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10 Best Shoes for Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT)

Medical information provided by Dr Steven Gershman DPM - Written by OrthoFeet Team on Jan 31 2024

Finding your stride with Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) isn't always easy, but the right shoes can make a huge difference. 

With that specific purpose in mind, we've put together crucial information about the condition and created a list of footwear designed to make life, especially walking, more manageable for those living with CMT. 

Are you ready? Let's (carefully) jump right in.

What type of shoes are best for CMT?

“CMT is a neurological disorder that affects much of the body with major manifestations in the lower legs and feet. It is inherited/genetic,” notes Dr. Steven Gershman, DPM. “Effects include motor and sensory neuropathy or nerve damage. There are significant effects on the muscles in the lower legs, causing wasting and weakening of the muscles, leading to foot drop and hammertoes. Additionally, the foot is high-arched and loses or reduces sensation.”

Dr. Gershman goes on to say that “Shoes need to accommodate the deformed hammertoes and high-arched feet. An extra-depth shoe is important for both issues. In addition, a wide, round toe box is needed for the hammertoes.”

Dr. Gershman adds that since “the high-arched foot tends to be unstable and supinate or roll out, the shoe needs to be stable in addition to deep. A solid heel counter is important to resist supination. Orthotics are often required to stabilize the feet and reduce pressure on the forefoot due to the high arch. The shoes need to be extra deep for the orthotics.”

According to Dr. Gershman, many CMT patients require a brace or what is called an AFO (ankle-foot orthotic) that goes under the foot and up the lower leg. “Shoes need to accommodate this brace with extra depth and a roomy toe box,” he says.

“Many shoes will work with an AFO. They also make a stretchable toe box shoe which works well with an AFO and is especially helpful for hammertoes,” advises Dr. Gershman.

To reinforce these recommendations, a study from the Netherlands, published in the journal Clinical Biomechanics, underscored the positive impact of wearing specialized shoes designed for individuals with Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy (HMSN).

The key improvements were seen in how fast people walked and specific aspects of their walking pattern. Wearing these specialized shoes also helped with better foot placement when taking steps and reduced the occurrence of foot drop during the swinging phase of walking, contributing to the overall improvement in walking performance.

To put these insights into practical perspective, let's now delve into a curated selection of recommended footwear that can provide comfort and support for those managing CMT.

Best shoes for CMT

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that all the shoes that made our list:

  • Feature a wide and round toe box
  • Are designed with built-in anatomical arch support
  • Come with removable footbeds, allowing you to insert your own or make room for AFOs
  • Offer extra depth and stability
  • Include a solid heel counter

Best Walking shoes for CMT

Women’s Coral

Coral

Why you’ll love it

  • Highly flexible materials in the upper provide a customized and pressure-free fit
  • Soles that actively reduce strain and impact on the feet and lower legs

Specs

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: Standard (B) - Extra Wide (2E)
  • Upper materials: stretch knit
  • Available colors: white, black, no-tie black, gray, sandy, blue, lavender, turquoise, wool gray

 

Engineered with highly flexible materials in the upper, these sneakers adapt to the exact shape of your foot, providing a customized and pressure-free fit. In addition, the materials are breathable, ensuring ventilation and that your feet are cool and dry, even during periods of activity.

The women's Coral sneakers feature a multi-layered insole cushioning that minimizes impacts on the feet and lower legs, effectively preventing excessive pronation common in CMT and alleviating associated pain.

Moreover, the Coral sneakers' lightweight and mild rocker bottom design facilitates a more natural and comfortable walking motion. By doing so, they actively reduce strain and impact on the feet and legs, promoting an improved walking experience with reduced pain and discomfort for those managing CMT.

While most Coral versions feature regular lacing, the black version is equipped with a convenient bungee cord for easy fastening and unfastening, eliminating the need for lace-tying.

Feedback from users

“Fantastic!! I love the extra wide shoes for my CMT foot issues!! I have bought two pairs in two weeks!”

