For people who walk frequently, choosing the right walking shoe is super important to prevent your feet from aching and developing or worsening painful foot conditions. But wearing the proper supportive footwear is especially essential for older adults, said Dr. Chanel J. Perkins, a board-certified podiatrist based in Texas.
“Supportive shoes help maintain balance and alignment, which are necessities in this population since they are at a greater fall risk,” she told HuffPost. “They also help decrease pedal muscle fatigue and overall soreness since biomechanics forces are evenly distributed throughout the shoe.”
Perkins described the best shoes for older people as ones that are lightweight and breathable to prevent sweaty feet. They should also be well-cushioned, have good traction on the soles to prevent slips and falls and be easy to get on and off.
If you or a loved one is in need of a new pair of walking shoes, consider the ones recommended below by Perkins and other podiatrists.
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Men's Adidas Ultraboost 20 sneaker
Perkins recommended this Adidas option, which is made from recycled plastics and has supportive interior padding and great grip on the sole. It comes in men's sizes 4-17 and in multiple colors, including black, orange, black/purple, gray/mint and white. It has a sock-like fit and a "boosting" feature, a super responsive midsole that makes it easier to take steps. Promising review:
"Extraordinarily comfortable shoe. I have flat feet, getting older with hip creaks here and there. My legs and joints feel great when wearing these shoes. Ultraboost is impressive stuff." — Amazon customer
Women's Dr. Comfort Victory shoe
This Dr. Comfort shoe checked off multiple boxes on Perkins' list of things to look for when buying a shoe for older adults, including its spacious toe box, lightweight design and Velcro strap.
"The most common complaint I hear from my senior patients is that a shoe is too heavy for them to wear comfortably. Any no-tie, slip-on or Velcro design that allows easy on and easy off is also great for seniors who have a hard time bending over," she said.
The adjustable strap closure allows you to get a more customized fit. The design also has a protective toe box that can help prevent pain from toe stubbing. It comes in white and pink and in women's sizes 4-12 with wide and extra-wide options.Promising review:
"I have problems with width in shoes. This fits better than expected. Comfortable in toe box and I even have a skip in my step thanks to the heel shock absorbing the bounce. Easy to put on with the velcro strap as the sole support to hold the shoe in place. Do not skip owning these shoes!" — snoopymaven
Vionic Walker classic shoe
Stamped with the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance, this Vionic shoe is another recommendation from Perkins. It's breathable, has a podiatrist-designed footbed, cushioned outsole and a rubber outsole built for steady traction. It comes in several color options and is available in women's sizes 5-12 and men's sizes 7-14. Promising review:
"I received Vionic sneakers for Christmas. I wear a wide with in shoes and was skeptical that the shoes would fit well. I wore them for one day and noticed a marked decrease in my hip pain. I am thrilled with these shoes." — jrg
Women's Orthofeet Francis walking shoe
Available in multiple colors, including blue, pink, maroon, gray and black, this walking shoe has a cushioned footbed and orthotic insole designed to help those with various foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis
. It also has a roomy toe box for added comfort and bunion and hammertoe relief.
"The slip-on design makes it perfect for seniors who have a hard time bending over to tie a shoe or for those with arthritis in the hands who find difficulty with tying laces," Perkins said.
It comes in women's sizes 5-12, with narrow, wide and extra-wide and extra-extra-wide options.Promising review:
"I bought these walking shoes for my sister's birthday. She just turned 69 years old last week and she called me today to say that she thought these shoes were the best shoes she had ever put on. She has bad feet and see's a podiatrist on a regular schedule. She said she can wear them all day and not feel any foot pain." — Tony A.
Skechers Go Walk Arch Fit sneaker
Dr. Mireille Blanchette
, a board-certified podiatrist based in New Jersey, recommended this lace-up Skechers sneaker because of its comfort and the fact that it's machine washable to help prevent bacteria buildup.
"Elders can sometimes develop foot fungus because they might not always be able to clean well between the toes and that can create a great environment for fungus," she said.
The shoe is designed with a pull tab on the back to make it easier to put on and take off and is lined in breathable fabric to promote air circulation. It comes in multiple colors and in women's sizes 5-12 and men's sizes 7-15, both with wide options available. Promising review:
"Bought these shoes for my mom. She needed something with good support that was energizing and helped with footing and movement. These shoes did the job. Her footing, posture and movement have improved tremendously. I bought them for her because I own a pair and have excellent wear with them." — Mom
Women's Orthofeet Joelle shoe
Blanchette also recommended this Velcro strap Orthofeet shoe, which comes with an adjustable arch booster you can add to increase arch support and several layers of supreme cushioning for maximum comfort. The shoe is also made of a stretchy knit fabric that's made to conform to your foot shape for a more personalized fit.
It comes in black and gray and in women's sizes 5-12, with wide, extra-wide and extra-extra-wide options available. Promising review:
"This shoe was purchased with my 90 yr old Mother in mind. She wanted something light weight , but sturdy & supportive, easy to put on, equally so to take off. She just didn’t want a pair of typical clunky tennis shoes. These have met her every expectation!" — GlitzyGiGi
New Balance 990v5 shoe
For a shoe that offers stability and supportive cushioning, look no further than this New Balance shoe recommended by Dr. Gary Evans
, a podiatrist based in New York City. It has a breathable lining, durable rubber outsole and a footbed that provides proper cushioning and arch support. It comes in black, gray and navy and in women's sizes 5-13 and men's sizes 7-16. Promising review:
"This is my 8th pair of 990's! Wife and I are "exercise walkers". We are now older and are x-triathletes. Aerobic paced walking of 3-7 miles per day is what we enjoy. My 990's are fantastic for preventing injuries and providing a comfortable walk." — No N
Skechers Glide Step shoe
This lace-up shoe is made of breathable mesh and has a removable Skechers Arch Fit insole. It comes recommended by Evans and even has a podiatrist-designed shape to give you the most comfortable fit for all-day wear. The Skechers Glide-Step feature helps to give you a natural momentum as you take each step. It comes in multiple colors and in women's sizes 5.5-11 and men's sizes 7-10.5.Promising review:
"Absolutely the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. I have diabetic neuropathy, and finding a comfortable shoe has been a ongoing quest. Sketchers has always been the most comfortable, but these "Glide Step" shoes are more comfortable than my bedroom slippers. What more can I say." — Anonymous
Saucony Omni Walker 3 shoe
This classic, minimalist walking shoe recommended by Evans has all the features your feet need to stay comfy throughout the day, including a lightweight insole, rubber soles for good grip and a full-grain leather upper. It comes in white and black and in women's sizes 5-12 and men's sizes 7-14, both with wide options available. Promising review:
"I love these shoes. The support for the foot and ankle is extraordinary. My legs don’t feel fatigued when I wear these shoes. My back and hips don’t hurt either. I have rheumatoid arthritis, a repaired tendon in my knee and a small tear in an ankle (I know right...) but these shoes make me feel well supported when walking and comfortable. I highly recommend." — Aunie