Best Shoes for the Elderly Reviewed & Rated
There are a number of things to consider when you are shopping for a pair of good shoes for the elderly. You must take into account their illnesses, such as diabetes or chronic back pain, their foot support needs, and what kind of activity they will be participating in while wearing the shoes. To make this endeavor easier for you and to promote the foot health and overall well-being of the elderly, we have curated a list of the ten best shoes for the elderly.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Plush Tongue & Collar
Good for Underpronation
- Saucony Echelon 7
- Orthofeet Avery
- Skechers Go Walk 4 Kindle
- Aravon Clarissa
- Hush Puppies Gil
- Propet Wash & Wear
- Propet TravelActiv Mary Jane
- Hush Puppies Power Walker
- Propet Tour Walker
- Propet Breeze Walker
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Shoes for the Elderly
1. Saucony Echelon 7
Plush Tongue & Collar
Good for Underpronation
The Saucony Echelon 7 is a great road running shoe built with mesh uppers and an external heel counter to help keep your foot locked down. The plush tongue and collar help to secure and cushion your foot while the Tri-Flex Outsole promotes flexibility on ground contact from heel strike through to toe-off.Read more
The synthetic mesh upper of this shoe is designed to promote airflow to cool your feet. The mesh upper also helps with allowing water to drain out of the shoe.
The built-in sockliner offers a durable underfoot comfort while the FORMFIT contoured footbed adds even more cushioning and comfort to each step. With support for netural to underpronated strides, you know you're getting the best comfort possible.
2. Orthofeet Avery
Extended Widths Available
Wide Toe Box
Good Arch Support
Not Very Fashionable
This leather shoe is firm and supportive from forefoot to heel counter. The sole’s rocker profile promotes natural foot motion and reduces shock from each footstrike. The Ortho-Cushion System with lightweight sole and air cushioning helps to soften each step.Read more
The Avery is great for those with sensitive feet and those who suffer from diabetes, neuropathy, and rheumatoid arthritis. They're great for foot, heel, metatarsal, knee, arch, and back pain. With added comfort features they are sure to be a favorite of those with injuries or pain points.
The Ortho-Cushion Systehin with lightweight sole and air cushioning softens each step and even adds a spring to them. It is biomechanically engineered to help alleviate the stress on joints and help enhance stability. When wearing the Avery shoes you will feel like a brand-new person.
3. Skechers Go Walk 4 Kindle
Goga Max Footbed
Padded Mesh Upper
Wide Sizes Available
Poor Arch Support
The Go Walk 4 Kindle is built with as few seams as possible, making it almost seamless. The mesh upper is breathable, which helps keep your feet cool and dry so you don’t have to worry as much about the development of blisters. The upper is also lightly padded throughout, which promises to cushion your upper foot from light bumps.Read more
Skechers uses its 5GEN midsole unit in this installment of their Go Walk series. It is a full-length foam unit wedged between the insole and outsole that provides responsive cushioning.
To add even more comfort in their Go Walk 4 Kindle, Skechers uses their Goga Max footbed as the insole for it. It is made of a responsive foam material.
4. Aravon Clarissa
Genuine Leather Upper
Cork & EVA Footbed
Hook & Loop Strap
Unsuitable for Wide Feet
Anyone saying that aging comes with bulky and ugly shoes is completely wrong. While most style-oriented manufacturers often disregard features such as shock absorption and support, there are also those who cater to people of all ages seeking beautiful dressy footwear that feels good on the feet. The Clarissa by Aravon is a fisherman sandal with a partially closed toe section, open midfoot, and a secure strap that encases the heel and ankle, ensuring a proper fit. It’s made in black brown and red leather, and can be paired with a wide variety of outfits for almost any occasion.Read more
One of the best things about genuine leather is its ability to completely adapt to the wearer’s foot. The Clarissa is made with several thin straps, so even those with bunions will find it non-constricting and comfortable, and the more it’s worn, the better it will feel. Another advantage of leather over synthetic materials is that it’s easy to care for, and can last for years.
