If you’re a man who’s on his feet a lot, whether for work, sports, or everyday activities, you know finding comfortable shoes can be a real challenge. The standard sneakers and dress shoes in most stores just don’t cut it when you need serious support and cushioning. That’s where orthopedic shoes come in – they are designed to alleviate pain and provide optimal comfort, especially if you have foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, arthritis, bunions, or diabetes.
Getting the right orthopedic shoes can be life changing, reducing pain and fatigue so you can stay active and mobile. However, with so many orthopedic shoe brands and styles for men now available, it can be tricky to figure out where to start. In this post, we’ll recommend the top 5 best orthopedic shoe options for men and also provide a detailed buying guide to help you shop for the ideal pair.
The Top 5 Orthopedic Shoe Picks for Men
Here are our top recommendations for supportive, cushioned orthopedic shoes that will keep men comfortable throughout the day:
1. New Balance MW577 Hook and Loop Walking Shoe
The New Balance MW577 is one of the most popular orthopedic walking shoes for men, offering maximum comfort and support for all-day wear.
- Leather/mesh upper is breathable and durable
- Medicare-approved for diabetic footwear
- Features ABZORB midsole that absorbs shock with each step
- Rollbar technology helps keep feet stable and aligned
- Removable cushioned insole accommodates custom orthotics
- Hook-and-loop closure ensures adjustable secure fit
Ideal for: Men with plantar fasciitis, arthritis, diabetes, or needing stability.
Price Range: $65 – $175
Where to Buy: New Balance website, Zappos, Amazon
2. Orthofeet Proven Pain Relief Orthopedic Athletic Shoes
With advanced orthotic support and cushioning, the Orthofeet Proven Pain Relief shoes are designed to reduce foot pain from conditions like plantar fasciitis.
- Soft, seam-free interior lined with foam padding eliminates pressure points
- Multi-layer orthotic insole provides anatomical arch support and heel padding
- Ergonomic stride design enhances natural foot motion and alleviates stress on feet, knees and back
- Extra depth design and wide toe box relieves pressure on bunions and hammertoes
- Air cushioning heel pad absorbs shock for a smooth walking stride
Ideal for: Reducing foot, knee, hip and back pain for walking and casual wear.
Price Range: $135 – $145
Where to Buy: Orthofeet website, Amazon
3. Dr. Comfort Ranger Men’s Therapeutic Double Depth Shoe
The Dr. Comfort Ranger is an extra depth diabetic shoe designed to protect the feet and improve mobility.
- Seamless padded interior prevents irritation and blisters
- Removable cushioned insole works with custom orthotics
- Stretch Lycra upper for flexible comfortable fit
- Velcro closure for easy on/off and adjustable fit
- Rigid shank for midfoot support and stability
- Thick outsole for improved traction control
Ideal for: Men with diabetes or edema needing an extra roomy shoe.
Price Range: $155 – $165
Where to Buy: Dr. Comfort website, Amazon
4. Vionic Pierce Leather Orthotic Trainer Shoe
The Vionic Pierce is a leather orthotic sneaker with built-in arch support that helps realign the feet and knees with each step.
- Full-grain leather upper for durability and structure
- Podiatrist-designed EVA orthotic insole improves stride and absorbs shock
- Durable rubber outsole provides traction
- Roomy round toe box prevents irritation
- Lightweight feel for extended comfort
Ideal for: Men needing stability, support, and relief from plantar fasciitis or arthritis pain.
Price Range: $130 – $150
Where to Buy: Vionic Shoes website, Zappos, Amazon
5. OOFOS OOriginal Thong Flip Flop
The OOFOS OOriginal is an orthopedic flip flop sandal that cradles and supports the arches, absorbing shock.
- Patented OOfoam technology cushions feet and helps reduce stress
- Deep heel cup provides stability and alignment
- Arch support design helps reduce back, knee, and foot pain
- Easy-on slingback strap makes them ideal recovery footwear
- Machine washable for easy care
Ideal for: Men seeking cushioned recovery footwear after exercise, long days on feet, or foot injuries.
Price Range: $50 – $60
Where to Buy: OOFOS website, Zappos, Amazon
Now that we’ve covered some top-rated orthopedic shoe choices available for men, let’s go over some tips for buying the perfect pair.
