We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (2024)

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (1)

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If you're currently dealing with bunions, you know they can hurt. That's because your bones are literally shifting around as your big toe is bending toward your second toe.

"The bunion refers to the prominence on the inside of the great toe as the toe starts bending into an 'L' position," says Amiethab “Tabs” Aiyer, M.D., an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "That L-shape position specifically, whether it's on your right toe or left toe, is referred to as hallux valgus."

So, what does that all mean? Basically your toes are moving out of place, your foot is trying to compensate for that shift and it hurts. But the good news is that wearing the right shoes can help ease the pain.

Our top picks:

Here at the Good Housekeeping Institute, our footwear experts in the Textiles Lab regularly team up with physicians and podiatrists to find the best shoes for every need. We've also put dozens of shoe styles to the test in our Lab, including walking shoes, workout shoes, hiking shoes and sneakers, just to name a few.

Based on our testing and research, we've put together this list of the best shoes for people with bunions, so that you can have a more comfortable walking experience. Overall, if you have bunions, it's all about space — so you want to look for a wide shoe with a stretchy top to create the space needed to keep you comfortable when walking around.

1

Best Running Shoes for Bunions

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam X1080 v12 Running Shoe

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (12)

1

Best Running Shoes for Bunions

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam X1080 v12 Running Shoe

Pros
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (13)Roomy mesh upper section
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (14)Stability features for proper alignment
Cons
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (15)Run a bit large

Our analysts and testers have long been impressed with the offerings from New Balance. This pair, in particular, has a flexible knit upper section that can more comfortably accommodate bunions than stiffer materials. Add in a soft foam underfoot and they make an ideal shoe for long runs, quick sprints and walks.

They're strategically designed with more foam at the widest points and more flexibility where they narrow, a feature that our analysts love. Testers also gave this shoe perfect scores for fit, comfort and cushioning, saying they "provide just enough cushioning during your runs" and are "very lightweight and breathable."

Bonus: They're one of the few styles that are available in both wide and extra-wide sizing. The brand does note that they run a little large, so make sure to check out the size chart if purchasing online.

Size range5-13, with narrow, wide and x-wide options
Weight per shoe10.3 oz
Colors32

2

Best Value Shoes for Bunions

TIOSEBON Women's Slip On Walking Tennis Shoes

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (16)

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (17)

2

Best Value Shoes for Bunions

TIOSEBON Women's Slip On Walking Tennis Shoes

Now 20% Off

Pros
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (18)Slip-on, slip-off design
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (19)Stretch knit upper for flexible room
Cons
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (20)Style doesn't offer as much support as other pairs

At around $40 a pair (or less if you catch them on sale!), these sneakers are by far the most affordable our list. They're a great choice if you have bunions, since they have a sock-like fit thanks to the stretch knit upper and no laces for easy slip on and off.

One of our testers said, "They didn't look like clunky orthopedic shoes, but they felt as if they were padded with four inches of memory foam." Another raved that "they're easy on, easy off." Podiatrists we spoke to also like how lightweight they are (less than 150 grams per shoe) but they were a bit weary of the thicker heel cushioning.

Compared to other pairs on our list, this style doesn't offer as much support and stability, both of which help promote foot strength. While wide sizes weren't available when we tested, the pair are now available in wide sizing as well.

Size range5-13, in wide sizing
Weight per shoe5.29 oz
Colors33

3

Best Extra-Wide Shoes for Bunions

Orthofeet Coral Stretch Knit

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (21)

3

Best Extra-Wide Shoes for Bunions

Orthofeet Coral Stretch Knit

Now 17% Off

Pros
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (22)Three width options
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (23)Received perfect scores for comfort and cushioning from testers
Cons
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (24)Lower appearance scores from testers

Orthofeet shoes are designed specifically for people with foot conditions, including bunions. They also come in an exceptionally inclusive size range, with wide, extra-wide and extra-extra-wide widths, so if you have wide feet and a bunion, there should still be enough room in these shoes to accommodate your feet comfortably.

The brand's orthotic insoles are designed to create more stability, along with cushioning throughout and padding in the back. They are one of the heavier styles of shoes we've tested, and that's because they have a mild rocker-style design to help propel you forward when walking.

In our tests, these sneakers received perfect scores for comfort and cushioning, though some testers did note they aren't the most aesthetically pleasing. That said, if you're simply focused on pain relief, it's worth taking note that one of testers said this pair "aided in pain relief with my knees after exercise or walking."

