7 Best Podiatrist Recommended Shoes for Pregnancy

Steven Gershman DPM  /  February 18, 2024 Blog Home

Pregnancy brings about significant changes to a woman's body, including the feet. 

Podiatrist Dr. Steven Gershman sheds light on the impact, stating, “Pregnancy affects the feet in several ways. There is swelling in the lower legs and feet from venous congestion. So the feet become temporarily larger all over, making it harder to fit shoes. In addition, the hormone relaxin is produced in higher amounts, which prepares the pelvis for childbirth by softening the ligaments and allowing them to stretch.”

Dr. Gershman adds that relaxin also affects the ligaments in the feet. “Ligaments hold the bones together. So, as the ligaments are softened and stretched by relaxin, the feet become larger in width and length, and this is usually permanent.” 

According to Dr. Gershman, most women gain about 1/2 size during pregnancy. “In addition, the feet are looser overall from the relaxin, leading to hypermobility and more motion, especially pronation. New or more extensive toe deformities can occur as a result, such as hammer and claw toes.”

What kind of shoes are best for pregnancy?

"Shoes should take into account the swelling by being larger and deeper,” notes Dr. Gershman. “The leather should be softer to allow stretching, but the heel counter should still be firm for stability.” 

Dr. Gershman emphasizes the importance of firm heel counters in mitigating increased motion and pronation during pregnancy. He advises opting for shoes with a well-made insole or the ability to accommodate orthotics.

In addition, Dr. Gershman recommends that a stretchable material across the top to the toes is also helpful. “The toe box should be wide and round to avoid rubbing on the toes, especially if deformed,” he adds.

“Due to the increased size that usually occurs, it is wise to regularly recheck the length and width during the pregnancy. Be prepared to go to a longer and wider shoe at any time, as needed,” says Dr. Gershman. “The new size will probably be permanent, at least until the next pregnancy.”

What are the best shoes for maternity? 

To sum up Dr. Gershman’s recommendations, the best shoes for pregnant women should have the following features:

  • Deeper to accommodate swelling
  • Soft leather or stretch upper to allow swelling
  • Firm heel counter for stability
  • Wide and round to box to prevent toe rubbing, especially if deformed

To help you find the right shoes, we’ve put together a list of carefully selected footwear that will carry you safely for the entire 9-month period. 

Best walking shoes for pregnancy: Kita

Kita

Why you’ll love it

  • Water repellent, breathable uppers adapt to the distinct contours of your feet
  • Slip-resistant soles and cushioned insoles improve gait and stability, and minimize discomfort

 

Specs

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

 

Just picture slipping your feet into a pair of cozy sneakers, feeling the stretch knit uppers gently embrace your unique foot shape - no pressure, no squeeze. And then, as your feet swell as they tend to do during pregnancy, the sneakers adapt seamlessly, providing a snug, custom fit that feels like a warm hug. This stretch material is also water repellent and breathable, which means that your feet will be constantly ventilated, ensuring they are cool and dry.

But it's not just about comfort – the Kita sneakers are designed with your wellbeing in mind. Beneath your feet, professionally cushioned and ergonomic orthotic insoles work their magic, realigning your feet with your body's natural posture. Suddenly, the weight and strain of pregnancy feel lighter as foot pain and discomfort melt away.

And let's not forget about safety. With trusty slip-resistant outsoles, you can navigate any surface with confidence, whether it's a stroll through the park or a quick errand run. No need to worry about slips or falls.

But perhaps the best part? Say goodbye to the hassle of tying laces and most importantly, to the impossible effort of bending over trying to reach your shoes. Thanks to a hidden spring mechanism at the heel, literally stepping into these sneakers is effortless. It's a small detail, but it makes a huge difference, especially when bending down becomes a challenge.

Feedback from users

“Love at first wear. I purchased these to wear while pregnant when bending over got to be too difficult. I needed a shoe with a good sole and support and I wasn't convinced other hands-free brands could give my feet what they really needed. I have plantar fasciitis and heel pain issues even when NOT pregnant. Let me tell you. These shoes have been AMAZING. The backs never fold. I've had really good luck loosening the laces as my feet swell.”

