Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (2024)



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Medical reviewer:

August 09, 2023

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By Renee Cherry

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Renee Cherry is a New York-based writer and editor specializing in beauty, health, fitness, and nutrition. Previously she served as associate editor for

Medical review by

Michael Galoyan, D.P. M.

Dr. Michael Galoyan specializes in podiatry and received his doctorate in podiatry from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. Dr. Galoyan advanced his training by completing a residency in podiatric medicine and surgery at Northwell Health, Long Island Jewish Forest Hills.

What is arthritisSymptoms of arthritic feetWhat to look forWhat to avoidThe best shoes for arthritic feetHow we pickedFAQ


Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (3)

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August 09, 2023

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The best shoes for arthritic feet of 2023:

Choosing the right shoes is critical—but the stakes rise even higher when you have an existing foot condition, such as arthritis. According to Miguel Cunha, DPM, podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York, "The best shoes for arthritic feet will reduce or eliminate foot pain, which has a tremendous impact on the body's function and mobility."

Research has shown at least 54 million Americans suffer from arthritis—and recent studies indicate that arthritis prevalence in the U.S. was previously underestimated, particularly in adults younger than 65 years old. These numbers show that one in three adults ages 18 to 64 have arthritis1.

If you deal with arthritic feet, you likely already know how intrusive it can be on day-to-day life. After all, the feet are the foundation of the body.The good news? Physical activity can reduce pain and improve functionality in those with arthritis. The best shoes for arthritic feet will help you stay active and boost your quality of life.

What is arthritis?

Cunha describes arthritis as acute or chronic inflammation of a joint and its surrounding soft tissues.

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis are all the three major types of arthritis that commonly affect the foot and ankle.

Osteoarthritis is most commonly experienced in those middle-aged and older but can sometimes occur in younger people. Also known as degenerative arthritis, this is when the cartilage in the joint begins to wear away gradually, which can cause the painful sensation of bone rubbing on bone. In osteoarthritis, pain and stiffness worsen with time.

Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is a chronic autoimmune disease, meaning it occurs from the immune system attacking its own tissues. It can affect multiple joints throughout the body but commonly begins in the foot and ankle. While the exact cause is not known, rheumatoid arthritis is typically triggered by an infection or environmental factor.

Post-traumatic arthritis can emerge after a specific injury in the foot or ankle, such as dislocation or a fracture. The impact is similar to osteoarthritis, with the cartilage wearing away between the joints. Even with proper treatment, an injured joint is almost seven times more likely than an uninjured joint to develop arthritis.

Per Cunha, arthritis in your feet can cause discomfort or pain that can eventually lead to limited motion, loss of joint function, and deformities in your affected joints.

"In arthritis, progressive joint deterioration occurs and the smooth, gliding surface covering the ends of bones (cartilage), which serves to cushion the joint, is gradually lost, resulting in the bones wearing against each other," he explains.

Symptoms of arthritic feet

If you're experiencing symptoms of arthritis, it's best to consult with a doctor to come up with a potential treatment plan and determine what types of shoes will be best for you. Below are a few symptoms of arthritic feet.

  • Pain in the foot and/or ankle
  • Tenderness in the foot and/or ankle
  • Stiffness or swelling in the joints
  • Decreased mobility and range of motion
  • Warmth in the joint
  • Increased pain or swelling after longer periods of sitting, standing, or walking

What makes a good shoe for arthritic feet?

When looking for the best shoes for arthritic feet, experts recommend keeping the below criteria in mind:

Comfortable footbed: Cushioned sneakers are preferable, according to Alissa Kuizinas, DPM, a Concord, Massachusetts–based podiatrist. Cunha adds that the best shoes for arthritic feet provide support with a memory foam or ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) anti-compression sole.

Shock-absorbent outsole: Cunha recommends looking for shoes that feature an outsole will better alleviate the impact of each step on arthritic joints compared to a hard sole.

Durability: Shoes with smooth, solid leather uppers are best since they're highly durable yet flexible and comfortable, says Cunha.

Structure: "Arthritic feet tend to have some deformities as well, so for my patients with this type of foot I like a very structured, supportive shoe," says Sondema Tarr, DPM, a podiatrist and founder of Direct Podiatry Arizona. "This type of shoe prevents additional motion at these joints, making walking and standing more comfortable."

Research backs these recommendations, too. One meta review of 11 studies showed that proper footwear intervention resulted in a decrease in foot pain, impairment, and disability for people with rheumatoid arthritis, along with improved walking speed2. The shoes used featured characteristics such as extra cushioning, a wider toe box, and a rocker sole.

