Lifestyle

3/14/2022 | By Faith Boluwatife

Footwear may be the last thing on our minds when we’re trying to stay healthy, but the best shoes for seniors can be an important element of good health.

Perhaps your parents saved your first, teeny-tiny pair of shoes. Maybe they even had them bronzed. Without a doubt, your feet have changed, many times, in the intervening years. While young feet seem fine adorned with fashion rather than comfort, our changing, aging bodies require a different set of standards. Our grandmoms had to settle for old lady shoes and granddads for clunkers. But shoe companies today know that those of us still young-at-heart are not ready to give up on fashion entirely!

Why proper footwear is important for seniors

When shopping for new shoes, don’t look simply for fashion. Comfort and proper fit can do more than just look pretty on your feet – they can help you stay healthy. Here’s why:

  • Seniors need to stay active. Comfortable shoes will encourage and enable healthy exercise and activity. It becomes easier to meet a daily step goal when feet are not swollen or achy.
  • The right shoes help keep seniors from falling. The proper sole will have enough traction so you’re not slipping and sliding, even on wet or slippery ground. The proper sole also won’t be so sticky (remember those “gum shoe” soles?) that you practically trip over nothing. Broken bones certainly put a stop to health-enhancing daily activities!

Elements of the best shoes for seniors

The right shoes provide arch support, which means less achy feet and more active time. Cushioned shoes are also comfortable, allowing you to walk for longer periods.

Tips

  • Get fitted. Chances are, you don’t wear exactly the same size you did as a younger adult. Shoes that are too big increase the likelihood of falls. Those that are too small can be painful, harmful, and discourage walking. Be sure that the salesperson measures both feet, too!
  • To get the best shoes for seniors, go to a reputable shoe store. Besides assuring you of a proper fit, knowledgeable clerks can help you choose other important assets: proper toe box, arch support, stability, flexibility, cushioning, etc. They can also assist if you’ve had issues such as plantar fasciitis, bursitis, bunions, and flat feet.
  • Go shoe shopping mid-day or afternoon. Since feet are most swollen this time of day, trying on new shoes then helps you avoid getting too-small shoes.
  • Make sure the shoes are comfortable immediately. Don’t count on a break-in period to make them work for you.
  • Avoid high heels and pointy toes! Even if you still like to dress up, these features can be harmful to feet, knees, and spines. The University of Michigan Health Services explains, “Heels alter whole body posture and can cause pain. If you wear heels, pick a lower heel shoe, a wider heel or wedge, and a heel that does not curve in.”

Choose appropriate shoes for your lifestyle

A pair of black shoes with leopard top and legs.

Buying a variety of footwear ensures comfortability all-round, regardless of the activity you want to engage in – walking, jogging, gardening, shopping, hiking, etc.

Even slippers should be chosen carefully. Look for comfortable, well-fitting house shoes that have enough traction to help avoid slipping on tiles or wooden floors.

For foot problems, consider custom orthotics

Foot problems can develop with age and injury. Arthritis, bunions, hammertoes, swollen ankles, diabetes, calluses – as well as leg, knee, hip, back, and core problems – can make it extra difficult for seniors to walk around, especially in uncomfortable shoes. Sometimes, even the best shoes for seniors will require a little something extra.

You can get over-the-counter shoe inserts that provide cushioning and support. They can help relieve foot pain and pressure and compensate for other issues.

However, it may be a better option to get customized orthotics from the podiatrist or foot specialist. These custom-made shoe inserts help correct biomechanical foot issues such as problems with how you walk, stand, or run. They can also help with foot pain caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, and arthritis. They’ll cost extra, but the improved feeling of ease will be worth it.

9 shoe brands to check for comfort and (mostly) style

Though many of the more stylish brands are for women, companies like Oofos and Hoka cater to men as well. This list of top footwear brands includes companies that sell to young adults as well, guaranteeing you will be styling! These shoes range from dressy to casual and sporting.

Click the link on each brand – the websites can direct you to a store near you.

Our bodies age, and there’s nothing that’s going to change that. However, comfortable footwear can help make the change more comfortable and help you maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle with less pain.

Faith Boluwatife