Size range5-12, in wide, extra-wide and extra-extra-wide, including half sizes
Weight per shoe9.5 oz
Colors7

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4

Best Dress Shoes for Bunions

Vivaia Square-Toe Chunky Heels

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (25)

4

Best Dress Shoes for Bunions

Vivaia Square-Toe Chunky Heels

Pros
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (26)Stretchy knit upper
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (27)Short but stylish heel
Cons
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (28)Not machine washable

If you struggle with bunions, you might have written off heels completely. We've tested a variety of shoes from this brand and found that the stretchy knit upper is very comfortable while still feeling luxe.

This pair has a 1.77-inch heel, so it gives you just enough lift to elevate your look without being too high. We've found it's possible stand or walk in these heels comfortably for extended periods of time. The shoe comes in two styles: The Melody Basic and the Melody Pro. The Melody Pro comes with upgraded pressure relief insoles.

Note that this style is not machine washable, and the brand recommends cleaning by gently scrubbing the uppers and soles with a clean cloth.

Size range5-11, including half sizes
Weight per shoeNot available
Colors7

5

Best Work Shoes for Bunions

Rothy's The Almond Loafer

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (29)

5

Best Work Shoes for Bunions

Rothy's The Almond Loafer

Pros
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (30)Made from stretchy knit material that easily accommodates bunions
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (31)Multiple stylish colors and patterns
Cons
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (32)Not available in wide sizing (but they run big)

Just because you have a bunion doesn't mean you need to resign yourself to wearing sneakers every day. If you need a cute work shoe that's also comfortable, these stylish loafers from Rothy's come in 13 different colors and patterns like plum twill, leopard print, classic black and more.

Rothy's shoes are a favorite among GH analysts and editors alike, thanks to the brand's comfortable and chic designs. Like other Rothy's shoes, these flats are made with a stretchy knit material that easily accommodates bunions. While these shoes don't come in wide sizes, they also don't run narrow. In fact, according to the brand, the Almond Loafer can run a bit big.

Size range5-13, including half sizes
Weight per shoeNot available
Colors13

6

Best Athletic Shoes for Bunions

New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (33)

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (34)

6

Best Athletic Shoes for Bunions

New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker

Pros
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (35)Lightweight
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (36)Front mesh makes for breathable shoes that fit over bunions
Cons
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (37)Thinner midsole than others

At 150 grams per shoe, these lightweight sneakers from New Balance were not only popular with our testers, but also with our GH analysts and the podiatrists we consulted. The slip-on design features a tongue that stays put for easy on and off, making it a great commuter shoe too.

These shoes have racked up an impressive 69,000 Amazon reviews, plus they're a great value compared to the other shoes on this list. Testers loved these shoes, unanimously saying they would continue wearing them. They appreciated that the front mesh made the shoes breathable and comfy over bunions, though we noted that the midsole is thinner than other picks. While this does mean the shoes offer less cushioning, they're lighter and allow for quicker movement.

Size range5-12 in wide, including half sizes
Weight per shoe5.29 oz
Colors13

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7

Best Sandals for Bunions

Clarks Women's Leisa Cacti Slide Sandal

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (38)

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (39)

7

Best Sandals for Bunions

Clarks Women's Leisa Cacti Slide Sandal

Pros
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (40)Adjustable
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (41)Available in narrow and wide sizes
Cons
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (42)Price differs by color and style

Those with bunions, hammertoes or just wide feet can all find a comfortable fit in these sandals from Clarks. They come in narrow, medium and wide, and the adjustable straps mean you can make for an even more custom fit. The orthotic footbed is designed for support while the rubber outsole makes walking in them a breeze. With stitching details and a short heel, they're stylish to boot. Just note that the prices vary based on color and style when shopping on Amazon.

Size range5-12 in wide and narrow
Weight per shoe4.96 oz
Colors10

8

Best Walking Shoe for Bunions

Brooks Women's Ghost 15 Neutral Running Shoe

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (43)

8

Best Walking Shoe for Bunions

Brooks Women's Ghost 15 Neutral Running Shoe

Pros
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (44)Many testers said this pair reduced foot pain
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (45)Solid stability and control
Cons
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (46)Some testers didn't love this pair's appearance

Our testers have raved about these sneakers from Brooks, with one reporting that she usually finds "no shoes comfortable to wear, but these are amazing." The pair hit high marks across the board for cushioning, support and traction, with one tester saying, "I didn't even feel like I was running on the pavement while wearing these." GH Senior Analyst Emma Seymour even personally wears them when running on the treadmill.

