Being able to walk and maintaining stability can be very challenging when you have MS, but the right shoes can help. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of some of the best shoes for people with MS.
If you want to learn more about the disease, how it affects your feet and which footwear features you should look for if you have MS, simply scroll down or continue reading.
What are the best shoes for MS patients?
All the footwear that made our list are orthotic shoes that were biomechanically engineered with unique comfort features, providing an extremely advanced solution for a long list of foot conditions, including those caused by MS.
Best MS shoes for women
The highly flexible wool blend upper of the Volcano shoes provides a pressure free fit and keeps your feet dry throughout the day to prevent the build up of bacteria and fungi.
The wool, which is a natural fiber, also regulates temperatures, keeping your feet cool in summer and warm in winter, which is especially beneficial if your MS symptoms include numbness in the foot.
The premium orthotic insoles offer anatomical arch support that realigns the foot and the body posture, making it easier to walk and maintain stability.
The hook and strap closure allows you to easily insert your foot and effortlessly fasten it for a custom fit. If your feet are wide, the elastic laces will stretch over them.
With its stretchable uppers and soft protective interior, the Francis no-tie sneakers offer a 4 way stretch that will expand or contract on your feet, depending on your foot size and shape.
The uppers are also breathable, promoting air flow to keep your feet dry and healthy.
Thanks to the bungee toggle, tying laces becomes a thing of the past and on-off wear is super quick and easy.
And there’s more.
The rubber outsole gives you excellent stability and advanced grip; the premium orthotic insoles with anatomical arch support help realign the feet, legs and body posture; the cushioning system cradles and supports your feet as you walk; and the foam padded forefoot and padded collar at the heel constantly protect the most vulnerable areas of your feet.
If you’re looking for lightweight boots that support your ankles as well as your feet, the Tivoli boots could be perfect for you.
The mild rocker design helps propel the foot forward as you walk, with minimal joint motion and effort, while the cushioning soles absorb impact as you walk.
The higher upper design provides excellent medio-lateral stability, helping to stabilize your ankles without restricting motion.
The soft fabric protective interior that’s padded with foam eliminates friction and offers superior protection. At the same time, the soft and flexible leather upper eliminates pressure on the foot and provides a comfortable fit.
Getting in and out of the Tivoli boots is super easy thanks to the quick and convenient velcro closures.
Waterproof boots that are as stylish as they are cozy.
The gusseted tongue and the sealed seams prevent water from seeping in, while two hook and loop straps allow an extremely wide opening, making it very convenient to put them on and take them off, and allowing you to adjust the fit to your individual foot shape, ensuring your feet don’t slide around.
The special rubber of the sole, as well as the sole’s unique tread design that channels liquids away from the shoe, allow extra traction and grip while you walk on any type of surface.
There’s also a shock dispersing insole and antimicrobial top cover that keep your feet healthy and provide relief.
Finally, the front shape of the boot is generous, promoting biomechanical movement and providing plenty of space for the toes to move, without being squeezed.
Best MS shoes for men
While these sneakers look like regular lace shoes, they are designed with innovative tieless laces that have a hidden strap. This allows you to effortlessly put the shoes on and easily take them off.
You only need to tie the laces once, and from that point on you can use the strap. What’s more, these straps are on both sides of the shoe, providing greater adjustment as well as easier access.
And that’s not the only customization feature that makes sure these sneakers are just the right fit. With the heel strap, the back of the shoe can be made more roomy or snug to fit the foot shape, even if you have braces.
In addition, the thick cushioning insole and the shock dispersing sole make sure your feet and body are fully supported as you walk, and the breathable upper material provides a truly non-binding fit.
Thanks to their classic design, the Zodiac shoes are a great choice for a wide variety of occasions.
These casual men’s shoes are constructed with a rubber outsole that provides advanced grip on every surface, while the soft leather upper and wide toe box eliminate pressure on the feet.
With the hook and loop strap, closure is both easy and adjustable, making on-off wear a breeze.
With the Zodiac shoes, your feet will always be protected and supported, thanks to the removable anatomically designed insole and mild rocker.
The Alamo sneakers are made with full grain leather uppers that are both highly durable and soft enough to provide a pressure free fit.
The two straps allow a highly customized adjustability and make it super convenient to take them off or put them on.
