Whether we’re walking to work or doing the school run, we rarely get a moment to rest our feet – even on our off days. We rely on our soles to carry us through the daily stresses and strains of life. Yet, we may actually be doing them harm in shoes that aren’t right for us.
This can cause issues such as pain, discomfort, a never-ending need for a foot masseur, and even ongoing problems that could require treatment. But, with the right shoe, you could help to keep your feet ache-free in the long-run.
Discover a range of the best shoes for painful and sore feet and give your soles the care they deserve.
What’s on this page:
Why do I have foot problems?
According to the NHS, shoes that don’t fit correctly can be a cause of many foot problems. That’s why it’s important to consider the best shoes for your sore feet. Not only can the correct shoes bring relief, but being considerate of your footwear can prevent foot pain altogether.
Other issues can be caused by excessive exercise, with incorrect footwear escalating this issue.
Sometimes, footwear can alleviate or aid in soothing specific issues. For example, the best shoes for plantar fasciitis may be different to the ideal shoes for arthritis. Here are a few examples of foot problems and causes.
- Heel pain – caused by inflammation. This usually strikes when the muscles in your feet are strained.
- Heel spur – spurs are growths that can pop up as a result of muscle strain.
- Stone bruise – given its name because it feels like you’re walking on a pebble. It’s often due to an injury or bruising on the ball of your feet.
- Pain on ball of foot – this pain can trigger if your feet have been positioned incorrectly in your shoes, or by certain walking motions.
- Bunion – often appears as a bulge on your big toe. They’re usually caused by shoes that don’t fit correctly rubbing in the same spot.
- Corns and calluses – these growths are a build up of hardened skin that can appear anywhere on your feet. Similar to bunions, they are often caused by your shoes rubbing you.
There are many ways to tackle or cope with all forms of foot issues, but it’s best to speak to your doctor if you notice anything is wrong.
However, choosing the best shoes for painful feet can be one way to help soothe and even prevent foot problems from occurring.
Why are my shoes hurting my feet?
There are a few reasons why shoes may hurt your feet. And, sometimes, we take our footwear for granted. Let’s take a look at a couple of reasons why your shoes may be hurting your feet:
The wrong size
Sometimes, to get the shoes you want when you want them, we must make sacrifices, right? That might mean buying a size up, or a size down. Or maybe you haven’t had your shoes fit in a while. Either way, wearing ill-fitting shoes can cause issues from blisters, to chafing, to corns and ingrown nails just to name a few. It’s always better to get a pair that fits, even if it means getting a pair a little later.
We all have our favourite shoes, those trusty treads that keep us feeling confident in every situation. But, eventually, our favourite shoes wear down without proper upkeep and may be doing our feet more harm than good.
Improper footwear for activities
This isn’t as obvious as you might think! Everyone knows not to wear heels running, but not all trainers are made for marathons, not all sneakers are suited to basketball. Find the right shoes for the activities you love, and you’ll feel a world of difference.
Striding into a room with a strut, echoing through the halls with that confidence clop – it’s hard not to feel confident in heels. But wearing high heels every day can cause a range of issues and put excessive and abnormal amounts of stress on your feet and joints.
No arch support
Everyone’s feet are different, but most of us have some form of foot arch. Shoes without arch support can result in us putting more weight on the plantar fascia
(a little band that runs along the bottom of the foot.) That means some of the best shoes for plantar fasciitis (or for preventing it) are those with arch support.
Can I avoid foot problems?
Like most things, looking after your feet is one of the best ways to avoid certain problems. The issue is, we’re often on them all day so we can’t just stop moving!
With some self-care and a set of go-to shoes that’ll keep you comfy, supported, and stable, your feet will be able to go the extra mile (and then some.) Here’s some of the best things you can do to prevent problem or painful feet:
- Wear suitable socks – there’s more choice than we think when it comes to socks. They’re important to providing protection from friction, cushioning the sole, and some specialised socks can even help your blood flow and even prevent swelling. This can help your shoes remain an ideal fit.
- Find shoes that fit – though they might feel okay, many of us are walking around with improperly sized shoes. They may not be slipping off our feet, but having each foot properly measured can help you get the right size for you. As the day goes on, your feet can also swell meaning they may need a bigger size than you think.
- Self-care – checking your feet for cracks, blisters, tough skin or other problems can help prevent foot problems by catching them early. Looking after your feet with moisturisers, massages, and pumice stones can keep them healthy. Plus, you always deserve a bit of self-care.
- Wear slippers indoors – wearing footwear indoors can keep your feet supported for longer. A well-fitted, supportive slipper can support your feet just like a shoe can. You’re looking for similar benefits you’d want in shoes, only a bit more comfortable. If you wear flat, thin, or loose slippers you may want to upgrade your footwear.
- Get the right type of footwear – different tasks need different footwear, and ensuring you’ve got the right type is essential. Depending on the problems you’re prone to, the shape of your feet, or the type of activities you’re doing, you’ll want a certain type of shoe that provides the right support.