Victoria Wittrock

Men’s Edgewater

Edgewater

Why you’ll love it

  • Subtle rocker bottom design propels the foot forward, making walking effortless
  • Premium orthotic insole maintain foot health and prevent overpronation

Specs

  • Sizes: 7-15
  • Widths: Standard (D) - Extra Wide (4E)
  • Upper materials: stretch knit
  • Available colors: gray, blue, black

 

The men's Edgewater shoes are crafted with 4-way stretch materials in the upper, specifically designed to follow the foot’s contour and conforming to their exact shape, including deformities. This unique feature benefits hammertoes by providing a pressure-free environment and at the same time, prevents further deformation. 

The highly breathable nature of the stretch materials is yet another advantage, ensuring that feet remain aerated at all times, preventing infections and bad odors.

The premium orthotic insole plays a crucial role in maintaining foot health, ensuring that when feet touch the ground, they do not overpronate, exerting minimal pressure on hammertoes and feet. In addition, it aligns the feet and body from the ground up, contributing to overall comfort and wellbeing.

On the bottom, the expertly cushioned soles minimize impact on the feet, legs and back, while their subtle rocker bottom design helps propel the foot forward, taking the effort out of walking. 

Feedback from users

“More than I was hoping for!

Being a 75 year old and desperately trying to find a comfortable walking shoe, I now rejoice in saying ‘I have found it!’ I wear orthotic braces on both legs due to CMT Syndrome and have developed hammer toe deformation on both feet. I now can walk without tightness, irritation and pain. Plenty of stretch, flexibility and looseness. Thank you for allowing me to walk again without pain.”

Robert Flynn

Best slippers for CMT

Women’s Capri | Men’s Tuscany

Tuscany

Why you’ll love it

  • The lace across the instep allows you to tighten or loosen the fit to your liking
  • A similar construction to shoes ensures support and control, even when you're indoors

Specs

  • Sizes: women 5-12 | men 7-14
  • Widths: women Standard (B) - Wide (D) | men Standard (D) - Wide (2E)
  • Upper materials: leather
  • Available colors: Capri - camel | Tuscany - brown

 

These moccasin-style slippers are perfect for winter, especially if you’re living with CMT. 

The Capri and Tuscany slippers have a similar construction to shoes, which means they provide support and control with a closed back design. The lace across the instep is fully functional, so you can tighten or loosen them to your liking.

The entire slipper, including the footbed, shoe tongue and top cover, is lined with soft faux fur. This makes them feel like you're walking on a fluffy cloud.

The wide forefoot and extra depth provide a roomy fit that leaves enough space for toe movement and protection against pressure points.

The premium orthotic insoles support the arches and provide cushioning from heel to toe. And finally, the durable ergonomic rubber outsole makes these slippers easy to walk in and even suitable for outdoor use, just in case you find it hard to part with them.

Feedback from users

Capri

“Wonderful fit!

My granddaughter has CMT 4J. She has had multiple surgeries on her feet. I was thrilled to find slippers for her that fit well and were sturdy for her to wear. Thank you so much OrthFeet!”

Randilee Hayward

Tuscany

“Great Slippers!!

I am very happy with my Tuscany slippers. They are soooo comfortable and extremely well made for long lasting durability. My Podiatrist who oversees my foot care for CMT disease recommends them and they offer great support when just lounging around my house. Thank you Orthofeet!!!!”

George Siegris

Best boots for CMT

Women’s Florence

Florence

Why you’ll love it

  • The waterproof uppers ensure feet are snug and comfortable in any weather
  • Cutting-edge footwear technology offers exceptional ankle stability

Specs

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: Standard (B) - Wide (D)
  • Upper materials: leather
  • Available colors: black, camel, taupe, brown (the only one that’s not slip-resistant)

 

These versatile stunners feature both fashion and function, ensuring your feet stay cozy and dry while you strut your stuff.

Rain or shine, the waterproof exterior is your shield, keeping your feet snug and comfortable no matter the downpour.

Engineered with cutting-edge footwear technology, Florence boots offer exceptional ankle stability, ideal for those with CMT or simply seeking extra confidence on wintery terrains.

The rubber sole with special tread design improves grip, allowing you to better keep your balance on a variety of surfaces with ease. The sole is also ergonomic and fully cushioned, ensuring each step asserts minimal stress on the foot and legs.

This is further supported by the orthotic insoles that help prevent overpronation and realign the feet with the rest of the body. 

