Wellness13 Best Orthopedic Shoes for Women Podiatrist-Approved 2023

13 Best Orthopedic Shoes for Women Podiatrist-Approved 2023

With the Well+Good SHOP, our editors put their years of know-how to work in order to pick products (from skin care to self care and beyond) they’re betting you’ll love. While our editors independently select these products, making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission. Happy shopping! Explore the SHOP

Fun fact: The word “orthopedic,” she explains, stems from the Greek words that translates to “correct the foot.” For the uninitiated, Nelya Lobkova, DPM, a podiatrist in NYC, explains orthopedic shoes are made for people with foot problems and issues that originate in the ankles, knees, or lower back. Generally, she adds, orthopedic shoes are wide, supportive, feature extra depth in the toe box area, and have comfortable insoles.

Who are orthopedic shoes good for?

Generally, Dr. Lobkova says orthopedic shoes are great for active people who spend a lot of time on their feet. Traditionally though, they were meant for people with pain and deformity in the feet, ankles, knees, or lower back. Elena Wellens, DPM, a podiatric surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedics, notes people with arthritis, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and flat feet most commonly benefit from orthopedic shoes. That said, these functional or alignment issues aren’t always obvious, so Dr. Lobkova advises seeing a podiatrist for diagnostics and recommended footwear for your specific needs.

All that said, if the term “orthopedic shoes” conjures up images of shoes your grandma wears, there’s good news. You no longer have to choose between style or comfort. “As our understanding of foot biomechanics and its relationship with foot and ankle conditions (such as plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and arthritis) has evolved, more shoe manufacturers are designing shoes with sound orthopedic components while incorporating style, as well,” Dr. Wellens says.

In other words, orthopedic shoes are cool and stylish now (and you’ll see what we mean as you keep scrolling!).

What to look for in the best orthopedic shoes for women

Comfort and a good fit

First and foremost, Dr. Lobkova says comfort is key, and the only way to truly know if an orthopedic shoe will work for you is by trying them on and briefly walking around in them. They shouldn’t feel too tight or too loose.

A firm heel counter

Also, note how your heel feels. The shoe’s heel counter (aka, the back part of the shoe) should be firm, Dr. Lobkova says, as that will stabilize the heel and help diminish pain and inflammation in the heel and arch of the foot.

Cushioned midsole with arch support

A thick, cushioned midsole is also a must. “The rigidity of the midsole of a shoe dictates the stability of the shoe,” Dr. Lobkova says. So a thick, cushy midsole will help prevent excessive impact on the foot. Also, ensure the insole provides arch support. Particularly, she recommends looking for a firm elevation in the arch with a deeper heel cup and cushioning in the heel and ball of the foot.

Round and deep toe box area

“Many foot deformities occur in the ball of the foot (i.e., bunion, hammertoes, neuromas, etc.), so this area is important not to squeeze or irritate for a prolonged period of time,” Dr. Lobkova says. So, an excellent orthopedic shoe for women will have a round toe box with some depth (i.e. avoid pointy-toed or narrow shoes).

Rubber outsole with stable grip

The shoe’s outsole also matters. Here’s why: “The rubber outsole dictates the traction in the shoe,” Dr. Lobkova says. “Look for a suitable outsole that provides a stable grip yet is not too bulky.”

So overall, podiatrists recommend avoiding shoes that are too flexible and narrow and don’t provide adequate shock absorption, stability, arch support, and cushioning. To help make your orthopedic shoe shopping experience easier, Dr. Lobkova and Dr. Wellens share their recommendations for the best orthopedic shoes for women below.

Best orthopedic walking shoes for women:

Hoka, Bondi 8 — $165.00

Available sizes: women’s 5-12, in half sizes and two widths

For walking and running, Dr. Wellens is a fan of the popular Hoka Bondi sneakers (Bondi 8 is the latest iteration) because they offer excellent stability, support, and shock absorption, which are things you want in a good orthopedic shoe.

These shoes have a seal of acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association, meaning podiatrists reviewed them to ensure they promote foot health. They also come in various fun color combinations, so you can’t go wrong with these cool and comfortable ortho shoes.

