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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Podiatrist Recommended: Top Five Walking Shoes.

Dr. McCarthy's Top Picks for Walking Shoes... 



The Sketcher Shape-Up

I love the Sketcher Shape-Up! As the fifth shoe on my list, I am going to be brutally frank and tell you why I like this shoe - when I have patients who desperately need the MBT but can't afford it's $250 price tag - I send them to purchase the Sketcher Shape-Up which I describe as the "less expensive version of the MBT." I know that is not the most flattering picture I can paint of this shoe but I will say that I am extremely grateful that it exists! 

The Sketcher Shape-Up is a great walking shoe for a wide variety of foot ailments as well as knee, hip and lower back pain. In particular, it works well for patients with heel pain, metatarsalgia, osteoarthritis, and forefoot issues such as capsulitis, bunions, and painful calluses. It is also great for anyone who works on their feet all day on concrete floors. It has great shock absorption and is super-protective of the foot so that is will help prevent injuries, prevent wear-and-tear of the joints and prevent progression of many foot pathologies that you might already have developed (i.e. bunions and hammertoes). I recommend that you wear a custom-molded orthotic or an excellent over-the-counter insert for arch support with this shoe. 

Cost: $65-100

FOURTH PLACE: New Balance 845


The New Balance 845 is also an excellent walking shoe - the thing that sets it apart is that it has a Roll-Bar Technology which offers optimal protection for the foot during gait. It has a wide toebox and excellent rearfoot control which make it an ideal shoe for patients who suffer with a variety of foot complaints including bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, osteoarthritis, metatarsalgia - just to mention a few. 

I've found this shoe online for as little as $35 at 6pm.com.

THIRD PLACE: New Balance 927 

I call this shoe "Old Faithful" because it never fails. With the exception of patients with severe foot deformities, this is a great walking shoe that offers a rigid, protective sole, a wide soft toe-box and excellent rearfoot control. It has Rollbar Technology which offers motion control for maximum stability. It also has cushioning in the heel for increased shock absorption and overall, it is a relatively light shoe.  

This is a great shoe for diabetic patients as it is considered an "extra-depth shoe" that offers extra room in the toe area to help prevent the development of corns, calluses, blisters and ulcers. If you are diabetic or have neuropathy (nerve damage), I would recommend adding an accommodative insert made of plastizote as an insole. Plastizote has been proven to decrease friction that can lead to blisters, calluses and ulcers. You can usually purchase an over-the-counter version of this insert from a Podiatrist or online and if you are a Medicare patient, the cost of the shoe and the inserts should be covered by Medicare if you get them through a Podiatrist's office that participates in the extra-depth shoe program. 

Cost: $80


I own this shoe also and whenever my lower back hurts, I immediately put these on and, for me, it's instant relief. I also recommend this shoe for anyone who works long hours on hard floor surfaces. Many of my patients who are postal employees, teachers or are in retail have benefited from this shoe. I recommend wearing a custom-molded orthotic or at least an excellent over-the-counter insert for proper arch support to maximize it's benefits. I also recommend this shoe for patients with heel pain, forefoot pain such as metatarsalgia, osteoarthritis, hallux limitus/rigidus (limited motion at the 1st toe joint) and knee, hip and lower back pain.   

There are some limitations to this shoe and that is the only reason I have rated it as a runner up to first place. This shoe is not appropriate for patients with Achilles Tendonitis, balance issues or nerve damage. It is a very strong and heavy shoe and is not for everyone - especially not for the elderly.  I recommend that if you are trying this shoe for the first time that you do not purchase it online - find a store where you can try out the shoe. If you do purchase the shoe, do a slow break-in period of wearing it one hour the first day, two hours the second day, three hours the third day, ect - until you are able to wear it for a full day. If you get into this shoe too quickly and too aggressively, you may experience some knee, hip and lower back discomfort. 

Please see my blog article featuring the MBT for more information.

Cost: $190-250 

And the winner is...

FIRST PLACE: The Spira Classic...

The Spira Classic is my personal favorite! It has a rigid sole with hidden "Wave Spring Technology" that stores and disperses energy at every step. The sole is thick and protective while having hidden springs that give excellent shock absorption and returns energy during gait. It can be optimized by adding a custom-molded insert and is appropriate shoe-gear for a wide variety of patients and foot pathologies. I also like that is is relatively light while remaining strong and supportive. Plus, I like the way it looks - it's form meets function. 

Please see my blog report on this shoe for more information and a full review.

Cost: $60-140


I hope you enjoyed my list! Please remember that I have presented a thumb-nail sketch of each shoe and for a more in-depth review of these shoes, please refer to my blog articles. Please remember that if you are experiencing pain in your foot or ankle that is not resolving with proper shoegear - go see your Podiatrist! As I always tell my patients, "The quicker you come in, the quicker we can fix it and you can get back to living your life."


