Best Rocker Bottom Shoes – 2021 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!