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10 Best Shoes for Elderly with Balance Problems

Medical information provided by Dr. Emily Splichal - Written by OrthoFeet Team on Dec 20 2023

As we gracefully navigate the golden years, our bodies may face new challenges and for many, the ability to maintain balance as they age becomes a top priority. 

This article serves as your guide to finding the best shoes for seniors - ones that not only support your feet but also provide the stability needed, bringing comfort and confidence back to your daily activities. Whether it's a leisurely stroll in the park or a trip to the store, the shoes featured in our list can be reliable companions when dealing with balance issues.

Podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal provided her expertise to address specific questions within this article, offering valuable insights for a well-rounded understanding of the topics discussed.

Can shoes improve balance?

Yes, shoes can play a role in improving balance. The traction and stability provided from shoes are obvious features. In addition, the following features of shoes can improve balance:

  1. Wide toe box to allow toes to spread and engage.   
  2. Arch support can increase foot awareness.
  3. Heel counters support ankle and heel stability.

What shoes are best for elderly with balance problems?

Best walking shoes for balance problems 

Women’s Talya

Talya

Why you’ll love it

  • Slip-resistant outsoles improve balance and stability
  • Uppers that repel fluids and clean extremely easily

Specs

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: Standard (B) - Extra Wide (2E)
  • Upper materials: soft synthetic leather
  • Available colors: white, black, lavender

 

Exceptional traction. The sneakers feature rubber slip-resistant outsoles, providing exceptional traction on any surface. This superior grip ensures stability and minimizes the risk of slips, which is ideal for those seeking secure footing.

Fluid-repellent flexible uppers. With flexible uppers that are fluid-repellent, the Talya sneakers make sure your feet are dry in various environments. You can confidently navigate wet conditions, knowing that your footwear is designed to withstand such challenges.

Easy maintenance. Cleaning and maintaining the Talya sneakers is effortless. A simple wipe removes any evidence of spills or stains, allowing you to focus on your activities without concerns about the appearance of your shoes.

Orthotic insole, ergonomic sole. Equipped with a contoured, multi-layered orthotic insole and ergonomic sole, these sneakers provide optimal support for the arch and the rest of the foot, helping to keep you stable on your feet. 

Moreover, if you’re dealing with foot conditions like plantar fasciitis or arthritis, these sneakers can help alleviate pain and even prevent further discomfort.

Generous toe box design. The Talya sneakers incorporate a generous toe box design, allowing for natural toe splay and unrestricted toe movement. This design ensures that you can maintain a comfortable and natural gait, promoting overall foot health.

What the users say

“WOW! These are the absolute most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. They feel so springy under my feet I feel like Tigger, from "Winnie the Pooh"--I need to bounce. They fit just great and, because I have high arches, I put the extra arch support under the insole. I have raved about these shoes to everyone I can--and will. I wear them every day now--put all my other walking shoes in the closet and closed the door! They are so light and nice and I love the skidproof sole.”

Irene Mertens

Men’s Rex

Rex

Why you’ll love it

  • Easy on and off without the need for using hands or bending over
  • Solid heel counter helps maintain stability

Specs

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

 

Hands-free. The Rex sneakers feature a hidden spring in the rear part that allows easy on and off, without ever needing to bend down and tie laces (well, only once but that’s it!). The rear part of the shoe moves down when the foot enters the shoe and recoils to keep the foot securely in place. This innovative slip-on system enhances convenience, catering to those who may find traditional footwear challenging.

Water-repellent. The water-repellent uppers ensure your feet are dry in any condition, and also offer the added value of making the sneakers extremely easy to clean. 

Fully cushioned. The premium orthotic insoles with anatomical arch support, which are also removable, contribute to realigning the foot and entire body posture. This not only alleviates heel and foot pain but also improves sensory awareness, helping you maintain balance.

Customized, pressure-free fit. The stretchable knitted upper conforms to the contours of your feet, delivering a customized and pressure-free fit.

Comfortable interior. The soft, padded fabric interior of the sneakers eliminates irritation, providing superior protection for sensitive feet. This is particularly helpful for those who require gentle, irritation-free footwear.

Improved walking ease. The cushioning sole with a mild rocker improves the ease of walking while also adding a subtle spring to your step. This feature contributes to a more comfortable walking experience.

Advanced grip and stability. The rubber sole of the sneakers provides advanced grip and excellent stability, ensuring confidence with each step and addressing concerns related to balance.

