You know the feeling — your knees ache and throb after being on your feet for any length of time. When you have arthritis in your knees, finding comfortable and supportive footwear can make a world of difference in your pain and mobility. The good news is there are shoes specifically designed to provide relief for arthritic knee pain.
We’ve done the research to find the 10 Best Shoes for Arthritic Knees that customers say really work to reduce pain and keep you moving comfortably. From walking shoes and sandals to stylish boot options, we have you covered.
Read on to find shoe styles and brands that will give your aching knees the comfort and support they need. With the right pair of shoes, arthritis doesn’t have to slow you down or limit the activities you enjoy.
What Causes Knee Arthritis and How Shoes Can Help
Knee arthritis causes inflammation in the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility. The right shoes can help relieve symptoms and make walking more comfortable.
Arthritis develops from general wear and tear, aging, or injury. Extra weight puts added stress on your knees, so losing excess pounds is key. But supportive, well-cushioned shoes also provide relief from discomfort.
Look for shoes with a rigid sole and firm heel counter, like lace-up walking shoes or athletic shoes. These stabilize your knees and absorb shock. Avoid high heels, as they can worsen pain.
Arch support is important, as fallen arches can stress knee joints. You want shoes with built-in arch support or room for orthotic inserts. Cushioned insoles also help.
A rocker sole, rounded at the front and back, encourages a natural rolling motion when walking to minimize pain. It reduces friction and the need to bend knees as much.
Lace-up closures or Velcro straps allow you to adjust tightness for maximum comfort and support. Slip-on shoes usually don’t offer enough stability for arthritic knees.
The right shoes, combined with knee braces, physical therapy, medication, or knee injections, can significantly improve your mobility and quality of life. Make shoe choice a priority and take an active role in managing your arthritis pain. The small investment in proper footwear is worth every step.
Features to Look for in Shoes for Arthritic Knees
When shopping for shoes that will ease the pain from your arthritic knees, look for ones with certain helpful features.
Extra cushioning, especially in the midsole, helps absorb shock and reduces stress on your joints. Look for shoes labeled as “maximum cushioning” or with thick, gel-like or foam midsoles. Popular cushioning materials are gel, EVA foam, and polyurethane.
Shoes with added stability help control excess foot motion that can irritate arthritic knees. Look for a solid, rigid heel counter, firm midsole, and possibly motion control or stability features. These help minimize twisting and side-to-side movement.
Roomy toe box
A wider, deeper toe box gives your toes enough room to move comfortably without rubbing or pinching. This also helps ensure good alignment and balance, which takes pressure off your knees.
Secure but flexible upper
The upper part of the shoe should securely hold your foot in proper alignment but still allow natural foot flexion. Look for breathable, flexible materials that won’t chafe or bind, like soft leather, mesh, or knit fabric. Laces, straps or Velcro closures that can be adjusted for different swelling levels are helpful.
A lower heel, around 1 inch or less, puts less strain on your knees. Higher heels shift your weight forward and increase knee flexion, which can exacerbate arthritis pain.
With the right combination of cushioning, stability, a roomy toe box, flexible yet secure upper, and low heel, you can find shoes that comfort your knees and keep you moving. Your knees will thank you!
The 20 Best Shoes for Arthritic Knees That Really Work
Top 4 Walking Shoes for Arthritic Knees
When your knees ache from arthritis, the right walking shoes can make all the difference in relieving your pain and staying active. Here are some of the best walking shoes for arthritic knees:
Brooks is known for making high-quality shoes that provide ample arch support and cushioning. The Glycerin model is one of their most popular walking shoes for arthritis. It has a plush midsole that absorbs shock with every step. The roomy toe box also prevents pinching and discomfort. Many reviewers with knee arthritis say the Glycerin helps them walk for longer in comfort.
ASICS is another reputable brand for walking shoes that relieve knee pain. Their Gel-Nimbus shoe features GEL® technology that provides exceptional cushioning in the areas you need it most—the heel and forefoot. It also has an exoskeletal heel counter that gives your foot added stability and support. The Gel-Nimbus gets rave reviews from walkers with arthritis and other joint issues.