With a footbed that’s similar to what you’d find in a pair of Birkenstock sandals, the Clarissa features an insole that’s made by combining EVA foam and cork, providing a great mixture of support, shock absorption, and breathability. Thanks to being removable, it can easily be replaced with custom orthotics or taken out to clean every few months to ensure the best possible foot health.
5. Hush Puppies Gil
ZeroG Elon Midsole
Removable EVA Footbed
Velcro Strap Closure
The Hush Puppies Gil isn’t an eye-catching shoe, but it provides a number of essential safety and comfort features that can greatly improve your quality of life. The leather upper is firm so it can provide your foot and lower ankle with enough support to prevent ankle or foot rolling. The outsole is a slip-resistant material complete with slip-resistant grooves.Read more
In the Gil, Hush Puppies combines ZeroG Technology with Elon foam technology to create an ultra-lightweight, responsive, and durable midsole cushioning system. This new midsole reduces foot and leg fatigue.
The Rubberlon outsole is made with a special rubber compound designed to provide support and shock-absorption. The Rubberlon outsole is also designed with a long groove pattern that improves traction.
6. Propet Wash & Wear
Internal Heel Counter
Padded Neoprene Collar
Narrow Toe Box
The Wash & Wear walking shoe is a great support shoe which is also easy to maintain. Its firm leather upper is both durable and supportive, which increases its lifespan and protects your feet at the same time. The EVA midsole unit is lightweight, which reduces foot and leg fatigue. The washable quilted upper won’t ruin if exposed to water.Read more
The firm internal heel counter used in this shoe is designed to provide support to help stabilize your step. It’s a firm insert built into the back of the shoe.
The padding helps reduce painful rubbing and pressure on your upper foot and the neoprene collar stretches and flexes to make it easier to put on and to keep on.
7. Propet TravelActiv Mary Jane
Stretchy Asymmetrical Strap
The TravelActiv Mary Jane shoe by Propet is a stylish walking shoe which is available in many beautiful colors. It’s not just a pretty shoe, though. The Propet TravelActiv Mary Jane is built to be lightweight and flexible which reduces strain and absorbs more shock. The simple hook-and-loop closure and velcro strap make this shoe convenient and easy to use.Read more
The breathable mesh upper on this shoe serves three purposes. It cools your feet, helps dry your feet and reduce the development of odors, and flexes with your foot freely.
Sometimes when we get older, we have to use special orthotic insoles or inserts. The removable insole in this shoe means you can customize it to suit your health needs.
8. Hush Puppies Power Walker
Padded Tongue and Collar
Poor Sole Attachment
Lacks Arch Support
This shoe comes in a variety of neutral colors so it is easy to find one that will go with your favorite outfit. The leather upper provides firm support and is more durable than mesh uppers. The Drilex moisture wicking lining is used in the removable insole of this shoe, as well. The contoured sole improves shock-absorption in high-impact areas.Read more
This lace-up shoe utilizes Hush Puppies Bounce Technology in the sole to promote more bounceback and better shock-absorption. This cushioning technology can help reduce foot and leg fatigue and discomfort.
This shoe comes with perforations in the upper which are strategically placed to promote airflow. The improved airflow keeps your feet dry, which in turn reduces foul odors and blisters.
9. Propet Tour Walker
75Herringbone Tread Pattern
The Tour Walker is a firm, supportive shoe from the leather upper to the rubber outsole. It is perfect for anyone who needs a lot of foot support. It also comes with refreshing ventilating perforations to help with airflow and soft padding throughout the upper to reduce discomfort from rubbing. This shoe is also Medicaid approved for people with diabetes.Read more
The tread pattern on the outsole of this shoe mimics the skeletal structure of a herring. This serves two purposes: to add flexibility and to provide extra grip and traction.
Sometimes the insole that comes in a shoe just doesn’t meet all of your needs or you require specialized orthotic inserts. This insole can be removed and replaced as necessary.
10. Propet Breeze Walker
Air Cell Polyurethane Outsole
This sandal has three adjustable straps, including one with a buckle hook-and-loop closure. The straps and upper of the shoe are made of durable, supportive leather. The synthetic sole of this sandal includes a polyurethane outsole which promises responsive cushioning and comfort. It also comes with a low heel, which helps reduce strain and pressure on your feet and legs.Read more
Polyurethane is commonly used in the soles of shoes, but this shoe’s outsole is unique. The durable polyurethane is designed with air pockets filled with air to provide better cushioning.
