Best Rocker Bottom Shoes – 2022 Buying Guide
Rocker bottom shoes are becoming an increasingly more popular choice of shoe and for good reason. Not only are they beneficial for joint movement, but they also provide increased support and stability.
They help to reduce the impact of walking on your feet which means they will be better for you in the long term and are more comfortable.
To make shopping easier for you, we have selected and reviewed some of the best rocker bottom shoes on the market at present so you can get back on your feet, in less or no pain.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The soles are one of the most important aspects in a rocker bottom shoe.
All three parts of the sole play a role in an effective, stable rocker bottom shoe – beginning with the insole, through the midsole and the outsole. Here’s what to look for:
The shape of the sole in a rocker bottom is important. Because the shoe is meant to stabilize and prevent the movement of the metatarsals, thereby relieving pain from walking. The sole must compensate by guiding the foot through a natural gait. A good rocker bottom has a smooth curve from the heel of the foot to the toe. It will also have a rounded heel to enable the proper gait from the moment you set the foot down through the entire step.
A good rocker bottom sole will also be thick, to enable shock absorption and allow room for the proper curve. Look for a shoe that is in the area of 30 mm thick or more, measured at the midfoot, from the bottom of the outsole (where it touches the ground) to the top of the midsole (where the sole attaches to the upper).
The outsole of a rocker shoe should provide good traction for the shoe’s purpose.
A hiking boot or trail runner, for example, will need different traction than a dress shoe or one meant for an office environment. Rubber is one of the best materials for outsoles because it is durable and provides good traction on many different surfaces.
The outsole makes the most contact with the outside world. It should stand up to the surface it will be used on. While EVA can be great for a slipper used at home, you need a rubber, synthetic rubber or other hardened material in an outsole that will resist wear and tear.
Some rocker bottom shoes will have both a rubber outsole and reinforced rubber in those places that wear most often. This targeted method of increasing durability is effective and also keeps the weight of the shoe lighter.
All of the best shoes are comfortable shoes.
But what does comfort entail? Comfort can mean different things to different people. For example, if you have high arches, a shoe that has no arch support will not be the most comfortable for you. If you have flat feet, a shoe with some rigidity for support will be more comfortable than a soft, over-flexible shoe.
There are some general criteria, however, that help ensure great comfort. We’ve touched on a couple of the above. The insole, for example, should be cushioned for comfort and the midsole must have enough shock absorption to prevent your feet from becoming fatigued.
The outsole should prevent slipping which can also exhaust your feet and potentially cause a serious injury. Here are some other things to look for in terms of comfort:
The skin on the top of your feet is more sensitive than most people realize. A good, comfortable shoe will have a liner that is soft without any seams or parts that could rub on the bottoms, sides, top or back of the foot. No-one is comfortable with blistered feet. The liner should also absorb moisture, keeping it away from your feet. Good materials for liners are kid leather, cow leather, and soft fabrics.
A good, comfortable shoe will have closures that are easy for you to use. Often rocker bottom shoes will have closures that are velcro so that you can easily close and adjust the fit. The closures should also ensure that the shoe fits snuggly, but not too tight against your foot.
A comfortable shoe will have other well-thought-out elements like padding along the tongue and collar to keep the tops of your feet and ankle area comfortable and to help prevent rubbing in these areas.
The midsole of the shoe is where a lot of the function is in a rocker bottom shoe.
It is normally made from one or more layers of a firm but still pliable material like EVA or polyurethane. It will not be very flexible because it is meant to stabilize your metatarsal area. Some shoes will be modified in this area to provide a little less stability and more flexibility and what you choose should meet your needs for a stabilized footbed first.
People who have arthritis, plantar fasciitis or other foot conditions also need an insole that can adapt to their foot while providing a comfortable surface to walk on. This is why many rocker bottom shoes will be made of a combination of cork, memory foam, and latex. Molded EVA insoles may work for your feet as well. The insole should be removable so that a custom insole or orthotic can be used easily.
Finally, comfortable feet are cool and dry. A good upper will be breathable. Mesh and canvas are both very breathable materials. Leathers can also be breathable and may also wick moisture away from your feet but a heavy waterproofed leather will not be. These rocking shoes will need some other way of letting air in and out, like portholes or cuts that allow for airflow.
Rocker bottom shoes are an investment so you really want to be sure you get a good life span from them.
Many will last for years and there are elements to look for in a shoe that is designed for the shoe’s durability.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and your shoes are only as strong as their closures. Straps and laces can break if they aren’t well made or used in the manner they are meant to be used. If the shoe you are considering has laces, look for thick laces that fit easily through the eyelets.
