Best Shoes for the Elderly: Guide to Choosing the Right Footwear for Seniors

A close-up photo of an elderly person's hands tying running shoes, focusing on the action and the texture of the shoes

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Did you know that as we gracefully age, our feet evolve too?

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Health points out that these changes in our feet are natural, but they do mean we should think differently about our footwear.

Now, while many of us might not immediately link foot health with our overall well-being, it plays a starring role in keeping us mobile and independent. Imagine, with the right pair of shoes, you’re setting yourself up for more comfortable walks in the park and enjoyable gatherings with friends and family!

Speaking of staying on our feet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares that about one in four seniors over 65 experiences a fall each year. While several factors contribute to this, the shoes we choose can make a world of difference.

Falls aren’t a part of aging; they can often be prevented, and wearing the right shoes is a key step in that prevention. So, let’s give our feet the attention they deserve. After all, they’ve been supporting us our whole lives. Choosing the right shoes isn’t just a comfort thing – it’s about keeping us safe, active, and engaged in every step of our journey.

How to Find the Best Senior-Friendly Shoes

Two senior male runners in sportswear jogging on a red race track surrounded by autumn trees, displaying vitality and endurance

Best Shoes for the Elderly With Balance Problems

Maintaining balance is more than just a health concern for seniors; it’s about preserving the joy and independence in their daily lives.

What causes balance issues in seniors ranges from inner ear issues, side effects from medication, and vitamin B12 deficiency. A loss of balance can lead to falls, but more significantly, it might mean depending on others or using mobility aids.

The good news? The right pair of shoes can be a game-changer.

Imagine shoes that offer not just stability and great traction, but also comfort for wearing all day long. Such footwear can be a crucial ally in helping seniors stay balanced, confident, and independent in their everyday adventures.

Features you want in balance-improving shoes include:


When choosing shoes for seniors, it’s crucial to find a balance in sole grip. The sole should be grippy enough to prevent slips, but not so much that it impedes foot lifting. This delicate balance guarantees safety without restricting movement, making walking easier and more secure.

For seniors who find it painful to lift their feet, shoes that allow for easier gliding across surfaces, while still offering some traction, are a better choice.

Easy to slip on

Slip-in shoes are ideal, as they don’t require bending or struggling to put on. Features like velcro fasteners add to the ease, making them a practical choice for daily wear.

Secure yet adjustable

Closed shoes offer a snug, secure fit, keeping your feet well-positioned and reducing the risk of falls – a must for staying active and safe. While sandals might seem tempting with their breezy feel, they may not always provide the stability needed, particularly for those who find it easier to move by sliding their feet.

But don’t worry about feeling too confined in closed shoes; velcro shoes are a fantastic solution.

They’re super easy to slip on and off and can be adjusted throughout the day to accommodate any changes in foot size, making them a practical and comfortable choice for everyday wear.

Low heel

Seniors may walk more comfortably with a low heel height — preferably under an inch.

They offer stability, which is crucial for maintaining good balance and minimizing the risk of falls. Additionally, a lower heel height makes walking more effortless and natural.


It’s important to understand that as we age, our foot position awareness, or proprioception — our body’s sense of itself — declines. This is closely tied to stability. So, while it might be tempting to choose shoes that feel like fluffy pillows, like those cozy house slippers, they might not be the best in keeping you safe and stable.

Instead, incorporating orthopedic soles into your shoes can greatly enhance comfort, especially for those with specific foot conditions. These soles, while firm, offer a comfortable support, helping maintain stability and providing relief from foot issues. Remember, the right shoes can be a key to keeping you confidently on the move!

Best Shoes for the Elderly With Swollen Feet

Feet resting on foot stool no shoes with cup of hot drink for relaxation by senior person

As we get older, changes in our bodies can affect how our blood flows. The valves in our veins might not work as well, sometimes leading to swollen feet. This is something to keep in mind, especially when considering shoe size for comfort and fit.

Here are some features to consider when shopping for the best shoes for swollen feet:

Wide outer sole

A wide outer sole in shoes provides the necessary room for comfort, especially important for seniors with swollen feet. This feature ensures the feet have ample space, reducing the risk of constriction and discomfort throughout the day.


