Best Shoes for Foot Pain Relief

Best Shoes for Foot Pain Relief

Foot pain can hold us back from doing everything our daily routine requires, let alone doing those extra things we love. Luckily, our lives don't need to be dictated by our feet. There are plenty of ways to keep foot pain away, from the shoes you wear to what goes in them. 


  • Foot pain is caused by various common foot issues, but choosing the right footwear can make a difference in your day-to-day comfort and mobility.
  • For pain-free feet, choose footwear built for comfort. That means avoiding  high heels and narrow shoes, and instead looking for shoes with thick soles and cushioning.
  • When shopping for shoes, wear the socks you intend to wear with the shoes, make sure there is space between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe, and try to walk on various surfaces to see how your feet feel in the shoes.
  • Unless you’re buying custom or specialty footwear, you'll need to add arch support insoles to get the most comfortable fit. We recommend Tread Labs Pace insoles for a firm, flexible fit that comes in four arch heights to match the contours of your feet.



We spend about 235 days of our lives on our feet, so it’s no surprise that 80% of us have experienced foot painWhile the cause of your foot pain may be unique to you, there are some very common foot issues that could be the reason for your discomfort:

When you're on the hunt for shoes, sometimes you can tell if a pair of shoes will be comfortable just by looking at them. You can judge them by how they're constructed, what materials they're made of, if they're narrow, and how thick the soles are. Shoes that don’t give your feet enough room, support or cushioning won't leave your feet feeling good.

Shopping for shoes when you have foot pain ups the stakes. You want to make sure you're spending your money on comfortable footwear that makes your feet feel better, not worse.

How To Shop For Foot Pain Relief Shoes

Before you buy a pair of shoes that promises to “cure back and foot pain,” you’ll want to do some research to make sure you’re getting the greatest comfort for your feet and lifestyle.

It’s always better to try on shoes before you buy them, especially if it’s a brand you’ve never worn before. Spending some time walking around in a pair of shoes to see how your feet feel gives you an idea of how well they'll work for you long-term.

Harvard Medical School offers some helpful advice for shoe shopping:

  • Shop for shoes at the end of the day, after your feet have naturally expanded during the day.
  • Wear the same socks you intend on wearing with the shoes.
  • Measure your feet and if one foot is bigger than the other, purchase a size that fits the larger foot. Also remember, size varies among manufacturers so you may need to try sizing up or down from your regular size to get the right fit.
  • When standing, your feet should have room. There should be at least a quarter- to a half-inch of room between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
  • Try walking around in the shoes, on various surfaces if possible. Pay attention to how your feet feel – are they comfortable or do the shoes feel snug. Do the shoes slip at all when you walk?

Most of the shoes you try on probably don't have good arch support. This is because shoe manufacturers build in minimal arch support so their shoes appeal to the largest number of people. For example, if a shoe manufacturer put a medium arch in a shoe, people with flat feet would find them uncomfortable.

Your best bet to make any shoe more comfortable is to add an insole that offers firm, flexible support. When considering what kind of shoe inserts you need, think about the following:

  • Arch Height. Your shoes aren’t one size fits all, why should your insoles be? The arch of your insole should match the contours of your feet, supporting your arch fully the entire length. If it feels like there’s a golf ball in your shoe, the arch is too high. If it feels too roomy, the arch probably isn’t high enough.
  • Firm Support. The insoles you choose need to be able to stand up to whatever you put them through. If they’re too flexible, they won’t provide the support you need. If they’re too cushioned, they might feel great at first, but they won’t do anything to relieve your foot pain in the long run. Look for insoles that offer firm support.
  • High Quality.With the majority of insoles, you end up having to replace the entire insole when the top cover is worn. For lots of people, that’s every six months. It’s tough on the wallet and tough on the planet. Tread Labs insoles have replaceable top covers so you can refresh them whenever you need without buying a whole new insole. Plus, the molded arch supports are guaranteed forever.
  • Versatility. You have more than one type of shoe in your closet, so it makes sense to find an insole that works for all of them. Insoles come in various styles – ones with thick top covers; ones with short top covers; and ones with thin top covers. Tread Labs is the only insole that features a two-part system with swappable top covers, allowing you to buy one pair of insoles and multiple top covers so you have a fit for every shoe in your closet.

What Are The Best Fashion Shoes for Foot Pain?

Sonoma Women’s Flats from SoftWalk

For sufferers of plantar fasciitis or bunions, comfort and stretch that conforms to your feet are important details when buying shoes. Sonoma offers half sizes as well as a choice between wide, narrow, and even extra wide fits.

Most of Softwalk’s shoes have removable inserts so you can add your own orthotic insoles for added support. Some shoes even add stabilizing features to ensure your walk is as soft as possible and doesn’t add strain to the rest of your body.

DresSports Men’s Shoes from Rockport

Some of the most popular men’s dress shoes that get a thumbs-up for comfort are Rockport’s DresSports collection. They’re so comfortable that Rockport once sent a team of marathoners to run 26.2 miles in them.

Rockport ensures comfort in this series with a padded collar and tongue to help prevent blisters and lace bruising, a polyurethane outsole that reduces foot and leg fatigue through shock absorption, and shock-absorbing heel cushioning.

What Are The Best Running Shoes for Foot Pain?

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080V9

New Balance shoes are often cited as great for people suffering from foot pain. The Fresh Foam 1080V9 Running Shoes for men and women are stylish and comfortable with their mesh uppers. They have a wide toe box that helps to stabilize your feet and their ample cushioning helps with shock absorption.

What Are The Best Casual Shoes For Foot Pain?

Allbirds Tree Runners

Called the “world’s most comfortable shoe” by TIME magazine, Allbirds are beloved not only for feeling great on your feet, but also for their attention to using materials that are eco-friendly. With a focus on renewable and recyclable materials, Allbirds has styles for both men and women.

While you’ll probably need to add arch support insoles to your Allbirds, the flexibility of the fabric will be a relief for anyone suffering from bunions or hammertoes.

What Are The Best Sandals For Foot Pain?

Boston Birkenstock

It can be so tempting to throw on a pair of flip-flops when the weather is warm, but if you already have foot pain, they’re not going to help. Having used almost the same sole design for almost 250 years, Birkenstock (and the millions of people who wear them) swear by the simple science behind their shoes.

These sandals are designed with an arch support that molds to your foot over time, providing a natural and comfortable walk that prevents foot pain.

No matter the footwear you end up with, the most important thing your shoes can do is keep your feet comfortable and pain-free. It may be that the best shoes are just a start, and you need to add arch support insoles to get them perfect for your feet. Once you figure out what works best for you, you'll be amazing at how far you can go when your feet feel great.



Questions? Drop us a line at We're here to help.

Mark Paigen
Mark Paigen

Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.

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