Best Shoes for Foot Pain Reviewed & Rated
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
Padded Leather Upper
Hook and Loop Closure
10 Best Shoes for Foot Pain in 2020
1. Orthofeet Lincoln Center
Padded Leather Upper
Hook and Loop Closure
Slightly Tight Fit
While most footwear aimed at providing a comfortable wearing experience focuses on cushioning and upper materials, there are individuals who also need a certain type of style. The Orthofeet Lincoln Center is the perfect choice for any professional in need of a stylish pair of slip-on shoes, or for special occasions where you need to look your absolute best. This pair will look great both with a suit or jeans and can be purchased in two classic color choices - black and brown.
The upper of the Lincoln center is made with leather for a polished look but has some hidden features that are sure to make it your next favorite shoe. On the inside, this loafer is fully padded with soft foam, making it the perfect choice for those with bunions or sensitivity issues. The collar has generous padding, while the hook and loop closure allows for easy adjustments on the go. The seamless fabric lining is soft and breathable enough for all-day wear.
The sole of the Lincoln Center was developed to provide the best possible cushioning. Directly in touch with the foot are an Orthofeet insert with heel cushioning and arch support. Lined with antimicrobial fabric, it won’t develop odors and is removable for easy cleaning or replacement. The midsole further provides shock-absorption, as do the specifically developed air pockets in the heel which prevents pressure from building in this area. You’ll also find removable spacers inside this model, allowing you to customize the fit.
The outsole is made with rubber, is quite lightweight, and should work well on most indoor and outdoor surfaces. As for cost association, this is an option that ranks considerably above average but is still a great choice for anyone who suffers from pain caused by plantar fasciitis, bunions, heel spurs, hammertoes, and any other ailment.
2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
Implemented Crash Pad
Plush Tongue & Collar
Sizes Run Narrow
The Adrenaline GTS19 is the flagship of the Brooks brand and their stylish, colorful shoes are back and better than ever compared to last year’s GTS18 model. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS19 is the go-to shoe for comfortable, reliable running.
Brooks implemented the Segmented Crash Pad into their GTS19s, 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 GTS19. 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 GTS16. Still, the GTS19s are the new and improved version and the price is justifiable given their reliability and functionality.
3. New Balance 990v5
Leather and Mesh Upper
Made in the USA
Four Width Options
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 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. This allows you to choose the size that will allow natural, pressure-free toe splay, as well as to insert any custom orthotics. Otherwise, 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 Nimbus comes in a number of color options, and can even be purchased in several widths for an improved fit.
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 collar is low with a good amount of padding, and overall, this is one of the most breathable pairs of shoes for bad feet on our list.
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. The outsole is extremely efficient on all road surfaces and is both durable and grippy, so you won’t have to worry about slips or falls. 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 renown 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.
6. Birkenstock Boston
Roomy Toe Area
Raised Toe Bar
Deep Heel Cup Cradle
Are Known to Slip
Very Pricey Compared to Other Clogs
The classy Birkenstock is an iconic clog for anyone who has foot pain. The Birkenstock Boston offers a custom footbed and synthetic sole that optimizes the arch for pain-free walking and hiking. Not only is the fashionable leather an attractive design, the adjustable interior strap promises a snug fit for any shape and size.
The deep heel allows the wearer’s foot to naturally be cradled by the footbed. Whether you plan to walk, hike, or stroll, the Birkenstock Boston’s will ease the pressure on your heels and keep your feet pain free.
The Birkenstock Boston’s extra room in the toe box allows enhanced balance and precision while walking. With each step, the design is noticeable as you can feel your center of gravity is supported by these shoes for painful feet. The Birkenstock Bostons cost more than our previous choices. The reason being the smooth, leathery exterior and insane levels of arch support. If you are looking to throw some extra moolah for added quality and comfort, the Birkenstock Bostons are—without a doubt—the best choice.
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 which 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. Vionic Joan Orthotic
Durable Rubber Midsole
Easy to Wear & Use
Shock Absorption in Midsole
If you’re on or ever planning a vacation, the Vionic Orthotic Slip-ons are the correct choice for your season of relaxation. The slip-ons are easy to wear when walking on the beach, hiking mountains, or relaxing at a BBQ. The robust and functional design is ideal for anyone looking for a sandal-like design with an added midsole that absorbs shock.
The easy and breathable sandal allows efficient use because of its light and functional body. The Orthotics are not only light in weight but have implemented midsoles that absorb shock, unlike other light shoes.
Compared to the other best shoes for foot problems listed, the Vionic Joan Orthotic Slip-ons can be worn to more extreme environments without the fear of wear and tear. The durable slip-ons suffer from little inevitable damage and—although perfect for the beach—are manufactured to be worn practically everywhere.
9. OOFOS ooCloog
Glossy or Matte
No Half Sizes
While unorthodox, it should be noted that looks may be deceiving and these shoes can make you feel like you’re walking on air. The ooCloog easily eliminates the basic problems of walking with foot pain by having cradled arches that support the stress on your feet and your back. If you want to walk and live pain-free, the ooCloogs are one of the better options in terms of comfort and recovery.
Having cradled arches should be a necessity in any comfy shoes for sore feet and the OOFOS has designed theirs with the best fit and softest cradle, reducing feet, knee, and even lower back pain. The shoe features vented sides and logos at the heel for added arch support.
Have no fear wherever you trek as the ooOriginal are easily machine washable. After a long, exhausting day, nothing feels better than to simply throw your shoes into the washing machine and have them clean and ready for tomorrow.
10. Telic Original
Molds into Any Fit
Fits Smaller than Size
No Support for Running or Jogging
Our simple, synthetic flip flops from Telic make life at home and around the community easy and convenient. Whether you’re just walking around the house, out for a quick bite, or shopping at your local market, these easy-to-wear flip-flops can make daily commute effortless.
Believe it or not, the Telics are all manmade instead of factory made. This means that added care and precision was made to ensure that these shoes last.
The sandals offer a degree of lightness while delivering cushioned arch support in a contoured footbed for a comfortable, smooth, and easy feel. The added support reduces shock-absorption and the softness allows the shoe to mold into the shape of the foot.
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 which 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 which 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 which 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; and
- 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 which can help stop it in its tracks.
A painful form of arthritis which 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 which 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 with 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 to 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 epidemic 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 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 which 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 on 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.