What shoes should people with arthritic feet avoid?

It's best to steer clear of shoes that have a minimal sole. "If you have arthritic feet, you may want to avoid more minimalist shoes and stick with something that has some cushioning," Kuizinas explains. "If several joints in the feet have arthritis, the feet may not be able to move well in a natural pattern anymore and may need help with offloading."

The best shoes for arthritic feet


  • Wide toe box
  • Wide and extra-wide fit options


  • Brand does not have sustainability statement

Sizes available:

5–12 (half sizes available)



Return policy:

60 days

These sneakers combine cushioning, a rocker sole, and a wide toe box for maximum comfort. They’re available in sizes 5 to 12, in standard, wide, and extra wide variations. The shoes come with additional insoles which you can choose to add in, depending on your foot shape and individual needs.

This shoe has the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance, which signifies that their design promotes good foot health.

Best with recycled materials: Asics NovaBlast 3

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (5)


  • Maximum cushioning
  • Responsive design


  • Fit may be too wide for those with narrow feet

Sizes available:

5–12 (half sizes available)



Return policy:

90 days

Cunha recommends these running shoes because of their superior cushioning and a lightweight, responsive design that reduces the impact of heel strike on arthritic joints. The trampoline-inspired outsole is designed to produce a responsive bounce back.

Keep in mind, this is a neutral shoe. That means it’s best suited for people who don’t over- or under-pronate (i.e. roll their feet inward or outward as they walk).


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Best for walking: Vionic Walker Classic

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (6)


  • Standard and wide widths
  • Water repellant
  • Odor-resistant insole


  • Not lightweight relative to other options

Sizes available:




Return policy:

30 days

Vionic prioritizes cushioning and shock absorption in its shoe designs—and these walking shoes are no exception. They have an EVA midsole and a durable water repellent or suede upper, with a removable orthotic insole.

While the shoes are not the most lightweight, we love that the insole is made with an antibacterial material to prevent foot odor (in case you do sweat).

Best road running shoe: Brooks Glycerin 20

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (7)


  • Narrow and wide widths available
  • Soft cushioning


  • Some customers find that the heel is too roomy

Sizes available:

5–12 (half sizes available)



Return policy:

90 days

This road running shoe features the brand’s softest cushioning for an ultra plush feel. It's available in narrow, standard, and wide widths, and a slew of colors and patterns.

With a wider toe box, sufficient cushioning, and a secure-yet-breathable fit, these shoes meet podiatrist recommendations for people with arthritic feet.

Reviewers with arthritis say they’re soft and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.


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Best rocker bottom: Hoka Bondi 8

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (8)


  • Recycled materials
  • Stabilizing design


  • Too narrow for some

Sizes available:

5–12 (half sizes available)



Return policy:

30 days

The Hoka Bondi 8 is a super-cushy neutral running shoe. It holds the APMA Seal of Acceptance and is available in both standard and wide widths. The show is partially made with recycled materials, including a mesh upper that’s 50% recycled polyester.

Unsurprisingly, this shoe has received high marks from customers. One reviewer with arthritis in both feet says they're more comfortable than prescription orthotics. Of course, you'll still want to check with your podiatrist to see what's best for you.

Best color variety: Brooks Ghost 15

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (9)


  • Balanced support
  • Secure fit


  • Narrower toe box

Sizes available:

5–13 (half sizes available)



Return policy:

90 days

The Brooks Ghost 15 is a neutral running shoe with a midsole that provides soft cushioning. The product is carbon neutral and its upper is made of 57% recycled material.

This is another neutral support option, with the brand's BioMoGo DNA Loft throughout the midsection for a smoother stride. Even better, it’s available in both wide and narrow widths.

We give these shoes a lot of love, but it's for good reason. They're a great pick for runners with high arches or wide feet, and we included them in our roundup of the best walking shoes for women, per podiatrist guidelines.


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Best size range: New Balance 1540v3

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (10)


  • Available in 5 widths
  • Soft cushioning


  • Limited color options

Sizes available:

5–13 (half sizes available)



Return policy:

45 days

Tarr suggests the New Balance 1540v3 as another structured, supportive option. The running shoe has a midsole that’s designed for those who overpronate (i.e. allow their feet to roll outward when running).

People with wide feet will love that these come in standard, wide, extra wide, and extra-extra wide options, with sizes running from 5 to 13. We even chose them as some of the best cushioned running shoes, particularly for older runners.

