Best Shoes for Arthritic Feet Reviewed
We all want to look stylish, but, more often than not, this comes at a great price to our health. This is especially true when it comes to footwear, as finding a pair of shoes that look good but are actually appropriate for your type of feet, is a difficult task. The whole process is made even harder if you suffer from any condition that is causing you to experience pain in the foot. Nearly 350 million people worldwide suffer from arthritis, a quarter of whom are children, while 60% are women. More than half of the full number are people under the age of 65, which means that if you suffer from this condition, you are definitely not alone.
If you are in need of any help to choose the best shoes for your specific needs, in this buying guide you will find a list of the best options available for any occasion – from home or casual use, to more sophisticated shoes, to athletic footwear that you can wear for your more strenuous activities such as walking, running or other types of exercise.
The shoes which you wear can not only make your pain more manageable but can even play a huge part in the prevention of osteoarthritis. Medical professionals will recommend wearing footwear that is stable, offers a wide toe box and provides cushioning, especially in the forefoot to keep you from causing any additional harm to your feet. This means that high heels are out of the question, but so are any other shoes which do not promote a natural gait, or have constricting features such as pointed toes.
10 Best Shoes for Arthritic Feet
1. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 17
This pair of ASICS running shoes features the special Rearfoot and Forefoot Gel Technology which was designed to lessen the shock your feet suffer from walking or running. In addition, the midsole uses FluidRide technology which is not only light but also increases responsiveness. These shoes are excellent for those who tend to underpronate or have a neutral movement (high and normal size arches).
The materials used in the construction of these shoes do not include any bulky seams that could lower the comfort level, or cause any sore spots. In addition, the upper is made out of a flexible material called FluidFit upper, which will adapt to your feet as needed.
Cost and Value
This pair of running shoes can be found at an excellent price. If you wish to have all the latest updates, you may want to go for the GEL-Nimbus 20, but users will agree that this is the superior edition of the shoes.
- Removable moisture managing Ortholite X-40 insoles
- Excellent heel support
- Gel forefoot and rearfoot components for maximum comfort
- Flexible upper
- Seamless construction
- Outsoles will wear down faster than most shoes due to being soft
- Run slightly more narrow than expected, so make sure to order the right width for you
2. Orthofeet Asheville
The inside of these shoes is not only seamless, but it also features a premium orthotic insole which gives excellent arch support and a cushioning heel pad. It will conform to your feet as you walk, so you don’t have to worry about developing any sore spots. The inside is lined with foam, while the upper is made out of soft leather, eliminating any pressure points in the shoes.
This is a lightweight sole which offers air cushioning, and which was biomechanically engineered so as to alleviate stress on your joints and offer better stability. It promotes a natural gait and will help propel you forward with each step.
Cost and Value
Compared to other footwear on this list, this item is pretty affordable. They are an excellent choice of footwear for the home, especially if you suffer from neuropathy, arthritis in the feet or plantar fasciitis. Note that the wool lining is synthetic, which may not be suitable for all users.
- Leather upper
- Adjustable fit
- Seamless inner lining
- Lightweight midsole
- Good for overpronation
- Synthetic wool lining
- Can get very hot, so not for summer use
3. Brooks Glycerin 14
These Brooks running shoes use the highest quality materials, meaning that you can expect for them to serve you well for a long time, regardless whether you use them for running or for regular everyday wear. The outsole is comprised of pressure zones which distribute shock but still allow for flexibility, as well as grooves for excellent traction.
Super DNA Midsole
This midsole is made for shock absorption, cushioning and energy return. The heel is nicely padded, while your forefoot will have the advantage of a super-soft fit. The heel is rounded so as to align you perfectly through the center of the ankle joint, reducing stress. Furthermore, the padded collar will prevent you from developing any sore-spots after long walks or runs.
Cost and Value
These are the most expensive pair of shoes on this list. However, it is important to say that your investment will be completely worth it if you decide to get the Brooks Glycerin 14. They will last for a long time, even despite long hours of wear, so it’s not a surprise to find that even some nurses choose to wear these on the job!
