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8 Best Shoes for Toe Amputations

Medical information provided by Steven Gershman DPM - Written by OrthoFeet Team on Jan 04 2024

In the realm of specialty footwear, a niche yet crucial segment often overlooked is that suitable for individuals who have undergone toe amputation. The significance of proper footwear transcends mere style; it plays a pivotal role in ensuring comfort, stability and overall wellbeing for those navigating life post-amputation. 

As we step into the world of specialized shoes, this article aims to unravel the considerations and options available to enhance the walking experience for those with unique needs. Whether you're adapting to life with a recent amputation or seeking insights as a caregiver, join us on this journey to explore the carefully crafted soles that are stepping up to make a significant difference in the lives of many.

Podiatrist Dr. Steven Gershman has contributed his expertise to address all the medical questions within this article, providing valuable insights for a comprehensive understanding of the topics discussed.

What types of shoes are recommended for someone with a toe amputation?

It depends on which and how many toes have been amputated and somewhat on the reason for the amputation. 

Common causes for amputated toes include diabetes with either poor circulation or lack of feeling/sensation, or a combination of both. Most commonly these issues lead to an infection that can destroy the soft tissue on the toe leading to gangrene or lead to a bone infection called osteomyelitis which requires removal of the bone or entire toe. 

Other causes of amputations can include trauma which causes major damage to the toe making it non-salvageable, smoking which reduces circulation to the toes, and clots in the blood vessels to the toes, again, blocking blood flow to the toes. 

The most problematic toe to lose through amputation is the big toe called the hallux. When you walk as you lift the heel and push off in gait the big toe is where the final push off occurs. It also acts as a stabilizer in gait and when standing as it can grip the ground to keep balance.  

When you lose the big toe, gait changes occur to compensate and the lesser toes can be stressed leading to deformities, pain and balance problems. Shoes become critical in compensating for loss of the big toe. 

The shoe must be stable with non slip outsole, firm midsole to control gait, deep to allow an insert or orthotic to make up for the loss of the toe, have a wide toe box to reduce the chances of rubbing on the lesser toes causing further deformity and further amputations. The leather should be soft with no seams in the inside of the shoe and a fairly flat heel so as not to put additional stress on the remaining toes.

If the amputation is in the middle toes and it’s only one toe, usually there are no immediate issues as the remaining toes compensate and shift slightly. As long as the shoe has a wide deep toe box to avoid pressure on the toes, there can be normal gait and reasonable results. Again, the shoe should be:

  • Deep
  • Low heel
  • Soft leather
  • No seams inside

 

If the toe amputated is just the little toe, there are usually few issues. The shoe should fit well and not rub on the remaining toes. 

If multiple toes are amputated there are many more issues. 

The shoe needs to be able to handle an insert or orthotic with an amputation filler. This is material that is at the end of the insert where the toes would act as a spacer for the missing toes. This helps prevent the foot from sliding around in the shoes due to the missing toes. The shoes need to be deep, wide toe box, high toe box, solid heel counter and low heel. It also has to be firm in the outer construction to help with balance .  

You can find specialty brand shoes that fit all these criteria for single or multiple toe amputations. As diabetes is one of the leading causes of toe amputations, there are shoes designed for diabetics and meet the Medicare requirements for appropriate diabetic shoes.

Best shoes for toe amputations

Best walking shoes for amputated toes

Women’s Coral

Coral

Why you’ll love it

  • Convenient bungee cord closure provides a no-tie on/off experience
  • Breathable, stretchable uppers maintain foot health and comfort

Specs

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: Narrow (A) - Extra Extra Wide (4E)*
  • Upper materials: stretch knit
  • Available colors: no-tie black, black, sandy, blue, white, wool gray, gray, turquoise, lavender

 

*Width availability may vary depending on the color.

Upper and toe box

With a wide toe box and extra depth, and soft, stretchable uppers, these sneakers provide ample room for the toes, preventing toe rubbing, alleviating pressure on the toes and hugging the feet to accommodate any foot shape. The upper material is also breathable, facilitating air circulation to keep your feet dry and healthy. 

With a non-binding upper design and a soft, foam-padded interior, the Coral sneakers prioritize comfort and eliminate undue pressure on vulnerable areas, promoting a pain-free walking experience.

Insoles 

The anatomical orthotic insoles ensure that your feet and lower limbs maintain proper alignment. This alignment, in turn, protects against issues further up the body, preventing discomfort and promoting a natural walking posture. The incorporation of five layers made from thick materials disperses shock forces, offering a softer landing with each step.