Read a full review of the Hoka Bondi 8 here.

Colors: 13

  • Excellent cushioning and shock absorption
  • Supportive
  • Neutral stability
  • Recycled, vegan materials
  • Expensive
  • The rocker heel might be too much for some people

Photo: Klaw Footwear

Klaw, Klaw 528 — $148.00

Available sizes: women’s 6-11, in two widths

Dr. Lobkova gave the title of the “best orthopedic walking shoes for women” to these Klaw sneakers, dubbed design-forward walking sneakers. “All the aspects of an optimal walking biomechanical system were taken into account to create this sneaker, including an insole with a deep heel cup, medial and lateral arch support, plenty of cushioning in the lightweight midsole, and an optimal heel-to-toe drop of 7mm,” Dr. Lobkova says. Full disclosure: Dr. Lobkova contributed to the technical design for Klaw footwear.

Colors: 4

  • Excellent cushioning
  • Excellent arch support
  • Grippy tread
  • Forefoot rocker
  • Limited colors
  • No half sizing available

asics gel kayano 29

Asics, Gel Kayano 29 — $160.00

Available sizes: women’s 5-13, in half sizes

Dr. Wellens also enjoys the Asics Gel Kayano lineup of orthopedic walking and running shoes. They offer the support your feet need and come in various color combinations. The Gel Kayano 29 style, in particular, is designed for overpronators, aka folks whose foot rolls inward and arches flatten when walking.

Colors: 12+

  • Excellent arch support
  • Neutral stability
  • Great cushioning and shock absorption
  • Ideal for running and walking
  • Only available in standard widths
  • Designed for overpronators—those with high arches may have pain

Most comfortable orthopedic shoes for women:

Sketchers GO Walk Massage FIt — $100.00

Available sizes: women’s 5-9, in half sizes

For comfortable orthopedic shoes for casual, everyday activities, Dr. Wellens says you can’t go wrong with a shoe from Sketchers’ Go Walk lineup, which includes everything from flip-flop sandals and slides to boots and sneakers. The Go Massage Fit is a great sneaker choice, since it features easy lace-up engineered mesh which makes putting on and taking off low-effort, a synthetic hotmelt upper, and a shock-absorbing cushioned midsole. Basically, it’s a bouncy, cushion-y shoe ideal for those who want to feel like they’re walking on clouds—even if they’re walking or standing all day long.

Colors: 2

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Cushioned
  • Vegan
  • Limited sizes
  • Only available in standard width

Kuru, Chicane Women’s Trail Hiking Shoe — $165.00

Available sizes: women’s 6-12, in half sizes and two widths

Although they’re designed for hiking, Dr. Wellens says these Kuru shoes offer comfort for everyday activities thanks to their ergonomic fit (think built-in arch support, rounded heel cups, and a curved insole). Bonus points: They’re available in medium and wide widths and six colorways.

Colors: 6

  • Excellent arch support  
  • Excellent tread
  • Ergonomic fit
  • Designed with pressure-distribution
  • Expensive
  • Designed for hiking—might be too much for casual wear

Best orthopedic shoes with arch support:

Birkenstock Bend Low Shoes — $150.00

Available sizes: women’s 5-5.5-12-12.5 in two widths

If you’re already a fan of the classic Birkenstock sandals, known for their cork footbed with arch support and a deep heel cup, Dr. Lobkova says you’ll be delighted to learn that the brand also has a sneakers version. If you’ve worn Birkenstock sandals, then you’re already familiar with how well the footbed provides a raised arch to support flat feet and fallen arches—the shoe has the same design and offers the same benefits. The upper is constructed from a soft suede leather, and the cork-latex footbed is entirely removable if you want.

Colors: 4

  • Moldable cork footbed (it’s removable, too)
  • Built-in arch support
  • Deep heel cups for stability
  • Affordable
  • Cork might be uncomfortable to break in
  • Low ankle support

Dansko, Fawna — $140.00

Available sizes: women’s 4.5-5-12.5-13 in two widths

Another great podiatrist-recommended arch support orthopedic shoe option are these classic Mary Jane shoes by Dansko which feature a removable cushioned footbed with added arch support. The color options (black, chestnut, and navy) are limited, but they make up for it by offering regular and wide width sizes. Dansko is known for its high-quality footwear, and you can see it (and feel it) with its burnished leather uppers and supremely soft microfiber lining. It’s a great option for a more “dressy”-looking shoe without feeling like a heel or unsupportive flat.

