The best sciatica shoes have midfoot stability and a cushioned footbed.
Pain of any kind is no pleasure, especially if it is related to sciatica. Because it is so large, with inflammation of the sciatic nerve, it can affect the lower back, buttocks, legs and toes, making walking or running difficult.
Fortunately, with the right footwear, it can “improve your gait and encourage proper biomechanics, resulting in less stress on joints,” says podiatrist Patrick Sanchez, DPM, a certified foot and ankle surgeon from Oak Lawn, Illinois.
In addition to helping with pain, “this will help prevent osteoarthritis in the spine from developing early,” says Dr. Sanchez.
Below you will find the best shoes for this situation.
The best shoes for women’s sweat
We spoke with a podiatrist who gave his recommendations. In addition to these inputs, we selected these products based on the following criteria:
Why are certain shoes marketed to men or women?
Manufacturers typically market shoes by gender, so we’ve listed women’s and men’s picks below according to the language used by the brands. However, the main difference between men’s and women’s shoes lies in the width and size of the shoe. In some cases, men’s shoes are made to support larger weights. So people with larger bodies may want to choose the men’s versions, while people with smaller bodies may prefer the women’s versions. We encourage everyone to shop according to their personal preferences rather than feeling constrained by marketing language.
1. Best Overall: Hokka Bondi
Going for a run or a walk? The HOKA Bondi 7 is a comfortable, supportive athletic shoe designed to absorb impact no matter the activity, earning its place as our top all-around pick.
Pillow and support are essential because it “helps take pressure off the spine,” which can be helpful for people with sciatica, says Dr. Sanchez.
Plus, the outer layer is made of breathable mesh (see hey, sweaty feet) and the collar is made of memory foam to support people with smaller ankles.
2. Best Runner Up: New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v12
The Fresh Foam shoe from New Balance has a supportive foam-coated sole to relieve pain and provide stability.
You can run longer distances, even outdoors, thanks to the mesh upper and reflective accents, which make the shoe breathable and visible.
On top of that, the shoe comes in 12 fun colors, from vibrant orange to hot pink.
3. Best for Walking: HOKA Clifton 8
The Clifton 8. Another bestseller from the HOKA family is the Clifton 8. What makes this pair perfect for walking is that it’s lightweight and breathable. The shoe features a cushioned sole and a mesh upper, and the shock cushion is engineered to absorb shock with every step.
In addition to being extremely comfortable, the Clifton 8 has received Seal of Approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), meaning it has been reviewed by APMA podiatrists to promote better foot health.
buy it:HOKA.com for women’s sizes 5 through 12; HOKA.com for men’s sizes 7 to 16;price:$140
4. Best for Running: Brooks Ghost 14
Run the distance with the Brooks Ghost 14. It’s made with the brand’s signature cushioning technology, which absorbs shock and provides smoother transitions from heel to toe, making it the perfect running shoe.
Made of adaptive mesh, the outer layer adapts to the shape of your foot for a custom fit. bonus? There are 29 fun colors to choose from, like stripes of fuchsia and violet.
Dr. Sanchez recommends changing your running shoes every 500 miles.
5. Best Sandal: Birkenstocks Arizona Soft Slide Sandal
If you’re looking for a sandal option, “Birkenstocks is the perfect sandal to wear,” says Dr. Sanchez. “They have a unique cork and latex sole that provides more support than a typical sandal but also contours to your foot a bit, getting more comfortable over time.”
Cushioned footbed provides arch support and shock absorption with every step. Plus the straps are adjustable.
buy it:Nordstrom.com unisex sizes 4 through 11.5;price:$140
What to look for in sciatica shoes
1. Stable midfoot and solid heel
A good sciatica shoe should have a firm midfoot and a solid heel counter, according to Dr. Sanchez.
To see if your shoes have these features, “pick up the shoe and try to fold it in half where the arch of the foot will be,” he says. If you can flex it completely, the sole is very flexible and Dr. Sanchez recommends putting the shoe back on.
2. Cushioned footbed and sole
When buying a sciatica shoe, look for a cushioned footbed and extra cushioning. Cushioned footbed and sole absorb shock and reduce pressure on your knees and joints. Some shoes, like the New Balance 860v12, are lined with soft foam.