The Absolute Best (and Worst) Shoes for Back Pain

Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services. Article originally written in June 2021.

Article updated on January 5, 2023.

Anyone who deals with serious back pain knows how much of a struggle it is to find the right pair of shoes. Maybe you don’t know where to begin to look, or what specifics you should actually be looking for. That’s why we’re here to help! We didn’t just do a simple search — we wanted to bring you professional advice and design details to pay attention to if you’re regularly struggling with discomfort.

According to Long Island Spine Specialists, the worst shoes to wear if you deal with back pain are flats, high heels and flip flops. While that may be the case, there are ways around this. You can still find versions of these types of shoes that may work for you! Savvy reviewers gave Us the insight we needed, and we also took what we learned from the experts to pick out exactly what we think will benefit you. Keep reading to shop all of these excellent shoe options for back and foot pain!

What are orthopedic shoes and do they help back pain?

  • Orthopedic shoes are shoes that help pain relief.
  • For back pain, these are the following options: Rocker soles (including Joya or Skechers), sports shoes (such as running shoes or tennis shoes with cushioned soles), sandals with toe room and support like Birkenstocks and more.
  • Osteopath Tim Everett of The Bad Back Company states that Joya shoes may be the best choice, as their design causes “increased natural movement which gives your lower back muscles a ‘mini workout’ which is a positive benefit for your lower back.”

What to Look for in a Shoe

  • Rocker shoes (curved soles) to encourage active posture
  • Curved heels to avoid heel strike
  • Arch support
  • Cushioning
  • Fit (and return policies if they don’t fit properly)

What to Avoid

  • Flats
  • Flip flops

Best for Support

Not only are these sneakers supremely supportive, their design is super stylish. You can team them with practically anything — including dresses!

Get the Hoka One One Clifton Edge with free shipping for $149, available from Zappos!

Best for Plantar Fasciitis

These sneakers were designed with anyone who specifically deals with plantar fasciitis, and shoppers confirm these are absolutely incredible!

Get the Gravity Defyer Proven Pain Relief Women’s G-Defy Ion Athletic Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for prices starting at $100, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Best for Back Pain

Reviewers say they wear these shoes when they have to be on their feet for hours. These Skechers reportedly make the day so much more comfortable!

Get the Skechers Women’s Ghenter Bronaugh Work Shoe for prices starting at $41, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Best for Walking

These simple slip-on shoes are strictly for walking — they have a supportive sole but a sock-like design up top which makes you feel like you’re walking on clouds!

Get the HKR Women’s Walking Shoes for prices starting at $39, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Best Sneaker

We love these sneakers because their design is super stylish, and the amount of support they provide is unbeatable! You would never be able to tell they’re built like an orthopedic shoe at first glance. And as we mentioned earlier, these have been vetted by professionals!

Get the JOYA Women’s Vancouver Nubuck Trainers for prices starting at $173, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Best Dress Shoe

These shoes are great to wear whenever you want to feel a bit more dressed up. They’re ultra-comfy, and they look amazing with a pair of sleek skinny jeans or wide-leg pants!

Get the Clarks Women’s Warren Slip-On Loafer for prices starting at $46, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Best Everyday Flats

These shoes are reportedly highly recommended by reviewers if you’re looking for a dressier shoe that’s comfortable, and most importantly, you can walk all day in! The arch support may not be at as high of a caliber as a pair of sneakers, for example, but they’re still great for anyone who has foot pain.

Get the LifeStride Women’s Dig Flat for prices starting at $42, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Best Heels

These heels may not be the trendiest, but they are undeniably timeless and pretty much go with anything! Countless reviewers say if you’re looking for the ultimate pair of comfy heels, it can’t get much better than these pumps. Reliable, easy-to-wear and classic — there’s not much more anyone could ask for!

Get the Clarks Women’s Adriel Viola Dress Pump for prices starting at $58, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Best Boots

They key to the comfort level of these shoes has to do with their flexibility, which is important to look for when shopping for boots. Typically, combat boots come out of the box stiff — and don’t improve too much after wear. Luckily, shoppers say these are comfortable right off the bat! In addition, they also have the arch support you want, plus cushioning that feels incredible. They come in both regular and wide sizes!

Get the LifeStride Women’s Knockout Ankle Boot for prices starting at $49, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Best Sandals

The incredible thing about these sandals is that the cork footbed actually molds to your exact foot shape over time, so you’re basically getting a custom pair of shoes.

Get the Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed for prices starting at $86, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Best Flip Flops

These flip flops are a serious favorite of shoppers who say they’re a miracle for anyone dealing with all types of back and foot pain!

Get the LLSOARSS Plantar Fasciitis Feet Sandal with Arch Support for prices starting at $30, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2022, but are subject to change.

Best for Nurses

Crocs have been known as a staple for nurses for years, and with good reason! They’re lightweight, easy to slip on and provide great arch support for long shifts.

Get the Crocs Unisex-Adult On The Clock Clog for prices starting at $30, available on Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, January 5, 2023, but are subject to change.

Related:

  • Best Shoes for Ball of Foot Pain
  • Best Cushioned Socks for Foot Pain
  • Comfortable Shoes for All-Day Wear

Check out more of our picks and deals here!

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