Welcome to the Bunion Shoe Guide.
If you have bunions, you’re not alone. Around one third of all adults in the United States have them. In fact, it’s one of the most common foot deformities. So what’s a bunion? It’s a bony bump that appears on the inside of your foot by the base of your toe. Bunions form slowly over time as pressure forces your big toe to lean towards your other toes. You can have a bunion in one or both feet.
If you have bunions, you may notice:
Your bunion may even make it harder for you to walk. Over time, you may struggle to stay balanced on your feet. This could lead to an increased risk of falling.
Some people are more prone to developing bunions. It may have to do with how your foot moves or how it’s shaped. Poor fitting, tight shoes may make bunions worse by pinching your toes together. You should always make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for your feet.
You may be recommended to a podiatrist. Podiatrists are doctors who are specially trained to treat conditions of the feet and ankle. They can give you advice on how to ease some of your bunion pain. Sometimes, all you need is the right shoe to treat your bunions. If that doesn’t work, they may recommend orthotics or bunion splints for added support.
Important Features in Choosing the Right Shoe
As a nurse, I recommend proper footwear to all my patients, especially ones with bunions. You spend a significant amount of time walking around. You want to make sure you’re wearing comfortable, bunion-friendly shoes that support your feet. If you’re not, you can make your bunions worse.
Make sure your bunion-friendly shoes have the following features:
When you have the right shoes, you can get around easier. Your shoes won’t squeeze your toes together, and make your bunion worse. Now that you know what shoes to look for, let’s go over what shoes to avoid.
What Type of Shoes to Avoid
Not all shoes are created equally. Now that we went over what you should look for, we’re going to go over shoes that can make your bunions worse.
Try to avoid shoes that are:
There is no way to fix bunions without surgery. If you continue to wear the wrong shoes, your bunions will become bigger and more painful. Or, they can lead to worse foot conditions. Make sure your shoes are supporting your bunions, and not making them worse.
What are Podiatrists Saying About Footwear for Bunions?
I was able to talk to two leading podiatrists on bunions. We chatted about what types of bunion-friendly shoes they recommend to their patients and why. Read on to see what they had to say.
Dr. Bruce Pinker is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon who is passionate about health and wellness. He has a firm understanding of feet and footwear and offers advice on orthopedic shoes that are stylish and comfortable. He earned his degree from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine (NYCPM) and works at a private practice in New York.
So what did Dr. Pinker have to say?
“People with bunions should look for shoes that are wide enough to accommodate the forefoot where the bunion resides. This usually means avoiding narrow, pointy-toed footwear. In many cases, it also means avoiding high heels that often place a lot of stress on the forefoot. The forefoot of most shoes that will accommodate a bunion is often somewhat rounded or square, not narrow.”
“Footwear that is wide enough to accommodate the bunion is important in order to reduce cramping of the toes and to minimize pressure on the bunion.”
Dr. Pinker offers this general rule for his patients:
“I always tell patients it is better to feel good in their shoes, instead of looking good and feeling painful. Comfort is always in style!”
Dr. Mauricio Garcia is an orthopedic surgeon and Sr. Project Manager for Hyper Arch Motion, a Swiss-designed walking shoe brand that focuses on providing orthopedic support to women. Here’s what he had to say about footwear for bunions.
“Cushioned insoles and adequate arch support are key features to consider for bunions as they help keep feet properly aligned and don’t allow the big toe joint to shift further into an unnatural position. Closures and materials are equally as important because they allow for a customized, comfortable fit. Shoes with adjustable straps or laces, and that are made from stretchable material all can help to accommodate a bunion.”
Dr. Garcia also has recommendations on what shoes to avoid.
“High heels tend to have smaller toe boxes that force toes together in a cramped space. As the big toe gets pushed inward, additional pressure is placed on the joint, causing more pain around the bunion. Continuing to wear shoes without adequate space in the toe box could actually create further deformity.”
If your shoes have all the features we mentioned, Dr. Garcia went on to offer his advice.
“Shoes alone may not be enough in some cases. If you’re still experiencing bunion pain and discomfort, you may want to consider custom orthotic inserts as they can provide additional cushioning, support, and alignment.”
Your bunions are with you every step of the way. Choose shoes that will prevent other foot conditions down the line. The next section will go over specific shoes that have the features we just went over
Best Shoes for Bunions
I always recommend trustworthy brands to my patients. Let’s go over some podiatrist recommended bunion-friendly shoes to provide bunion relief . All the shoes on this list will have features built-in to support you while you’re on the move.
1. Orthofeet Coral Women’s Sneakers
This is the roomy, extra wide toe box you’ve been looking for. The stretchable knit fabric on the sides and uppers gives those bunions even more room to breathe. So you don’t have to worry about toe alignment while you’re on the move.
These shoes have arch support that hugs your foot, a cushioned insert, and a low heel height. This helps with pressure redistribution and offers quick bunion-relief. Say goodbye to that bunion pain with the Orthofeet Coral Women’s Sneakers!
