As time passes, our body naturally accumulates some wear and tear. The feet, in particular, can take quite a beating – after all, they support our entire body weight every moment of our lives that we’re standing!
That’s why the best shoes for elderly feet aren’t quite the same as the best ones for most regular adults.
We’ll discuss some reasons why older people need special shoes, how to choose a good pair of shoes for elderly family members or friends, and then we’ll review some of our favorite pairs.
These are the best shoes for elderly feet that we’ve covered, at a glance:
- Best Men’s: Propét Men’s LifeWalker Strap Walking Shoe
- Best Women’s: Dr. Scholl’s Shoes Women’s Madison Sneaker
- Best Slip-Resistant: Skechers Work Mc Allen
- Best for Warmth: Orthofeet Arch Support Slippers
- Best for Swollen Feet: Dr. Scholl’s Dual Strap Sneaker, Wide Width
Why Do the Elderly Need Special Shoes?
As we’ve already mentioned, the feet are one of the body parts that take the most of a beating. Think about it – you use them every single day.
Sure, there are many things we use every day. Our hands, arms, shoulders, hips, and so on. But while all of those muscles get some exercise on a daily basis, our feet have to bear our entire weight whenever we stand, walk, jog, or jump, as well as helping us balance when we lean.
The elderly, especially, need extra foot care because their feet have many years’ worth of wear and tear on them. This can lead to chronic pain and discomfort in the feet.
Those who worked in jobs that required them to be on their feet a lot will most likely have more pain, discomfort, or possibly arthritis.
It goes without saying, then, that elderly feet need special shoes!
What Causes Foot Pain in the Elderly?
In order to choose the best shoes for elderly loved ones, it’s important to understand the cause of their foot pain or discomfort.
Knowing why the pain is happening enables you to understand what boxes a shoe needs to tick in order to alleviate the pain.
Here are some of the most common causes of sore feet in elderly people:
The average person clocks around 75,000 miles on their feet by the age of 50! Is it any wonder the feet are prone to wear and tear? Because they’re so often used, they’re also quite prone to injury, even if it’s just a twisted ankle here and there.
By the time we reach old age, all those miles have usually caused the cartilage cushion between bones to wear down, known as osteoarthritis. This means that bone is rubbing against bone, which actually causes the bone to wear down and causes pain.
Gout is a type of arthritis that affects the feet, and it’s most common in middle-aged men. It’s caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the feet, most often in the big toe.
This causes the toes to swell and stiffen, which can be extremely painful. It can be aggravated by diet and alcohol, but it’s a common cause of foot pain.
Fat Pad Atrophy
After those many miles of foot traffic, the padding on the feet can wear down. That means you’re almost walking on the bone! Obviously, this can lead to pain which is worse when walking or standing.
It can also lead to other foot problems, so this one is more serious than people realize.
Sometimes it’s not the bone or joint that’s the problem, but the skin. When it’s been used so much, the skin on the heels can thicken and crack, causing discomfort when walking.
Feet can swell for many reasons. Some serious reasons include fluid retention due to heart problems or as a result of diabetes.
Other times, it’s simply the result of being on your feet for a few hours, or small injuries like a twisted ankle.
This is especially common in older people whose foot padding has worn away and they’re walking more on the bones of their feet than on the cushioning!
Spending time on the feet can actually result in small, hairline fractures in the foot bones. Of course, this often leads to pain and swelling.
Considering the feet bear the weight of the whole body, the more weight is on the body, the more strain the feet take.
Being overweight in itself can lead to health issues like diabetes, which affect the feet in a different way.
If your elderly loved one is a little over what their normal weight should be, encouraging them lovingly and diplomatically to work on getting their weight to what it should be could have a big and positive impact on their foot pain.
What Kind of Shoes are Best for Elderly People?
Orthopedic shoes are a good bet for elderly people. They’re made to ease foot pain and work around foot problems so that the wearer can be comfortable, safe, and live as normal a life as possible.
Anything that’s made for diabetic people should also be quite supportive and protective for older feet.
What Should I Look For In the Best Shoes for Elderly People?
You can’t just grab the first pair of orthopedic shoes you see and assume it will be a-okay for your elderly loved one. They’re all created different, and some cater for specific foot conditions.
Here are some of the things you should be looking for in the best shoes for elderly feet, to make sure they’re as well-protected as possible.
Arch & Heel Support
Not all foot pain will be fixed by having better arch support. For those who are struggling with pain because of less cushioning on their feet, it would help.
Knowing the cause of your loved one’s foot pain can help you figure out what kind of support would be best for them. Do they need extra padded soles? Would they benefit from a sturdy heel cup? Do they need something for high arches?
Make sure you’re choosing the right kind of support.
Size & Fit
Shoes that are too small will only contribute to pain and frustration. Shoes that are too large are uncomfortable and become a tripping hazard! It’s important to choose the right size.
The best shoes for elderly swollen feet will most likely be slightly larger than your loved one’s normal shoe size, considering swollen feet are larger than normal!
