It’s easy to take the health of our feet for granted. But, as we age, what used to seem like simple movement can become problematic, painful, or distressing, calling in the need for the best senior walking shoes.
Mobility and safety are real causes for concern for many families; each year, around one in three older Americans, experiences a fall, and the likelihood of falling is more common for those in their 80s and older.
Combating the problem early and consistently is perhaps one of the best ways to avoid injury and pain. With the proper shoes, seniors can better balance themselves on their feet, engage in more physical exercise, attend family events, and enjoy the company of loved ones with minimal discomfort.
But, choosing the best senior walking shoes isn’t as simple as choosing something right off the rack. Finding the right option for your senior will likely consist of understanding the health of aging feet and knowing what features to look out for when choosing a comfortable pair.
In addition, there are different shoes to consider for both men and women. To explore this and more, we’ve included everything you need to know when getting the best walking shoes for seniors below.
Why Are Proper Walking Shoes Important?
As our bodies grow and develop, your weight, outlying health conditions, and other factors can adversely impact walking. As a result, companies specializing in senior walking shoes use specific materials and create more breathing room to help alleviate such problems.
Multiple bodily changes that impact walking and mobility occur as an individual ages, including:
- Weight. If an individual’s weight increases over time (as is often the case as they age and their metabolism slows), their feet have to support the extra body mass. As such, the body places more strain on the skeletal system, including the feet.
- Anatomy. The fat pads on the bottom of our feet grow thinner as we age. Thus, our feet may experience more shock when hitting the ground from a fall or regular steps.
- Health-related issues. Health-related issues and foot ailments can affect circulation. For instance, conditions such as diabetes may affect the way blood flows in the feet. And, foot ailments may arise from improper health management, such as developing calluses or hammertoes. Fortunately, the features of walking shoes made for seniors can help reduce the chances of foot ailments and make walking much more comfortable.
Features to Look For in Walking Shoes
For every shoe you find online, you’ll likely discover pros and cons, but how can you sort out which features really matter and which can be ignored?
It’s essential to consider the fundamental design and fit of the walking shoe you’re viewing. Let’s take a closer look.
Finding shoes that promote stable balance and control can go a long way. In addition, shoes that fit comfortably and support the inside and outside of the foot are ideal and can even help reduce swelling or other irritation.
Look for shoes that include things like a wide toe box, which allows the feet to move freely around without being grouped too closely together. Also, take note of the shoe’s material. Specific material, such as anti-microbial fabric, will make the inside of the shoe soft and help ward away unpleasant smells.
Consider the shoe’s cushioning. Many senior walking shoes are developed with shock absorption pads, helping cushion the blow received from stepping on the ground with fragile feet.
Some shoes may come equipped with shock absorption foam, which can help reduce the amount of pressure placed on your feet when stepping down on the ground.
Think about giving slip-resistant qualities a chance. They not only provide further stability but can also help protect seniors from unexpected falls.
Best Women’s Walking Shoes for Seniors
Women’s walking shoes may feature designs and fits that are better suited to the size, weight, and shape of the average female body, even for seniors. Below are some of our top picks for shoes that can help your loved one navigate any space they need to with ease.
1. OrthoFeet’s Serene Women’s Shoes — Starting price: $79.95
Orthofeet’s Serene Women’s Shoes stand out from the competition thanks to their wide toe box area, premium design, and overall comfort.
Along with its spacious layout, this pair of shoe’s insoles are made from an anti-microbial fabric and foam. So, not only will your loved ones not have to worry about sweaty feet or funky odors, but they can also enjoy the soft textures inside the shoe.
Also, the upper and bottom parts of the shoe are designed to fit the needs of any senior woman. The former is made of stretchy material, relieving any pressure areas placed on the feet, while the latter absorbs shock. The inside of the OrthoFeet brand helps with foot alignment, ensuring that your feet are in the best place to take walks and other outside excursions more pleasant.
If the shoes sound tempting, Orthofeet offers a 60-day wear test for each of its products. So, your loved one can spend time experimenting with the Serene Women’s Shoes to find out if it is right for them.
