Shoes and back pain

Not so long ago, stability in a running shoe meant a maximalist approach to correcting an overpronator’s stride, and often unnaturally muscling around the runner’s form. But, stability shoes now take a less aggressive approach, thanks to some fine-tuning, new technology, and evolving biomechanical research. Instead of “fixing” your gait, shoes these days are designed to improve your comfort on your runs and reduce your risk for injuries, whatever your unique running style may be.

Best for Long Runs Guide 13 Saucony $120.00

A support shoe that sheds stigmas

Best for Heel Strikers Wave Inspire 16 Mizuno $135.00

More responsive and even softer cushioning

Best for Marathon Training Hovr Guardian Under Armour $120.00

Dials up support with two densities of foam

Best for Mild Overpronation Adrenaline GTS 20 Brooks $130.00

New stabilizing Guide Rails system

Severe Overpronation Pick 860v10 New Balance $130.00

Built to last through high mileage

Contents

Midsole Tech

Overpronation occurs when you push off from the big toe and second toe, which causes the foot to roll inward. This is perfectly normal; however, ankle or shin pain are common ailments when your gait exaggerates these mechanics—which is why you may want to consider buying stability shoes. “Bars,” “rails,” and medial posts are buzzwords for the tech brands build into shoes’ midsoles to help with alignment and relieve your feet and legs from that constant rolling-inward motion. Brooks, for example, uses Diagonal Rollbars and GuideRails for a smoother heel-to-toe transition. Altra also uses a Guide Rail to help steer your feet, as well as Stabilipods, which are three regions of firmer midsole material spread between the heel and forefoot.

361 Degrees’s Strata 3 delivers stability in part with a firm medial post. Trevor Raab

How We Tested

You don’t need to know all the technical ins and outs of how brands build stability and support into a shoe. All you need to know is that a stable experience feels as though the shoe perfectly braces your foot, while guarding against extra motion that can cause injury. Every shoe here has been tested by the Runner’s World staff and our team of wear testers, and have also been evaluated in our RW Shoe Lab. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and engineers, and use our own experience with these shoes to determine the best options. We’ve chosen based on value, our test impressions, and how the shoe meets overpronators’ motion control and support needs. The stability running shoes below are our top 10 rock-solid picks for feeling secure.

—BEST FOR NARROW FEET—

361 Degrees Strata 3

361 Degrees 361 Degrees 361-Strata 3 $154.95 amazon.com

  • Responsive cushioning
  • Snug, padded upper
  • Some testers wanted more arch support

This flagship shoe from 361 has all the tools to fight excessive overpronation: There’s a medial post constructed of higher density foam that supports your foot as it rolls inward, and a thermoplastic polyurethane spine that reinforces the post and makes the shoe torsionally stiff. The two-layer Jacquard mesh upper is also designed for stability with an internal webbing at the midfoot to hold your foot steady, while three straps span from the lateral side of the shoe allow you to customize the fit. Testers noted that the shoe felt stable mid-stride, but pliable when it came time to toe-off, and delivered above-average rebound.

Read Review More Images

—BEST FOR MODERATE OVERPRONATION—

Asics GT-2000 8

Asics GT-2000 8 $119.95 amazon.com

  • Responsive, supportive cushioning
  • Secure-fitting upper
  • Not especially lightweight

From the top down, your foot meets a substantial Ortholite sockliner, and then a single layer of FlyteFoam Lyte, the company’s lightest foam. The rear half of the shoe uses a slab of slightly higher-density foam beneath the FlyteFoam to slow overpronation forces, where you’ll also see some Gel peeking out of the heel’s crash pad (there’s more Gel in the forefoot, too). This lighter foam and single-layer forefoot work wonders: Whereas previous (stiffer) GT-2000s slapped the pavement as your foot met the ground, the new shoe touches down softly and immediately sets you up for a smooth toe-off. But, the shoe loses none of its stability—guidance trusses beneath the midfoot add torsional stability to keep the shoe from twisting as your foot transitions from heel to forefoot.

Read Review More Images

—BEST FOR MILD OVERPRONATION—

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 $116.25 amazon.com

  • New, mostly mesh upper shaves weight
  • Guide rails provide support for both overpronators and neutral runners
  • Some testers felt the shoe was too heavy for speedwork

With its 20th iteration, Brooks’s support all-star has retained its beloved responsive and cushioned ride, even after undergoing a “holistic” makeover. Like a steady hand guiding a kid on a bicycle, the guide rail system, introduced with the Adrenaline GTS 19, stabilizes your run without over-correction or uncomfortable pressure below your arch. The 20 is slightly lighter than its predecessor; almost half an ounce was shaved off by omitting the stylistic add-ons that decorated the 19’s engineered mesh. A soft padded heel collar resulted in no rubbing, and toes didn’t become cramped or blistered.

Read Review

—BEST FOR LONG RUNS—

Saucony Guide 13

Saucony Guide 13 $119.95 amazon.com

  • More energy return
  • Very soft upper with cushioned heel collar
  • Less suited to speedwork

The 13th version uses a flexible TPU frame that beefs up support on the inner arch and right along the outside of the heel, but unlike Saucony’s more aggressive medial-posted Omni, the Guide 13 remains unobtrusive enough for stability-seeking neutral runners, as well. While previous versions of the Guide have dabbled in Saucony’s “ISO” technologies like free-floating eyelets and adjustable inner fit sleeves, it’s back to basics in this version with simple yet generous tongue padding and a plush ankle collar that fit even our narrow-footed testers snugly. Three layers of foam—a cushy topsole that conforms to your foot, a contoured bottom to help return energy, and bouncy fused TPU beads in the middle to absorb shock—will set you back a few ounces compared to a lightweight trainer, but our testers found that the shoe still didn’t lag on daily runs or even tempos—it’s just not the shoe you’ll grab for speedwork.

—BEST FOR MARATHON TRAINING—

Under Armour Hovr Guardian

Under Armour HOVR Guardian $120.00 underarmour.com

  • Built-in tracking
  • Durable outsole
  • Stiff and heavy

The Guardian dials up stability by using two densities of foam in the surrounding frame—essentially adding a medial post under your arch. There’s also a “TPU chassis,” a plastic insert into the medial post to further add support in that area. That’s combined with an extra-stiff heel counter, which has been bolstered by an external plastic clip. The medial side of that is thick and solid, while the lateral (outer) edge is thinner and more flexible, giving relief if your foot moves in that direction.

Read Review More Images

—BEST FOR SEVERE OVERPRONATION—

New Balance 860v10

New Balance 860v10 $129.99 newbalance.com

  • Extremely stable
  • Slightly bulky
  • Not accessible to neutral feet

The TruFuse midsole features two types of foam and a dual-density medial post, which provides runners a firm, stable ride that cushions their stride and helps correct any excess pronation. Seven wear testers unanimously agreed that the 860v9 provided a serious amount of stability, and those who didn’t usually run in stability shoes noted that it’s not a shoe intended for neutral runners. The latest v10 model is no different. Said one tester, “The 860s felt light for a stability shoe, but they did not compromise on quality (of support). They felt secure and guided my foot strike comfortably.”

Read Review

—BEST FOR HEEL STRIKERS—

Mizuno Wave Inspire 16

Mizuno Wave Inspire 16 $134.95 amazon.com

  • Offers moderate support for overpronators
  • Exceptionally soft heel cushioning
  • Foam can firm up in cold temperatures

The midsole is a combination of Mizuno’s more responsive U4ic foam and its softer U4icX foam, which is placed below the heel’s Wave plate to soften the back half of the shoe. Indeed, the shoe’s heel registered extremely high cushioning scores in the RW Shoe Lab, and testers lauded the Wave Inspire 16’s plush heel. The outsole is grippy on roads and proved durable over months of pavement pounding, and the upper now uses a more breathable engineered mesh and lighter overlays than the 15th version . While the lofty 12mm drop felt a little too high for some testers, other runners thought it afforded the shoe a snappy, propulsive sensation.