Dr. Cathleen A. McCarthy 


Shazmin Shamsuddin said...

Hi! This is a helpful list! I was wondering if any of these listed are appropriate for over and underpronators (with mild bunions). I over pronate with my left foot and under pronate with my right - I wear custom orthotics and do have mild bunions. Also, I heard from someone that shoes like Dansko Professional are suitable for my kind of foot issues and can be worn without my custom orthotics. Is this true? What are your thoughts? Thanks!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Shazmin!

Thank you so much for your interest! Without seeing you as a patient, all of these shoes should be acceptable with your custom molded orthotics. The MBT and Sketcher Shape-ups may or may not work as well as the other three depending on how much you over-pronate on you left foot.

Dansko Professionals are awesome but they aren't for everyone. They should work as long as they don't aggravate the bunion area and the Dansko clog does not need a CMO. It has adequate arch support for most foot types. I usually don't put elderly patients in Dansko because they are too heavy but they work wonderfully for anyone who has to be on their feet for long hours. Once again, they are not for everyone so try them on and see how they feel. I wore the Dansko Professional clog during my residency and they absolutely saved my feet!

Hope all is well and thank you so much for your kind words...
Dr Cathleen A McCarthy

arlenebchina said...

Thanks for posting the info on the shoes. My question - I have narrow feet and high arches. I don't have any foot problems. I walk about 20 km a week with a walking group. Would the Spira Classic be a good shoe for me?
I usually find most runners/walking shoes are too wide especially in the foot bed.

Thanks Arlene

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Arlene,
I have many patients with narrow feet and they seem to have the most trouble finding shoes that fit well. The Spira is an excellent shoe but does tend to run wide. I would recommend that you try to shop online and find the Spira in a narrow size. Zappos has free shipping and free return so if it is not the right fit - they have a very easy, no hassle return policy. You may have to shop around a little longer than most people, but if you find a shoe that you like but it is too wide - go online and see if you can find it in a narrow size.
Thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day!
Dr Cathleen A McCarthy

Comfortable Shoes said...

Thank you for the great info! I've been using New Balance 860's for a while now but was considering making a move to MBTs. I was concerned about the price but now I think I'll make the switch! Thanks!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

As I sit here reading your comments - I am wearing my MBT's and getting ready to do my Wii "Just Dance" game. I think you'll be happy with the MBT's - I look at it as an investment in my feet, knees, hip and especially lower back. Talk to you Podiatrist about writing a RX for them which can possibly make them tax deductible (talk to your CPA!) if they are medically necessary for your foot problems. At least that takes the sting out of the price tag...

Anonymous said...

There are many styles of shape-ups. Which ones do you recommend? THe last few months I've experienced a lot of foot pain & my ankles throb, waking me up at night (retail job the last 6 months). I have osteoarthritis, L5 & C5, & seldom sit (literally since 1994!)because it creates so much hip & back pain so I stand up ALL DAY LONG. Miserable.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Dear Miserable,
I'm so sorry for the delayed response! I've been out of the country and am just now catching up on paperwork, ect.
I hate to give a simplistic answer but I always tell patients to buy the shoe that feels the best. In your case, with your history of chronic pain, I would try the MBT which is the best of the "rocker bottom" shoes. They are expensive but they are worth it! If that hurts your back, try the sketcher shape up walking shoes. There's not a big difference between them - except that you are looking for the one that feels the best when you put it on. With your history of back pain, I would ease into any of these shoes by starting out wearing them one hour the first day, two hours the second day and keep adding one hour each day until you are in them all day. I highly recommend arch support (Custom- molded or a good OTC like "Pro-Steps") with them.
Also, try a good DANSKO clog (with rearfoot control) and see how that feels.
I hope that helps!
Cathy McCarthy

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

P.S. If your ankle is "throbbing" please follow up with a Podiatrist! You may be walking around on a stress fracture, ankle sprain, tendon or ligament injury that can be treated successfully with conservative treatment. Don't suffer! Go see a Pod...

Anonymous said...

Dr. McCarthy: Are you familiar with the Ryn rocker soled shoe? I have hallux rigidus which you have treated and recommended New Balance which work wonderfully. I was exploring more options and found this shoe vs. the MBT. Below is an excerpt from the internet:

"Winner of the 2011 About.com Walking Readers' Choice Awards."
Winner: Ryn Shoes
"Ryn Sports Shoes"

"Ryn makes rocker-soled toning shoes with a difference. Unlike the instability built into Skechers, EasyTone, and MBT shoes, the Ryn shoes are stable rocker shoes. They have a wide toe box which can be extra comfortable. The rocker sole enforces good posture. Winner of the 2011 About.com Walking Readers' Choice Awards."

