10 Best Orthopedic Shoes Reviewed for Comfort
Although anyone and everyone can benefit from wearing orthopedic shoes, they’re especially beneficial for those who suffer from problems with their feet, such as abnormalities, injuries, or surgeries. Built specifically to support the heel and arch of the foot and provide plenty of space for the toes to rest naturally, orthopedic shoes promote healthy, normal feet.
If your feet already give you enough grief that they require medical attention, orthopedic shoes can save you from losing one (or both!) later in your life as your body starts breaking down. Even if your feet are fine right now, wearing orthopedic shoes could prevent you from having issues with mobility or requiring surgery for any unforeseen complications that you may develop in the future.
- New Balance MW577
- Abzorb Cushioned Heel
- Vionic Tide II
- Medium-Density EVA
- Grasshoppers Stretch
- Multiple Widths Available
If that’s important to you, regardless of whether you have a special need for them, consider buying your own orthopedic shoes–and let us help you choose the right ones for you from this list of the best ten kinds available.
10 Best Orthopedic Shoes
1. New Balance MW577
Laces can be time-consuming and dangerous (after all, you have to worry about tripping over them all the time). If you’re getting orthopedic shoes to help correct a problem or prevent any future issues, then you’ll want shoes that are a breeze to put on and take off in order to avoid causing unnecessary stress for your feet.
The tongue makes ideal padding.
To optimize foot health, you’ll want a tongue that’s firm enough to stay in one place and provide adequate support for the arch yet soft enough that you can walk in total comfort. This tongue is key to the way the shoe fits so well around any foot.
Cost and Value
These shoes come at a fairly standard price range for orthopedic shoes. When you consider the incredible quality, the fact that they’re not more expensive speaks volumes of their overall value.
- Velcro straps instead of laces
- Tongue provides a great fit
- Good to wear all day, whether you’re in the house or out and about
- Leather makes them more durable
- Sole is not sewn into shoe, so it may slip around
- If you have wide feet, you may find the velcro straps too small
2. Vionic Tide II
Although the sandals are thick enough to support your arches, ankles, and knees, they’re not heavy. Quite the contrary--it’s easy to transport them and walk around in them.
The toe post makes it a cinch to slip them on and off.
Again, ease is of the essence with orthopedic shoes; it doesn’t make sense for shoes that are focused on foot health to be difficult to put on or take off. These sandals are as uncomplicated as any regular flip-flop, and the soft material of the toe post also ensures that the space between your toes won’t get rubbed raw.
Cost and Value
They’re obviously much more expensive than drugstore flip-flops, but their price isn’t much different from the typical range for orthopedic shoes. For the quality, it’s an excellent deal.
- Lightweight without compromising support
- Toe post makes them easy to don or remove
- Great for warm weather
- Aesthetically pleasing, but still practical and health-promoting
- They don’t come in half sizes, so you may have not difficulty finding just the right size for yourself
- The focus is on arch support, so they may not be the best choice if your problem is in your heels
3. Propet W3851
The cushion and the entire shoe can be laundered so that they’re as good as new, which should help them last a long time without looking too worn out.
They don’t weigh much.
As noted with the sandals, it’s always fantastic to find orthopedic shoes that do their job without weighing down your feet. These shoes fit that bill.
Cost and Value
Once again, these shoes are in a fairly standard price range for orthopedics. It’s hard to go wrong getting that much value without extra cost.
- The entire shoe is washable
- The cushion can be adjusted, cleaned, or replaced according to your needs
- It has everything it needs to offer great support yet remains lightweight
- Even the collar is quilted, so your ankles will be treated to a soft touch
- If you don’t wash them correctly, they can turn out looking shredded or melted
- Some may find that pulling them on or off is harder without velcros or lace
4. Vionic Orthaheel
Some people don’t like the fact that flip-flops are so--well--flippy and floppy. These sandals let your feet feel secure while still letting in plenty of air so that they can breathe. Also, the straps are velcro, so you get the aesthetic without the complications.
The design is versatile.
A single pair can be appropriate for both fancy and casual occasions. That means you could wear them all day, getting the support and comfort that your feet need without having to worry about changing.
Cost and Value
The price range for these sandals is slightly higher than usual, but not enough to lessen their overall worth.
- They look and feel great all at once
- Your feet can breathe even though the straps keep the sandals close around them
- Their style makes them wearable for multiple social scenarios
- The fuzzy fabric of the sole makes them even more comfortable
- Some may find that the underside of the straps are a bit itchy or sharp
- Since they don’t come in half sizes, you may have a difficult time finding the right fit
5. Propet Travelactiv
You’ll hardly even notice that they’re on your feet. Even when you do notice, you can forget that you have problems because their design doesn’t advertise it.
