Best Shoes to Wear When Having Back Pain

At some point in our lives, we experience groaning due to an aching back. Sometimes the cause is obvious, like heavy lifting or poor posture. Other times, however, the reason might be surprising, like wearing shoes that doesn’t meet the requirement to support our body. Though it’s hard to believe that these can be a culprit for back pain, inadequate foot support can eventually set the spine out of alignment. For this reason, shoes for back pain are created to help us find relief.

shoes for back pain

While the search for the perfect shoes for back pain sufferers seems never-ending, there are several good choices in the market, such as:

  • Hoka One One Bondi 6
  • ASICS Gel-Kayano 25
  • Saucony Zealot Iso 3
  • Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36
  • Skechers Shape-Ups 2.0
  • Clarks Wave Trek
  • Exersteps Whirlwind
  • Alegria Paloma
  • Propet Stability Walker
  • Olukai Nohea Mesh Slip-On
  • Orthofeet Edgewater 
  • Birkenstock Boston Clogs

It is also recommended that you understand the considerations in buying these shoes as to not put your back pain alleviation plans in vain.

We understand that it’s hard to part with some of your favorite shoes at home. However, it is especially important to switch to shoes for back pain when you’re on your feet the most. Remember that trying to take preventive measures is always better than just waiting for the suffering to occur. Once you have the right shoes for your feet, nothing beats pain-free living.

The Effect that Lower Back Pain has on Your Life

Some of us are strangers to the connection between back pain and improper footwear. Though your favorite high heels and business casual shoes are far removed from your back, in reality, these can cause pain and create stress on your back. As spine surgeons call it, the kinetic chain happens when other areas are affected by the way you move one part of your body. For example, you put force on your feet as much as five times your body weight when you walk. When the feet fail to absorb and redistribute the shock properly, problems may develop elsewhere. Depending on the severity of your back pain, here are a few areas in life that will be affected:

  • Mobility and Pain – When the back pain starts to become noticeable, you are forced to perform fewer activities than normal. You become warier of doing daily activities that can worsen your suffering. Also, you tend to move and walk slower than before.
  • Emotions and Needs – Back pain results in negative mood and emotions, especially because you become overly sensitive to things that can intensify the pain. When you are in pain, it is impossible to have a much greater tolerance to things around you. The fact that you cannot perform normal activities alone makes you dwell in frustration.
  • Rest and Sleep – Constant back pain can reduce your quality of rest and sleep. You cannot fall asleep even when the pain constantly exhausts you. Insufficient rest and sleep only prolong the healing process, making your life harder than ever
  • Family Life – As your back pain progresses and worsens, it is equally hard for you to stay active and mobile. You are constantly sensitive to the pain that staying actively involved with family and friends becomes a thing of the past.

Choosing the Right Shoes for Back Pain

Evaluate your feet

Before you even start shopping for shoes for back pain, evaluate your foot first. The evaluation allows you to find out whether you have a medium, wide, or narrow foot. Do not compromise for a smaller size if you have a very wide foot. This would protect you from straining your muscles in the legs and back. 

Determine your foot arch type

The arch support is designed to promote the natural arch of your foot. You can either have a low, neutral, or high foot arch. If you belong to the low foot arch category, you will overpronate excessively. 

Overpronation happens when your arches appear to be flattened and close to the ground. One way to get the best shoes is to know your exact foot arch type. If you are still unsure of your arch type, splash your foot with water and step into a piece of paper. Your footprint will then tell you what your foot arch type is. Below are the ways to read your footprint right:

  • LOW ARCH – A complete footprint means a low or flat arch. As mentioned earlier, those who overpronate excessively have low foot arches that can contribute to muscle stress.
  • NEUTRAL ARCH – You have a neutral arch if the footprint shows that the middle part of your arch is halfway filled in. This means that you pronate normally.
  • HIGH ARCH – A very little arch footprint is a manifestation of a high foot arch. High foot arches do not absorb shock well, calling for the need for the curved sole and heavy cushioning.

