Choosing The Best Orthopedic Shoes To Reduce Foot Pain

Choosing The Best Orthopedic Shoes To Reduce Foot Pain

Orthopedic shoes are not just for people who suffer from a physical or medical condition and require therapeutic shoes.

Orthopedic shoes are also a suitable choice if you’re looking for comfortable shoes to wear that provide support. Shoes that provide the proper support will reduce your chances of sustaining a foot injury and reduce the chances of developing foot pain.

It can be difficult to choose a good pair of orthopedic shoes considering the features different brands may offer. This guide will walk you through what to expect when purchasing the best orthopedic shoes including a few of our recommendations for best orthopedic shoes.

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What Is Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition which affects the heel of your foot. The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot which provides support for your foot arch.

When this tissue gets damaged, this can lead to inflammation and foot pain along the arch, bottom of your foot and also at the heel. This foot pain is worse in the morning than in the evening, but there is always some degree of pain when walking.

The most common factors that are associated with the development of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Wearing high heeled shoes
  • Shoes that do not provide proper arch support
  • Having high arches or flat feet
  • Being overweight
  • Standing for long periods of time (several hours a day)
  • Tight calf muscles

The majority of these risk factors can be controlled by wearing suitable shoes that provide the correct amount of support for your feet. So, it’s not hard to see the importance of orthopedic shoes when it comes to maintaining good foot health.

Anatomy Of An Orthopedic Shoe

First let's get to know an orthopedic shoe.

Contoured Foot Bed

A deeper heel on orthopedic shoes helps to stabilize the heel. This helps to distribute your body weight evenly over your feet, instead of having all the pressure and force of your weight being supported by your toes and the ball of your foot.

Anatomy of an orthopedic shoes.

This also helps you to walk more naturally, further decreasing your risk of developing foot pain.


The cushioning in the soles helps with shock absorption, making for a comfortable step without heel pain.

Flexibility allows your shoe to mold to the contours of your feet, for maximum comfort and to ease the pressure on your feet. Flexible soles also allow your feet to flex freely as you’re walking, so too much stress isn’t placed on your arch and heels.

Arch Support

One of the best things about orthopedic shoes is that they provide excellent arch and heel support, which is great for people who have flat feet or high arches.

You can get shoes with enough curve at the instep which removes any unnecessary gaps between the sole and the arch, providing full support for high arches.

Or shoes with a modest curve can help prevent flat feet from occurring.

Lots Of Space For Toes

Pointed shoes can cause a lot of grief for your toes and your forefoot. Orthopedic shoes have a lot of space at the front of the shoe so your toes don’t get squished together, preventing bunions, hammertoe and other foot problems.

Why Should You Choose Your Orthopedic Shoes Carefully?

Orthotics are a great way to provide foot pain relief without disturbing your day to day activities. Unfortunately, not all orthotic inserts will fit into standard shoes.

Orthopedic shoes allow you to slip your orthotics inside so that both your feet and orthotics fit inside your shoes comfortably.

Of course, your orthotics and orthopedic shoes are only able to help with your foot pain if they are a perfect fit for your feet.

So, if you’re choosing orthopedic shoes, make sure they fit your feet properly otherwise your orthopedic shoes won’t be providing any benefits for you.

Furthermore, wearing orthopedic shoes with the wrong inner design can further damage and aggravate any foot problems you may have.

What To Pay Attention To When Choosing Your Orthopedic Shoes

There are several things you should consider before buying your orthopedic shoes.

Choosing orthopedic shoes.

Specific Needs

Consider what you need your orthopedic shoes for. If you only require orthopedic shoes for when you’re exercising or going for a walk, then the style and appearance is less important than if you require orthopedic shoes for use at the workplace where you have a strict dress code.

Or imagine if you need to wear orthopedic shoes constantly but require a dressy pair to go out for dinner. It won’t work very well if you don’t have a smart pair of orthopedic shoes, and wearing your bog standard pointed dress shoes will cause you an evening of discomfort.

It is now possible to get orthopedic shoes in a variety of colors and styles to suit all occasions, so when looking at orthopedic shoes, you can now purchase a diverse range of styles.


The range of materials available to make orthopedic shoes and orthotics is diverse enough that newcomers to the orthotics industry feel overwhelmed when they start designing orthotics. The design of the orthopedic shoe will greatly influence what types of materials that will be used.

For example, a lightweight athlete will have different requirements to a bulky construction worker when it comes to looking for suitable materials that will provide sufficient rigidity and support for these two different people.

Rigid materials help to control foot function while softer materials are used to help absorb shock and relieve any sensitive parts of your feet from excessive pressure.

Breathable materials are also a good feature for orthopedic shoes to have. After all, you don’t want your feet to be smelly, sweaty and clammy.

Good Arch Support And Toe Box

The proper amount of arch support and space for your toes to all fit comfortably in your shoes is an absolute requirement for orthopedic shoes.

After all, a very common contributing factor to a huge number of foot problems stems from shoes which are too narrow or do not have sufficient arch support.

