The best shoes for hip and back pain are the ones that will help you get the most out of your workouts. The right shoe can help prevent injury, increase your energy, and improve your overall quality of life.
In this article, we’re going to talk about how to choose the best shoes for hip and back pain. We’ll also discuss some of the best shoes on the market today so you can find a pair that works for you.
Best Shoes For Hip And Back Pain
10 Best Shoes For Hip Pain In 2022
They offer the right amount of cushioning and arch support and absorb shock.
Poor posture, alignment, or uncomfortable shoes can cause hip pain. This pain may restrict your mobility, affecting your quality of life. Using the right walking shoes for hip pain may help you overcome this problem. Featuring motion control, arch support, and good cushioning, these shoes can help alleviate pain in your feet, hip, or joints. Such shoes are designed to support the natural alignment from the ground up and use technology to provide stability and comfort. However, it is best to consult an orthopedic in case of chronic pain or if the situation affects your daily activities.
It can be challenging to live with the pain that hinders your lifestyle, and so comfortable footgear may help ease your pain. To help you choose, we have created a list of the best shoes for hip pain to provide you with comfort and support.
1. Best Cushioned: Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 21
Brooks’ women’s shoes feature a modern look to provide all-day comfort and a flexible running experience. The knitted mesh upper and 3D-fit print gives it a fashionable look suitable for casual wear or workouts. These women’s adrenaline shoes use the BioMoGo DNA cushioning to help reduce impact and adapt to your style of stride.
- Cushioned sole
- APMA seal of acceptance
- PDAC A5500-certified
- Holistic support system
- May not be durable at the toes
2. Best Lightweight: Skechers Women’s Go Walk Joy Walking Shoe
Featuring innovative 5Gen midsole design and Goga max insoles, these may be one of the best walking shoes for hip pain by Skechers. These slip-on shoes have a platform base with cushioned support to give you an advanced walking experience. Its advanced mesh upper makes it breathable and keeps you dry after long walks.
- High rebound insole
- Easy to wear
- Size may run large
3. Best Shock-Absorbing: Easy Spirit Women’s Tourguide Mule
Made from 100% leather and textile material, these slip-on style shoes from Easy Spirit are equipped with a removable sock liner that is well cushioned to absorb shock. It features good arch support that helps minimize hip pain while walking, and a cushioned collar with dual side goring supports your ankle and reduces chafing.
- Breathable fabric
- Round-toe design
- Easy to slip on
- Leather may not be durable
4. Best Arch- And Heel-Support Insole: Ryka Women’s Devotion Plus 2 Walking Shoe
Featuring a breathable upper, cushioned soles, and lightweight design, these shoes by Ryka provide you with adequate support during your fitness regime. It also features an anatomically designed insole that provides extra arch and heel support, making it one of the best sneakers for hip pain. These shoes are designed with a four-way gradient print for a stylish look.
- Durable laces
- Extra-support insole
- Strong stability
- Wide width
- May not be true to size
5. Best Slip-Resistant Outsole: Dansko Women’s XP 2.0 Clogs
An ergonomically designed platform shoe that raises your feet to 0.75 inches in cushioned support makes them the best shoes to help with hip pain. For adequate arch support, the shoe is designed with the Dansko natural arch technology that helps minimize hip pain while walking. The shoe looks sleek in full leather upper.
- Extra pads for comfort
- Slip-resistant outsole
- Spacious at the front
- Lightweight midsoles
- Removable footbed
- May have a small instep
6. Best Orthotic Insole: Vionic Women’s Walker Leisure Shoes
Vionic’s walking shoes for hip pain are designed with an orthotic insole to provide maximum comfort and support. Its construction involves leather and suede upper, removable EVA footbed, and a durable and non-slip rubber outsole. The shoes also have a built-in elevation of 0.5 inches to reduce pressure on the hip, helping you walk easily.
- Durable outsole
- Suitable for daily wear
- APMA seal of acceptance
- May not be suitable for rigorous athletic activities
7. Best Stability: Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Merrell’s hiking boots are suitable for hip pain, designed to support your long backpacking treks. Made from 100% suede leather, these shoes assure durability and long-term use. It features air cushions in the heels to absorb shock and improve stability while hiking. The upper mesh design makes these shoes breathable.
- Removable insole
- Protective toe cap
- Strong stability
- Boots may be narrow
8. Best With Pain-Relief Technology: Orthofeet Women’s Mary Jane Shoes Sanibel
Designed with innovative pain-relief technology, the Orthofeet shoes help alleviate foot and hip pain, making them one of the best shoes for hip and knee pain. Its construction involves anatomical arch support and a contoured heeled seat to control overpronation and reduce muscle fatigue. The shoes also feature a multi-layered cushioned foam design that is breathable to keep your feet dry.