The contoured footbed in this shoe is designed to conform to the shape of your foot. The footbed is thin, but it’s wrapped in suede leather, which makes it softer.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are four primary safety feature categories: cushioning, support, traction, and flexibility. Shoe manufacturers have been able to create a plethora of different technologies to provide these essential safety features, so everyone can find a shoe that suits their personal needs. Cushioning and flexibility primarily provide shock-absorption and shock-dispersion while support and traction primarily focus on keeping the wearer steady on their feet to reduce the likelihood of falls. It is of the utmost importance to find a shoe that provides enough of each of these safety features to suit your needs or the needs of your elderly friend or relative without these features negating one another, as support features can sometimes negate cushioning and flexibility in shoes.
Ultimately, the amount of cushioning, support, traction, and flexibility that you need is something you must figure out for yourself. This guide will provide you with examples of safety features that provide each of the above categories. To ascertain if the shoe you are considering purchasing contains the safety features you want, you will need to do some research online or in the store. As always, trying the shoe on is the best way to confirm that the shoe will meet your needs, but sometimes that simply isn’t an option. Either the shoe isn’t available at local shoe retailers or you or your elderly relative cannot get to the store to try on each of the candidates. There are many people who have already tried the shoes on this list and they have given it their stamp of approval which means you don’t have to take as high of a risk when you are buying the shoe online.
Another thing you may want to consider in terms of safety and protection is the type of climate a certain model was made for. Summer and winter footwear vary greatly and require completely different aspects. We tried to include both footwear that would be appropriate in mildly cold temperatures, rain, and snow, as well as sandals more suited for summer wear, or that around the house. Do keep in mind that going outside in insufficiently insulated footwear in the cold can cause a number of health issues, not only related to the foot, but to the entire body. The same goes for hot shoes in summer, when we need breathable materials that'll allow proper air circulation and temperature management.
Shock-absorption is the first quality on this list because shock can result in pain and serious injury from your toes to your lower back. Let’s take a moment to talk about shock. When you are driving a car, you are buckled in, the seats are relatively soft, and there are airbags that deploy in the event of an accident. If you are in an accident, you are jostled and shaken even though those safety features are in place to reduce the shock generated by wrecking your vehicle. If there were no cushioning features- i.e., the airbags and cushioned seats- any injury resulting from the accident would be much more severe.
Now think of your feet when you walk or run. Unlike with a car, which rolls smoothly until the driver stops the car or it is in an accident, your feet are constantly crashing against the ground. Some people have lighter footstrikes than others, but even they are affected by shock.
Biologically, feet were designed to absorb shock - that’s why we have arches and why our feet look exactly the way they do. Unfortunately, when you are running at higher speeds or have heavier footstrikes, sometimes the shock-absorbing capabilities of your feet are insufficient and the shock travels up to your ankles, legs, hips, and lower back. Just like in the car accident scenario, your body is jolted and jarred with the force of impact, which results in fatigue, discomfort, and strain on your feet, legs, hips, and lower back.
This is where cushioning in shoes comes into play. Shoes are designed to protect your feet; that’s why we wear them. Cushioning absorbs and disperses shock through the cushioning materials of the shoe, which reduces how much shock affects your feet and travels up your ankles and legs to your hips and back. Cushioning can be found throughout the entire shoe, but some shoes have less than others. Similarly, some people need less cushioning than others, so it’s important to know what feels good on your feet and what doesn’t.
So, how do shoe manufacturers build cushioning into their shoes? There are four locations in the shoe that can have cushioning features built into it: the upper, the insole, the midsole, and the outsole. Each one of these serves its own purpose and are strategically used in different shoes in different ways.
Support is just important of a factor to consider as cushioning is. Unfortunately, as we age, we sometimes find ourselves a little unsteady on our feet. Hence, support is extremely important in a shoe for the elderly.