—SOFTEST CUSHIONING—

Hoka One One Gaviota 2

Hoka One One Gaviota 2 $149.95 zappos.com

  • Secure upper with arch-lock wings
  • Soft and comfortable for all-day wear
  • Less durable outsole

Similar to the Arahi 3, the Gaviota uses Hoka’s J-Frame midsole technology, which Hoka describes as “Dynamic Stability,” to naturally guide a runner’s foot with each stride. However, unlike the Arahi, the Gaviota’s J-Frame is made from a proprietary EVA-and-rubber blend known as R-Bound that improves durability and bounce. Combine that midsole with a mid-foot overlay that gently wraps your foot, a molded sockliner for an ideal fit, a late stage Meta-Rocker for a reliably smooth toe off, and specifically placed rubber on the outsole to increase durability, and you’ve got a shoe that is ready to withstand your running regimen.

Read Review More Images

—BEST FOR RECOVERY RUNS—

On Cloudace

On Cloudace $159.99 on-running.com

  • Excellent shock absorption
  • Styled mesh upper is breathable
  • Very firm and stiff

To deliver stability in a nontraditional way, On has built the Cloudace on a wider platform. Previous On shoes had a sculpted shape, with a narrower waist. This model has a broader stance, especially under the heel and through the midfoot. That is then combined with a “speedboard”—a rigid plastic layer sandwiched between foam—to further enhance the shoe’s support.

Read Review More Images

—BEST ZERO-DROP SHOE—

Altra Paradigm 4.5

Altra Paradigm 4.5 $149.70 amazon.com

  • Ventilated upper hinders overheating
  • Anatomical foot shape provides ample room
  • No extra eyelet to lock-in heel

By implementing a Guide Rail and StabiliPod into the outsole, the Paradigm is one of Altra’s most stable shoes, yet isn’t imposing on your stride. Both features come to your aid when your feet get tired and your form begins to suffer. Testers didn’t feel controlled by the stability features; however, some felt the Guide Rail and StabiliPod made the sole too rigid.

Read Review More Images

I use my experience wearing Vibram Toe Shoes for over a year straight when I explain the importance of learning proper foot position or needing support. Even with my flat feet, I was a die-hard Vibram wearer. The reason why I was able to do it even with the structural issues I had were because I was constantly mindful of how I was standing and where my weight distribution was at. I was so passionate about those shoes and people actually learning how to use them properly I made a video about it: Be kind this is me 4 years ago as a full-time trainer 🙂

After wearing these shoes for a while I started to notice more and more people wearing them (they had just hit the market). Unfortunately, most of these people didn’t pay any mind to the way they were running or walking. They just liked the idea or maybe to them they were comfortable. The problem is, just because you’re taking yourself out of “over supportive” shoes like Brooks, it doesn’t mean you need to jump right into a minimal style shoe to fix your problem. If anything, the minimal style shoe requires more attention to detail and will-power to constantly be thinking about your foot position until it becomes second nature to you. Then and only then will you ever see the true benefit of the minimalist style shoe. So, for the average person looking to get out of the “over supportive” shoe I say do it only if you’re willing to put in the effort to correct what’s wrong with your mechanics.

So, what shoes are best for back pain?

In closing, I want to leave you with a little advice. Do not buy shoes based off of their reviews. You need to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What current issues do I have now?
  2. What do I do all day, do I stand and teach? Do I run around and play with kids or young adults or do I stand at a computer station?
  3. Do I over pronate (flat feet)?
  4. Do I over supinate (tall arch)?
  5. Do I walk with my feet pointed in or out?
  6. How do I stand?
  7. Are my toes facing forward or pointing in or out?

These questions play a big role in the shoes you need to spend more time experimenting with. Sometimes the shoes that give the most cushion and support are not always the best for you when it comes to back pain. If you’re looking for a new pair of running shoes to RUN in then yes, you want to pay close attention to what the reviews are saying. If you’re looking for a pair of shoes that will help with back pain then you may have to try a few out before you nail it down but keep in mind, the closer you can get to proper foot and body position the better. Just be sure to buy the shoes that will help fix the problem not create more for you.

If you need “support” than learn how you can repair your issues for yourself and wear shoes that will help you continue to work on those repairs as you wear them. Don’t get the high end shoes and rely on them to do the work.

At the same time don’t think that minimal style shoes will help you fix your issues. They will highlight your issues and create problems if your not being proactive in fixing them.

I know for me, I have developed pretty good body awareness and know what proper standing and walking should look like so believe it or not I can get a lot of relief from wearing a $40 pair of Classic Vans compared to my $120 Brooks. Not that the Brooks aren’t comfortable but when it comes to my lower back inflammation, you will probably see me wearing the Vans only because I know the Vans won’t put my body into a position that I personally can’t correct myself.

In my continued pursuit of the perfect shoes, there are 3 things that I look at.

  1. Zero Drop: This basically means from the heel to the toe there is NO angle. It’s a flat surface.
  2. Wide Toe Box: This is a new concept for me but once you go wide toe box you will never go back to the regular shoes again. The wide toe box allows room for your toes to spread while you walk and run. Instead of shoes like Brooks where the toe box is narrow and keeps your toes bunched together. The wide toe box is the opposite. Best thing to happen to me since Ramen Noodle.
  3. Light cushion: I don’t want too much material between me and the ground. Where Vibram toe shoes are the extreme, I want a bit more cushion than those.

So far, the only company that I have found to really harness all of these qualities that I feel everyone should look for is Altra Running Shoes. (this is their main site where you can see what models would be best for you. You can buy them other places and save a few bucks if your into that sort of thing 😉 ). Even though I am not a runner, I am active. I am standing for hours a day, walking and training. I need a shoe that is versatile to be able to handle whatever I throw at it but most importantly not causing irritation in my lower back.

The exact shoe that I personally wear on a daily bases are these bad boys here. Altra Provisions 2. I 100% stand behind this model and style simply because I am a consumer just like you. I am looking forward to beating these things up so that I can try a new pair out! I have my eyes on the trail shoes next. Either the Lone Peaks or Superior Line.

You do not have to be “active” to wear these shoes. If you have a daily walking shoe or basic sneaker then these shoes can replace those. The goal is to chip away at what could be causing irritation in your lower back and there is no doubt in my mind that your shoes will only help or hurt you in the long run so choose wisely!

So how about you?

What shoes do you typically wear all day and how do they make you feel? Let me know in the comment section below!

TTYS,

William

Reminder: Some of the links above are affiliate links to products that I personally use or have used myself.

1 Shares

The Best Walking Shoes for Women (2016 edition)

Athletic Shoes

Published on | by

33

Best Walking Shoes for Women 2016

I’m now at an age that when I tell people I have rheumatoid arthritis, I no longer hear, “Oh, you’re too young to have RA,” which we all know is just plain silly because toddlers get RA (and by we, I mean the RA community). Now people categorize my arthritis as the normal wear and tear osteoarthritis that their great-aunt has–I guess I’m old enough to have arthritis now. Even I get confused when an ache or pain hits a new joint. Is it an RA flare-up or just the wearing down of an overused knee or hip? But one thing’s for sure, I want to stay active as long as I can. I’m an older mom with young kids. I want to be able to dance at their weddings.

I’ve tried jogging and love the cardiovascular workout and endorphin rush, but my knees nixed that crazy endeavor, as did my rheumatologist. So I returned to what I do best: I walk. While my friends do crossfit, hot yoga, early spin classes and kick-boxing, I walk. I really do wish I could participate in those activities to challenge myself, but I know my limits. So I walk. It’s something I can do with relatively little pain, hopefully for a long while.

