Best shoes for bunions

If you have bunions or wide feet, then it isn’t easy to find shoes that will fit well. 

Here are some tips to think about when you are looking for your next pair of shoes.


What Toe Shape?

The shape of the shoe at the front is called the ‘toebox’.   Try to avoid a pointed toebox.  You should find a toebox shape that is more rounded or square is more comfortable.  Also, it helps if the ‘upper’ – the material used to make the top of the shoe, is either canvas or very soft leather material.  That way the shoe can stretch if your feet start to swell.

What Heel Height?

Very high heels tip all of your weight forward.  A lot of force then goes through your big toe and causes an increase in pain.  Try a lower heel height if possible.  If you are small and you feel you need height, then try a platform sole.  You will still get the same height, but because the angle is not as steep, the force through the big toe is less.

What Heel Type?

Stilletoes are elegant but don’t allow you to spread your weight across your whole foot.  Therefore it forces your weight forward (the man who invented them specifically designed them that way!) and again causes pain at the big toe (and ball of the foot).  All of your weight then goes through only the front of your foot. The bones of the foot (the metatarsals) try to spread wider to dissipate the load.  Your toes also curl, to grip the ground (and so balance) better.

If you change to a block or wedge heel, the weight is then more evenly spread across the whole of your foot.

What About the Sole?

Thin leather soles can be very uncomfortable.  They are not able to absorb any impact.  Choosing a cushioned or rubber sole will be much more comfortable.

What About the Back of the Shoe?

The back of the shoe, the ‘Quarter’ or the ‘Heel Cup’ is the bit of the shoe that grips the heel.  This may just be a strap if it is a dress shoe or sandal, or a full covering.  It can be especially difficult to find comfortable shoes if you have a wide forefoot (especially if you have bunions) and a narrow heel.  If the heel cup is made of stretchy, elastic type material, that can sometimes help.

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