- Wide toe box
- Ergonomic sole
- Arch support
- Anti-odor fabric
- Adjustable strap
- Velcro may not be long-lasting
9. Best With Arch Booster: Orthofeet Women’s Sneakers
The comfortable women’s casual shoes by Orthofeet are designed to reduce stress on joints and hips therapeutically. These sneakers feature an arch booster that you can add inside the shoe to enhance the support under the arch. They feature a wide toe box for a non-binding fit in the front. The stretchable upper enhances flexibility and support while walking.
- Lightweight sole
- Anatomical arch support
- Multiple cushioning layer
- Seam-free interior
- May not be suitable for narrow feet
10. Best Soft Insole: AOE Women’s Walking Running Shoes
Designed for comfort and support, the shoe’s sole is made from a lightweight MD material that is elastic to provide softness and support. It also features an anti-slip gasket design with a groove pattern at the bottom to enhance performance and support. Made from high-quality woven fabric and inner cotton lining, these shoes will wrap your feet in soft comfort.
- Breathable mesh design
- Anti-slip outsole
- Soft insole
- May have less arch support
How To Choose The Right Shoes For Hip Pain?
Here are a few suggestions you can follow when choosing the right shoes for hip pain.
1. Mesh upper: Choose shoes with a mesh upper fabric for sufficient ventilation and breathability. This helps keep your feet dry and odor-free. Ensure the shoes are stretchable, soft, and breathable.
2. Platform heels: Platform heels provide extra height to your shoes while protecting your heel and hip. They help to absorb the impact from your feet.
3. Outsole: Rubberoutsole can provide traction and durability without adding excess weight or stiffness.
4. Midsole: Shoes that use memory foam insoles can provide well-cushioned support. Choose a material that uses the right midsole thickness, not too soft or firm.
5. Rocker bottom: Shoes with rocker bottom are rounded at the sole. It can give you the necessary support from touchdown to toe-off throughout your ride.
6. Reviews: It is advisable to check the customer reviews of the chosen brand to narrow down your search.
The Best and Worst Shoes for Back Pain
Experiencing back pain? Here’s what two podiatrists recommend for choosing shoes that won’t harm and might help.
Back pain can be traced to plenty of sources. Maybe you overexerted yourself. Perhaps you sit for most hours of the day. Or maybe you have an underlying disease that causes back pain.
If you’ve had back pain for more than a month, your pain is worsening over time, or you’re developing new neurologic symptoms such as numbness or weakness in any part of your body, it is best to see your healthcare professional.
But if you’ve cleared your symptoms with your doctor, or you want to give some commonsense guidelines a try first, it’s worth considering whether your footwear choices may be contributing to your back pain.
Everyday Health spoke with two New York City–based podiatrists for their input on the best and worst shoes for back pain. Both doctors note that what works best for one person won’t necessarily work the same for others. For some people, for example, significant limb length differences can lead to problems that are exacerbated by wearing the wrong shoes.
But for many people, simply identifying shoes that fit well, are adequately cushioned, and provide the right kind of support is a step in the right direction.
What to Look for When Choosing Shoes
Shoes, sneakers, and other footwear should feel comfortable and not pinch or irritate any part of your foot even when new. When you try on shoes, spend some time walking around in them and paying attention to how they feel. No matter how good they look, don’t buy shoes that are too tight, too loose, unsupportive, or in any way uncomfortable.
To raise your chances of finding a comfortable fit, here are some shoe characteristics to look for:
Moderate Heel Height
A heel that’s the same height as or lower than the toe of the shoe, on the other hand, affects the way your leg — and, in turn, your pelvis — turns. That, then, will affect your spine and lower back and cause back pain, Dr. Fu says.
What qualifies as a “slight” heel? Bryon Butts, DPM, a doctor of podiatric medicine at Performance Footcare in New York City, points out that the recommendation from the American Podiatric Medical Association is something under 2 inches and never anything higher than that.
Fu notes that 2-inch heels have been shown to alleviate the pressure on your feet while walking. The ideal range, she says, is between 1 and 2 inches. Anything over that will not be kind to your back.
While heel height is more typically a concern when it comes to women’s shoes, the concept of heel height as a positive applies to men as well, Fu says. That said, she also points out that most men’s shoes are neutral in heel height, so the heel and toe are on the same level — and that men have a lower incidence of back pain than women.
Cushioning and Shock Absorption
In addition to heel height, how well the shoe’s heel absorbs shock is important to how your back feels.
Some people strike the ground harder than others with their heel while walking, sending a shock up their legs and toward their backs. The problem can be exacerbated in those wearing dress shoes, but Fu and Dr. Butts noted that a cork heel can help. The same goes for a rubber heel or wedge-style shoes, says Fu.
And both doctors agree that the sweet spot lies in the middle: a shoe that isn’t too hard or too soft.
