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Best Shoes for Back Pain Relief and Orthotic Arch Support

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According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the second most leading reason people see a doctor. Shocking, isn’t it? Sadly, more than half of the people who suffer from this chronic pain don’t even see a doctor; they just try and cope with it on their own. A little-known fact is that the most common cause for back pain is the choice of footwear and the best shoes for back pain are a lifesaver.

Back pain, especially lower back pain, can be caused by various factors, including sleeping in an odd position, a sports-related injury, or maybe if you have flat feet, etc. In addition, the shoes that you wear can either worsen or alleviate your back pain, and with just a simple change of shoes, you can make it all go away, in time, of course. Common back pain is caused by straining of the muscles bands and the spine; however, mostly back pain can be traced back to foot conditions such as severe pronation.

As you walk in heels or improperly distribute your weight across your feet, your walking gait becomes uneven, which places more strain on your ankles, knees, hip, and your lower back as well. If this happens repeatedly, it causes painful stress injuries. Walking in supportive shoes, especially when exercising, can effectively prevent lower back pain and even relieve some lower back pain in its earliest stages.

Best Shoes for Back Pain Relief and Arch Support

1. Brooks Women Ghost 10 Running Sneakers

Brooks Women's Ghost 10
  • Get lost in your thoughts with a smooth and...

The Brooks Women’s Ghost 10 running sneakers are probably one of the most versatile shoes for back pain currently: they are great for light workouts, short and long runs, and general everyday use.

These shoes are of high quality and made to be the perfect athletic footwear, especially for women with shin splints, wide feet (since they have a wide toe box), and plantar fasciitis. It comes with an engineered top that stretches to accommodates the natural shape of your foot. It also has a breathable material that allows your feet to keep feet to stay dry, cool, and odor-free.

Its BioNoGo DNA midsole with segmented crash pads and Omega Flex grooves on the outsole give you a premium level of cushioning, good grip, proper stability, and support. These shoes are made to provide the runner a comfortable fit that gives more room to big bunions, and in the long run, definitely help with back pain.

Key features:
  • BioMoGo DNA midsole cushion that adapts to stride to keep you on cruise control
  • Segmented crash pad designed to adapt to natural steps for a smooth ride
  • Omega Flex grooves optimize your forefoot flexibility
  • 3D fit print upper that uses revolutionary screen-print technology for extra support without forfeiting the flexibility and how lightweight the shoe is
  • Profile sock liner to give you extra bounce from the inside
  • Pros
  • Great exterior design
  • Narrow and sleek, but wide widths are available
  • Generous toe box
  • No break-in period required
  • Helps with the foot, knees, and back conditions
  • High-performance make
  • Premium cushion thanks to the two layers of foam
  • Lightweight support on the medial and lateral section
  • Sturdy sole that’s not bulky
  • Uses durable and high-quality materials
  • Cons
  • Runs half a size smaller in fit
  • Grip is not effective on wet surfaces

2. Brooks Men’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes

Brooks Addiction 14 Blackened Pearl/Blue/Black 11.5 D (M)
  • THIS MEN'S SHOE IS FOR: With its maximum support...
  • SUPER-SOFT CUSHIONING: BioMoGo DNA, our...
  • MAXIMUM SUPPORT: Our Extended Progressive Diagonal...
  • GENEROUS FIT: Sometimes you need a little extra...
  • WEAR TESTERS SAY: "I like the fit and cushioning...

The best thing about the Brooks Men’s Addiction walking shoes is that, unlike other brands, they have the fit and feel similar to a running shoe, although it’s specifically designed for walking. This is a definite plus that gives you the full comfort that you need.

The exterior design of these shoes skews towards classic and minimalistic and therefore are available in black and white (full-grain leather upper) and in brown (suede upper). Additionally, they also come in two variants; the traditional lace-up pair and the slip-on pair style.

The construction and design of the Brooks Addiction walker shoe are built to give you plenty of support and style for a smooth, secure, and controlled walking experience.

Key features:

  • Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB) to significantly reduce the amount of stress and future risk of injury to your back, hips, knees, and ankles
  • HydroFlow technology, a system of chambers that are filled with silicone oil to help disperse pressure and absorb shock as your foot hits the ground for full comfort
  • Full-length MoGo midsole compound that improves the shock absorption of the sole
  • Cushsole to give a better response with every step
  • MC Pod configuration to give exceptional motion control and keep the feet in the correct and balanced position throughout
  • Pros
  • Has an affordable price
  • Simple, minimalistic exterior
  • Is Medicare-approved
  • Great option for people who are overweight, with flat feet and the foot conditions
  • Come in lace-up and slip-on designs
  • Made of durable and high-quality material
  • Comfortably lightweight
  • Offers a great motion control
  • Great traction on different surfaces
  • Insoles are removable
  • Great cushion and shock-absorption capacity thanks to the MoGo, HydroFlow, and Cushsole technology
  • Eco-friendly silica outsole
  • Available in either suede or full-grain leather upper
  • Cons
  • Bulky construction
  • Narrow front

3. Vionic Women’s Drift Tokyo Leisure Sneaker Shoes

Vionic Women's Drift Tokyo Leisure Sneakers - Supportive Walking Shoes That Include Three-Zone...
  • COMFORTABLE SNEAKERS FOR WOMEN : These attractive...
  • MESH AND MAN-MADE UPPERS: Each pair of women's...
  • YOUR NEW FAVORITE SNEAKERS: Flexible and stable,...
  • EVERYDAY SUPPORT: A podiatrist-designed footbed...
  • VIONIC SHOES: The innovative biomechanics of...