Shopping Guide for Men’s Orthopedic Shoes
Follow this comprehensive guide to select the most appropriate orthopedic shoes based on your foot health needs and comfort preferences:
Consider Your Specific Foot Condition and Needs
The first step is deciding what foot problems you need to address or avoid. This determines the specific support and cushioning features required:
- Plantar fasciitis: Prioritize excellent arch support and shock absorption. Avoid flat shoes with minimal cushioning.
- Arthritis: Seek soft, flexible uppers with cushioned insoles. Removable insoles accommodate orthotics.
- Diabetes: Look for seamless interiors and adjustable closures to protect feet. Opt for extra depth shoes.
- Bunions or hammertoes: Choose shoes with a wide toe box and added depth to minimize irritation.
- Pronation: Stability shoes with motion control help align the feet and distribute impact.
Also consider the types of activities the shoes will be worn for – walking, standing, sports, work, exercising, etc. Athletic shoes for physical activity often incorporate more shock absorption and ankle support compared to everyday orthopedic walking shoes. Identify key performance requirements before you start shopping.
Features to Look for in Orthopedic Shoes
Once you determine the needs your shoes should address, look for orthopedic shoes providing these ideal features:
- Lightweight: Shoes made of breathable mesh, leather, or synthetic blends help prevent fatigue.
- Removable Insoles: Orthopedic shoes with removable insoles allow you to insert custom orthotics.
- Ample Toe Box: A toe box wide and deep enough to accommodate bunions or hammertoes without irritation.
- Arch Support: A contoured insole and padded footbed support the arches.
- Cushioning: Shock absorbing materials in the heel, forefoot and midsole distribute impact.
- Stability: Features like a firm heel counter, medial and lateral stability posts enhance motion control.
- Traction Outsoles: Durable rubber outsoles with tread or flex grooves ensure proper grip.
- Easy On/Off: Slip-on, stretch uppers, or velcro closures make shoes easy to get on and off swollen feet.
Prioritize the features that offer relief from your specific pain points and foot problems. The best orthopedic shoes combine multiple elements to cradle and support tired feet all day long.
Finding the Right Fit
Fit is also paramount when shoe shopping. Here are some tips for getting the perfect orthopedic shoe fit:
- Try shoes on in-person at a store so you can walk around and test the fit.
- Ensure adequate room in the toe box when standing – your toes shouldn’t press against the front.
- The heel should stay in place without slipping up and down as you walk.
- Expect some break-in period to allow shoes to conform to your feet’s shape. Don’t buy too small.
- Consult with salespeople who specialize in fitting orthopedic shoes and inserts. They can assess your gait and make expert recommendations.
Take the time to walk around the store and make sure the shoes feel comfortable from the first wear. A proper orthopedic shoe fit minimizes pain and immediately offers increased support. Don’t settle for shoes that need a long break-in period to feel comfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions About Orthopedic Shoes for Men
Here are answers to some common questions men have about buying and wearing orthopedic shoes:
Do orthopedic shoes have to be ugly or bulky looking?
Orthopedic shoe styles have vastly improved in recent years with more options that blend support with contemporary designs. While some extra depth or motion control shoes still look more medical, there are now lots of orthopedic sneakers and casual shoes in stylish leather or mesh. Shop around and you can likely find a pair with orthotic benefits that also reflects your sense of style.
Should I size up when buying orthopedic shoes?
Getting the right shoe length is critical for orthopedic shoes to provide ample toe room. It’s recommended to have your foot size professionally measured when shopping for orthopedic shoes, especially if you’ll be inserting custom orthotics. The added insert often makes sizing up 1⁄2 or 1 full size necessary. An experienced salesperson can help you determine the ideal size to allow for the orthotic without the shoe feeling overly spacious in length.
How long do orthopedic shoes last compared to my regular shoes?
Orthopedic shoes are designed to be more durable and retain their supportive qualities longer. But every shoe eventually wears out. On average, with regular use most orthopedic shoes last around 12-18 months before needing replacement. Inspect your shoes every few months. Replace them once the treads appear very worn or the cushioning and support feels compressed. Getting 2+ years of use from some high quality orthopedic shoes is possible with proper care.
