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Suffering a little foot pain may seem like a small sacrifice for fashion. However, wearing shoes that fail to provide proper fit and support can do serious damage, resulting in common foot problems, including plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and arthritis. Additionally, women are more likely to deal with the added ailments of bunions and hammertoes, which are partially genetic, but can also be the result of women “smushing their feet into narrow toe boxes,” says board-certified podiatrist Dr. Patrick McEneaney, owner and CEO of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists.
What are Orthopedic Shoes?
Orthopedic shoes provide firm, but comfortable support to equally disperse bodyweight, without one area of the foot absorbing more than its share, which can lead to pain, injury and avoidable foot problems. “Orthopedic shoes are specifically designed to provide extra support and stability to alleviate stress and pain from the structure of the foot up through the ankle, leg, even hips and your back,” explains Dr. Brad Schaeffer, DPM, board-certified foot surgeon at Sole Podiatry NYC and star of TLC’s “My Feet Are Killing Me.”
Orthopedic shoe brands used to have somewhat of a bad fashion reputation. However, over the past several years, stylish orthopedic shoes have become the norm, as the offerings of orthopedic sandals and shoes from the best orthopedic shoe brands have expanded. “People think that orthopedic shoes are clunky,” says certified pedorthist Michael Fishkin, also of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. “As long as a shoe fits you properly and fits your needs, it can be classified as an orthopedic shoe.”
Dr. Schaeffer adds that today’s women’s orthopedic shoes are available in a wider range of sizes, “including length, width and heel/sole height,” and have removable insoles, as “most patients who need orthopedic shoes need custom made orthotics that are specifically sized to the structure of their feet.” They also may have velcro closures, which makes it “as easy as possible for any patient, especially many older patients who have mobility and flexibility issues like arthritis, to get them on and off,” he says. Also, expect a firmer heel and heavier duty soles that “absorb impact and won’t slip.”
Top Orthopedic Shoes for Women for 2022
- Best for Flat Feet: Vionic Zinah Slip-On Sneaker
- Best Flip-Flops: Cloudsteppers by Clarks Lola Point Sandal
- Best Dress Shoes: Propet Zuri Dress Pump
- Best Sandals: Drew Bon Voyage Sandal
- Best Wedge Sandals: Dansko Tricia Sandals
- Best Ballet Flats: Vionic Minna
- Best for Extra Wide Feet: Orthofeet Orthopedic Walking Shoes
- Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Kuru Footwear Atom Women’s Shoes
- Best Slides: Spenco SIesta Slide
- Best Shoes for Nurses: Dansko Distressed Professional Clog
- Best Women’s Shoes for Walking: Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoe
- Best for Running: Asics Noosa Tri 13 Sneakers
- Best Sandal with Heel: Naturalizer Vanessa Sandal
- Best Work Boots: Revere Damascas Boots
- Best Tennis Shoes: Brooks Catamount Sneaker
- Most Stylish Orthopedic Sneaker: Ecco Street Tray Women’s Recru Sneaker
- Best for Elderly: Skechers Go Walk Joy
- Best for Diabetics: Propet Tour Walker Strap Sneaker
- Best Safety Shoes: Fernlern Steel Toe Safety Shoe
- Best for Ankle Pain: Orthofeet Women’s Sierra Shoes
What to Look for in the Best Orthopedic Shoes for Your Needs
- Structure: Dr. McEneaney and Fishkin warn against choosing styles made with material that’s too soft or flexible, as proper structure keeps the foot in optimal position.
- Comfort: Comfortable women’s shoes are key, says Dr. McEneaney. He advises trying on orthopedic shoes at home by walking on a clean surface for several minutes to get a real feel for the fit. If unsure about the comfort, you can simply send them back and try another pair.
