Best Shoes for Bursitis Reviewed & Rated
Resting alongside most joints in the body are small, fluid-filled sacs known as bursae. Bursae cushion and lubricate the bones, muscles, and tendons of your joints to reduce friction and inflammation. In essence, bursae are the body’s natural shock absorption pads and, as such, they’re pretty integral to functioning mobility.
But what happens when these sacs, the very thing keeping joint inflammation away, becomes inflamed itself? Bursitis happens.
- Skechers Avillo
- Memory Foam Footbed
- Crocs Kadee
- Massaging Footbed
- Dr. Scholls Madison
- Memory Foam Insole
Bursitis is a painful condition that happens over time with repetitive motion but also can happen as a result of acute trauma and injury. As there is only one naturally occurring bursa in the foot, located near the Achilles tendon, the latter is often the case. Trauma-related bursae can occur across the entire foot, from the base of the big toe to the bottom of the heel.
Despite the reason, if you are suffering from bursitis, you have our utmost sympathies. Proper shoes and cushioning, plus other home treatment remedies, are often enough to help bursitis subside. To help you on your journey to painless feet, we have reviewed the best shoes for relieving the pain and irritation of bursitis.
10 Best Shoes for Bursitis
The Skechers Avillo loafer has so much padding, it’s almost a surprise the shoe isn’t actually named ‘Skechers Cushion.’ The Avillo features light cushioning across the collar, a shock-absorbing memory foam footbed, and a soft fabric lining. The memory foam footbed alone is like walking on a cloud, plus it is durable and does not immediately flatten under pressure.
Mixed Media Style
The Skechers Avillo has all the makings of a modern slip-on loafer: woven canvas with a distressed finish, a rounded and roomy ‘moc-toe’ toe box, dual elastic panels, suede heel paneling, and a flexible rubber sole. These loafers impart a laid-back look and can be worn anywhere.
Priced averagely, the Skechers Avillo loafer is an affordable option for comfort. Not only can you expect to get at least a year out of the Avillo with regular wear, but these loafers are machine washable and easy to care for.
Wide widths available
Doesn’t need socks
Little arch support
The Crocs Kadee ballet flat is one of Crocs’ ‘molded’ fit styles, designed to fit securely to your foot without feeling too snug. Although the Kadee doesn’t exactly conform to your feet over time, a little heat can help customize the fit further.
Kadee is a ballet flat that is designed to go with you, wherever the winds may take you. With a footbed full of massaging nubs and a low cut vamp, the Crocs Kadee can carry you comfortably through a day of sightseeing. (Or work, but sightseeing is more fun!)
While the Kadee flat has the iconic Croslite foam construction that Crocs are known for, they also feature a secondary layer of shock-absorbing material for a deeper level of cushioning.
Crocs brand shoes have always been affordable and the Kadee flat is, again, no exception. Priced slightly lower than the Skechers Avillo loafer, the Crocs Kadee is a good option for fun and freedom from pain.
Great for all-day wear
Floral pattern styles available
Dr. Scholl's Madison
The insole in the Madison sneaker is its crown jewel. Similar to the cushioning found in Dr. Scholl’s Work lineup, the Madison has a memory foam ‘cool fit’ insole for softness and breathability. The insole is also designed to resist compression under your weight, which helps your feet stay cushioned for longer. However, if you need a more custom comfort, the insole is also removable.
The Madison fashion sneaker is Dr. Scholl’s take on the slip-on style sneaker, similar to Vans and Keds, but with a boost of comfort for utmost livability. The Dr. Scholl’s Madison is available in multiple styles and compositions, from a burgundy velvet to a navy jacquard, and features contrast material at the heel.
Marginally more expensive than the Crocs Kadee flat, the Dr. Scholl’s Madison sneaker is a budget-friendly comfort option for anyone. The Madison can be dressed up or down, doesn’t have the typical sneaker look, and has a plush footbed — a clear recipe for everyday relief.
Fits true to size
Requires breaking in
Clarks Jocolin Vista
For style and comfort, these shoes are best worn with low- or no-show socks. And despite not slip-resistant, the Jocolin Vista features a textured rubber sole and a 1” heel.
