Back pain is a daily obstacle for people of all ages. Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Thankfully, most cases of back pain are mechanical, meaning they’re not caused by serious conditions. Basic changes to your footwear could be the key to finding relief. Read on for our list of the best shoes for back pain.
What are the best shoes to wear for lower back pain?
Your feet and back are more closely connected than you might think. Doctors refer to this idea as a kinetic chain. How you move one part of your body can have a serious impact on other parts. Poor arch support can throw off your alignment and result in pain that travels from your feet all the way up to your back, especially the lower back region. This is why it’s important to wear shoes that are properly fitted to your foot and provide excellent support.
Before doing anything else, it’s important to talk with a doctor about your back pain. This allows you to rule out any serious underlying causes. Once you’ve done this, ask if footwear could be to blame or a change could help. While every case is different, most healthcare professionals will first recommend basic lifestyle changes to manage back pain. This can often improve your pain level without the need for invasive methods of treatment. Shoe changes can’t typically heal your back pain completely, but they can help some patients find relief.
While this article is a great place to start your search for better footwear, stores that specialize in running or specialty shoes will be another helpful resource. The employees there can usually suggest products for your specific situation. Your doctor or physical therapist can also make suggestions. In more extreme cases of back pain, consider visiting an orthopedic specialist for a fitting.
Note: PainDoctor.com does not endorse, nor do we make any money off the sale of these products. This information is provided for the benefit of patients based on patient reviews. Always ask your doctor if you have questions. Prices shown are at the time of the post’s publish date, and may differ.
5 of the best walking shoes for back pain
Whether you’re on your feet all day at work or just trying to get light exercise, these are some of the best athletic shoes for back pain.
Why you should consider these shoes: The Brooks® Addiction Walker offers support for low arches and control for overpronation. Available in various styles for both men and women.
Features: Flat-to-medium in the insole area, breathable mesh lining, removable insole
What users say: “I had severe back pain and sciatica, and have to give some degree of credit to these shoes in the speed of my rehabilitation…”
Why you should consider these shoes: Available in three colors, these athletic shoes feature air cushioning to soften your step and enhance stability.
Features: Adjustable fit, lightweight soles, stretchable design
What users say: “…have experienced a tremendous relief not only with foot and ankle pain but also back pain. I highly recommend these shoes.”
Why you should consider these shoes: The New Balance Walking Strike Path® technology helps stabilize your foot through your natural gait cycle.
Features: Foam cushioning, suede/mesh upper material, rubber outsole
What users say: “…lower back pain that I’ve had for many years disappeared when I started using these. The lower heel changes my gait and makes it easier to walk longer distances and longer times…”
Why you should consider these shoes: Vionic shoes are recommended by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Plus, Vionic offers 30 days of wear-testing to make sure you’re satisfied with your purchase.
Features: Durable rubber outsole, flexible design, removable EVA orthotic insert
What users say: “Comfy for my wide feet and my back was not in pain all day.”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $49.95
Why you should consider these shoes: Available in a range of colors and sizes (including women’s styles), the tapering mid-foot design offers improved arch support.
Features: 100% mesh, lightweight, bamboo-lined footbed for odor control
What users say: “These shoes helped my back. Can’t believe it, back pain is gone.”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $49.95
5 of the best running shoes for back pain
If you’re an avid runner, aches and pain can be a serious issue. Here are some of the best running shoes for back pain.
Why you should consider these shoes: The removable sock liner in this ASICS running shoe lets you insert custom orthotics for a personalized fit. Available in styles for men and women.
Features: Rearfoot GEL® cushioning, large selection of colors
What users say: “They work like a charm! No more back pain and they are super comfortable too! I wish I would have made the switch sooner.”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $44.95
Why you should consider these shoes: This shoe is recommended for long distance running, cross training, and treadmill exercises.
Features: Rubber sole, mesh upper, soft cushioning
What users say: “Brooks are the best shoe I’ve ever worn. They have relieved my back and knee pain.”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $84.95
Why you should consider these shoes: Available in a range of colors, the Bondi is the most cushioned shoe HOKA ONE ONE carries.
Features: Breathable, 100% vegan, full-length compression molded EVA midsole
What users say: “I have been running in Hoka One Ones for years. The Bondis are the most cushioned of their styles. This is my 6th pair and they are amazing right out of the box!”
Why you should consider these shoes: The grid-like midsole of the Escalante allows your foot to flex for more speed and better performance.
Features: Rubber sole, contoured footbed
What users say: “My Altras make getting my exercise in a less painful endeavor than I imagined. These shoes make me happy!”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $79.99
Why you should consider these shoes: Adidas’ Continental™ Rubber outsole is designed for optimal traction in both wet and dry conditions.
