Best Shoes for Foot Pain; Our Top 2021 List!
Most Americans who suffer from foot pain are diagnosed with nail fungus, foot odor, arthritis, and nerve circulation disorders. We should all agree that wearing proper fitting, comforting shoes for foot pain is the essential first step in solving the discomfort problem.
Specific shoes for foot pain designed with arch support and precise fit can help ease and prevent the worsening of your symptoms. So whether you’re battling Plantar Fasciitis, arthritis, or just simply want a shoe that feels comfortable, we’ve got you covered with the 10 best shoes for foot pain, including options for any occasion.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 100 hrs of research
Responsive Re-Zorb cushioning
Breathable mesh upper
5 different colors
Comes in a range of sizes, including wide options
10 Best Shoes for Foot Pain in 2020
1. Ryka Devotion Plus 3
Responsive Re-Zorb cushioning
Breathable mesh upper
5 different colors
Comes in a range of sizes, including wide options
No half sizes available
The Ryka Women’s Devotion Plus 3 Oxford is an updated Devotion Plus 2, that combines comfort and support to make a stylish shoe that you will not want to take off.
The women’s shoe features responsive Re-Zorb cushioning that acts as a fantastic shock absorber, protecting your foot from any impact that it may encounter. The shoe has an anatomical insole that provides extra arch and heel support, particularly good if you suffer from foot pain.
For the ultimate comfort, this women’s shoe has an iridescent flex gear and an upward gradient, leaving your feet feeling well supported and extremely comfy. The shoes have a lace-up front so they can be easily adjusted to the perfect fit. It also has a lightweight mesh upper that will allow your feet to breathe easily.
Designed and created especially for a women’s unique foot shape, build, and muscle movement, this option from Ryka comes in 5 different colors including Quiet Grey, Navy, and Paloma. The shoes are suitable for people who have arthritic feet, high arches, narrow heels, and wide toes.
These are available in a variety of sizes including wide options. Sold for a mid-price, these are a great pair of shoes if you want something stylish and supportive.
2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Implemented crash pad
Plush tongue & collar
Sizes run narrow
The Adrenaline GTS21 is the flagship of the Brooks brand and their stylish, colorful shoes are back and better than ever compared to last year’s GTS20 model. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS21 is the go-to shoe for comfortable, reliable walking or running.
Brooks implemented the Segmented Crash Pad into their GTS21s, which is a pad that softens impactful landings and is emphasized with different hot-spots on the shoe. A returning feature is the high-energizing cushioning that made the GTS16 an iconic runner for those with Plantar Fasciitis. The cushioning is a prominent feature that provides overall foot balance and also enhances comfort.
Those looking for a cheap runner won’t find it with the GTS21. The price isn’t meant to completely wipe you out but these best shoes for sore feet aren’t the cheapest given their lack of significant improvements from the GTS21.
Still, the GTS21s are the new and improved version and the price is justifiable given their reliability and functionality.
3. New Balance 990v5
Leather and mesh upper
Four width options
Made in the USA
The New Balance 990 is a sneaker with a legendary reputation. Made with some of the best materials you’ll find in any sneaker, this shoe has maintained a reputation for years, and the latest version definitely doesn’t disappoint.
Made with stability in mind, this running shoe can easily be used for everyday wear, especially if you decide to go with one of the Made in US colorways which are down to earth and easy to match with most casual outfits.
The upper of the 990v5 is made with pigskin leather, something you won’t find that often in the best sneakers for foot pain. What this natural material does is provide the wearer with a durable pair of footwear that is highly breathable and molds to the foot with wear. Using mesh in key areas such as the toe and tongue, moisture management and temperature control are maximized, leading to an overall comfortable experience.
If you happen to suffer from discomfort in your feet, you’ll be happy to hear that this model comes in four width options ranging from narrow to extra-wide. The support level on the 990v5 is great for anyone with Plantar Fasciitis or flat feet as it supports the arch and contributes to healthy body alignment. The midsole is shock-absorbing but not too soft, making this a great choice for all-day wear, especially at work or while traveling.
The outsole of the 990v5 is made with blown rubber that’s lightweight and grips asphalt well, and you’ll find that it also contributes to comfortable flexibility that allows the foot to move and bend as needed. As for price, you’ll have to pay a hefty sum for these shoes for sore feet, but considering its comfort and the fact that it’s made in the USA, you’ll find it’s an investment worth making.
4. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21
Jacquard mesh upper
Extra-wide width available
These running shoes are ideal for anyone looking for everyday or workout footwear that will protect their feet and joints from aches. With a tradition of over two decades, this model includes some pretty impressive technical features, including one of the most effective shock-absorption systems in the market, as well as a lightweight upper that will work with all foot shapes.
The upper of the Nimbus 21 is made with engineered jacquard mesh that includes stretch fibers in order to adapt to the foot in motion. It now includes a more spacious toe area, ideal for those suffering from pain in the forefoot, and the lacing system allows for adjustment on the instep as well. The inner of the Nimbus is seamless, and the stability overlays are printed on, avoiding bulk or stitching that may rub sensitive feet.
The midsole of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21 uses several pieces of technology that make it truly great. First and foremost, there’s the GEL cushioning in the forefoot and heel areas that absorbs shock with each step or landing. This compound is highly durable and protective, and won’t lose its elasticity with use like EVA foam would. The GEL inserts are housed in a Flytefoam midsole that’s highly energy returning, lightweight, and allows the foot to fully feel the surface underneath it, ensuring that it reacts in the proper way.
The ASICS GEL-Nimbus 21 makes use of a Guidance Trusstic System which helps the foot move in a more natural manner, ensuring efficiency and proper stress distribution. The insoles can be removed and custom orthotics added so users with lower or higher arches can also wear these best men's shoes for foot pain.
As for price, this model costs quite a bit, but that’s to be expected with flagship running footwear such as the Nimbus line. If you want this type of cushioning, but at a more affordable cost, you could check out one of the previous versions of this sneaker.
5. Olukai Nohea Moku
Removable & washable footbed
Razor grip on wet surfaces
May feel loose & floppy
The Olukai Nohea Moku are a great alternative to flip-flops and provide a profound comfort and balance. The shoes offer great breathability for the design and are known to be one of—if not the—most comfortable shoes to be worn casually.
The Mokus provide Everfit, which is a contoured footbed that incorporates Dri-lex to prevent moisture from accumulating. This technology is one of the reasons why the Mokus are renowned for being the most breathable shoe.
An adjustable heel is an interesting feature indeed. The heel on the Moku is slidable, and the panels can be arranged for flexibility, functionality, and a better fit. This design is patented by Olukai and can’t be found on any other shoe.
Multilayer cushioning foam
DryPlex anti-microbial fabric
Wide toe box
Only available in 2 colors
Known for offering arch support, wide toe box, stretchable upper, and plenty of cushioning, these sneakers from Orthofeet are a fantastic option if you require a pair of shoes that will relieve foot pain.
These men’s sneakers are great if you suffer from overpronation because they work by improving foot and leg alignment and help by alleviating foot and heel pain. Plantar Fasciitis sufferers can also benefit from wearing these sneakers because they feature additional padding via a cushioning foam that works by alleviating plantar fasciitis and heel pain. The multilayer cushioning foam also reduces feet and leg fatigue. These sneakers are also suitable for people who suffer from bunions, arthritis, swollen feet, and diabetes.
The shoe features a DryPlex anti-microbial fabric and Poly U foam, that helps by fighting foot odor and wicking away perspiration. These have a stretchable upper and come in a range of widths including medium, wide, and X-wide.
If you have sensitive feet, these sneakers are great because they have a soft upper, smooth interior, and extra foam padding that provides a good level of protection. The sneakers feature removable insoles, allowing you to replace them with premium custom-made orthotic insoles. Available to purchase in two colors, these shoes are being sold for a high price that may exceed some people’s budgets.
7. Dansko Paisley
Vibram® rubber outsoles
DuPont™ Sorona® moisture absorbing fibers
Large heel cup
These Dansko sneakers accommodate most standard and custom orthotics and are designed with a waterproof leather upper and Vibram® rubber outsoles.
A removable triple-density footbed offers superior arch support and shock absorption, while Cleansport NXT™ technologies provide natural built-in odor control.
The Paisley’s built-in shank gives added stability and support, while their DuPont™ Sorona® fibers manage moisture to keep feet cool and dry.
Vibram® rubber outsole is slip-resistant and has anti-skid properties, making them the perfect shoe for outdoor activities like hiking and paddling.
Cleansport NXT™ technologies use natural and beneficial microbes that are bonded to the surface of the shoes' fabric This process of applying the live microorganisms to fibers, results in natural health benefits and odor control.