New Balance’s Fresh Foam line uses innovative midsole foam that is plush yet responsive. Their walking shoes like the Fresh Foam Arishi and Fresh Foam Beacon provide soft cushioning and support for arthritic knees. The roomy toe box and breathable mesh upper also keep feet comfortable for long walks. The Fresh Foam technology helps absorb shock and reduce pressure on your knees.
HOKA ONE ONE is known for their maximalist shoes with extra thick midsoles that provide unparalleled cushioning. Their Bondi model is designed for road walking and features a wide base, beveled heel, and Meta-Rocker geometry that helps relieve stress on your knees and guides your foot through a natural walking gait. The Bondi gets very high reviews from walkers seeking relief from knee arthritis and pain.
With the right walking shoes, you can stay mobile and active without discomfort from arthritic knees. Be sure to choose a shoe specifically designed for walking that provides good arch support, cushioning, and shock absorption. Your knees will thank you!
Best Running Shoes for Arthritis in the Knees
When arthritis pain strikes your knees, the last thing you probably want to do is go for a run. However, the right pair of running shoes can help make pounding the pavement a little easier on your joints. Look for shoes designed specifically for arthritis or joint support. These provide extra stability and cushioning where you need it most.
Some of the best running shoes for arthritic knees include:
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS – This shoe offers maximum support and cushioning. It has GuideRails that keep your knees aligned and prevents excess movement. The DNA Loft midsole provides soft yet responsive cushioning.
- ASICS GEL-Nimbus – The GEL cushioning system absorbs shock and provides relief for arthritic knees. FluidRide technology offers a combination of bounce back and cushioning. An exoskeletal heel counter provides extra support.
- HOKA ONE ONE Bondi – This maximally cushioned shoe takes pressure off your knees. Its wide, rockered sole encourages a smooth roll through your stride. The compression-molded midsole is softer than many other shoes, yet still responsive.
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 – This plush yet snappy shoe has a roomy toe box and provides a soft, stable ride for arthritic knees. Fresh Foam midsole cushioning is precision engineered to provide an ultra-cushioned, lightweight ride.
- Salomon XA Pro 3D – For trail running, this shoe provides stability, protection and cushioning for arthritic knees. Its 3D Advanced Chassis guides your foot for a smooth ride over rugged terrain. SensiFit construction wraps your foot in the midsole for a secure, cushioned fit.
The most important factors for arthritic knee relief in running shoes are support, cushioning, comfort, and fit. Be sure to choose a shoe designed specifically for joint health or arthritis. Replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles to ensure maximum support and cushioning. With the right pair of shoes, you can keep running with arthritis under control.
Most Supportive Sandals for Arthritic Knees
When your knees ache from arthritis, supportive and comfortable footwear is essential. Sandals that provide arch support and cushioning can help relieve pain from walking and daily activities. Here are some of the most supportive sandal options for arthritic knees:
Vionic is another leader in supportive footwear. Their Tide sandals feature a podiatrist-designed orthotic footbed for arch support and deep heel cupping. The midsole absorbs shock to take pressure off your joints. An adjustable strap provides a secure yet comfortable fit. Vionic’s innovative technology helps realign your feet and legs with each step for pain relief and improved mobility.
Oofos sport sandals offer exceptional impact absorption and arch support for arthritic knees. Their footbeds mold to the shape of your feet and absorb up to 87% of impact with each step. Oofos’ OOfoam material is soft yet durable, and the thong style has adjustable straps for a customized fit. Oofos sandals provide instant relief after activity and have been recommended by doctors and physical therapists.
Orthopedic Slippers That Ease Knee Arthritis Pain
Orthopedic slippers are designed specifically for people with knee arthritis and other joint issues. Their supportive features provide cushioning and stability to ease pain from walking and standing. Here are some of the best orthopedic slipper options for arthritic knees:
Vionic is a podiatrist-designed brand that focuses on foot health and comfort. Their Gemma slipper has a molded EVA midsole for arch support and a durable rubber outsole for traction. The plush interior provides cushioning and the slip-on design is easy to get on and off.
Orthofeet specializes in orthopedic shoes and slippers. Their Charlotte slipper offers anatomical arch support, heel support and extra room for toe movement. It has orthotic inserts for maximum cushioning along with a lightweight and breathable upper. The non-skid rubber sole provides stability on any surface.