Thank you,
Betsy Culver

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Betsy,
Everything you said about the Ryn rocker bottom shoe is exactly correct! It is a great shoe and claims to offer more stability than the MBT.

It's a great shoe for Hallux Limitus/Rigidus or any forefoot problem. I would not recommend the Ryn (or any rocker bottom shoe) for anyone with Achilles Tendonitis, stability or balance issues, the elderly, or anyone with muscle weakness.

I hope all is well and thank you for reading and commenting!
Cathy McCarthy

1000yardguy said...

Dr.McCarthy: I had L4 S5 surgery in 2008 and had to go on disability. I've had trouble finding a shoe to walk comfortably with. I have severe acquired spinal stenosis L3-L4 and L4-L5.I have extensive degenerative endplate and facet changes and also have acquired some neck problems recently. To give you an example of a shoe that has worked to some extent, the New Balance 927 is OK. They sold me NB 928 and I they have not been kind. What do you recommend for my terrible back. I am capable of walking 1 mile a day, twice a day so far and my spine surgeon said a god shoe will be critical to keeping me out of a wheelchair.
Thanks you so much in advance. (:

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Dear 1000yardguy,

I'm so sorry to hear about all your troubles! Since I have never seen you as a patient, I highly recommend that you follow up with a Podiatrist who specializes in conservative treatment to make sure that my recommendations are appropriate for your specific situation.

First, use the search box in my blog and read two articles that I have that are relevant to you:

"My Feet Hurt"

"Shoe Recommendations for patients recovering from Lisfranc's fractures"

These two articles will give you A-to-Z information on what you need to do to protect your feet, which will in turn help to protect your back.

I would recommend Crocs RX (with the strap to the back) for around the house.

The NB 927 and 928 are both excellent shoes and should work well. You can also try the "Spira Classic" and/or a "Gravity Defyer" shoe, which both have hidden springs in the soles for more shock absorption. I don't know if this shoe will work for you - but it's worth at least trying them on -- the Z-Coil. I have many patients with severe back pain who love these shoes. However, they are no for everyone and if you don't like them - don't get them.

I would also recommend that you get a really good insert for arch support. If your insurance covers them, see a Podiatrists about a custom-molded orthotic. If you are Medicare (they don't cover CMO's) and on a budget, I recommend that you put your money into shoes and get an excellent over-the-counter insert such as Powerstep or Spenco, which you can purchase online or in the store. Our office has a wonderful insert called "Footsteps" which are $50 -- check to see if your Podiatrist carries Footsteps or another OTC insert that will work for you.

One thing to consider: if you are extremely "hypermobile", which means that you have lax ligaments and your arches are excessively "rolling in" you may benefit from a trilock ankle brace or even a AFO, which is a custom-molded brace to stabilize your ankles and keep you from rolling in. Check with your Podiatrist to see if this is the case.

I would avoid foot surgery!! You have too much going on with your back to risk a foot surgery so - if anyone recommends foot surgery - get a second and third opinion and exhaust conservative treatment before you consider surgical treatment of your feet!

Good luck and let me know how it goes...

Dr. Cathleen A McCarthy

Nancyk said...

Would you recommend the spira or gravity defyer for someone with tarsal tunnel syndrome and fibromyalgia? I think a podiatrist once told me that they throw you off balance if you are unstable, which I am. I wear the NB 830 and stockpiled them as they are the nearest thing to comfort I can find. I have had 3 orthotics made that we're terrible. I also wear Dr Specified socks the wool cushioned ones from Footsmart or Amazon.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Nancyk,

I would try these shoes in this order and see what you like the most:

New Balance 812 (top pick)
NB 1540
NB 928
Gravity Defyer

An OTC insert like SPENCO Cushions for inside the shoes. You are probably one of the 10% of patients who can't tolerate custom-molded orthotics.

Also, RX Crocs or Crocs Mammouth or Orthoheel Diabetic Slippers around the house.

Those are my top picks for you - let me know what works.

Hope that helps and thank you for reading!

Anita Mas said...

My mom keeps telling me that none of her shoes are comfortable. She has wide feet and they are sensitive. I'll have to tell her about this.

Anita Mas | http://www.southlakepodiatry.com.au

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Anita Mas,
Thank you for reading the blog!
For better recommendations for your mother, please check out my article MY FEET HURT: TOP TEN THINGS TO DO TO ALLEVIATE FOOT PAIN TODAY. I don't know how old your mother is, but please do not put her in the Sketcher Shape-Ups or the MBT as they are probably too aggressive for her.
Hope this was helpful,

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Tylequious Jackson said...