Prioritizing stability and control, the style features ample cushioning and a comfortable heel. Though Brooks is a popular brand for running shoes, walkers also live this style. The Ghost 15's predecessor (the Ghost 14) has a massive following for being a versatile, supportive sneaker for walkers and runners alike, and from our testers stellar reviews, the Ghost 15 is set to follow in their footsteps.

Size range5-13 in wide and narrow, and some x-wide
Weight per shoe8.8 oz
Colors47

9

Best Fashionable Shoe for Bunions

Vivaia Square-Toe V-Cut Flats

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (47)

9

Best Fashionable Shoe for Bunions

Vivaia Square-Toe V-Cut Flats

Pros
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (48)Lots of different colors and patterns
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (49)Stretch knit top and heel cushion
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (50)Machine washable
Cons
  • We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (51)Air-dry only

If you want a fashionable dress shoe but don't want to take on a heel, this pair from Vivaia has you covered. Like their heels, this pair features a similar breathable stretch knit fabric with added features like a heel cushion to help avoid blisters. They come in a whopping 45 different colors and patterns, so you'll easily be able to find a pair that matches your style. Plus, this style is machine washable; just make sure to air dry them instead of running them through the dryer.

Size range5-11 in regular and wide sizing
Weight per shoeNot available
Colors45

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How we chose the best shoes for bunions

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (52)

In recent evaluations, we've tested all kinds of shoes, including more than 50 styles of walking shoes and more than 30 running shoes, as well as hiking shoes, sandals and more.

In addition to evaluating each pair in the Lab, we send them off to consumer testers with a range of shoe sizes and foot shapes. Depending on the test, we have testers walk in the shoes for at least two hours before giving feedback. In some cases (like walking shoes) we saw the shoes in half in our Lab, so podiatrists and other footwear experts can review the cross-section and analyze the efficacy and longevity of the materials. Here are a few other criteria we evaluate when testing shoes:

✔️ Comfort: One of the most important things is how the shoes feel on your feet. Because of this, we rated comfort highly when analyzing testers' feedback, noting the feel of the footbed, tongue and ankle opening.

✔️ Support: The right footbed helps keep your feet properly supported while on the move, reducing strain on your arches. Testers gave extensive feedback on each pair's arch support and fit notes.

✔️ Weight: In the Lab, we weighed each shoe to nix overly clunky styles.

What to look for when shopping for shoes for bunions

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (53)

When it comes to bunions (and the pain they might be causing), knowing what to look for when shoe shopping can greatly aid your search. Follow these tips from Dr. Aiyer and our GH footwear experts:

✔️ Wide toebox: The area of the shoe that fits the ball of your foot and your toes is called the toebox, and if you have bunions you definitely want the space there to be wide enough to accommodate. Opt for wide or even extra-wide styles to ensure you have the space you need to be comfortable.

✔️ Materials: A stretch knit material on the upper part of the shoe can allow for more space too, and space is the name of the game when it comes to shoes for bunions. Dr. Aiyer also recommends stiffer material along the bottom of the shoe to create adequate support for the foot.

✔️ Arch support: According to Dr. Aiyer, arch collapse can be connected to bunion development, so stay way from flat shoes with no arch support and opt for a shoe that fits your arch.

✔️ Cushioning: This can vary immensely between types of shoes and preferences between people, so overall go for what makes you most comfortable. If you don't know where to start, generally very cushioned shoes are best for extreme long distance walkers or people with specific injuries who need more support. Try on different styles until you find the sweet spot between too much bulk that can make you feel unbalanced and the correct amount of cushioning to support your foot.

What type of shoe is best for bunions?

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (54)

The best shoe for bunions is the shoe that's most comfortable for your specific needs."Ultimately, what works for one person might not work for another," says Dr. Aiyer, who advises going into a shoe store and trying on different styles.

Generally though, you'll want something that's a little stiffer to provide more support and something with a wider toebox and stretchy knit uppers to provide the needed space. On the other hand, some of our testers with bunions found open sandals more comfortable.

Our GH Institute experts also suggest looking for shoes with arch support, as a flat shoe can put more strain on your toes. They also recommend avoiding heels over two inches as they can cause foot pain in general and are likely to cause more of an issue long-term.

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Is walking barefoot better for bunions?

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (55)

While you can't walk around the street barefoot (hello, tetanus!), walking around your house barefoot might have some benefits, though it does depend on a few different factors.

"If you're someone who has more of an extreme case, you've probably also got associated nerve issues," says Dr. Aiyer. Chances are you need to protect your feet because you may not be able to detect sensory disturbances, or the way you walk may be putting pressure in different spots. Diabetics are a classic example of someone who might have these issues." Basically, if you've lost that protective sensation in your feet, put on some shoes.