Colors: 3

  • Built-in arch support
  • EVA midsole
  • Durable outsole
  • Expensive
  • Limited sizes/colorways

Best orthopedic comfortable shoes for work:

Aetrex, Frankie Boot — $170.00

Available sizes: women’s 5-5.5-10.5-11

What style of work shoe is best for you will, of course, depend on your line of work, but if you’re looking for something that you can dress up and down without looking too casual, these boots, recommended by Dr. Wellens, perfectly fit the bill. What makes them stand-out boots is their insole, which provides arch heel support, and overall stabilization—and it’s the reason why you can wear these hours on end with no pain. There’s also stretchy gore material on both sides, making the fit more comfortable while you wear them, and when you put them on or take them off. The upper material is genuine leather, and the outsole is a lightweight rubber and cork, so they don’t feel heavy. Plus, they featured a lug sole for traction (they’re not specifically non-slip, so just FYI). Another bonus? They’re weather-friendly (their construction is fully sealed, as to prevent water from seeping in), making them a great choice year-round.

Colors: 3

  • Built-in arch support
  • Durable outsole
  • Stretchy and adjustable
  • Weather-resistant
  • Expensive
  • No zippers
  • Only available in standard width
  • Not non-slip

Kuru, Quantum Sneakers — $160.00

Available sizes: women’s 5-12, in half sizes and two widths

Dr. Lobkova gives her podiatrist stamp of approval to these sneakers for a few reasons. They have a wide and deep toe box, giving your toes the extra wiggle room they need. The Kuru Quantum Sneakers are also supportive, she says, and have a great outsole that provides optimal traction, making them a great everyday work shoe. The shoes are available in eight colors, including jet black with aqua accents and violet with an orange pop.

Colors: 9

  • Wide, deep toe-box
  • Built-in support and stability
  • Breathable

Best orthopedic dress shoes:

Gabor, Wedge Boot — $219.00

Available sizes: women’s 6-11, in half sizes

For a night out or any occasion when you want to dress up a bit more while ensuring your feet are comfortable, Dr. Lobkova points to these wedge boots. Especially if you’re looking for some height, wedges are a better alternative to heels, since they give feet more support (and balance). These come in a black leather or suede version, featuring a thick sole for maximum comfort and support.

Colors: 2

  • Stylish
  • Thick, durable outsole
  • Wide, stable wedge heel
  • Expensive
  • Only available in standard width
  • Might not be stable for those with weak ankles

Geox, Walk Pleasure 85 Women — $180.00

Available sizes: women’s 5-10.5, in half sizes

Wedge boots still too casual? Really prefer heels? Try these classic high-heel pumps. Dr. Lobkova advises checking out the brand Geox, in general, for their nice selection of dress heels that feature a platform (aka cushioning) under the ball of the foot. The heel height is 3’5” which is just enough to give you height without going overboard. Featuring chic patent leather, a breathable outsole, a Zero-Shock system for generous cushioning, you’ll be able to walk in these all day long, no problem. Finally, a heel that can truly walk the walk.

Colors: 2

  • Built-in cushioning
  • Durable tread
  • Wide heel
  • Expensive
  • Limited colors
  • Only available in standard width

Vionic, Adalena Heel — $140.00

Available sizes: 5-11, in half sizes

Vionic is another orthopedic dress shoe brand Dr. Wellens recommends checking out. In particular, consider these oh-so-stylish leather heels that come in cream, nude, black, and bright pink. Thanks to a sculpted heel shape that provides stability, they give you height (four inches!) without sacrificing comfort. If these dress shoes aren’t your style, she recommends browsing Vionic’s site, as the brand has many other comfortable and stylish options, such as the Josie and Ziva kitten heels.

Colors: 4

  • Stable heel
  • Built-in cushioning
  • Deep heel cup
  • Affordable
  • Only available in standard width

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

Source link

Educational content ⇢

More article