have enough room to spread, then it should be a suitable toe box for your feet. You also want to stand and press down on the top of the toe area. You don’t want the longest toe to be too close or too far from the front of the shoe. About a half an inch of space is just right.