Generally, Vionic shoes come with Orthaheel Technology. This is a built-in orthotic aid to help alleviate common foot, ankle, or knee pain. This majorly supports people who suffer from overpronation, heel spurs, bunions, bad knees, and consequential back pain from all of these to walk comfortably and free of pain.

It’s also a great motion control shoe to help you prevent back pain that is approved and even recommended by many podiatrists. In addition, it comes with a supportive upper and removable anti-bacterial orthotics, a shock-absorbing midsole, and a durable flex outsole, which is no surprise why it made it to the top of Oprah’s favorite shoes.

It has a unique and stylish exterior that comes with a soft pastel of colors to amp up your wardrobe and work with different outfits and be comfortable. The EVA orthotic midsole is made of durable rubber and well-cushioned for maximum support. In addition, it has a three-zone comfort feature that includes superior forefoot protection, a deep heel cup, and an ultimate support zone all to deliver enhanced stability.

Additionally, they also have an advanced motion system technology combined with the podiatrist-designed orthotic outsole for flexible cushioning as you go about your day.

Key features:

  • An Active Motion System (AMS) technology that is the podiatrist-designed for a flexible, cushioned outsole that is lightweight and breathable upper
  • PU foam base to give an extra soft cushy feeling
  • Pros
  • Comes at a budget-friendly price
  • Approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
  • Removable anti-bacterial orthotic insoles
  • Full shock absorption and cushioning
  • Made of a premium full-grain water-resistant leather upper
  • A firm and thermoplastic heel counter for maximum stability and support all-day
  • Helps alleviate plantar fasciitis, overpronation, flat feet, bunions, high arches, heel spurs, and lower back pain
  • Gives both ankle and arch support
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking lining
  • 1st Ray technology to promote better gait efficiency and forefoot mobility
  • Comes in great colors and a sleek exterior that works with daily outfits
  • Cons
  • Doesn’t come in standard sizing
  • Toe box is too wide

4. ASICS Men’s Gel-Kayano 24 Runner Shoes

ASICS Men's Gel-Kayano 24 Running Shoe, Black/Green Gecko/Phantom, 6 Medium US
  • I.G.S (Impact Guidance System) Technology: ASICS...
  • FlyteFoam Midsole Technology: insert info here
  • Fluid Ride Midsole: Fluid Ride provides the...
  • Fluid Fit Upper: ASICS Fluid Fit upper technology...
  • Heel Clutching System Technology: Exoskeletal...

The ASICS Gel Kayano shoes are popularly and reliably known for long-distance running, making them great for your knees and back. In addition, they are stylish, high-quality shoes that are well stocked with great and advanced shoe technologies.

Its stability, cushioning, and incredible support come on several levels for exceptional comfort and flexibility to well accommodate your feet. First, it comes with a lightweight, durable midsole that will definitely withstand anything you throw at it. Second, its upper is made of a breathable, light mesh fabric that decently moisture wicks for a dry, cool, and odor-free run.

The ASICS Gel Kayano 24 shoes are rather pricey, but you’ll definitely consider them when you feel the difference in terms of back pain aid since they are effective and the features they come with are definitely worth the price.

Key features:
  • MetaClutch external heel counter to provide maximum support and create an exceptional heel fitting
  • Impact Guidance System (I.G.S) enhances your foot’s natural gait from the heel-strike to toe-off
  • Guidance Trusstic System to provide your midfoot with structural integrity as it improves gait efficiency
  • Guidance Line Technology, a vertical flex groove to decouple the tooling along the line of progression of the shoes and also enhance gait efficiency
  • GEL Cushioning System with a responsive ride found in the rearfoot and forefoot
  • FlyteFoam Technology, a high-density foam that doesn’t pack out like other softer foams to give an exceptional bounce back and responsiveness
  • FluidRide Technology for extra bounce
  • Ortholite X-40 sockliner to add extra cushion and control breathability of the shoes
  • Dynamic DuoMax System to improve stability, support, and reduce weight
  • AHAR rubber sole provides great traction and grip and traction on different surfaces
  • ASICS FluidFit upper for multi-directional stretch mesh and a customized snug fit
  • Pros
  • Shoes are true to size
  • Doesn’t need a break-in period
  • Great for long-distance running
  • Glove-like fit that is flexible and adjusts to feet
  • GEL cushioning for great shock absorption
  • FluidRide bounce-back technology for extra bounce
  • Great traction and grip on different surfaces
  • Lightweight in construction
  • Has removable insoles
  • Impact Guidance System to help control the gait
  • Is recommended for back pain, knees issues, ACL injury, overpronation, Plantar Fasciitis, an IT Band, and flat feet
  • Cons
  • Relatively high price
  • Maybe a bit stiff for all-day wear

5. Saucony Men’s Redeemer ISO Road Running Shoe

Saucony road running shoe brand grows more popular by the day and is a growing reliable footwear option for both men and women looking for supportive shoes for back pain. The Saucony Redeemer road running shoes are a completely worthy choice to consider. You will definitely feel the difference once you wear them and join the movement.

