Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital


Choosing the correct shoe is one of the most important features to get right when you have foot and ankle pain. Like the foundations of a building, everything else you do that follows will rely on the correct shoe being used.

Play Video about Suitable footwear

Recommended Footwear Features

Your feet will have the best support and protection from shoes with: 


You should avoid:

Rocker-Soled Footwear

Sometimes we recommend rocker-soled shoes to help with certain foot and ankle problems. These shoes mainly help to reduce pressures to the forefoot but are helpful for lots of foot and ankle problems.

They have thick soles which taper toward the toes from just behind ball of the forefoot. This allows the shoe to rock forward as you walk or if you press down on the toe area.

Be careful:  Lots of shoes roll up at the toe. This is called toe spring and it helps your foot to clear the ground when you walk. If the sole is not sufficiently stiff the shoe will not function as a rocker.

New Shoes

You should never have to ‘break your shoes in’ if they are not comfortable when you try them on, they are not right for you.

It is reasonable to wear your new shoes in for a while, this helps you adjust to a new style that you may not have worn before.

You can wear them around the house for short periods (20-30 minutes) to acclimatise to them and then check your feet. Look for problems such as redness from rubbing or pressure. If this happens you can usually return them if they are not soiled or been worn outside.

If you’re happy with your new shoes start wearing them outdoors for a few hours at a time and gradually build up the use.

How do I know if my shoes are worn out?

  •  Look at the wear and tear, such as loss of tread pattern, compressed sole and torn stitching or ripped seams.
  • A robust shoe is one that maintains its structure under the pressures of walking and running to support the foot. Give the shoe a firm flex and twist to the middle section of the sole to see how well it retains its structure.
  • If shoes are showing signs of wear and tear it is best to replace and discard them.
  • Don’t be tempted to use your old shoes for DIY or gardening. There is a reason why they are your old shoes!
loss of tread pattern on sole

Where can I buy the shoes you are recommending?

There is no single brand or shoe that we recommend, however the following may be useful:

  • For a wider fit and extra room – DB shoes or Cosyfeet
  • For rocker soles – JML Walkmaxx or HOKA.
  • For great support – Nike or Grisport.
Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

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