If you suffer from back pain and hip pain, it can be tough to find shoes that work for you. The wrong pair of sneakers or sandals can exacerbate your condition and make things worse.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there that are designed to help relieve pain and discomfort in your lower back and pelvis. Here are some of the best shoes for low back and hip pain:
Slip-on sandals are a great option if you want to provide extra support for your feet and legs without using any laces or straps. If your feet tend to swell up during the day, slip-ons are also a good choice since they allow for easy removal when it comes time to take them off.
Flat shoes are another great pick for people who suffer from foot problems such as plantar fasciitis or heel spurs because they give you plenty of room between your toes and the ground while distributing your weight evenly across both feet. This will help reduce strain on the muscles in your lower legs and reduce pressure on your arches, which may alleviate some of the discomfort associated with plantar fasciitis or heel spurs.
Best Shoes For Low Back And Hip Pain
There are a variety of things that can lead to back pain: not stretching properly after a workout, going against nature’s design and sitting for 10 hours a day in front of a computer, or…it could be because you’re not wearing the right shoes for back pain.
“Improper shoe gear can affect the alignment of all the joints in your lower body,” says podiatrist Cary Gannon, DPM. “Think of your feet like the foundation of your house. It must be stable to support [everything] above it or the house falls.” Meaning: If your feet aren’t stabilized, neither are your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. This makes your muscles work harder to keep yourself aligned and steady, which can lead to lower-back pain because those muscles are tightening and working abnormally.
“If pain is concentrated in your lower back or hips, it may be related to improper shoe gear,” Dr. Gannon says. Also, should you frequently wear high heels, they’re likely contributing to that pain because, as Dr. Gannon says, “High heeled shoes in all forms are terrible for your feet and back.”
What to look for in a shoe when you have back pain
“Back pain could stem from inadequate shock absorption in the feet, which are the foundation of the weight bearing body,” say NYC Podiatrist Dr. Nelya Lobkova, DPM at Step Up Footcare. “The lower back, as well as the knees and heels, are weight bearing bones that transmit ground reaction forces up the kinetic chain as we walk.” Thus, if you have back pain, it’s important to look for shoes that have adequate cushioning, such as platform boots, sandals, or plush sneakers.
Dr. Patrick McEneaney, owner and CEO of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, notes that it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation because people can have all different kinds of back pain or ailments. However, having shoes that have more shock absorption can help decrease the heel pounding on the ground, which then gets shot up the chain into the back. He says to look for shoes that have more cushioning at the heel, but also have good support in the midsole so that you’re not putting a lot of unnecessary motion into your foot and leg.
In addition, functional orthotics placed inside the shoes can reduce back pain. “Functional orthotics (also known as custom orthotics) are the only devices that place the foot in neutral by providing the correct tilt in the heel as well as providing arch support.” Custom orthotics, if made correctly, can minimize excessive motion in the heel and alleviate knee and back pain. Over-the-counter orthotics may also help with back pain, but since they’re made of a soft and flexible material, they provide limited support.
How we chose best shoes for back pain
When purchasing shoes for back pain, first, your shoes need to fit properly. “You should have a full thumbs width of space at the end of your toes in your shoes. Your feet swell daily so shoes should fit loosely in morning and by afternoon will fit more snuggly,” explains Dr. Gannon. Second, she says to choose shoes that are the right shape for your feet—basically, avoid tapered toe shoes. Third, choose shoes that are structured and more rigid. “Flexible shoes are the main cause of foot pain and instability,” she says. She highly recommends HOKA shoes, along with Nike Air Force One, Golden Goose, Birkenstock, Dromedaris, and Ecco.
Ahead find nine pairs of podiatrist-approved shoes for back pain.
These super cushiony shoes are both supportive and comfortable, especially around the ankles, and they have shock absorption. They are available in regular and wide widths, and in a variety of colorways ranging from bright and cheerful to minimalist and neutral.
The low-top, iconic sneaker has a classic silhouette and is incredibly comfortable. Its boxy design gives your feet plenty of space to expand as they swell during the day, which is in important design element in shoes for back pain.
If you want to splurge on a shoe that’s podiatrist-approved, look no further than Golden Goose thanks to their sturdy soles that offer a solid foundation for your foot and cushioned, padding to tread on all day long.
These platform Birkenstocks are just like your favorite pair of sandals, but with more lift. They come in black or white vegan leather, and are lightweight and comfy. Adds Lobkova, Birkenstocks have maximum cushioning and arch support as an added bonus (since you can’t put your orthotics into your sandals).
These white sneakers have a minimalist design that feels elevated and polished—not to mention, they will go with pretty much everything in your closet. Those are all reasons to love them, but the reason their worth it if you’re looking to alleviate back pain is because of their stiff soles and roomie toe box.
Dromedaris is known for its ultra-comfy, removable footbeds, which help provide stability and keep pressure off of your toes. These boots feature a low heel and rounded forefoot that doesn’t taper so you don’t have to worry about your toes getting squished. That combined with a rigid sole offers ample support with every step.
American Podiatric Medical Association-certified, these Sauconys are very cushioned but also lightweight. They have a mesh upper that’s breathable, and come in a variety of bright colors to help your feet stand out in a crowd.
Back pain doesn’t take a break during warm days, so these sandals, another recommendation from Lobkova will keep you stylish and supported. They have a foam cushioned sole and lightweight construction, and an easy-to-adjust velcro strap to make sure they stay in place.
Sporty, waterproof, and breathable, these boots are ready for any adventure. They have a wide fit, a two-inch heel, and also a good amount of midsole cushioning for shock absorption.