The upper of your Saucony Redeemer pair is built to let your feet breathe thanks to its ISOFIT technology that adjusts to your toes and natural foot shape. They also come with a wide sole fitted with hard TPU pillars over the shoes’ medial post. The PWRGRID midsoles on the pair help keep your feet in a balanced position to completely absorb the impact as you run.

It also comes with an extra external support frame on the heel area to help keep your feet in the right posture, and when worn, it helps alleviate how painful conditions like plantar fasciitis can get.

Key features:
  • IBR+ sole technology to give great traction and grip to completely safeguard you when walking on different surfaces
  • EVERUN topsole to give a highly responsive continuous cushioning when worn
  • ISOFIT technology that adjusts the shoes to your feet when worn
  • PWRGRID+ midsole shoe technology for extra bounce
  • TPU pillar for extra support on the medial mid-foot area
  • Pros
  • Extra external support frame to help keep your feet in the right posture
  • Great style and exterior
  • Semi-curved sole to accommodate your natural foot shape
  • Stretchable upper and sole construction
  • Suitable footwear with features to help alleviate back pain and overpronation
  • Breathable engineered mesh upper to make it lightweight in style and design
  • Great midfoot area support
  • Wide toe box for wide feet
  • Responsive cushion wear system
  • Cons
  • Relatively pricey
  • Rather bulky and heavy
  • Doesn’t need a break-in period

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Shoes for Back Pain

A) Moderate Heel Height

Shoes that have a moderate heel are generally best. Heels that are slightly elevated allow your ankle to turn a little and also rotate differently. On the other hand, a sole that’s in the same height as or even lower than the toe of your shoe will affect the way your leg and pelvis turn. This then affects how your spine and lower back react, thereby causing back pain.

In this regard, a moderate is anything under 2 inches, so between 1 and 2 inches and never higher than that. Ideally, a 2-inch heel should alleviate the pressure off your feet while you walk.

High heels and overly flat soles are the leading cause of back pain. In addition, high heels cause you to walk on the balls of your feet, which then shifts your center of gravity forward, which then forces you to slouch as you stand and further contributes to back pain.

B) Cushion and Shock Absorption

How well your shoes absorb shock determines how well your back feels. Some people walk as they hit the ground harder than others, which sends the impact up their legs and onto the back. This problem can further be exacerbated by wearing dress shoes for work shoes. The sweet spot here lies in the middle, getting a shoe that is not too soft or too hard.

When looking for running shoes, ‘maximalist’ footwear with a plushy cushion is a great option, especially among those with a high-arch foot type and ultramarathoners. This provides extra shock absorption as you run, which is a great option even for older runners, people with a history of stress injury, or predominantly run-on hard surfaces such as the pavement.

C) Rocker-bottom Soles

Using a rocker-bottom sole isn’t really a solution for everyone, but they can be quite helpful in some situations. Rocker-bottom soles are thick soles that come curved up front and sometimes even at the back of the shoe. This shape enables your feet to move in the normal walking position and motion with less pressure on the bottom and on its joints generally.

Rocker-bottom soles are commonly found on the therapeutic shoes prescribed to people with foot conditions related to diabetes. However, they’re also a lot more common in some sneakers and shoes for the general public.

D) Arch

Before buying the best shoes for back pain, always check whether the arch works well with the natural arch. The foot’s arch may differ from person to person, so it also doesn’t mean that the same arch support will work for different people.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Shoes for Back Pain

1. Can the shoes I wear affect my lower back?

The shoes you wear can cause an unnatural position of your feet, which then causes your lower back to move forward slightly, and in turn, disrupt your spine’s natural curve. In addition, wearing these shoes every day will further cause an increase in wear on tear on the discs on your spine, between the vertebrae that absorb shock. This may also strain the ligaments and joints in your back.

2.Can a pair of memory foam shoes cause back pain?

The memory foam insoles in most shoes are just a thin layer of low-density polyurethane that compresses as you walk. Consequentially, they can cause the ligament and muscles to strain. Memory foam could also take on the ‘memory’ of a poor gait style which then causes destabilization of the foot, ankle, knee, hip and cause lower back pain.

Additionally, since most shoes with memory foam don’t have much breathing space, the accumulation of sweat will give off a foul odor as you tend to sweat.

3. Does wearing flip-flops cause sciatica?

Sciatica symptoms will arise when 1 of the 5 sciatic nerve roots near the lower spine is compressed or irritated. Generally, underlying medical conditions would be to blame for these symptoms.

Symptoms such as numbness or burning sensation in your calf. Walking in flip-flops may aggravate sciatica by altering your gait, which will frequently result in pain in the lower part of your body, from your foot up into your hips and even lower back.

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About the author

Brian

Hi, I’m Brian Bradshaw. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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