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Tips on shoes

Buying shoes 

I was reading this and noticed that Skechers weren't mentioned. I did use Hotter shoes but they no longer have sufficient cushioning for osteoarthritis in my knees. Sketchers make trainers and sandals that I find very good. Maybe not if you need a lot of ankle support but if it's just for cushioning they're wonderful.
Pat (Summer 2017)

I have rheumatoid arthritis in my feet and walking used to be excruciatingly painful. Then I invested in a pair of Fitflop shoes and couldn’t believe how comfortable they were. They’re pricey but worth every penny.

For everyday wear, I use lightweight walking boots as I walk a lot and need the ankle support. Other than that I buy something like Hotter. I can’t wear flat shoes as this upsets the inflammation in my Achilles tendon and I can’t wear heels higher than 1 inch because of my knees. Buying shoes is an interesting experience!

Try Hotter shoes. I'm about to order another pair as they're so comfortable and reasonably stylish, often coming in extra wide. There are some shops also around the country.
Mary, Pinner (Autumn 2009)

I have osteoarthritis and haven’t been able to wear heels for a long time. Now I have a new hip I don’t want to go backwards so here are my tried and trusted brands:

  • Fly London for wedge shoes and sandals with rubber soles
  • Clarks sandals
  • Dr Martens with insoles for shock absorption
  • Po-Zu boots (an ethical range that are very comfy with footbeds that mould to the shape of your feet).

I also bought a pair of real sheepskin insoles for my slippers that mould to the shape of my feet for approximately £10 on eBay.

I've had rheumatoid arthritis for over 25 years with particular discomfort with my feet (swelling, deformed toes etc.). Recently I've found shoes supplied by Hotter to be absolute bliss. Their sizes are from 3–9 (6–12 for men), most in an extra wide fit if needed, are made of lovely soft leather and come in really fashionable designs; order over the internet and they are delivered within 5–7 days, sometimes sooner. They're not cheap, but you get quality and comfort.

Also Cosyfeet do an extensive range (a little more conventionally styled) and, sometimes, Marks & Spencer Foot Glove range have proved suitable.
Anthea, Stourbridge (Autumn 2009)

ECCO Shoes' trainer-like casual shoes have seen me through two hip replacements and two knee replacements in three years. They're so supportive and comfortable, and heartily approved of by my physiotherapist.

Gillian, via email


Cosy Feet sell some very comfy socks, including socks for sensitive feet. I buy their socks because they’re lovely and soft, and aren’t tight at the top – I get swollen ankles and legs.
Margaret, Elmsett, Suffolk (Summer 2009)

Wearing my socks inside out does at least minimise the effect of the seams on tender toes. They do look a bit odd if they're patterned, but hey, if it makes your feet more comfortable, who cares!
Maureen, Didcot, Oxon (Summer 2009)

Seam-free socks are in the Patra catalogue. They'll email out a catalogue for orders outside the UK. I find them efficient and order several items from them annually.
Mary, London SW15 (Summer 2009)

Easy fastenings

Good-quality shoes and trainers with Velcro fasteners are available from Hotter (0800 525 893) by post from the internet or in the shops.
Mrs C, Oxford

I've seen Velcro fastening trainers made by Propet for sale in the James Inglis catalogue.
Mary, via email

There's a large selection of Velcro shoes in J D Williams catalogue (0871 231 2000)
Anna, via email

Having had a hip dislocation recently which happened as I bent down to fasten my shoelaces, I've discovered the wonderful elastic 'bungee' laces you can buy to fit into any laced shoe/trainer/boot. They can be adjusted so that the shoe can very easily be put on using a long-handled shoehorn. I have trainers and my walking boots fitted with these now, and it's even easier than having to bend down to tie laces.

There's no need to look for trainers with these already fitted; you can simply buy the laces (online is easiest) and fit them yourself.
Wendy, via email

Cotton Traders do ready-laced slip-on styles for £20, as do Clarks.
Jennifer, via email


I need shoes with removable insoles, so I can put my own in. Ecco, Clarks and M&S Footglove suit me but sometime in a wider fit or half a size up. No heels though so formal dos are a nightmare!

I use Hotter shoes or Reiker. I put gel inserts in, usually buy a size bigger and pick ankle boots with zips you can undo for days when my feet are more swollen.
Allison, Bristol

I wear Alegria and Softwaves. I can put in my insoles if I want to but I’ve found the removable insoles that come with them are great. I can now wander around with my dogs without pain in my feet. They're a little expensive but I wait for the sales and have found they’re both very good quality and hard wearing.

I've had severe rheumatoid arthritis for many years, and also had operations on my feet. About three years ago I discovered memory foam insoles and never looked back. If you make sure the inner sole is removable in all new shoes, these can be replaced regularly with memory foam now very cheap to buy. I use them in all my shoes, sandals and slippers.
Mrs M, York
(Winter 2010)

Wider fit shoes

I've found Wider Fit Shoes, which supply women’s widths from EE–8E, and men’s EE–6E. The linings I have in the 4E shoes are most comfortable.
Margaret, Carnforth (Winter 2010)

I've found a company called The Shoe Tailor, who have a great selection of stylish shoes with widths from D–EEEE and sizes 4–12. D is the normal width of shoes that are sold in high-street shoe shops. Having arthritis in my feet, I now buy all my shoes from this company and am very satisfied with my purchases.
Mrs T, Leicester (Winter 2012)

All hints and tips are provided by readers of our Arthritis Today magazine and aren’t necessarily the views of Arthritis Research UK.

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Links to sites and resources provided by third parties are provided for your general information only. We have no control over the contents of those sites or resources and we give no warranty about their accuracy or suitability. You should always consult with your GP or other medical professional.


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