Last week I got a little crazy, forgot my limits and reinstalled the couch to 5k app on my phone and started to jog ever-so-slowly when the nice lady told me to. Two days later, both hips started acting up. I worried that I’d need a hip replacement by February and feared I wouldn’t be able to stand at my son’s graduation, which isn’t for four more years, but you know how one thought leads to another. I slowed down that train of thought and went back to walking–feeling a bit discouraged, yet thankful it’s the one activity I can count on for now. I do pay for a gym membership in the winter so I can walk the track safely without slipping on ice, but come spring, my walking shoes become my gym membership as I head outdoors.

Currently, I enjoy walking the track in my Asics GT-2000s. They’re running shoes, but I love the cushioned insole, excellent arch support and room for my toes and they are a great candidate for walking shoes for women. I’m a mild over-pronator with a fairly high arch, and these fit my feet perfectly. But what other shoes are favorites among walkers with foot problems? Take a look at the best walking shoes for women 2016 as chosen by the Barking Dog. And if you have a favorite walking shoe, please leave a comment–it’s helpful to other readers.

Saucony Grid Omni Walker

Best walking shoes for women with moderate overpronation: Saucony Grid Omni Walker

These walking shoes for women has been around for at least 10 years and is a favorite among overpronators with it’s combination of stability and cushioning. The Omni Walker will accommodate an orthotic and comes in multiple widths. Let’s see what online customers say:

From a FootSmart Customer:

  • I have big time foot issues because of RA. They are very tender so I return to this shoe in pain. It is working for me and I will keep buying them as long as they make them.

From Zappos Customers:

  • I have tried many, many brands of shoes for work. I am a massage therapist, on my feet usually 10+ hours a day, work on marble floors and have flat feet. Finding shoes that can keep me comfy all day are hard to find. This is my second pair of Sauconys and I love them both.
  • I wear a 91/2 N and have had bunionectomies on both feet as well as reconstructive surgery on the right. My finicky feet love these shoes!

Available at Saucony.com for $90, free shipping and returns; $90 at Zappos, free shipping and returns; $39-89 at Amazon.

Ryka Devotion

Best for fitness walking shoes for women: Rykä Devotion (Winner of the Prevention Magazine Shoe Award for best “all-day comfort.”)

I’d also recommend the Rykä Devotion for those with knee pain or back pain–the cushioning can’t be beat! This fitness walking shoe is constructed with RE-ZORB, Rykä’s proprietary cushioning technology. RE-ZORB can be found throughout the length of the midsole and the cobblestone pods on the outsole to provide even extra cushioning and comfort. What customers are saying:

From Zappos customers:

  • I tried these on to get size perspective for the brand and couldn’t take them off. I highly recommend this shoe to anyone with arthritic or orthopedic problems with their lower body. Ryka claims the foam layer of the platform is to give your legs a challenge, but I found it incredibly therapeutic for my bad hips and back. Most wonderful is how it cushions the ball of my foot, which relieves pressure on nerves in my footIf you have a wide toe box and narrow heel, this is your shoe.
  • What a terrific shoe. Like walking on tempur-pedic foam. Good support since I’m a supinator.
  • I work out 5X/week, have bunions, and a Morton’s neuroma on the pad of my left foot. I usually buy inserts to protect my feet. So, shoe comfort is extremely important to me! I will never buy another brand of fitness shoes again!

Available in medium and wide widths at Zappos for $75, free shipping and returns; $23.99-90 at Amazon with free shipping.

New Balance 411v2

Best for hammertoes or peripheral neuropathy: New Balance 411v2

Deep and wide! That’s the toe box in these walking shoes for women by New Balance. If you have hammertoes, bunions or an orthotic that requires more room than your average shoe, the NB 411v2 is the answer. The soft fabric lining won’t irritate sensitive toes from neuropathy. Available in three widths at Zappos for $64.95, free shipping and returns.

Best for Underpronation (Supination, or rolling the ankle outward) Asics Gel-Evate 3

Asics Gel-Evate 3

Feet that underpronate often have high arches and need excellent cushioning and shock absorption. The Asics Gel-Evate 3 has just that with its rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning and a FluidRide® midsole. Although billed as a running shoe, the Gel-Evate 3 works as a walking shoe too. This shoe provides a snug fit and is recommended for medium to slightly narrow feet.

From Zappos customers:

  • I have a high arch and these give me the cushion I need to be comfortable.
  • These are perfect shoes for a mild underpronator, like me. Lots of cushioning.

Available for $119.95 at Zappos, $46-155 at Amazon, free shipping and returns.

Abeo Rocs

Best for feet that suffer from plantar fasciits and forefoot pain: Abeo Rocs

A true rocker-bottom walking shoe, Abeo Rocs are similar to MBTs (if you’ve ever worn those before), with all of the same benefits with a lower price point, and they happen to be more lightweight! A rocker-soled shoe is recommended for those with forefoot pain due to Morton’s neuroma, bunions, metatarsalgia and rearfoot pain due to plantar fasciiitis.

  • These are the best rocker soled shoes I’ve tried since the original MBTs disappeared. They fit well, look good, and do their job in helping me maintain my posture while keeping my hips, back and knees comfortable. I’m a 64 year old nurse and these qualities are essential to me in getting my job done while conserving energy and eliminating pain.
  • I suffer from midfoot arthritis. This is the only pair of walking shoes for women that I can wear that will allow me to take long walks with my dog.
  • I think the main thing is that the slightly rounded sole keeps me from putting too much pressure on the front of my foot, which keeps the ball of the foot pain in check.
  • They help take pressure off of your forefoot if you have metarsal pain, neuromas,etc.

Available at The Walking Company for $99 with free shipping.

Skechers Performance Go Walk 3

Best walking shoe slip-on: Skechers Performance Go Walk 3

Have you had surgery on knees or hips and can not possibly fathom tying your shoes? Or do you just have bad knees or back and need a cloud-like cushion between your achy self and the pavement? The Skechers Performance Go Walk collection provides instant relief. The Resalyte® midsole is a lightweight, injection-molded compound that features memory retention to help absorb impact with every landing. The mesh upper is breathable and forgiving of bunions and hammertoes.

Available in medium and wide widths at Zappos for $60; $31-60 at Amazon.

Ecco Chase Tie II

Best walking shoes for women that don’t look like a walking shoe: The Ecco Chase II Tie

A stylish option to mesh and brightly colored trainers, the Ecco Chase Tie II comes in neutrals and brights. The arch support is moderate and insole removable. If you like the look of street-chic kicks like Superga or Converse but need more support, the Ecco Chase Tie is a good option. $130 at Zappos, $99 at The Walking Company.

Since writing this post, I’ve come across the On Cloud brand of extremely lightweight athletic shoes. Runners, walkers and even nurses comment on their wonderful cushioning.

About the Author

Blogger, Wife, Mom, Dog-Lover, Coffee Drinker, Owl Watcher.

Treating back pain often requires a 360-degree approach, and the things you do and wear on a daily basis can have a big impact on how comfortable you end up feeling. That extends to your shoes too.

© Provided by Oath Inc. Wearing the right shoes can make a huge difference in getting rid of back pain. (Photo: Getty Images)

“Feet are responsible for posture and the alignment of your back while holding up your body weight as you stand or move from one place to another,” Miguel Cunha, a podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Improper shoe gear can lead to back pain.”

If your back pain struggle is real, you’ll generally want to follow a few rules for footwear, according to Melissa Lockwood, a podiatrist at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates in Bloomington, Ill. For starters, you’ll want to swap out your go-to shoes for a new pair every six months. “If you’re wearing older shoes and they’ve worn down, it can throw your gait off and increase your back pain,” Lockwood says.

