Best Walking Shoes for the Elderly

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best walking shoes for the elderly are, then I recommend the Orthofeet Lava as the best pair for men and the Skechers Women’s Go Walk Lite as the best pair for women. 

Elderly people walking

Walking is an easy and efficient way to keep our blood pumping, and it’s important to have the right shoes for it. A shoe with no support or comfort might impact your whole body negatively.

Here are the best walking shoes for elderly people in 2020:

Qualities of the Best Walking Shoes for Elderly People

When we age, our joints weaken—they become less flexible and are more susceptible to injury. That’s why it’s important to have a shoe that supports you. This way, your body isn’t putting too much pressure on already weakened joints when you’re out walking.

If you want to ease aching or weakening joints—or help prevent the deterioration—look out for particular elements in your shoes:

  • Stability.
  • Cushioning.
  • Weight.
  • Breathability.
  • Fit.
  • Traction.

Stability

A stable shoe is vital, no matter what. But a stable shoe is one that doesn’t move around on its own, staying in one position while providing support and not forcing the body to compensate awkwardly.

If your feet tend to roll inwards as you walk, a stable shoe should help prevent this from getting worse if you’re elderly. This may prevent ankle strain or a potential ankle twist in the future.

Cushioning

Cushioning isn’t just about having comfortable shoes. That’s definitely a necessity, but it’s also about having a soft surface to stand on.

On a hard surface, you’re putting down a greater force. This is no good for your joints—hips, knees and ankles are all directly impacted by this.

A cushioned shoe gets rid of some of that pressure. For example, memory foam is an outstanding example of comfortable cushioning in a shoe. It remembers your shape, keeping you comfortable and supported for years.

Also, be mindful of the sole. If it’s too hard, it’s no better than standing barefoot on solid ground. For the best sole materials, go for a tender and flexible rubber or a synthetic material.

Weight

Hauling too much weight around in a shoe isn’t good for the joints. If your shoes are heavy, your feet and ankles take on more strain, which can intensify the pain felt from arthritis.

With this in mind, always go for a lightweight shoe: the less weight pulling you down, the better. Your movement should be looser and freer, letting you walk for longer more comfortably.

Mesh materials, thin leather and rubber don’t tend to weigh too much. 

Breathability

A formal leather loafer looks great but will trap heat inside the shoe. This is less than ideal, especially when walking and working up a sweat.

Athlete’s foot is a threat to anyone, younger or older. When you’re older, your immune system isn’t what it was, which makes it harder to fight off bacteria and infection.

To minimize the risk, consider a shoe that lets your feet breathe. Mesh, moisture-wicking padding, and even air holes should help with this.

Fit

If your shoes don’t fit you correctly, friction issues might start cropping up. If they’re too big, they can move up and down as you walk. The friction of them rubbing could cause blisters or cuts, which are painful, annoying to deal with and can take a while to heal.

Tall socks can help with this, but your focus should be on getting a shoe that fits correctly, first.

Even if you lace the shoes up really tightly, there’ll still be friction inside the shoe, between your foot and sock, and sock and shoe. In contrast, if the shoes are too tight or specifically tight in the toe box, you’re likely to get bunions.

No matter if you find a perfectly fitting pair of shoes, keep in mind that your feet swell in warmer weather, but it’s more common in the elderly.

Traction

Older bones are more fragile than younger ones, so any kind of slip or fall is more dangerous, which is where traction can help.

Try avoiding shoes with flat, smooth soles. They likely have little traction. Grooves and patterns, especially bumps, are something to look out for.

The material also matters. Rubber offers excellent traction since it’s soft and therefore creates more friction—think of the tires on a car.

Try to avoid hard, smooth materials like plastic. Although it’s much less common in the outer sole of a shoe, it doesn’t compete with rubber or synthetic materials.

The Five Best Walking Shoes for Elderly People

Your time is valuable, and you could be spending it preparing to get walking. So, to save you the trouble of research, I did it for you.

1. Orthofeet Lava

In my opinion, Orthofeet is the best brand when it comes to footwear for the elderly. One incredible thing about the company is the offer of free returns and full refunds within 60 days if the shoes aren’t to your liking.

However, these particular shoes are excellent. They’re lightweight yet have pillow-like cushioning to keep you safe from pain and strain. They’re also ergonomically designed to keep you balanced and stable as you walk.