- Arch Support: Dr. Schaeffer explains that a shoe with arch support is super important for any shoes that you buy, orthopedic or otherwise. “I preach arch support, arch support, arch support all the time!” he says. “It is imperative to have proper shoes that support your feet.” Arch support, sufficient cushioning and proper insoles not only ensure adequate shoe support, but they can also absorb any pain-inducing pounding your feet endure day in and day out.
- Adequate Toe Box: This is crucial, per Dr. Schaeffer. “Ill-fitting and constricting shoes cause and aggravate a lot of problems,” he says. “Shoes should provide a good balance transfer between heel strike and toe off.”
- Adequate Heel Cup: This feature helps with stability, says Dr. Schaeffer. “The heel cup should provide good depth that cradles the foot and therefore, provides stability,” he explains.
- The Right Size: “You wouldn’t believe how many people buy shoes that are the wrong size,” says Dr. Schaeffer, adding that many foot problems are caused by shoes that don’t fit well, whether they’re too long, too short or too tight. “Some patients need custom-molded shoes with extra-heel depth or arch supports, which can be prescribed by your doctor,” he explains.
Taking all this into account, we compiled the 20 best orthopedic shoes for women that will relieve pain and look good while doing so. Keep scrolling to shop them.
Vionic Zinah Slip-On Sneakers
Best Orthopedic Shoe for Flat Feet
- Sizes: 5 to 11
- Colors: 7 color options
- Special Features: Leather upper, removable insole for anatomical support, hugs foot at all curves
The Vionic Zinah Slip-On sneaker is a completely versatile leather slip-on women’s shoe to have in your arsenal from one of the best orthopedic shoe brands. Dress them up with trousers and a blazer or opt for a casual look instead, pairing them a T-shirt and jeans or a skirt. In terms of function, these feature a removable cushioned insole that offers anatomical support. “This shoe is comfortable and fits well, giving me the support I need. Attractive walking shoe and well made,” writes one Amazon reviewer.
Cloudsteppers by Clarks Lola Point Sandals
Best Orthopedic Flip-Flop
- Sizes: 5 to 12
- Colors: 6 color options
- Special Features: Shock absorbing insole, cushioned footbed, Ffexible outsole, ultra lightweight
Flip-flops have earned a bad rap in the world of supportive shoes, but Cloudsteppers by Clarks Lola Point sandals redeem the style. As some of the best orthopedic sandals for women, these have an ultra-cushioned footbed that prioritizes comfort. The shock-absorbing insole is contoured for an ideal fit while a flexible outsole adds an extra layer of comfort. “Extremely comfortable,” attests one reviewer with plantar fasciitis. “These provide support and my heels don’t hurt when I get home.”
Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoes
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Walking
- Sizes: 6 to 11
- Colors: Multiple color options
- Special Features: Ultra light, ample cushioning, removable insole can be replaced with orthotics
The Hoka One One Bondi 7 cushioned running shoe is ultra-lightweight with maximum cushioning, so each step feels springy and buoyant. A removable ergonomic insole can be replaced with custom orthotics. The collar is crafted in plush memory foam to reduce friction against the back of the ankle. One reviewer with ankle pain maintains, “these shoes feel like I am walking on a cloud.”
Vionic Minna Shoes
Best Orthopedic Ballet Flat
- Sizes: 5 to 12, narrow, wide, regular
- Colors: Multiple color options
- Special Features: Sophisticated style, durable outsole, features Vionic’s trademark technology
Podiatrists agree that comfortable women’s flat shoes need ample underfoot support, despite not having a heel. Backed with the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) Seal of Acceptance, this 100% leather shoe with a durable rubber outsole offers the best of both worlds: Orthopedic comfort and chic styling. “I have seriously high arches, and struggle with plantar fasciitis. This is my third purchase of Vionic shoes; I also have their wonderful slippers and flip-flops. I am so delighted I have found this brand — wonderfully made, stylish, and perfect for someone with foot pain like me!” writes one Amazon shopper.