Opting for lightweight shoes makes a world of difference for swollen feet. They ease the effort of walking, reducing the strain on feet and legs. This can be particularly relieving for seniors who may experience discomfort due to swelling.


Shoes with breathable materials are a boon for managing swollen feet. They allow air to circulate around the feet, preventing excess heat and moisture buildup. This is crucial for maintaining comfort and avoiding irritation, especially during longer periods of wear or in warmer climates.

Best for Seniors With Arthritic Feet


For seniors navigating the challenges of arthritic feet, finding the right shoes is not just about comfort; it’s a step towards regaining mobility and joy in daily life. Arthritis can make each step a challenge, but the perfect pair of shoes can be a source of relief and support.

Let’s find that perfect pair that allows you to step out with ease and embrace your day with confidence.

Supportive cushion

Shoes with a supportive cushion are a boon for seniors with arthritic feet. These cushions play a crucial role in absorbing the impact of each step, aiding in proper foot alignment, and facilitating the natural movement of the feet. This kind of support is key to minimizing discomfort and supporting the overall health of your feet.

Shock absorbent

For seniors dealing with arthritis, shock-absorbent shoes can provide much-needed relief. These shoes are engineered to lessen the impact on joints, alleviating pain and preventing it from intensifying.

While they offer a cloud-like walking experience, it’s important that the insoles are not overly soft; they should combine comfort with adequate firmness to support and cushion your movements effectively.


Shoes that are flexible and move naturally with your feet can significantly improve comfort for seniors. Stiff shoes can exert unnecessary pressure on certain parts of the feet, potentially leading to more pain and inflammation. A flexible shoe adapts to your movements, providing support without adding extra strain.

Wide base

Shoes with a wide base are ideal for seniors, providing a solid foundation for stability and balance. This broader base helps distribute weight evenly, reducing the risk of falls and giving you the confidence to move with ease. Especially for those with swollen or sensitive feet, a wide base can offer the extra room needed for comfort, making each step more secure and enjoyable.


Lightweight shoes are a key factor for seniors, offering ease and reducing fatigue in every step. These shoes alleviate the effort required to move, making walking feel more effortless and enjoyable. Especially for seniors, this can mean less strain on the feet and joints, contributing to longer periods of comfortable mobility.

Rocker shoes

With their unique curved soles, these shoes gently guide your foot through a natural motion, making each step smoother and less strenuous. They’re particularly helpful for those with arthritis, as they ease the pressure on your joints, allowing you to walk with more comfort and less pain.

Perfect for those who love a good stroll, rocker shoes combine innovative design with the comfort and support your feet deserve.

Tips on Shopping for the Best Shoes for the Elderly

Mature european woman who came to a shoe store for shopping, chooses sports sneakers, standing near the shelves with the goods

1. Measure your shoe size at the end of the day

It’s wise to measure your shoe size at the end of the day as feet typically swell throughout the day. This ensures you get shoes that fit comfortably, no matter the time.

2. Shop for shoes at a physical store

Visiting a physical store to try on shoes allows you to feel their fit and comfort firsthand. Since seniors’ feet can change over time, it’s crucial to ensure the shoes you choose meet your current needs.

3. Immediate comfort is key

Look for shoes that feel comfortable right away. Unlike other types of shoes that might require a break-in period, senior shoes should provide immediate comfort. If they aren’t comfy when you first try them, they’re unlikely to become more so later.

Finding the best shoes for seniors begins with recognizing that our body changes, and so does what we need from our shoes.

Shoes for the elderly with balance problems are wider, focus on stabilizing your movements, and are designed to improve your foot awareness. On the other hand, the best shoes for arthritic feet ease the pressure off of your joints. Seniors with swollen feet will get the most comfort from shoes with plenty of wiggle room and adjustable fasteners.

With the right shoes, you can go ahead and plan vacations for seniors with limited mobility! A good pair of shoes can take you anywhere.

If you’re having a hard time finding the best shoes for seniors or having difficulty adjusting to the changes in your body, connect with us and learn more.

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living Communities, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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