When it comes to buying a new shoe, you’ll want to make sure that what you buy has a natural arch support in it, Lockwood explains. Shoes with specifically engineered foot beds and molded EVA midsoles are also good options because they help support your foot, heel and arch, which helps support your ankles, knees and back, says Cunha. You also can’t go wrong with a shock-absorbing outsole, ideally one made of rubber. That “will help alleviate the impact of each step on the spine far greater than a shoe with a hard sole,” Cunha adds.

In general, you want to steer clear of stiletto high heels and flimsy flip-flops, since they don’t offer up much support for your feet — and therefore back — at all, Lockwood says.

Here are some great sneaker and shoe options to get relief from back pain.

The editors at Yahoo Lifestyle are committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. At times, we may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

Vionic Caroll Snake

© Provided by Oath Inc. Vionic Caroll Snake (Photo: Zappos)

You need to be wary of many ballet flats when you suffer from back pain (largely because they usually don’t offer up good support), but Vionic shoes have a lot of great features that make them an exception to the rule, Lockwood says. This slip-on has an EVA foot bed and thermoplastic rubber outsole for comfort. An elasticized collar also ensures that the shoe will stay where it belongs — on your foot.

Shop it: Vionic Caroll Snake, $120, zappos.com

Brooks Ghost 11

© Provided by Oath Inc. Brooks Ghost 11 (Photo: Zappos)

Brooks and comfort practically go hand-in-hand, and that extends to your back as well. The Ghost 11 feels lightweight but has great arch support and plenty of cushioning to keep you comfy while you work out or just go about your day. It also comes in several different shades, so you can find the look that’s right for you.

Shop it: Brooks Ghost 11, $120, zappos.com

Vionic Farra Lizard

© Provided by Oath Inc. Vionic Farra Lizard (Photo: Zappos)

In the market for a sandal with great support? Look no further. The Farra has a microfiber-lined EVA foot bed for shock-absorption and arch support, and a durable rubber outsole for traction control.

Shop it: Vionic Farra Lizard, $90, zappos.com

Mizuno Wave Rider 22

© Provided by Oath Inc. Mizuno Wave Rider 22 (Zappos)

This sneaker has Mizuno Cloudwave technology to give you extra cushioning. It also has a carbon rubber outsole for long-lasting wear and a DynaMotion Fit upper to help keep your feet supported, no matter what you’re doing.

Shop it: Mizuno Wave Rider 22, $120, zappos.com

Naturalizer Erica

© Provided by Oath Inc. Naturalizer Erica (Naturalizer)

You don’t have to sacrifice your back’s comfort for dressier occasions. The Naturalizer Erica has all the great features you expect with a Naturalizer shoe, but in a cute silhouette. These Mary Janes have a durable non-slip outsole and contoured footbed with arch support to keep you comfortable, no matter what.

Shop it: Naturalizer Erica, $58 (was $89), zappos.com

Onitsuka Tiger by Asics

© Provided by Oath Inc. Onitsuka Tiger by Asics (Asics)

For those times when you just need to have fun with your footwear, there’s the Onitsuka Tiger. These shoes come in a wide range of fun colors, but still have all the back-friendly features you need like a cushioned foot bed for support and rubber outsole for shock-absorption.

Shop it: Onitsuka Tiger by Asics, $80, zappos.com

Clarks Breeze Sea Thong

© Provided by Oath Inc. Clarks Breeze Sea (Photo: Zappos)

If you’re in the market for a pair of flip-flops that won’t wreck your back, Clarks is here with the answer to your prayers. The Breeze Sea thong has the look of a flip-flop, with the comfort and support of a sneaker. These sandals have an EVA foam foot bed and rubber outsole for support and traction. The outsole is also way thicker than that of your standard flip-flop, making shock-absorption a non-issue.

Shop it: Clarks Breeze Sea Thong, $30, zappos.com

The Best and Worst Shoes for Back Pain

Best Footwear for Back Pain

There are a number of good choices when it comes to shoes designed to ease or reduce symptoms from musculoskeletal complaints involving foot, knee, hip, and back pain, Jung says. “All of these are linked, and the force imparted on the foot is ultimately imparted on the back.”

The main thing you should focus on is making sure you choose the right shoe for your particular foot type and problem.

For starters, one of the most important features to look for is the arch — it should be designed to work with the natural arch of your foot. Generally speaking, there are three arch shapes: over-pronation (low), neutral, and excessive supination (high).

Running shoes are generally designed to address many different issues, with motion control helping pronation, stability for the neutral arch, and cushioned to assist supination arches.

“Minimal” shoes are a specialized option to consider. “These shoes are designed to promote the foot striking the ground with the front or middle of the foot rather than the heel,” says Dr. Jung. “This alters the way the foot and the lower extremity contact and interact with the ground.”

Specially designed inserts or insoles can also help relieve back pain in some cases because they provide extra support.

Prescription orthotics are another kind of specialized shoe. So-called functional orthotics are usually made from plastic or graphite and can treat issues caused by abnormal motion. Another type, called accommodative orthotics, are softer and used more for the support and cushioning needed in painful foot conditions rather than back pain.

Best Shoes for Back Pain

Image of Foot

Why do I need certain shoes to help my back?

A good shoe that supports your back provides the basic protection and mechanical support for the foundation of your body. When your feet are supported with the best shoes, your entire body will be balanced and aligned.

If you don’t have what’s considered the best shoes than this may lead to imbalances that can trigger abnormal compensation and ultimately result in back pain.

How do the best shoes for back pain help with walking?

Just as your car requires good alignment of its tires to drive right, your back requires the best shoes to walk right. Without the adequate shoes, your body’s normal walking pattern may be off and the body will make up for this by changing the weight it puts on other areas of the body.

These weight/force distribution and changes can cause how the spine should line up naturally and may lead to issues with lower back pain. Remember just like your issue with cars alignment can wear out the tires quicker so can the same be said about shoes and your back.

Why is alignment so important for the health of my back?

Follow along and you will see how the best shoes for back pain can have a tremendous effect. Alignment is basically how these listed body parts line up with each other:

  • Head
  • Shoulders
  • Spine
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles

These body parts must correctly interact and line up with each other. Proper alignment of the body puts less stress on the spine and leads to good posture. Basically, good posture is the ability to correctly balance the load from below and above that is put on the spine.

What are the characteristics of the best shoes for back pain?

First of all, let’s discuss what the best shoes for back pain aren’t.

1: Shoes that have higher heels

  • Throw off alignment
  • Alters center of gravity
  • Causes back to compensate in a bad way.

2: Flat shoes

  • Little arch support
  • Causes forces to be relayed to spine with negative impact.

Physical Issues that may influence what kind of shoes you should choose include:

  • Flat feet
  • High arches feet
  • Unequal length of legs

The biomechanical changes at your feet again causes force to act as a negative impact on the spine.

So how do I find the best shoes for back pain?

Start with the type of shoe you wear most often

  • Usually is going to be a sneaker type shoe.
  • Provides motion control
  • Wider sole/heel that distributes force evenly
  • Flexibility that allows proper movement of the foot with your walking pattern.
  • Extra support that helps with normal movement.
  • Shoes made with composites of plastic or graphite for normal motion.

Follow these guidelines to achieve what is the best shoe for you.

Who can help me find the best shoes for back pain?

The clinicians at JOI Rehab can help you solve this puzzle in a host of ways

  • Gait/running analysis to identify and correct the problem.
  • Orthotics to support and cushion.
  • Treatment to help with posture and strength at back muscles

Just like the best shoes, JOI Rehab can fit your needs for this issue.

The 4 Worst Shoes for Back Pain

Having back pain issues? Look down for the source of the problem. That’s right, your back pain may be coming from the shoes you wear every day. Before you say, “I don’t wear high heels,” know that high heels aren’t the biggest back pain offender.