Can wearing orthopedic shoes help knee or back pain too?
Yes, orthopedic shoes don’t just alleviate foot pain! Because they help align the feet, ankles and legs correctly, orthopedic shoes can reduce pain radiating up the body into the knees, hips and lower back. If improper foot alignment is causing missteps or imbalance, then orthopedic shoes essentially help stabilize your foundation. Just don’t expect footwear alone to resolve joint problems or serious conditions causing back pain. Additional medical treatment may be needed alongside orthopedic shoes.
Are orthopedic shoes OK for exercising and playing sports?
Absolutely! Orthopedic athletic shoes are great for physical activity since they provide extra shock absorption and motion control while exercising. Brands like New Balance, Brooks and Asics make specialty athletic shoes with orthopedic features. They offer ample toe room, arch support and enhanced stability for high performance sport and fitness training without foot pain. Orthopedic athletic shoes can enable men to continue enjoying their favorite sports that rigorous activity might otherwise prevent.
Do I need a doctor’s prescription for orthopedic shoes?
Prescriptions are not required to purchase orthopedic shoes except if submitting a claim to Medicare or certain health insurances that cover some or all costs. Getting a podiatrist’s recommendation helps ensure the shoes adequately address any diagnosed conditions. But any man can go to a shoe store or shop online and pick out supportive orthopedic footwear without a prescription. Visiting a podiatrist first can guide you on features to look for. If insurance reimbursement isn’t a factor, a prescription isn’t necessary.
Are orthopedic shoes much more expensive than regular shoes?
Orthopedic shoes used to come with a hefty price tag, sometimes over $500 for a single pair! Now with more companies entering the market, costs are coming down. While still pricier than regular shoes on average, orthopedic shoes range from around $100 on the low end to $250 for higher-end pairs from brands known for excellent craftsmanship and durability. It’s a worthwhile investment to avoid ongoing foot pain and doctor’s visits down the road.
Where can I find the best selection of orthopedic shoes locally?
Check if your city has a specialty store dedicated to orthopedic shoes, braces and inserts – they will have the largest inventory to try on in-person before buying. Also visit reputable shoe stores or national chains (like New Balance or Foot Locker) with sections catering to orthopedic and athletic shoes. Department store shoe departments increasingly carry some orthopedic options too. Local availability is getting better, but still limited. Searching online opens up vastly more choices if unable to find the right style nearby.
How do I know when it’s time to replace my orthopedic shoes?
Inspect the bottom treads at least every few months. If the imprint appears very flat and worn down, the cushioning and support are likely breaking down too. Also pay attention to any discomfort that emerges while wearing them. If your feet start hurting before the end of the day in shoes that previously felt great all day, it’s a red flag the orthotic benefits are fading. Finally, look inside the shoes to check if inserts or insoles have compressed down. Expect to replace orthopedic shoes roughly every 12-18 months with regular use.
Are orthopedic shoes only for elderly people?
It’s a common misconception that orthopedic shoes are just for old people! While seniors often benefit, men of any age can experience foot pain or conditions requiring orthopedics shoes. Jobs that require long hours standing or walking take a toll at any age. Sports injuries can also necessitate orthotic footwear earlier in life. Don’t hesitate to explore orthopedic shoes if recommended by your doctor or podiatrist regardless of age – protecting your feet now prevents bigger problems later.
Can orthotics be used with any type of shoes?
Orthotic inserts work best when paired with shoes having adequate space and support. Look for shoes with removable insoles or accommodation for inserts. Extra depth shoes provide room for custom orthotics. Flexible uppers that don’t constrict also aid insertion. While inserts can technically go in any shoe, they optimize comfort and realignment benefits when worn with shoes designed to enhance their effects. Talk to your podiatrist about ideal shoe features if getting custom orthotics prescribed.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
We hope this overview gives you a helpful starting point for choosing the best orthopedic shoes to alleviate foot pain and keep you comfortable. Investing in proper supportive footwear pays off with long-term mobility and an active lifestyle. Don’t wait until foot problems start severely impacting your daily activities. Look into orthopedic shoes recommended by your doctor to protect your feet now and for years to come.