Best Shoes for Bunions: 2018 Buyer’s Guide
Bunions are a common but potentially painful foot complaint.
Below we have reviewed 10 of the best shoes for bunions that can help alleviate the pain and reduce the swelling caused by bunions.
You can also find details of shoes that are suitable if you have recently undergone bunion surgery.
Top 10 Bunion Shoes – Comparison Chart
Scan through our comparison table to quickly see the pros and cons of each pair of shoes that made it in the Top 10. If you’re not in a hurry, scroll further down to see our reviews.
|Clark’s May Poppy Loafer||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
|New Balance MX857 Cross Training Shoe||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
|Merrell Encore Nova Crystal Slip On||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
|Sanita Celina Professional Clog||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
|Naot Matai Mary Janes||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
|Skechers Premium Sneaker||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
|Asics Gel-Tech Neo 4||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
|Propet Vista||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
|Orthofeet Springfield Mary Jane Shoes||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
|Propet Olivia||Buy Now at Amazon.com|
Shoes for Bunions – Reviews
Women’s Casual Slip-On Shoes
The May Poppy Loafer from Clark’s is a comfortable, wide fitting, and supportive shoe that is ideal as a bunion shoe. It has a steel shank construction, which means that it offers a stable and rigid base. It also has an Ortholite footbed, providing a comfortable fit and Bendables flexible materials that shape to the contour of the foot. The soft leather offers ensures flexibility that benefits the wearer.
The slip-on is a casual shoe, but comes in a number of designs so that you can get the look you want from a comfortable shoe. The shoe has a 2” heel and stretch gore material.
Men’s Comfortable Trainers
Bunions are more common in women than men, but the male gender can also suffer from this painful condition. The New Balance MX857 cross training shoe is a large fitting men’s trainer.
It will not rub against bunions, although the toe box could do with being a little wider. The breathable mesh used in the construction of these trainers means that the feet are allowed to breathe, and the high quality of the cross-training shoes means that they are durable while also being functional.
The trainers are designed to be among the best shoes for bunion pain. They provide shock absorption that prevents additional damage to the bunion, and they are also a good quality trainer too.
Women’s Comfortable Slip-On Shoes
Merrell specialises in the manufacture and supply of good quality shoes that are designed to provide comfort for bunion sufferers and people with other foot complaints. These shoes combine well with orthotics, which means that you can enjoy extra protection for your feet and relief for your bunions.
The leather upper is water resistant and the shoes are very good for walking and other active forms of exercise. The collar of the slip on shoe is padded, and this prevents the shoe from rubbing against the foot, as can otherwise happen when wearing this type of shoe.
These lightweight and comfortable shoes are not only great as bunion shoes, but they can help protect your feet while offering comfort and relief from other causes of foot and joint pain.
Women’s Slip-On Bunion Shoes
The Sanita Celina professional clogs offer incredible support for the feet, ankles, and legs, thanks to their sturdy design.
However, it should be noted that patented leather is used to help achieve this support, and some people have reported that the harder material can rub against their feet and cause discomfort or even lead to a worsening of any bunions that you have. However, if you want comfort and style, combined with strength and support, then these are not only suitable, they are among the best.
The shoes are also rated as being oil, and slip-resistant, as well as having anti-shock and anti-static properties. They are more rugged than most other pairs of bunion shoes.
Women’s Adjustable Mary Jane Shoes
One of the things that makes designing the best bunion shoes difficult is the fact that everybody’s needs are different. With bunions and other foot complaints, buying an ill-fitting shoe is not only inconvenient and uncomfortable, it can be painful and can severely limit mobility.
Adjustable shoes like the Naot Matai Mary Jane shoes is a great way to combat this problem. The adjustable collar strap means that you can tighten or loosen the shoes as required. A soft leather upper and a padded real collar prevent rubbing from the shoe material and the cork and latex footbed means that these shoes are sensible and comfortable for wearing while standing all day, or even walking and jogging.
The large toe box, the wide fit, and the fact that you can adjust the size and fit of the shoe makes these high quality shoes a good choice if you wear additional orthotics to try and combat bunion pain.
Women’s Supportive Trainer
Skechers is one of the biggest brands in footwear today; they are well known for manufacturing durable and comfortable footwear. Among the 3,000 different styles of shoe that the company sell are several ranges that are suitable as bunion shoes, including the Premium Sneaker for women.
The sneakers are made with leather upper as well as a padded insole. The collar and tongue also offer additional protection to the wearer, making these some of the best running shoes for bunions.
They are also commonly used by bunion sufferers that are looking for casual shoes, that are comfortable for walking in. Although the Skechers are designed for athletic use, their good looks and the respect that the brand has gained means that these shoes can benefit you for a multitude of uses.