If the shoe has strap closures look for a thicker strap as opposed to thin, that is well attached to the upper. It should have a buckle closure or velcro that is good quality. Reading reviews is a great place to learn about whether the shoe has faulty straps or laces.
If you are going to be wearing the shoes in damp conditions, they should resist water or be easy to dry out. Good materials for this are mesh, good quality leather, and materials that are treated with water-resistant coatings.
The upper material, whether mesh, leather, canvas or other, should be thick enough and tough enough to resist too much stretch and the elements. Though these areas do not make contact with the ground, they do make contact with the weather.
A good, durable upper will also have a good attachment to the sole of the shoe – stitching or adhesive that does not fall apart readily. This is another area where reading reviews is a great idea!
9 Best Rocker Bottom Shoes Reviews
1. Skechers Shape Ups 2.0
Skechers has made a name for itself making shoes for people who have to take special care of their feet. This shoe is made for those with diabetes, arthritis or plantar fasciitis who need extra stability and a sole that will propel their feet in a natural gait. This shoe also features double velcro straps for ease of use and a snug fit.
These rocker bottom running shoes have great arch support but the orthotic in the shoe is also removable so you can wear a custom insert or orthotic of your own.
The Shape Ups 2.0 features two velcro closing straps with adjustable hook and loop closures to allow to you adjust your fit and take the shoes off and on easily. It also allows you to adjust the fit as your feet swell during the day.
These shoes are at the lower end of the price range for our list, and they are Medicare-approved so that may also reduce your price further. For the reasonable price though, you really can’t beat the engineering that has gone into this shoe. You’ll be comfortable, your feet will be stable and they are easy to get off and on with the dual velcro closures.
2. Hoka One One Bondi 7
The Hoka One One Bondi 7 was designed for running on hard, artificial surfaces but there is enough grip for trail walking or running as well. This is Hoka One One’s most cushioned shoe, even more so than the last model designed for running. It’s breathable, stable, and lightweight. It features an Ortholite, molded insole and a durable, rubber outsole that has been reinforced in the areas where shoes are most likely to wear.
The supportive frame in this shoe is made with 3D puff print technology which makes the shoe very light. This also offers a very precise fit and comfortable, secure wear.
The full EVA midsole in this shoe offer superior cushioning from heel to toe. The EVA is thick and designed to compress well under pressure while being resistant to wear. These rocker running shoes are just inside the upper range of prices for shoes on this list.
You do get a lot of support and comfort technology for that money though, including a molded Ortholite sock liner, breathability, great shock absorption, wear-resistant compression, EVA midsole, heel bevelling, and the ComfortFrame for stability and support.
3. Gravity Defyer
The Gravity Defyer has been brilliantly designed to reduce foot and knee pain. The shoe features a lightweight Omega outsole that has hidden VersoShock Technology that works by absorbing impact and reducing pain in your feet and knees. This technology also works by returning energy to your body. The shoe has removable insoles that provide orthotic support.
It has a breathable mesh upper that not only ensures your feet stay well ventilated but also offers a great level of flexibility when on the move. A roomy toe box improves blood circulation throughout your foot, making the shoe more comfortable to wear. The shoe's soft padded collar and tongue provide additional support and protect the skin from irritation.
The shoe's front rolling forefoot design makes this an iconic design. It also offers a good level of stability and smooth movement. These women’s shoes are ideal for people who suffer from overpronation, plantar fasciitis, flat arches, and general foot pain.
The women’s shoes are available in 6 colors and include wide and X-Wide size options. Sold for a high price, this shoe may exceed quite a few budgets; however, they are guaranteed to reduce the level of pain you are in which is worth every dollar!
4. MBT GTC – 2000
The MBT Women’s GTC – 2000 is an endurance running shoe that will fully support you when out on a run. Built with MBT Sensor Technology in the heel, this feature not only promotes a soft and safe midfoot landing but also complements the midfoot Pivot Strike by absorbing any impact, protecting your feet and knees.
Memory foam in the heel provides a cushioned base to land on comfortably and a rolling sole helps with foot pain.
The shoe's rubber outsole is extremely durable, providing superior strength and reducing the risk of wear. An engineered air mesh upper ensures your foot can breathe easily. A padded collar also provides a good level of support for the heel.
Minimal stitching offers a simplistic but stylish design. Available in 2 colors, this shoe comes in black and white and is also available in half sizes. Sold for a high price, this is one of the pricier shoes in our collection so may exceed some budgets.