Feedback from users

“Best ever!

I have CMT and wear braces so getting a pair of warm waterproof boots has been next to impossible. These are stylish and warm. I use a long shoe horn and they slip right on, then close the Velcro straps. So easy and did I mention my feet stay WARM. Very durable, shed water and soles are not slick on wet surfaces. Can’t say enough good things. The toe box is roomy enough to accommodate my braces. For me they were true to size. Orthofeet has become the only shoes I buy now and so comfortable.”

Sandra Siger

Men’s Glacier Gorge

Glacier George

Why you’ll love it

  • A wide opening and fully extending tongue make foot insertion very easy
  • Every step is cushioned and cradled by shock-dispersing insoles

Specs

  • Sizes: 7-14
  • Widths: Standard (D) - Extra Wide (4E)
  • Upper materials: leather
    • Available colors: black

     

    With these boots, you can forget the struggle of laces. Two adjustable straps hug your feet in comfort, conforming to your every curve and preference. Step in with ease, thanks to the wide opening and fully extending tongue – no more squeezing or contorting your way in.

    These boots aren't just about convenience; they're about unparalleled comfort. Every step is cushioned and cradled by shock-dispersing insoles. Imagine plush armchairs for your feet, taking on any terrain with confidence. 

    The supple leather exterior is not just timeless elegance, it's adaptable durability. These boots seamlessly accommodate AFOs or braces, so comfort can embrace everyone.

    Conquer any path with the rubber outsole's exceptional grip. The mild rocker design hugs the ground, keeping you steady on wet surfaces and uneven terrain. It even propels your foot forward thanks to the mild rocker design, making every stride smooth and effortless.

    Feedback from users

    “Just what I needed.

    With advancing Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which has resulted in two very dissimilar feet, I need a shoe that can be customized. The Glacier Gorge is a perfect solution…Big enough to accommodate a different orthotic in each shoe, plus extra inserts in one shoe to compensate for a leg length discrepancy, high sides to compensate for weak ankles, and great velcro straps to hold it all together. This pair gives me everything I’ve been looking for in a shoe, and at a reasonable price.”

    Jeff Bauer

    Best casual shoes for CMT

    Women's Stroll

    Stroll

    Why you’ll love it

    • Soft, seamless fabric interior, non-binding exterior
    • Seamlessly marries classic sport styling with advanced orthopedic performance

    Specs

    • Sizes: 5-12
    • Widths: Standard (B) - Extra Wide (2E)
    • Upper materials: suede
    • Available colors: blue, black, taupe

     

    The women's Stroll casual shoes are a fusion of contemporary design and therapeutic excellence. 

    These sneakers showcase a sophisticated patterned non-binding suede leather exterior, seamlessly marrying classic sport styling with advanced orthopedic performance for a stylish yet functional footwear experience.

    The heel-to-toe cushioning sole provides quality comfort, combining air and foam technology to soften each step. The sole incorporates a mild rocker, infusing a spring-like quality into your stride and enhancing walking ease. Paired with the rubber outsole, the Stroll ensures advanced grip and excellent stability on various surfaces.

    At the heart of the Stroll sneaker's design are orthotic insoles, providing optimal support for your feet. On the inside, the shoe is cushioned from heel to toe with soft, seamless fabric that won’t irritate your skin. 

    The premium arch support not only enhances stability but also aligns the foot and corrects the stride, effectively addressing concerns of overpronation commonly associated with CMT.

    Feedback from users

    “Excellent! Fits well as most Orthofeet shoes do, and very stylish too!!”

    Vickie Lee

    Men’s Rex

    Rex

    Why you’ll love it

    • Easy on and off functionality without the need to bend down and tie laces
    • Water-repellent uppers keep your feet dry in any condition

    Specs

    • Sizes: 7-14
    • Widths: Standard (D) - Extra Wide (4E)
    • Upper materials: stretch fabric
    • Available colors: blue, black

     

    Featuring a hidden spring in the rear, these sneakers offer easy on and off functionality without the need to bend down and tie laces repeatedly. The spring at the rear part of the shoe cleverly adjusts as your foot enters and securely recoils, creating an innovative slip-on system that enhances convenience, catering especially to those who find traditional footwear challenging.

    Designed for versatility, the water-repellent uppers keep your feet dry in any condition while making these sneakers exceptionally easy to clean. The stretchable knitted upper conforms to the contours of your feet, delivering a customized and pressure-free fit.

    The soft, padded fabric interior eliminates irritation, making these sneakers an ideal choice for those with sensitive feet. The cushioning sole, equipped with a mild rocker, improves the ease of walking and adds a bit of bounce to your step, ensuring a more comfortable walking experience.

    Addressing concerns related to balance, the rubber sole of the Rex sneakers provides advanced grip and excellent stability, instilling confidence with every step.

    Feedback from users

    “Outstanding!

    My new Rex Hands Free from Orthofeet are Outstanding... I'm a tour manager for a well known band and I spend many hours on my feet doing big concerts. It's very hard to find shoes or boots that hold up working in my industry.. These shoes are wonderful and I will be letting all of my personnel know about this great product! Now I don't mind being on my feet.”

    Rodney B. Powell

    Best sandals for CMT

    Women’s Verona

    Verona

    Why you’ll love it

    • A fully opening heel strap makes it a breeze to slide your foot in
    • Minimal heel-to-toe drop design ensures correct biomechanical movement

    Specs

    • Sizes: 5-12
    • Widths: Narrow (A) - Extra Wide (2E)
    • Upper materials: microfiber
    • Available colors: pewter

     

    The women's Verona sandals are a versatile style suitable for a 3-mile walk, a day at the beach, or a quick trip to the grocery store. Wherever you’re going, the state-of-the-art orthotic system will reduce a significant amount of tension on your foot.

    The multi-layered soles feature air pocket technology, providing extra cushioning to alleviate pain while standing or walking. The minimal heel-to-toe drop design ensures correct biomechanical movement, effectively dispersing pressure from heel strike to toe lift, making every step effortless. For those in need of customized support, the orthotic is removable, allowing for easy replacement with a custom one.

    Verona embodies comfort with its open-back, ventilated design and partial fabric upper. The quick lace bungee cord enables you to adjust the fit according to your instep, while the fully opening heel strap makes it a breeze to slide your foot in.

    Feedback from users

    “Awesome!

    These are the most comfortable sandals I have ever worn! I have CMT and it is very hard to find a shoe that I can be comfortable in and look good! Thank you, keep up the good work!”

    Charlotte Hendrix

    Men’s Clearwater

    Clearwater

    Why you’ll love it

    • Two-way strap design allows fastening and unfastening from either side
    • Flexible, breathable upper adapts to your foot’s unique shape

    Specs

    • Sizes: 7-14
    • Widths: Standard (D) - Extra Extra Wide (6E) 
    • Upper materials: stretch knit
    • Available colors: brown

     

    The fully padded interior that eliminates rubbing and irritation, makes these sandals perfect companions for those with sensitive feet.

    At the bottom, the fully cushioned ergonomic soles offer anatomical support, enhancing overall comfort and alleviating pain. With a closed-toe fisherman style, these sandals provide full protection for your feet and toes while ensuring a non-binding fit, preventing undue pressure.

    The upper material combines flexibility and breathability, adapting to your feet's shape and accommodating any protrusion or deformity. In addition, it facilitates moisture evaporation for a comfortable and dry experience.

    The innovative two-way strap design allows you to fasten and unfasten the Clearwater sandals from either the inside or outside, providing convenience, especially for those with mobility issues. 

    Using the bungee cord, instep strap, and Velcro strap, fit can be easily customized.

    Feedback from users

    “I have CMT Disease. [These] sandals work very well.”

    James Eisner

    Does walking help CMT?

    “It can,” says Dr. Gershman. “Inactivity can worsen symptoms, so walking is useful up to the limits of the damaged muscles. Maintaining movement is important. Physical therapy helps also.” 

    Dr. Gershman stresses that “When walking, well fitting quality shoes are important, and if required, an AFO should be worn.”

    Are compression socks good for CMT?

    According to Dr. Gershman, while generally helpful for many other issues, compression socks probably won't help much with CMT. “Only if there is edema (swelling) are they useful with CMT,” he concludes.