The Best Sneakers for People with Bunions
For active folks and athletes, running, walking, and general mobility are essential to quality of life. But if a podiatric (that’s medical speak for “foot-based”) condition arises, you can find your recreational schedule abruptly compromised.
Unfortunately, even minor conditions in just the right parts of the body can severely inhibit lifestyle, especially those that occur in the foot. One such condition and the focus of today’s article is the bunion. In particular, we’ll be exploring features of the best sneakers for people with bunions.
What on Earth is a Bunion?
Bunions are not an uncommon ailment, but it’s easy to go many years without actually learning what they are. That is until you have them! A bunion is a bony protuberance located on the foot. It develops at the base joint on the foot’s interior side, typically as a result of the big toe pressing into its adjacent toes. Over time, that pressure forces the bone to protrude toward the other foot.
One of the most common risk factors for bunions is long-term use of constrictive high-heeled shoes, which compel the foot into an unnatural position while walking. Significant pressure from the wearer’s weight coupled with a tight, angular shoe, may lead to or exacerbate painful bunions.
Bunions stretch the skin, leading to swelling and/or discomfort that is worsened by activities relying heavily on foot support. Bunions are not only painful but enlarged beyond the initial bone size. They can sorely complicate your love of hiking or basketball, preventing your foot from fitting comfortably inside a normal shoe.
If the Shoe Fits…
Unfortunately, bunions can also arise simply from arthritis or an inherited bone defect in the foot. So what do you wear if you find yourself with swollen bunions on your feet? One important aspect of treatment is to find the right shoes. For people with bunions, even going on a small walk can lead to discomfort. Good sneakers become critical to comfortable living.
Let’s cover some sneaker options with an eye toward features that ease pain and bring comfy mobility back to your daily routine.
Traveling with Space
Good sneakers for people with bunions will often include a wide toe box. Due to the sensitivity of the protrusions, a shoe that is too tight, or one that narrows toward the toes, can lead to painful chafing against the bunions. A wide toe box prevents this issue, giving sensitive toes literal wiggle room. Superior circulation is just an added benefit of the wide toe box.
The best sneakers for people with bunions will also include space between the tip of the longest toe and the front tip of the shoe. This ensures that the front of the foot isn’t compressed by the shoe, which can end up applying pressure to sensitive bunions. In general, wider sneaker designs are an optimal choice for people with bunions.
Despite the need for space, a sneaker should conform well to the shape of the foot. It should provide adequate support without compressing or squeezing the foot in order to avoid aggravating the bunions.
Always avoid pointy-toed shoes and tight sneakers! Ignoring the bunion issue and wearing inappropriate sneakers will worsen the issue over time. In general, for smaller and less dramatic bunions, a comfortable shoe with a spacious toe box will be enough to keep your feet happy. If the bunions are larger, causing the shape of the foot to become significantly distorted, a custom shoe may be required to accommodate the condition.
Cushion Concerns For The Best Sneakers for People with Bunions
For people with bunions, a harsh or restrictive shoe is out of the question. Extra padding and soft contours are essential for the elimination of pressure and chafing. Sneakers with velcro straps allow for a softer, comfier shoe overall. They allow the shoe to avoid dependence on common structural designs that may cause pain or swelling in feet suffering from bunions. In the event of swelling, velcro straps can be easily and incrementally loosened to allow the foot as much space as it needs.
With a tight shoe, there is the risk of rubbing harsh material against the forefoot. The upper part of the sneaker should feature cushioned layers for the kind of support and stability that is normally achieved through a tighter shoe. The midsole of the sneaker should also be padded with a taper toward the toes. This relieves pressure and strain that can occur with frequent walking.
The forefoot design of the sneaker should be non-binding to relieve painful friction. The heel cup ought to feature layers of gel for added support, preventing excess pressure on the foot with every step. And lastly, a cushioned polyurethane outsole provides shock absorption for sensitive feet that need to avoid stressful impact.
Depend on Durability
Finding just the right sneaker to accommodate feet with bunions may take time and careful searching. If the shoe is a custom specialty product, it may come at a higher price. The last thing you want is an expensive specialty shoe getting beat up before you’ve gotten your money’s worth.
That’s why the search for comfortable, safe, bunion-friendly shoes should prioritize durability. The longer your sneakers last, the better their overall value. Dependable sneakers mean consistent comfort, and you’ll save money in the long run — even if the best possible sneakers are on the pricey side.
The best sneakers for people with bunions depend on the individual, but a few clear features can reliably be found in bunion-friendly shoes:
The Best Sneakers for People with Bunion will feature:
- A wide toe box
- A gentle method for adjusting the sneaker, like velcro straps
- A midsole section with tapered padding
- A non-binding forefoot section
- Gel cushions on the heel cup
- Excellent durability
Avoid sneakers with:
- Harsh interiors that lack padding
- Tight interiors that chafe
- No shock absorption properties
Review and use our suggestions as you hunt for the perfect sneaker. Bunions may be a setback, but with the right sneakers, no hike, competition, nor sporting event will be out of your reach.