8. Dr. Scholl’s Madison
Relaxed, sporty style
Features Insole Technology with anatomical cushioning
19 different color shades
Some reviewers found that the sizing was not accurate
Dr. Scholl’s women’s shoes are one of the bestselling sneakers that you will want to wear all day, every day. Versatile and extremely comfortable, these sneakers are great for providing pain relief for some foot conditions including Plantar Fasciitis.
This relaxed and sporty style slip-on shoe is sustainably crafted, having been made from recycled bottles. The shoes feature a super soft lining, making them ideal for people with sensitive feet. The slip-on fit and twin gore panels make these extremely flexible and easy to slip-on. The padded collar also provides much-needed support around the back of the ankle and helps keep your heel in place.
Lightweight and flexible, these shoes are great because they do not restrict the foot or apply any pressure to the foot or toes. The women’s shoe has also been constructed using Insole Technology, with anatomical cushioning that works by providing a good level of support and is extremely comfy.
The women’s shoes come in 19 different color shades, so you are guaranteed to find a pair you like. The shoes come in a range of sizes including wide options. If you are on a budget, this option from Dr. Scholl’s are a great buy because they are being sold for an affordable price.
9. New Balance 877 V1
Walking strike path technology
Strong rubber outsole
Breathable suede/mesh upper
ABZORB midsole technology
4 different color options
Providing the perfect balance of support, comfort, durability, and style, the New Balance women’s 877 V1 is one of the latest shoes to join their collection. The shoe’s outsole features Walking Strike Path Technology that helps stabilize and guide the foot through the walking gait cycle.
The outsole has also been made using strong rubber material, making it extremely durable. The women’s walking shoe features a suede/mesh upper that offers flexibility when walking and provides breathability when you are on the move. It features ABZORB midsole technology that works by absorbing impact through a mixture of cushioning and compression resistance, preventing the foot from taking the pressure.
This stylish women’s walking shoe comes in 4 different colors including Silver, Black/Pink, Blue/Grey, and Purple/Lime. It also comes in a variety of sizes including narrow, wide, and x-wide.
If you suffer from Morton’s Neuroma condition, these shoes are great because they offer a wider toe box. The shoe is also great for people who suffer from plantar fasciitis, orthotics, arthritis, and people who have a narrow heel.
Sold for a mid-high price, if you have a higher budget and want something extremely stylish but also offers you a good level of support, these walking shoes from New Balance are a great pick.
10. Sketchers Equalizer
Engineered mesh upper
Infused memory foam
Soft fabric shoe lining
Range of sizes including wide options
Some reviewers found that the shoes were of poor quality
Since 1992, Sketchers have been producing, stylish, comfortable, and quality footwear, and the Sketchers men’s Equalizer slip-on loafer is one of the latest designs to join their collection.
These feature a lightweight engineered mesh upper, that allows your feet to move freely and breathe. The loafer has a gel-infused memory foam that provides a good level of cushioning and support for the base of your foot. The shoe also has a soft fabric shoe lining that is great if you have sensitive feet.
The men’s loafers have a wide and stretchy, slip-on opening that is extremely easy to pull on and take off. The shoe also has a padded collar that supports the heel and keeps it firmly in place. The outsole offers a good level of grip so you can avoid any trips when on the move.
These are available in 9 different color shades including Charcoal/Orange, Grey, and Taupe. The shoe also comes in a range of sizes including wide options. Suitable for people who suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, these shoes are being sold for mid-high price so they are a great buy for people with a larger budget.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ball Of The Foot
The ball of the foot is the padded area on the sole in between the arch and the toes and it is a common source of pain for many individuals. A few reasons for pain in the ball of the foot and the best types of shoe for each are listed below:
Involves pain and inflammation around the ball of the foot and can be caused by poorly fitted shoes or strenuous activity. The best type of footwear to treat this condition is comfortable and cushioned shoes, while there are also many shoes that are designed with an insole that specifically relieves pressure from the ball of the foot.
Your sesamoids are two bones near the big toe which are only connected by tendons. Sesamoiditis is an inflammation of the supporting tendons and is a form of tendonitis which commonly affects dancers and runners. The best type of shoe to treat this condition is one with a low heel and a padded footbed, particularly under the toe area.
Pain in the heel of the foot can have different causes, depending on the reason for your heel pain there will be different types of footwear that can help alleviate your discomfort. Let’s take a look at the conditions which can give you foot pain:
A painful condition caused by irritation or inflammation of the band of tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes. Sufferers often complain of worsening pain in the mornings, especially when they are just waking up. The best shoes to wear if you are suffering from Plantar Fasciitis are ones with good arch support to take the pressure off of your connective tissue. A cushioned sole is also recommended to absorb shock and protect your foot.
Spurs are abnormal bone growths that protrude out from the bottom of the heel. They can be caused by wearing the wrong shoes, poor posture, or from physical activities like running and cause pain when you’re walking or standing. Both flat and high arches are prone to this condition. Treatment often requires the use of a custom-made orthotic insert, as well as, wearing shoes with excellent shock-absorption. Orthotics are custom foot supports that are made to fit your foot and are crafted from the measurements of your feet, legs, and limb length. They are then further adjusted for your specific cause of discomfort.
A metatomical footbed is designed so that the insole and last are anatomically engineered to provide better support. They are designed to mimic the shape of the foot with special attention on the first metatarsal joint (big toe).
Compression Molded EVA Midsole/Injection Molded EVA Midsole
Compression and injected EVA midsoles are similar, the only real difference is in the way in which they are produced, and between the two, they account for 95% of manufactured shoe midsoles. Injection Molded EVA Midsoles are, however, said to give more bounce than compression midsoles and are more lightweight.
The benefits of having a quality midsole and footbed are many, some of which are to:
- Stabilize the foot and act as a shock absorber;
- Improve alignment by guiding the foot into a neutral position which reduces the level of strain on the foot;
- Improve pressure distribution, resulting in improved comfort, less fatigue, and decreased foot pain;
Pain in the toes is a common complaint and can be disabling if it becomes severe enough. There are a few reasons why you might be experiencing toe pain, and there are different types of shoes that can help stop it in its tracks.
A painful form of arthritis involves crystals collecting in the toe joints that eventually start to cause severe pain and swelling. The big toe is the toe most commonly affected by gout. The best type of shoes to wear when you have gout are shoes with a wide and deep toe box so they do not cramp and constrict your toes which will only cause more pain. Hook and loop closures are also a good idea because you can easily adjust the level of pressure which the closure puts on your foot.
Bunions are bony protrusions that sit beside the base of the big toe and are said to come from a misaligned first toe joint and can also be caused by wearing poorly fitted shoes. The best type of shoe to wear if you are suffering from a bunion is one with a deep, wide toe box and a little padding at the toes as possible.
Ingrown toenails occur when the sides of the toenail form over the top of the nail which can be extremely painful and may cause infections. The best type of shoes to wear while your suffering from an ingrown nail, or if you are prone to getting them, is one that does not put any pressure on the toes. A wide, deep toe box will allow enough room for your toes to move freely without any pressure.
When you are suffering from a condition causing you to experience painful feet, it is essential that you properly cushion and support them to allow their condition to heal. A shoe that offers a cradling footbed or heel support will enable the foot to rest in a natural cradled position which will reduce the amount of shock absorbed and minimize the level of strain your feet endure when walking or running.
It’s important to remember a cushioned footbed or added heel support will also add extra weight to the shoe which is something that you should try to avoid. Heavy shoes cause more strain and take more effort to walk and run in making it important that the added cushion and support a shoe has does not weigh it down.
There are excellent materials that add comfort, cushion, and support while remaining super lightweight and breathable. One of the best materials is EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate), a light and flexible man-made material often used in the midsole for additional comfort.
Shoes with a specially made heel cup are designed to absorb shock and reduce foot pain associated with the heel. Heel pain is worsened when your foot strikes the ground and wearing a shoe with a built-in heel cup will reduce the pressure on the heel when you step down.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While your footwear can help ease the burden of foot pain, sometimes cushioned insoles can be a quick fix. If your shoes lack cushion or perhaps have worn down the cushioning over the years, try investing in a pair of cushioned insoles to help add that extra padding to make your feet feel great!
While there are a number of causes of foot pain of all sorts, it's always best to get your doctor's opinion to help diagnose any sort of pain you have. Anti-inflammatories can help reduce swelling, as well as making sure that your footwear is as cushioned and supportive as it can be. Avoid wearing restrictive or higher heeled shoes until you can see a doctor.
Other Factors to Consider
The outsole of your footwear will determine the traction you will receive from it. This is why it is crucial that you make the right choice when shopping. You will want footwear that won't let you slip around on indoor or outdoor surfaces, as well as that made with non-marking rubber.