- Flexible but supportive upper
- Great for underpronation and high arches
- Smooth inner lining and cushioned tongue
- Absorb and distribute shock at impact
- Flexible outsole
- Heavier than most running shoes at 10.7 oz
- Design is not suitable for fancy occasions or more serious work environments
4. Brooks Addiction Walker
These shoes feature Brooks’ forefoot MC Pod construction which enables you to stay balanced on your feet. Furthermore, the soles of the shoes have non-slip features, which makes your stride not just comfortable, but also safe.
MoGo Midsole Cushioning
The midsoles of these walking shoes give them just the right amount of cushioning for day-to-day wear. With excellent shock absorption features, they will keep your joints, knees and back protected, even if you have to walk long distances throughout the day. A special bonus is the energy return which is provided by the specially designed midsoles.
Cost and Value
The cost of these shoes is completely sensible considering the quality and durability they provide. With good care, the leather upper will last for a long time, while the soles of the shoes can take quite a beating on varying terrains.
- Shock absorption features keep joints pain free
- Non-slip soles
- Support for overpronation and low arches
- Podiatrist recommended
- Single color design makes them easy to wear for any occasion
- Some users have found these narrow, so order 0.5 size larger
- Too heavy for some users
5. Rockport Cobb Hill Paulette
On the inside of these shoes is a removable EVA foam footbed that offers comfort and support. Even if you need to use orthotics in your other shoes, you may find that the arch support provided by the Rockport Cobb Hill Paulette is enough. If not, just remove the insoles and substitute them for your own.
The upper of these shoes is made out of full-grain leather which means that they are durable, offer plenty of breathability, and will mold to your feet with wear. In addition, the inner lining is manmade that is soft to the touch. The collar is soft, which eliminates any discomfort caused by rubbing.
Cost and Value
These shoes are average in price compared to the rest of this list. They are made according to very high standards, which means that you will plenty of wear out of the pair you choose. In addition, they are loved for the comfort and style they offer.
- Full-grain leather upper for a stylish look
- Excellent arch support
- Removable EVA foam footbed
- Can be used with orthotics
- Excellent price and durability ratio
- Run slightly large
- The leather upper will stretch out with wear
6. Orthofeet Sprint
These shoes are excellent for keeping you pain-free as they offer plenty of room in the toe area, as well as a seamless interior design that is guaranteed to keep you from feeling pressure on your metatarsal area which often suffers the most.
Engineered for Stability and Comfort
Just like the Orthofeet Asheville, these sneakers also feature the Ortho-Cushion™ System that is a lightweight cushioning sole for maximum shock absorption in the heel and forefoot area. In addition, they have energy-returning features that will keep you moving more easily even after a full day on your feet.
Cost and Value
These sneakers come at a price that may be more than what you are ready to pay, but, trust us, they are well worth it. Orthofeet is one of the very few companies who focus on providing footwear to users with arthritic feet, which means that the features you will find in these shoes are bound to help you with your day-to-day pain.
- Anatomical arch support
- Eliminates pressure in toe area
- Ortho-Cushion™ System
- Gel-orthotic insoles
- Vegan friendly
- Run slightly small and narrow
- May need a breaking in period
7. New Balance M1540V2
The heel of these shoes features a roller posting system that is meant to control the way in which you plant your feet. As it reduces rear-foot movement when walking and running, it will keep you more stable on all your walks and runs.
Synthetic and Mesh Upper
The upper of these shoes is made of synthetic and mesh and is excellent because it stretches easily, accommodating all foot types, regardless of width or special characteristics such as bunions. In addition, the collar features dual density foam to give you even more comfort while wearing these running shoes.
Cost and Value
These shoes by New Balance don’t exactly come at a low price, which you can expect when purchasing top quality sports equipment. However, they may be eligible for Medicare reimbursement, and they provide you with excellent comfort, so definitely consider them as your next pair of sneakers if you have arthritis.