Kuru Footwear Atom Women’s Shoes
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
- Sizes: 5 to 12, Medium, Wide
- Colors: 9 color options
- Special Features: Molds to your foot for a custom fit, breathable, extra cushioning.
While not currently considered orthopedic by a medical standard, Kuru specializes in creating comfortable footwear with anatomically correct arch support. Over time, they use your body heat to mold to your exact foot shape, so you get a custom fit, no matter what kind of arch you have. This helps prevent and relieve plantar fasciitis and heel pain. The Atom, one of their most popular styles, features their thickest midsole giving it bottomless cushioning for ultimate comfort. It also features a slimmer forefront compared to their other popular style, the Quantum.
Orthofeet Orthopedic Walking Shoes
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Extra Wide Feet
- Sizes: 5 to 12, narrow, normal, wide, extra wide
- Colors: Five color options
- Special Features: Anatomic arch support in insoles, extra cushioning, wide toe box, available in four widths
Available in four different widths, Orthofeet’s orthopedic walking shoes should accommodate most foot types and are a great option for anyone with plantar fasciitis, diabetes or suffering from foot or knee pain. The insoles feature anatomic arch support and ample cushioning to provide relief from pain stemming from flat feet, overpronation and arthritis. The soft uppers and lining ensure total comfort at every angle. The wide toe box accommodates bunions and hammertoes. One reviewer with plantar fasciitis suffering from foot pain claims they are her “magic shoes,” after wearing them for a week. “I immediately felt relief, and occasionally found myself walking across campus and realizing that I had forgotten about my foot problem!”
Propet Zuri Dress Pumps
Best Orthopedic Dress Shoes
- Sizes: 6 to 12, Available in four widths
- Colors: Black, brown
- Special Features: Cushioned insole, adjustable ankle strap
Yes, there is such a thing as a comfortable women’s dress shoe with a heal. A tip when looking for orthopedic dress shoes for women is to try a brand that focuses on comfortable sneakers. Propet, a brand specializing in athletic shoes, applies their craft to the Propet Zuri dress pumps. To start, the shoe comes in four widths: narrow, medium, wide and extra wide. A low block heel offers much more stability than the average high heel and the insole is cushioned, so you can stand and walk comfortably for hours, while an adjustable ankle strap ensures proper fit.
Drew Bon Voyage Sandals
Best Orthopedic Sandals
- Sizes: 5 to 13, available in four widths
- Colors: Black, light blue, taupe
- Special Features: Thick, removable dual density removable footbed, round open toe, adjustable straps
Chunky, comfortable walking sandals are having a moment. The Drew Bon Voyage sandal is an elegant take on the trend and designed for maximum orthopedic benefit courtesy of a thick, dual-density footbed that’s removable to accommodate prescribed orthotics. A broad toe shape leaves plenty of room for your digits.
Dansko Tricia Sandals
Best Orthopedic Wedge Sandals
- Sizes: 5.5 to 11.5
- Colors: Black, lagoon, linen
- Special Features: Contoured midsole, cushioned footbed, hidden velcro buckles for adjustability
Regularly recommended by podiatrists and a favorite of service industry workers, Dansko shoes are always a great option for comfortable, functional footwear. Need a little lift? Dansko’s Tricia sandals are some of the most comfortable wedge sandals for those who want a little height boost. Designed for all day comfort with a fully contoured midsole and cushioned footbed, they also offer a rubber outsole designed to last. “These shoes were recommended to me by my chiropractor. They definitely lived up to all my expectations, and they’re worth the price,” endorses a reviewer, giving it a five-star review.