The athletic models listed above tend to have rubber outsoles made either out of blown or carbon rubber, with effective traction patterns that will grip the surface underfoot. Styles more oriented towards a fashionable look won't offer as much in terms of ground grip, so it's highly advised that you wear them as recommended by the manufacturer. This means that your EVA foam soled sneakers probably shouldn't be worn at the pool unless you want to hurt yourself.
While you may be tempted to go with looks when choosing shoes for foot pain, it is highly recommended that you go for comfort first. There's a huge variety of options when it comes to footwear made to battle discomfort, and you'll easily find both casual and formal footwear that won't hurt.
Always make sure you're purchasing the correct size of the footwear, as well as that you're leaving plenty of space for custom orthotics or any swelling that may happen during the day.
In conclusion, there are many things to think about when choosing shoes for foot pain. As this is a major concerning issue in America right now, it is essential that we all do our best to take care of our feet. We can start doing this by picking out proper shoes that provide the proper, balanced support that our feet deserve.
Those with issues such as Plantar Fasciitis, and even those without, should all prioritize the type of shoe they choose to be comfortable first, and stylish second. Thankfully, the best shoes for foot problems on our list cover both these categories so you can live comfortably and in style.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: If my toes are touching the top of my shoes but my feet still feel comfortable, is it okay to wear them?
No. There should always be about half an inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the top of your shoe. If your toes are touching the tip of a shoe that means that over time there will be added pressure pushing on the point of contact, which can lead to all sorts of painful conditions of the foot.
You should have enough room to wiggle your toes without connecting with your shoe so that your feet are not constricted and exposed to points of added pressure.
q: Can shoes cause foot pain?
Yes, wearing the wrong pair of shoes can cause all sorts of painful conditions of the foot. For example, shoes that are too tight can squish your toes eventually causing bunions, hammertoes, and possibly even nerve damage. Whereas, the shoes you’ve worn for ages can all-of-a-sudden start to hurt your feet because over time their cushion and support have worn down leaving your feet vulnerable.
It is best to buy new shoes as soon as you start to notice any unevenness of the sole, or if the shoes you own are either too tight or too loose.
q: How to tie your shoes for foot pain?
There are different ways to lace your shoes which can alleviate a series of different forms of foot pain. These lacing techniques can be seen here; Ways To Tie Shoes To Relieve Foot Pain.
q: Can flat shoes cause foot pain?
Flat shoes do not provide adequate support, especially for individuals with flat or low arches. Flat arches can lead to conditions like, plantar fasciitis, an inflammatory condition affecting the band of tissue that runs from the heel through the arch of the foot.
q: Why do new shoes cause foot pain?
New shoes are notorious for causing foot pain. Often this is because a person has tried on the shoes in a hurry and ended up purchasing shoes that fit poorly. Shoes that are too tight, too narrow, or too wide can all cause varying levels of foot pain, which is why it is important to take extra time when trying on shoes before purchasing them.
q: Best shoes for diabetic foot pain?
Diabetics are at an increased risk for developing a complication of the foot and require a special type of shoe to prevent pain and injury from occurring. Orthotics are the best option for someone with Diabetes because orthotics provide better shock-absorption and pressure relief. Both custom-made and pre-made orthotics can be recommended to assist diabetics with foot pain.
We also covered the best shoes for diabetics in our other review so you can have a look.
q: Who do I go to see for foot pain?
There are several types of medical practitioners you could see regarding your foot pain, General Practitioners, Podiatric Specialists (Foot Doctors), or an Orthopedic Specialist, will help you find the cause of the pain you’re experiencing and start you on the road to recovery.
q: Will shoes stop rubbing?
Generally, shoes that rub will not stop on their own, there are, however, steps you can take to help prevent your shoes from continuing to rub against your skin. For example, using deodorizing foot products will reduce the amount of moisture and moisture is one of the reasons for feet sliding around in shoes which causes friction, thus leading to blisters.
Wearing blister pads can also reduce the amount of friction and rubbing because you can protect the area of your foot which comes into contact with the shoe.
q: Why do shoes cause blisters?
If the shoes you are wearing do not fit securely your feet will slide and move up and down inside of the shoe. Any type of movement may cause rubbing and friction, which in turn causes blisters to form from the friction of your skin connecting with the material of the shoes.
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