mbg Associate Food and Health Editor
mbg Associate Food and Health Editor
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food and Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman graduated from Fordham University with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health and wellness throughout her editorial career.
Picture by Studio Firma / Stocky
July 30, 2022
Nothing can ruin a great walk like wearing the wrong shoes for your feet, and it only gets worse if you’re battling something as uncomfortable as bunions. A painful bump that develops inside the big toe joint, bunions can make the foot look deformed and feel stiff, especially if your shoes compress this area.
If you’ve ignored the problem for too long and are ready to invest in a shoe that relieves pain and doesn’t add more pressure on your bunion, these are the best options to consider for providing both cushioning and space.
What are onions?
Simply put, bunions are bony bumps that develop inside your big toe joint and are usually caused by years of constant pressure on that area of the foot. This may be due to your specific gait or even the shape of your foot, but the reality is that while they are not dangerous, they can be quite painful and may even require surgery to remove.
Can the wrong shoes make bunions worse?
Since bunions are caused by excess pressure on the big toe, wearing a shoe that is too small or too narrow when you are already struggling with this problem can make your feet worse. “A stiffer shoe typically causes forefoot lockout in the toe area and can put increased pressure on the bunion,” adds holistic podiatrist Robert Kornfeld, DPM. “Well-fitting shoes won’t cause bunions, but they will definitely exacerbate symptoms.” With that in mind, buying shoes that provide room for your feet (and bunions) to breathe is essential for maximum comfort and to ensure you don’t make things worse.
What to look for if you have bunions.
It can be helpful to have a list of criteria when shopping for shoes to ease your bunions, and Kornfeld provides some helpful tips to help you choose your perfect fit. “[It’s important] that there is a wide enough toe box that the bunion does not receive excessive pressure from the side wall of the shoe,” he explains. Again, bunions are created by pressure in the first place, so it’s best to avoid this as much as possible.
“The best way to make sure there is enough room is to buy sneakers at the end of the day when the foot is naturally bigger, because during the day the blood flow in the foot increases girth and can cause swelling,” he said. advise. Choosing a wider shoe will go a long way in giving your foot the room it needs. “The shoe must [also] have a soft upper that moves with the foot and a flexible sole,” adds Kornfeld.
How we chose:
We have selected shoes that have a wider design or offer a wide option to allow your toes to breathe without additional pressure.
We’ve chosen shoes that are both comfortable and supportive for a positive wearing experience that won’t aggravate your bunion pain.
We’ve included shoes that provide flexibility to both the foot and the shoe so your bunion never feels restricted by the material during normal wear.
We’ve chosen shoes that keep feet secure and supported all day long because you don’t have to sacrifice quality when selecting shoes for your bunions.
mbg’s pick for the best shoes for bunions of 2022:
- Soft cushioning
- Natural feel
Made with durable materials and a lightweight, breathable design, the Nike Revolution 6s are comfortable and well cushioned without causing aggravation of bunion pain. These shoes are also designed with a natural feel so they feel like clouds on your feet all day long.
- Wide range of sizes
With a wide range of sizes and color selection, these supportive, well-cushioned shoes are ideal for a neutral tread. If you have high arches these are the perfect shoes for you and they will provide plenty of room for bunions. In addition, they are pleasant and breathable to wear on hot summer days.
- Wide fit
- Forefoot and midfoot support
- Only fits up to size 11
- Minimum color gamut
Specially designed with a wide toe box and a supportive midsole, these shoes are ideal for allowing your toes (i.e. your bunions) to breathe! If you’re looking for a comfortable shoe to wear on days when your feet feel tired and need a little extra room, these trainers will make you feel like you’re slipping with every step.
If you want a great sock-like shoe for everyday use that won’t constrict or compress your bunions, this is the perfect pair for you. With a cushioned EVA midsole and impressive traction, Under Armor gives you a durable sneaker with plenty of room to spread your toes.
- Extended Achilles tongue
- Breathable mesh
HOKAs are very popular for a reason: they are high quality and designed with comfort in mind. With neutral stability and balanced cushioning, your toes will have the room they need during your long runs, so even hitting the pavement won’t aggravate the pressure. Not to mention the compression molded EVA midsole and initial meta rocker for easy, smooth steps.