If swollen feet aren’t an issue, you’ll need to make sure you get the right size to avoid rubbing or chafing. Don’t think he or she will be okay with a slight tightness around the toes – rather keep looking until you find the perfect fit.
Are you looking for softness or firmness? Breathability or sturdiness? The material the shoes are made of can make a big difference to both support and comfort.
Materials like mesh and knit fabric are breathable and light, and coupled with their internal support, can still be fairly supportive.
Leather and suede are more solid and slightly less breathable, but quite firm and sturdy.
Personal preference could also play a role!
Slipping can be quite a hazard for the elderly. Choosing a pair of shoes that’s non-slip could be a good idea, but it also comes down to whether or not your elderly loved one wants a grippy sole.
The Best Shoes for Elderly Reviewed
We’ve chosen five pairs of shoes that would be good for most elderly feet. Obviously, you’ll need to do your own research too – don’t just take our word for it!
But the shoes on this list get the thumbs-up from us, and we’ll go into detail about why in each review.
Best Men’s: Propét Men’s LifeWalker Strap Walking Shoe
These shoes look great as both smart and casual footwear, so your elderly loved one can wear them just about anywhere.
Their leather outers make them pretty supportive and sturdy, and the built-in heel stabilizer adds to the stability.
They’re also built for comfort, with a padded tongue and collar and an orthotic that can provide arch support, or be removed if necessary.
There should be a size for all feet, with regular, wide, and extra-wide sizes available.
These shoes are Medicare coded, which means your elderly friend or family member could be entitled to reimbursement if they buy these.
- Available in a variety of sizes, including Wide and X-Wide
- Sturdy leather construction
- Padded collar and tongue
- Built-in heel stabilizer
- Removable orthotic
- Medicare coded
- Customer reviews suggest that the Velcro strap is not the most durable and may separate at the stitching
Best Women’s: Dr. Scholl’s Shoes Women’s Madison Sneaker
These slip-ons are stylish as well as comfortable and easy on elderly feet. Ladies can choose from 20 different styles, so they’ll enjoy looking at them as much as wearing them!
They’re slightly stretchy to accommodate most feet and the lack of laces takes some pressure off the bridge of the foot.
An inner lining is soft and easy on the feet. The rubber sole is also great and grippy for slippery situations, adding an extra element of safety!
The insole uses Be Free Energy technology, in three specific padding zones, so every step will be soft and have reduced impact.
- Available in regular and wide
- Padded insole
- Soft lining
- Variety of different styles
- Rubber sole for good grip
- Be careful which supplier you buy from – numerous customers mention receiving knock-offs
Best Slip-Resistant: Skechers Work Mc Allen
A slip-resistant shoe is a good choice for elderly people who still spend time in potentially slippery places like shopping malls, or perhaps are still working and have little control over slippery floors in their environment.
These come in regular and wide sizes, and have commercial-grade anti-slip outsoles. Skechers test all their soles, so they should be effective in most situations.
They’re light on the feet and have memory foam insoles, so they’ll be comfy as well as safer than other shoes.
- Available in regular and wide sizes
- Commercial-standard slip-resistant soles
- Lightweight mesh
- Memory foam insoles
- Not waterproof
Best for Warmth: Orthofeet Arch Support Slippers
When winter comes, your elderly loved one won’t just need the best shoes for elderly feet – they’ll need the best warm shoes for elderly feet.
These orthopedic shoes are made from soft leather, and have a pull-over Velcro strap design so almost any feet can fit in them.
They’re nice and fleecy inside, keeping feet warm while providing support and cushioning using removable insoles.
Their adjustable fit allows for thick socks to be worn comfortably if extra warmth is needed.
- Great for winter wearing
- Comes in regular, wide, and x-wide
- Roomy toe box
- Removable orthotic insoles
- Velcro fastener for adjustable size
- Little heel support
Best for Swollen Feet: Dr. Scholl’s Dual Strap Sneaker, Wide Width
If your aging person suffers from swelling in their lower extremities, it’s important to choose the best shoes for elderly swollen feet that have a design to combat this problem specifically.
A wide Velcro strap makes it easy to fit these over any foot, no matter how swollen. The gel insoles cushion the bottoms of swollen feet nicely and help reduce impact when walking.
Rubber outsoles also make them quite slip-resistant, and their mesh/faux leather construction is lightweight. This is great if your loved one struggles to lift their swollen feet properly as they walk.
- Wide and regular sizes available
- Comfortable gel insoles
- Velcro closure for easy fit
- Mesh and faux leather
- The insoles are not as durable as others
Did you find a pair of shoes for your elderly loved one? We hope so!
If not, there are plenty more out there, and a bit more research will turn up something that’s perfect for your friend or family member.
The best shoes for elderly feet are all about protection and comfort. We know you’ll also feel better knowing that the person you love is comfortable and that their shoes are keeping them on the straight and narrow