The material is so flexible that it’s easy to make them fit.
Even if they don’t have your exact size, the material fits itself around your foot so well that it hardly matters. They’re snug and comfortable all at once.
Cost and Value
As if all the other benefits weren’t already enough, these shoes are actually more affordable than the average orthopedic shoe. The value that you get for the cost is practically unbeatable.
- Trendy and fully functional
- The removable cushion is very convenient
- Their lightness and flexibility make them especially comfortable
- They’re supportive enough to work for people with flat feet or high arches
- They do need to be laced up, so they might be a bit more time-consuming or difficult to put on and remove
- If you do a lot of physically straining activities, they would not be the best choice
6. Vionic Classic
They’re built with that in mind. You can get arch, ankle, and knee support for hours, even though they look like any other non-orthopedic walking shoe.
They’re built to last.
Of course, every shoe wears out eventually, but since the makers of this shoe are expecting you to use them for something strenuous, they should be usable for a long time.
Cost and Value
The price range for this shoe is rather narrow and definitely rather higher than usual. It’s certainly worth the cost if the shoe is right for you, though.
- A wonderful choice if you’re into light physical activity
- The leather and mesh top make the shoe especially durable
- They look normal and inconspicuous
- There’s a polyester sock lining for additional comfort
- They need to be laced up, so they take more effort to put on and take off
- Some may find the inner cushion to be a bit too hard for their tastes
7. Propet Stability
Whatever it is that you like to do that involves walking or other light physical activity, these shoes will keep your feet healthy and comfortable with a long time. Their material is thick and strong enough to endure all kinds of situations.
They blend in with the crowd.
Even though they’re orthopedic shoes, they don’t draw a lot of attention to themselves or your condition. Instead, they look like most walking shoes.
Cost and Value
Depending on your sizing needs, the shoe can either be cheaper than normal or considerably more expensive. Still, if they can provide the relief you require, they’d be well worth the price.
- Another great choice for anything involving prolonged strenuous activity
- The tough leather and firm design place them among the most durable shoes
- If you need to clean, adjust, or replace the insole, you can certainly do so
- They look as awesome as they feel
- The sole is hard, but it may not stop sharp objects from poking through
- The laces require more time and effort than, say, velcro or slip-ons
8. Vionic Motion Venture Active
That’s what makes them so perfect for people who live intensely--the rubber and mesh materials assure that they will be wearable for a long time, yet they remain lightweight and easy on the feet.
They boast the latest in orthopedic technology and research.
By using recent advancements in orthopedic research, the shoes keep your feet aligned and your arches properly supported, you’ll find that the shoes are remarkable for the way that they alleviate stress from your knees and back.
Cost and Value
They are a tad spendier than most other orthopedic shoes, but not so much that buying them wouldn’t be worth it if they’re the best pick for your feet.
- They’re wonderful for people who enjoy anything that requires more effort than walking
- They’re snug yet breathable
- Rubber inside and outside, in addition to mesh coating, let them hold up through stress
- They’re among the most up-to-date with regard to foot research
- Their cool appearance doesn’t compromise their functionality
- The laces make donning and removing the shoes a bit more difficult
- The fit is a little unpredictable, so you may need to order half a size up
9. Grasshoppers Stretch
These shoes are all about providing the best comfort and health possible for your feet without a lot of extra bells and whistles, making them especially affordable and perfect for anyone with simple tastes.
The velcro straps help out anyone with poor dexterity.
Going with velcro instead of laces means that you don’t have to put as much effort into putting your shoes on or taking them off--great news for anyone with health problems that affect more than just their feet.
Cost and Value
Their basic design lets you get everything that you need in orthopedic shoes for less than the average price. Not a bad deal if you’re not looking for anything fancy.
- If you have wide feet, this is one of the best options available to accommodate you
- Velcro straps make the shoes easy to put on and take off
- Suede and rubber materials help them stay usable
- Lightweight and a relief to wear
- They don’t have the best insulation for cold feet
- They run a bit small, so it could be difficult to find the right size for you
10. Propet Balance Bilite
Whether you want the shoes snug or loose, the velcro lets you decide. That means that you not only have the freedom of speed when you put them on or take them off, but the freedom of choice as well.
The materials are soft inside and out.
Your feet can receive the comfort they need from two sources--the arch support and the material of the shoe.
