Finding the Right Shoes

This is a guide to help you navigate choosing the right shoes.

Pain is complex!

Pain is complex and each person has unique contributions to their pain. Each person needs to consider their activity, their history, and the pattern of when pain arises when they are on their feet.

Some health conditions may require more advice from a medical practitioner (e.g. diabetes, rheumatic diseases).

Tried and True Tips

The evidence clearly does not support one type of shoe when it comes to pain. Personal preference is more important. While we cannot recommend certain shoes or brands, here are some general tips on how to pick shoes.

  1. Focus on comfort. This seems obvious, but comfort is the most important feature for a shoe.
  2. One shoe does not fit all. No one type of shoe covers all the different sizes of our feet, different shapes of our feet or the different activities that we participate in.
  3. Get properly fitted. Many people are wearing shoes that are too big or too small for them.
  4. Avoid extremes. Avoid extremes for your everyday shoes (e.g very tall high heels, minimalist).
  5. Match the shoe to the job. If you are on concrete floors all day you may need more cushion or if you are a manual worker you might need more support and protection (e.g. steel toed).

Focus on taking an active role

While finding the right shoes can reduce your pain, it’s important to spend time building habits that tackle bigger contributions to your pain. The following examples are best steps for taking an active role in reducing your pain:

  • Gradually moving more.
  • Maximizing sleep and balancing stress. Reach out to your coach for great resources.
  • Healthy eating and weight loss. Reach out to your coach for great resources.

References:

  1. Napier, C., & Willy, R. W. (2018). Logical fallacies in the running shoe debate: let the evidence guide prescription. British Journal of Sports Medicine, bjsports–2018–100117.doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-100117
  2. Nigg B, Baltich J, Hoerzer S, et al. Running shoes and running injuries: mythbusting and a proposal for two new paradigms: ‘preferred movement path’ and ‘comfort filter’British Journal of Sports Medicine 2015;49:1290-1294.
  3. Davis, I. S. (2014). The Re-emergence of the Minimal Running Shoe. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 44(10), 775–784.doi:10.2519/jospt.2014.5521
  4. MacRae, C. S., Lewis, J. S., Shortland, A. P., Morrissey, M. C., & Critchley, D. (2013). Effectiveness of Rocker Sole Shoes in the Management of Chronic Low Back Pain. Spine, 38(22), 1905–1912.
  5. Mafliet, A et al. (2019). Best Evidence Rehabilitation for Chronic Pain Part 3. Journal of Clinical Medicine. doi: 10.3390/jcm8071063.
  6. Riskowski, J., Dufour, A. B., & Hannan, M. T. (2011). Arthritis, foot pain and shoe wear: current musculoskeletal research on feet. Current Opinion in Rheumatology, 23(2), 148–155. doi:10.1097/bor.0b013e3283422cf5