Top 10 Best Shoes For Bunions 2018 (Best Sellers & Highest Reviews)

The foot condition that most of us refer to as a bunion is what medical types know as hallux valgus. Whatever we call it, the definition of a bunion is what forms whenever bone or tissue at the bottom joint of the big toe moves out of place. Those of us who know about bunions first hand know that the wayward joint can swell, turn angry red and provide a good bit of pain. Once formed, the only definitive solution is surgery. Podiatrists and physicians generally won’t recommend surgery until a bunion has been causing pain on a continual basis for more than a year.

Best Shoes for Bunions

Best Shoes for Bunions

In the meantime, shoe choice can provide much relieve. The best shoes for bunions even can help to prevent progressive growth. Though even the best shoes for bunions won’t reduce or eliminate a bunion that already exists, great shoes can serve to minimize pain and even reduce the rate at which it increases in size and the problems it creates. While bunions can be rather innocuous for years, those that decide to flare can create severe pain that is very nearly constant. The Cleveland Clinic observes that any shoe may be too painful to wear if the joint becomes severely stiff and sore.

Though the reason bunions develop isn’t known, it’s a fact that bunions affect far more women than men. Some blame high heeled shoes because they alter the position of the foot in walking and also create pressure points that don’t exist in the absence of high heels. Others note that bunions can and do run in families, but can’t pinpoint whether the cause is genetic or whether family members engage the same practices suspected in leading to bunion development. Regardless of the reason a bunion comes into existence, there are several types of shoes that can be seen as being best shoes for bunions.

Best Bunion Shoes For Women

Last update on 2019-07-22 PST - Details

Best Bunion Shoes For Men

Last update on 2019-07-22 PST - Details

How To Choose The Best Shoes For Bunions

There are a few non-shoe approaches that bunion sufferers can take in addition to selecting the best shoes for bunions. Some of these include maintaining a normal weight to reduce pressure on the foot; using shoe inserts to help to correctly position the foot within the shoe; and using warm soaks, ibuprofen and the like. The very best non-surgical solution, however, is to choose beneficial shoes. A podiatrist quoted by the Cleveland Clinic stresses buying well-fitting shoes that are wide in the toe area. The same podiatrist recommends buying shoes from a store where sales people actually measure feet. Not many shoe retailers do that anymore, and the fact that some can heralds the presence of high prices.

Generic Athletic Shoes

Simple athletic shoes can be greatly beneficial and offer some of the best shoes for bunions. The best ones are those that have good internal cushioning and great support, along with that wide toe area podiatrists recommend for bunion sufferers. When trying them on, you should be able to wiggle your toes when they’re securely laced up. Not only will they not put direct pressure on the aching joint, they also can be forgiving when it flares up and insists on hurting most of the time whether you’re wearing shoes or not.

Use Great Support!

Have you walked barefoot and noticed that your bunion is more painful when you do? You aren’t alone! Sufficient support for several areas of the foot is essential in defining best shoes for bunions. Larry Huppin, a podiatrist who also is the medical director of an orthotics company, explains to podiatrists what their goals should be in prescribing orthotics – i.e., shoe inserts – for their patients with bunions. In his YouTube video , he stresses negative heel alignment with a cup for the heel combined with significant arch support. Though it’s a technical video intended for practicing podiatrists – thus its technical jargon – any bunion sufferer immediately can see the value in such an approach.

Though Dr. Huppin’s advice is sound, we all know that podiatrist – created orthotics come at a relatively high price. Using the principles he outlines, we can find other options in the general retail market, and at much lower prices.

Good general athletic shoes can be a great option. The operative word here is “good,” however. The athletic shoes offered at most big box discount stores have little or no internal cushioning or support. Some offered at specialty athletic shoe retail stores are only marginally better in terms of support. When shopping for a supportive general athletic shoe, try them on your hand before trying them on your feet. If there’s no palpable cushioning or apparent arch support, then keep searching.

But who wants to wear athletic shoes at all times? There are many styles of shoes available that use a cork footbed, which is unique in its ability to provide support and mold to the individual wearer’s feet over time. The mode of action is that the cork and the agent that binds together cork particles react to the wearer’s body temperature and mold to the individual’s specific feet through wear. Thus they eventually provide support where it’s needed most. Most shoes using a cork footbed feature a negative heel and the beneficial heel cup that podiatrists praise. A “negative heel” is only a construction feature that places the heel lower than the rest of foot, even as it provides greater arch support that in turn takes pressure off of that troublesome joint working on developing or already sporting an impressive bunion. Combined with the cork footbed’s ability to mold to the user’s feet, the support of these shoes can be quite beneficial to bunion sufferers. They’re among some of the best shoes for bunions.

How Many Types Are Available?