My mom suffers from really bad foot pain. She has recently had a lot of trouble walking. I wonder if any of the shoes that you recommended would help her out. She needs to talk to a podiatrist about her feet. They will be able to help her treat the pain. http://www.westmorelandfootdoctor.com/Bunion_Treatment_Greensburg_PA.html

Shelly said...

I'm wondering if you could update your post on the top walking shoes. I've been searching for shoes for hallux rigidus for months and have tried several of these shoes, but haven't found one yet. I have some orthodics with the Mortons extension, but find that it still flexes (I'm going back for another consultation soon). I've learned a lot from your website. Thanks!!!

Caleb Hart said...

It would be really nice if I could get some shoes like this for my wife. She is always complaining that her back hurts from standing at work. I wonder if she thinks that shoes are the answer or maybe just orthotics. Either way, I need to get her to a doctor. http://www.balancepodiatry.com.au/locations/perth-cannington-westfield-carousel-

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Shelly,
The best walking shoe is the New Balance 928 paired with a custom-molded orthotic. Don't forget the RX Crocs Ultimate Cloud or Relax as a bedroom slipper for in the house.
Thanks for reading!

Shelly said...

Thanks for your reply. I didn't have very good luck with my custom orthodics. I ended up with plantar fasciitis. Coincidence or orthodics, I don't know. I have tried the New Balance 928s, but they were very uncomfortable in the middle of my foot with the plantar fasciitis. Still on the search.

Casey Jones said...

That is interesting you recommend the Sketcher's shape ups. What do you think about the lawsuit against them? I have been meaning to see a podiatrist for a while now. Ideally I could get some shoes that don't look like grandpa shoes but have custom inserts in them.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Shelly,
Sorry that you didn't have any luck with CMO's or the NB 928. Ten percent of people can't tolerate arch support - maybe you are one of the ten percent? The best over-the-counter insert that you can buy online is Powerstep, which you may want to try. You might want to go to a running store and try the Hoka One One Stinson, which is a wonderful shoe for anyone with heel pain.
I hope you are feeling better soom!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Casey,
The Sketcher lawsuit was because the company made false health claims about how the shoe would shape-up our butts. It wasn't that the shoe wasn't good - they lost the lawsuit because they made false health claims with no medical research. What they did is the equivalent of saying, "buy these socks and wear them and they'll get you in shape and make your butt look great."

The Sketcher Shape-Up is a great shoe, but it's not for everyone. The MBT was the original rocker-bottom shoe and they got the idea because the rocker bottom is what is on the bottom of a below the knee walking boot, which is what is used to treat a fracture. The idea is that no motion equals less pain, less swelling and the body can then heal a fracture.

Good question!

Shelly said...

Thank you so much for your comments. I started physical therapy for posterior tibial tendinitis and I thought it was plantar fasciitis. Interesting ride! I'm looking forward to a new day and new treatment.

Anonymous said...

I had a partial meniscectomy 12 years ago, and I normally can't walk more than a half mile on a solid surface without knee pain. I have no balance issues; I can stand on one leg until you tell me to stop! I discovered the Hoka Cliftons before a trip to Italy. I wore them every day, and walked for miles without any knee pain. They feel as if the shock gets transferred from my heel to my arch. However, I got blisters on the outer edges of both big toes, because the Hoka toe box is too narrow. Now I can't wear them without toe pain. Is there any shoe you know of that has Hoka's great qualities, but with a bigger toe box? I'm considering Altra Torins, and sandals by Ryn or MBT, but dealers are all 400 miles away, so I'm trying to get educated before ordering online!

P.S. the reCAPTCHA to get this posted is nearly impossible!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi John,
Sorry for the delayed response!
I personally love the Hoka One One Stinsen, which has a wide toebox. I use the shoe for walking and hiking. Also, to prevent blisters, I recommend getting socks with man-made fibers, which are often carried by running stores. They are superior to cotton socks and will decrease friction, which will decrease the chance of blisters.
Good luck!

mike&diane said...

Thank you for the valuable information. I have Hallux Rigidus in my left toe and it has caused my right ankle to hurt when I walk. I am going to go to buy the Spira shoes because they are light weight and provide some spring in my steps.

I tried the Crocs for house shoes and did not find them very comfortable and would appreciate any suggestions for slippers.

Thanks again,


Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Diane,
Sorry for the delayed response. If you don't like the Rx Crocs Relief or Ultimate Cloud, I would recommend trying the Vionix Relax slipper or a Birkenstock sandal with the strap to the back. The Vionix Relax slipper does not have rearfoot control, but it offers excellent arch support and an excellent, thick and rigid sole.
Let me know how it works for you,

Anonymous said...