2. Orthofeet Edgewater Men's Sneakers
Looking for the perfect footwear for bunions? These podiatrist recommended shoes may check off all the boxes. They come with flexible soles and stretchable uppers to ease the pressure on your bunions. They’re made with soft, stretchy materials to provide extra toe room and superior comfort.
If you need added support, the Edgewater Sneakers have you covered. They have additional arch support and removable orthotics. This helps with pressure redistribution and can alleviate some of your bunion pain.
If you’re worried about other foot conditions, these shoes do more than just help with bunion pain. They can offer relief for people with diabetes, flat feet, and arthritis.
3. WHITIN Men's Wide Minimalist Barefoot Sneakers
Are you looking for some stylish, bunions-friendly shoes? Look no further. These minimalist shoes are made for wide feet. They’re built with a roomy toe box to help with bunion pain and other foot conditions. This helps with pressure redistribution, so you don’t feel that pressure building up around your big toe.
These shoes are a bit more stylish than some of the other shoes on our list. But, you’re not sacrificing comfort for style with these orthotic-friendly shoes. The sockliner is removable, so you can replace it with your custom orthotics. Or, you can make room for your bunion splints.
4. Lems Primal 2 - Men's
The Lems Primal 2 are for people who love the minimalist feeling of walking around barefoot. The flexible soles move with you for each step, for a true barefoot experience. The natural shape coupled with the wide toe box makes this the obvious choice for anyone looking for comfortable, cushioning shoes.
5. Kuru Quantum
The Kuru Quantum shoes stand out because they have a firm, structured base. Most of the other shoes on our list have a flexible sole, but this one is more supportive. It still has the stretchable upper for breathability and comfort, though.
This shoe is made specifically for bunions. The wide toe box offers the most room out of any of the other shoes on our list. The arch support helps keep the pressure from building up around your bunion. What does this mean? Fast bunion relief when you need it.
6. Altra Provision 7
The Altra Provision 7 shoes are the comfortable shoes you’ve been looking for. Designed with bunion relief in mind, these shoes have a wide, rounded toe called the FootShape toe box. This toe box helps your toes spread out naturally by offering pressure redistribution and maintaining toe alignment.
Plus the lace closure on these shoes means you can tie them to get your proper fit. You can loosen or tighten them to make sure your foot is secure, but your toes aren’t pinched.
7. Hoka Clifton 9
Have you heard of the Hoka Clifton 9 shoes? These bunion-friendly shoes have a low heel height that helps with pressure redistribution and keeps bunion pain away.
The rounded toe box on these shoes offer a roomy toe box that won’t make your bunions worse. The stretchable uppers give you extra toe room, too. The adjustable, lace-up straps make it easy to get the proper fit.
Plus, these Hoka shoes are backed by the prestigious American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance, making them a top contender on our list.
8. Topo Athletic Phantom 3
These Topo shoes are the sleek, athletic shoes you’ve been looking for. They’re stylish. They’re comfortable. And they have a wide toe box. What more could you ask for?
These are one of the few shoes on this list that come in wide sizes. If you’re like me and have wider feet, you know how rare that can be. Another unique feature is being orthotic-friendly. While they do come with their own orthotic inserts, you can take them out and replace them with your own.
9. Xero Shoes Men’s Prio Orignal Cross Training Shoe
You can bring these shoes anywhere. From the gym to the hiking trail, they have you covered. This pair is different from some of the other shoes on our list. They’re created to feel like you’re walking around barefoot. They have the lowest heel height and their sole is the most flexible, too.
These bunions-friendly shoes come with a great, roomy toe box. Plus, they’re made out of soft materials, so you don't have to worry about pinched toes.
10. Dansko Professional Clogs
Dansko is known for their professional, durable clogs with exceptional arch support to help with pressure redistribution. The rocker bottom on this shoe makes each step easier so you don’t have to worry about getting tired while you’re out and about.
If you’re worried about comfort, rest assured, Dansko has you covered. These shoes have a padded collar to help with pain prevention. If you’re looking for a professional work shoe with a wide toe box to help your bunion pain, this is your shoe.
11. SAS Time Out
A well-made pair of shoes with the right look and fit is the most desirable object for anyone with sensitive feet. And the SAS Time Out is a fine example of that. It features a chic leather exterior with detailing stitching and sophisticated uppers to amp up the style quotient like never before. The toe box, being round, accommodates your bunions and swollen toes easily and ensures you don’t have to feel the constant rubbing sensation as you would with ill-fitting shoes.
There is a cushioned collar for extra softness and a hidden tongue as well to facilitate the removal of debris and dust before they make it to your delicate feet.
Bunions are a painful foot condition where a bony bump appears on the joint where your big toe meets your foot. Bunions are painful and common. If you wear the wrong types of shoes, they can get worse with time. So, it’s important that your always stepping out in bunion-friendly shoes.
What does this mean? You need a roomy toe box with arch support to help with pressure redistribution and toe alignment. This will help keep your toes from getting cramped together. If the shoes are made from soft materials and flexible uppers, it’ll give your toes even more wiggle room. Adjustable straps will help you get the proper fit. All of the shoes on this list are podiatrist recommended footwear for bunions. You can’t go wrong with any of them!