High Heels

Yes, high heels can cause back pain, even though they are not alone. The fashion industry is obsessed with creating the illusion of never-ending long legs. Wearing high heels that are more than an inch high causes you to walk with your back bent. Wearing high heels can also put a lot of stress on your knees too.

Flats

Flats or ballet shoes are one shoe that can cause back pain. Are you surprised? Majority of the flats on the market can actually cause 25 percent more impact on your back than wearing high heels. This is because most flats are made of thin material and do not offer support to your natural arch. Some companies are starting to make orthopedic flats that actually support your foot like a tennis shoe, but other than that, flats should be avoided.

Flip Flops

Like flats, flip flops are not good for your feet either. Since you have to tighten your toes to keep the flip flop on, you walk in an unnatural way, causing strain on your legs and back. Most flip flops are also made of cheap and thin material which does not support your foot. We have all seen flip flops so thin that the person might as well have been barefoot. In fact, going barefoot may have been better for their backs.

One of the worst shoes on the market are toning shoes. These shoes are extremely popular for those looking to tone up without putting the time in at the gym. They are an expensive way to get back pain. Since they are off balanced, they put more stress on your joints and back. Studies have shown that these toning shoes don’t even work for toning or weight loss. If that is not bad enough, the thick insert in the shoe also causes your foot to walk in a flat position and absorb more shock.

We are guessing that getting rid of these four problem shoes means getting rid of most if not all of your shoes. So what is a shoe lover supposed to do? We have some great shoe buying tips for you next week. We will show you that you can have fashion without the back pain.

Story Credit

The Best Shoes for Lower Back Pain

Most people have experienced lower back pain at some stage of their lives.

It can start from a dull pain in the lower back and become worse when you exercise or play sports.

One of the most important methods for managing back pain is to wear appropriate footwear as well as to do ample stretching before strenuous exercise.

When back pain becomes severe it can have quite an effect on your life, here are some effects that I have noticed in my life as my back pain became worse and more frequent;

The Effect that Lower Back Pain has on your Life

Lower back pain can affect various aspects of your life depending on the severity and cause of the lower back pain.
Here are a few areas in which lower back pain can affect your life;

Mobility and Pain

Lower back pain has caused me to move slower and become more wary of performing certain daily activities.

When the pain becomes more noticeable and less avoidable, people tend to start performing fewer activities and move more carefully in order to prevent pain.

Emotions and Moods

When you are chronically in pain, particularly back pain you have a much lower tolerance to stress and becomes more sensitive to anything that might aggravate the pain.

Back pain can take quite some time to improve and does not change much from day to day; my results in an ongoing negative mood and emotions.

Because back pain can become worse quite fast a person suffering from severe back pain will become moodier and have negative emotions rather than feelings of relief and comfort.

Family Life

The way in which lower Back pain affects mobility and sensitivity to pain also affects the ability to be actively involved with the family.

As the pain progresses and becomes worse, you can become more frustrated and start to avoid spending time with family and friends.

Rest and Sleep

Lower back pain can influence the quality of rest and sleep. Constant back pain is exhausting in itself, and therefore enough rest and sleep are required in the healing process.

Sleeping can be quite uncomfortable with lower back pain, but finding a sleeping position that is comfortable or option for an orthopedic mattress or pillow can bring much relief.

Causes of Lower Back Pain

Improper alignment of your entire body from head to toe is the main cause of lower back pain.

Your joints and muscles get stressed and strained if your body usually remains out of alignment.

In order to restore this alignment, your body has to compensate in some way, and this consistent compensation can cause a number of health problems including pain in the lower back.

If you have a flat foot, an impact from running and walking can cause stress on your back, Running Shoes for Flat Feet can help to reduce impact by providing better shock absorbency.

Other reasons for lower back pain

Here are some more reasons I have come across, for Back Pain;

  • Standing or sitting in an awkward for a long period of time.
  • Handling heavy objects inappropriately.
  • Excessive physical exertion during a workout or at work.
  • A Back Injury.
  • Sciatica, which is compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back.
  • Age-related problems.
  • Occupations involving strenuous activities or lifting of heavy objects.
  • Being inactive.
  • Obesity.

Features of a Good Shoe for Lower Back Pain

Firstly and most importantly you need to find out what type of arch your foot has because a shoe that is good for your back needs to work well with the natural arch of your feet.

There are three types of arches; low arches (pronation), neutral or normal arches, and high arches (supination).
A good shoe which provides motion control will help with pronation, but also gives stability to a neutral arch and cushioning for supination arches.

Shoes that promote foot striking the ground with the middle or front of the foot rather than the heel are also an excellent choice, as the impact on the heels can affect your lower back.
You can also get specially designed insoles or orthotics that provide extra support for back pain relief.

Reviews: Best Shoes for Lower Back Pain

Listed here are a few of my favorite shoe choices for lower back pain, I have added some reviews and specs to make your decision easier;

1

Back Pain Preventing Running Shoe

The Hoka One Bondi 6 is one of the most cushioned and supportive running shoes that you will find. This shoe provides the best in shock absorption and motion control.

  • Gives you an enhanced smooth and balanced ride on any road.
  • Meta-Rocker technology for the best in motion control.
  • Supple and breathable mesh and synthetic uppers.
  • A well cushioned full EVA midsole.
  • Durable and thick outsole for maximum shock absorbency and excellent traction.

2

Back Pain Cushioned Running Shoe

A comfortable and supportive running shoe, the Gel-Kayano 25 is an updated version that has so much more characteristics to offer.

  • Mesh and synthetic uppers that are flexible and breathable to keep your feet cool and comfortable.
  • The Dynamic DuoMax support system provides the best support and stability functions.
  • An Impact Guidance system and Trusstic system to enhance gait efficiency and give structural support to the midfoot.
  • Premium Flytefoam cushioning for plush comfort and support.
  • A durable rubber

3

Lower Back Pain Orthopedic Shoe

The Orthofeet Orthopedic shoe is an exceptional and comfortable that offers great relief and support particularly if you suffer from lower back pain. This is a glamorous and fashionable shoe for special occasions and formal events.

  • Manufactured from soft and supple leather.
  • A Multi-Layered removable orthotic insert provides anatomical support and arch support.
  • Designed to soften your steps and facilitate foot motion reducing stress on the joints and lower back.
  • A lightweight cushioned sole ensures natural gait with the Ergonomic Stride technology.
  • The non-binding design with a smooth fabric lining and padded foam reduces irritation and enhances comfort.
  • A Biomechanical design with unique comfort features for an orthopedic shoe that is perfect for back and foot pain, Diabetes as well as many other conditions.

4

Ankle Boot for Back Pain

The Vionic Boot is an orthopedic ankle boot that will aid in relieving back pain as well as many other feet and lower limb conditions.

This boot helps to align your feet naturally and enhances walking motion while providing superb comfort in an attractive everyday wear boot.

  • Manufactured from soft full grain leather.
  • The buckle instep straps in the Vionic Adrie and the lace-up system in the Vionic Ryan ensures a better fit and enhances the design.
  • A durable rubber outsole for added support.
  • Orthaheel technology and a biomechanical orthotic footbed that helps to align your feet naturally and reduces overpronation.
  • Available in a few neutral colors.

5

Running Shoe for Back Pain

Saucony is well known for their creatively designed and engineered shoe that will aid to maximize your performance and give you the comfort and support that you need to perform your activities.

The Saucony Zealot is a running shoe that is designed to give maximum support and motion control that is a great advantage for people who suffer from back pain.

  • The uppers are made from breathable ISOFIT mesh and lightweight synthetic overlays.
  • A rubber sole for excellent grip and traction.
  • Neutral cushioning for added support.
  • The tongue and collar are padded for a comfortable fit.
  • A Powergrid Midsole for stability and support.
  • A 3mm EVERUN topsole and updated Triflex outsole that allows more flexible movement.
  • Available in a variety of colors and designs.