Spenco Siesta Slides
Best Orthopedic Slide
- Sizes: 5 to 11
- Colors: 6 color options
- Special Features: Convenient slip-on, deep heel cupping, molded footbed with orthotic arch support
An open-back slip-on shoe is ideal to keep by the door and slide on at a moment’s notice. The Spenco Siesta slide doesn’t sacrifice stability for ease. Deep heel cupping provides structure and the molded footbed has orthotic-grade arch support. One reviewer who has been wearing orthotics since having foot surgery, dubs them “supremely comfortable,” and maintains they were game-changing for her feet. “Finding comfortable shoes is difficult and finding comfortable slippers is even harder. I ordered these to use as house slippers thinking that the arch support and metatarsal dome might make these suitable. I cannot express how incredibly comfortable these are. They fit securely on my feet and they are the first shoes or slippers I have ever worn that don’t give me pain after an hour or so,” they write.
Dansko Distressed Professional Clogs
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Nurses
- Sizes: 3 to 15
- Colors: Multiple color option
- Special Features: Anatomical footbed, roomy box toes, antimicrobial leather lining
While clogs with wooden-style footbeds aren’t a great option for all-day wear, Dansko’s anatomical footbeds provide comfort and stability for nurses and service industry workers. Their professional clog is designed for comfort and support, with a roomy toe box and antimicrobial leather lining. It’s also available in a wide range of colors and sizes. “At the end of a long day with patients, my feet don’t hurt at all, not like they would when I would wear tennis shoes that were just as expensive,” writes one healthcare worker, giving them a five-star review on Amazon.
Asics Noosa Tri 13 Sneakers
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Running
- Sizes: 5 to 12
- Colors: 7 color options
- Special Features: Breathable material, dual-density midsole, extra tread on outsole
Nothing beats the total foot protection and stability offered by a well-fitting sneaker. These highly-reviewed Asics Noosa Tri 13 sneakers come in a range of bright shades to fit fashion’s current colorful mood, but comfort is their main attraction. The breathable, soft interior fabric keeps skin from feeling irritated, while the dual-density midsole is built to position your foot properly and reduce the impact of each step. The shoes get bonus points for featuring extra tread on the rubber outsole in areas that tend to wear down the quickest. One reviewer bought the shoes for a Disney trip, “averaging over 20,000 steps a day,” maintaining they experienced zero foot pain. “I’m prone to heal spurs or blisters from shoes. I’ve tried numerous sneakers, walking shoes nothing compares at all for long distance walking/power walking. The arch support, shock absorbance I wish they would make a million other shoes that could feel like these!!” they wrote.
Naturalizer Vanessa Sandals
Best Orthopedic Sandal with Heel
- Sizes: 4 to 12, narrow, regular, wide
- Colors: Black, silver, nude
- Special Features: Contoured footbed, adjustable buckle closure, non-slip, flexible outsole for stability
It’s hard to believe that strappy, stylish sandals can be comfortable. The Naturalizer Vanessa Sandal proves going out doesn’t have to be a pain. These orthopedic dress shoes for women have a cushioned, contoured flatbed and a moderate block heel to maximize support. They also have a flexible and non-slip outsole for stability. They’re available in a standard and wide fit and come in a few color options. “Comfortable shoe, stylish, perfect height heel. Will wear these again and again!” writes one reviewer.
Revere Damascas Boots
Best Orthopedic Work Boot
- Sizes: 5 to 12
- Colors: Black and metallic brown
- Special Features: Ample arch support, contoured footbed, stylish wedge heel, removable insole can be replaced with custom orthotics
A low wedge provides just a bit of lift without putting stress on your knees and lower back. The Revere Damascas, is a stylish but comfortable wedge boot, perfect for the fall and winter months. Contoured footbeds with arch support stabilize and cradle the foot, and can also be swapped out for custom orthotics if needed. Dress them up with tights and a skirt or wear them casually with jeans.
Brooks Catamount Sneakers
Best Orthopedic Tennis Shoes
- Sizes: 5 to 12
- Colors: Multiple color options
- Special Features: Ultra-cushioned midsole, designed for serious shock absorption, breathable material
Recommended by podiatrists, Brooks makes some of the most comfortable shoes for women and is a leader in foot-friendly athletic shoes. The Brooks Catamount sneaker boasts lightweight cushioning in the midsole that provides serious shock absorption. An extra layer between the midsole and outsole is specifically designed to protect against stone-bruising during outdoor adventures. These are appropriate for the trail, but are so comfortable that you’ll likely wear them in daily life.