I have a multitude of things going on with my feet...I have abnormally high arches, I supinate horribly to the point of pain on the outside of my foot. I have been to 4 podiatrist, The last podiatrist I saw had an orthotic made that addressed all three of the arches. Don't know if they will word because I can't find a pair of shoes that gives any relief and works with them. I have tried Saucony Echelon 4, Brooks Dyads, Brooks Ghost to name a few. My problem with all of these is they seemed to throw my feet to the outside even more. I have pain in my shins, heels the mid of my feet, my toes. The pain also runs up the outside of both legs causing knee and hip problems. I am about 20 lbs over weight but even when I wasn't overweight I still had problems. I am at my wits end as to what to do next. Any advice would be welcome.
Thank you.

GGW said...

Just a quick question: Would that be the same top 5 for people standing all day, but not doing a lot of walking?
If not could you recommend a good pair of standing shoes?
Thank you :)

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Anonymous,
Sorry for the delayed response!
For a severely supinated foot, I would recommend the New Balance 928 or the Drew Surge.
You can have your podiatrist write a prescription for you to go to a local prosthetic lab and they can put what's called a 'lateral wedge' on the bottom of your shoe, which should help stop much of the supination.
This method works really well with my 'super-supinator' patients.
Please let me know how things go,

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Sorry for the delayed response!

This is an old article and I would say that my more updated new top list is:
1. New Balance 928
2. Hoka One One Stinsen ATR
3. MBT
4. Sketcher Shape-Ups
5. Drew Surge
6. Dansko Professional Clog

For 1-5, add a custom-molded orthotic or a good over-the-counter insert like Powerstep). Also, knee high compression hose work wonders for anyone who is on their feet all day (start with the lowest strength 15 mmHg).

Let me know how it works and thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

I have such a hard time finding shoes that fit and are comfortable. My foot is very wide and it's hard to find a wide shoe with big toe box. I wear SAS sandles most every day. They still hurt my feet and legs so when I'm at home I go barefooted. I've tried SAS athletic shoes but they make me feel like I'm going to tip over. Right now I have Achilles Tendonnitis and going to PT. I would like to be able to find a athletic shoe that fits and doesn't make me tip over because the heel is to high.

Thank you,

Adam Gilles said...

Hello I just came across your list as I was looking for walking shoes. Little backround. 39/M very active and atheltic. Have somewhat flat feet and orthotics in both shoes. Recently had Tarsal Tunnel surgery on left ankle and I know this could take a long time to fully heal. I can't run obviously so only real cardio I can get is walking. I currently wear Brooks Beast Running shoes with orthos in them but think I need a walking shoe. At work (HS PE Teacher) I average about 13k steps a day. Thanks, Adam

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Anonymous,
I'm sorry for the delayed response! I highly recommend that you avoid barefoot walking!! It is the worst thing you can do for your Achilles tendonitis. I would recommend the New Balance 928 for exercise and the Rx Crocs Relief or Ultimate Cloud as a bedroom slipper. If the Crocs aren't wide enough for your foot, then try the Orthotheel Relax slipper for a bedroom slipper. Barefoot is always going to hurt! AND - all the hard work you are doing in PT will be set backwards everytime you walk barefoot.
Best wishes,

Leah said...

Good morning,
I sprained both of my feet and broke my fibula (lower area). I have been in a boot for 5 weeks; I saw the podiatrist yesterday and he said a couple more weeks or until it doesn't hurt when I walk. I have read many of your articles, and I appreciate your time. The doctor said to get some shoes with ankle support, I'm not sure what that means. I have ordered the crocs rx but need some walking shoes. Also, do the top 20 shoes you recommend cover ankle support; I wear suits to work and need some dress shoes also. Again, I appreciate your time.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Leah,
Sorry for the delay in writing! Sorry to hear you about your injury and I hope things are going well. Check with your podiatrist, but I usually recommend that we ease you out of the boot (at the proper time) and put you into a New Balance 928 with either orthotics or the Powerstep insert. The tri-lock brace I recommend is Bioskin tri-lock brace, which I have a picture of on the right column of the blog and you should be able to get this from your doctor. You will most likely have to pull the 'white strap' up on the outside of the foot over the area of the fibula that was injured. I usually put patients with your type of injury into the NB 928 with the brace for 4-6 weeks (in the day and with normal activities) and, after that I recommend they wear the brace as needed and for exercise.
I hope that helped and thanks for reading the blog!

Ra E said...