Emily S. 

Best dress shoes for pregnancy: Chelsea

Chelsea

Why you’ll love it

  • Solid and firm sole for improved stability
  • Just the right balance between style and functionality

 

Specs

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

 

The Chelsea shoes are all about comfort, style and functionality. 

With their quality orthotic support system, these shoes provide outstanding arch support and cushioning that help align the feet with the rest of the body, from the ground up.

Crafted from premium materials like soft, supple leather, the Chelsea shoes offer exceptional comfort with a relaxed fit. The spacious toe box allows your toes to spread naturally, reducing pressure and ensuring comfort even as your feet swell during pregnancy.

Inside, seamless, padded fabric lining prevents irritation, enhancing overall comfort with every step. Plus, the slip-on design offers effortless on and off functionality – perfect for the stages of pregnancy when the simplest task of putting on and taking off shoes becomes a mission impossible.

For added personalization, two adjustable straps allow you to secure or loosen the fit, providing an extra layer of comfort and support as your feet change during this time.

And with all these healthy, comfortable features, style still remains uncompromised. Whether you're dressing up or down, the Chelsea shoes effortlessly elevate your look while ensuring all-day comfort for every stage of your pregnancy journey.

Feedback from users

“This is such a comfortable shoe! I tried another cute shoe but my swollen foot just didn't fit. When I returned them I asked if there was a deeper shoe that could fit this swelling and the ‘advice assistant’ suggested Chelsea.

This shoe is attractive and fits from the first [time] I slipped my foot into the shoe! I'll be back for more!”

Carol Culhane

Best work shoes for pregnancy: Coral

Coral

Why you’ll love it

  • Flexible uppers that move with your feet
  • Wide toe box and extra depth accommodate swollen toes and feet

 

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

 

When you're expecting and your feet need extra care throughout the day, the Coral sneakers can be just the right choice. 

With their wide toe box and extra depth, the Coral makes sure your toes have room to breathe, preventing any uncomfortable rubbing. But it doesn't stop there. The soft, stretchable uppers gently hug your feet, accommodating any swelling that might come your way. And let's talk about aeration - the upper material lets air circulate, keeping your feet dry and happy.

Still, comfort is probably the real star here. The non-binding upper design and foam-padded interior mean you can walk pain-free, even during those long work hours. And the anatomical orthotic insoles? They're like a secret weapon, keeping your feet and lower limbs aligned, preventing discomfort from creeping up your body.

And let's not forget about convenience. The no-tie bungee cord option makes slipping them on and off a breeze - perfect for when you're in a rush and especially during the later stages of the pregnancy. 

Plus, with their stability-focused design, including a rubber outsole and foam-padded areas, you can trust Coral sneakers to keep you steady on your feet, no matter what.

Feedback from users

“Improved swelling and improved discomfort!

These shoes are comfortable and supportive. I am pregnant and have swelling and sore feet. After wearing these shoes for a week the swelling has significantly reduced and discomfort in my feet is gone. I feel like I can finally walk again! Love these shoes!”

Julie Z.

Best slippers for pregnancy: Capri

Capri

Why you’ll love it

  • Lace across the instep allows tightening or loosening fit
  • Orthotic insoles and a fully-cushioned soles provide constant support

 

Specs

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: Standard (B) - Wide (D)
  • Upper materials: leather
  • Available colors: camel

 

When you're pregnant, your feet usually ache after a long day and that's exactly why you’ll love the Capri slippers. 

Crafted with expertise and care, these slippers are like a warm hug for your tired feet. Their moccasin style and enveloping design offer stability like no other, whether you're pottering around indoors or stepping out for some fresh air.

And there’s much more than just stability, as these slippers are designed to pamper your feet. The orthotic insole cradles your arches, easing any pain and providing the support you need during pregnancy. And let's talk about that mild rocker bottom sole – it's like walking on clouds, making every step feel natural and effortless.