What the users say

“I’m 81 and thank God for excellent health. However…my most sensitive body parts are the feet and these new step-ins, my first purchase from Orthofeet, are remarkably comfortable. More than that, they seem to be providing more stability than anything else I own — important because of a balance issue that is not unusual for someone my age. I’m also 6’4” and have hammer toes and bunions. Too Much Information, but truly happy with purchase. Wife wants me to buy another pair, but skinflint needs to think about it.”

Steve Gilkenson

Best slip-on shoes for balance problems 

Women’s Kita | Men’s Yari

Kita

Why you’ll love it

  • Stretchable, breathable uppers for customized fit and foot health
  • Simply insert your foot and go, no hands or bending over needed

Specs

  • Sizes: women 5-12; men 7-14
  • Widths: women Standard (B) - Wide (D) | men Standard (D) - Extra Wide (4E)
  • Upper materials: stretch knit
  • Available colors: Kita - black-black, black, blue, gray, rose, white | Yari - blue, white, black, gray

 

Easy wear. The revolutionary hands-free design is perfect for those facing mobility challenges or seeking quick and easy footwear solutions. 

The slip-on style, featuring a discreet spring mechanism that recoils as soon as the foot is inserted, eliminates the need for bending over or dealing with traditional laces. This ensures a secure fit, addressing challenges in putting on shoes, which are common as we age.

Breathability and stretchability. Crafted from stretchable, breathable and water-repellent materials, these sneakers ensure proper airflow, moisture prevention and a snug fit without causing discomfort.

The stretch knit upper conforms to the unique shape of each person's feet, prioritizing superior comfort and support. This feature caters to the individual needs of each wearer, providing a snug fit without compromising on flexibility.

Stability and support. Designed for optimal stability, the Yari and Kita sneakers are structured with a cushioned, ergonomic and slip-resistant outsole. Paired with orthotic insoles featuring anatomical arch support, this comprehensive design enhances stability and provides excellent support by cushioning each step, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

Natural toe movement. Both Yari and Kita feature a wide toe box, allowing natural toe movement to prevent cramped toes and enhance overall comfort. 

Versatile stability for everyday activities. Despite their lightweight construction, the Yari and Kita sneakers offer reliable stability with slip-resistant soles. This feature makes them not only suitable for anyone with balance issues, but also a practical choice for professionals, joggers, hikers, or anyone seeking reliable traction and support in their daily activities.

What the users say

Kita 

“Shoes were bought for my mother and she fell in love with them immediately! She has a fallen arch and is elderly so this is helpful to keeping her mobile!”

Melissa Milano

Yari

“Got them as a gift for my 80 year old parents. They both commented how comfortable the shoe was and mom loved how the heel didn’t fold when she slipped it on.”

Laura Mooney

Best slippers for balance problems

Women’s Lorin | Men’s Vito

Vito

Why you’ll love it

  • Maintain better balance indoors with posture realignment insoles
  • Keep your feet dry with water-repellent, soft leather uppers

Specs

  • Sizes: women 5-12; men 7-14
  • Widths: women Standard (B) - Extra Wide (2E) | men Standard (D) - Extra Wide (4E)
  • Upper materials: leather
  • Available colors: Lorin - light brown, bordeaux, black | Vito - olive, black

 

Slip-on convenience, adjustable fit. The patented slip-on system eliminates the need for bending down or using hands to put on or take off these slippers. A built-in spring bends to allow foot entry, then bounces back to secure it.

If you need to adjust the fit, simply loosen or tighten the strap on the interior side of the slipper. 

Orthotic insoles for posture realignment. Equipped with premium orthotic insoles featuring anatomical arch support (removable), the Vito and Lorin slippers go beyond conventional footwear. These features realign the foot and entire body posture, promoting optimal support and reducing the risk of imbalance.

Wide toe box for pressure alleviation. Alleviating pressure on sensitive areas and leaving enough room for the toes to splay naturally, these slippers provide a non-binding fit that prioritizes comfort without compromising on style.

Water-repellent exterior, cozy interior. The soft suede water-repellent upper ensures a snug fit and dry environment. Inside, a faux fur interior keeps feet warm and comfy, while a plush microfiber insole top cover adds an extra layer of luxury, enhancing the overall comfort.

Cushioning sole with advanced grip. The lightweight cushioning sole, featuring a mild rocker, improves the ease of walking. This ergonomic design softens impacts, alleviates stress on joints and enhances the overall walking experience. Made from high quality rubber, the soles improve surface grip and maintain stability. 