Closure mechanism 

Beyond functionality, the Coral sneakers also come equipped with a no-tie bungee cord, which is available in the black version. This bungee cord is fully adjustable, providing a customized grip for a quick and easy on-off experience. Another distinctive option is the stretch wool gray shoe, whose upper material cleverly regulates temperature, ensuring warmth in winter and coolness in summer.

Soles 

The sneakers also prioritize stability with a rubber outsole for advanced road grip. The foam-padded forefoot and padded collar at the heel safeguard the most vulnerable areas of your feet.

Weight 

Although they are constructed with advanced orthopedic features, these sneakers remain surprisingly lightweight, ensuring they won't feel cumbersome as you walk.

Feedback from users

“I am happy with this shoe in the wide width. It is the first shoe that I have found that has room for my multiple foot conditions, including advanced bunions, hammer toes, and amputated toe on one foot. It's good that you include the extra liners and arch supports so that I can customize for each foot. I can now walk without pain. Thank you.” 

Eddie

Men’s Edgewater

Edgewater

Why you’ll love it

  • Mesh upper keeps your feet feeling pleasantly cool and dry
  • Wide toe box provides a secure and accommodating fit

Specs

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

 

Toe box and heel counter

With a deep, wide and high toe box, the Edgewater sneakers provide a secure and accommodating fit, ensuring stability and support with every step. 

Interior 

The seamless interior feels like a smooth sock against your skin, eliminating potential irritations that could arise from seams.

Insoles 

Engineered for long or short distance walking, these shoes incorporate an orthotic insole that offers excellent cushioning and support for the entire foot. The anatomical arch support, padded heel seat, and non-binding upper collaborate to reduce pressure on the feet and minimize the chances of further damage.

Beyond the immediate comfort benefits, the Edgewater sneakers also address pronation and supination concerns, thanks to their wide, stable base and built-in arch support. This feature helps prevent inward and outward rolling of the foot, minimizing discomfort and potential injuries while aligning the body from the ground up. The rigid heel counter adds an extra layer of stability.

Upper 

The breathable mesh upper keeps your feet feeling pleasantly cool and dry by promoting air circulation, thereby preventing common issues like blisters and calluses. The uppers are also stretchable, allowing them to comfortably adjust its shape to any foot type, preventing any strain on the feet and toes.

Style 

Not only do these shoes excel in functionality, but they also showcase a stylish design – a significant bonus for those who appreciate both form and function.

Feedback from users

“Who would have thought? These shoes are so awesome! I recently had an amputated toe. And so glad to have found these shoes. They are stylish, comfortable and durable. Will be ordering more soon! 👍🏽😊”

Derrick Leblanc

Best slippers for amputated toes

Women’s Charlotte

Charlotte

Why you’ll love it

  • Plenty of toe space prevents rubbing and pressure
  • Wide strap across the instep allows for a personalized fit

Specs

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

 

Toe box

The Charlotte slippers, a departure from ordinary house shoes, are designed with a focus on unparalleled comfort and support. 

The toe box is wide, deep and high, providing enough space for the toes to spread comfortably, preventing any rubbing and minimizing the reliance on the remaining toes as stabilizers caused by inadequate shoe construction. 

Interior 

The interior is completely free of seams, padded with soft faux fur, guaranteeing that your feet stay incredibly cozy and warm. 

Insoles 

These slippers feature premium orthotic insoles with anatomical arch support, cradling your arches to alleviate pressure on the plantar fascia and heels. This thoughtful design not only enhances overall comfort but also reduces the effort required for each step, providing a smoother and less painful walking experience.

Soles 

A distinctive feature of the Charlotte slippers is the carefully designed rocker bottom sole. This innovative design minimizes heel impact, alleviating discomfort and leg fatigue. The lightweight ergonomic soles, coupled with air cushioning at the heel, ensure a soft and supportive walking experience for your feet.

Adjustability and protection

The Charlotte slippers are also adjustable. The single wide strap across the instep simplifies the process of adjusting and securing the fit to your preference. In addition, a convenient back lip at the heel adds ease and extra protection.

Feedback from users

“My mom is diabetic and had recently had surgery due to developing infection in one of her toes. The toe had to be amputated and so going forward she needed a pair of good shoes. These shoes work great! Her circulation is improved and she has no issues walking. I am totally happy with my purchase.”