Then, stepping inside, you find extra depth and wide forefoot that give your feet room to breathe, even as they swell during pregnancy. No more squeezing into tight slippers or compromising on socks - these slippers give your toes the space they need to stretch out and relax. 

And with a plush faux fur lining, every step feels like a treat for your feet.

Feedback from users

“So comfy! I bought the Capri slippers for my pregnant daughter who has hard tile floors. She absolutely loves them! The slippers have been a huge blessing for her. 🥰”

Teresa Larson

Best boots for pregnancy: Florence

Florence

Why you’ll love it

  • Waterproof uppers keep your feet dry in any weather condition
  • Pliable leather provides a non-binding fit, even when feet are swollen

 

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 boots are perfect for when you’re carrying and the chilly weather makes every step feel like a challenge. With their thoughtful design and innovative features, these boots are the right companion for your pregnancy journey.

First and foremost, let's talk about support. These boots feature an anatomical arch support system that not only reduces pronation, but also guides your foot into proper alignment. This means you can walk with confidence, knowing that each step is supporting your foot health.

Another feature that sets Florence boots apart is their accessibility and customized fit. With two hook and loop straps across the ankles, you can adjust them to fit your unique foot shape, even as it changes throughout the day. Plus, these straps make it easy to slip the boots on and off, which is a blessing as your pregnancy progresses and bending becomes more difficult.

And then there’s the comfort aspect. The rocker bottom sole adds a subtle spring to your step, minimizing walking effort and reducing foot discomfort. And with a slip-resistant rubber sole, you can navigate winter's surfaces with confidence and stability.

Crafted from soft, non-binding leather, these boots are both waterproof and spacious enough to accommodate swollen feet. Plus, their chic appearance seamlessly pairs with any outfit, ensuring you look and feel your best during your pregnancy.

Feedback from users

“I call these my magic boots.

When my boots arrived, I was suffering with swelling and pain in my feet, making it uncomfortable to walk. Nonetheless, I couldn't wait to try my new Florence boots on. I was absolutely shocked by how comfortable they were…I was walking so much better while wearing them all over the house. When I went outside in near zero temperatures, my feet remained comfortable and toasty warm. I've never had such a comfortable pair of boots in my life. I told my family these boots worked like magic on my sore feet. Now we called these my magic boots. This product has far exceeded my expectations, and I look forward to purchasing more Orthofeet products (shoes, slippers) so I don't have to wear my boots in the house. On a side note, these boots did not slip on snowy, icy areas.”

Marilyn Sparks

Best casual shoes for pregnancy: Stroll

Stroll

Why you’ll love it

  • So chic and fashionable, you’ll never tell they are just as healthy for your feet
  • Each step is softened by the heel-to-toe cushioning sole, helping you carry the load

 

Specs

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

 

Wouldn't it be a dream to navigate your pregnancy journey with ease and comfort, every step feeling like a gentle stroll in the park? That's exactly what you'll get with Stroll shoes.

Designed with a chic patterned suede leather exterior, Stroll shoes seamlessly blend classic sport styling with advanced therapeutic performance. But what sets them apart is their focus on providing optimal support for your feet during pregnancy.

With each step, you'll feel the softness of the heel-to-toe cushioning sole, a blend of air and foam technology that cushions and supports your feet. The mild rocker feature enhances walking ease, infusing a spring-like quality to your stride, while the rubber outsole ensures advanced grip and stability on any surface.

At the core of Stroll shoes are orthotic insoles, offering premium arch support that enhances stability and aligns your foot, addressing concerns like overpronation.

But perhaps the most important feature for pregnant women is the wide, round and high toe box, which creates ample space near the toes, and the extra depth design. This construction is a true blessing for those with swollen feet, ensuring that you can walk comfortably during every stage of your pregnancy.

Feedback from users

“Comfy! Very comfortable insoles and plenty of room in the toe box. Love the color since they go with my jeans!”