What the users say

“I first got a pair of these hands free Lori slippers for my wife. She was very happy with them. We are older and not having to bend over to slip into these is a real pleasure. I was reluctant to order a pair, I have a 11 4E foot and have trouble finding slippers that fit and are supportive . These are outstanding and with the module support system fit me well. I will buy again.”

Randy W. 

Best boots for balance problems 

Women’s Florence

Florence

Why you’ll love it

  • Feet stay dry thanks to the waterproof leather upper
  • Orthopedic cushioning does wonders to help you maintain balance

Specs

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

 

Support and cushioning for foot health. The anatomical arch support reduces pronation, guides the foot into its proper alignment and function, and improves the gait. In addition, the heel cushioning protects the sensitive heel bone. This design enables women dealing with balance problems to step confidently without compromising their foot health.

Sole for effortless walking. Designed with a rocker bottom sole, the Florence boots bring a subtle spring-like quality to each step. This innovative feature minimizes walking effort, making these boots an invaluable choice for women experiencing foot discomfort.

Hook and loop straps for accessibility. Featuring two hook and loop straps across the ankles, these boots prioritize accessibility and a customized fit. 

The straps allow the boots to fully open up, and the tongue falls forward, facilitating effortless stepping into the boots. This design also ensures a secure and customized fit tailored to the unique shape of each woman's foot.

Non-binding and waterproof. Crafted from soft, non-binding leather with sealed seams, these boots are entirely waterproof. This guarantees dry and warm feet even in wet conditions, and allows enough room for the foot to swell during the day. 

Advanced road grip. The lightweight, slip-resistant rubber sole with a unique tread design offers excellent traction, improving confidence and stability when navigating winter's surfaces.

Shearling style and soft interior. Unlike most shearling boots, the Florence boots are both good for your feet and stylish. Their chic appearance pairs seamlessly with a cozy, soft and seam-free interior, ensuring that even sensitive feet are properly pampered with each wear. 

What the users say

“I love these shoes! ‘Cute-shoes-for-old-feet’ is a narrow shoe-shopping niche—and Orthofeet’s specialty! And these shoes ring all the bells if you’re also looking for waterproof and WARM! Also great customer service! And I did mention super-cute, right? I’m 74 and still care…maybe you do, too! Looking sandals and warm-weather shoes now….☀️☀️☀️”

Karen Herrick

Men’s Ryder

Ryder

Why you’ll love it

  • A laced-up style that requires no tying
  • Enhance stability and balance with ankle support

Specs

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

 

Dual zippers for hassle-free wear. With the men's Ryder boots you can enjoy the laced-up look without having to deal with tying and untying laces. The boots are designed with two zippers at the heel, offering you hassle-free on-off wear. Simply unzip the back to open the boot wide, effortlessly slide your foot in, and zip it back up.

Cushioned support. The boots feature premium orthotic insoles that come with anatomical arch support, offering a cushioned foundation that can be easily removed. The insoles ensure that the foot and entire body posture are properly aligned, providing you with enhanced comfort and support throughout the day.

Clever tread design with mild rocker. Equipped with a specialized rubber sole featuring a clever tread design, these boots improve steadiness on various surfaces. The lightweight, ergonomic and cushioned sole incorporates a mild rocker bottom, reducing the effort required during walking.

Roomy toe box, soft interior. The wide and tall toe box allows toes to move freely and rest in their natural position, making it ideal for any foot but especially beneficial for those with bunions, hammertoes, swelling feet and other foot conditions. 

The soft leather upper provides a relaxed fit, while the seam-free fabric interior ensures protection for even the most sensitive feet.

Engineered for ankle support. Beyond comfort, these boots are biomechanically engineered to provide optimal ankle support, enhancing overall stability and comfort. This is particularly important for people dealing with balance issues, ensuring a more secure and stable stride.

What the users say

“Hallelujah!! My feet and legs for the past 3 decades with the expense of custom insoles and shoes have been in vane. My (3) pairs (including) sandals have given me total complete relief.

I’m speechless really, very satisfied. I tell everyone this story. Fantastic product. The best investment I have ever made.”

Gary Heath

Best sandals for balance problems

Women’s Laguna 

Laguna

Why you’ll love it

  • Heel strap and bungee cord across the instep help secure fit for improved stability
  • Breathable stretch uppers maintain foot health and contour to foot shape

Specs

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: Standard (B) - Extra Wide (2E) 
  • Upper materials: stretch knit
  • Available colors: blue, peach, gray

 

Adjustable fit for personalized stability. The Laguna sandals are designed with multiple adjustment options. A bungee cord across the instep and a heel strap at the back ensure a customized and secure fit, preventing slippage and significantly improving stability.