Features: Lightweight, 3D heel frame
What users say: “Added boost means added comfort. They fit like a sock and don’t wiggle too much upon impact…”
5 best work shoes for back pain
If your occupation keeps you on your feet all day, comfortable footwear is a must. Here are some of the best work shoes for back pain.
Why you should consider these shoes: The Minna ballet flat supports natural alignment through Vionic’s unique technology.
Features: Removable microfiber-covered EVA orthotic insert
What users say: “…Not only did they reduce the pain in my feet, my back actually hurts less also. Highly recommend these shoes.”
Why you should consider these shoes: The deep Gramercy design includes removable orthotic insoles in order to provide space for custom made orthotics.
Features: Lightweight soles, seam-free interior lining, adjustable fit
What users say: “…I stand on my feet all day at work and they really help my lower back pain.”
Why you should consider these shoes: This style by Merrell strikes a balance between business casual style and all-day comfort.
Features: Air cushion heel, Ortholite footbed, breathable mesh lining
What users say: “If anyone has had a back surgery or chronic pain issues like me the Merrell Encore Shoes are a great buy…”
Why you should consider these shoes: The walk-all-day comfort provided by Clarks’ Marigold design is ideal if you have a job that keeps you on your feet.
Features: Easy slip-on style, OrthoLite® cushioned footbed
What users say: “I bought these shoes to wear to work because I was having very bad back pain. They have helped and are very comfortable to walk in…”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $47.88
Why you should consider these shoes: This dress shoe features removable insoles with innovative ECCO Comfort Fibre System for constant airflow.
Features: Shock absorbent sole for comfort, leather outer, textile inner lining
What users say: “The only shoes I have found that stand up to daily wear at work, on my feet, without back pain…”
5 best sandals for back pain
Sandals usually aren’t the best option for supporting your foot, but sometimes you can’t escape them. (For example, going on vacation to a warm destination or lounging by the pool.) There are several options for sandals that provide more support to ease your back pain. These are our favorites.
Why you should consider these shoes: These sandals are designed with footprints to target pressure points and reduce back pain and heel pain.
Features: Water resistant, slip resistant outsole, foam padding
What users say: “They’ve made a noticeable difference in my posture and my pain level.”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $30.99
Why you should consider these shoes: This flip-flop style features an OrthoLite® footbed to ensure optimal comfort and support.
Features: Flexible fabric, shock absorbing EVA outsole
What users say: “…I’ve been wearing them 2 days now and no back pain. YAY!”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $39.99
Why you should consider these shoes: The OOfoam Recovery Technology absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam.
Features: Machine washable, biomechanically designed to allow natural motion
What users say: “Like a vacation for my feet. My feet, knees and back are pain-free all day!”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $49.95
Why you should consider these shoes: Available in a range of colors and styles, the Karina features adjustable leather straps and a bold metal ring detail.
Features: 1-inch heel, 100% leather
What users say: “I have chronic back pain, and wearing these is the difference of whether I can make it through a couple hours on my feet or not.”
Price: $34.95 – $129
Why you should consider these shoes: Unchanged since 1973, this classic Birkenstock style continues to carry on the legacy of its supportive cork-latex footbed.
Features: Soft footbed, super grip, available in vegan leather
What users say: “…They’re the only shoe that completely eliminates my foot/back pain. It’s awesome…”
Price: Varies depending on style, starting at $99.95
Types of shoes to avoid with back pain
If you take a close look at our list of shoes for back pain sufferers, you’ll notice there are a few variations missing. That’s because there are certain types of shoes you should almost always avoid if you’re dealing with back pain.
Many women are disappointed to hear that high heels are at the top of this list. Due to the unnatural balance required to wear high heels, your body will try to compensate. Rather than keeping your spine and hips straight, your lower back pushes forward. This has a negative effect on alignment, which often results in back pain and excess pressure on your knees.
Simple flip-flops are considered the extreme opposite of high heels, but they’re another type of shoe to avoid. Most flip-flops are incredibly flat and thin. They act only as a barrier between your feet and the ground. This type of design lacks the necessary support your feet need to carry the rest of your body. People who wear flip-flops frequently often experience ankle and arch pain that can contribute to the development of back pain.
If you need advanced help for your lower back pain, it may be time to talk to a pain specialist. They can provide customized suggestions and treatments for your condition so you can get back to your life. You can find a pain doctor in your area by clicking the button below or looking for one in your area by using the tips here: https://paindoctor.com/pain-management-doctors/.