- Medicare / HCPCS code = A5500, may be eligible for Medicare reimbursement
- Flexible upper
- Removable insoles mean they can be used with orthotics
- Double foam components in the midsole for better shock absorption
- Excellent rear-foot stability
- You may experience discomfort if you don’t have flat feet
- Outsole tends to wear down more easily
8. Propét Cush’N Foot
The best feature of these shoes is the upper which is made out of soft stretchy fabric that will mold to your feet perfectly. They have a large hook and loop closure that makes it extra easy to secure the right fit, as well as to quickly slip them on an off.
Indoor and Outdoor Friendly Outsole
Even though they are not really ideal for outdoor use, the soles of the Cush’N Foot are made out of PU which means they can be used on all types of surfaces. This means that if you are looking for a comfortable shoe that you can run a few errands in, these are a perfect choice.
Cost and Value
For the high level of comfort they provide, these shoes are surprisingly cheap, making them a great purchase for anyone with arthritic feet, especially for the elderly and post-op patients who do not plan on doing a lot of outside activities.
- A5500 Medicare coded as a diabetic shoe
- Stretchy neoprene upper
- Hook and loop closure
- Removable insoles
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor us
- Insoles tend to wear out fast
- Run narrow
9. Aravon Clarissa
This pair of shoes provides excellent shock absorption and cushioning so you can wear them all day long. The footbed is made out of EVA - cork, and is removable should you need to use custom orthotics in these sandals.
The straps of these sandals are made out of goat leather that is lined with breathable microsuede. What this means is that you will remain abrasion and blister-free even if you choose to wear these for longer periods of time.
Cost and Value
These shoes cost as much as most shoes on this list. While they aren’t what you’d call cheap, they provide excellent quality and comfort with a stylish design that you can wear anywhere. In addition, they are suitable to use with custom orthotics, should you need this feature.
- Can be used with custom orthotics
- Microsuede breathable lining
- Hook and loop adjustable closure
- Polyurethane outsole is suitable for use on various surfaces
- Premium goat leather upper
- The support which comes with the shoes is not perfect
- Run a half size small
10. Vionic Tide II
These shoes use EVA foam midsoles that provide shock absorption and cushioning. In addition, they feature a biomechanical design that will hug your arches and provide you with plenty of support. The TPU outsole is excellent for various types of terrain as it gives enough grip on most surfaces.
Soft Neoprene Lining
The upper of these flip-flops are made out of woven fabric and leather, but the star feature here is the lining which is soft and provides additional cushioning. What it will do is to reduce the pressure you feel on the tops of your feet, making them perfect for prolonged periods of wear.
Cost and Value
These shoes are much more expensive than your average pair of flip-flops. However, they provide excellent shock absorption, cushioning and comfort, all while being breathable, lightweight and easy to keep clean.
- Neoprene lining
- Excellent arch support
- Good traction from TPU outsoles
- Shock absorbing EVA foam midsoles
- Lightweight and easy to clean
- The arch support takes some time to get used to
- Flip-flops may not be suitable for all users with foot problems
All in all, if you suffer from arthritic feet or any other related issue, what you need to keep in mind is that a comfortable pair of shoes will make all the difference. Don’t be afraid to do a little research, or to experiment with different styles and sizes. Ultimately, what you want to do is find a pair of shoes that will allow you to live your day-to-day life without experiencing any unnecessary pain, and without making your condition even worse. Surpassing high heels and narrow shoes should go without saying, but there are other things you can do to ensure a good and comfortable fit.
Always choose a toe box that will accommodate your feet without pressing on them. Get a pair of shoes with a high-quality midsole that has cushioning, supportive and shock absorbing features to keep your ankles, knees, hips and back as safe as possible. Insoles with gel or silicone properties are excellent as well, but so are removable insoles which you can substitute for your own custom orthotics.
For more information on how to choose the best pair of shoes for you, make sure to read up on the Criteria for Evaluation and Frequently Asked Questions sections where you can find additional information that just may make or break the fit of your next pair of shoes.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Shoes for Arthritic Feet
Arthritis is hugely widespread among the adult population, with hundreds of millions of people suffering from it worldwide. Your feet have 26 bones and over 30 joints in them, and one of the main effects of arthritis is the wearing down of cartilage which, in healthy feet, acts as a type of barrier between two bones. Once the cartilage is damaged or gone, the effect of two bones rubbing together is a pain that can be so severe as to completely limit the movement ability of the affected area. In layman’s terms, arthritis is a condition in which one or more joints on the affected person’s body are inflamed, and the most common symptoms are pain, redness, limited movement and the sensation of heat.