The insole inside of the Clarks Jocolin Vista is made of high-performance, moisture-wicking Ortholite. Crafted specifically for softness and breathability, Ortholite helps the Jocolin Vista boat shoe provide a lasting cushion. The pillowy-soft feel of the footbed is further bolstered by Cushion Soft technology, which adds layers of foam for underfoot comfort.
A good chunk of the Jocolin Vista’s appeal is in its sporty, moccasin-inspired look. Designed for everyday wear by the beach, this boat shoe comes in nine two-tone color styles that are complemented by stark white soles. The Clarks Jocolin Vista also features contrast stitching, a mixed media faux leather, and textile upper, and real shoelaces for a snugger fit.
The Clarks Jocolin Vista boat shoe is a moderately priced shoe. It may not break the bank but if you’re on a strict budget, you may balk initially. Although costlier than the other options in this guide thus far, it’s difficult to gauge the true price of comfort. The Jocolin Vista is a worthy splurge.
Wide width available
Fits true to size
Loose heel fit
The Casual loafer features supple nubuck leather uppers and lining, as well as a side edge bow tie shoelace to adjust the fit of the shoe. This loafer is also roomy enough to fit a custom orthotic.
For bursitis sufferers, the best part of the Kunsto Casual loafer will be the outsole. Aside from being slip-resistant rubber, the Casual loafer sole is loaded with flexible spiral foot massaging nubs. These pillar-like nubs give cushion to every step to create the ultimate walking-on-a-cloud experience.
A not-so-secret feature of the Kunsto Casual loafer is its flexible, hand-sewn heel backstitching. The flexibility of the heel allows the Kunsto Casual to be turned from a loafer into a mule by just pressing it down. The average shoe would be ruined by doing this.
The Kunsto Casual loafer is the cheapest option in this guide, making it an incredibly budget-friendly option. Since this shoe also comes in 17 (yes, seventeen!) colorways, you may be tempted to buy more than one pair. We won’t tell if you don’t.
Laser-cut upper design
Leather can dye feet
New leather smell
The insole for the Roxy Rory sneaker, while unremovable, is made of thin yet comfortable and durable memory foam. The insole has a fabric covering with a spunky graphic detail and are best worn with thin socks. However, the insole does not span the entire footbed in the shoe; the padding stops at the ball of your foot to allow for a roomier toe box.
As an aside: since these shoes run narrow, there is no room for a full orthotic.
Crafted with a simple fabric upper, the Roxy Rory sneaker is understated and will blend into any casual outfit. The Rory is available in six neutral colors and texture. These sneakers also have complementary tribal-like contrast detailing across the heel for a pop of fun.
Settled neatly between the Skechers Avillo and the Clarks Jocolin Vista, the Roxy Rory sneaker is a moderately priced shoe. Easy to care for and with all-day cushion, these sneakers are worth the price.
No breaking in
Wide toe box
Stops at size 10
Aerosoles Final Exam
Comfort comes in multiple forms with the Aerosoles Final Exam wedge loafer. The thick and soft memory foam padded insole is designed to work in tandem with the textured rubber outsole to provide the ultimate daylong cushioning. Over time, the insole will conform to the shape of your foot for a snug and comfy fit.
The Aerosoles Final Exam wedge has an exotic, but understated style that can easily go between casual and work environments. The synthetic upper, with faux snakeskin detailing and tonal stitching, imparts flawless sophistication. The Final Exam comes in ten colors and features a squared apron toe.
The Aerosoles Final Exam is comparable in price to the Clarks Jocolin Vista, making it a moderately expensive option if you’re thinking of comfort alone. The Final Exam shines, and earns its cost, through its timeless design and classic detailing.
Stretches over time
Easy slip-on style
Little arch support
Featuring a foam padded heel collar, tongue, and mesh lining, the RYKA Devotion is an all-over comfort shoe. The Devotion walking shoe also features a synthetic overlay for increased durability. Additionally, the rubber outsole is eight pieces with wide-channel flex-grooves and features more of the proprietary RE-ZORB active foam.