Best trail running shoes: Apex Sierra Trail Runner Active Shoe

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (11)


  • Specifically designed for arthritic feet
  • Antimicrobial lining


  • Only one color available

Sizes available:

5–11 (half sizes available)



Return policy:

30 days

Don't let arthritis symptoms keep you from your trail activities. This pick is designed specifically for people who have arthritic feet, bunions, or plantar fasciitis, among other concerns.

The mesh upper is lightweight and breathable, while the cushioned sole is great for shock absorption. These shoes are available in standard, wide, and extra wide fits and are best suited to those who over-pronate.


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Best affordable: Saucony Integrity Walker 3

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (12)


  • Four width options
  • APMA Seal of Approval


  • Limited color options

Sizes available:

5–12 (half sizes available)



Return policy:

30 days

One of the best orthopedic shoes available today, the Saucony Integrity Walker 2 is a great option to wear as-is, or with custom orthotics. The insoles feature the brand's signature cushioning material, which is half the weight EVA and provides significant bounce.

The upper part of the shoe is made with leather for durability, another positive factor if you have arthritic feet. Plus, the shoe comes in narrow, regular, wide, and extra wide widths.

Best cushioning: Topo Athletic Specter

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (13)


  • EVA soles
  • Wide toe box


  • Limited amount of colorways

Sizes available:

6–11 (half sizes available)



Return policy:

30 days

This sneaker comes recommended by Kuizinas, thanks to its ample cushioning. It also features a rocker sole, which Kuizinas says many people with arthritic feet find to be comfortable.

Awide toe box allows your toes to splay out naturally, rather than cramming them together. This design is also less likely to aggravate issues like hammer toes or bunions.

The EVA outsole encases a lightweight foam midsole, a combination intended to make the shoe stable despite its thick sole.

Reviewers with arthritis say these shoes allow them to walk faster than any others they've tried.


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How we picked

Podiatrist insight

We consulted with podiatrists and used their insights to determine what to look for in the best shoes for arthritic feet.


Per research and podiatrist guidelines, the best shoes for arthritic feet have sufficient cushioning. We kept this in mind when evaluating the options.


Customer reviews helped us determine whether these shoes really hit the mark. We prioritized those with feedback from people who have arthritic feet.


The best shoes for arthritic feet will make a huge difference in your day-to-day mobility, relief, and long-term quality of life. That said, we looked for shoes that fit a range of budgets.

Comparing the best shoes for arthritic feet

ProductPriceSizes availableColorwaysReturn policy
Orthofeet Coral Stretch Knit$1205-12960 days
Asics NovaBlast 3$1405-121990 days
Vionic Walker Classic$1105-12830 days
Brooks Glycerin 20$1605-122590 days
Hoka Bondi 8$1655-122130 days
Brooks Ghost 15$1805-133490 days
New Balance 1540v3$1805-13245 days
Apex Sierra Trail Runner Active Shoe$1005-11130 days
Saucony Integrity Walker 3$905-12390 days
Topo Athletic Specter$1606-11430 days


What makes foot arthritis worse?

Many factors contribute to symptoms of arthritic feet, but our experts agree that improper footwear can make these symptoms worse. That considered, be sure to choose your shoes mindfully.

What is the most common arthritis in feet?

Osteoarthritis is a the most common form of arthritis. It can occur in many parts of the body, but most often in weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hips, and feet.

What are the best shoes to wear with arthritis in your feet?

This will depend on a number of other factors, too, but podiatrists say the best shoes for arthritic feet are typically those with more cushioning, a wider toe box, a shock-absorbent outsole, and sufficient structure and support.

The takeaway

Pain and discomfort from arthritis can progressively worsen over time, especially if you don't have the best shoes for arthritic feet. When choosing which pair is right for you, keep our expert's insights in mind. The above options meet podiatrist guidelines, so you can stay active and keep your pain levels low. For more shoe recommendations, check out our top picks for people with bunions, plantar fasciitis, and knee pain.

Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists (2024)


Symptoms Of Arthritic Feet + How To Pick The Best Shoes, Per Podiatrists? ›

Look for chunky or wedged heels, soft uppers and adjustable laces and buckles for a customized fit. Just make sure straps don't compress painful areas. Avoid flat-soled boots without support or cushioning. A steel or composite shank can relieve midfoot pressure and pain, says Dr.

What shoes are good if you have arthritis in your feet? ›

Nonsurgical treatment options include:

Custom-made shoe, such as a stiff-soled shoe with a rocker bottom. An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)

What can a podiatrist do for arthritic feet? ›

Your podiatrist can prescribe exercises that help you move better and increase the range of motion in your feet and ankles. They can also recommend cold and hot compresses to help reduce pain and swelling.

How do I choose the right shoes for my feet? ›

supports the foot – your shoe should aid the alignment of your foot when it touches the ground. feels comfortable – your shoe should feel immediately comfortable from the first wear. fits well – make sure you have at least 1‒1.5cm at the end of the shoe. It should be wide enough and long enough to fit your feet.

What shoes do orthopedic surgeons recommend? ›

Klaw 528
  • Klaw 528. Best orthopedic shoe overall. ...
  • More options. Dansko Fawna Mary Jane for Women. ...
  • More options. Cole Haan Men's Original Grand Shortwing Oxford. ...
  • Hoka Bondi 8. Best orthopedic walking shoe. ...
  • More options. Puma Deviate Nitro 2 Running Shoes. ...
  • More options. ...
  • Vionic Karmelle Oxford Casual Sneaker. ...
  • Kuru Atom.
Mar 21, 2024

What makes foot arthritis worse? ›

What causes arthritis flare-ups in the feet? Most daily activities can aggravate the joints in the feet. Putting pressure or weight on the feet can trigger flares but so can resting for long periods, such as overnight. Some people experience flares in cold weather or after eating particular foods.

What is the best thing for arthritis in your feet? ›

Foot and Ankle Arthritis Treatment Options
  • Activity modification.
  • Bracing and compression.
  • Corticosteroid injection into the joints of the foot and ankle.
  • Pain medication and anti-inflammatories.
  • Physical therapy.

How do you walk with arthritic feet? ›

“How much you should walk is deeply personal,” says David. “So, listen to your body, start slowly, and build up gradually. Then you'll learn what's right for you.” As you become stronger, you'll probably find that you're able to walk a bit further or for longer.

Are Crocs good for arthritic feet? ›

If you spend most of the day standing or walking, you might be tempted to wear Crocs since they feel comfortable. They may feel nice on your feet, but they don't provide the support you need when walking or standing for long periods of time. As a result, you'll probably have sore feet later on.

What triggers arthritis in foot? ›

Post-traumatic arthritis develops in the foot or ankle as a result of injury, even one that occurred long ago. For example, a sprain, fracture, or dislocation in the foot or ankle may damage cartilage, leading to premature deterioration of the joint.

Are Crocs good for your feet? ›

Lack of Support – While they may be comfortable, Crocs are far from the most supportive type of shoe. They provide very little support to your ankle and your arches, which can lead to soft tissue injuries. If your foot isn't supported in the midfoot area, you'll be at an increased risk for heel pain.

What is the right shoe? ›

The right shoe for you

A good shoe has features that provide comfort and support. It must also be the right size and shape for your feet. Look for a shoe made of breathable fabric and lining, such as leather or canvas. Make sure that the shoes have enough tread to prevent slipping.

Are Dr Scholl shoes good for your feet? ›

Yes, Dr. Scholl's really is a podiatrist-approved brand — what you need to know. An expert and editors share their favorite picks.

What shoes do podiatrists not recommend? ›

Pointed toe box

Pointed shoes may look nice, however they force your forefoot to squeeze into the toebox. The most common complaints we see in those who regularly wear pointed shoes are ingrown toenails, corns and forefoot pain.

Do orthopedic doctors recommend Hoka shoes? ›

Plenty of doctors and podiatrists have recommended Hoka for its beneficial design and enhanced cushioning. Tim Dutra, DPM, M.S., MHCA, says, "Hoka offers a variety of shoes with a wide range of cushioning and support and width options, and Hoka shoes are a favorite of runners, walkers, and hikers."

Are vionic shoes considered orthopedic shoes? ›

Vionic's breakthrough technology offers versatility, which means you can have orthotic comfort in your favorite shoes. Only Vionic has its unique orthotic built right into its shoes for orthotic relief without the orthopedic look.

Should you walk if you have arthritis in your feet? ›

Walking is often recommended for people with arthritis because it's a low-impact exercise that keeps the joints flexible, helps bone health, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Can footwear help arthritis? ›

Good footwear can provide support and comfort for your feet, which is important if you have arthritis. Find out more.

Are barefoot shoes good for arthritic feet? ›

Some research shows that flexibility in shoes is important if you have foot or knee pain related to rheumatoid arthritis. A flat, flexible walking shoe that feels almost like you're barefoot may be better for many RA symptoms than so-called stability shoes.

Does walking barefoot help arthritis? ›

According to a study published recently in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, going shoeless reduces harmful joint stress in people with osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions joints is gradually worn down, causing inflammation and pain.

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