The treatments available for arthritis are varying and depend on the severity of the condition. They range from physical therapy, pain medication, to steroid shots, and even to reconstructive surgery or joint replacement. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, it is important to go over the treatment options with your doctor and to find the one which will work best for you. However, there are also highly important things you could be doing on your own to ensure a speedy recovery and an improved quality of life. The most important of all these things is to choose the right footwear for your arthritic feet. In addition to treatment, you need to be thinking about preventing any further deterioration of the joints. The right pair of shoes can help you not only with managing your pain but with preventing you from experiencing any discomfort that can be avoided with a well-chosen fit.
The list above features the ten pairs of shoes that have proven to be the best choices for those with arthritic feet. Here are the criteria we based our list on.
About half of the thirty plus joints in your feet are located in the metatarsal and toe area, meaning that if you have arthritis in any of these, you are most probable to experience swelling and pain from the slightest touch. When choosing your next pair of everyday shoes, you need to think about how they are going to hug this area of your feet, and how much motion the chosen footwear is going to allow for. Even for people with completely healthy feet, wearing shoes with narrow toe boxes (especially pointy toe shoes) is a surefire way towards bunions, hammertoes, corns, and blisters. What you need to look for in your next pair of shoes, instead, is a wide toe box that will allow enough room to wiggle your toes, that will not put unwanted pressure on any part of your forefoot, and that is deep enough so as not to rest on any joints. It is also a good idea to go a width, or even a size up when purchasing shoes as you want to both eliminate pressure, but also to accommodate any swelling that may occur.
High heels are out of the question if you suffer from arthritis in your feet. Even if you have absolutely healthy feet, podiatrists don’t recommend wearing high heels for more than three hours per day and more than two days in a row. With a heel height of over 1 ½ inches, you put unnecessary pressure on the balls of your feet, increase the bend in the foot joints, shorten your Achilles, and distribute your weight in a way that is unnatural, bringing your knees, hips and lower back out of alignment, creating room for a variety of joint issues down the road.
Skip any high heels if you suffer from arthritis, but also make sure that the shoes you opt for provide an adequate drop in height. Makers of athletic shoes will always list the drop of the shoe, so you can look for that in order to ensure you are choosing a correct fit. Furthermore, what you want in addition to a correct heel to toe drop are shoes that are secure, that won’t jam your fingers in the front (like high heels do), that will provide plenty of arch support and that will cup your heels so that they are completely secure when walking. If you work at an office or are attending a special event, opt for formal flats instead of high heels or sandals, just be sure that they are wide enough in the toe area and are made out of a soft and flexible upper.
One of the most important qualities you want to look for in your next pair of shoes is a high quality upper that is soft, flexible and allows for a good range of movement without constricting, pinching or rubbing your feet in any way.
The ideal shoe will be made out of a soft and flexible upper – canvas, mesh or knit. Certain types of leather can also be a good choice, provided that they are soft enough to mold to your feet – you can ensure this by taking some time to break in your shoes, choosing an appropriate length and width, and by treating the leather with the correct nourishing products that will make it more supple, and keep it from drying out. Some makers are using new and innovative materials that are specially chosen due to their flexible and soft traits, such as the neoprene upper in the Propét Cush’N Foot which was developed with arthritic feet in mind.
Padding is another crucial feature, as you want both the over and underfoot parts of the shoe to be soft. Gel or silicone inserts in the forefoot and rearfoot areas are an excellent addition to have in your shoes, but so are memory foam features that can be found in the insole, but also in the collars of some shoes. With the right amount of padding you can ensure that the pair of shoes you wear day in and day out do not have any hard surfaces that could be causing unneeded pain to your already irritated joints.
When speaking about the collar of your shoe, it is important to mention that this needs to provide plenty of padding so that it does not rub your feet the wrong way, especially if your ankles are suffering from arthritis. In addition, if you are getting lace-up shoes, you should consider opting for footwear with a padded tongue which will prevent the laces from cutting into your feet and causing irritation.
