How To: Buy Shoes When You Have Arthritis

People who suffer with frequent arthritis symptoms, don’t lose hope. An answer to some of your problems could be all in the shoe. This blog is intended to help you buy shoes and make sure your shoes fit you properly.

To start, a few recommendations. Try to look for Asics or Avia running shoes, Dansko, Clarks boots, Reebok classics, as these are commonly recommended brands and styles. Make an investment in your shoes. They might be expensive initially, but they will pay for themselves in the long run, and your feet will definitely thank you.

When shopping for a boot, whether it be a snow boot, rain boot, or dress boot, ideally, you want a flat boot with a rubber outer sole. If a heel is desired, try to find as low of a heel as possible, and have it be more of a block or box shape as opposed to a skinny heel. If the heel is a little bit of a taller one, try and get a wedge. These options create the least amount of stress and pressure on the ball of your foot and help to distribute your weight more evenly. You will want to make sure that whatever boot you choose, it provides good arch support. If they don’t, consider purchasing an over the counter insole that will enhance your arch for maximum foot support. A good brand of boot to shop for, as mentioned above is Clarks.

When shopping for an athletic shoe, consider a running shoe. These shoes are light weight in nature, and will make your feet much lighter to carry. Because of the nature of what the shoes are intended for, running, they will offer you good support, even if you’re not an avid runner. This style of shoe comes in a wide variety of colors from your basic black or white to a rainbow of neon colors.

When shopping for a casual shoe, you will want to make sure that the shoe provides good arch support. A good brand to try is Dankso. Additionally, you could consider getting a shoe that has a rubber outer sole to prevent slipping and falling. The lighter in weight the shoe is, the less your foot weight, and the less effort it will take to lift your foot. However, don’t substitute support and quality for a light weight.

When shopping for a high heel, keep the heel as small as possible. The higher the height of the heel, the more stress on the balls of your feet, and the more damage it could potentially do to your feet. Something else to keep in mind is the width of the heel. The wider the actual heel is, the better; this will provide support in each step and reduce your risk of rolling your ankle.  

When trying on your shoes, be sure that the shoe, boot or heel has a roomy toe box. You should have room to move around, but not so much room that you’ll create bunions. The shoes should also have solid arch support. Arch support helps to even the pressure throughout the entire foot. Additionally, you’ll want to be sure that your shoes have good cushioning, especially though the ball of the foot, as this is where the majority of pressure, especially in arthritic feet exists. If you already have custom orthotics for your shoes, make sure you take them to the store with you when you’re trying on your shoes. If the shoe doesn’t fit with them in it, don’t think that it will always stretch out or you can live with a little tighter shoe; don’t buy that shoe. Keep looking.  The right shoe for you does exist, it will just take a little searching sometimes. Consider going to a store that exclusively sells shoes, like we do.

Typical problems with arthritic feet include little to no arch, walking on the insides of your feet instead of rolling all the way through in a normal stride pattern, and extra pressure on the ball of the foot. Lack of arch in the foot is probably the easiest of these problems to correct. When you purchase your shoes, also purchase over the counter arch supports. These tend to fall apart a little bit quicker, but are cheaper up front. Another option is to see a podiatrist and have a set of custom orthotics created for you. They’re a little more expensive of an upfront investment, but will most likely be more cost effective in the long run. When in doubt, consult a podiatrist to ask for a recommendation. Walking on the insides of your feet and pressure points on the ball of the foot can create large, painful calluses, which can eventually cause misalignment of the pelvic bone, spine and shoulders if left untreated.

The most important thing to remember is that no two feet are the same, just the same way no two cases of arthritis are the same. What might work for you, might not work for someone else. Try a few different options of shoes on before you make your purchase, take your time in selection, and pay special attention to how your feet feel in the shoes. Chances are if you don’t feel good in them when you try them on, the feeling won’t improve as time progresses, and will only get worse. As always, with any questions or concerns, consult a physician, whether it be your rheumatologist or a podiatrist.

Be sure to check our entire online selection of shoes of all variety at our website, and happy shopping!

Disclaimer: The authors of this blog posting are not doctors or medical professionals. Information in this post is from research and personal knowledge.