Thanks for this invaluable info! This is so helpful. I had 2 metatarsal fx in the past but they're healed now & I'm not in pain. But I'm mindful of it so I've been wearing supportive shoes based on your recommendations. Can you please recommend a slip-on or mary janes walking shoes? I won't be using it for serious/long walks just stroll around say around Disney Park or 1-2 miles while on travel. Thank again, Rosana

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hello Ra E,
A good Mary Jane style shoe is the Orthofeet Mary Jane which you can purchase online at Footsmart.com. Copy and paste this link for more info:


However, if you are walking around DIsney World, I would recommend that you wear a more supportive shoe such as the New Balance 928 or the men's New Balance 1540 (it has more support than the women's 1540).

Also, you can add a wonderful over-the-counter insert to the New Balance called 'Powerstep', which can be purchased online.

Good luck and happy walking!

Ra E said...

Hi Dr. McCarthy,

Thanks for your response! I appreciate it. I ended up getting Skecker's Shape-Ups based from your recommendations. The newer, mesh-type is light & very comfy. :)

Thanks again,


Unknown said...

I wondered why you advise to get inserts for many of the shoes. What shoe would you say does not need them. I have low back problems.Custom inserts are very expensive. I am 67 and want to stay as active as possible.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hello Unknown,
Yes, custom molded inserts are pricey.
A great alternative is to purchase (online) the Powerstep insert, which runs about $30. If you are putting it in a sneaker, then it replaces the insert that came with the shoe.
By helping to control and support the arch, the insert will help decrease mechanical strain on your feet/arch and put your ankles, knees and hips in better alignment, which will also take some of the strain off of your lower back.
If your house had a bad foundation, then you might have roof problems. It's the same with the biomechanics of your body. If you have a poor foundation (bad shoes and no inserts) then that lack of support translates into more back strain.
I hope that helps and thank you for reading the blog!

soo said...

hello, dr Mc Carthy, i fell on an inverted foot three weeks ago, ended up in pseudojones fracture of my right fifth metatarsal bone. now my foot is having minimal tolerable pain.
in another week time, i m going back to work, wat kind of shoe would u recommend ?

Unknown said...

The new 928v2 does not serve as a good replacement for the now defunct NB 928.
The men's Powerstep is not wide enough in front to completely cover toe area.

Unknown said...

The new 928v2 does not serve as a good replacement for the now defunct NB 928.
The men's Powerstep is not wide enough in front to completely cover toe area.

Roberta Salvo said...

Hello Dr. McCarthy:

I have hypermobility in the forefoot of my feet causing joint bursitis. I also have a bunion on the left foot that is being deviated and causing alot of pain. My feet are flat and overpronated. I wore orthotics for over six years, when I first started wearing my feet did not hurt, but I finally stopped wearing them, my feet started hurting alot.

I have been told to fuse the bones in my feet, but second and third opinion said no to the surgery but they did not know how to help.

I have suffered over five years with foot pain. I have tried to strengthen but it is not helping. My feet are extremely exhausted and throb from pain.

What shoe would you recommend, as I have had nearly 10 custom made orthotics and none of them addressing the hypermobility. I do not want surgery or orthotics. Please let me know if you could give me some recommendations.

Thank you

nana2four said...

Hello Dr. McCarthy,

I am recovering from great toe fusion. What shoe would you recommend? Thank you for your time.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Nana2four,
I would recommend the NB 928 for you. Make sure that the sole of the forefoot does not bend or flex. 10% of shoes are defective, broken or poorly made -- only purchase ones that do not allow any motion through the bottom of the foot.
Copy and paste this into your search bar for more information:


Thanks for reading the blog!

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hello Unknown,
The new NB 928V2 is not as good as the previous NB 928, but it is still far superior to the vast majority of other walking shoes. If you purchase the NB 928V2 -- just make sure that the sole doesn't bend or flex in the forefoot area. 10% of shoes are defective, broken or poorly made, so if you get a flexible-soled NB 928V2 then ask the salesperson to get you another one (one that doesn't bend) from the storeroom. If the Powerstep is not working for you then it might be the wrong size, the wrong product or it is not the insert that is proper for you. The Powerstep should replace the insole that comes with the shoe -- it is not supposed to sit on top of the current insole. You might want to consider custom-molded orthotics.
Hope all is well and thank you for reading the blog!

Angela Ilyas said...

Hello Doctor! Thanks for your Blog. I've learned a lot. I do have a question? What do you think about the KURU Shoes? IF you had to choose which one was better...would you say KURU or MBT? Hope to hear from you soon! God Bless...Angela

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Angela,
It depends! The MBT doesn't work for all foot types. You pretty much have to try it on and see if it works for you. If you have any history of Achilles Tendonitis then do not wear a rocker bottom sole such as an MBT as it will rock you backwards and possibly create a new injury or tendon tear. If you find a Kuru shoe that has a sole that doesn't bend or flex (especially through the midfoot and forefoot area) then they will be a great choice. If you happen to choose a Kuru that does happen to have a flexible sole then that would not be a good choice.
Hope that was helpful and thank you for reading!