The toe box is wide for a comfortable fit and to help prevent bunions and blisters. The padding is thicker in this area, too, to help cushion your steps as you kick off from the ground.

You should have no fear of falling as you go along. The soles are designed to give you proper traction. From the sole to the upper part of the shoe, they’re made of a breathable mesh-like textile, so you’re unlikely to overheat.

The shoes come in sizes 7–14 with wide and extra-wide options.

Pros

  • Widths that should fit most feet.
  • Pillowy cushioning.
  • Breathable.
  • Light.
  • Wide toe box.

Cons

  • Users comment that they can be quite stiff.

2. Skechers Women’s Go Walk Lite

Skechers’ Go Walk Lite shoes are a lightweight, softly lined shoe with cushioning. The insole was designed for maximum comfort, and the shoe is easy to get on and off.

The soles are thick with plenty of traction on dry surfaces, so you should be supported nicely, and the sole is shaped to be very stable. It’s even and flat to help avoid trips and an uneven feel.

These shoes are made of a thin breathable textile, but not overly so. Your feet should stay cool, but you still may experience light sweating due to the lack of air holes or mesh. 

I think this is an elegant pair of shoes that could make a nice addition to any wardrobe. They’re made for walking without being sporty. They could be appropriate for walking around the house or taking a stroll through the park.

They’re available in sizes 5–12.

Pros

  • Tasteful.
  • Cushioned.
  • Light.
  • Soft.

Cons

  • No traction on wet surfaces.

3. Skechers Go Walk 4 Kindle

If you’re after an easy slip-on shoe, these breathable mesh beauties should do the trick. They’re radically lightweight, despite having highly responsive midsole cushioning, which is wonderful to reduce strain on the ankles.

The rubber soles should be a forgiving buffer between you and the ground while providing appropriate traction. It’s usually not a great idea to walk in the rain, but the sole being rubber provides a high level of traction even on wet ground.

A standout feature of these shoes is the bamboo-lined footbed. It repels bacteria, which can help with potential odors. This feature, combined with the mesh’s breathability, ensures these shoes are kept clean and fresh throughout your use.

They’re available in sizes 5.5–13 with some wide options.

Pros

  • Breathable.
  • Slip-on.
  • Extremely lightweight.
  • Anti-bacterial footbed.

Cons

  • Not much arch support.

4. Orthofeet Avery Island

Another pair from Orthofeet and they have the same free returns within 60 days as the previous pair. However, they’re visually quite different.

Being made of leather, this Avery Island pair is more formal than the sporty Lava version, but being leather, they’re made to last. 

They also have a pillow-like cushioning for weary or sensitive feet, a wide toe box and an ergonomic design. However, they’re unlikely to be as breathable nor offer as much traction.

Leather is far less breathable than mesh, and there are no holes or slits in the shoes. The soles are also considerably less patterned, with simple lines running across smooth soles as your grip. I wouldn’t chance these on anything but dry ground.

Even so, they may be the perfect shoe to wear to semi-formal events. They’re business casual, so if you need to do a lot of mingling on your feet, they could suit you. Not all walking is done on trails, after all!

They’re available in sizes 7–15 and come in an array of widths from narrow to XX-wide.

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Pillow-like cushioning.
  • Suitable for business/semi-formal wear.
  • Extensive width options.

Cons

  • Not very breathable.
  • Unsuitable for wet surfaces.

5. Anluke Women’s Walking Shoes

ANLUKE created a pair of breathable mesh shoes that slip on easily, so you don’t have to fuss over laces. They’re ultra-flexible and should move with your feet as you go—excellent for freedom and comfort.

The mesh material and thick soles are made to be lightweight and absorb shock, which is perfect for when you pick up speed. They take the brunt of your quickened step without pulling you back.

These sock-like shoes are specifically for casual outdoor activities, including daily walking—a wonderful fit for those walking to keep active—and are available in sizes 5–10.

Pros

  • Easy slip-on shoe.
  • Lightweight.
  • Extremely breathable.

Cons

  • Not padded.

The Old Reliable

Elderly couple walking

For me, the top two best walking shoes for elderly men have to be the Orthofeet Lava

Orthofeet truly has your comfort and health in mind. These shoes are breathable, casual and sporty for the older athlete. The cushioning is especially impressive!

For the ladies, the Skechers Women’s Go Walk Lite is lightweight and easy to slip off after a long walk. Plus, the high-rebound insole helps to prevent sore feet.

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