Shynese Spencer

Men’s Tuscany

Tuscany

Why you’ll love it

  • Moccasin design is perfect for both in- and out-door use
  • Can easily accommodate inserts or orthotics

Specs

  • Sizes: 7-14
  • Widths: Standard (D) - Wide (2E)
  • Upper materials: leather
  • Available colors: brown

 

Soles 

The Tuscany slippers are a moccasin-style footwear designed to elevate stability and comfort with a blend of features. Enveloping your feet from all sides with an enclosed design, these slippers offer an assurance of stability and confidence, suitable for both indoor and outdoor wear. Designed with a durable rubber outsole akin to typical footwear, the Tuscany ensures durability and reliability in every step.

Insoles 

The orthotic insole is designed to embrace and support your arches, effectively relieving forefoot pressure and foot pain while promoting essential foot-body alignment. Enhancing the walking experience, the insole features a mild rocker bottom, facilitating a more natural gait.

The thick and trampoline-like pad under the heel fat pad provides protective cushioning for the heel bone and arch. This smart design softens each step, adding an extra layer of comfort to your daily stride.

For those with custom insole needs, the Tuscany slippers offer flexibility. You can easily remove the included orthotic and replace it with your own, ensuring a personalized fit and support tailored to your preferences.

Forefoot 

Engineered with extra depth and a wide forefoot, the men's Tuscany slippers create a pressure-free space for the foot and toes. Helpful for any foot type, but especially for people with problematic foot conditions like neuropathy or amputated toes, these slippers accommodate various foot shapes, protrusions and even AFOs or other devices.

Interior 

Completing the package is the luxurious faux fur lining, providing not just comfort but also a cozy, pampering sensation with every wear.

Feedback from users

“Great fit and very comfortable! I have large and extra wide feet and an amputated toe. It is difficult to find shoes that fit and feel good. These shoes were a splendid surprise! I really like them and they look great. I especially like that they are manufactured in the United States.”

CKW

Best boots for amputated toes 

Women’s Florence

Florence

Why you’ll love it

  • Waterproof, thanks to non-binding leather with sealed seams
  • The tongue falls forward, facilitating effortless stepping in

Specs

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

 

Insoles 

At the core of these boots is an anatomical arch support system that not only reduces pronation, but also guides the foot into proper alignment and function, thereby improving the overall gait. This design ensures that each step is taken with confidence, prioritizing foot health.

Closure mechanism

Accessibility and a customized fit take precedence with two hook and loop straps across the ankles. This guarantees a secure and customized fit tailored to the unique shape of each woman's foot. Yet, these straps not only enhance accessibility but also enable the boots to fully open up, with the tongue falling forward for effortless stepping in.

Soles 

The Florence boots embrace innovation with a rocker bottom sole, infusing each step with a subtle spring-like quality. This unique feature minimizes walking effort, making these boots an indispensable choice for women experiencing foot discomfort.

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

Upper 

Crafted from soft, non-binding leather with sealed seams, these boots stand out for their waterproof nature. This does two important things: it guarantees dry and warm feet even in wet conditions, and allows ample room for the toes and for the foot to swell during the day.

Interior 

Unlike typical shearling boots, the Florence boots strike a balance between fashion and foot health. Their chic appearance seamlessly pairs with a cozy, soft and seam-free interior, ensuring that even the most sensitive feet are pampered with each wear.

Feedback from users 

“The boots are very nice looking and fit well. I don't have plantar fasciitis but I do suffer from diabetic foot problems including neuropathy and a toe amputation. I am pleased with the boots and plan to purchase shoes soon. The fit is good.”

Sheryl Moore

Men’s Ryder

Ryder

Why you’ll love it

  • Two zips at the back eliminate the need to tie laces
  • Lightweight yet packed with foot health features

Specs

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

 

Closure mechanism

The men’s Ryder boots seamlessly combine style and convenience, allowing you to enjoy the laced-up look without the hassle of tying and untying laces. Engineered with two zippers at the heel, these boots offer hassle-free on-off wear. Simply unzip the back to open the boot wide, slide your foot in effortlessly, and zip it back up.

Insoles 

The premium orthotic insoles feature anatomical arch support and a cushioned foundation that can be easily removed. These insoles ensure proper alignment of the foot and entire body posture, providing enhanced comfort and support throughout the day.