6

Back Pain Athletic Shoes

The Asics Gel Cumulus 20 is one of the best available running shoes that will not only offer you back pain relief but also relief from many other foot conditions.

  • The Asics Cumulus is one of the best shoes for the gym for people with lower back pain.
  • Breathable and flexible synthetic and mesh uppers.
  • An Impact Guidance System to enhance the foot’s natural gait cycle.
  • The Fluidride midsole provides a combination of bounce back and exceptional cushioning.
  • Rearfoot and Forefoot Gel cushioning for better shock absorbency and movement on multiple planes.
  • A durable rubber outsole for excellent grip and traction.

7

Normal Arch to Flat Feet Running Shoe

The New Balance 1540V2 is an athletic shoe that will aid in reducing impact and strain on the feet and lower limbs reducing back ankle and knee pain.

  • The blown rubber outsole offers great grip on many floor surfaces.
  • A foam collar for a more comfortable fit.
  • The No-Sew material application technology gives this shoe an even better and more comfortable fit.
  • The uppers are manufactured from breathable mesh and synthetic materials.
  • Offer excellent shock absorption and support to prevent back pain, foot conditions, and injuries.

8

Slip-On Shoes for Back Pain

The Merrel Slip-on Shoe is a stylish and comfortable shoe that is perfect for work and as a dress shoe. It offers all the comfort and support characteristics to help reduce back pain and improve your posture when walking.

  • Imported leather uppers.
  • A durable rubber M-Select grip sole that improves grip and traction.
  • The Lycra Neoprene stretch collar makes these shoes easy to put on and take off.
  • M Select fresh technology and pigskin and mesh insole lining, for a more breathable and odor-resistant shoe
  • A stable metal arch shank which offers support to improve back alignment.
  • Merrel air cushioning to reduce impact and an EVA insole for added cushioning throughout the day.
  • Ice grip outsole with a warm and comfortable interior make it a perfect winter shoe.

9

Casual Walking Shoe for Back Pain Relief

The Brooks Addiction Walker is a stunning walking shoe that can likewise be worn as a casual shoe. This shoe offers some exceptional comfort features that will provide relief from back pain.

  • Supple full grain genuine leather uppers.
  • A MoGo midsole that returns energy to the feet and ensures plush cushioned comfort.
  • The durable and thick rubber outsole absorbs shock and offers excellent grip.
  • This shoe similarly provides very good arch support, particularly for overpronators.
  • Each available in three neutral color options.

10

Sandals for Lower Back Pain

The Propet Sandal is a casual sandal that is ideal for people suffering from lower back pain. This shoe has extra padding and a high-performance rubber sole that provides superb support and shock absorption.

  • Manufactured from high-quality Nubuck leather.
  • Lined with comfortable soft padding for extra support.
  • The insole and midsole have been covered with microfiber EVA and is contoured for better cushioning.
  • The three hook and loop straps on the instep, forefoot, and heel give you an adjustable and comfortable fit.
  • The outsole is manufactured from high performance, durable rubber that offers excellent support and traction.
  • Podiatrist designed Rejuve technology.

How To Manage Lower Back Pain

Luckily, with the technology we have today, there are quite a few methods that can be used to relieve lower back pain and reduce further damage.

The use of supportive devices to align your back, hot and cold compresses, and other medicinal treatments will provide all the needed aid with lower back pain.

After controlling the pain, my condition can be prevented by improving your posture while standing and sitting, toning and stretching your back muscles regularly and wearing supportive shoes to maintain the alignment of your back.

Wearing the right footwear helps me to reduce and relieve my lower back pain and prevents further injuries and damage to my back.

Index Table: Best Shoes for Lower Back Pain

No. Shoe Men ♂ Women ♀ Features Brand Score
1 Hoka One® – Back Pain Preventing Running Shoe Bondi 6 Bondi 6
  • Full EVA Midsole
  • Meta-Rocker
  • Breathable
Hoka One 95
2 Asics® – Back Pain Cushioned Running Shoe Gel-Kayano 25 Gel Kayano 25
  • DuoMax Support
  • Flytefoam Cushioning
  • Impact Guidance
  • Trusstic System
Asics 98
3 Orthofeet® – Lower Back Pain Orthopedic Shoe 410 817
  • Padded Footbed
  • Arch Support
Orthofeet 95
4 Vionic® – Ankle Boot for Back Pain Chase Logan
  • Gore panel
  • Orthaheel Technology
  • Orthotic Footbed
Vionic 95
5 Saucony® – Running Shoe for Back Pain Zealot ISO 3 Zealot ISO 3
  • Shock Guard Cushions
  • Absorbs impact
Saucony 96
6 Asics® – Back Pain Athletic Shoes Gel Cumulus 20 Gel Cumulus 20
  • Fluid Ride
  • Rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning
Asics 98
7 New Balance® – Normal Arch to Flat Feet Running Shoe M1540V2 W1540V2
  • Rubber Sole
  • Breathable
  • Reduces Inflammation
New Balance 92
8 Merrell® – Slip-On Shoes for Back Pain Jungle Jungle
  • Metal Arch Shank
  • Impact Reducing Air Cushioning
  • Rubber Sole
Merrell 97
9 Brooks® – Casual Walking Shoe for Back Pain Relief Addiction Walker Addiction Walker
  • Arch Support
  • Cushioned
  • Slip Resistant
Brooks 97
10 Propet® – Sandals for Lower Back Pain Daytona Helen
  • Leather Uppers
  • EVA Insole
  • Rubber Outsole
Propet 96
Please rate this article:

  • 4.7/5
  • 21 ratings

21 ratingsX

Very bad! Bad Hmmm Oke Good!
0% 0% 0% 28.6% 71.4%

Best Shoes for Back Pain – Our Top Picks & Recommendations

Comfortable Women’s Flats

Published on | by

21

The connection between footwear and back pain can be a chicken-and-egg situation. Do the shoes you’re wearing aggravate an existing back condition? Or could wearing the wrong shoes be the reason your back hurts in the first place? If you’re trying to find the best shoes for back pain, a little homework (and probably a chat with your doctor or chiropractor) is the first step.

Maybe you have an injury, structural abnormality, or other underlying factor that causes pain. Proper diagnosis is the basis of understanding your treatment options, which should definitely include evaluating what kind of shoes you’re wearing. Why? As a chiropractor once explained to me, “everything’s connected.” A stress in or misalignment of one part of your body affects numerous other parts. And what’s supporting it all? Your feet! This also explains why improper footwear is often the culprit behind unexplained back pain. Anything affecting the feet can ultimately affect the back.

Just as back pain can result from a number of different causes, there’s no cookie-cutter footwear solution. You’ll need to consider your particular situation and maybe be patient with a little trial-and-error (which thankfully is made easy by many online retailers’ free shipping & return policies.) But here are some general guidelines to follow when seeking out the best shoes for back pain:

Klogs Austin

Avoid completely flat shoes, and also high heels. A low heel (1/2″ to 1″) will be most comfortable. The Merrell Circuit MJ Breeze is one example. We have personal experience with how well this shoe works for women with back issues. The Merrell Encore also comes up frequently online as one of the best shoes for back pain. Want a little more height? A heel offset by a platform is a great option, like the Klogs Austin. The heel is 2″, but is offset by a 1″ platform. These soft but supportive clogs get rave reviews from people with all manner of back, foot, and leg issues.

Vionic Spark Minna

Look for shoes that flex with your foot, but also have good arch support, like the Nurse Mates Velocity, which boasts a “firm-but-flexible” footbed among other great comfort features. If you need a dressier shoe, the Vionic Spark Minna might be a good option (Vionic shoes are known for their extraordinary support in very wearable styles).