If you haven't lost any sensation though, walking barefoot can certainly help. Dr. Aiyer does advise that choosing to walk barefoot also needs to come with the dedication to correct the way you're walking. "The non-shoed concept is great, assuming that you're not inadvertently compensating and shifting your weight," he says. Our bodies naturally adjust to avoid and compensate for pain, so if you've had a bunion for a while, your way of walking has probably adjusted so you're not putting as much weight on your big toe. "That's something that happens wether we realize it or not because the body wants to protect itself from pain," Dr. Aiyer points out.

The bottom line: If you're dedicated to readjusting how you distribute your weight, it's a good habit to develop that can help with pain, but if you have no plans to make the needed adjustments, nothing is going to change.

Dr. Aiyer notes that if you've had foot pain for a long time, you might have pretty set walking habits to avoid that pain in the big toe. In this case, he recommends physical therapy to re-learn how to distribute your weight appropriately across your foot.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (56)

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab has been a leading expert on footwear for decades.

This article was written by Abigail Bailey, who covers everything from kitchen gear to mattresses and smart blinds for GH. For this story, she consulted with Emma Seymour, senior textiles product analyst for the Good Housekeeping Institute. Seymour has been at GH for more than three years, overseeing Lab and consumer tests for a variety of fitness products, including walking shoes, running shoes, hiking shoes, the best yoga mats, workout leggings for every type of exercise, the best sports bras and more. With a degree in fiber science and apparel design from Cornell University, she has extensive research experience, particularly focused on athletic wear. Bailey also spoke to Amiethab “Tabs” Aiyer, M.D., an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Johns Hopkins University.

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (57)

Abigail Bailey

Abigail (she/her) is product reviews writer who has covered everything from kitchen gear to mattresses and smart blinds. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a B.A. in creative writing and earned her M.S. in publishing digital and print media from New York University. She currently works at Wirecutter, but has also spent time on staff at Good Housekeeping and The Southern Review literary magazine. In her free time you can find her quilting, cross-stitching or trying to figure out how to squeeze one more bookshelf in her tiny apartment.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an expert and enthusiast, I have personal experiences or credentials, but I can provide information and insights on various topics based on the text you provide. Let's dive into the concepts mentioned in this article:

  1. Bunions: A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe. It occurs when the big toe pushes against the next toe, causing the joint at the base of the big toe to protrude. This can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort.

  2. Hallux Valgus: Hallux valgus is a medical term used to describe the condition where the big toe deviates away from the midline of the foot, towards the other toes. It is commonly associated with bunions.

  3. Best Shoes for Bunions: The article lists several types of shoes that are recommended for individuals with bunions. These include running shoes, slip-on walking tennis shoes, extra-wide shoes, dress shoes with stretchy knit uppers, work shoes, athletic shoes, sandals, and walking shoes. The key features to look for in these shoes are a wide toebox, stretchy materials, arch support, and cushioning.

  4. Brands and Models: The article mentions specific brand and model recommendations for each type of shoe, including New Balance Women's Fresh Foam X1080 v12 Running Shoe, TIOSEBON Women's Slip On Walking Tennis Shoes, Orthofeet Coral Stretch Knit, Vivaia Square-Toe Chunky Heels, Rothy's The Almond Loafer, Brooks Women's Ghost 15 Neutral Running Shoe, and Vivaia Square-Toe V-Cut Flats. These recommendations are based on testing and research conducted by the Good Housekeeping Institute and feedback from testers.

  5. Evaluation Criteria: The article explains that the Good Housekeeping Institute evaluates shoes based on criteria such as comfort, support, weight, and materials. Consumer testers with different foot sizes and shapes try out the shoes, and experts review the cross-section of the shoes to analyze the materials' efficacy and longevity.

  6. Tips for Shoe Shopping: The article provides tips for shoe shopping for bunions, such as looking for wide toeboxes, stretchy materials, arch support, and cushioning. It also advises avoiding heels over two inches and choosing shoes that fit your arch.

  7. Walking Barefoot: The article discusses the pros and cons of walking barefoot for individuals with bunions. While walking barefoot at home might have some benefits, it's important to be cautious if you have sensory disturbances or if your walking habits have adjusted due to pain. Adjusting weight distribution and seeking physical therapy may be necessary for long-term relief.

Please note that the information provided is based on this article. It's always recommended to consult with a medical professional or specialist for personalized advice and recommendations regarding bunions and footwear.

We Found the Best Shoes for Bunions (Including Heels!) (2024)
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