Cost and Value
With a price range running notably lower than what’s typical for orthopedic shoes, these shoes are sensible in both appearance and value.
- The style is a longstanding classic and can be used in both formal and casual occasions
- It’s easy to clean them with a lint roller or with a standard washer and dryer
- Removable insoles let you clean, adjust, or replace them as needed
- Velcro lets you customize the fit, as well as don and remove the shoes easily
- You must be gentle with the straps because they may tear off quickly
- If you have wide feet, it might be hard to find the right size for you
Foot health is one of those things that you don’t always appreciate until it’s compromised or completely gone. Some of the most important things that we do have to be done on our feet–walking, running, shopping, working, etc. Injury, disease, or age can affect things that you take for granted, like optimal shape, arches that are neither too high nor too flat, and whether your ankles, knees, and back are strong enough to withstand shock or prolonged activity. Imagine being unable to walk or stand comfortably for long periods (or not at all)–and the only obstacle between you and carrying on with your life as usual is finding the right shoes for your feet.
Whether you’re hoping to prevent future problems or treat current ones, orthopedic shoes can vastly improve your quality of life. There’s a wide variety of options available to you, but we stand by this list as one of the most comprehensive ones that you can find. Make the choice that’s best for you, remembering that your health is on the line.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Orthopedic Shoes
Comfort/PU Midsole/Foam Padded Collar
An orthopedic shoe that isn’t comfortable wouldn’t be a good orthopedic shoe. It’s critical that any orthopedic shoe you consider gives you comfort features that will make your steps feel nice and also reduce the likelihood of foot injuries. One of the best comfort features that you can look out for is the PU Midsole. The PU Midsole provides sturdy cushioned ridges in an Orthopedic footwear and good shock absorption that can reduce any strain from long days of standing and walking. PU insoles are also good for this kind of comfort as they can have heel pads which give extra cushioning to the heel.The EVA midsole, or a shoe that states it has a dual density EVA footbed, is something to look out for as well as it provides that same shock absorption for your feet which reduces stress on your feet, ankles, and even your knees. Footwear stated to have a cushioned orthotic, a microfiber insole, or a ProLite® insole should be looked out for too with getting that soft feeling on your feet.
Additionally it’s a bonus if these features are removable so if you don’t like how it feels on your feet, you can put in something more customized to your liking. An Orthopedic shoe that features ABZORB® cushioning is also a good bet for comfort. It provides shock absorption in the heel area where a lot of our weight tends to be put on in our steps. A foam padded collar and tongue is a good feature to search for to help give that all around comfort on your feet and ankles. The same can be said if the shoe states the collar and tongue is cushioned. If the upper of an orthopedic shoe is stated to be a leather upper, that will also provide soft comfort to your feet.
The toes can be a sensitive area of our feet. Having a soft woven toe post in your orthopedic shoe can give nice cushioning for your toes assisting with preventing injury. If the orthopedic option you’re looking at is one with straps in particular, you should find one with foam lining so you get that gentle feel on top of your feet. A few last features to pay attention for in an orthopedic footwear is one that has a PurefitTM cushion arch or a Prolite insole, which will both provide you maximum comfort in your shoes.
Foot Support/Deep Heel Cup/APMA Seal of Acceptance
Foot support is another essential component to have in an Orthopedic shoe. You want your feet to be able to have a natural motion in your step for proper weight distribution which lessens the likelihood of any unnecessary strain. A deep heel cup featured in an orthotic footwear is a great place to start. The deep heel cup is designed to realign the foot back to it’s natural position for a better stepping motion. An APMA Seal of Acceptance is something good to pay attention for in an orthopedic shoe.
It’s a group of podiatrist medical professions, also known as foot doctors, who’ve determined that a shoe is an adequate shoe for promoting a healthy foot. In addition to an APMA Seal of Acceptance, it’s also a good sign an orthopedic shoe has a good foot support if it’s insoles, or sometimes referred to as orthotics, are stated to be designed by a podiatrist.
A contoured arch support and heel cup is another good feature for foot support as it assists in re-aligning our stepping stride. Additionally, any orthopedic footwear that states it has an biomechanic orthotic footbed would be excellent to see. A biomechanic orthotic footbed is designed to not only align the feet naturally but also assists with relieving any heel pain you may have through reducing overpronation. An orthopedic shoe that features a “Walking Strike Path®” is also good to find as it’s designed to support the natural gait cycle of our feet when we take steps.