Another great option from Vionic, the Relax slipper has a cushioned footbed with arch support and a durable, slip-resistant outsole. Its plush faux-fur lining and wraparound collar provide luxurious comfort and warmth. The slip-on design makes them very easy to get on and off.
Slippers designed for orthopedic support and knee pain relief allow you to stay comfortable at home without pain or instability. The right pair can make a big difference in managing your arthritis symptoms and improving mobility. Trying out different brands and styles to find the perfect orthopedic slipper for you is worth the investment.
Stylish Boot Options for Arthritic Knees
When your knees ache, the last thing you want is uncomfortable shoes. Fortunately, there are stylish boot options designed with arthritic knees in mind. Here are some of the best:
For rainy or snowy weather, waterproof boots are essential. Look for a pair with thick, non-skid soles for stability and a padded interior for cushioning. Popular, affordable brands like Kamik and Sorel offer waterproof boots suitable for arthritic knees.
Ankle boots are a stylish choice that provide more flexibility and support than regular shoes. Brands like Vionic, Orthofeet and Aetrex design ankle boots specifically for joint pain and arthritis. Their boots feature built-in orthotic support, cushioned footbeds and roomy toe boxes. Ankle boots made of soft, pliable materials like suede or stretchy knit fabrics will be most comfortable for arthritic knees.
Hiking boots are built for comfort and support. For arthritic knees, look for a pair with ample arch support, a rigid sole and waterproofing. Popular brands include Oboz, Keen and Merrell. Their hiking boots often have extra padding, shock absorption and stabilizing features suitable for arthritis. For the best fit, get properly measured and fitted at an outdoor retailer.
For cold weather, boots lined with shearling (sheepskin) provide insulation and comfort. The soft, plush lining cushions arthritic joints while keeping feet warm. Shearling-lined boots made by UGG, Bearpaw and Minnetonka are popular, high-quality options suitable for arthritis. Look for a pair with non-skid rubber soles for safety on icy ground.
The right supportive, comfortable boots can make a big difference in easing arthritis pain and maintaining an active lifestyle. Don’t sacrifice style for comfort – with so many options designed specifically for arthritic knees, you can have the best of both worlds.
The 5 Best Athletic Shoes for Arthritic Knees
When your knees ache from arthritis, the right pair of shoes can make a world of difference in your comfort and mobility. Here are some of the best athletic shoe options for arthritic knees:
Brooks Adrenaline GTS
Brooks is known for their high-quality shoes designed for runners with joint issues and the Adrenaline GTS is one of their most popular stability shoes for arthritis. It provides lots of support and cushioning without feeling stiff. The latest model is very lightweight, has a plush feel, and is designed to reduce excess pronation that can stress your knees.
ASICS Gel Kayano
The ASICS Gel Kayano line offers premium stability and comfort for arthritic knees. Gel cushioning absorbs shock and the Dynamic DuoMax system provides support to control excess foot movement. They are ideal for road running, walking, and cross-training. The latest models have an updated, streamlined design that is very lightweight yet durable.
New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3
For a more minimal yet cushy feel, the Fresh Foam Beacon from New Balance is an excellent option. It has plush Fresh Foam midsole cushioning that provides a soft yet responsive ride. A knit upper and bootie construction give it a sock-like fit. The moderate level of stability is suitable for most people with arthritis and the low-profile design is stylish enough to wear for casual use as well.
Hoka One One Bondi
Hoka One One is known for their maximally cushioned shoes and the Bondi is one of the plushest. It has a thick midsole that provides exceptional shock absorption for arthritic knees. The rocker sole also helps propel you forward smoothly with each stride. If you prefer an ultra-cushioned, low-impact feel, the Bondi is hard to beat. It does have a rather bulky profile, however, that some may find offputting.
Brooks Glycerin 19
The Brooks Glycerin is another top-rated neutral shoe that provides an ideal balance of softness and responsiveness for arthritic knee comfort. DNA LOFT cushioning gives it a plush yet bouncy feel underfoot. A flexible knit upper and rounded heel help reduce irritation. The latest version is very lightweight and durable, perfect for both long runs and all-day wear.