Proprietary Foam Insole
The RYKA Devotion insole is made of a proprietary active foam called RE-ZORB, plus molded EVA, and cushiony eco-Ortholite. The insole includes Cushioning Precise-Return technology to facilitate energy return to your foot and combines with the mesh sockliner to provide superior comfort, cushion, and shock absorption.
Somewhat costlier than the Clarks Jocolin Vista, we know the RYKA Devotion isn’t the most budget-friendly option on this list. However, the need for comfortable shoes when treating bursitis — in any occasion — reigns supreme. The Devotion is a good investment in comfort, especially if you have yet to find a suitable athletic shoe.
Roomy toe box
Fits true to size
Available in half-sizes
Skechers Just Relax
With memory foam footbeds, a custom fit is always just a few wearings away. This remains true for the Skechers Just Relax sneaker. The insole of this shoe is considered to be relaxed fit, is topped with memory foam for comfort, and is removable. The memory foam of the insole also provides excellent shock absorption and spans the entire shoe for full foot support.
Made of soft suede, mesh fabric, and stabilizing synthetic overlays, the Just Relax sneaker has just the right amount of airflow for cool feet. Furthermore, the roomy, relaxed fit of the sneaker encourages breathability and allows toes to spread into a more natural position.
The Skechers Just Relax is akin to the Aersoles Final Exam loafer in price. Although the Just Relax is a fashion sneaker, it can easily double as a casual work shoe and features the durability and comfort Skechers is known for.
Fits true to size
Ripstop textured paneling
No wide widths
The relieving properties of the Deer Stags Greenpoint begin with a lightly padded heel collar. Dual gores allow the Greenpoint to stretch and fit easily on your foot, while the padded sockliner bumps up the cushion. The synthetic outsole increases shock absorption, durability, and stability. Also, the Deer Stags Greenpoint includes a non-metallic shank for further flexibility, reliability, and support.
The Deer Stags Greenpoint loafer features a simulated leather upper for a classic appearance. Simulated leather gets as close to the real thing as possible regarding look and feel and can be easily buffed to a shine. The Greenpoint loafer also has a stylish square toe with understated stitch detailing.
Incredibly pocket-friendly, the Deer Stags Greenpoint loafer is slightly more expensive than the Kunsto Casual loafer.
Triple wide widths available
Easy to clean
Only available in two colours
Here we are, at the end of the guide; as Looney Tunes would say, that’s all, folks! It’s important to remember that, though bursitis can be an unpleasant condition, you don’t have to suffer forever. Relief can be attained. Hopefully, armed with this guide, you are able to find the perfect cushy pair of shoes for any occasion.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Shoes for Bursitis
Because foot bursitis is a condition with a very specific trigger, the most important criterion is cushioning. When a bursitis flare-up happens, be it acute or chronic, the primary treatment is to rest the area — for a few days, usually. Since the average person doesn’t have the luxury of propping up their feet for a couple of hours, let alone days, padded footwear is the next best thing.
Other considerations when choosing shoes to help relieve bursitis are the type of shoe, any activities you may be performing, and the location of your symptoms. Since not all padding is created equal, let’s start with cushion.
Thickly cushioned insoles are the best for relieving bursitis pain as they will take the pressure off of inflamed bursae. Because density is important, insoles made of memory foam are naturally ideal. Even in this guide, you will find that shoes with the densest cushioning feature footbeds made of foam.
Though gel, cork, and leather insoles all have their place, there are a few reasons why memory foam reigns supreme in the land of deep cushioning. Mainly, memory foam resists compression, molds to your foot as you walk, and redistributes your weight and pressure evenly. (As a bonus, memory foam also increases stability.)
Compression is what happens when you bear weight. Essentially, the weight of your body flattens anything beneath your foot. The more an insole compresses, the less supportive cushion there is. The thickest memory foams take longer to contract during use, providing the necessary comfort for longer.
The ability for memory foam to conform to your foot is called ‘wear moldability.’ Unlike heat moldability, that requires shoes to be ‘baked’ (heated), wear moldability happens over time. Through wear moldability, memory foam allows you to take immediate comfort in its soft bulk, and have long-term comfort by way of a custom fit.