There are many, many types of styles that can be called best shoes for bunions. One of the best types for those who haven’t progressed to needing specific heel and arch support is the simple flip-flop. Podiatrists recommend a wide toe area, and there’s no toe area wider than that provided by the lowly flip-flop!

Nearly any sandal can be good, as long as it doesn’t have a tight strap right across the offending joint. This applies only to those who don’t need supplemental support to help alleviate the pain, however. Those who do need supplemental support can find sandals that offer it, though the search may take a while.

Athletic shoes can be great, particularly when they have great cushioning, good arch support and are wide enough in the toe area that you can wiggle your toes. Another benefit of athletic shoes is that they lace up. Good fitting shoes fit everywhere, including in the heel. It isn’t enough just to buy shoes in a wider width to accommodate that growing joint, because they’re wider everywhere. There are few things more uncomfortable than the slipping heel of a too-wide shoe – or the blisters they can cause. Athletic shoes eliminate this issue because the wearer has the ability to lace the shoes to achieve the best overall fit.

Bunion experts and practical experience indicate that far more women than men suffer from bunions. As stated, some blame high heeled shoes for leading to bunion development. Most women would like to wear shoes somewhat more stylish than flip-flops, athletic shoes or “hippie” shoes with negative heels, however. There are some heeled women’s shoes available online that claim to be bunion-friendly “high” heels. There are other sites that claim aliens invaded last month. The credibility of each type of site appears to be about equal.

On the other hand, there are styles available through companies specializing in negative heel cork footbed shoes that don’t carry the appearance of the fashion choice of 1960s hippies. Though most can’t possibly qualify as high style, many are very attractive on the outside while being quite supportive and beneficial on the inside.

Choosing the Best Footwear

The bottom line is that if you’re dealing with an active bunion, then the best choice for you is whatever is the most comfortable. In general, the best shoes for bunions are those that are flat or nearly so; have great internal support; and have wide toe areas. This translates to being wide enough at the widest part of your foot – likely where the bunion is – that the shoe doesn’t bind that area and certainly isn’t too tight there. Even shoes that aren’t too tight most of the time can serve up some truly troublesome pain during a flareup in which the bunion joint swells, gets angry red and generally simply rebels against you.

The best shoes for bunions are those that are the most comfortable and cause the least amount of trouble with your existing bunion. If support hasn’t yet become an issue for you and you don’t mind the thing between your toes, then flip-flops are great. That’s true only when the weather is agreeable, however. Flip-flops are less than great during the winter months. The cold alone can make that bunion begin to hurt.

Well made athletic shoes that include support and a broad toe area offer a great solution, at least for everyday and casual wear. The greatest problem with choosing the best shoes for bunions arises when you’re trying to dress well – or need to look well dressed in an office – and clunky shoes just can’t fit the image. This is when some higher end shoes camouflaging internal support and perhaps a form-accommodating cork footbed can be of great benefit.

What Can I Expect to Spend?

When shopping for the best shoes for bunions, you can expect to spend as much as you’re willing to spend. Flip-flops used to be super cheap and some dollar stores still have them during summer months for $5 or less, though department stores and pricey online shoe retailers are brave enough to charge as much as $90 – or more – for them.

Generic athletic shoes vary widely in price. Though the giant big box discounters used to offer pretty good athletic shoes at good prices, their offerings today generally only look like the styles of the past without possessing the cushioning and support qualities they used to have. Finding adequate cushioning and support today involves spending more than any big box discounter price. Department store or online retailer sales can help to reduce the price you’ll have to pay, however. You can find good and serviceable athletic shoes with good internal construction at highly affordable prices.

And then there are the shoes that don’t look like they could be considered to be some of the best shoes for bunions. There’s a broad range of prices in this area, too. High quality shoes featuring cork footbed construction come in a broad range of prices, most of which provide little or no information on the overall quality of the shoe. The cork footbed is obvious in most sandal styles, but it can be – and generally is – hidden in other, dressier styles.


If you’re a woman with bunions, you aren’t alone. But in all cases, quit wearing those high heels! They position the foot unnaturally, place added pressure on the “bunion joint” and exacerbate any bunion issue you already have. Though the jury’s out on whether high heels “cause” bunions or not, it’s obvious that they contribute to the problems that bunions cause. Bunion development does not condemn women to wearing only “sensible shoes” for the rest of time, but it does dictate that women choose their shoes wisely and choose for comfort nearly all of the time.

Of course men can and do develop bunions too, but bunions among men is much less common than bunions among women. So men, avoid those high heels that many claim to lead to bunion development. Buy shoes that have great support and wiggle room for your toes.

Women, you do the same. Choose for comfort, support and “wiggle room” for everyday shoes. You can go for more stylish options when doing so really matters. You make the call on those occasions, of course. In the meantime and for everyday wear, the best shoes for bunions are those that provide cushioning, support and “wiggle room.”

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