- Slip on
- Medium and wide width
Not everyone wants to have to tie their shoes every time they put them on, so if you’re a slip-on person, Skechers GOwalk Joy is the right choice. Featuring a roomy toe box and made from breathable, airy material, these shoes are suitable for all foot widths and will be gentle on your bunions to help relieve some of the pressure. They are also machine washable if you find yourself getting your shoes dirty often.
- Wide width selection
You might be sensing a pattern here, but we love a wide bunion toe box and Brooks doesn’t disappoint. These supportive, well-cushioned shoes provide balance and support while you walk or run, and with over 20 years of innovation behind the design, it’s safe to say these shoes are ready to hit the road, bunions and all. .
- wide toe
They might be bigger than the trainers you’re used to, but Saucony has created a shoe that offers plenty of room for your toes to breathe without undue pressure on the bunions. These shoes are both durable and elastic, and they complement all foot widths. Bonus points: they are APMA certified!
- Plush insole
- Easy to put on
- Padded heel
These sneakers have rave reviews, and for good reason. Comfortable, padded and lightweight, the ATOMs are designed for high power performance. So whatever workout you do, your feet will feel their best. Offering medium and wide widths, you can expect breathable, pain-free wear.
- Impressive shock absorption
Are you looking to combine style and comfort in your walking shoe? Look no further than Rykä Devotion Plus 3. Offering impressive shock absorption to keep your feet feeling better after long use, your bunions will have the space they need to avoid putting unnecessary extra pressure on this sensitive area of your foot. They even offer responsible cushioning to keep you feeling light on your feet all day long.
A clog isn’t for everyone, but if you need a sturdy shoe that won’t compress your feet, Dansko leads the pack when it comes to bunion support. The roomy, reinforced toe box gives your toes adequate wiggle room, and the PU outsole with rocker bottom makes every step easy. Nurses, this one’s for you.
- Flexible and stable
- Footbed designed by a podiatrist
If you have plantar fasciitis and onions, it’s probably no small feat to find a shoe that works. Luckily, Vionic has designed a sneaker that’s both flexible and stable, not to mention it’s equipped with a podiatrist-approved footbed for ultimate comfort. Helping to re-center the natural alignment of your feet, these breathable shoes feature a removable, textile-covered EVA orthotic footbed so you always feel light on your feet.
- open toe
Sandals can be tricky when battling bunions, especially if the strap digs into your toes. That’s why we trust Chaco’s to give your feet the room to breathe, while delivering maximum comfort and chic design in an affordable price range. Super lightweight and ready for any activity, if you need a new basic sandal this is the one for you.
- Plush midsole
- wide toe
Sometimes you just want to wear a shoe that lets you become one with the earth, and with a flat-soled design, the Escalante Racer is perfect for the job. Offering a wide toe box to keep your feet feeling comfortable on even your toughest runs, Altra nails the design of a light and airy running shoe that gives you one less thing to worry about.
What causes bunions?
Bunions are caused by pressure exerted on the big toe after a long period of time. “Most bunions are caused by a hypermobile first metatarsal bone, which means that under the stresses of body weight and impact, the first metatarsal elevates upwards, thereby locking the first metatarsal joint,” says Kornfeld. . This basically means that over time the big toe joint will dislocate, creating that uncomfortable bump.
How can you stretch shoes for bunions?
If you already have a pair of shoes you like that aren’t quite bunion-friendly, Kornfeld says you can actually stretch the shoe to make more room. “Stretching the forefoot of the shoe can create more room for the bunion and decrease pressure on it. Making a slit under the area where the bunion protrudes can also relieve some of the pressure. .”
The take-out sale.
Having bunions doesn’t mean you’re destined for a lifetime of pain and discomfort every time you squeeze your feet into a pair of shoes. Instead, you should focus on finding shoes with a wide toe box and a more flexible design that will give your toes the room they need to breathe, relieving pressure and creating a more pleasant walking experience.
While bunions are certainly a burden, buying the right pair of shoes is actually one of the best ways to help your feet feel their best every day. If in doubt, consult your podiatrist!