Shoes for the Elderly with Balance Problems

Did you know that for the elderly, falling once doubles the chance of falling again? Falls can sometimes result in serious injuries like broken bones, head injuries, hip fractures, and in extreme cases, can even lead to paralysis or life-threatening situations. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four seniors1 in America experiences a fall each year, but less than half inform their doctor about their fall.

Elderly Person Fallen

Like all other parts of your body, the feet are susceptible to changes that come with growing older. As your body ages, the feet can undergo physiological changes that can make seniors more susceptible to foot pain among other problems.

Good balance starts with a suitable pair of shoes that provide adequate support, comfort, and overall functionality. In this article, we review for you the very best shoes for the elderly with balance problems and provide a guide for how to look for great shoes for balance problems. We analyzed dozens of shoes that are comfortable for the elderly and address balance-related issues and have selected some of the best options for you.  The table below gives a snapshot of our top choices. Read on for our detailed reviews and our shoe shopping guide. Let’s get started!

IMAGE PRODUCT
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  • Comfortable and breathable
  • Lightweight with excellent traction
  • Flexible and durable rubber outsole
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  • Lightweight and sturdy
  • Highly adjustable forefoot straps
  • Extra width and depth
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  • Offers the right amount of breathability
  • Ultra-lightweight and comfortable for walking
  • Heel pad cushion and arch support
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  • Lightweight and easy slip-on construction
  • Flexible rubber sole
  • Seamless comfortable fit
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  • Versatile
  • Well built, durable, and stable
  • Lightweight and easy to clean
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Elderly with a good balance

Best Shoes for Elderly Women with Balance Problems

1. Skechers Performance Women’s Slip-On Walking Shoe

Our top recommended shoe for elderly women with balance problems is the Skechers Performance Women’s Slip-On Walking Shoe. Its overall build quality, comfort, and finish make it our top choice.

Skechers Performance Women's Go Walk 4 Kindle Walking Shoe

The Skechers Performance Women’s Shoe is manufactured of 100% mesh that allows your foot to breathe efficiently, making them feel almost like open footwear. The soft mesh upper and virtually seamless construction ensure a comfortable fit for the user.

It has a robust and flexible rubber sole that prevents sharp objects from penetrating and keeping it safe for the individual. It is radically lightweight to an extent that you might not feel their weight at all.

This shoe incorporates an innovative and very responsive 5GEN midsole cushioning that ensures optimal shock absorption. This ensures that you do not feel any sort of discomfort while moving on different uneven surfaces.

The New Goga Max high rebound footbed energizes each step. The footbed is lined with bamboo that offers anti-bacterial odor control.

The shoe is highly breathable and comfortable. It has a robust and flexible rubber sole that prevents the penetration of sharp objects and makes the shoe very comfortable to walk in.

Pros

  • These shoes are comfortable and breathable.
  • Lightweight with excellent traction.
  • Easy slip-on construction. No laces or straps needed for a comfortable fit.
  • Flexible and durable rubber outsole along with excellent traction.
  • It features an antibacterial odor control.

Cons

  • Not appropriate for wet weather as it is constructed of mesh and does not protect from moisture.
  • Due to its soft exterior and low build, the shoe does not offer adequate ankle support.
  • As they are constructed of a flexible mesh material, some users may find them to be slightly large. Considering going down half a size if your usual size does not fit.
  • As they do not have laces or straps it is important to purchase a size that is tight enough that they do not slip off when walking.

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2. Orthoshoes – Women’s Edema Shoes

These diabetic velcro shoes are not just lightweight but sturdy as well. They combine style and softness with the latest lightweight materials.

Orthoshoes Women's Edema Shoes

The upper portion is made of breathable material which is perfect for all seasons and outdoor activities. The stretch mesh upper expands with your foot when you are walking, and closely fit your foot shape for more comfort and less irritation.

They have generous heel-to-toe padding that provides lasting shock absorption and cushioning. The protective toe box provides additional protection from toe stubbing.

The forefoot straps are very adjustable thanks to the Velcro closures. The range in which these can be adjusted is ideal for changes in the degrees of swelling.

The shoes have extra width and depth that assist in alleviating pressure on the swollen feet, edema, bunions, diabetes, or hammertoes. They are roomy enough to accommodate regular to largely swollen feet of the user. The hook and loop strap ensures that the fit is snug and comfortable.

These shoes are ideal for those users who are in need of the extra stretch that would accommodate swollen feet, calluses, osteoarthritis, injuries involving tendons, muscles, and bones or those who need a shoe for post-operation.

Additionally, they are machine and hand washable, making them very easy to care for.

Pros

  • Lightweight and sturdy.
  • Easily adjustable forefoot straps with Velcro closures.
  • Extra width and depth reduce the amount of pressure on the feet.
  • Machine and hand washable for extremely easy care.

Cons

  • They have very minimal arch support, so these are not recommended for those with higher arched feet or with foot pain with lack of arch support.
  • Not appropriate for wet weather as it is constructed of mesh and does not protect from moisture.

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3. Mejormen Women’s Walking Shoes

The Mejormen Women’s Walking Shoes are very reminiscent of our second choice above, and feature adjustable velcro fastening closures at the forefoot facilitating easy stepping in and out of the shoes. They completely adjust to the width of your feet, making a great choice for the elderly with balance problems.

Mejormen Women's Walking Shoes

These shoes feature an easy slip-on and full-coverage style along with a comfortable hook-and-loop strap. These features provide a customized fit for your feet and offer comfort to swollen feet.

The shoes also have a premium orthotic cushioned insole in the shoe. The outsole provides grip for both outdoor and indoor wear, and keeps the elderly from slipping and falling.. It is stable and wide, very comfortable, and soft to wear.

These shoes have anatomical arch support and a cushioning heel pad that conforms to the foot contours while you are walking. This feature enhances your comfort and helps relieve you of pain at the heel and foot, moving all the way up to the knees, lower back, and hips.

The generous heel-to-toe padding offers lasting cushioning and shock absorption. The wide-width shoes are very light in weight and not binding to any area of the foot. 

The shoes are available in three styles, with breathable mesh that is suitable for summer and spring seasons.

These shoes are engineered to offer the best footwear solution for ailments like Plantar Fasciitis, Diabetic and Arthritic feet, Pronation, Metatarsalgia, etc. 

Pros

  • The upper mesh offers the right amount of breathability.
  • Ultra-lightweight and comfortable for walking.
  • Heel pad cushion and arch support offer great comfort and convenience to recovering diabetics.
  • Once again, machine and hand washable for extremely easy care.
  • The manufacturers offer a 100% no-risk money-back guarantee for their purchase.

Cons

  • The shoes may be a little wide, although that can be adjusted with the Velcro strap.
  • The shoes are not very suitable for wet weather conditions due to the mesh upper.

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4. Propét Women’s Pedwalker 3 Slip-On Shoes

The Propét Women’s Pedwalker Slip-On shoes are imported and made of 100% man-made leather. They have a synthetic sole consisting of a hybrid of sponge and rubber that is tough and durable.

Propét Women's Pedwalker 3 Velcro Strap Slip-On Shoes

This leather shoe has a heel that measures approximately 0.5″. The twin insoles are removable and provide maximum customization. They can be removed to accommodate orthotics.

The extra roomy shape gives plenty of room to spread out your feet and relax. The Velcro system is very comfortable to wear and makes it easy to slip-on or off.

Pros

  • Synthetic leather with a rubber-infused synthetic sole makes the shoe comfortable and safe.
  • Easy to wear with the Velcro strap system.
  • Attractive design that can be used both casually, formally, and professionally.
  • Found by a number of diabetic users to be comfortable for their swelling feet. 
  • Comes in wide and extra wide sizes for those with wider feet. However, sizes are not always in stock.

Cons

  • The shoe might not be long-lasting for regular or intense activity.
  • The synthetic outsole, due to its hybrid nature containing sponge, is less grippy on certain surfaces than fully rubber soles.

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Best Shoes for Elderly Men with Balance Problems

1. New Balance Men’s 577 V1 Walking Shoe

Our top choice for men balance problems is the New Balance Men’s 577 V1 Walking Shoe. This shoe is made of 100% leather for its upper and a synthetic sole. It’s a low-top shoe making it flexible to wear and more comfortable for warmer weathers.