Soles 

Designed for optimal stability on various surfaces, the specialized rubber sole boasts a clever tread design. The lightweight, ergonomic and cushioned sole incorporates a mild rocker bottom, minimizing the effort required during walking.

Toe box

The wide and tall toe box allows toes to move freely and rest naturally, catering to any foot and especially beneficial for those with amputated toes, bunions, hammertoes and other foot conditions.

Upper 

Crafted with a soft leather upper for a relaxed fit and a seam-free fabric interior, these boots provide protection for even the most sensitive feet.

Shaft 

Beyond comfort, the Ryder boots are biomechanically engineered to offer optimal ankle support, enhancing overall stability and comfort. This feature provides better balance, ensuring a more secure and stable stride.

Feedback from users 

“Very comfortable.

Found these shoes for my husband after toe amputation. The doctor recommended a larger size and width shoe. He really likes them. The zippers on the back are such a good idea, you can just slide your foot in. So far he is very happy. Will update if anything changes.”

Cynthia Flanders

Best casual shoes for amputated toes

Women’s Chelsea

Chelsea

Why you’ll like it

  • A spacious toe box allows toes to spread naturally, reducing pressure
  • Outstanding arch support, cushioning and anatomical alignment

Specifications

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: Narrow (A) - Extra Wide (2E)
  • Upper materials: soft leather
  • Available colors: dark cherry, black

 

Insoles 

We can sum up the Chelsea shoes in three words: comfort, style and functionality.

Designed with a quality orthotic support system, the Chelsea shoes provide outstanding arch support, cushioning and anatomical alignment. This makes them an excellent choice for anyone, but especially those dealing with a wide variety of foot conditions.

Upper and toe box

Exceptional comfort is a hallmark of the Chelsea slip-ons, made from premium materials, including soft, supple leather for a comfortably relaxed fit. The shoes feature a spacious toe box that allows toes to spread naturally, reducing pressure, preventing further toe damage and alleviating issues like bunions and hammertoes, while accommodating orthotics and swollen feet. 

Interior 

The interior is lined with seamless, padded fabric, preventing irritation and enhancing overall comfort.

On-off wear

Convenience takes center stage with the slip-on design, offering effortless on and off functionality. This feature is particularly helpful for those who have difficulty tying laces or bending down to put on shoes, saving both time and effort.

Adding to the customization, two adjustable straps allow you to secure the fit of the Chelsea shoes, providing an extra layer of personalization.

Style 

Style remains uncompromised, as the design effortlessly transitions from casual to more formal occasions. Whether paired with jeans or skirts, the Chelsea shoes elevate one's style while ensuring the comfort needed for all-day wear.

Feedback from users

“These shoes feel good, I have problem feet, with toe amputations from Raynaud's disease. I can wear a shoe for a while and then it starts hurting. I am trying these in hope I will be pain free and not need more surgery. Thank you.”

Dollie Walton

Men’s Siron

Siron

Why you’ll like it

  • Ingenious on-off wear with no hands or bending over needed
  • Breathable, stretchable water repellent uppers contour to any foot shape

Specifications

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

 

On-off wear

Designed for those with mobility issues or leading a fast-paced life, these hands-free shoes offer a perfect, fast and hassle-free solution. The patented slip-on system allows you to tie the laces once, and from there, simply step in to enjoy ultimate comfort. This is made possible with a hidden spring mechanism at the back that compresses when slipping your feet in, bouncing back to securely accommodate your feet.

Upper and toe box

Siron's breathable, stretchable upper contours to every shape of your feet, alleviating pressure on sensitive conditions. 

The uppers are also water repellent, ensuring easy cleaning, and the wide toe box alleviates pressure on toes and various foot conditions. 

Interior 

The soft, padded fabric interior, free of overlays, eliminates irritation and provides superior protection for sensitive feet.

Insoles 

Premium orthotic insoles, featuring removable anatomical arch support, realign the foot and entire body posture, enhancing comfort and alleviating heel and foot pain.

Soles 

The bio-engineered cushioning system maximizes mobility while reducing walking impact.

The cushioning sole with a mild rocker improves the ease of walking and adds a spring to your step. The rubber outsole provides advanced grip and excellent stability, making the Siron shoes both stylish and functional.

Feedback from users

“I love em. The material on the back of the heel is silky smooth and it's like having a built in shoe horn so they always slip right on and not to mention they look fantastic!”