Like all the other shoes on our list, the tread design of the rubber outsole of the Alamo sneakers provides advanced grip and allows you to walk with advanced stability, and the anatomical orthotic insoles offer superior support and cushioning all day long.
Although you can’t tell just by looking at them, these innovative boots are perfect for those who need quick and convenient on-off wear. Yes, they have laces, but there are also two hidden zippers at the heel, so you only need to tie the laces once and never again!
By pulling down the zippers in the back, you create a wide opening that allows you to effortlessly slide your foot in.
The built-in advanced orthotics support the foot and control its rolling inwards to maintain an aligned body, while the mild rocker design allows proper foot motion and improves walking.
The seam free and padded interior creates a protective environment for the feet, and the wide and round toe box gives the toes enough room to naturally move around.
What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease of the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerves - all of which make up the nervous system that basically controls everything we do.
“MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys myelin, the covering of nerve fibers, which is critical for their function. This interferes with the transmission of electrical signals between the brain, the spinal cord and other parts of the body,” explains podiatrist, Dr. Josh White. “The cause of MS is unknown.”
This disruption can cause a variety of unpredictable symptoms, such as paralysis, numbness, tingling, pain, blindness and more. Over time, the disease can cause permanent nerve damage.
The effects of MS on your feet and legs
“As a result of the body attacking the myelin sheath, plaque and lesions start hitting the nervous system,” says Dr. White. “At this point, people may start feeling pain in their feet, legs and the rest of the body.”
Unlike other conditions that cause pain in the legs and feet, such as neuropathy caused by diabetes, the nerve damage from MS is not only painful, but also makes walking very difficult, leading to gait (your walking pattern) related foot problems.
Seeing as MS also causes vision problems, people with MS may not notice foot problems at the early stages, when they are easiest to treat, which can lead to complications.
Another possible and common effect of MS is foot drop (or drop foot) - an MS symptom caused by weakness in the ankles or a disruption in the leg-to-brain nerve pathway.
Foot drop makes it more difficult to lift the front part of the foot to the angle needed for walking, causing the foot to hang and the toes to drag on the ground and making it very difficult to maintain stability.
Stairs, uneven surfaces and curbs can become a real challenge when you walk with foot drop. Many MS patients lift their legs higher to compensate for the foot drop and avoid dragging their feet on the ground, which can be very tiring.
Further down the line, foot drop could lead to other problems, such as lower back pain and poor balance.
The good news is that quality, light weight and well fitting shoes can support the foot and allow it to be held in a more natural walking position.
In addition, there are some treatments available to people with foot drop, such as physiotherapy that strengthens the foot and ankle muscles, and FES (functional electrical stimulation) that helps position the leg in a more natural walking angle.
Can people with MS wear high heels?
Although the right heel height can vary from person to person, it’s best to avoid heels higher than 2 inches. Shoes with higher heels might make it difficult for you to walk and cause you pain.
In addition, high heels can add to the balance issues that are a common MS symptom.
“If high heels are very important to you, it’s best to discuss your options with your MS neurologist,” says Dr. White.
The design features to look for in your MS footwear
Here are some tips that will help you shop for the best shoes for MS.
- A good fit. People with MS need to find shoes that fit them well and right away, instead of buying shoes that don’t fit properly in the hopes that they will gradually break them in. Well fitting footwear will provide support to your feet and legs, helping with balance issues, pain and foot drop. If the shoes are too small, they might restrict blood flow to the feet and if they are too large, you won’t be stable.
- Shoe depth. Extra depth shoes are higher, which means they provide better support, fit better and leave enough room for custom orthotics and braces.
- Tread design. The tread is the pattern of the outsole that can help prevent slipping and falls. Naturally, since MS affects your balance, it’s best to look for shoes that offer better traction.
- Shoe weight and flexible materials. If you have MS related muscle weakness, look for a light-weight shoe made from flexible materials, because it requires less energy and effort to lift the legs when you walk, thus reducing the risk of falling.
- Heel counter. Look for shoes with a firm heel counter. Mules, slip-ons, flip-flops and similar backless shoes can slip off the heels, as they require toe strength and a good sensory feedback that many MS patients lack.
- Secure fastening. If your MS makes it harder for you to tie your shoes, opt for styles that offer velcro fasteners or no-tie elastic laces. This can also allow you to adjust the fit to your specific foot contour and size.