As we walk or run, our feet naturally rotate slightly around the ankle. This natural movement is broken into two categories: pronation and supination. Pronation is the natural inward rolling of your foot as you roll your foot from heel to toe. As you push off the ground with your forefoot, your foot rolls outward while you bring your heel around for the footstrike. This outward rolling of your foot is called supination.
People who have normal pronation and supination- a fifteen-degree roll inward and outward- usually don’t have as many problems with shock-absorption and stability, because their feet are more efficient at absorbing shock and maintaining balance. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have normal pronation and supination.
Overpronation occurs when your foot naturally rolls inward too much and usually comes with hyposupination when your foot does not roll outward enough to compensate for the overpronation. Underpronation occurs when your foot doesn’t roll inward enough and usually comes with hypersupination, which is when your foot rolls outward too much.
People who have pronation and supination problems generally have arch and heel pain and can develop serious medical conditions, such as plantar fasciitis. As the ability of the foot to absorb shock and to maintain balance is also reduced by pronation and supination problems, these problems can also result in additional strain and shock affecting the foot, ankle, leg, hips, and lower back. The foot’s weakened ability to maintain balance can also result in rolling a foot or an ankle, which can result in a serious fall and injury.
Fortunately, shoe manufacturers have invested time and money into researching and creating new shoe technologies that help promote your stability by supporting your feet in the areas that need it most. Support features can be built into the upper, midsole, and outsole of the shoe and it is important to consider each of these regions when making a selection.
Another important detail to consider is the shoe’s ability to grip the ground. You need traction both to propel yourself forward and to stabilize your step and help you travel safely. The primary way that manufacturers provide traction is by using effective groove patterns that help the shoe grip the ground.
The most effective groove patterns are deeper than others and extend to the very edges of the outsole. This second part is extra important. The grooves in your sole that help your shoes grip the ground are utterly useless in wet conditions if they do not extend all the way to the edges of the shoe. To illustrate why this is important, consider the car analogy we used earlier about shock. Now, picture yourself driving a car across half an inch or more of water. Odds are, you’re going to hydroplane, which happens when the car floats a bit on the water and the water separates tires from the road, which makes their treads useless for maintaining balance. The same thing is true for your shoes. If you walk in water and the treads on the bottom of your shoes don’t allow water to escape, it will fill the grooves and then you slip.
The specific outsole pattern will vary by manufacturer and shoe model, but by and large, the pattern doesn’t explicitly matter, as long as the grooves are neither too deep nor too shallow, neither too wide nor too thin, and at least some of the grooves extend to the very edge of the outsole.
Flexibility, as mentioned above, deals mainly with absorbing and dispersing shock. This prevents your risk of running-related injuries. The best shoes come with flexible uppers and flexible soles. There are a number of ways that manufacturers promote flexibility, but it is important to make sure that the shoe isn’t so flexible that it has no support.
To further help the shoe absorb and disperse shock, manufacturers have developed special flex grooves to help the shoe bend naturally with your foot. However, too many flex grooves can reduce the support that the shoe offers and flex grooves that are too deep can, as well. So, look for a balance of firmness and flexibility, because this can really impact your comfort as well as your health.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
As we age, our feet are just like any other part of us, and age with us. Tendons and ligaments in the foot start to loose strength, causing our arches to flatten. It's important to find supportive footwear that can help support aging feet to keep mobility possible. When selecting your next pair, choose something with proper supportive features for the arch, but also something comfortable with room to accomodate your feet.
Other Factors to Consider
Comfort features, for the purposes of this guide, are defined as features that aren’t absolutely essential in shoes for the elderly but can increase the overall comfort of the wearer. The two major comfort feature categories we are going to discuss here are temperature management and odor control. These comfort features are also closely linked. For example, most temperature management features on shoes can help reduce or prevent odor development. However, not all odor control features will help manage the temperature inside the shoe, so bear that in mind.
Temperature management is an important comfort feature because no one wants to walk or run in hot, stinky, wet socks and shoes. Also, people who live in colder climates need shoes that insulate their feet from the cold. Shoes that keep your feet cool and dry are not only more comfortable to wear, but they also reduce the occurrence of blisters and sores resulting from painful rubbing.