Mike said...

Hello Dr. McCarthy,
Upon your recommendation I pursued the Spira Classic men's walking shoe. It was a little pricey, but I have had three back surgeries, one knee replacement, and need another knee replacement. This shoe is outstanding. Recently I went on a cruise that stopped at three ports of call. I did a lot of walking and was pain free. The shoe is also light and very comfortable. The break-in took a couple of weeks but after that, it is the best shoe I have ever owned.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr Mc Carthy,

I had a Morton's neuroma surgery 5 years ago that resulted in more issues & pain. I now have hammertoes, metatarsalgia, & tendonitis in my ankle. I am in pain 24/7. I am currently wearing aerosoles sandals, because closed shoes hurt my ankle & foot. I went to a new podiatrist who recommended MBT or Hoka. Which one do you think would be better for my problems? I have New Balance sneakers that are in the box from years ago that I can't bear to squeeze my foot in.

amymwz said...

My husband and I both have been wearing sketcher shape ups for the last five or so years exclusively. I love them. They are the most comfortable shoes ever. I can't handle wearing any other shoes now. The problem is they stopped making them. I bought some dansko shoes once to try, they were so stiff and much heavier than the shape ups. Is there any shoes that are close to shapes ups in flexibility, comfort and not so heavy and stuff?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr McCarthy! I just wanted to say that I have multiple foot issues that have required orthotics for years, and have a suggestion to share. I also wonder about your thoughts on why this shoe might work, or if you'd take a look at it, because I think it would help a lot of people.

Previously: had just peroneal tendinopathy, OA/hallux limitus, heel spurs from plantar fasciitis, flat feet, I am probably forgetting something. This wasn't ideal, but walking for more than 30 minutes became absolutely intolerable when paresthesia and metatarsalgia appeared this year. (Also - the middle of my arch is tight and painful, no answers as to why from my PT or orthotist. We don't have podiatrists where I live.) I could manage only 30 minutes without agony, in the most "comfortable" comfort shoe (wide toe box, etc etc) without experiencing that pain. I couldn't go near the boots I'd been wearing for a couple of years, which used to feel *ok* (mostly due to the metarsalgia, because those shoes had a slight heel).

No matter what I wore, I was in trouble. If I accommodated the metatarsalgia with flatter shoes, my heels and arch suffered. If I wore any kind of standard heel, my toes were screwed. (1/2)

Anonymous said...


Enter the New Balance Vazee Rush v. 2. I *don't have to wear my orthotics with these shoes*. I can walk without pain. I am in total disbelief that this is possible, yet there I am, walking. (Still can't exactly go for a two-hour hike, but I can do my grocery shopping and not suffer.)

They get 5 stars from EVERYONE on amazon and zappos. Nurses, dancers, all kinds of people. So I would love to hear your thoughts on why they're amazing for so many people who all probably have different issues? My toes do not suffer at all, I can't believe it... my heels also feel supported, arch too... there is just no pain...

Here's what I think...

- The arch is firm and moderate. Seems to suit people with both high and low arches.
- The shoes have a 6 mm drop. I think something about this matters a lot... I think it might be a really good angle for the heel/arch/toe, especially with the way the arch is molded... maybe it distributes weight in a unique way, I'm not sure... neither toes nor heel suffer with the way the sole is, anyway.
- And, the sole curves upwards at the toe (which helps my toes, less pressure on them). So it makes it easier for the foot to sort of roll along as you walk, I think this really helps with forward propulsive movement, along with the 6mm drop.
- The material of the sole seems to be something unique that is absorbing the shock, or something, in a very effective way. Again, toes do not hurt *at all*. NB talks a lot about some material, something called a "Rapid Rebound midsole"... I swear, something in this material must be magic... Other NB shoes that don't have this, even really well fitted ones, still feel heavy and, well just like typical running shoes. My feet just don't get *tired* in these shoes. There is literally no pain, anywhere..
- They're incredibly light. My 12 oz morning coffee weighs more. I think this helps in a way.

Does this analysis make sense? I can't believe I'm actually not suffering for the first time in such a long time.

Unrelated to my particular pain but maybe helpful to others - it's a small but nice thing - the upper is made of some kind of mesh that's formed like a sock, so there aren't any seams pressing into anything, anywhere. And there's some give in that fabric.

Also, they're pretty cheap.