Premium Walking Trainers
The Asics brand is best known for making high quality, comfortable, and premium running shoes, but they also manufacture lines of other footwear, including the Gel-Tech Neo 4 trainers.
Gel-Tech Neo 4 are designed primarily for use as walking shoes, and they are available in both men’s and women’s models. The gel technology is used in the shoe to provide support and comfortable cushioning. It effectively acts as a shock absorber, which can help to alleviate the pain associated with bunions, and can also help alleviate the symptoms and signs of other foot complaints.
These walking trainers are especially useful because they have generous toe and foot room, while still sitting comfortably on the foot, which means that you can walk in confidence and in comfort.
8. Propet Vista
Velcro Shoes For Men And Women
The dual, adjustable Velcro straps of the Propet Vista enable the wearer to ensure that they enjoy a comfortable fit that perfectly matches the contour of the foot and protects the line of the bunion.
The upper section of the shoe is made from leather and has double cushioning layers, ensuring that the leather material is unable to rub against the foot, while still enabling you to benefit from the additional support and strength that the material has to offer.
The Velcro straps are easy and convenient to use, and they are suited to people with motor and mobility problems because the Velcro straps make the shoes easy to adjust and to wear. The straps also mean that you don’t have to rely on standard shoe shapes to alleviate the pain associated with foot problems.
Propet are especially well known for making walking shoes, and the comfortable and secure fit of these shoes, combined with the high quality materials and additional cushioning, mean that these are among the best walking shoes for men and women with bunions.
Women’s Mary Jane Shoes
Mary Jane shoes are among some of the most convenient and comfortable shoes for women that suffer with bunions.
Extra toe room is offered by this design, and the fastening straps means that you can easily adjust the size and fit across the foot and across the top of the shoe. This type of shoe can also be worn for work or as part of a casual outfit, depending on the style and design chosen. Orthofeet are orthotically designed shoes and the whole of the Springfield shoe has been designed so that it provides the support and stability required.
The extra toe room, for example, means that the foot can comfortably spread out while walking, and the cushioned sole is lightweight and utilises technology that cushions every single step that you take while wearing them.
Available in a range of colours, these shoes are suitable for wearing to work or for wearing as a pair of casual, comfortable, and protective shoes.
10. Propet Olivia
Women’s Wide And Stretchable Shoes
Propet Olivia stretchable shoes offer the best of all worlds when shopping for the best shoes for bunions. They are attractive and stylish, they offer the support and cushioning that your foot needs, and they provide the room and flexibility that your bunions need to enjoy reduced pain and minimal rubbing.
The seamless upper section is beneficial because seams can often rub and cause bunions to get worse, while the wide toe box allows the feet to spread out naturally when you walk. The shoe is made of flexible material that fits right around the foot, so that it will stretch as needed and then return to normal again afterwards. The adjustable strap allows you to ensure that the shoe fits securely but without causing extra rubbing on your already sensitive feet.
The insoles of these shoes are completely removable, allowing you to include orthotic inserts in place of the original insert, and there is a selection of colours and styles so that you can buy the pair that best matches your tastes.
What Are Bunions?
Hallux Valgus, or bunions, are deformities that occur at the base of the big toe. Characterised by a big toe that points towards the other toes, bunions can be very painful and can restrict movement in the sufferer.
The exact cause of bunions is unknown, but they are common in patients that suffer from complaints like arthritis and osteoporosis. They are also more common in women than in men, and the problem will usually worsen if it is left untreated. There is also some evidence to suggest that bunions may be hereditary.
“High heels can exacerbate the problem because they tip the body’s weight forward, forcing the toes into the front of the shoe. This may help to explain why bunions are 10 times more common in women than in men.”
– Dr. James P. Ioli, Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Treatment options include bunion pads and orthotics combined with painkillers, but surgery can completely remove the bunion.
No matter the treatment you are currently undergoing, finding the best shoes for bunion feet will provide relief and comfort, and can help prevent the pain and discomfort from getting worse. Experts believe that women are more likely to suffer from bunions because of their style of footwear, highlighting the importance of wearing shoes that fit properly.
The main symptom of a common bunion is that the big toe will face inward towards the rest of the foot. This can lead to a protrusion of the bone on the outside of the big toe. Most sufferers experience pain and swelling from the big toe; while it is common to have red, sore skin over the top of the bunion.
The change in shape of your foot and the swelling from the bunion means that your existing shoes may be painful to wear and, over time and if the bunion is left untreated, it can greatly reduce mobility.
What Causes Bunions?
We do not know the exact cause of bunions, but there are several factors that are known to be directly linked:
- Arthritis – Bunions are associated with arthritic conditions including rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, as well as gout. These conditions cause joints to become inflamed and painful.
- Genetics – Research points to the fact that bunions could be hereditary, so if you have family members that have suffered, then you are more likely to develop bunions.