Stinky shoes are no fun. They can stink up your house and your socks and your feet. However, shoes with good temperature management and odor control can help prevent and reduce odor development. Both breathability and moisture-wicking materials can help with this, but there are also pre-treated insoles that are designed to freshen and reduce the development of odors. These insoles are commonly made with the usual cushioning materials but are coated with an antimicrobial or antibacterial compound. The antimicrobial properties combat the development of fungi while the antibacterial compound reduces the growth of bacteria in the shoe. Fungi and bacteria are generally the sources of foul odors in shoes.
Ultimately, the best shoes are cost-effective and give you great value for your money. Most of us cannot afford to go buy a new pair of shoes every couple of months, so it’s important to consider the cost-effectiveness of the shoes you are considering investing in. There are three qualities in a shoe that determine its cost-effectiveness: durability, customizability, and price. Of course, all the categories discussed thus far also impact the overall cost-effectiveness of shoes, so keep those in mind, as well.
The one thing you probably noticed when it comes to this particular market is that most models are made with various comfort features, but often disregard style and versatility. And although the elderly may spend more time at home, they should be able to dress up and enjoy themselves just as much as anyone else. Whether it’s an outing to a formal restaurant, a night at the theatre or a three-week long tour of Europe, there’s a different type of shoe for all of these occasions.
When making our choices of the best possible options, we paid more attention to support, cushioning, flexibility and traction - the aspects needed to provide a comfortable, pain-free experience that won’t result in unwanted injuries. But we also tried to include styles which would be appropriate for more dressed up environments. There are even those models which were made with foot health in mind, but don’t show it at all, making them a popular choice among young people and athletes who want to get the best of both worlds.
If you’re after something that will be worn at home, in the garden, or for very casual outings, then you may even decide to go with a softer, textile or synthetic upper that’s going to be more lightweight (causing much less fatigue) and will provide better breathability. But, if you need something that can be worn in a variety of situations, or that’ll be appropriate in colder climates, definitely try to go with a leather style. It’ll not only look polished, but is also easy to keep clean, and can provide much-needed insulation or even water protection.
Shopping for shoes for yourself or an elderly relative or friend doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many great shoes out there that utilize innovative new technologies to make shoes more comfortable and supportive. It’s not as daunting of a search as it used to be!
Some major details to consider when you are shopping for a shoe for an elderly friend or relative are the type of upper, the amount of cushioning, how much support it has, and how flexible it is. As a rule of thumb, leather uppers or mesh uppers with supportive leather overlays are best, because they provide more support than mesh or fabric alone. Shoes with a low heel or a tapered effect from heel to toe are also best because they reduce strain on the foot, ankle, and legs, which in turn reduces strain on the lower back.
Be sure to take the time to try on the shoes before you buy them if it is at all possible. If it isn’t possible to try them on, check the reviews on different sites that sell the shoes you are considering to confirm that they have the support, cushioning, and grip that you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Are the brands listed in this guide the only shoes that are good for the elderly?
No. The shoes that made it onto this list are the very best shoes based on our criteria for evaluation. There are many other shoe brands and styles that are also good for the elderly. Orthofeet and Vionic are two other popular brands that develop good shoes for the elderly.
q: What are the primary characteristics that make a shoe good for an elderly person?
The primary characteristics that make a shoe good for an elderly person would be cushioning, support, traction or grip, and flexibility. These four characteristics are the most essential for finding a good shoe for an elderly person, as these are safety features that greatly impact your health.
q: Are all shoes for the elderly ugly?
No! There are plenty of nice looking shoes that fit the criteria listed above that would suit the needs of an elderly person. There are lovely dress shoes, work shoes, and bedroom shoes that are all great for the elderly. The shoes on this list are simply the very best shoes available.
- The Zero G Layer Foundation, ,
- The Heel Counter, ,
- What is pronation and why does it matter?, ,
- Plantar Fasciitis, ,
- When the Elderly Fall, Shoes May Be to Blame, ,
- The Importance of Foot Care for Senior Citizens, ,
- The Aging Foot, ,
- How To Find Comfortable Shoes That Don't Compromise Style, ,
- When Comfort Counts: Choosing a Walking Shoe, ,