New Balance Men's 577 V1 Walking Shoe

It is a lightweight and comfortable walking shoe that features a cushioned collar – perfect for elderly with balance problems. With its Velcro straps, this Velcro shoe allows for a custom fit with the right amount of tension without the hassle of laces.

New Balance Men's 577 V1 Hook...

The polyurethane midsole offers stable cushioning. The foam-padded collar and tongue provide a comfortable fit. The ankle and tongue areas are extra cushioned and keep balance and stability maintained for the user. The shoe offers excellent arch support. If you are out after dark, the sneakers feature reflective areas for safety purposes.

Pros

  • Made of 100% leather.
  • A lightweight shoe.
  • Great support for sore and painful feet.
  • Easy-to-use Velcro straps to seal in a perfect fit.
  • Comes in Wide and Extra Wide fits for those with wider feet.
  • Comes in three colors: beige, white, black.

Cons

  • The shoes may run small for some individuals, so it is recommended you go half a size up from your usual size, or try one of the wider fits offered.
  • The Velcro straps have been found to be a bit short for individuals using custom orthotic insoles. If the sizing does not feel suitable or orthotics are used, we recommend again to go up half a size.

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2. Skechers Performance Go Walk Evolution Ultra

Our second choice for men are the The Skechers Performance Go Walk Evolution Shoes. These are textile shoes that are lightweight and come with responsive Ultra Go cushioning for a comfortable walking experience. With these patented features, they are a great choice for elderly with balance issues.

Skechers Performance Go Walk Evolution Ultra - Impeccable Shoes

The upper portion of the shoes is constructed of a soft, mesh fabric material further supported by a padded collar and elastic side panels that make for comfortable, enveloping fit that is easy to slip on. 

Overlays overtop the toe box and heel cup help to improve the durability of the shoes.

Finally, as mentioned, the midsole Ultra Go cushioning is lightweight and responsive. The outsole cushion includes  Ultra Pillars underfoot that makes each step feel as if walking on a cushion.

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy slip-on construction. No laces or straps needed for a seamless comfortable fit.
  • Patented, light weight and response cushioning.
  • The inner sole provides  durability, stability, and ideal grip.
  • Comes in a variety of colors.

Cons

  • The shoes might experience wear and tear if used for high activity sports. Intended primarily for walking.
  • As they do not have laces or straps it is important to purchase a size that is tight enough that they do not slip off when walking.

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3. Propét Men’s LifeWalker Strap Walking Shoe

The Propét Men’s Life Walker Strap Walking Shoe is manufactured in Canada with 100% leather. It is super lightweight and features a rubber sole and a brushed nylon lining.

Propét Men's Life Walker Strap Walking Shoe

It also comes with a padded collar and tongue with a built-in contoured heel stabilizer and dual strap Velcro-closure. The cushioned orthotic is removable and there is also an adjustable hook and loop closure.

This shoe offers complete shock absorption, easy stride, and maximum breathability. The midsole is EVA and provides a durable arch support that helps in controlling pronation.

This pair of shoes is Medicare certified and is a great choice for the elderly suffering from a multitude of foot ailments.

The shoes are very stable and make walking on concrete or other rough surfaces a breeze. The light weight of the shoes combined with their stability makes them an ideal contender for regular walkers who like to lead an active lifestyle.

Pros

  • A versatile shoe that works on all kinds of surfaces.
  • Well built, durable, and stable.
  • Lightweight and easy to clean.
  • EVA midsole for a durable arch support.
  • Easy to use Velcro closure.
  • Upper blends seamlessly with the sole in all three colors: beige, white, black.
  • A range of widths are offered: Wide, X-Wide, XX-Wide

Cons

  • The toe box could be a bit narrow, making for an overall slightly undersized shoe. We recommend going up half a size, or selecting one of the various wider options.

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4. Merrell Men’s Encore Gust Slip-On Shoe

The Merrell Men’s Encore Gust Slip-On Shoes are an excellent slip-on option for those not wanting to fiddle with laces or straps, and is made of 100% full-grain leather. They have a supportive synthetic and a padded collar. The Merrell air cushion in the heel has the ability to absorb shock.