Tanner Bechel

Best sandals for amputated toes

Women’s Laguna

Laguna

Why you’ll love it

  • Tailored to accommodate various forefoot conditions
  • Fisherman style keeps toes protected and covered

Specs

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

 

Closure mechanism

These sandals are crafted with a bungee cord across the instep and a heel strap at the back, which work in tandem to provide a customized and secure fit, and prevent slippage, ensuring confidence with every step.

Toe box

Tailored to accommodate various forefoot conditions, the sandals feature a wide toe box. This feature creates a comfortable and pressure-free space for the toes, guaranteeing a snug yet unrestricted fit for all-day comfort.

Upper 

Crafted from exceptionally breathable and lightweight knit fabric, the sandals keep feet dry and cool while preventing bad odors and infections. The stretchy nature of the fabric allows it to hug the unique shape of each foot and accommodate protrusions or foot orthoses where needed.

Insoles 

Inside, an orthotic insole with anatomical arch support enhances proper foot alignment. The removable insole adds a layer of versatility, allowing for custom orthotic inserts to ensure tailored support for individual needs.

Soles 

The ergonomic sole is a testament to thoughtful design, built to alleviate pressure on the heel and feet, promoting overall comfort and ease of movement. The rubber outsole features advanced grip and a gentle rocker bottom design, fostering a more natural gait.

Feedback from users

“These shoes are made for walkin!

Due to broken bones requiring a rod in the left foot...big toe amputation on right foot...these shoes adapt to the different sizes of my feet. I’m only sorry they aren’t offered in more colors. Easy to put on...and feet still happy at the end of the day.”

Gloria Bohn

Men’s Clearwater

Clearwater

Why you’ll love it

  • Two-way strap system allows fastening and unfastening from either side
  • Multiple customizable options for a secure and adjustable fit

Specs

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

 

Closure mechanism

Featuring a unique two-way strap system across the instep, the Clearwater allows for fastening and unfastening from either the inside or outside, catering to those with limited mobility.

These sandals also feature a combination of a bungee cord, instep strap and an adjustable heel strap, offering multiple customizable options for a secure and adjustable fit. This not only ensures comfort but also contributes to better stability.

Upper 

Adopting a fisherman style with a closed toe, the Clearwater sandals offer full protection for the feet and toes. The design also incorporates a non-binding fit to prevent pressure on the toes.

Featuring strategically placed cut outs and a breathable stretch knit upper material, these sandals keep feet constantly ventilated, promoting optimal airflow and preventing discomfort and infections.

Interior 

Every part of the Clearwater sandals is designed with user comfort in mind, with a fully padded interior that guarantees unparalleled comfort during extended wear. The padding is gentle on the skin, effectively eliminating rubbing and irritation.

Soles 

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

The soles are also fully cushioned and ergonomic, playing a pivotal role in providing excellent anatomical support, enhancing overall comfort and contributing to the alleviation of foot, leg and back pain.

Feedback from users

“Ordering was fast and easy. More to the point was the quality of the shoes. I have ordered two different styles for my son who had part of his foot amputated. These shoes gave him the balance he needed to heal because there was no friction. We were also able to balance his stride by using the many variable inserts. Great shoe and worth it.”

Mary Cormier

https://www.orthofeet.com/products/clearwater-573-brown

H2 - Care after healing from an amputation

According to Dr. Gershamn, the most important issue after healing from an amputation is preventing further amputations. Losing a toe stresses the remaining toes and each additional amputation causes further stress and increased risk of additional amputations.

“The shoes are critical,” he adds. “They need to avoid further trauma to the remaining toes by not rubbing on them, and not causing overuse of the toes as stabilizers due to poor shoe construction. It is advised to wear shoes that meet the criteria needed to avoid further stress to the toes and have unique toe box width and depth to avoid pressure or rubbing on the toes. Stretchable toe box shoes that provide extra protection to deformed toes is another important design feature.

In addition to shoes, it is important to control the underlying issues that lead to amputation, such as diabetes and smoking. Diabetics have to monitor the feet every day for irritations or calluses from rubbing in the shoes or on the floor. Diabetics often lack feeling so checking the feet is critical. 

Also controlling the sugar/glucose is important as increased sugar can cause further loss of feeling and circulation problems. 

Smokers need to STOP smoking. PERIOD. One amputation from decreased circulation from smoking means risk of further amputations is high, as the blood vessels are already damaged and continued smoking just adds to this. 

Taking extra care of the feet after an amputation is important to prevent a cascade of further amputations, each further weakening the foot structure.”