Best Shoes For Arthritis Of 2024, According To Experts (2024)

Since arthritis can cause severe pain in the joints, it’s important to avoid certain types of shoes that may exacerbate the condition. For example, heels of both high (over 2 inches) and low heights, can put extra pressure on the ball of the foot and joints. Shoes with pointed toes can also cause hammertoes and other foot deformities.

Other types of shoes people with arthritis should avoid include unsupportive sandals and flip flops due to their flat soles and lack of support, which can put additional pressure on the foot and cause pain.

“With arthritis, there are some key [factors] to be mindful of when shoe shopping because it’s not just about looking for memory foam inside the shoe,” says Dr. Eldridge.

Additional factors a person with arthritis should consider are highlighted below.

Find the Right Fit

Wearing the wrong size shoe (too big or too small) can increase pain caused by arthritis and cause damage or injury to the joints in the ankles and feet.

“Shoes that are too small or too large can cause different issues with the joints of the foot,” says Dr. Raval. “A good running shoe store can help customers get sized for an appropriate pair of shoes.” Usually there should be a half finger to a full finger width between the long toe and the end of the shoe, he says.

Arthritis can also cause deformities of the foot, which can become painful for a person wearing the wrong sized shoes. Making sure a shoe fits properly and is the correct size for a user’s foot can help increase comfort levels and protect the user’s foot joints from further damage. Keep in mind that shoe sizes can vary depending on the brand, and a person’s foot size may change over time. It’s also important to measure a person’s foot white standing and sitting down to take into account any fluctuation and need for additional space in the shoe, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Additionally, Dr. Eldridge encourages people to pay attention to the shape of a shoe’s toe box. “This [element] so often gets overlooked,” she adds. “I recommend looking for a more square-shaped toe box, [as well as] a deep toe box that allows plenty of room for the toes in a top-to-bottom direction.”

Stability and Support

Stability is an important factor for anyone with arthritis, and wearing a shoe with a stable foundation and structure can help ensure a proper gait and improved overall mobility. Wearing a shoe with enough stability and structure can also help decrease pain in the affected areas of the foot and protect joints from further damage. Ankle support is equally important, according to Dr. Raval.

“The shoes shouldn’t allow for easy inversion or eversion of the ankle, as that [movement] can strain the ligaments of the ankle and top of the foot,” he says. “If these [ligaments] become strained, additional force [travels] through the joints of the foot, exacerbating the arthritis.”

Arch support should also be prioritized. “Many shoes, especially the more fashionable ones, don’t have significant arch support. This [lack of support] puts many of the ligaments and bones in the foot at higher stress, leading to more pain and exacerbations of osteoarthritis,” he says. “Additionally, it places significant strain on the plantar fascia, which can lead to the development of plantar fasciitis.”

Lightweight Design

Keeping a shoe’s overall weight in mind can also be helpful when searching for a supportive and comfortable shoe for arthritis. “For the most part, people with osteoarthritis in their feet want to offload the joints as much as possible,” says Dr. Raval. “To that end, lighter shoes place less strain on the joints, leading to fewer exacerbations.”


Finding a comfortable shoe is important to help decrease pain in joints affected by arthritis. A shoe’s sole should be shock absorbing with plenty of midsole support, underfoot cushioning and firm heel counters. Choosing a shoe with these features offers support that can help keep joints stabilized and in place, which can help alleviate pain and strain on the joint, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

A shoe should comfortably conform to a user’s foot on the first wear and shouldn’t need to be broken in to feel comfortable. However, a comfortable shoe should still have proper stability and shouldn’t have an overly flexible sole. “Look for a fairly thick and rigid sole bottom. A very flexible shoe places too much stress on the foot,” notes Dr. Eldridge.

When it comes to laces, Dr. Eldridge recommends ones that can be adjusted easily and in various patterns that are most comfortable for the user—especially those who have foot pain. “Often people look for no laces when sneaker shopping, thinking that this [detail] gives them more stretch, but there’s actually very little room for swelling,” she adds.

FEATURED PARTNER OFFER Best Shoes For Arthritis Of 2024, According To Experts (1)

Partner Offers feature brands who paid Forbes Health to appear at the top of our list. While this may influence where their products or services appear on our site, it in no way affects our ratings, which are based on thorough research, solid methodologies and expert advice. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services


Best Shoes For Arthritis Of 2024, According To Experts (2)
  • Backless design and sturdy rubber outsole
  • KURUSOLE technology that is built for pain relief
  • Year-round versatility and breathability
  • Features shock-absorbing KURUCLOUD

On KURU's Website

Best Shoes For Arthritis Of 2024, According To Experts (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dong Thiel

Last Updated:

Views: 6658

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dong Thiel

Birthday: 2001-07-14

Address: 2865 Kasha Unions, West Corrinne, AK 05708-1071

Phone: +3512198379449

Job: Design Planner

Hobby: Graffiti, Foreign language learning, Gambling, Metalworking, Rowing, Sculling, Sewing

Introduction: My name is Dong Thiel, I am a brainy, happy, tasty, lively, splendid, talented, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.