The purpose of orthopedic shoes is to assist with proper foot care. Taking care of your arches and your toes helps to reduce your risk of developing various painful foot conditions

Take The Right Measure If Buying Online

Buying shoes online is always a risky move since you don’t get the opportunity to try on the shoes before you buy. As long as you measure the size of your feet correctly and make sure you consult the sizing chart, you should get the right sized shoes.

Measure Your Foot At The End Of The Day

When measuring your foot, take the measurement at the end of the day. This is because your feet are slightly more swollen at the end of the day after being up and about using your feet all day.

Taking the swollen measurements ensures that even when you are using your shoes in the afternoon or evening, you won’t feel an uncomfortable pinching sensation due to your shoes being just a tad small in the evening.

Measure From Wall To Toe

To properly measure the length of your foot, place your heel right against the wall. Then measure the length from your longest toe to the wall. Do this for both of your feet.

Measuring your foot.

Don’t forget to wear your socks during this measurement if you plan to wear socks with your orthopedic shoes!

Consult Shoe Size Chart

Last but not least, check the shoe sizing chart for the orthopedic shoes you want to buy. As odd as it may seem, the actual length of the shoe may vary between companies despite the fact that they all claim to be the same size even after using the Global Size Conversion Chart.

Common Mistakes When Buying Orthopedic Shoes

There are things that people often do when buying their shoes, and about which they should be careful.

Shopping Only Based On Price

Why risk your own (or someone else’s) health by buying a cheap pair of orthopedic shoes? The right pair of orthopedic shoes will benefit your foot health but the wrong pair can make everything go downhill.

Cheap orthopedic shoes will often be of much lower quality and you may find yourself needing to replace your shoes a lot earlier than planned. Or the shoes may be uncomfortable enough that you need to purchase another pair.

It’s better in the long term to invest in a slightly more expensive yet better quality pair of orthopedic shoes.

Assuming Your Size

Just because you usually fit into a size 7, doesn’t mean that a size 7 pair of orthopedic shoes is the right size for you.

Orthopedic shoes have more cushioning and can accommodate orthotics as well, so you may find that you may require a larger size than what you usually buy at the shops.

Also, it is possible that some brands of orthopedic shoes may run large or small (depending on the manufacturer), so it’s always worth making sure that you’ve got the right size.

If you have the option to try on your orthopedic shoes before purchasing, then there is no reason not to. You wouldn’t buy a car without testing it out first, and so you shouldn’t buy your shoes without trying them on if you can.

Not Bringing Along Your Socks

Your socks add an extra layer to your foot, making your foot just a tiny bit bigger. This can turn a snug fit (without socks) into a very uncomfortable jam of your foot into the shoe once you have socks on.

Striped socks in shoes.

If your feet do not fit comfortably into your orthopedic shoes, then you won’t be getting much benefit from wearing them, so don’t forget your socks.

Our Recommendations

To assist in your search for the best orthopedic shoes, we’ve included a few recommendations of orthopedic shoes for treating various conditions. These are a great starting place if you’re not quite sure what you want.

Best Women’s Orthopedic Shoes

First let's take a look at our choice for the best women's orthopedic shoes on the market.

Winner: Orthofeet Chelsea Orthopedic Shoes

The best women’s therapeutic shoes are the Orthofeet Chelsea orthopedic shoes. They’re comfortable and easy to wear and are highly recommended as among the best orthopedic shoes for diabetic foot.

The orthotic support available for the Orthofeet shoes is exceptional when it comes to alleviating foot pain. There are 3 contoured orthotic insoles which are all removable so you can have them all in for the extra support or take them out if you want to use your own orthotics.

The arch support and gel padded heel provides comfort for your whole foot, which will also help with knee, hip and lower back pain.

Orthofeet Chelsea Comfort Orthopedic Diabetic Orthotic Womens Loafers Slip On Shoes


Our Rating

The Ergonomic Stride technology of the Orthofeet orthopedic shoes means these shoes are lightweight and the extra cushioning provides a softer step with more stability to help propel you forward when you are walking.

A soft, seamless interior with extra foam padding reduces the amount of friction between your feet and your shoes. Furthermore, there are now no annoying seams bumping uncomfortably against your pressure points so there’s less foot pain when wearing the Orthofeet shoes.

Let’s not forget about the style. This orthopedic shoe is made from leather, giving it that classy look and making them suitable for both casual and formal occasions.

The easy slip on saves you time on doing up laces. The use of a two way strap makes fitting into these shoes very easy. It allows for a wide opening for your feet and you can also fasten your shoe on whichever side you like.

The two way strap also makes it easier to adjust the strap length, compared with a one way strap, so you can tighten up your orthopedic shoes as much as you need.

The Orthofeet Chelsea is quite a wide shoe, with a wide toe box to give your toes that extra bit of wiggle room from uncomfortable conditions caused by pointy shoes.

However, that also means that the shoe is wide at the heel, which can make the shoes feel quite large and provide less stability for your feet as your heel will wobble around a bit in these shoes.

