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What Type of Shoes are Recommended for Seniors? Our Recommended Footwear for the Elderly

By Maurice

What Type of Shoes are Recommended for Seniors

Gone are the days when shoes for seniors were just plain “boring”!

Today, designers and makers are producing different types of best shoes for seniors to address both fashion needs and health conditions that provide the necessary medical attention required, along with a sense of style.

In this quick article we cover the best types of shoes for the elderly. You'll also find links to detailed articles in which we provide more information and recommended shoes, depending on your needs. 

(Make sure to also check out our guides on where to buy shoes for seniors, along with the best brands and best shoes for men & women.)

Is Incorrect Footwear Causing Your Foot Problems?

Podiatrists claim that eighty percent of the elderly experience foot problems because of wearing the incorrect type of footwear. Some common problems that seniors encounter include:

  • Flattening of the foot arches
  • Declining thickness of the skin on the feet
  • Tighter joints as does happen with age, due to the weakening of the tendons and ligaments at the feet
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles is also another common problem which could be caused by diabetes or arthritis
  • Corns and blisters on the feet, joints sticking out at the bottom of the toes or toes pointing and curling downwards, and pain at the heels of the feet caused due to inflammation are some other common conditions

All the above-mentioned conditions of the feet can be dealt with by choosing the right type of footwear to keep your confidence, motion control, balance, safety, and prevent you from slipping or falling due to a lack of the right support, traction and comfort.

Selecting the proper shoes will also help in preventing or reducing knee and back pain and give you the motivation to keep mobile, physically active, head out, stay fit and healthy, which also improves the overall quality of health and state of mind.

How to Choose the Right Footwear for Seniors

When selecting the appropriate shoes some of the things to look out for (apart from the color) include:

  • Softness or hardness
  • Weight
  • Grip, like durable rubber soles which prevent slipping
  • Velcro straps, which assists in keeping your shoes firmly on without the hassle of having to bend down to tie laces
  • Easy-to-slip, wide fitting shoes with a wider opening at the mouth especially if you have swollen feet
  • Depth and padding to prevent friction and also to protect your toes in case you happen to bump into anything
  • Cushioning on the soles and shock absorption to make it easier on your knees, hips and back
  • Flexible mesh materials that allow your feet to breathe and stay odor free while at the same time providing you with the right kind of insulation and support.
  • Stabilizing feature for your ankles and heels, with the right high back, heel height, removable (orthotic) insoles, and traction to keep your balance and confidence while walking and participating in sports like tennis.

When selecting the correct shoes always consider the purpose for which the shoes are going to be used whether at home or for a brisk walk, or just for roaming around or dress shoes, don’t rush, check how they fit you by trying them on and walk around for a while.

Recommended Types of Shoes for Seniors

Velcro Shoes 

Velcro shoes certainly have their advantages over buckles and shoelaces for the simple fact that one does not need to bend down to tie those laces or trip over them if they come loose. Shoes of this type are much easier for a senior with limited flexibility to put on and take off. They also are easier to fasten or loosen when an elderly person has foot swelling to achieve the perfect fit.

Walking Shoes

Over-pronators” have a flat arch and an ankle that tends to roll when they walk. Shoes will wear on the inside of the sole and the best shoes to solve this abnormality are motion control shoes. These shoes for seniors are stiff and precisely designed to help in the reduction of this issue.

workout shoes

Under-pronators” have ankles that tend to roll out when they walk, and shoes wear on the outside of their sole. The shoes that are cushioned with thick heels and flexible midsoles are suitable for this condition.

Average walkers have a neutral stride and a regular arch, shoes will wear at around the first and second toes. Stability shoes are perfect for neutral elderly walkers.

Brands like New Balance have excellent walking shoes, and we particularly like Skechers Go Walk 4 model of walking shoe.