The 4 Best Walking Shoes for Arthritic Knees
When you have arthritic knees, finding comfortable and supportive footwear is essential for pain management and mobility. The following shoes are some of the best options for arthritic knees based on reviews and recommendations from podiatrists and customers.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21
Brooks is a leader in shoes for runners and walkers with joint issues. The Adrenaline GTS 21 provides exceptional arch support and shock absorption. It has a 12mm drop and DNA LOFT heel crash pad to soften each footstrike. The updated GuideRails help keep your knees, hips and joints aligned with each stride. At around $130, it’s an investment, but can help delay knee replacement for some.
Hoka One One Bondi 7
Hoka One One is known for their maximally cushioned shoes, and the Bondi 7 doesn’t disappoint. It offers plush heel and forefoot cushioning with a rocker sole to propel you forward. The early stage Meta-Rocker provides a smooth and balanced ride for arthritic knees. The compression-molded midsole is very shock-absorbent. The Bondi 7 is good for walking and light jogging, with many wearers saying it’s like “walking on clouds.” It’s around $150.
ASICS Gel-Nimbus 22
The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 22 is another highly-rated shoe for arthritic knee pain and osteoarthritis. It provides exceptional cushioning and impact protection thanks to FluidRide midsole and rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning. The Guidance Trusstic System helps stabilize the feet and knees with each stride. It has a roomy toe box and minimal heel drop for natural foot positioning. The Gel-Nimbus 22 is best for walking and light activity, starting at $100. Many with severe knee arthritis have found significant relief and are able to delay knee surgery while wearing these shoes.
New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v3
For under $70, the New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v3 is a great budget-friendly option for arthritic knees. It offers plush Fresh Foam midsole cushioning and a slip-resistant outsole. The no-sew engineered mesh upper is very breathable and supportive. It has a 8mm drop and neutral positioning, suitable for most foot types. The Arishi v3 works well for walking, light exercise and all-day wear according to customers, with many saying it helps take pressure off their knees and provides “walking on clouds” comfort.
The 4 Best Dress Shoes for Arthritic Knees
When you have arthritic knees, finding comfortable and supportive footwear can be challenging. Here are some of the best dress shoe options for arthritic knees that provide cushioning, arch support and pain relief:
Clarks Unstructured Line
Clarks is known for comfort and their Unstructured line offers slip-ons and lace-ups that are perfect for arthritis sufferers. Made of soft, breathable leathers and flexible soles, these shoes mold to your feet and provide shock absorption with every step. Styles like the Un.Loop, Un.Wilde and Un.Cloud are great for both casual and business attire.
Ecco Soft Line
Ecco’s Soft line features lightweight, flexible shoes designed for comfort. Their Soft 1, 2 and 3 collections offer lace-up and slip-on options for men and women. With removable insoles, anatomic footbeds, and shock-absorbing soles, these shoes provide support and cushioning right where you need it. The simple, minimalist styles work well for professional and business casual environments.
Rockport’s Eureka collection offers comfortable lace-up shoes and slip-ons suitable for office or evening wear. Made of full-grain leather with latex footbeds and flexible rubber soles, these shoes provide stability, shock absorption and support for arthritic knees. Styles like the Eureka Walking Shoe, Perth and Director Slip-On will keep you comfortable whether sitting, standing or walking.
While primarily a running shoe brand, Brooks’ Glycerin line offers comfortable walking shoes that provide plush cushioning and support for arthritis relief. Their Glycerin and Revel shoes offer an integrated midsole system to absorb shock, provide arch support and align your stride. If you prefer lace-ups, the Glycerin and Revel are great options. For slip-ons, try the Glycerin GTS or Revel. The sporty styles may not suit formal attire but are perfect for business casual and everyday wear.
Important Considerations When Shopping for Arthritic Knee Shoes
When shopping for shoes to relieve arthritis knee pain, several factors should influence your choice.
Look for shoes that provide good arch support and cushioning. Gel inserts, memory foam and EVA midsoles help absorb shock and reduce pressure on your knees. Stability shoes with motion control features are also helpful for preventing excess knee movement.
While support is important, you still want some flexibility and range of motion. Look for shoes with uppers made of breathable, pliable materials that won’t constrict your feet. Removable insoles or inserts allow you to customize the level of support and cushioning.
Proper fit is essential. Shoes that are too loose or too tight can worsen knee pain and cause other issues. Get fitted for shoes at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen. There should be a thumb’s width of space from the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe. The midfoot and heel should feel snug but not tight.
