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If you're dealing with bunions, you know that the right footwear is essential. Bunions can be painful, particularly if your shoes are rubbing up against them with every step you take. Thankfully, there are plenty of bunion-friendly shoes available from reputable brands such as Brooks, Allbirds, and Adidas, and retailers like Amazon and DSW. We tapped experts and read tons of product reviews from customers with bunions to find the best shoes for bunions for every outfit and occasion. Whether you're searching for the best walking shoes for bunions, the best running shoes for women with bunions, or comfortable and stylish sandals, they're all right here.
"In general, feet come in many different varieties just like foot bunions come in many different varieties as well," Dr. Yolanda Ragland tells Woman's Day. Ragland is a podiatrist, forefoot reconstructive surgeon, and founder of Fix Your Feet. Ragland shared information with us about different types of bunions as well as the shoes she personally recommends for women with bunions.
The best shoes for bunions in 2023:
And just to make one thing clear: Having bunions doesn't mean you have to forego fashionable footwear! We've found the best women's work shoes for bunions, fashion-forward sneakers, and even chic, comfortable heels you can wear.
Here are the best women's shoes for bunions to shop now, according to expert recommendations and enthusiastic reviewers.
What to look for when shopping for shoes for bunions
✔️ Comfort: This might seem like a no-brainer, but many of us have been convinced ourselves to buy a cute but uncomfortable pair of shoes and hoped they'd be wearable once they were broken in. As Dr. Ragland says, "It has to be comfortable! If it’s not comfortable in the store, it’s not going to be comfortable when you wear it all day long."
✔️ Type of bunion: Not all bunions are created equal. Dr. Ragland notes that they can be mild, moderate, and severe. She also explains that there are different types of bunions. "Frequently, they can involve a very painful medial prominence, which is the bump at the bottom of the big toe associated with bunions. Some people don’t have a bump at all, but the big toe leans towards the second toe like a bully." She notes that some people have "dorsal bunions" where the bump is on the top of the foot rather than the side, while others might have "hallux limitus," which is a bunion that limits the range of motion in your big toe. "The type of bunion you have will dictate the type of shoe your foot will feel comfortable sporting," Dr. Ragland explains.
✔️ Arch support: Dr. Ragland notes that choosing a shoe with arch support is important, since bunions are often associated with flat feet.
✔️ Soft materials: "Find a shoe that is soft and flexible," says Dr. Ragland. "Rigid, natural, or synthetic materials can cause friction leading to secondary issues like blisters, inflammation, and even subluxation of the big toe joint."
- What type of shoe is better for a person with bunions?
As noted above, it depends on the type of bunion you're dealing with. If you have a "traditional" bunion with a protrusion on the side of your foot, you'll want "a shoe with a wide toe box, allowing room for the foot to fit around the bunion more comfortably," Dr. Ragland says. If you have a dorsal bunion (that's a bump on the top of your foot) you'll want a shoe with a high toe box. She also notes that thong-type shoes can be beneficial for bunion sufferers because "it helps to separate the migrating big toe from drifting towards the lesser digits."
- Do they make special shoes for bunions?
Several of the shoes we've highlighted here are actually designed for people with bunions. However, if none of the consumer-ready options meet your needs, you may want to ask your podiatrist about a prescription for custom-made orthopedic shoes.
- Are there certain types of shoes people with bunions should avoid?
"Avoiding completely flat shoes is always recommended," says Dr. Ragland. "Very narrow and pointy shoes are also a no-no for those who feel victimized by bunions."
Jamie Ballard (she/her) is a freelance writer and editor who covers news, lifestyle, and entertainment topics, including sex and relationships, TV, movies, books, health, pets, food and drinks, pop culture, shopping, and personal finance. She regularly contributes to Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, and YouGov, among other publications. When she’s not working, you can find her running, traveling, or scrolling TikTok. Follow her on Twitter.
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