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Aches and pains are more a part of life than many of us would like them to be. We’re doing sports ! We’re off ! We spent a lot of money on our mattresses, and yet we wake up with back pain every morning. This back pain is one of the most annoying ailments for the day. The shoes may not fix the root cause of the problem, but they shouldn’t make the problem worse either.
What are the causes of back pain
When shopping for shoes for back pain, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, and most important, is the type of back pain you are experiencing. “I think people need to realize that with back pain, it really depends on what problem you have,” says Mark Mendeszoon, a podiatrist and owner of Achilles Running Shop in Pennsylvania. “For example, I have a bad back right now because I had a hard workout this morning and then had surgery all day. But if you have severe arthritis and you have pain localized back pain, you’ll need a lot more than shoes to help you out.
However, there are a whole host of issues that can contribute to back pain that can be difficult to address on your own, such as residual pain from plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or muscle imbalances. It is therefore best to consult your doctor to determine the problem, especially if you are experiencing chronic pain or have caused an acute injury.
What to Look for in the Best Shoes for Back Pain
If, like Mendeszoon, you’re in pain after tough workouts or if you’re on your feet all day (we’re looking at you, nurses), a shoe with shock absorption and strategic cushioning — maybe even labeled as orthopedic — will help with relief. direct pressure on your pain points.
“A person with back pain will want a shoe that has enough support, but also has adequate cushioning,” Mendeszoon says. “You want a shoe that doesn’t have a significant heel drop [aka one with an even amount of cushioning from heel to toe] and fits well both in length and width, as proper foot alignment helps prevent all kinds of aches and pains, including in the back.
Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that a heel drop (or the measurement of the height of the shoe’s heel in relation to its toe) can be pleasant for one person but uncomfortable for another. Certain angles can help stretch your Achilles and generally make you feel more secure in your body, Mendeszoon says, adding that you can play around with the heights to see what works best for you.
While some of the most comfortable sneakers and walking shoes on the market are great options, you’ll want to avoid flip-flops, slides, sky-high heels and anything that crushes your toes, advises Mendeszoon.
In general, Mendeszoon recommends a good running sneaker for back pain, which can also serve as a super comfortable style for work, whether you’re going to an office or an environment that requires non-slip footwear.
To make your shopping easier, start here with the 15 best shoes for back pain.
Hoka One One Bondi 7 Trainers
The Bondi 7 sneaker from Hoka One One is loved by everyday customers and podiatrists alike. It has a thick strip of padding that provides great support and simultaneously gives the shoe a trendy, chunky look. You’ll feel super plush the first time you wear them for a walk or run, but keep an open mind – they’re as comfortable as it gets once you get used to the feel.
Asics Gel Kayano 25 Running Shoes
Best running shoes for back pain
According to Mendeszoon, running sneakers tend to get the most attention when it comes to high-end support and updates to the structure. The Asics Gel-Kayano 25 is a favorite among long-distance runners, and if it can make a marathon runner feel good, it’s a safe bet that the shoe’s supportive midsole and spacious toe box will be gentle on your back.
Vionic Rechelle Sneakers
Best women’s shoes for back pain
Like all Vionic shoes, the brand’s Rechelle trainers focus first and foremost on podiatrist-approved foot support. This lifestyle sneaker works well for more casual work environments and is a perfect complement to all your athleisure looks. It also has built-in arch support for proper foot alignment.
Nike Air Max 90 Sneakers
The Air Max 90 from Nike is one of the best sneakers you can buy because it offers the construction and support of a training shoe, but doesn’t skimp on style. The bouncy midsole is comfortable, and the higher platform can accommodate your foot’s flexion and extension.
Sneakers Sketchers D’Lites
D’Lites Sketchers are an affordable option that puts function first. They have a wide base of support to get your foot in the right position and a memory foam sockliner for ultimate underfoot comfort.
Cole Haan Original Tall Chukka Boots
Best Dress Shoes for Back Pain
Sneakers might be your best bet for back pain, but we know you can’t always be in sneakers. The Cole Haan Original Grand Chukka Boot is a good option for something that works for the office and formal events, without skimping on support. For boots, Mendeszoon recommends options that you can lace up for your best fit and that have a heel that is part of the bottom of the shoe, rather than added (like, say, a bootie or other dress shoes).
Adidas Ultraboost 21 running shoes
Best shoes for nurses with back pain
We’ve written extensively about how the Adidas UltraBoost 21 trainers work well for people with all sorts of foot problems, and they’re great for back pain relief, too. Even nurses who work on their feet all day mentioned it in the shoe review section. On a personal note, I recommended them to my dad, who constantly suffers from back pain. They are soft and comfortable and don’t feel bulky or awkward to wear everyday.
Altra Solstice XT 2 Cross Training Shoes
For shoes that have minimal heel drop, Mendeszoon recommends Altras. the Altra Solstice XT 2 is fairly flat which won’t suit all bodies or all pain types, but it will put your feet in a more natural position and comfortably stretch your heel as needed.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V11 Shoes
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V11 shoes have a nice foam midsole that absorbs the impact of walking which might affect your back pain. As far as running shoes go, they are quite lightweight and are a great everyday option.
Six Inch Moccasin Toe Red Wing Boots
The six inch moccasin toe boot from Red Wing is another great style that laces up and features a heel that does not separate from the bottom of the shoe. Not only are these very good work boots, but they also look cool.
Blundstone Stout Chelsea Boots
Blundstone’s Stout Chelsea Boots are built for work and exploration, with a midsole designed to provide the most support possible. They’re also water resistant, so we love them for keeping feet dry in a snap.
Dr. Scholl’s Crux Chukka, Men’s Boots
Best orthopedic shoes for back pain
This comfortable men’s shoe from Dr. Scholl’s is part sneaker, part boot and all about support. The flexible sole moves with you and the integrated heel insert is optimally placed for a comfortable fit all day long.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus Running Shoes
The Air Zoom Pegasus from Nike is a stellar running shoe that also helps with back pain. The style is available in standard to extra-wide widths, making it a great option for people who have wider feet or are looking for a more stable base.
Adidas Adistar sneakers
Best walking shoes for lower back pain
Thick-soled maximalist sneakers have become a popular look, but they also have a purpose: their chunky midsole “cradles” you gently forward, taking some of the pressure and impact off other parts from the body. The Adistar trainers from Adidas achieve this feature without looking clunky.