Prioritize extra cushioning

Put in mind extra cushioning to reduce the shock of impact and stress on your back. Generally, the midsole is a part of the shoe that is responsible for impact reduction. It is located just between the part outsole and the insole. The outsole is a part of the shoe that touches the ground while the insole is a part of the shoe that runs directly under your foot. As an external shock absorbing component, the midsole is commonly made of polyurethane foamethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), or another material. If you have a low arch, your shoe of choice should have firm midsoles. If not, choose a softer midsole.

Consider rigidity

Consider buying shoes that are less rigid than others. Rigid shoes are typically very tight and only stress your feet out. The best shoes to go for are the ones that will allow your feet and toes enough breathing space.

Look for the seal of acceptance


To prevent the mistake of investing in shoes that have not been tested and passed for being comfortable, look for the seal of acceptance. 

The shoes enumerated in this guide are vital to your joint health. While this helps alleviate your suffering, severe back pains may need chiropractic evaluation and treatment. The chiropractic will be able to determine the nature of your condition and recommend prescription orthotic shoes. These shoes are custom made and skillfully developed after close investigation and imaging process of your feet. Moreover, you cannot just buy orthotic shoes, which are made without a chiropractic consultation, as doing so can cause more harm than good.

Best Running Shoes for Back Pain

Some of the best shoes to wear when experiencing back pain are running shoes. You can still choose to wear running shoes in your daily grind even if you are not a runner type. These shoes are engineered with pressure zones so that steps are evenly distributed throughout your feet. Eventually, the even distribution lessens the pressure on your lower back. 


The loyalists of the Bondi line expressed their enthusiasm to the Hoka One One Bondi 6 in terms of cushioning update. Accordingly, the updated cushioning makes the shoes more comfortable to run in. Also, the redesigned upper, which uses a combination of engineered mesh and lycra, is a standout. The outsole of the shoes is rearranged with more high-abrasion rubber to control the impact of steps. Thanks to the wide base and opening, the shoes are easy to put on and off. You can opt to use the shoes for recovery runs or as casual shoes on a normal day.  


The A

SICS Gel-Kayano 25 is an all-around running shoe built for miles upon miles. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much comfort and stability it offers. The Gel in the heel and the Dynamic Duomax cushioning absorb shocks well. At the heel of the shoes, you can find the Flytefoam Lyte and Flytefoam propel cushioning, which are new cushioning technologies in the ASICS stability line. Both are lightweight and flexible, giving you more bounce back on the run. Meanwhile, there are a couple of changes in the bottom of the sole, all of which are still aimed at providing you responsiveness and control throughout every run.


These excellently cushioned shoes from Saucony are just what every runner needs. The upper features an ISOFIT technology, which creates security around your foot. Such hugging is not a tight feeling, which means that you are kept comfortable at all times. On the outsole is a TRI-FLEX design, which is not too different from the original model. The design features deep grooves between horizontal zig-zags and provides a wide surface area for push-off. Overall, the Saucony Zealot ISO 3 is truly the best option that hits all the notes you’d expect in a quality running shoe.


Nike has only refined the upper instead of completely overhauling Air Zoom Pegasus 36, their newest iteration. The same full-length Zoom Air unit and Cushion foam midsole feature a smooth and responsive ride. Also, the exposed Flywire cables in the midfoot maintain the support and structure of Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. The lighter mesh allows a more accommodating fit without compromising the supportive feel of the shoes. 

Best Rocker Bottom Shoes for Back Pain

Shoes with a rocker sole also strengthen back muscles, improve the spine’s curvature, and reduce lower back pain. Rocker bottom shoes are also called sole shoes and toning shoes. These shoes have a rounded heel and thick sole.


Featuring a sole rocker design, the Skechers Shape can activate and tone your muscles while doing fitness activities. These shoes have thick kinetic soles that provide super shock absorption and a stable walking platform. The sole also enforces a great walking stride from heel to toe. Skechers Shape-Ups 2.0 is extremely comfortable right out of the box. You will surely like the type of cushioning that prevents back stress and pain. Overall, the pair is great, especially if you tend to stand for long periods each day.


For over 100 years, Clark has been a big name in the shoe industry. They are comfort experts when it comes to rocker bottom shoes. One of their best-selling shoes is the waterproof Wave Trek. These shoes have a removable insole, removable Ortholite footbed, and rocker bottom. Because the pair is specially created with the ability to wick moisture away from your feet, you will greatly benefit from the breathability. You can run errands or take a stroll without the build-up of unpleasant smells. All of these benefits can be enjoyed with such nice-looking footwear. 