When it comes to running shoes, “maximalist” footwear with a lot of cushioning has become big among ultramarathoners and people with a high-arch foot type, according to Butts, who specializes in sports medicine and treating foot and lower limb conditions in runners.
Opting for a shoe with cushioning can provide extra shock absorption for runners, and so may be a good option for older runners, runners with a history of stress injury, or runners who predominantly run on hard surfaces such as pavement, according to a January 2020 article published in Podiatry Today.
Rocker-bottom soles aren’t for everyone, but they can be helpful in some situations. They’re thick soles that are curved up at the front and sometimes back of the shoe, and they enable the foot to move through a normal walking motion with less pressure on the joints and on the bottom of the foot, generally.
Rocker-bottom soles are a common feature of therapeutic shoes prescribed to people with diabetes-related foot problems, and they’ve also become more common in some models of sneakers and walking shoes marketed to the general public.
Fu notes that rocker-bottom sneakers with a thick rubber sole alleviate impact on the heel. Some of her patients find them to be helpful in dealing with plantar fasciitis, as well as with knee, hip, and back pain.
Sandals With Arch Support
Generally speaking, sandals and flip-flops don’t provide a lot of support. But special, orthopedic-style sandals are an exception, says Fu. These do provide a proper amount of arch support, says Butts.
If you love sandals as daily footwear, a podiatrist should be able to help you identify which types would be best for you.
Shoes to Avoid if You’re Experiencing Back Pain
The longer you wear a pair of shoes, and the more standing or walking you intend to do in them, the more important it is that they offer good support where you need it. Here are some red flags when it comes to footwear:
Beware of Negative Heels
Non-orthopedic flip-flops, while not good for your feet, are acceptable for a quick walk down the block or at the beach, but they aren’t recommended all-day footwear, especially if you already experience back pain.
Fu explains that most flip-flops effectively lower your heel below your toes, creating a negative heel. Although she notes that they do offer some cushion, she labels it “a false sense of cushioning,” because the sole of a flip-flop is typically not thick enough to absorb the shock of each step.
House slippers present all the same issues as flip-flops — which Butts refers to as “the worst thing for your back” — but of course few people are wearing slippers while out and about. So as long as you’re wearing slippers only in the house, you don’t need to worry too much about them.
Fu cautions against “anything that’s a negative heel.” That includes flat types of loafers and ballerina-type shoes with a very flat sole. These type of shoes will rotate your pelvis in a way that can worsen back pain, she says.
Too Hard or Too Soft a Problem
Keeping in mind that you want some shock absorption in your shoes, it’s best to avoid footwear that’s “totally hard,” according to Fu. Typical dress shoes fall into this category, thanks to their lack of cushion.
Perhaps surprisingly problematic are shoes with a memory foam or an air cushion, because they do not provide the right type of support along with their cushioning. However, these types of cushioning when combined with a more supportive heel aren’t so bad for you.
Minimalist Shoes Usually Not Recommended
Minimalist shoes — sometimes called “barefoot” shoes because of their very thin soles — are not good for your back, says Fu. Those who already have back issues typically find these types of shoes do not help alleviate those problems and may cause some back pain.
Again, these shoes will rotate the pelvis differently than shoes with a thicker sole. For what it’s worth, Butts notes that when it comes to wearing minimalist shoes, it’s up to each person to decide what’s comfortable for them.
Casual Sneakers Can Lack Support
Butts also singles out casual sneakers, such as the classic Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, as problematic for being flat, narrow, and lacking support. He notes that Chucks were designed for feet in the 1950s — which, he says, were narrower than feet today. “People have just gotten bigger,” he says.
Where to Find Help in Choosing Your Shoes
If you need more personalized shoe recommendations, Fu recommends seeking out a podiatrist who is trained in biomechanics and who can identify issues such as gait abnormalities.
Both doctors noted that some shoe stores have trained staff who can make shoe recommendations based on foot shape as well as measurements.
But, Fu notes, a podiatrist should be the starting point when it comes to addressing problems such as malalignment — meaning asymmetrical alignment of the torso, pelvis, and extremities, which may result in pain or restricted movement, per the Family Podiatry Centre.
Butts notes, however, that many podiatrists focus on surgery, and he recommends that people needing help selecting shoes also consider speaking to a pedorthist, a professional with training on fitting therapeutic footwear and orthotic devices.
A pedorthist specializes in using footwear — whether that be shoes, shoe modifications, braces, orthoses, or other pedorthic devices — to address foot-care problems. The Pedorthic Footcare Association hosts a Find a Pedorthist tool on its website, to help you search for such a specialist near you.
Keep in mind that if you’re still having back pain in spite of wearing appropriate shoes, it may be time to investigate other reasons for your pain. Your primary care doctor is a good place to start to look for signs of medical problems that might be causing back pain and to examine what aspects of your lifestyle may be contributing to it and what changes you can make.