Ecco Street Tray Women’s Recru Sneakers
Most Stylish Orthopedic Sneaker
- Sizes: 35 to 42
- Colors: Black, white, Tuscany
- Special Features: On-trend, streetwear style sneaker, sustainably crafted, breathable leather, soft and supportive midsole
Like many of the shoes from comfort-focused footwear brand Ecco, this sneaker in no way resembles the orthopedic shoes of the past. Sustainability crafted in either leather or suede with perforation for breathability, it utilizes the brand’s innovative “fluidform” construction offering an incredibly soft, yet supportive midsole in a street-style looking sneaker.
Skechers Go Walk Joy Shoes
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Elderly
- Sizes: 5 t0 13, narrow, wide, regular
- Colors: Multiple color options
- Special Features: Slip-on style, ultra cushioned and responsive midsole and insole, thick sole
Older people in need of orthopedic shoes should look for styles that are easy to get on and off. Skechers Go Walk Joy, a 100% synthetic, lightweight pull-on shoe, is the best-selling walking shoe on Amazon. It offers responsive insole and midsole cushioning and other features, like a padded collar and breathable mesh upper for comfort and comes in three widths and a wide range of whole and half sizes. “I am a 60 year old woman with MS and my balance is a little wonky,” writes one 5-star reviewer. After “slipping and sliding” a lot down her driveway even with a walking stick, she ordered a pair. “What a difference! They are super comfortable and the thick sole kept me balanced and safe. I was able to walk further than normal without any problems. The shoes did not rub anywhere and I felt very secure.”
Propet Tour Walker Strap Sneaker
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Diabetics
- Sizes: 5 to 12, narrow to 3X wide
- Colors: 6 color combinations
- Special Features: Made specifically for diabetics, removable insert for custom orthotics, cushioned midsole, velcro straps
These 100% leather shoes from Propet are Medicare/HCPCS coded as a diabetic shoe. They offer a cushioned Eva midsole for comfort, herringbone tread rubber outsole to avoid slips and falls, and a removable footbed for custom orthotics. Other great features include a perforated upper for breathability and velcro straps, making it easy to get them on and off. “I have several health issues, diabetes and arthritis being two, and these shoes are far more comfortable and better fitting than any diabetic shoe I have ever had. Correct support and a snug, but not tight, fit. Easy to put on and the straps make it easier to adjust to the needed fit,” writes one reviewer.
Fernlern Steel Toe Safety Shoe
Best Women’s Orthopedic Safety Shoes
- Sizes: 5 to 12
- Colors: 14 color options
- Special Features: Steel toe offers protection, ultra cushioned, shock-absorbing sole, ankle support
These slip-on steel toe shoes are one of the top-selling safety shoes on Amazon. Not only do they offer protection, but meet ASTM standards for impact. They also feature an ultra cushioned, shock-absorbing sole and ankle support. One of the many fans on Amazon writes that the shoes cured her plantar fasciitis. “I thought I had it from walking on concrete floors for all these years, but after wearing these I haven’t had any pain since! They are so comfortable and easy to put on. I am shocked at how good these are for the price.”
Orthofeet Women’s Sierra Shoes
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Ankle Pain
- Sizes: 5 to 12, regular to extra wide
- Colors: Gray
- Special Features: Arch support, gel cushioning, removable insert for custom orthotics, ankle support
These Orthofeet orthopedic shoes provide arch support, gel cushioning and extra foam padding. Covered in a wool blend material, they are great for colder temps. If you do have a custom insert, you can add them to these shoes, since the insoles are removable. “Fits great, comfortable for bunions and great arch support. Wore all day; lots of time on feet and walking; end of day feet did not hurt! And, not only comfortable, but really attractive footwear; well constructed and good material used for uppers and soles,” writes one reviewer.