5. Exersteps Whirlwind
Exersteps shoes are almost all rocker bottom shoes. The Whirlwind shoes give you their rocker-bottom stability and comfort in a supportive, attractive sneaker! It features a leather upper and interior and is a mini rocker for the stability of a rocker with a little more flexibility. The footbed is made of so many cushioning materials you would think it was a pillow.
This extremely comfortable footbed is made of latex, memory foam, and cork so that it will form naturally to the shape of your foot. If you need a custom insole or orthotic, however, the footbed is removable.
It has a mini rocker bottom which means you get some of the stability and reduced pressure of a rocker but that is balanced with increased flexibility.
These mini rocker bottom shoes are at the lower end of the shoes in our list in terms of price. For a small investment, you get good quality leather uppers and linings, moisture-wicking and a modified rocker design that stabilizes the foot while providing a little extra flexibility compared to a traditional rocker bottom. The footbed provides amazing comfort and is also removable to suit your needs.
6. ASICS GEL-Venture 5
ASICS is known for its full line of performance-driven athletic shoes and sport accessories, with the ASICS GEL-Venture 5, being the latest to join the collection! This everyday running shoe features a trail-specific outsole with multi-surface traction, allowing you to wear them on a multitude of terrains.
Its high abrasion rubber outsole is also extremely durable and is extremely resistant to wear and tear. The women’s running shoe is more suited to a neutral runner. It has a GEL Cushioning System that provides a fantastic level of cushioning and support.
A removable foam sock liner provides additional support and accommodates orthotics. A roomy toe box allows your feet to spread out easily. The shoes are also suitable for people who have high arches. The shoe has a breathable mesh upper that will allow your feet to stay well ventilated. Overlays also help protect your feet and heels.
Available in 10 different designs, you have plenty of color options to choose from. The shoe also comes in a variety of sizes including wide options. Sold for a mid-high price, we think it is worth every dollar.
7. Drew Shoe Force
With over 135 years’ experience in the industry, Drew Shoes has mastered and refined the science of therapeutic comfort footwear. Ensuring your feet stay healthy and look great, the Drew Force are the latest pair of shoes to be added to the collection.
The men’s walking shoes feature a removable double-depth polyurethane footbed that offers therapeutic comfort. Made from 100% leather, the shoes have a foam padded collar and tongue that provide a good level of support and comfort. It also has an extended heel stabilizer for extra support.
The Drew Shoe has a moisture-wicking DRI-LEX lining with AEGIS Microbe Shield that will keep your feet well ventilated and dry. The soft leather walking shoes have a roomy toe box allowing your feet to move with ease. The lace-up closure also allows you to achieve the perfect fit.
These walking shoes come in 3 colors including a black, white, and black calf. They are also available in a range of sizes including wide, x-wide, and 3X-Wide. Even though these shoes are being sold for a high price, you get a lot in return, making them a great buy.
8. Hoka One One Clayton 2
The Clayton 2 is a lightweight runner with a microfibre reinforced support in the midfoot. Ultra-bright and ultra-light these road-ready running shoes also feature early stage Meta-Rocker, a PRO2Lite midsole and forefoot matrix tech that provides both cushioning and flexibility.
The outsole is designed to rebound and hold on to the road, rain or shine. This is a great racing shoe.
The PRO2Lite midsole is a balance of propulsive forward-movement and protective shock absorption for race day and training. The Clayton 2 is a lightweight, well-cushioned runner that features an RMAT outsole for high-rebound cushion along with Forefoot Matrix technology that provides even more cushioning.
This is in the low-range of prices for our list which is practically a steal for a lightweight race runner. You get great stability and rebound in a cushioned shoe with a unique, ultra-bright, show-stopper.
9. Clarks Wave Trek
Clark’s has been making comfortable and specialized shoes for over 100 years. There is a reason they’ve been doing it that long - they are comfort experts. The Wave Trek is a waterproof sneaker with a rocker bottom and a removable insole. Great so far right? Well, let’s add a leather upper and clean, casual style to the mix to make it that much better.
The Ortholite footbed is removable so you can use your own custom insert or orthotic. If you choose to leave it in, you will also benefit from its breathability and ability to wick moisture away from your feet, preventing unpleasant smells from building up.
Yes, it's annoying to have to go run errands or head to work in the rain but adulting means doing what you have to do. At least you get to do it in a waterproof sneaker that also looks good. You’ll be so comfortable you’ll barely notice you forgot your umbrella.
These Clarks rocker sole shoes are right in the mid-range of price on this list. For the price, you get all the quality and comfort of the Clarks name. You also get a removable footbed that will keep your shoes smelling fresher and your feet drier, all in a nice looking waterproof sneaker.