Keep an eye out if you see an orthopedic footwear highlight having a flexible outsole, which assists in letting your feet move more naturally. In addition, a footwear highlighted to have a wider forefoot and heel base will provide you with good stability and support in your steps as well. Lastly, an orthopedic shoe that features a rounded heel will give support to the heels and reduce any strain felt in the knees when walking.
Traction/Rubber Outsole/Patterned Tread
Once you’ve got the comfort and foot support checked for in your potential orthopedic shoe purchase, it’ll be helpful to see if the shoe has some good traction. Preventing foot injuries includes preventing ones that can occur is the result of a fall. Your first best bet would be the rubber outsole. This type of material is the same you’ll find in athletic footwear like wrestling shoes and climbing shoes, which is a good guarantee your shoe will give you great grip on the ground. Pattern treads would be nice to find in an orthopedic shoe as well. These give more resistance to your shoe helping you to have a safer step on all types of surfaces.In addition to patterned treads, shoes stated to have multi-directional tread will also provide a similar kind of resistance on a variety of surfaces.
Breathability will only add on to the comfort you’re looking for in your orthopedic footwear. The less sweaty and hot your feet feel, the better. One obvious thing that will give you the most breathability is an open-toed orthopedic shoe. It allows for maximum airflow to your feet which will keep them dry all day. The next best thing to having an open-toed orthopedic shoe would be an orthopedic shoe that features a mesh upper. Mesh is a net-like material that helps let air into your footwear allowing your feet to be cool and dry throughout the day. In addition to mesh uppers, mesh lining can also accomplish the same allowance of airflow, and also a shoe highlighted to have perforated uppers will give you good airflow too.
Fabric lining is another good option as it’s designed to wick away moisture reducing the amount of sweat that builds up in your orthopedic footwear. Similar to fabric lining, if you find an orthopedic footwear that features Nylex® lining, you’ll get the same moisture wicking benefits as you would with fabric lining. Lastly, an ortholite sockliner is a nice breathability feature to find because it accomplishes two things for you. It gives you moisture wicking action for reducing sweaty feet, and it also reduces the odor inside of the shoe with it’s anti-microbial properties.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can orthopedic shoes help my back feel better?
A: Orthopedic shoes can help out the back a lot. Podiatrists say that misalignment of the back can be caused by force from the feet that transfers up to the hips. Orthopedic shoes can reduce rotation at the ankle which limits the transfer of force to the knees and hips reducing the amount of stress placed on the back. While these type of shoes can help with back pain, podiatrists recommend that you consult with a physician before you purchase them.
Q: How can orthopedic shoes help my plantar fasciitis?
A: Those who have plantar fasciitis experience a lot of pain at the heel area of the foot and the inside of the foot. Orthopedic shoes can help with this pain by providing good support to the arch of the foot reducing any tension that might be in the foot tendon. Heel support can be found in most orthopedic shoes as well which can help reduce that heel pain for a more comfortable walk. In addition, even if one doesn’t have plantar fasciitis, keeping the foot properly aligned and supported with orthopedic shoes can prevent the problem from developing.
Q: How can orthopedic shoes help my diabetes?
A: Those who have diabetes can sometimes experience a lack of feeling in their feet due to poor blood circulation. This lack of feeling can put one at risk of not feeling any injuries to the foot and potentially leading to needing to have the foot removed. Orthopedic shoes can help improve circulation and feeling in the feet through the redistribution of pressure that’s placed on the foot. In addition, orthopedic shoes are made with soft materials which can help reduce irritation on the diabetic foot. Also worth noting, most orthopedic shoes can have their insoles removed for you to be able to put in a more customized insole to help your diabetic feet.
Q: Can orthopedic shoes help with foot bunions?
A: High heels or any type of footwear that’s poorly fitted can often cause bunions on the feet, particularly on the big toe because of the toe being forced more inwardly while walking or standing. Orthopedic shoes tend to be wide in width which help first of all to prevent any bunions from happening because your feet won’t be rubbing on the inside of the shoes as much. Your toes will have room to stretch out as much as they need to. Soft linings in orthopedic footwear can also protect the bunion you might have currently so it can be able to heal, and also help to relieve any pain you might be experiencing.
Q: Why should I have orthopedic shoes if I don’t have foot problems?
A: It’s estimated that most people walk as little as 5,000 steps a day and as much as 10,000 steps a day. That amount of walking in the least supportive and least comfortable shoes can add up to major foot problems over the years of your life which could lead you to be less mobile in your years. It’s better to wear orthopedic footwear that keep your feet health now, so you’ll be less likely difficult to getting around in your senior years.