2. Hush Puppies — Starting price: $44.95
Hush Puppies’ exterior is made out entirely of leather and, combined with its rubber sole, provides a fashionable design. In addition, the interior boasts an accessible heel height for most wearers, adding to the shoe’s comfort levels.
Moreover, the Drilex sock lining technology keeps the feet in comfortable temperatures, regardless of climate. Also, the shoe’s outsole sports double density and reliable shock absorption properties, protecting the wearer’s feet from unexpected bumps. As a result, every step the wearer takes may feel like they are releasing copious amounts of energy.
However, if you or your loved one do not like laces, the shoe may not win you over with its appeal. But, with its removable footbed for easier maintenance, Hush Puppies have a simple design making it a stand-out choice for any senior woman despite its laces.
3. Dr. Scholl’s Madison — Starting Price: $49.95
Dr. Scholl’s Madison sneakers are a versatile option for those wanting to slip on their footwear with ease when performing errands. Also, the shoe is made from a microsuede and faux leather material, a soft material that makes placing the feet inside easy and relaxing.
Inside the shoe, the sneakers provide anatomical cushioning, support, and flexibility, which work together to give the necessary breathing room for the feet and toes. The feet are further supported with a padded collar built into the shoe, keeping your heel in place and achieving a comfy fit.
Furthermore, the sneaker has around 16 different designs and varying shoe sizes, such as wide options for larger feet.
Best Men’s Walking Shoes for Seniors
Our recommendations for senior-friendly walking shoes for men are based on the quality of the shoes themselves, their ability to cater to older individuals, and usability. Some great options to consider include:
1. OrthoFeet’s Avery Island Men’s Oxford Shoes — Starting Price: $104.95
With a well-made leather exterior, classic design, and rubber sole providing stability and sturdiness, these shoes are accessible to most men and apply to most occasions. Also, the shoe’s additional foam and protective lining help with ankle support, while the large toe box provides more room for the feet to feel more comfortable.
Along with a bigger space to move around in, the shoe’s anti-microbial material and a plethora of foam layers help keep the feet dry in comfortable temperatures. In addition, the anatomical insoles support men with underlying health conditions, including diabetes, arthritis, and plantar fasciitis.
The one potential drawback of this option is that the shoe only comes equipped with laces. There is not an option for Velcro straps, which may be a dealbreaker for some. But the shoe’s other benefits, such as its breathable leather exterior, may outweigh its cons for others.
2. Saucony Echelon 7 — Starting Price: $129.95
For senior men who want to keep up their exercise via jogs or runs, Saucony Echelon 7 may be a great pick. This shoe is also an ideal choice for those with wider feet.
The shoes are composed of lightweight material, providing adequate airflow while also being built to last.
In addition, the shoe’s shock absorption foam can help those walking on wet roads or embarking on rocky hiking trails. The foam also gives the shoe a bouncy feel, making each step feel smooth and protecting your feet from rough terrain.
Also, the tongue and collar work well with sensitive skin, with the outsole offering much-needed flexibility for every foot.
3. Sketchers Men’s Equalizer Double Loafers — Starting Price: $44.95
To help maintain balance and prevent falls, Sketchers Men’s Equalizer Double Loafers are reliable slip-on and slip-resistant footwear. In addition, the shoe’s lightness helps seniors steady themselves when moving around or staying still when listening to a conversation.
The shoes also provide superior grips and traction, which helps reduce the chances of falls or slips on dry terrain, and the breathable Knit mesh on the upper part of the shoe makes it a comfortable fit around the house.
A critical downside to keep in mind is that the shoes are not designed for wet conditions. Also, the shoes run big, but some people may prefer wearing a size bigger than their typical one to have more breathing space.
There are hundreds of options to choose from when it comes to finding footwear that works for your senior, but if you know what you are looking for, your choices may become easier to make.
Finding the right fit is undoubtedly worth the time and effort. Caring for a senior loved one, in many cases, includes ensuring they are comfortable on their feet during walks with family while attending events, or simply living life to the fullest.
- Feet and Falling, Harvard Health Publications, https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/feet-and-falling