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Different Foot Types and Conditions
- Orthopedic Shoes for Flat Feet: Women with flat feet should seek out comfortable shoes that are wider-lasted, “which means they shouldn’t have an hourglass shape on the bottom,” Fishkin says. “Instead, they should have a straight-across design underfoot.” While offering a regular heel area, there will be more space around the forefoot and ball of the foot than a typical shoe, which will cradle the foot and avoid painful pinching, chafing and rubbing for people with flat feet. Fishkin also suggests styles with enhanced stability and motion control features, as people with these foot types tend to overpronate, meaning their feet roll inward, when walking.
- Orthopedic Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis, a common inflammatory foot condition defined by stabbing pain in the bottom of one or both feet, is triggered or worsened by wearing the wrong shoes. This is why selecting the right orthopedic shoes is crucial, says Mike Rushton, DPM, co-founder and medical director of Forward Motion Orthotics in St. George, Utah. A neutral supportive shoe is key, but this will depend on your foot type. For example, anyone with tight, stiff feet should focus on finding a shoe with excellent structure and cushioning, making sure they are not “so soft you’re not finding the ground,” Dr. Rushton says. Those with flexible feet should focus on stability in the form of arch support. This helps increase the arch for those with flat feet and encourages high arches to drop to a more neutral position.
- Orthopedic Shoes for High Arches: Women with high arches or those who need extra arch support will benefit from orthopedic shoes with built-in, well-padded and shock-absorbing insoles. “High-arched feet are best treated with supportive, softer and more flexible, lightweight types of soles to accommodate the high arch,” New York-based podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab member Dr. Jackie Sutera explains. They should also stay away from rigid, stiff and thin flat shoes. “The purpose of insoles and orthotics for those with high-arched feet is to accommodate, absorb shock and cushion,” she says. Additionally, they should choose a shoe with a slight heel-toe drop (the difference between how high the shoe is in the heel versus the forefoot), which can minimize impact forces and ankle stress, says Dr. Emily Splichal, a podiatrist and founder of the performance-driven accessories line Naboso.
- Orthopedic Shoes for Ankle Pain or Weakness: Those who suffer from weak ankles or ankle pain should prioritize ankle support and non-slip features. “High-top tennis shoes are great for additional structure and support to prevent ankle injury,” says Dr. Dan Geller, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and advisor for Kane Footwear. “Running shoes may not always be the best for folks with weak ankles, as some can actually roll you out.” People who suffer from ankle pain or injuries should always consult a doctor first, but generally look for a stable wide platform and deep heel cup to stabilize the foot and ankle better.
- Orthopedic Shoes for Knee Pain: Women with knee pain should find shoes that help with proper alignment, offer joint support and diffuse pressure away from the knee, explains Dr. Mark Mendeszoon, a podiatrist and owner of Achilles Running Shop in Pennsylvania. “Just as folks may need eyeglasses to help accommodate with vision, properly selected shoes can accommodate particular foot problems,” Dr. Mendeszoon says.
- Orthopedic Shoes for Back Pain: People with back pain should consider the source of the pain and also the activity that orthopedic shoes are needed for, says Dr. Mendeszoon. If you become sore after tough workouts, walking or you stand on your feet all day, he suggests investing in a shoe with shock absorption and strategic cushioning — possibly even labeled as orthopedic — which will help relieve direct pressure to your pain points. “Someone with back pain is going to want a shoe that has enough support but with proper cushioning, too,” Dr. Mendeszoon adds. “You want a shoe that doesn’t have a significant heel drop [aka one with an even amount of cushioning from heel to toe] and fits well both in length and width, since achieving proper foot alignment helps prevent all kinds of aches and pains, including in your back.”
