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The Best Shoes for Reducing Bunion Pain

The Best Shoes for Reducing Bunion Pain

Do you suffer from painful bunions on one or both of your feet? Bunions form a hard, bony bulge at the base of your big toe. You can also develop bunionettes beneath the joints of your little toes.

Bunions often form because of footwear that doesn’t fit well. And, once you start developing a bunion, finding shoes that fit comfortably only gets more challenging. The wrong footwear can make your bunions worse, but the right type of supportive shoe can help address your condition and even reverse bunion development.

So, what shoes should you choose? Expert podiatrist Dr. Leonard Greenwald helps his patients with bunions figure out the answer to this tricky question. Dr. Greenwald works with new and existing patients from in and around the San Jose, California, area.

Here are some of the points you should take into consideration when looking for shoes to reduce your bunion pain.

Wide toe box

The toe box of your shoes is key for bunion support. This is the front of the shoe. Some fashionable shoes have very narrow toe boxes that taper to a point — something you should avoid if you’re struggling with bunions.

Instead, look for walking shoes, running shoes, boots, and even formal shoes with a wide toe box. Shoes designed for wide fit can be a gift for individuals with bunions. When there’s plenty of space in the toe box, your deformed toe joint can fit without rubbing or pressure so you won’t end up in pain after a few steps or a short interval standing.

Good arch support and reasonable heel height

Bunions appear in the front part of your foot, but arch support matters when choosing shoes that will be comfortable with bunions. Good arch support distributes pressure evenly, so your bunion doesn’t experience painful compression that can worsen the deformity.

Make sure your running shoes have cushioned midsoles for shock absorption. And you’ll need good arch support in dress shoes for formal occasions.

Now, let’s talk about heel height. High heels are a common cause of bunions and probably why they’re much more likely to affect women than men. 

When you’re looking for new shoes that won’t worsen your bunions, stop at a heel height of two inches. You don’t want to shift too much of your body weight forward, where it puts pressure on your toes.

Quality shoe construction and materials

What your shoes are made of can make a big difference in reducing bunion pain as well. Look for shoes made of softer materials that have plenty of stretch. Whether you’re shopping for formal shoes, running shoes, walking shoes, or summer sandals, materials like canvas and leather give you better support than poorly constructed plastic shoes.

You may find that shoes with flexible upper portions, or an overall flexible design, are most comfortable around your bunion. Many running shoes have mesh uppers that work well for people with bunions.


To benefit from specific advice on the best shoes for your bunions, contact Dr. Greenwald today. Schedule your appointment over the phone or use our online scheduling tool to book your visit.

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