If you are one of the 58.5 million people in the United States who have been clinically diagnosed with arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you know the trials and tribulations that accompany pain , stiffness, swelling and limited range of motion. Arthritis can be a debilitating disease, especially when it affects the areas and joints you use every day, like your feet. That’s why choosing the right pair of shoes when you have arthritis is crucial (more on that in a second).
In this article
With more than 30 joints in each human foot, it’s no surprise that this area is a common location for arthritis pain. “The feet support the entire weight of our body and every step we take creates a jarring impact and the joints of the foot develop a lot of pressure, sometimes jamming the joint,” explains Brad Schaeffer, DPM, foot surgeon at Sole NYC. “When this jamming of the joint occurs, the cartilage can start to wear down, and once the cartilage wears down, bone-on-bone wear occurs, which can be very painful and debilitating.”
What to look for in shoes when you have arthritis
One of the best things you can do to ease the discomfort associated with arthritis in your feet is to find the right shoes. Stay away from narrow, pointy heels, and anything that creates too much friction. And always make sure you choose a shoe that fits you well.
As Jackie Sutera, DPM, podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab says, for people with arthritis in the impacted foot, shoes will either make or break them. “Wearing tight or stiff shoes can further irritate delicate joints and encourage the disease process to worsen,” she says. “Narrow or pointed heels will squeeze your toes and force the forefoot to bear more weight, as the shoe shifts your body weight forward.” For these reasons and more, proper fit is paramount.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of arthritis-friendly shoes on the market today (and the great thing about ordering online is that you can easily return and exchange them if you find the style you ordered is too tight or doesn’t fit you overall). ). Here are some brands that podiatrists recommend.
9 best shoes for arthritis in the feet
Oofos Oocoozie Low Shoe — $118.00
For those who can regularly go for a more casual style, and especially those who work from home, Najwa Javed, DPM, podiatrist with the Silicon Valley Podiatry Group and founder of E’MAR Italy, recommends this supportive shoe. “Built with a rocker sole and its Oofoam technology, the shoe is designed to reduce impact and stress on the feet and help with a natural stride,” she says.
While it looks more like a slipper (and you can wear it like one), it does have hard soles so you can easily wear it outside without worry. They are also machine washable!
Allbirds Women’s Tree Jumpers — $59.00
Built with sustainability in mind, such as using natural materials that help balance emissions, this brand is becoming increasingly popular across all age ranges. Dr. Javed is a fan, especially of her arthritis patients, because the brand offers stylish footwear that is gentle on severe and stiff foot deformities.
“Initial designs were too flexible and unsupportive, but Allbirds changed to add more stability and structure to the shoes,” he says. They are super cushioned and have an S-shaped tread that makes the sole lightweight and mimics the anatomical shape of the foot.
Naot Galaxy — $160.00
American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Accepted for promoting good foot health, these supportive lace-up shoes provide excellent arch and ball-of-foot support, says Tim Oldani, DPM, a podiatrist at Missouri Foot and Ankle in Saint Louis. Your favorite feature? The removable insole that allows you to put your own custom orthotics in the shoes.
“Many people will wear custom orthotics as a treatment for their painful arthritis, so these shoes are great for these people,” he says. “The knit upper material in the toe box will accommodate bone spurs, which is also a great feature.”
Hoka Bondi 8 — $165.00
Not only are these running shoes super stylish, but they offer a rocker sole feature on the metatarsals, the area that helps form the arches of the foot, which is a fantastic feature for people with arthritis in the toe joint. foot fat, says Dr. Oldani. They are also the most cushioned shoes in the Hoka line. “This amount of cushioning helps absorb the shock with each step, which also reduces pain in arthritic joints,” he adds. For a more detailed review of the Hoka Bondi 8, click here.
Altra Paradigm 6 — $170.00
These feature the same rocker-bottom feature as the Hoka Bondi, which can go a long way toward helping relieve and limit pain and range of motion in the big toe joint, notes Dr. Oldani. They’re also fairly lightweight for such a supportive shoe. “These shoes also offer maximum cushioning in both the heel and forefoot, which is helpful for people with arthritis in both the forefoot and rearfoot,” he says. “The width in the toe area helps limit pressure on the toes in people with bone spurs.”
Brooks Ghost 14 — $130.00
With 30 colorways to choose from, the Brooks Ghost 14 is an ideal choice for many runners and walkers alike. The brand is known for making very supportive shoes that almost make you feel like you’re running or walking on clouds. This level of support is tremendous for people who suffer from foot problems, especially arthritis, according to Dr. Schaeffer.
“Brooks offer different levels of support, from neutral support to maximum support, which is a great option since everyone’s feet and needs are different,” he says. “There is also a very good range of sizes and widths, more than most brands.”
Asics Gel-Kayano 28 — $120.00
One of the brands that Dr. Schaeffer recommends for people with a neutral foot type, the most common foot type, is Asics. “They’re good for stabilizing and therefore take pressure off your feet, knees, hips and back,” he says. “They offer lightweight shoes that are good for people with arthritis.” These shoes are also ideal for people who overpronate or put extra pressure on the inner area of the foot, causing them to flatten.
Willa Slip-Ons — $130.00
If you’re looking for a stylish flat shoe, look no further than the Vionic Willow Slip-On Flat. It provides arch support and has a thicker sole for shock absorption, two features that are ideal for those with arthritis. “This takes stress off your joints and protects the natural cushioning in the soles of your feet,” explains Dr. Sutera. They come in seven different colors and fun prints, so you can buy a few to mix and match with your existing wardrobe.
Ingrid Sole Bliss — $259.00
An elegant shoe with a heel that is ideal for people who suffer from arthritis in their feet is almost unheard of, which is what makes this pair so desirable. It features triple layer padding and even has a bunion bed that provides extra width accommodation in areas that often cause people pain. When it comes to buying the right size, there is no need to go up or down (in terms of width). Buy them in your typical size and they should fit you well.
Want to be the first to hear about the latest (and greatest) SHOP product drops, custom collections, discounts and more? Sign up to receive information directly to your inbox.
These products are independently selected by our editors. Making a purchase through our links may generate a commission for Well+Good.