- Orthopedic Shoes for Bunions: If you have bunions, seek out footwear that stabilizes the foot into the ideal neutral position, where weight is evenly distributed across the foot, suggests Dr. Glenn Davison, owner of Advanced Podiatry in New York City and New Jersey and a Fellow in the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. This means that high heels are generally a no-no, he says. “A good corrective shoe will stabilize the foot,” he advises. Focus on finding orthopedic shoes that offer arch support, proper cushioning and a wide shoe fit and a roomy toe box. To avoid painful friction, stay away from shoes with straight or narrow toe beds.
- Orthopedic Shoes for Diabetics: Diabetes affects feet in two primary ways, says Dr. Rushton. One is neuropathy, a condition that leaves people feeling “odd sensations in the feet, all the way to no sensation in the feet,” or burning, stinging, or cold sensations. The other? “Losing protective threshold,” says Dr. Rushton. This can result in an identified injury, eventually manifesting into more severe damage. Wide toe boxes along and shoe structures with soft interiors and linings make the best diabetic shoes.
- Orthopedic Shoes for Heel Spurs: Heel spurs are “a growth of bone on the bottom of your heel,” which grow in the contour of your feet, explains Dr. Rushton. “If your foot doesn’t have adequate padding beneath it, as you roll forward, you’re more likely to pinch between the bottom of the foot and the ground.” Look for orthopedic shoes or orthopedic sandals with a cushioned heel and anatomical arch support versus ballet flats to help promote healthy foot alignment. This will help the entire foot absorb the impact of every step, rather than just the heel.
- Orthopedic Shoes for Wide Feet: Dr. Bruce Pinker, a board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon of Progressive Foot Care in New York state, explains that if you feel pressure on the sides of your feet while wearing shoes, then you likely have wide feet. If you fall into this category, look for shoes that come in wide sizes. “The width should be snug, but not tight,” he says, adding that there should be 3/8 of an inch of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. “The forefoot of a pair of shoes should have ample room for toes,” he says, advising you to wiggle your toes when your try on shoes. If your toes feel confined, the shoes are too tight. “They shouldn’t feel like they’re pinching or squeezing the feet adversely.”
Orthotic Inserts vs Orthopedic Shoes
Orthotics are shoe or heel inserts that can be custom-made specifically for you or purchased over-the-counter. Sometimes, you may need a prescription from a podiatrist explains Dr. Schaeffer. “They are a good, cheaper, and often beneficial alternative to orthopedic shoes,” he says. “Right now, only 12% of consumers own an insert, yet so many more people suffer from back and lower body pain.”
You can even purchase custom-fit orthotics in Dr. Scholl’s stores. This variety is clinically proven to provide 5-in-1 pain relief from lower back, knees, achy feet and plantar fasciitis and heel pain. They’re matched for your unique foot geometry at the in-store kiosk. Each insert has three customized layers: the cushion layer which reduces shock, the 3D arch support designed for your arch shape and foot length that allows you to move pain free throughout your day, finished with the soft top cloth layer for the all-day comfort.
Meet the Experts
- Dr. Patrick McEneaney is a board-certified podiatrist and owner and CEO of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists.
- Dr. Brad Schaeffer, DPM, is a board-certified foot surgeon at Sole Podiatry NYC and star of TLC’s “My Feet Are Killing Me.”
- Michael Fishkin is a certified pedorthist.
- Mike Rushton, DPM, is the co-founder and medical director of Forward Motion Orthotics in St. George, Utah.
- Dr. Jackie Sutera is a New York-based podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab member.
- Dr. Emily Splichal is a podiatrist and founder of the performance-driven accessories line Naboso.
- Dr. Dan Geller is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and advisor for Kane Footwear.
- Dr. Mark Mendeszoon is a podiatrist and owner of Achilles Running Shop in Pennsylvania.
- Dr. Glenn Davison is the owner of Advanced Podiatry in New York City and New Jersey and a Fellow in the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
- Dr. Bruce Pinker is a board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon of Progressive Foot Care in New York state.