Hotter Maisie Sandal

Say NO to flimsy flip flops, and YES to soft-but-supportive sandals like the Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed. Traditional Birkenstocks can feel a little hard to those suffering with back pain, but the soft foot bed makes a big difference. (And guess what? Birks are actually in style now and come in gorgeous shades of lavender, blush and even metallics! Don’t you love it when fashion and comfort come together?) If Birkenstocks aren’t your thing, Fitflop and Hotter footwear are both great choices with wonderfully cushioned, contoured insoles.

Alegria Essence

Find shoes with plenty of toe room. Your back stays happier when your toes can grip and flex naturally as you walk! Keen is a brand known for generous toe boxes & great comfort in general. We’re loving the Keen Terradora hiker, the Keen Elsa sneaker, and the Keen Rose sandal. We also have to mention the Alegria Essence, a popular, versatile sneaker with lots of toe room that has earned literally thousands of 5-star online reviews for arch support and ability to take an orthotic.

MBT Speed 17 Slip-on

Consider a rocker sole or negative heel technology. Many people have found back pain relief from a curved or “rocker” sole which helps minimize back pain by reducing pressure on foot joints. MBT makes a wide range of styles with a rocker sole, including running shoes, dressier shoes, and casuals like the MBT Speed 17 Slip On. Other back pain sufferers swear by Kalso Earth shoes, which have a patented negative heel technology which positions your toes higher than your heels to help improve posture and reduce joint stress. This unique design is said to mimic walking barefoot in the sand. Check out the Kalso Earth Ziggy (lace-up oxford), Kalso Earth Harvest (slip-on loafer) or Kalso Earth Solar (Mary Jane flat).

Is your back pain caused by overpronation (foot collapsing inward, often due to low arches)? Stability shoes with more aggressive arch support may help, like the Asics Gel Exalt 3 or the Brooks Addiction Walker.

On Swiss Performance Shoes

Are you a runner? If your active lifestyle has been hindered by back issues, consider the Hoka One One shoe with an oversized midsole for maximum cushion and unique “bucket seat” foot frame for extra stability. FYI – even non-runners love this shoe for its unique comfort features. Also if you prefer a barefoot or minimalist shoe but crave cushioning for back or knee pain, consider Swiss brand, On. Highly adaptive rubber “cloud” outsole pods provide both vertical and horizontal cushioning for a soft landing relieving shock to back and knees. We know first-hand how great On shoes are – check out our full review of the On Cloud here.

Try adding quality insoles. Sometimes your favorite shoes can be adapted for superior support and comfort by removing their insoles and replacing them with higher quality insoles like Aetrex Lynco Memory Foam Orthotics or Birkenstock Birko Arch Supports.

SAS Sunny

Look for footwear with extra cushioning to soften the impact of walking. Shoes like the FitFlop Superskate and the SAS Sunny both have extra cushiony supportiveness and get great reviews from women with back issues.

We’ve done our best research, but is there anything we’ve missed? What are your recommendations for the best shoes for back pain? Have you tried any on our list? Readers are often our best source of information – let us know your thoughts! Leave a comment here or over at our Facebook page.

SaveSave

Choose the Right Dress Shoes for Back Pain (and Work in Comfort)

Have you been to the doctor lately? Chances are you’ve not only been, but you went because of an issue with your back. The American Chiropractic Association found that more that 50 percent of working Americans suffer from back pain each year and that back pain ranks as the number two reason people see a doctor. While there are many ways to address back pain, we want to talk about the best dress shoes for back pain and how to choose them for yourself.

Shoes can make a huge difference in back pain. Think about it. The foundation of your spine is your feet. If your feet are out of alignment, then chances are your back is too, causing back pain. That’s why it’s important to select shoes that will help correct poor body alignment and support proper body alignment.

Tips to Selecting Dress Shoes for Back Pain

Now, we know you need to dress up, whether it’s everyday or for the occasional wedding. But there’s no excuse to buy crappy shoes that end up hurting your body in the long term while sparing your wallet in the short.

We have put together a list of some of the better dress shoes for back pain, yet we must caveat these selections by giving you a few buying tips.

  • First, buy shoes that are comfortable. Uncomfortable shoes are a sign of poor quality, poor fit, or both.
  • Second, avoid squeezing your toes. This is common in women shoes that tend to narrow at towards the toe. Your toes were designed to give you balance and support, stuffing them into tight quarters hinders them from functioning properly. Instead, purchase shoes that have ample room for your toes.
  • Third, look for shock absorption. Unless you live in a house made of marshmallows, you spend most of your time on concrete, asphalt, tile, or a thin layer of carpet over concrete. Thus, your daily walking route is pound, pound, pounding your joints with every step. Invest in shoes with a nice layer of shock absorbing material – you’ll know it when your foot steps inside.

Men’s Dress Shoes for Back Pain

Vionic Eric – Men’s Dress Loafers

Price $67.00 – $150.00

Made of synthetic materials, Vionic is a podiatrist-designed shoe featuring a biomechanical orthotic footbed. The deep heel cups help support and realign the feet back to their natural position, while the lightweight- flexible EVA midsole absorbs shock to reduce pressure on the feet- ankles and knees. This design is clinically shown to help relieve common causes of plantar fasciitis- heel pain and knee pain- related to over pronation and flat feet, according to Vionic. It also boasts the American Podiatry Association Seal of Acceptance.

Orthofeet Gramercy Men’s Extra Depth Orthopedic Dress Shoes

Price $120-$150

For those needing a little more comfort, we suggest the Orthofeet Gramercy Men’s Extra Depth Orthopedic Dress Shoe. You will sacrifice a little style with this one, but what it lack in flair, it makes up in comfort. Made of leather, this men’s dress shoe features a removable, multi-layered orthotic insole with anatomical arch support and gel-padded heel which helps alleviate foot pain and heel pain associated with heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. The lightweight, cushioning sole with Ergonomic-Stride design softens steps and helps facilitate foot motion, alleviating stress on the joints of the foot, according to Orthofeet Corporation. The company also reports that this shoe was engineered to help reduce Foot Pain, Heel Pain, Arch Pain, Knee Pain, Forefoot Pain, Metatarsal Pain, Low Back Pain, and to enhance comfort for Diabetic Feet, Arthritic Feet, Sensitive Feet, Plantar Fasciitis, Pronation, Metatarsalgia, Morton’s Neuroma, Bunions, Corns, Hammer Toes.

Women’s Dress Shoes for Back Pain

Suggesting dress shoes for women is tricky, especially when you throw in the “dress shoes” criterion. Let’s address the elephant in the room: heels instigate back pain. In fact, a Harvard study found that heel put significant strain on the knees and spine. So, we can’t in good conscious recommend high-heels, but we do have two great alternatives for you, ladies.

Vionic Spark Minna Flat Shoes

Price: $39-$120

As will the men’s Vionic shoe aforementioned, the Minna delivers a classy look while helping to reduce heel pain and improve body alignment, posture, and walking gait. The contorted deep heel cup combined with the contoured arch support and deep heel cup helps reclaim your foot’s natural alignment. This lovely shoe features a leather cap toe and bow detail for feminine flair, as well as an elasticized topline for stretch and a just-right fit, according to Vionic. And your have your choice of nine different colors!

Vionic Antonia Womens Leather Wedge

Price $30-$120

A wedge? How can we suggest a wedge? Well, we knew some women just can’t stay away from the height of a beautiful heel, so we thought we would guide you to the best option if you’re looking for a lift. The wedge is different from a traditional high heel in regards to the pressure put on the foot. In a high heel, the entire force of walking pressure is concentrated on a few pinpoint areas of the foot. This leads to increased shock in joints of the foot, ankle, knee, and eventually back. A wedge, on the other hand, spreads the force out more like a traditional flat shoe, thus avoiding the extremely jarring pressure of the traditional heel.