- Poor Shoes – Poor shoes are believed to be one of the greatest contributing factors towards causing bunions. Pointed toes and high heels, especially when worn frequently and over a period of years, may cause bunions, or may cause your bunions to worsen. These are not the best shoes for bunion feet.
Types Of Bunion
There are, in fact, several different types of bunion; some of them characterised by the position of the trademark bump, but others by an underlying condition that includes bunions as a side effect or symptom.
- Common Bunion – The common bunion is a build-up of calcium that appears near the big toe joint. Calcium continues to be deposited, meaning that left untreated, the common bunion can grow much larger and cause greater problems for the patient. The common bunion is also the easiest to treat.
- Inflammatory Bunion – As well as a tissue build-up, the inflammatory bunion will be red and inflamed. It is filled with fluid and patients will find it very painful to do any form of exercise, including walking. The inflammatory bunion may seem to disappear, but will return and remain until it has been properly treated, and the cause of the inflammation is gone.
- Compilation Bunion – While a common bunion will usually grow on the side and the top of the big toe, a compilation bunion only appears on the side of the toe. These bunions are usually harder, and they tend to have a smaller surface area but protrude more than common bunions.
- Arthritic Bunion – An arthritic bunion is harder than any other type and because of the high density of bone matrix, it is actually very close to being human bone. The joint of the toe is incredibly painful for the majority of the time, and the patient will suffer from restricted use of the toe.
- Tailors Bunion – A tailor’s bunion, also called a bunionette, are the same as common bunions but, instead of forming on the big toe or first metatarsal, they form on the outside of the small toe, which is the fifth metatarsal. These can be very painful but can be treated.
Effects And Side Effects
Although different people may have different reactions to bunions, and early recognition and treatment can prevent the symptoms and effects from worsening, if left untreated, bunion sufferers can develop the following problems:
- Pain – Bunions can vary in pain level. In some cases, the sufferer may not notice that they have a bunion, except to notice that their shoes no longer fit properly. The telltale bump may be the only sign that you see, but the rubbing of bunions on tight shoes, the wearing of shoes with a narrow toe box, and regularly exercising on the foot, will typically lead to additional pain. Some types of bunion can cause pain in the joints themselves too.
- Stiffness – The build-up or inflammation that causes the different types of bunion can restrict movement of the toe or other joint. This stiffness tends to be exacerbated as we alter our gait to eliminate pain. Stiffness of joints is also a common complaint for arthritis sufferers.
- Lack Of Mobility – Pain and stiffness can lead to a lack of mobility, while the extra pain that is caused from walking in ill-fitting shoes only serves to further reduce mobility levels in sufferers. By choosing bunion friendly shoes, you can help alleviate the pain and potentially even reduce the size of the bunion itself.
- Further Foot Problems – Bunions on either the big toe or little toe can push the next toes out of place, and arthritis can form in the toe if the underlying bunion is left untreated. Secondary foot complaints are not uncommon in patients that fail to have the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Typically, your GP will work with you to investigate the best possible treatment for your bunion problem. Initially, they will look to try non-surgical solutions. Unfortunately, treatment such as bunion pads and painkillers only mask the symptoms; they will not improve the look and shape of the foot and bunions can reform if you do not take steps to prevent it.
Over the counter painkillers will usually be advised to relieve the pain. Bunion pads are another possible means of treating bunion symptoms. These are soft pads that either sit over the top of the foot or are adhesive and secured over the top of the bunion. These pads are really only designed to prevent your bunion from rubbing against the inside of your shoe even more.
Orthotic inserts for your shoes may help relieve some of the pressure, but there is actually no evidence to suggest that they will work as a long-term solution.
What is important is that you wear appropriate footwear, such as the shoes and trainers listed in our comparison of the best bunion shoes. Avoid those with a narrow toe box and try to avoid high heels. Soft leather is generally considered the best material because it is durable and strong while being flexible.
None of the methods above actually cure bunions. They can help eliminate pain, reduce swelling, and may arrest the development of the bunion to prevent it from getting worse. However, surgery is the only way to completely eradicate the problem. Consider your age and fitness level, remember that surgery, which only has around an 85% chance of success, has potential complications and some patients experience pain and reduced movement following bunion surgery. Generally, surgery is only considered a viable option if bunions are causing considerable pain or are preventing you from living a normal everyday life.
You should expect your toe and even your ankle to be swollen for a period of up to three months following surgery. During recovery, you will need to use crutches and you should keep your foot elevated. Special shoes may need to be worn for six months, because these encourage you to walk on the heel of your foot which protects the bones and helps ensure that they are able to recover fully. After six months, you should take care to wear bunion friendly shoes in order to prevent anymore from surfacing.
Bunions are permanent without corrective surgery, but the risks associated with surgery mean that this should be treated as a last resort. Through good bunion care and wearing specially designed shoes for bunion sufferers, it is possible to manage the pain, but also to slow the rate at which the bunion gets worse. Following these 6 steps will help you manage your bunions.
