The 10 Best Walking Shoes For Bunions, According To A Podiatrist

No more painful pinching.

by Alexa Vazquez
Bustle / Amazon
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Apart from being uncomfortable, shoes that constrict bunions can result in painful inflammation, irritation, impingement, and even chronic arthritis. So if you have bunions and you spend a lot of time on your feet, a proper pair of walking shoes are a must in order to keep pain and discomfort at bay. According to Dr. Timothy Curran, D.P.M., a podiatrist at Tufts Medical Center who spoke with Bustle for this article, the best walking shoes for bunions have a roomy toe box, stretchy uppers, and lots of support.

The Expert

Dr. Timothy Curran, D.P.M. earned his medical degree at Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine and has been practicing podiatry for over 20 years. He serves as the Program Director of the Podiatry Program at Tufts Medical Center, and also serves as the primary podiatrist for two professional sports teams.

What To Look For In The Best Walking Shoes For Bunions

According to Dr. Curran, these are the top four features to focus on when shopping for walking shoes that won’t disturb your bunions:

  • Roomy Toe Box: Dr. Curran says, “shoes that [...] have a roomy toe box are generally more comfortable to wear,” and “should be long enough and wide enough to accommodate the bunion deformity.” Though all of the shoes on this list are designed with wide toe boxes, some also come in wide and sometimes even extra-wide widths, which ensures that even the most severe bunions have plenty of wiggle room.
  • Stretchy Uppers: Dr. Curran says it’s best to choose shoes with stretchy uppers, like those made from mesh or knit materials, because they “provide more relief than shoes that have a lot of stitching [or that are made from] a harder leather material.” Overall, he says the less restrictive, the better.
  • Low Heel: Dr. Curran also advises avoiding heel heights over 1.5 inches tall, since higher heels can place “up to 90% more pressure on the ball of the foot and the bunion.”
  • Adequate Support: From contoured footbeds and arch support to deep heel cups and cushioned insoles, Dr. Curran says that shoes with supportive features like these can “provide some relief” from bunion pain. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) also recommends that people with bunions opt for orthotic inserts. Luckily, some of the options on this list come with removable inserts for those seeking even more support.

A note on style: Since sneakers with laces offer the most support and stability, they’re the obvious choice for long or rigorous walks. However, there are other styles, like slip-ons or sandals, that are great for more leisurely walks or casual wear, and that still hit all of Dr. Curran’s top criteria. A few shoes on this list come backed by the APMA Seal of Acceptance, too.

Keep reading for 10 of the best walking shoes for bunions.


Expert Pick: A Pair Of Podiatrist-Approved Ergonomic Sneakers

The Orthofeet Coral Sneakers come highly recommended by Dr. Curran, and they bear the Seal of Acceptance from the APMA. They’re further backed by 4,500 Amazon shoppers who awarded them a five-star rating. Featuring multi-layered cushioned insoles with anatomical arch support (plus a removable insole, in case you need extra support), stretchy knit uppers lined with soft foam, and a wide toe box, these shoes won’t put any extra pressure on your bunions. They’re also available in both wide and extra-wide sizes to accommodate bunions of varying size.

Helpful review: “I have a very pronounced and PAINFUL bunion, so my [podiatrist] told me that I might be able to postpone surgery if I wear this brand of shoes. I ordered them and was so happy when I tried them on and walked around the house. They are so comfortable that they make me forget that I even have a bunion! Fantastic!”

Sizes: 5 — 12 (available in wide, x-wide, and narrow) | Colors: 7 | Material: Knit Uppers


These Expert-Approved Mule Sneakers That Won’t Slip Off Your Feet

Slip in to comfort with these easy-on, easy-off mules, which Dr. Curran praises as a great option for people with bunions. Backed by nearly 20,000 total ratings, these shoes are equipped with lightly padded, shock-absorbing removable insoles, plus built-in arch support. Perforated mesh uppers provide breathability, and the lightweight, molded rubber outsoles offer stability, and ensure they won’t slip off your feet. Finally, shoppers confirm that the wide, rounded toe box offers enough room to comfortably accommodate bunions.

Helpful review: “This is my second pair of Easy Spirit Traveltime Slip-On sneakers. I have bunions and need a shoe with a wide toes box. This fits perfectly. It is wide enough to be comfortable, but my foot doesn't slide out of it like with some other slip-on shoes. Highly recommended.”

Sizes: 5 — 12 (available in wide, x-wide, and narrow) | Colors: 13 | Material: Suede/Mesh Uppers


A Pair Of Intelligently Designed Walking Shoes That Encourage Better Alignment

Heading out for a rigorous walk? These walking shoes will be your new best friend. The EVA outsoles feature a unique rolling design that encourages proper alignment, and shock-absorbing technology means your every step will be supported. Meanwhile, the removable, breathable orthotic insoles, roomy toe box, and stretchy mesh uppers keep bunions comfortable. Even though these aren’t “fashion sneakers” per se, that chunky silhouette happens to be totally on-trend.

Helpful review: “Age has brought me it's list of bumps and bunions, flat feet and weak arches. I have been searching through tons of orthopedic type shoes that will stay supportive on my daily 4 mile walks. These are marvelous. They fit great and truly give me more energy to get up those high hills. [...] Going to check out work shoes and sandals today.”