We believe that with proper foot and body alignment, you can avoid knee and back issues. However, for those of you with persistent joint pain, a chiropractor or physician may recommend regenerative therapy to get your joints back in the shape they were in ten years ago. The regenerative therapy and pain management options at Arrowhead Health Centers are constantly setting people back on the walking path and enjoying their lives again.

If you’d like to learn more about this therapy and others, visit us online at ArrowheadHealth.com.

20 Shoe Brands People With Chronic Pain Recommend

If you live with a chronic pain condition, it can affect many parts of your life others may not think twice about – such as taking a shower, preparing a meal or picking out clothes and shoes. While most people tend to decide on a pair of shoes based on what matches with the rest of their outfit, for those with chronic pain, it’s not that simple.

On some days, you may be in too much pain to wear shoes at all. But if you have to venture out to go to work or run errands, choosing a pair of shoes that are both comfortable and supportive is a necessity.

To help you find a pair of shoes that help rather than exacerbate your symptoms, we asked our Mighty community to share their favorite brands of shoes to wear with chronic pain. Here are their recommendations. (Note: Some types of shoes may not be suitable for those with certain conditions. Consult your doctor with any questions about what types of shoes are best for you.)

Just so you know, we’ve selected these links to make shopping easier for you. We do not receive any funds from purchases you make.

1. Skechers

Rebekka Johnston recommended, “Skechers, like the ones with the memory foam soles. They give good support for ankles and are comfortable.”

Bethan Bea Winsborrow said the ones with memory foam feel like wearing slippers, and Georgii Llouise wrote, “They are so, so comfortable and feel like walking on air. Helps with the vibrations through ankles, knees, hips and back.”

“Skechers – the only shoes in my closet. Been wearing for years, cute styles and colors. From flip-flops to athletic shoes,” added Tifney Schoenfeld.

Buy the shoes above for $50 from Skechers.

2. Brooks

Megan Efthimiadis said, “My podiatrist recommended Brooks with Superfeet insoles. The difference I feel in ankle and knee pain is amazing.”

Karen Leiva added, “Brooks are the best for me, and even though I’m a girl, I wear their men’s sizes due to width.”

Buy the shoes above for $74.99 from Brooks.

3. Nike

“Nike Air Max,” recommended Kiona Ejsing. “They are firm but bouncy in the right places.” Jessica Smith added that Nike shoes with memory foam are amazing.

Buy the shoes above for $95 from Nike.

4. Dr. Scholl’s

Laura Ann Mericle said, “I have a pair of Dr. Scholl’s sneakers and I love them.”

“Dr. Scholls running shoes,” recommended Tiffany Louise Marentette. “They have extra padding and gel insoles.”

“Dr. Scholl’s. I currently live in Texas and I wear their sandals all year. The ones with the inserts in the heel help alleviate my knee and back pain,” added Kathy Adams Smith.

Buy the shoes above for $39.95 from Dr. Scholl’s.

5. Birkenstock

Allison Michelle recommended, “Birkenstocks for summer. My physiotherapist and chiropractor both warned me against wearing flip-flops but said Birkenstocks are great.”

Jessica Mj da Silva wrote, “Birkenstocks and any other easy-to-slip-on without much bending or tying laces when you are stiff or joints .”

Delaney Hartmann added she wears them every day, and Denise Peacock Young said they’re the only shoes she’s worn for over 15 years.

Buy the shoes above for $99.95 from Birkenstock.

6. FitFlop

Lisa Hain wrote, “These are a thick-soled shoe. They have all styles. It’s all I can wear with my back.”

Buy the shoes above for $55 from FitFlop.

7. Vionics

Meg Burczynski told us, “They are cushiony and have awesome arch support.”

Leslie P. McMillan added, “Vionics, hands down. Decreased my pain by 50 percent, once I got used to them.”

Buy the shoes above for $64.99 from Vionics.

8. Merrell

Inez Conway wrote, “Merrell are the best by far! They last forever and stay comfortable… definitely worth the price to get a good pair of Merrell shoes.”

“I have diabetic neuropathy and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in my left foot due to a break and two surgeries. I have hardware in my foot still. I absolutely love my Merrell shoes. I’ve had several styles and all are extremely comfortable, durable and supporting,” added Cindy Karshneski-Farrell.

Buy the shoes above for $79.99 from Merrell.

9. K-Swiss

Angela Marie Rodriguez said, “If you are on your feet a bit and walk… I had good luck with K-Swiss Tubes.”

Buy the shoes above for $70 from K-Swiss.

10. Air Jordan

Sam Bosworth said, “I have super messed up feet (from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease) and have been buying Air Jordan Hi Tops for the last four years. I did have boots specially made for me but they were so extreme I couldn’t walk at all. I buy one pair of Jordans a year/year and a half and they last great. When I walk, I walk on the sides of my feet, and most shoes wear down straight away, but Jordans last great. They are a little pricey, but £100ish over a year is still better value than having to buy multiple pairs of cheap shoes. They’re also super comfortable and give a lot of room for my personal (assuming I buy shoes a few sizes too big). They may not be great for everyone but I’ve found them really helpful and probably couldn’t even walk without them.”

Buy the shoes above for $190 from Nike.

11. OluKai

“I bought OluKai sandals and the relief I felt from switching from my regular flip flops was instantaneous and so worth it. It took the pressure off my knees and back. Ahhhh,” wrote Stephanie Chambers.

Buy the shoes above for $85 from OluKai.

12. UGG

“For winter, UGGs!” Cassidy Schod told us. “My feet are always freezing and they’re so comfortable. Or Ugg knockoffs! Anything that’s a fuzzy boot and easy to slip on and off.”

Buy the shoes above for $160 from UGG.

13. Crocs

Melissa Duncan wrote, “Don’t laugh… Crocs! Original. Never rubs or chafes. Light on my feet. Easy to slide on/off. Comes in 100 colors. Walk all day and nothing hurts. Clean easy.”

Jeni Freidenker added, “I have half a dozen different pairs! I wear them all the time, for work, as slippers, in the garden, out and about in town. I’ve even worn them on a night out! I couldn’t survive without them!”

Buy the shoes above for $34.99 from Crocs.

14. Spenco

“The footbed has an arch and metatarsal support. Helps leg and hip pain,” said Joan Wzontek Alba.

Buy the shoes above for $39.99 from Spenco.

15. Asics

Julie Craft told us, “Not only do I have chronic pain but it extends to my feet. flat feet, bunions. These are my go-to shoes.”

Buy the shoes above for $160 from Asics.

16. Converse

“I actually find Converse to be comfortable for walking, once you’ve broken them in a bit. I like the ankle support. Oh, I also use Hickies instead of laces, so they turn into slip-ons. Best thing I ever bought!” said Vikki Patis.

Buy the shoes above for $50 from Converse.

17. Danskin Now

Sabrina Hayes told us, “They give you coverage like a tennis shoe but are easy to slip in and out of have a memory foam insert sole. They are comfy and supportive.”

Buy the shoes above for $12.88 from Walmart.

18. TOMS

Sophie D’Urso said Toms are one of her staples. “Ridiculously comfortable, and not too hot in the summer!”

Buy the shoes above for $55 from TOMS. (With every pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need.)

19. Doc Martens

“I’ve worn my Doc Martens boots in throughly over about eight years. I find they are amazing for ankle support and comfortable walking,” said Sophie D’Urso.

Buy the shoes above for $135 from Doc Martens.

20. Clarks

Kate Dankosky told us she likes to wear Clarks when she has to dress more professionally, but never wears the same pair two days in a row.

Buy the shoes above for $85 from Clarks.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *