The 11 Best Shoes For Bunions To Keep You Comfortable & Supported, Per Podiatrist Guidelines
Nothing can ruin a nice walk quite like wearing the wrong shoes for your feet—and if you struggle with an issue as uncomfortable as bunions, that pain is even more disruptive. A painful bump that develops on the outside of the big toe joint, bunions cause the foot to appear misshaped and feel quite stiff, a feeling that’s often enhanced when your shoes don’t fit properly in the toe area.
Thankfully, the best shoes for bunions are designed specifically to provide more space and cushioning, instead of adding more pressure.
The best shoes for bunions:
The best shoes for bunions:
What are bunions?
Put simply, bunions are bony bumps that develop on the outside joint of your big toe and are generally caused by years of consistent pressure on that area of the foot. This can be due to your specific gait or even the shape of your foot, but the reality is that while they aren't dangerous, they can be quite painful and may even require surgery to remove.
Can the wrong shoes make bunions worse?
Seeing as bunions are caused by an excess of pressure on the big toe, wearing a shoe that is too small or narrow when you're already dealing with this issue may make the state of your feet even worse. "A more rigid sneaker will usually cause the forefoot to jam forward into the toe box and can cause more pressure on the bunion," adds holistic podiatrist Robert Kornfeld, DPM. "Snug-fitting shoes won't cause a bunion, but they will certainly exacerbate symptoms." With that in mind, it's essential to shop for shoes that offer space for your feet (and bunion) to breathe for maximum comfort, and to ensure you're not making things worse.
What to look for if you have bunions.
It can be helpful to have a list of criteria when shopping for shoes to ease your bunions, and Kornfeld provides some useful tips to help select your perfect fit. "[It's important] that there is a wide enough toe box so the bunion does not receive undue pressure from the side wall of the sneaker," he explains. Once again, bunions are created by pressure in the first place, so it's best to avoid it where you can.
"Making sure there is enough room is best accomplished by shopping for sneakers at the end of the day when the foot is naturally larger since, over the course of the day, blood flow into the foot increases girth and can cause some swelling," he advises. Selecting a wider shoe will go a long way in giving your foot the space it needs. "The shoe should [also] have a soft upper that moves with the foot and a flexible sole," Kornfeld adds.
How we picked:
Wide toe box
We selected shoes that either have a wider design or offer a wide option to allow your toes the space to breathe without added pressure.
We chose shoes that are both comfortable and supportive for a positive wearing experience that won't make your bunion pain worse.
We included shoes that offer flexibility to both the foot and the shoe so your bunion never feels restricted by the material during normal wear.
We chose shoes that keep the feet secure and supported throughout the day because you don't have to sacrifice quality when selecting shoes for your bunions.
Our pick for the best shoes for bunions of 2023:
- Great for distance running
- May run small
One of the best running shoes for women, this shoe is so breathable, our marathon-running commerce editor won't train in anything else (even in the 90-degree heat). And, yes, she has bunions. The Gel Nimbus sneaker has a flexible, well-cushioned design and has even been recommended by podiatrists for great arch support. The mesh upper is what keeps this shoe breathable and comfortable, no matter how many miles you're planning on clocking. Walkers, dancers, runners, and anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet will love this pick.
The Gel Nimbus gets plenty of rave reviews for comfort, quality, and breathability, but a few people say they run very narrow. Because of this, we recommend going up a half-size
- Extended achilles pull tab
- Breathable mesh
- Neutral stability
HOKAs are super popular for a reason—they're high quality and built with comfort in mind. With neutral stability and a balanced cushioning, your toes will have the space they need while you're going on your long runs so even hitting the pavement won't make the pressure worse. Not to mention, the compression-molded EVA midsole and early-stage meta rocker for easy, smooth steps. We've featured this particular design in our roundups of the best running shoes for women and the best running shoes for wide feet. With neutral stability and a balanced cushion, they're also a top pick for people who stand all day, per podiatrist guidelines.