Merrell Men's Encore Gust Slip-On Shoe

The compression-molded EVA foot frame offers comfort and stability. It also has an antimicrobial solution that takes care of any bad odor that might arise after a long day out. The anatomical design and Ortholite footbed help keep your feet comfortable and fresh throughout the day.

Pros

  • The antimicrobial solution ensures there are no issues related to bad odor.
  • Highly breathable and very comfortable with an Ortholite removable insole and an air cushion. 
  • Excellent traction.
  • Easy slip-on design.

Cons

  • The shoes may feel a bit narrow for those with a wider forefoot. As such, consider going a half or full size up if you have wider feet.
  • As they do not have laces or straps it is important to purchase a size that is tight enough that they do not slip off when walking.

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5. Hush Puppies Men’s Gil Slip-On Shoe

The Hush Puppies Men’s Gil Slip-On shoes are made of 100% flexible and comfortable leather with a rubber sole. The durable rubber outsole absorbs any form of impact to help in relieving the foot pressure. The lightweight Elon midsole and the removable contoured insole offer soft cushioning.

Hush Puppies Men's Gil Slip-On Shoe

The shoes are ultra-lightweight and the rubber outsole keeps your feet free of fatigue throughout the day. The shoe is comfortable to wear and remove with its simple hook and loop closure, so elderly do not need to spend time and effort to tie laces. 

The soft leather upper conforms to the foot of the user and eliminates the break-in period. The shoes are easy to clean and maintain. All they require is just buffing with a leather cleaner or polish and wiping off with a damp cloth; this makes for easy maintenance for elderly individuals who can benefit with this ease of use.

Pros

  • 100% flexible leather upper makes it a durable and comfortable option.
  • Easy to secure with the hook and loop closure.
  • Removable, contoured EVA footbed.
  • Comes in a wide variety of ten or so color options.
  • Comes in Wide and X-Wide size options.

Cons

  • Not ideal for hot weather due to its sealed leather upper. 
  • Some users have found the cushioning to be not be adequate for more active activities or for diabetics with swollen feet.

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How Can a Pair of Shoes Help Elderly With Balance Problems?

Seniors have a tendency to walk by shuffling their feet. This habit can be further perpetuating if using inadequately designed or poorly fit shoes, and can increase risk of falling. High heels, slick soled shoes, and floppy slippers are some types of footwear that are not suitable for seniors with balance problems and difficulties walking. Shoes with laces also pose a hazard, as the laces can be tripped over if they are undone.

Shoes designed for elders are typically also made to help mitigate common balance problems that come with age, and are also manufactured with enhanced attributes like great traction, softer and light soles, and the ability to fit the feet well even when feet are swollen.

This sort of construction makes it safer to walk in and reduces the risk of falls in the elderly.

Senior balancing

 

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Which Features Make the Shoes for Balance Problems Different From Regular Shoes?

The primary logic behind shoes for balance problems is to reduce the risk of falls in seniors by promoting mobility and improving balance.

A lot of seniors sometimes go to the extent of reducing their social engagements and foregoing some of their daily activities just because of their fear of a fall. Thus it becomes important to wear shoes that can prevent falls and help in balancing for the elderly.

The shoes we’re interested in are designed to keep the safety of the elderly in mind. They carry a multitude of features that are normally not available in regular shoes. Some of these key features include:

  • Larger Fit: One of the most common issues that the seniors face is edema or swelling of their feet, legs, and ankles. This happens primarily due to reasons like hormonal fluctuations, lack of exercise, or sitting or standing for too long. These shoes are made wider and more flexible so that they can accommodate swollen feet.
  • Extra Light: With age, a lot of seniors tend to lose their strength and may find it difficult to walk for long durations in heavy shoes. These shoes are manufactured using materials that keep them solid yet lightweight.
  • Extra Soft: The elderly tend to grow sensitive to minor discomforts in their day to day lives. With this considered, the materials used for these shoes are cushy and create a soft and cool feeling. Extra heel cushioning is a great feature commonly available in a good walking balance shoe. It protects the feet from pressing hard on the floor of the shoe thereby preventing inflammation and irritation, as well as general heel pain.
  • Three-Dimensional Support: A good walking shoe will have a soft interior, a roomy toe box that can fit in swelling and bunions, and a contoured footbed that molds to the shape of your feet. With this, it can provide all-round support to the feet. The incorporated orthotic insoles can fit the feet in a much more supportive fashion as compared to conventional insoles. It also balances the biomechanical inadequacies of the legs and the foot. All these features together allow the elderly to walk comfortably even when suffering from a foot condition like plantar fasciitis or diabetic foot ulcers, thereby making it quite unlikely to trip or fall.
  • Excellent Traction: These kinds of shoes offer great stability and have superb traction on both dry and wetter surfaces. They often have treaded heels and provide much better contact with the surface to help stabilize posture.
  • Velcro Strap: Loose fitting shoes are one of the main reasons for falls in the elderly. To account for this, balance shoes for seniors often have a versatile Velcro strip that allows them to adjust in order to get a snug fit. The Velcro straps tend to stay tight preventing any need to keep readjusting them. Velcro fastening also helps the elderly with slipping on and off the shoes with ease, and eliminates the need for laces that can pose a tripping hazard.

Elderly People Wearing Sports Shoes for Good Balance and Jogging

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Types of Shoes for Elderly with Balance Problems

The market has a variety of shoe types designed for a comfortable walking experience for the elderly.

Walking Shoes

A lot of seniors prefer walking as a safe physical exercise in their daily routine. Wearing shoes specially designed for walking can help keep seniors safe and comfortable. These shoes fit their feet well, and a great fit helps to prevent common injuries like blisters and calluses. Most of these shoes are fairly lightweight and possess excellent shock absorption capabilities.

Orthopedic Shoes

These shoes is specially designed to accommodate irregular foot mechanics and structure. They have multiple features that are physiologically beneficial. This includes soles that provide a smooth rocking motion so as to ensure that they accommodate an elderly walker’s proper gait.

These shoes are excellent if you experience some sort of toe or foot-related deformities, weak joints, wide bunions, foot injuries, or open sores. They also have comfortable orthotic insoles and are often available plenty of widths and shapes that ensure a proper fit irrespective of the shape of your foot.

Elderly man choosing the right shoe

Slip-On Shoes

This type of shoe is often low-profile slippers, loafers, or moccasins. They lack laces, making them easy to slip on and off. They can be informal and casual for leisure but can also fit in work-related environments. 

Velcro Shoes

Velcro shoes are lightweight and come with one or two easy-to-tighten Velcro straps.  They are extremely comfortable for the elderly who face trouble in tying their regular shoes due to physical disabilities like arthritis that make bending or reaching their feet a painful experience. Newer Velcro shoes on the market are not just functional but stylish and trendy as well.

Sandals

Sandals are preferred footwear during hot summer months or when you are planning a trip to the beach because of their open design. They consist of a treaded sole that is held to your foot by sturdy straps stretching over the instep and/or around the ankle.

House Shoes

House shoes like the slipper or flip flops are casual footwear that are worn mainly in and around the house. They are soft and lightweight with comfortability. However, they are not proper footwear for your outdoor walks as their soles are typically not designed to be durable enough to handle hard and rough concrete.

 

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Key Features to Consider for a Personalized Fit

There are a few details that you should consider when looking for the shoe to address balance problems.

Shoe Size

A properly sized shoe is always safer as it ensures that your foot is comfortable and you are able to maintain your natural gait. If the shoes are too big, they may cause seniors to twist their ankle and may lead to a fall.

If shoes are too tight, they may lead to foot pain thereby making it difficult for the elderly person to walk and focus on each step that they are taking.

As foot size changes with age, we recommend getting your feet measured properly. Remember to wear your regular socks while getting the measurements done. Most online vendors provide sizing charts that are helpful in identifying if the shoe would fit in or not. In case one of the foot is bigger, always buy the size that is fitting the larger foot.

Elderly choosing a shoe for his balance problem

Shoe Weight

Heavy shoes can be more challenging to wear for weaker seniors. Heavier shoes are more difficult to lift with each step, leading senior to tend to shuffle when they walk, which can lead to tripping and falling.

