Foot comfort is becoming increasingly important to young as well as older consumers. The growing popularity of athletic and athleisure looks as casual wear is a testament to consumer interest in footwear that’s easy to wear due to cushioned footbeds, lightweight flexible outsoles and forgiving knit uppers.
But even these ingredients may not be enough for consumers with serious foot conditions, including diabetes, bunions, hammertoes and heel spurs. Here, footwear with features such as roomy toe boxes, stretch uppers and extra-depth design that accommodates a range of custom orthotics may be required, as well as medial extended heel counters to keep the foot in place.
While these features may sound medicinal, that doesn’t mean shoes can’t be stylish, as more and more orthopedic footwear brands are stepping up the fashion factor. Everything from athletic shoes to boots and casuals are now available with stepped-up comfort features.
First thing to keep in mind when considering an orthopedic shoe is paying a visit to a podiatrist or orthopedist. These medical professionals will determine if an orthopedic shoe is required and what features will offer the best results. For those hard-to-fit cases, custom footwear may be needed.
The next step is locating a comfort shoe store where a pedorthist — an individual educated and trained in the management and treatment of the foot, ankle and lower extremities requiring fitting, fabricating and adjusting of pedorthic devices — can fill a doctor’s prescription. They will either find a shoe that already has the features required or offer you a style that can be modified to meet your specific needs.
Following are some brands to consider when shopping for orthopedic shoes.
Orthofeet’s Reef Mary Jane features a nonbinding fit, extra room for toe movement, anatomical insole with arch support and cushioned heel pad.
Aetrex’s Krista clog with knit trim offers its proprietary Lynco insole to provide enhanced body alignment and underfoot memory foam cushioning.
Apex has a biomechanical Mary Jane style with a soft leather lining, SmartGrip polyurethane sole for stability and removable footbed in three layers for a customized fit.
Anodyne’s No. 11 Sport Trainer is designed for those with diabetes, bunions and plantar fasciitis, and features a mesh upper and microfiber lining.
Click through the gallery to see more on-trend orthopedic shoe styles.
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