Jogging Shoes  

It’s important to purchase the best jogging shoes that can protect aging feet. It’s crucial to consider agility, support, quality of cushioning, and the type of upper. Jogging shoes with mesh uppers or leather uppers provide improved comfort and flexibility for seniors. Also, running shoes with narrowed effect from the heel till the toe or low heel are best because they aid in reducing the tension on the legs, ankle, and foot.

Shoes for Balance Problems

Due to health conditions seniors often have problems with balance. The right type of balance footwear ensures motion control, balance and grip, giving confidence and ease of movement. Spongy shoes cause reduced motion and balance control. 

Flip flops and slippers are not recommended as they do not provide any support, shoes with the right high back support maintain the centre of your body mass which prevent arch pain, Achilles tendon issues, and tendonitis. It’s important to consider shoe size, comfort, lightweight, traction, shock absorption, safety, and arch support to improve balance.

Shoes for Swollen Feet

As we grow older our feet widen and our arches flatten. Health conditions that seniors face also cause swelling in the feet, like diabetes and arthritis. Additionally, bumps, corns and calluses, and other foot irregularities mean that an appropriate fit is of prime importance when it comes to footwear for swollen feet.

Shoes to Prevent Falls

Easy-to-put-on rubber soled boots or high-top shoes with a patterned bottom show better slip resistance and provide the greatest grip for the outdoors. Velcro straps can help secure the boots to get a snug fit. Since elderly people may experience reduced feeling in their feet due to the cold, it is critical to ensure the footwear offers sufficient warmth as well as guard against moisture. Wet, cold feet can impair balance. Brands like Dr. Scholls have excellent slip-resistant shoes.

Easy Slip-on Shoes

Slip-on shoes for seniors are typically low-slung profiled and lace-less and could be loafers or slippers. They are also tailored for balance issues. They can be casual and informal for leisure and also still be worn to fit work situations. They are sometimes made using flexible leathers like suede for women, and can be worn with shorts, jeans, dresses, skirts, and almost every other outfit.

House Shoes

Some elderly people wear socks around the house to keep themselves warm or at times even go barefoot when its warmer, this can increase the chances of a slip or a fall due to the lack of traction and grip. Slippers or sandals are also not appropriate because they don’t provide the right support around the heel area and easily slip off one’s feet. House shoes for seniors are casual pairs of footwear.  They are soft, lightweight, and very comfortable. They are not meant for outdoors.

Shower Shoes

Shower shoes which are of lightweight materials, along with non-slip flexible soles, fit snugly, and drain easily are ideal for the elderly. Shoes made of fabric or foam or those that fit loosely should be avoided for seniors in the shower.

Ankle Support Shoes

A common symptom for weak ankles in seniors is that they turn or roll towards the outside. Another symptom is when feet and ankles are sore after activities or walking. Weak ankles cause issues in balance and increase the risk of ankle sprains and injuries.

Shoes with a strong sole that flex and provides good grip on any surface is ideal. Foam, padding, and cushioning is best especially in the heel to guard feet and ankles against impact. Also, a comfortable and roomy toe space to prevent squeezing and irritation is a must for the toes.

For weak ankles, shoes with low or no backs at all should be avoided. It is better to opt for a high padded back or backstrap, or high-top boot style shoes. A low heel provides better stability and is way safer for weak ankles.

GPS Shoes

A wandering elderly family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s is a serious concern. Today, shoes with built in GPS in the soles helps keep a track of your loved one everywhere they go. This can also be of use for parents of children with special needs, people who have suffered traumatic brain injury, or anyone who’s got a tendency of wandering off. An individual is highly unlikely to head out without a pair of shoes which makes these shoes perfect to keep track of your family member.


With close to eighty percent of seniors experiencing some kind of foot problem, manufacturers are now catering to the specific needs of the elderly by providing shoes that not only meet a specific medical condition, but have also seriously taken style and design into consideration.

If you are looking for shoes that meet a particular health condition, or are looking for shoes that meet your everyday life requirements to recreational activities, we got it all covered for you right here, from the best brands, best products, and reviews that will help you make the right choice and decision.

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