Heel Height

A low-heeled shoe provides more stability and thus the thickness of the shoe heel should not be more than an inch. Also, wearing a high heel shoe is not good for posture, balance, and gait, which can increase risk of falling.

Comfort

Some shoes have a custom orthotic insert which making for a more comfortable walking experience.

An Achilles tendon protector is handy as well as it reduces the stress on your Achilles tendon while a heel collar can cushion your ankle.

A mesh upper (and open shoes) provide better ventilation.

A wider toe box provides additional room for your toes to spread out and also helps in preventing calluses.

Some shoes have materials like foam, gel, or air in their midsole that improve the cushioning.

Moisture-wicking materials assist in controlling the temperature inside the shoe.

Traction

A shoe with great traction allows stepping safely on a variety of surfaces, such as wet pavement, mud, dirt, grass, or rocks. Note however, that a sole with treads that are too deep can potentially catch imperfections on the ground, causing seniors to trip and fall. Look for a shoe with a tread that is deep enough that suits your ability to raise your feet when walking.

It is Possible to Buy Shoes for Elderly with Balance Problems

Arch Support

Arch support in shoes helps in reducing pain and reduces chance of foot problems arising from lack of adequate support. This can be important for elderly who are suffering from feet ailments like arch pain that can come about with age. A midsole and orthopedic insole with a generous arch can help to alleviate this issue.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What sorts of balance problems can elderly individuals acquire with age?

See this article to gain a better understanding of potential balance problems for seniors.

Q. What are the best shoe types for elderly with balance problems?

The shoes types we recommend for balance problems are those that are walking shoes that are specially designed for seniors, as these often come with generous comfort and support and were manufactured with elderly walking conditions in mind. Orthopedic shoes come with orthotic insoles and a comfortable midsole as well. Walking and orthopedic shoes that are slip-on or have Velcro straps are great for ease-of-us and convenience.

Q. How can buying suitable shoes help your balance?

Shoes designed for walking and the elderly in mind often come in a more spacious fit, are extra light, extra soft and cushy, have great traction underneath their soles, can be slipped on more easily, and ensure a great supportive fit all around the foot. With these key elements are covered, these shoes provide great fit, comfort, and support, and thus aid in helping seniors to have better balance when they walk.

Q. What are some great orthotic insoles I can use for my shoes if the existing insoles are not adequate?

Click here for a list of podiatrist-recommended orthotic insoles.

Q. How deep should the tread be on my shoes for elderly with balance problems?

A shoe with great traction allows stepping safely on a variety of surfaces, so the tread should be fairly pronounced; however, note that a sole with treads that are too deep can potentially catch imperfections on the ground, causing seniors to trip and fall. Look for a shoe with a tread that is deep enough that suits your ability to raise your feet when walking.

 

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Parting Words – The Importance of Shoes for Preventing Falls

Choosing a comfortable shoe for the elderly is one of the best ways to manage changes in the feet that come with age and help prevent unnecessary falls and pain. Shoes for elderly with balance problems include some features that other footwear may not prioritize. They are comfortable, stable, and are able to fit the feet perfectly to prevent slips that can lead to dangerous falls.

If you suffer from specific foot-related ailments like plantar fasciitis, ensure that you choose a shoe that is comfortable for you and can address your walking concerns. It is advisable for you to consult a podiatrist or a foot specialist, who can help to measure your feet and offers suggestions on the features that you should look for to find the right shoe for your situation.

In our opinion, the Skechers Performance Women’s Slip-On Walking Shoe and the New Balance Men’s 577 V1 Walking Shoe are the best choices among the various options considering their ease of use (mesh or Velcro) and supportive treaded soles.

For less casual options, consider the Propét Women’s Pedwalker 3 Slip-On Shoes or the Merrell Men’s Encore Gust Slip-On Shoe, which have leather uppers that can be suitable for use in place of dress shoes in more formal settings.

As we age, our body can do with support from aids. Tools like shoe horns and slip-on sock aids (sock slider) can be ideal complement to shoes for aging feet. 

 

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html