Another thing to look for in the upper of your next pair of shoes is a seamless design which means that there is no stitching exposed inside the shoe that would create bulk and that could possibly cut into parts of your feet. ASICS and Orthofeet models offer this feature and are an excellent choice for a pair of shoes that will serve you well and with comfort.
Rheumatologists agree that what is below your feet is just as important as what is on them. That’s why choosing footwear with the correct type of sole is crucial. A perfect pair of shoes for arthritic feet will have durable, grippy outsoles that work well on all surfaces (inside and outside), a cushioning midsole that has shock absorbing properties, and that offers plenty of support for your foot type and pronation tendencies, as well as an insole that is cushioned so as to make your daily steps as comfortable as possible.
The most important of these properties are provided by the midsole which acts as the part of the shoe that will make sure the balls of your feet, your heels, ankles, knees, and hips do not have to suffer too much stress when walking or exercising. Most midsoles today will be made out of EVA foam which is excellent for this use as it’s durable but provides just the right amount of softness to take the stress off your joints. Furthermore, much of the supportive properties of shoes come from the midsoles, so if you tend to overpronate (or underpronate for that matter), the midsole can help with ensuring the correct alignment you need to keep weight distributed over the whole foot and to reduce the pressure on the ankles, knees, heels and toe joints.
Another aspect that the soles of your shoes will greatly contribute to is the weight of your shoes. What you want is footwear that is light – not only will this allow you to walk longer distances, but it will also lower the pressure that is put on the upper part of your feet when taking a step. Running and athletic shoes are an excellent choice as they are always weight-conscious and will aim for as little load as possible. An added bonus is that they will usually have woven uppers that are breathable and flexible so as to accommodate the shape of your feet.
Ease of Use
Although a considerable portion of people suffering from arthritis in their feet are under 65 years old (almost half), it is still important to note that this condition can also mean a limited range of mobility. That’s why it’s important to consider how easy or difficult it can be to put on a pair of shoes. Some users may find laces too fidgety, which is why sandals or hook and loop closures are a good choice. So are slippers and slip-on shoes that do not require too much motion to be used.
If you are choosing a pair of shoes for someone who is elderly, has just had surgery or is overweight, it is best to opt for these types of shoes so that they can use them with ease and with as little help from others as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose the right shoe size for my arthritic feet?
A: First and foremost, you need to determine the length of shoe you need. If you’re not completely sure, you can trace your feet to look at the length, then compare it to the maker’s size chart. It is safest to always consider additional sizing information that can be found on most Amazon product reviews. As you suffer from arthritis, it is important to note that you need shoes that will accommodate swelling and that won’t pinch or rub your feet. A good rule of thumb is to have enough room in the length of your shoes to fit a finger behind your heel and the back of the shoe.
Q: Do I need wider shoes than normal?
A: Yes, it is safest to go with a pair of shoes that are either constructed to be wide, or to go with a larger width than usual. What this will ensure is that your toes have enough space on the inside of the shoe to spread out to their natural state. In the long run, choosing shoes that are wide in the toe box can prevent bunions and hammertoes which are often associated with arthritis.
Q: I need shoes for a formal occasion. What type of shoe should I look for?
A: If you are in need of a pair of formal shoes that will look good but won’t cause you any unnecessary pain, go for something that is wide and soft. You can even go a size up in width if needed. Make sure to stay away from high heels and flats with a cramped toe area as the pain that you will be suffering during and after wearing this kind of footwear is simply not worth it. In summer, a pair of comfortable sandals can be an excellent choice as long as the straps are soft, flexible, and do not cut into any part of your feet.
Q: Can I wear slippers or flip-flops if I suffer from arthritis?
A: Slippers are usually OK, and flip-flops have been proven to reduce stress on the knees. However, you need to make sure that this type of footwear is not causing you any pain. It is always safer to go with shoes that have heel straps so that they are secured to your foot and allow a natural gait. If, however, you must wear this type of footwear, make sure that the shoes you choose are shock-absorbing, cushioned, have good arch support and are lightweight.
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