What are the best shoes for arch support?
The best shoes for painful feet are often those with arch support. They can ease foot pain and reduce symptoms that lead to foot problems. If you’re flat-footed or find you have regular arch pain, you might want to think about shoes with arch support.
Shoes with arch support have a firm enough sole to provide support, and are flexible enough so you can bend and move comfortably. They come in a range of styles, so you can be supported on every occasion.
If you can’t find a pair you love, then supported arch insoles could be a good compromise.
Here are some ideas:
What are the best shoes for plantar fasciitis and heel pain?
The best shoes for plantar fasciitis and heel pain are often those that protect the heel. That’s because plantar fasciitis often refers to heel pain. It’s usually caused by irritation – so try to avoid running or walking in ill-fitting or worn-down shoes.
The best shoes for plantar fasciitis provide the right support for your heels. It’s all about shock absorption, and taking pressure off your heels.
You may also want to think about arch support, as well as cushioned soles and making sure your ankles are supported too.
Let’s take a look at some footwear that can help soothe plantar fasciitis and heel pain:
What are the best shoes for arthritis?
The best shoes for arthritis are those that offer a large amount of midsole support, with plenty of cushioning. With arthritis in the feet, you’re looking to distribute weight evenly, stabilise the joints, and keep them firmly in place to alleviate strain on your joint.
As you can imagine, that means footwear such as high heels aren’t the best choice, though specialist choices may exist. Ideally, you’re looking for something cushioned, stable, and without a large heel that keeps your foot from sliding around. For example:
What are the best shoes for sore & swollen feet?
There are a lot of things that can lead to sore & swollen feet – from going on a hike in the wrong pair of trainers, injuries big or small, and even your diet. The best shoes for sore and swollen feet are usually ones that provide enough space and ventilation.
Cushioned soles can comfort tired heels, but you may want a bit of rigidity to keep your arch supported.
You can’t go wrong with resting your feet when they feel like this, but the next best thing is a shoe that works with your feet – not against them. For example:
What are the best shoes for feet with corns, calluses & bunions?
Corns, calluses, and bunions can be caused by ill-fitting shoes that create friction, or that place pressure on parts of your feet. You want to find shoes that fit just right – keeping in mind length and width.
The best shoes for feet with corns and calluses are those that are comfortable and well fitting. However, you’ll want to leave space around the corns and calluses, to relieve them of any unnecessary pressure.
Bunions typically form along the edge of the foot and can be quite painful. This pain tends to be in the big toe and its joint, because the bunion causes the toe to push inwards. Sometimes, bunions aren’t bothersome, but you may still want to take precautions.
The best shoes for feet with bunions are ones with roomy, flexible soles. While footwear helps, resting your feet a little more than usual can help too.
Our top pick is:
Calluses & corns
Unlike bunions, calluses and corns aren’t caused by a malformed bone. They’re tough, thick areas of hardened skin that can be painful.
Generally, you’ll want to keep pressure off the area to reduce them and ease any pain. That means spacious shoes that fit well will be good. Too tight and they risk friction, too loose and they could intermittently rub.
Take a look at:
Foot problem FAQs
Can shoes cause inflammation?
Yes, shoes can cause inflammation. While this may not be super uncomfortable for everyone, ill-fitting shoes can cause inflammation either through pressure, or from other problems like ingrown toenails.
Why do the bottoms of my feet hurt in certain shoes?
The bottoms of your feet could hurt in certain shoes if they’re not suited to the activity you’re doing, or they aren’t providing the type of support you need. Some people have a foot shape that can put extra pressure on the bottom of the foot, and certain skin conditions can cause pain on your soles too.
Is it normal for feet to be sore after wearing new shoes?
It’s normal for your feet to be sore after wearing new shoes if they’re new. That foot pain comes from something widely known as ‘breaking in your shoes.’ This is where shoes need to be worn a few times to lose that initial stiffness. If they continue to be sore afterwards, or feel incredibly tight, they may not be the right fit.
What are the best shock-absorbing running shoes?
The best shock-absorbing running shoes are thick, cushioned EVA or foam midsole. These can reduce the impact of shock on your feet. Some shoes to try include the Skechers Arch Fit Infinity Cool Men’s Navy Trainer or Skechers Arch Fit Big Appeal Women’s Navy Trainers.
How can I improve arch support in my shoes?
If your shoes just aren’t cutting it, one way you can improve arch support is by adding insoles. There are a range of insoles, including memory foam support or warming liners. Just like your shoes, make sure they’re the right size for you.
Through little moments or big ones, our feet carry us through it all. It’s important to look after your soles with proper footwear to avoid pain. But there’s a lot more to looking after your shoes and feet. Whether you’re looking for safety shoes, or you’re searching for shoe-specific style tips, find everything you need to know about footwear at the shoezone blog.