Lightweight, low-profile shoes put less stress on your knees. Bulky, heavy shoes can increase the load on your knees by up to 20% with each step. Look for shoes under 12 ounces per shoe whenever possible.
Motion control, stability and cushioned shoes are good for knee arthritis. Avoid highly flexible shoes with minimal support. Walking shoes, cross-trainers and some athletic shoes can also work well and provide lateral support for exercising. For severe arthritis, orthopedic shoes may be needed.
In summary, the keys to finding the best shoes for arthritic knees are proper support, flexibility, fit, low weight and stability. By keeping these factors in mind, you can choose comfortable shoes that relieve pressure and make walking easier when living with knee arthritis.
Pro Tips for Finding the Right Shoes for Your Arthritic Knees
When shopping for shoes to relieve arthritis knee pain, keep these pro tips in mind:
Look for stabilizing features
Shoes that provide stability and support are key. Look for features like:
- Firm heel counters that hold your heel in place
- Straps, laces or Velcro closures that can be tightened for added support
- Wedges or slight heels (1 to 2 inches) that reduce pressure on knees
Choose flexible and cushioned materials
Flexible, cushioned materials will make walking more comfortable. Great options include:
- Leather or suede: These mold to your feet but still provide support.
- Gel inserts or insoles: Extra cushioning reduces impact on knees.
- Rubber soles: Provide traction and shock absorption.
Get the right fit
Well-fitting shoes are essential for knee pain relief. Some tips:
- Have your feet measured while standing to determine proper size and width.
- Look for round or square toe boxes that don’t squeeze toes.
- Make sure there’s a thumbnail’s width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.
- Lace-up or Velcro shoes should be snug but still comfortable. You should be able to slide two fingers down the back of the shoe.
Consider orthotics or braces
For severe arthritis, orthotic inserts or knee braces can provide additional relief. You may need to size up to accommodate them. Talk to your doctor about whether orthotics or braces could benefit you.
Following these tips will help you find shoes that cushion, support and protect your knees. The right shoes, combined with other remedies like exercise, medication or physical therapy recommended by your doctor, can significantly improve your mobility and reduce arthritis knee pain.
FAQ About Finding the Best Shoes for Your Arthritic Knees
Many people with arthritis in their knees have questions about finding the right shoes. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers:
How much arch support do I need?
For arthritic knees, shoes with good arch support are important to help stabilize your feet and legs. Look for shoes labeled as “motion control” or “stability” which provide moderate to maximum arch support.
Should I get orthotic inserts?
Orthotic inserts or insoles can provide customized arch support and help relieve pressure on your knees. Many podiatrists recommend orthotics for arthritis. You can get over-the-counter inserts or have custom orthotics made. Either can help improve your alignment and ease knee pain.
What kind of heels should I avoid?
High heels, stilettos or shoes with a heel higher than 1 to 1.5 inches should be avoided. These types of heels can put extra stress on your knees and worsen symptoms. Stick to flats, low wedges or low block heels instead.
Do I need a wider toe box?
A wider, more spacious toe box takes pressure off your knees and provides more comfort. Look for shoes specifically designed for arthritis or diabetic feet which typically have extra depth and width. You want your toes to be able to move freely without feeling pinched.
Should I consider knee braces or sleeves?
Knee braces or compression sleeves can help provide relief from arthritis pain and support for your knees. They wrap around your knee joint to keep it stabilized and aligned properly. However, check with your doctor first before using a knee brace regularly. They may be able to recommend specific products suited for your needs.
Following these tips and choosing shoes carefully designed for arthritic knees can help make walking and exercising more comfortable. Be sure to also talk to your podiatrist for their recommendations on the best shoes and insoles based on the severity of your knee arthritis and foot mechanics. The right footwear and support can go a long way toward relieving your pain.
So there you have it, 10 of the best shoes for arthritic knees that can really make a difference in your comfort and mobility. While joint pain and inflammation can significantly impact your life, the right footwear is a simple solution that can help relieve your symptoms and get you back to doing the things you love. Any of these supportive, cushioned, and comfortable shoes would be a great choice. Why suffer through one more day of achy, swollen knees when relief could be just a quick online order away? Treat yourself to a new pair of kicks and say goodbye to pain—your knees will thank you for it!