Sizes: 6 — 11 (available in wide and x-wide) | Colors: 7 | Material: Mesh Uppers


The Cushy Adidas Running Shoes With A Cult Following

With a cult following on Amazon, these Adidas sneakers have cushioned midsoles and outsoles for double-layer support, plus a memory foam liner that molds to the shape of your feet. The stretchy knit uppers (made from recycled materials, as a bonus) create plenty of room for bunions. And between the sporty-chic aesthetic and array of neutral shades available, these are sure to complement every outfit.

Helpful review: “Delightful shoes. I have wide feet with bunions and these shoes were wide enough and gave some space. I can walk without pain and have worked 12hr shifts without issues. Love them!”

Sizes: 5 — 12 | Colors: 8 | Material: Synthetic Knit Uppers


These Popular New Balance Cross-Training Sneakers That Feel Extra-Lightweight

Pretty much any New Balance shoe works well for people with bunions, according to Podiatry Advice, but the Nergize V1 Sneakers are particularly well-loved on Amazon, boasting 42,000 five-star reviews and best-seller status. The mesh uppers are more lightweight and flexible than other NB styles, offering plenty of flexibility for bunions, and the REVlite cushioned midsoles and plush memory foam inserts offer maximum comfort. The bootie-style design offers a snug fit around the ankle for better stability for any exercise, long walks included. Plus, the modern, low-profile design is a bit sleeker than other styles on this list, making them perfectly appropriate for wearing even when you’re not working out.

Helpful review: “Recently found out I have bunions so most shoes are uncomfortable for me. The wide ones are super comfy and they minimize rubbing against my toes which means significantly more comfortable and less pain in my feet.”

Sizes: 5 — 12 (available in wide) | Colors: 12 | Material: Mesh/Synthetic Uppers


Some Cute Canvas Sneakers With The APMA Seal Of Acceptance

The quest for shoes that are both cute and comfy is over thanks to these canvas sneakers, available in 45 fun colors and prints. Equipped with Vionic’s proprietary design, they have stabilizing deep heel cups, a cushioned front, and a midsole with arch support, earning this style the APMA’s Seal of Acceptance. Best of all, reviewers report that the roomy toe box won’t interfere with bunions on casual walks.

Helpful review: “I really like these shoes. Very soft and comfortable. I have wide feet with bunions and these fit well. They are so soft that I can wear without socks. Arch support is good but overall not a ton of cushion. However, I can go shopping in these or be on my feet for awhile and these feel good. The struggle for cute shoes that don’t hurt my feet is real and these are great!”

Sizes: 5 — 12 (available in wide) | Colors: 45 | Material: Canvas Uppers


These Loafer-Inspired Slip-Ons That Can Be Dressed Up Or Down

Boasting a nearly perfect 4.7-star rating, these loafer-inspired slip-ons have a laidback vibe that doesn’t skimp on comfort. They have removable memory foam insoles and soft cotton canvas uppers, and shoppers report that the fit is wide enough to offer plenty of space and stretch for bunions. Ultra-flexible and lightweight outsoles, along with no-tie elastic laces, create a relaxed fit you’ll never want to take off — and you probably don’t have to, since you can easily dress them up for casual dinners.

Helpful review: “I love my Hey Dudes so comfy! I wear a size 8 and they fit perfect and stretchy and doesn't hurt my bunion. Would absolutely recommend!”

Sizes: 4 — 12 | Colors: 28 | Material: Cotton Canvas


These Supportive Sandals With A Contoured Footbed

Sandals aren’t typically known for their supportive features, but these Skechers sandals are the exception to the rule. The contoured footbed has cushioned arch support and a shock-absorbing midsole and toe ridge, and the adjustable hook-and-loop closure across the top offers more stability than your typical open-toed sandal. Importantly, those strategically placed straps won’t interfere with bunions.

Helpful review: “I think this is my 3rd pair of these sandals! I love the comfort and arch support they provide. The straps are in just the perfect place to not put pressure on my bunions.”

Sizes: 5 — 12 (available in wide) | Colors: 9 | Material: Suede/Textile Uppers


A Pair Of Slip-On Sneakers With 3 Types Of Cushioning

You can’t go wrong with these versatile Skechers slip-on sneakers, a fan-favorite with a 4.5-star overall rating out of over 68,000 ratings to date. Featuring the brand’s proprietary 5Gen cushioned technology and a high-rebound footbed, these bouncy shoes have cushioned insoles that are also moisture-wicking, making them the rare sneaker you can comfortably wear sockless if you prefer. Plus, they’re made with stretchy mesh uppers that won’t constrict your bunions.

Helpful review: “I have a bunion on one foot and am always on the hunt for comfortable shoes. These fit the bill. The upper fabric is mesh like and very malleable. There is no pressure on the painful bunion. They have excellent arch support. The sole has so much cushion I wear these on my daily walks.”

Sizes: 5 — 13 (available in wide and narrow) | Colors: 29 | Material: Mesh Uppers


A Pair Of APMA-Approved Adjustable Strappy Sandals

This sandal, which earned an APMA Seal of Acceptance, is equipped with Chaco’s podiatrist-approved PU midsole for tons of arch support. The polyester straps are completely adjustable — a rare find for a sandal — which allows you to create a customized fit that won’t irritate bunions. Not to mention they come in the cutest array of colors and prints, from ‘Muted Clay’ (pictured) to ‘Lavender Frost.’

Helpful review: “Love these sandals. Great arch support!I have a bunion on my left foot and it does not bother it for those who have a similar situation. I was worried the strap would be irritating but it isn’t and they are adjustable so just read the directions to make them looser or tighter.”

Sizes: 5 — 12 (available in wide) | Colors: 36 | Material: Polyester Uppers