Runners and walkers alike love these shoes. One Amazon reviewer writes, "I have worked on my feet for 50 years. I have hammer toes, plantar fasciitis, and bunions. These shoes feel like clouds on my feet! Lightweight, great support. I wish I'd had these fabulous shoes years ago!!"
- Slip on
- Medium & wide width
It's tough to find a shoe more comfortable than this affordable design from Skechers. It's one of our picks for the best orthopedic shoes, as well as the best walking shoes for women. The slip-on design features a spacious toe box people will bunions will appreciate. What's more, the breathable, airy material will help alleviate pressure on your bunions. They're also vegan and machine washable, which many reviewers appreciate.
An Amazon bestseller for a reason, these shoes have thousands of perfect five-star ratings. Most feedback can be summed up by this standout review: "I have a severe bunion on one foot and a Morton's neuroma on the other. Finding shoes that are comfortable and that don't cost an arm and a leg is *extremely* difficult. Well, I'm here to tell you, I've found my unicorn in these shoes. They are absolutely PERFECT! They don't crowd my bunion and they have just the right amount of arch support so that my neuroma is happy too. And, at $30 to $50 (depending on color) a pair, I can afford to purchase a couple more pairs in other colors. I am THRILLED!"
- Wide width selection
- Laces come untied
Another standout orthopedic shoe, this supportive and well-cushioned shoe offers balance and support while you're walking or running, and with 20+ years of innovation behind the design, it's safe to say these shoes are ready to hit the road, bunions and all. The design is meant for both over- and under-pronators, keeping your foot in alignment with the brands' "GuideRails" technology. The best part? You can remove the insole to insert your own custom orthotics if desired. The brand offers standard, wide, extra-wide, and narrow sizing, making these a great choice for people with bunions, no matter your foot shape.
Brooks uses recycled materials in its designed and has plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
These shoes are a fan-favorite on Amazon. One person writes, "The perfect fit for walking and any exercise! Great arch support, true to size, and maximum cushioning compared to previous pair of Brooks. Very comfortable, even with foot issues such as bunion and plantar fasciitis." Another adds, "The support they give my arches is excellent. They also have enough cushion that my bunion no longer is excruciating."
- Contours to your foot
- Wide toe box
- Slightly slimmer than previous models
A certified personal trainer's pick for runners with wide feet, this flexible running shoe features a hollowed-out design with guidance rails to support your heel-to-toe alignment while you move. The newest iteration is lighter than previous models, but doesn't skimp on cushioning. A wide toe box makes this another great choice for people with bunions, especially if your feet are already on the wide side.
Most praise comes from runners, with one reviewer writing, "They are great for my wide feet and I love that I can put my orthotics in with no trouble."
Best arch support: Kuru Atom
- Plush insole
- Easy to slip on
- Padded heel
- Narrow toe box
An excellent shoe for people who spend a good chunk of the day standing, this supportive-yet-lightweight design offers enough cushioning to keep you comfortable. And they're not just for standing, either. These sneakers are designed for high-power performance, so no matter what workout you're doing your feet will feel their best. While the toe box is a bit narrow, the brand does offer wide widths, which we'd recommend for those with bunions. You'll love the breathable fabric and the arch support these provide.
Reviewers back this shoe's design, confirming that they are "soft on the landing." Many even comment that their previous pain is either gone or has lessened significantly since wearing these shoes. One writes, "I don’t ever expect to be completely pain free but after walking 3 miles yesterday I had a significantly less amount of discomfort in my heel and could walk the next day which usually I cannot do." Another adds, "My heel pain is GONE!"
- Impressive shock absorption
- Can feel stiff
Ryka makes shoes specifically designed for women's feet. This particular model offers impressive shock absorption to leave your feet feeling their best after long wear, and a sizable toe box to give your bunions will have the space they need to avoid putting unnecessary extra pressure on that sensitive area of your foot. With responsive cushioning, impact protection, and shock absorption you'll feel light on your feet all day long. Plus, there are five stylish colorways to choose from.
Nearly 300 people have given this shoe a perfect five-star rating on the brand's website (with thousands more on Amazon). One person writes, " Every pressure point feels like it's being supported by individual pillows inside the sole. The fit is true to size, and they are so pretty!" Another says, "They fit like they was custom made for my flat, wide feet with bunions."