Issues with these shoes:

- They're narrow and short. I had to go half a size up and get a D width (when I'm usually ok with medium width shoes. Slightly wider styles are usually better but medium is usually fine). Lots of people have had to do the same.
- Treads are good in mild 4 season weather. They do skid a bit on painted pavement, though, not sure why.
- Not waterproof. I sprayed these with a protectant so they haven't been bad at all in precipitation, everything's dry, but they're made of mesh on top, meant to breathe, so it can get a tiny bit cold on very cold days.
- I can't say I LOVE the styling/colours, but whatever. They're not horrible, they look enough like street style running shoes that I can wear them with jeans or whatever.

(I worried a bit about the New Balance CEO's position on politics, but that has been clarified to my satisfaction. Which I'm glad about, because it feels pretty good to walk.)

After all that - my MAIN interest, I guess, is around this 6mm drop and the sole (construction and materials). I SUSPECT that this sole is now doing a lot of the work my orthotics used to do.

Thanks so much for your blog, looking forward to any thoughts if you have time to share.

Anonymous said...

(edit: sorry - there is no pain as far as the ortho issues. the parasthesia is another thing that i am learning to live with. still not understood, did all kinds of tests. might be small fiber neuropathy.)

Amita Singh said...

It's so good to find the perfect pair of walking shoes for men. Check out these walking shoes for men from New Balance India

Heachy said...

Hi im so sorry to bother you, i have currently a 4th metatarsal fracture and a walker boot. I want to protect my feet when i return to both exercise and just general living. Ive had an achilles issue in the past and have a bit of a weak left ankle. I am extremely flat footed. Do yoh reccomend shape ups or not? Also need some smart shoes for work/boots but available in the uk if poss . Thanks so much for this site, am so glad i found xxx

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Heachy,
You should never wear any shoe with a rocker bottom sole (sketcher shape ups or MBT's) when you have a history of Achilles Tendonitis. When the shoe rocks back, it can cause Achilles aggravation and even a partial tear. Stick with a shoe with a thick, rigid and non-flexible sole (absolutely no motion through the sole of the shoe!) with a higher back and a lower front -- like a New Balance 928 or 1540.
Thanks for reading the blog and best wishes!

Heachy said...

Thanks ever so much for your advice. I have to wear the cam boot with rocker bottom on at the moment but its really aggravating my ankle. I will definitely order myself some new balance, its a good job i saw your reply as my friend had just reccomended i order some hoka clayton ones which wouldve been an expensive mistake?!

Elmlou79 said...

Hi I was involved in a car accident and suffered an oblique calcaneal fracture. I live in Scotland, UK so been reading your blog in the U.S. Been NWB for 5 weeks have been advised by my Consultant that could be NWB for 8-12 weeks. No longer taking painkillers which is a positive step forward and wearing a back cast which I take on and off. Been reading lots of different stories regarding this type of injury so trying to keep positive. Looking for advice on the best footwear for when I do eventually start weight bearing. Was looking at lace up Dr Marten boots which you can get in the UK. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Anonymous,
Sorry for the delayed response!
I have not seen the NB Vazee Rush in person, but I assume that it is comfortable because it meets the four criteria that a shoe must have to be comfortable:
1. A thick, rigid, non-flexible sole (this is most important!
2. Wide toebox
3. Rearfoot control
4. Arch support, which you can add.

If a shoe has a sole that is thick, rigid and doesn't allow any motion through the bottom of the foot, that is the most important factor in making a shoe comfortable.
The 2 best walking shoes that I've found are the New Balance 1540 and the 928.
I'm glad you found something that works for you!

Glenda T said...

Hello doctor,
I've been reading your blog and it has been so helpful. I am currently recovering from lisfranc surgery. I had orif surgery on 5/2 with 3 screws placed to close the gap between the 1st & 2nd metartasal and the bone that goes right above it (sorry I forgot the name of that one). I'll be in my boot until 7/18 my doctor said, at witch point I'll start PT and slowly into shoes. My question is, can you give me updated recommendations on shoes to wear. The crocs RX are no longer available and I can't find them anywhere. Any others I can use? What sneakers, sandals, stuff to wear to pool (hopefully I'll have aquatics as part of my pt)? Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated. Just trying to get prepared and keeping my self busy in my NWB period lol. Thanks.

Doctor of Podiatry Discusses and Recommends Shoes. said...

Hi Glenda,
Sorry for the delayed response!
Please see my newest article for a review of the basics, which was posted on July 31, 2017.
The best thing to wear with aquatics is the Keens Newport H2, which can be purchased at REI.
The best Crocs to get are the Crocs Specialist (with no vents).
Best exercise shoes are still the New Balance 928 or the NB 1540.
Best of luck and thank you for reading the blog!

Patty said...

Where do I find the Spira these days?

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David Burner said...

I don't think I've ever been happy with a pair of truly cheap shoes, they always hurt my feet, give me blisters, and are just all around awful. If you need to walk around in something you better make them comfortable! shoes for bartenders