Katherine Camacho

Best sandals for pregnancy: Paloma

Paloma

Why you’ll love it

  • Adjustable straps across the toes and instep allow you to customize fit
  • Soles that stabilize each step and reduce impact while walking

 

Specs

  • Sizes: 5-12
  • Widths: Standard (B) - Wide (D)
  • Upper materials: soft leather
  • Available colors: camel, black

 

During pregnancy, every step needs to be softer and more comfortable. That's why Paloma sandals are more than just a fashion statement - they're a true friend when you need comfort and support.

With their deep heel cup, Paloma sandals are designed to minimize pressure on your entire foot, stabilizing each step and reducing impact as you walk. The advanced orthotic insoles provide unparalleled cushioning and support, ensuring you can walk comfortably from the first until the last month of your pregnancy. No more achy feet or discomfort – just pure relief with every step.

Crafted with foam padded leather uppers, these sandals not only prevent irritation and injuries, but also protect your sensitive feet. It's like slipping into a cozy cocoon for your feet, wherever you go.

One of the more unique features of the Paloma sandals is their customizable fit. With two straps that run across the instep and toe area, you can effortlessly adjust the fit as your feet swell or unswell during this time. And with the strap across the instep opening on both sides, you have the freedom to choose the most comfortable on-off wear - a detail that makes a world of difference as your belly grows.

Feedback from users

“Palomas are the most comfortable shoes of any style I've ever worn.

I have had dreadfully problematic feet ever since a twin pregnancy. All my ‘Mother of Twins’ books said to throw out all your shoes because they'll never fit you again after a twin pregnancy, and they were right. My feet went from an easy off-the-rack, any size 6-1/2B would fit, to a size 8 WW, with constant tendon pain. Finding any shoes that didn't hurt my feet since then has been a major, and usually futile, ordeal. But these Paloma sandals are incredible, the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. It's hard to describe, they are almost like walking on the softest, springiest jello, yet at the same time have just the right amount of arch support that doesn't hurt my feet (which most ‘arch supports’ do), and allow me to be on my feet for many hours at a time with no pain…”

Ann Taylor

FAQ

Should I buy bigger shoes for pregnancy?

“Yes,” says Dr. Gershman. “Check the size regularly during the pregnancy. The feet will swell and get bigger due to relaxin. There should be a thumbs width from the longest toe to the end of the toe box. Check the toe box width by looking to see if any part of the forefoot is bulging out of the shoe, or if the foot is sticking out over the outsole so it is wider than the sole.” 

Dr. Gershman also gives a very simple rule of thumb: “If it feels tight, it probably is.”

Are there any foot support for pregnancy?

According to Dr. Gershman, the answer is “Yes”. 

He reiterates that “during pregnancy, the foot experiences increased laxity and pronation due to relaxin, so a good support is important.”

Dr. Gershman further explains that the added weight is another force on the foot that needs to be taken into account. “It tends to pronate the foot more and stress the foot. So support is important in the form of quality insoles or possibly an orthotic.”

Is it bad to walk with swollen feet while pregnant?

“NO”, replies Dr. Gershman unequivocally. “Walking is good for the body as a whole and actually acts to help pump the venous blood back up the legs toward the heart. This can actually reduce swelling . It is important to wear good quality and well fitting shoes to walk.”

How can I unswell my feet during pregnancy?

Dr. Gershman offers several ways to unswell the feet while pregnant.

  1. Elevate legs during sitting. The legs and feet should be higher than the waist.  
  2. Wear compression stockings. At least up the calf to just below the knees. Compression squeezes out the blood and fluid, and also reduces the risk of blood clots in the legs. 
  3. Reduce salt intake. Consuming excessive salt can lead to fluid retention, exacerbating swelling in the feet and ankles. Limiting salt intake can help reduce fluid buildup and alleviate discomfort associated with swollen feet during pregnancy.
  4. Go on walks. As mentioned earlier, walking can help because it pumps blood back to the heart. Dr. Gershman notes it’s important to always check with your medical provider before starting a walking program.