- Reinforced toe box
A clog isn't for everyone, but if you're in need of a sturdy shoe that won't compress your feet, Dansko leads the pack in bunion support. The roomy and reinforced toe box gives your toes adequate wiggle room, plus the PU outsole with rocker bottom makes every step feel easy. Nurses, this one's for you.
Over 10,000 five-star ratings tell you just how much people love these shoes. When it comes to bunion relief, reviewers confirm these get the job done. One says, "I have bunions so I was looking for wide shoes and these are perfect and very comfortable!"
- Built for arch support
- Shock-absorbing heel pad
- Narrow toe box
If you have plantar fasciitis and bunions, it's probably no small task finding a shoe that works. Thankfully, this shoe is flexible and stable, with a shock-absorbing heel pad and the brand's Arch Plus technology to keep your foot aligned. The lightweight design makes these easy to toss in your travel bag—plus, they feel incredibly breathable and airy on your feet. One qualm is that the toe box is on the narrow side, so if your bunions are quite severe, these might not be the best bet for you.
That said, these shoes do get great feedback from people with bunions. One reviewer writes, "These shoes do no dissappoint. I am a walker, and these give me very good support. I have a bunion and am 63. These shoes are very comfortable and supportive." Another adds, "The sneaker has a slim look but the toe area is wider than my HOKAs, which I really like as I have a bunion and this shoe is does not irritate the bunion. It is a joy to take a walk."
- Minimal arch support
Sandals can be tricky when you struggle with bunions, particularly if the strap is digging into your toes. That's why we trust Chaco's to offer your feet the space to breathe while offering maximum comfort and a chic design within a budget-friendly price range. They are super light and ready for any activity, so if you're in need of a new staple sandal, these are for you.
There are not a ton of reviews for this shoe on Amazon, but the feedback is primarily positive. One person with bunions writes, "I sized up to an 8 in the flip flops because the strap was too tight over my arthritic bunion. I have ditched all my other shoes including my birks and am now exclusively a Chaco girl and my feet, back, and hip replacement thank me!"
Best for everyday wear: Oofos Oomg Eezee Low Shoe
- Great shock absorption
- High-stretch fabric
- Run small
If you want a sock-like shoe that won't squeeze or compress your bunions, this everyday shoe from Oofos is a great pick. The brand designs its shoes with a proprietary foam that absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear, reducing stress on knees, ankles and joints. This slip-on design has a stretchy fabric and wider toe box that's great for people with bunions.
These shoes get a lot of praise, particularly from people with plantar fasciitis. The overwhelming consensus is that they are comfortable and supportive, and one reviewer with wide feet calls these their "new favorite." Another confirms that there is "great toe space for bunions." Just note, the brand recommends going up a half-size (and shoppers tend to agree).
What causes bunions?
Bunions are caused by pressure on the big toe after an extended period of time. "Most bunions are caused by a first metatarsal bone that is hypermobile, which means under the stresses of body weight and impact, the first metatarsal elevates upward, thereby locking the first metatarsal joint," explains Kornfeld. Essentially what this means is over time the joint of the big toe will become dislocated, creating that uncomfortable bump.
How can you stretch shoes for bunions?
If you already have a pair of shoes you like that aren't quite suited for bunions, Kornfeld explains that you can actually stretch the shoe to make more room. "Stretching the forefoot of the shoe can create more room for the bunion and decrease the pressure on it. Making a slit under the area where the bunion protrudes can also relieve some of the pressure."
Having bunions doesn't mean you're destined for a life of pain and discomfort every time you squeeze your feet into a pair of shoes. Instead, you should focus on finding shoes with a wide toe box and a more flexible design that will give your toes the room they need to breathe, alleviating pressure and creating a more pleasant walking experience.
Although bunions are certainly a burden, buying the right pair of shoes is actually one of the best ways to help your feet feel their best in the day-to-day. When in doubt, check with your podiatrist!