- Pressure Redistribution
One of the reasons bursitis of the foot can occur is because of abnormal pressure being placed on the foot during use. Though they are by far not the only causes of abnormal foot pressure, ill-fitting shoes, unsupportive shoes, and hard surfaces are still primary causes.
The malleability of memory foam is what relieves pressure hot spots that encourage bursitis development. This is because memory foam yields to weight and does not force your foot to contour unnaturally.
Shoe Build and Pain Locale
Although the type of cushioning a shoe has is important, the shape and construction of a shoe is also a factor in alleviating bursitis symptoms. Where your bursitis pain is situated will determine whether a pair of shoes will hamper or aid in recovery.
- Toe Box
Bursitis in the forefront of your foot, around the toes, is called metatarsal bursitis. The culprits of metatarsal bursitis are too-tight shoes in general, shoes that taper to a point, repetitive motion, and direct injury. A direct injury isn’t avoidable, but ill-fitting shoes are. Particularly, a spacious toe box is helpful for soothing bursitis pain — especially when the pain is localized to the ball of your foot.
Square and rounded toe shoes tend to have wider toe boxes, regardless of overall shoe width, so these are recommended foremost. Ultimately, a roomy toe box allows feet to stay in their natural position which reduces stress and pressure and, subsequently, reduces the likelihood of a bursitis flare-up.
- Heel Cup
Heel bursitis, which often manifests as a pain in the fleshy bottom of the heel, is known as infracalcaneal bursitis. Sometimes the condition may also be called plantar bursitis and, because of the location of the pain, can sometimes be confused with plantar fasciitis. For relief, insoles with deep heel cups are often advised. Deep heel cups provide the additional shock absorption and pressure relief needed.
- Heel Counter
Bursitis pain that is located near the Achilles tendon is called retrocalcaneal bursitis. The retrocalcaneal bursa is the single naturally occurring bursa in the foot. This makes it the source of the most common type of bursitis. For relief and prevention, it is recommended to avoid narrow heeled shoes, mainly. The narrowness of the heel will increase pressure along the retrocalcaneal bursa.
When worn regularly, stiffly heeled shoes can also contribute to the irritation of the bursa. Try to wear shoes with these types of builds infrequently.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can bursitis be permanent?
A: Not exactly. With treatment, the inflammation of the bursae will fade. However, if the original cause of bursitis isn’t remedied, the inflammation can recur. Thus it’s important to focus on treating both the cause and symptoms.
Q: Are there only at-home remedies for bursitis?
A: Not at all! If rest, ice, and cushioning aren’t helping to relieve your pain, definitely see your doctor. From cortisone injections to bursal sac drainage, there are more options yet for relief.
Q: Can bursae burst?
A: Yes! This is known as a ‘ruptured bursa.’ Ruptured bursae are as painful as inflamed bursae but are accompanied by greater swelling. Ruptured bursae are also dangerous; the risk of infection grows.
Q: Are bursitis and arthritis the same thing?
A: No. Although the same general areas are affected by bursitis and arthritis, the actual source of the inflammation is different. Arthritis is limited to joint inflammation and the wearing away of connective bone. On the other hand, bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae, which often surrounds joints.
Q: How is bursitis diagnosed?
A: Primarily, bursitis is diagnosed through a physical exam. If bursitis isn’t detectable this way, X-rays and lab tests can confirm the existence of the condition. Lab tests can range from simple blood screens to aspiration, which is the removal of bursal fluid for microscopic analysis.
Q: Can bursae become infected?
A: Bursae can indeed become infected. Infected bursae are also known as ‘septic bursitis,’ and shares many symptoms with regular (aseptic) bursitis. Because of the similarities between the two conditions, septic bursitis is harder to diagnose on your own. However, fever, chills, extreme localized warmth, and general sick feelings are all indicative of septic bursitis.
- FootSmart, Bursitis
- Mayo Clinic, Bursitis
- Institute for Preventative Foot Health, Foot Conditions: Bursitis
- Arthritis Health, The Serious Side of Bursitis