- Maintain a healthy weight – The more you weigh, the greater the pressure you are placing on your feet, and in particular on your toes.
- Protect the bunion using bunion pads – The soft lining of the pad and the protection it offers the bunion from rubbing against shoes, means that bunion pads can halt the progress of the bunion while also helping alleviate pain.
- Try orthotic inserts – There are several orthotic inserts and orthotic solutions that are designed to reduce swelling, minimise pain, and prevent bunions from getting worse. Orthotic inserts tend to have mixed results, but if you find one that works, then stick with it.
- Take anti-inflammatories – Anti-inflammatory drugs, like Ibuprofen, can reduce pain that is caused by swelling. As well as the swelling that can occur with inflammatory bunions, rubbing them against your shoes and socks can also cause additional swelling.
- Use ice packs and warm soaks – An ice pack can reduce swelling and also help alleviate any muscle and joint pain that has been caused by adopting a new walking stance. Heat is used to treat chronic pain, which is typical with bunions as well as associated conditions like arthritis.
- Buy the best shoes for bunions – If you are serious about managing your bunions, then it is essential that you wear appropriate footwear. The best shoes for bunion feet fit comfortably, offer support and strength, and they have a wide toe box.
Bunion Shoe Buying Tips
Buying the best bunion shoes means finding those that are comfortable, that still offer good support, but that do not rub or worsen the bunion.
- Avoid rubbing – Buckles, straps, and any other section of the shoe that rubs against the bunion is going to cause pain, and it will cause the bunion to get worse. Avoid shoes that have these features around the site of the bunion, whether it is on your little toe or big toe, and remember that bunions can form on the top of the toe as well as at the side.
- Try to avoid heels – You should try to avoid wearing high heels altogether, if possible. Your feet are squashed into a narrow toe, while the heel itself means that you naturally place more weight and pressure on the toes. Again, this will cause pain and lead to additional problems with your bunion.
- Avoid patent leather – Patent leather is hard and unforgiving. You should look for softer materials, that will not rub or cause blisters. Soft leather is a popular choice because it is flexible but still offers good quality and good looks.
- Avoid narrow toe boxes – The toe area is obviously an important factor when deciding on the best shoes for bunion feet. Try to buy shoes with a wider toe area, because this will allow the toes room to move without rubbing against the inside of the shoe.
- Buy a larger size – Bunions essentially cause your feet to change shape and even size. Buy half or even a full size up from your usual shoe size because this will give you a lot more room to prevent rubbing.
What Shoe Features To Look For
Whether you are looking for the best running shoes for bunion pain, or shoes for work that won’t rub against your bunions, there are certain features that you should look for when buying shoes. Fortunately, there is a much wider range of bunion friendly shoes available now than ever before, so you can reduce pain and swelling while wearing comfortable shoes that look great too.
- Comfort – The best bunion shoes offer a comfortable fit. Once bunions have developed, the shape of your foot changes. Shoes that were once comfortable will be painful to wear, and you may benefit from different styles of shoes to those that you would have previously worn. Comfort is dictated by a range of other factors, but it also comes down to personal choice and your personal circumstances.
- Width – Bunions appear on the sides and top of your toes, depending on the type of bunion that you suffer from. Wide fitting shoes allow extra room around the area where bunions typically appear, and this means that your shoes will not be able to rub against the lumps and cause extra pain.
- Quality – You don’t have to compromise on quality when buying the best shoes for bunion pain. Soft leather shoes are generally considered the best material. They are flexible and lightweight, but they also come in a variety of styles and designs, which means that you can buy comfortable shoes for wearing out, or you can invest in a pair of attractive shoes for work.
- Flexibility – Patent leather and other hard materials are not considered suitable materials in these cases. They are hard and rigid, which means that they will rub against your bunion and the rest of your foot, causing the bunion to become aggravated and increasing the pain and inflammation that you suffer. Soft leather forms to the shape of the foot, and it will move more easily when you walk or exercise.
- Lightweight – Lightweight shoes greatly reduce the amount of pressure that is placed on the bunion, and this can help to minimise pain. Wearing shoes that are too heavy can also further limit your mobility, which is likely to be an issue as your bunions worsen.
- Grip – Poor grip on your shoes means that you are unable to walk properly. You will be paying more attention to trying to grip the floor than to walking properly. This is another way in which the wrong shoes can cause bunion problems to worsen. What’s more, you can cause additional injuries to other sections of the foot if you don’t choose footwear with good grip.
- Durability – High quality shoes made from high quality material tend to be harder wearing and longer lasting. This not only means that you don’t have to replace your shoes as often, but it means that the shoes you choose will last longer and will continue to provide the protection that your bunions and your feet need.