Wide toe box for forefoot comfort. Designed to accommodate various forefoot conditions, the sandals feature a wide toe box. This provides a comfortable and pressure-free space for the toes, ensuring a snug yet unrestricted fit.

Breathable, stretchable and lightweight. These sandals are crafted from exceptionally breathable and lightweight knit fabric. Designed to keep feet dry and cool, the fabric also prevents bad odors and infections. Its stretchy nature allows it to hug the unique shape of each foot and accommodate protrusions or foot orthoses where needed. 

Orthotic insole for enhanced foot alignment. The sandals feature an interior structured with an orthotic insole that provides anatomical arch support, enhancing crucial foot alignment. The removable insole allows for custom orthotic inserts, ensuring tailored support for individual needs.

Ergonomic sole for pressure alleviation. The ergonomic sole is specifically crafted to alleviate pressure on the heel and feet, promoting overall comfort and ease of movement. The rubber outsole, featuring advanced grip and a gentle rocker bottom design, enhances stability and fosters a more natural gait, instilling confidence and security with every step.

What the users say

“I have to admit that shoes are not my friends, but I find that Orthofeet shoes (I now have three different pairs, including the Laguna Gray) have become good buddies. My main concern with shoes is balance and stability. I find these shoes help a great deal.”

Pacifica Mum

Men’s Clearwater

Clearwater

Why you’ll love it

  • Multiple adjustable options help secure the fit for better stability
  • They look like regular sandals but offer advanced cushioning and support

Specs

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

 

Versatile fastening mechanism. The Clearwater features a two-way strap system across the instep, allowing you to fasten and unfasten the sandals from either the inside or outside, catering to people with limited mobility.

Featuring a bungee cord, instep strap and an adjustable strap at the heel, these sandals provide multiple customizable options for a secure and adjustable fit. This contributes to better stability.

Anatomical support for pain relief. The fully cushioned ergonomic soles offer excellent anatomical support, enhancing overall comfort and contributing to the alleviation of foot, leg and back pain.

Secure, non-binding fisherman style. The fisherman style with a closed toe ensures full protection for the feet and toes, providing a secure grip. This design also incorporates a non-binding fit, preventing pressure on the feet.

Ventilated and breathable. Featuring cut-outs and a breathable stretch-knit upper material, the Clearwater sandals keep feet constantly ventilated. This ensures optimal airflow, preventing discomfort and infections.

Fully padded interior. Every part of the sandals features a fully padded interior, offering unparalleled comfort during extended wear. The padding is gentle on the skin and effectively eliminates rubbing and irritation, guaranteeing lasting comfort.

Enhanced stability. The rubber outsole of these sandals provides excellent road grip, contributing to enhanced stability on various surfaces. This feature is essential for those who require reliable support to navigate different terrains with more confidence.

What the users say

“I'm 73…this is the BEST pair of shoes of any kind that i have ever owned! In fact, this is my 2nd pair of the exact same shoe. I wore the others everyday for 3 years inside and out and finally wore down to where I needed another pair! You can NOT go wrong with these things! 😎🇺🇸🏴‍☠️”

Owan Taylor

Why do I feel like I'm off balance when I'm walking?

Balance is a complex process that involves input from our eyes, ears, joints and the skin on the bottom of our feet. Any delay in processing input from these systems can contribute to the perception of impaired balance. Training or improving the input to these systems can positively improve balance. Some examples include eye movement exercises, vestibular exercises, wearing ankle braces or high top shoes and textured insoles. 

Can shoes make you feel off balance?

Yes, shoes that have excess stack or cushion have been shown to contribute to impaired foot awareness and balance.  We often associate cushion with comfort but oftentimes, it is at the cost of a sensory disconnect from our feet and the ground.    

If cushion is needed in shoes this sensory disconnect can be offset by wearing arch supports that are stiffer, or using textured insoles to stimulate the skin on the bottom of the feet.   

It is important to remember that balance is a sensory experience. 

Does walking barefoot increase balance?

Yes, walking barefoot can improve stimulation to the thousands of nerves in the bottom of the feet. Taking off our shoes and socks is a great way to ensure these nerves get stimulated and function properly for balance and movement. 

Daily barefoot stimulation is a great way to build this into a routine and help offset the sensory disconnect that occurs in most shoes.