The shoes made by Exersteps are usually rocker bottom shoes. This is why they are one of the most sought-after providers of rocker bottom shoes. Their Whirlwind features a leather upper and interior with a little more flexibility. To accommodate the natural shape of your feet, Exersteps has added a comfortable footbed that is made of memory foamlatex, and cork. The cushioning materials of the footbed are as soft and comfortable as pillows. In terms of price, these rocker bottoms are extremely affordable. For a small investment, you can have a moisture-wicking and foot stabilizing shoes.


Finding the right shoe to match the demands of the workday isn’t as hard as you think. With their Alegria Line of shoes, PG Lite is just around to let you work comfortably all day long. Their Alegria Paloma is initially a Mary Jane inspired shoe that hit the mark. Comfort is built everywhere to accommodate every wearer who is on the move all day. The shoes have a soft leather interior and cushioned latex footbed. Since the outsole is designed to lessen metatarsal and heel pressure, you can ensure the comfort and stability of your feet.

Best Ergonomic Shoes for Back Pain

Many shoe companies offer ergonomic shoes that are designed with arch support in mind. As you walk and absorb the force on your feet and legs, these shoes will not exacerbate back issues.


The Propet Stability Walker is designed with a reliable heel and wide forefoot area. This gives you much more control for every step, even when you’re walking on rough terrain. You will also find that these shoes have heavy padding, which relieves any amount of foot pain. Most of its body is made of leather and can resist water. This will keep your feet dry in poor conditions. Surprisingly, the molded midsole also holds the shoes well, adding an extra level of safety and durability. Add the Propet Stability Walker to your shopping cart and enjoy comfortable and painless walks.


Breathability component is the major reason why the Olukai Nohea Mesh slip-on is a must-have ergonomic pair. It has the most breathable upper while its heels can be collapsed for more air. The midsole is highly flexible as well and allows you to have a great ground feel. Going sockless is also great for Olukai Nohea Mesh Slip-On. Additional features include anatomically contoured footbedheavy gauge sidewall stitched-outsolenon-marking rubberversatile drop-in heel, and moisture-wicking cover.


If you are one of those who dress to impress and appear to look trendy, the Orthofeet Edgewater is the perfect ergonomic shoes. Beyond the fashionable appearance, these shoes provide maximum ergonomic support. The gel-padded heel-seat, contoured orthotic insoles, padded collar, seam-free inner lining, and anatomical arch support gives your feet an improved walking experience. Additionally, the anti-fungal and anti-microbial features keep your feet odor-free. You can always get the pair of your size and experience comforting maneuverability throughout the day. In case lace-up adjustability isn’t enough for you, use the double removable inserts.


These unisex clogs mix the features of a good shoe and a sandal. The insole made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) materials fit a normal foot’s anatomy, helping your foot absorb shock evenly. There is also a raised toe-bar that adjusts the way your toes sit. When you wear the Birkenstock Boston Clogs for long hours, you don’t have to worry about your feet feeling compressed. During bad weather, these clogs are flexible enough to protect your feet without compromising breathability and comfort. As for the fashion part, the pair looks cute with either long or cropped pants. Long time Birkenstock fans say that they find the Birkenstock Boston Clogs equally comfortable with socks and bare feet.

Related Questions

What is the best time of the day to shop for shoes?

Waiting until the afternoon to go shoe shopping is highly favored. Your feet naturally expand throughout the day. Therefore, shopping first thing in the morning won’t allow for a good fit.

What are the shoes that I should stay away from?

Shoes that lack arch support is bad for back pain. The arches of your feet need to be adequately supported at all times. If you wear shoes with no arch support at all (e.g., ballet flats, sandals, business casual shoes), you will notice adverse effects on your back. The pain starts from your soles and ankles until it makes its way up to your legs and back. On the low end of the fashion scale, high heels can also foster back pain as these alter the way your ankles and feet bend. While the unnatural angle of your feet results in a struggle of keeping balance, your spine also moves abnormally. When this happens, you stress your back muscles and cause pain.

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