Priced at just over $100, as far as shoes go this is a good price for a pair of orthopedic shoes that are designed to aid in foot care. For this reason, we have decided to rank the Orthofeet Chelsea the best orthopedic shoes for women.

Runner Up: Klogs Naples Mule

Despite being classified as a women’s shoe, these Klogs are unisex in their design. Men will need to go one size up and order a “wide” size if they plan on purchasing these Klogs.

Recommended for plantar fasciitis, the Klogs mule provides excellent arch support and cushioning so that you can wear these shoes all day but still feel as fresh as if you’ve only just gotten out of bed. The removable insole allows you to use your own orthotics.

There is a reasonable amount of space for the top of the shoe, which allows the Klogs mule to accommodate your foot comfortably despite slight swelling of the feet after standing all day.

Klogs USA Women's Naples Mule


Our Rating

The leather outside allows these Klogs to maintain a classy look while the polyurethane sole means these orthopedic shoes are slip resistant, making them a brilliant choice if your workplace has a lot of slipping hazards.

These Klogs mules are slip on shoes. It’s great if you can’t be bothered with laces but what’s not so great is that there’s no way to tighten these shoes if they are a little too loose. No strap, buckle or Velcro. So, you have to make sure these shoes really fit you.

Costing around $100, the Klogs Naples mule is a good option if you have plantar fasciitis but still need to be on your feet all day.

The inability to secure your shoes to your feet is a bit of a disappointment for us and so we have decided to rank these shoes as the runner up for the best orthopedic shoes for women.

Alternative: Alegria Poloma Clog

If you have been struggling to find a trendy pair of women’s orthopedic shoes, then what you need is the Alegria Poloma Clog. They come in a wide range of styles and patterns which are great for everyday use. Depending on the style you choose, prices range from $50 to $140.

Well known for their style and comfort, the Alegria shoes won’t heal your foot conditions but they can help prevent things such as your plantar fasciitis getting worse.

Alegria Women's Paloma Flat


Our Rating

The footbed is designed to mold to the contours of your feet and arch for maximum comfort. If you don’t like the design of the footbed, you can remove it and replace it with your own orthotics.

The breathable leather will keep your feet cool but it has a long break in period. These shoes are also prone to squeaking, due to the insole rubbing against the side of the shoe.

If you don’t mind the squeaking, then you’re bound to find a style that will fit with every outfit you have in your wardrobe if you choose a pair of Alegria Poloma Clogs.

Best Men’s Orthopedic Shoes

And finally, here is our recommendation for the best men's orthopedic shoes.

Winner: Orthofeet Avery Island Orthopedic Shoes

The Orthofeet Avery Island orthopedic shoes are easily the best orthopedic shoes for men. At a price of a little under $140, these shoes will provide you with maximum comfort if you’re suffering from diabetic foot or plantar fasciitis.

For men who don’t like to own too many pairs of shoes, the Orthofeet comes in a style that is suitable for all occasions. Now you can step out of the office and into a dinner party without changing out of your comfortable orthopedic shoes.

Orthofeet Avery Island Comfort Orthopedic Diabetic Walking Plantar Fasciitis Shoes For Men


Our Rating

The multilayer orthotic insole provides a softer step with its great cushioning. The better shock absorption will alleviate some of the pain in your feet. The insoles are also removable so you can use your own orthotics.

The gel padded heel and amazing arch support allows the sole of the Orthofeet to mold to the contours of your feet which will help to relieve some of the pressure on the more sensitive parts of your feet.

The wide toe box helps to provide a lot of comfort and allow your feet to relax fully.

The team at Orthofeet are dedicated to foot care and this pair of orthopedic shoes is no exception. The amount of comfort these shoes offer to help manage your foot pain makes the Orthofeet Avery Island the best rated orthopedic shoes for men.

Runner Up: Dr. Comfort Leader Shoes

The Dr Comfort Leader dress shoe is the runner up for men’s best orthopedic shoes. These very smart dress shoes look just like any other shoe, so if you’re worried about people finding out you wear orthopedic shoes, the Dr Comfort Leader shoe will put your mind at ease.

The arch support for your feet is noticeable and they even come with gel inserts for added comfort if you will be on your feet all day.

Dr. Comfort Men's Leader Chestnut Diabetic Dress Shoes


Our Rating

With an easy buckle, there aren’t any laces to fuss over so you can get ready for work quickly.

At a price of around $140, while these shoes do provide a great amount of comfort and cushioning for your feet, they are not really suitable for placing your own orthotics in if that is your preference.

For this reason, we have decided to rank this pair the runner up for best orthopedic shoes for men.


Maintaining healthy feet is a lot easier when you are wearing shoes that promote foot health. Hopefully, these orthopedic shoes are a shining example that not all orthopedic shoes are dull and unfashionable.

Taking care of your feet will not only help to reduce foot pain, but it can also help with other aches and pains you may experience in your body. What are you waiting for? Go find the best orthopedic shoes now – your feet will thank you for it.

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