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Best Orthopedic Sandals for Women in 2022

Medically reviewed by Dr. Josh White, DPM - Written by OrthoFeet Team on Sep 13 2022

If you’re looking for a new pair of sandals this summer, you may be paying attention to the most popular styles, hoping they will also have the added feature of comfort. 

While there is a lot to consider in terms of style, whether it be color or upper design, there is even more to consider when it comes to comfort and how well the sandals fit your feet. Although most conventional brands don’t focus on comfort features, which makes finding good fitting sandals quite difficult, luckily, there are sandals that check both boxes - fashion and practicality: orthopedic sandals. 

To make it easier for you to find these custom-designed shoes, we listed our picks for the best 5 orthopedic sandals for women this year. 

The sandal styles we picked are cute and can pretty much pair with any outfit, but most importantly, they will keep your feet comfortable and protected from foot and back problems that can occur during increased outdoor activities in the summer months.

How Should I Choose the Best Orthopedic Sandals for Women?

When you start shopping for a new pair of orthopedic sandals for women, it’s important to know what features will make all the difference.

  •  What type of footbed do they have? Most shoe companies only include in their shoes a simple and relatively flat footbed that does not even classify as an insole. Orthotic insoles are completely different and are designed to help alleviate pain associated with diabetes, plantar fasciitis, bursitis, arthritis, flat feet and other common foot conditions. With no exception, all women’s orthotic sandals should also have these orthotic insoles built in.

  • Is there a break-in period? Most shoes that are not orthopedic shoes or are not designed with advanced comfort features are likely to have a break-in period until your feet adjust to them. Make sure you keep this in mind if you are planning on wearing new sandals out and about in the first few weeks. However, if you are purchasing a pair of orthopedic or orthotic sandals, a break-in period will not be necessary and you can start wearing the sandals from day one.

  • What width are the sandals? Since most sandals are only manufactured in one width, usually medium, many of us unfortunately end up wearing something that is too narrow for our feet. This is not only uncomfortable but can lead to many painful foot problems over the long run. If you don’t know what width to purchase, you can get measured in a full-service comfort shoe store that usually offers this service. For the growing number of people purchasing online, many online retailers share a sizing chart with measurements as well as include fit information for specific footwear.

  • Adjustability features? Straps, laces and elasticized cords are extremely important if you want to customize the fit to your specific foot type. The more adjustable options a sandal has, the more comfortable your feet will be.

  • Closed-toe or open-toe? Decide whether you want closed or open-toed sandals. Open-toed sandals will have more breathability and will be more comfortable in extra hot conditions. However, closed toe sandals are a great option for those who need added protection for sensitive feet or might not feel comfortable showing their toes and feet. Closed toe sandals are also good for more rugged and adventurous activities.

  • Are they waterproof or slip-resistant? These features are extras but can be important depending on the type of activity you will be doing.

Which sandals can you wear with orthotics?

Sandals can sometimes be tricky to use with custom orthotics, since they generally have an open upper design and one piece footbed that prohibits the insertion of a custom insert. However, there are a few brands out there that offer sandals with a unique design, making them orthotic-friendly. Look for ones that have:

  1. Adjustable forefoot and back straps, because they allow you to customize the fit of the sandal to the orthotics and the depth and width of your feet. 
  2. Extra depth and removable insoles are key. Your sandals will feel very tight (not to mention odd looking) if you need to place a custom orthotic on top of an existing footbed. Plus, they won’t stay in place if the sandal is an open toe style. Sandals with removable insoles will allow you to insert your own and offer a comfortable fit. 
  3. Closed toe (preferably) that can hold the orthotics in place. Closed toe sandals have a construction that is similar to shoes and can more easily accommodate custom orthotics. 

Can sandals cause heel pain?

Wearing the wrong type of sandals can cause many issues, including foot and heel pain, and even lead to foot problems. This is usually because most sandals are designed with a flat, thin and non cushioned footbed. 

Normally, heel pain is associated with conditions such as plantar fasciitis, caused by an inflammation of the ligament running along the bottom of the foot, and flat feet, where the arches on the inner side of the feet are flattened. 

In both cases, the best solution is sandals that offer good arch support and cushioning. This can be achieved by wearing sandals that have built in orthotics with a defined arch, in addition to thick padding that runs along the entire length of the sandal.

Why are my current sandals so uncomfortable?

Most footwear companies just don’t focus on advanced quality features so their sandals may feel thin, flat, and uncomfortable. When the biomechanics of the human body Is not taken into consideration in the design of shoes and sandals, they will lack adequate support and will start hurting your feet over time. Sandals should include orthotic insoles, a cushioning footbed, a sturdy sole, made from durable and breathable upper materials and be available in wide widths to accommodate different foot types. If you have sensitive feet or a specific foot conditions such as diabetes or arthritis, other features will be essential to keep your feet healthy. Seam free linings, extra depth, and padded interiors are a few examples.

A good pair of shoes and sandals would mean that that you don’t even realize they are on your feet!

Our Picks for the 5 Best Women’s Orthopedic Sandals

#1 The most comfortable sandal for walking: Malibu

The quarter strap design offers the most foot support holding the foot in the back and front. 

These quarter strap sandals are perfect if you’re looking for a comfortable, supportive sandal with an extra airy design. The recently redesigned outsole is now made with special rubber and unique tread design that increase traction and grip, allowing you to feel confident on any surface.

These open-toed sandals have ample adjustability with three straps across different areas of the foot:

  • The forefoot strap incorporates stretch and can accommodate bunions and hammertoes by gently stretching and conforming to the unique foot shape, without applying further pressure.
  • The middle strap is an innovative two-way strap system that enables you to open and close the sandal from either the inside or outside of the shoe. This creates a wide opening for easy on/off wear. It is also convenient for those who have trouble bending down to reach the outside of the shoe. And of course, the strap allows you to adjust the fit according to your particular instep. Narrow feet and feet with low insteps can shorten the straps even more by replacing them with the extra shorter tabs included.
  • The heel strap is cushioned, soft and stretchable, allowing you to adjust the grip around the heel to prevent slippage, perfect for feet with a wide forefoot and narrow heel. On the flip side, the strap can be loosened to accommodate AFOs and braces that require more space, making them the best sandals for AFOs and braces.

 

The Malibu style features an orthotic insole designed to alleviate heel pain and plantar fasciitis, while supporting the arch and the ball-of-the-foot. For those who need additional arch support, an Arch Booster is included and can be placed under the orthotic insole to further enhance support.

The Malibu sandals are available in wide and extra wide widths too.

Shop Malibu Sandals

#2 The best sandals for arch support: Clio

 

With their soft and thin toe-post and advanced Orthofeet technology, the Clio toe-post sandals offer the ultimate solution for women looking for arch support without compromising on style. 

The Clio flip-flop style sandals feature premium orthotic insoles with anatomical arch support that makes walking that much more comfortable. In addition, this advanced feature improves the alignment of the foot and body for better posture and together with the firm heel counter, also improves stability. 

The Ortho-Cushion system features an ergonomic sole with mild rocker design that propels the foot forward, so you can expect to feel like you’re walking on a soft cloud.

The added bonus of these toe-post sandals is that they have a strap on either side of the foot that allows you to fully customize the fit for a better grip, while the rubber outsole prevents slippage and allows you to walk freely. 

The soft straps are padded with foam and are ideal for sensitive feet with diabetes, neuropathy and arthritis, while the thin and equally soft toe-post prevents irritation and blisters between the toes. 

Finally, the Clio sandals are available in a wide range of widths, including wide-width, and come in two colors: brown and black. 

Shop Clio Sandals

#3 The best sandals for older women: Naples

Slip into cloud-like comfort with the Naples sandals, a fisherman style that keeps your toes out of sight and offers additional protection with plenty of space in the forefoot for those that have bunions, hammertoes and swollen feet. 

These sandals are designed to support the foot on long walks, absorbing shock forces and decreasing stress and strain on your body, so you can continue to be active pain free.

Innovatively designed with a removable anatomical orthotic insole, they will support your arch, cradle your heel and provide the ultimate cushioning from heel to toe. 

The Naples sandals will also correct your gait and prevent your foot from rolling inwards when you walk, making them the best sandals for those who struggle with overpronation.

A completely seam free interior offers gentle contact against the skin and eliminates rubbing and blisters. Every part of this sandal features thick interior padding that gently protects sensitive feet and is an optimal choice for neuropathy, diabetes and arthritis. 

The bungee cord and two-way strap system offer a customized fit, which accommodates all types of feet, including swollen, narrow and feet with different insteps. A closed back and heel counter provide extra coverage, prevent heel slippage and are perfect for those with a narrow heel.

Naples is available in a deep blue and in medium, wide and even extra wide widths. 

Shop Naples Sandals

#4 The best sandals to wear for plantar fasciitis: Amalfi

The Amalfi leather sandals are both flattering and unbelievably comfortable, featuring lightweight cushioning soles and orthotic insoles with multiple cushioning layers that prevent shock forces on the heel, thus reducing plantar fasciitis symptoms. The Ortho-Cushion system also helps to alleviate pain on the foot, knees, hip and back. 

With plenty of straps to adjust the fit and an extra wide (2E) option means there is no pinching and no foot spillage, which means the, Amalfi sandals are perfectsandals are also the perfect sandals for wide feet.

By easily adjusting the three forefoot straps and the two-way strap (a total of 5 adjustable straps!), you can effortlessly make sureadjust the sandals to the right fit for you just right. This works perfectly for a wide range ofany foot shapes. So, if you happen to have any combination, such as a bunion and narrow instep or vicevise versa, you can achieve a perfect fit. 

The two-way strap system enables fastening and unfastening on both sides of the sandals, which makes it much easier to put them on and take them off. 

The sandals also feature soft straps with extra foam padding that prevent irritation and provide superior comfort for sensitive feet.

Ready to walk comfortably in style? All that’s left for you to do is to choose the Amalfi you like best: black or camel. 

Shop Amalfi Sandals

#5 Best orthopedic sandals for back pain: Hydra

The beautifully designed Hydra sandals, which are available in blue, gray and brown, feature state-of-the-art technology that eases back pain and many other foot ailments.

The advanced orthotic insoles offer anatomical arch support that re-aligns the foot, leg and back posture by preventing the foot from rolling inwards, while the cushioning soles soften every step and absorb much of the shock, preventing it from reaching the back. 

In addition, to help control overpronation the sandals feature a firm heel counter and wide soles that also improve stability. 

The foam padded leather upper protects the feet from irritation and enhances comfort even further, and the two adjustable straps (strap across the toes and instep) and two-way strap system allow you to fully customize the fit and to effortlessly put the sandals on and take them off. 

Customizing the fit holds the foot properly in place and this offers stability and helps keep the feet and body in a neutral position, minimize pressure on the joints and prevent or ease back pain.

If you need enhanced arch support, you can add our Arch Booster under the orthotic insoles and improve the alignment of the leg and lower back all the more. 

Hydra is made with soft suede upper, giving it a refined classy look that is suitable for everyday or special occasions. 

Shop Hydra Sandals