The 10 Best Shoes for Neuropathy, According to Experts
Whether you're walking, traveling, or exercising, you can limit nerve damage and protect your feet with these expert-recommended shoes for neuropathy.
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Neuropathy and foot care
More than 20 million people in the U.S. have peripheral neuropathy, and diabetes is the most common cause. In people with diabetes, the nerve damage is due to the toxic nature of elevated blood sugar. (Good blood sugar control can help reduce the risk.)
The nerve condition can also be caused by chronic diseases (kidney disorders), trauma (fall or fracture), heavy alcohol use, medications (chemotherapy), autoimmune disorders, like lupus, and infections like HIV.
People with peripheral neuropathy will typically experience numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in the feet and legs. Therefore, choosing the right shoes for neuropathy is one of the best ways to limit nerve damage and protect your feet. Your podiatrist can check if a shoe is right for you, too.
What are the best shoes for neuropathy?
“Wearing proper shoes is critical to preventing many lower-extremity and foot problems,” says Sheri Colberg-Ochs, exercise physiologist, diabetes motion expert, and author of The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes. “For both men and women with neuropathy in their feet, the recommendation is for them to wear good-fitting shoes to minimize the potential for blisters and other trauma.”
An important part of this is choosing shoes based on whether you rotate your feet inward (or overpronate) or rotate your feet outward (or supinate) when you walk. “If your shoes do not compensate for this, you may place extra stress on your knees, hips, and ankles that can result in injuries or increase your likelihood of developing other diabetic foot issues,” Colberg-Ochs says.
Other things to look for: Extended width options, extra cushioning through the sole, and coverage of the top of the foot. “Diabetics with neuropathy should also choose polyester or cotton-polyester socks to prevent the formation of blisters and keep their feet dry during physical activities,” adds Colberg-Ochs. Not one shoe is going to fit all patients, so you may need to try more than one to find the shoe that works best for your feet.
To help you find the ideal pair of footwear, we spoke with experts who shared their top picks for the best shoes for neuropathy, whether it’s related to diabetes or not.
Hoka One One Bondi 7
“The foot gets hot spots where too much pressure is being applied and having shoes that help avoid that can prevent problems,” says Colberg-Ochs. These Hoka One One sneakers use a unique rocker technology designed to encourage proper foot alignment and make movement feel easier, so pressure is being applied evenly across the foot as you walk. Plus, two additional width options and extra cushioning through the sole make excessive rubbing on one side of the foot or the other less likely to occur. (Also, check out the best diabetic shoes for women.)
Stylish, durable, and perfect for fall and winter, these KURU boots are designed with a wide toe box, extra arch support, and padding through the sole that counteracts pain. “The perfect boot for me! So very comfortable, great support throughout, terrific traction on sole, and really nice styling—from color combination to beautiful leather,” writes one satisfied customer. “The cushioned fabric insert along the top edge of the boot is particularly nice for no-break-in-required wear from the start. I also like the styling of the sole—the wrap-around textured sole material without a heel block makes this really cute and not clunky. Most of all, the Kuru heel innovation is genius! Incredibly comfortable while maintaining proper support.” (Beware of the shoe mistakes that are hurting your feet.)
Orthofeet Sanibel Mary Jane Shoes
“These Orthofeet shoes provide good protection for diabetics with neuropathy,” says board-certified podiatric surgeon Miguel Cunha, DPM, founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City. “Orthofeet makes a good selection of shoes that provide a number of features suited for diabetics such as full coverage, extended widths, multiple cushioning, and supportive arches.” With four layers of cushioning on the bottom of the shoe for comfort and protection and three additional widths available, these Mary Janes are a cute option for everyday wear. (Want arch support? These best walking shoes for your feet.)
Propét Womens TravelBound Strap Sneaker
A brand recommended by Dr. Cunha, these stylish Propét slip-ons deliver maximum support in a sleek, sock-like package. The removable footbed can be replaced with custom orthotics if necessary, while five different width options and an adjustable Velcro strap mean that they will fit snugly onto any foot. “I have neuropathy and arthritis and flat feet,” shares one five-star reviewer. “These are the first shoes I have worn in years that do not kill my feet!”
Mizuno Wave Rider 24 WAVEKNIT
“If you have normal arches, you’ll want to aim for shoes with moderate control, such as those with a two-density midsole,” suggests Colberg-Ochs. The soles of these Mizuno sneakers feature a foam layer and a proprietary layer called U4ic, an extremely lightweight substance that provides comfort, support, and durability. Meanwhile, the knit upper fits and feels like a cozy sock, so you don’t have to worry about rubbing or blisters. (Learn how diabetic foot ulcers form.)
Skechers Men’s Equalizer Double Play Slip-On Loafer
$43-$49, depending on size and color
“I suffer from peripheral neuropathy, most especially in my feet,” writes one purchaser. “There are many types of shoes I just cannot wear at all. What a relief to slip these shoes on! The gel cushioning is sheer heaven.” Over 7,660 five-star reviewers on Amazon agree: These Skechers provide ample room in the toe box for wide feet along with a snug fit down the length of the foot and a gel layer to cradle the bottom of the foot. (Find out whether walking barefoot is bad for your feet.)
Grasshoppers Stretch Plus Lace II
These shoes from Grasshoppers are like a pair of classic white Keds…but with American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)-approved support and two additional width choices for wider feet. The dual-density memory foam sole is soft and cloud-like but can be removed to accommodate custom orthotics if needed. “Normally I wear a medium width shoe but I now have neuropathy and I try not to squeeze my toes, so I ordered double wide, WW,” shares one customer. “I ordered 8 1/2 which is 1/2 size larger and they are perfect. I bought them for the gym, but I wear them everywhere. They are made of a soft leathery material, a little stretch, and a memory foam insole. These are wonderful shoes and they even look good too.” (For comfort at home, here are the best slippers for your feet.)
Dr. Comfort Jason Men’s Therapeutic Extra Depth Athletic Shoe
$105-$145, depending on size and color
If tying your laces tight enough to make sure your foot is snug and secure proves difficult, look no farther than these shoes from Dr. Comfort. The no-tie elastic closure makes it a cinch to take your shoes on and off, while gel inserts, a roomy toe box, and wide and extra-wide options nix the possibility of blisters and abrasions. The best part: Medicare or other insurance plans may help cover the cost of these kicks. (For lace-free shoes, these are the best slip-on sneakers for women.)
ASICS Gel Nimbus 22
“In general, people with neuropathy should choose athletic shoes with gel or air soles,” suggests Colberg-Ochs. One such shoe: The ASICS Gel Nimbus 22, which uses gel cushioning in the heel and ball of the foot and foam cushioning in the midsole, plus technologies that improve the wearer’s gait and ensure the foot doesn’t move around inside the shoe. All told, these effects reduce the risk of developing blisters and improve balance and stability, lowering injury risk. (Like to golf? Here are the best golf shoes for men.)
Dunham Cloud Cool
From the makers of Rockport shoes, these stylish and durable walkers are a Medicare-approved shoe for people with diabetes. With two additional widths, a removable memory foam footbed, and an outsole that provides superior traction in wet and dry conditions, you’ll be able to enjoy any autumn activity in these Dunham shoes. (Next, read why you should never wear flip flops.)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Peripheral Neuropathy"
- Sheri Colberg-Ochs, PhD, exercise physiologist, diabetes motion expert, author of The Athlete's Guide to Diabetes, and founder of Diabetes Motion
- Miguel Cunha, DPM, board-certified podiatric surgeon and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet