Finding the Best Walking Shoes for Seniors
Finding the best walking shoes for seniors can be a huge challenge. As people age, they lose fat protection on the bottoms of their feet. Their heel will begin to press more firmly against the floor and it can become irritated and sore or worse, you can get a heel spur which can become very painful. A podiatrist can diagnose this issue and make appropriate recommendations.
As people age they are more prone to disease such as diabetes and higher blood pressure. Many seniors can reduce their risk of some health issues and diseases simply my maintaining weight and staying active. Regular walking is an ideal activity to help maintain weight and remain active. Another reason for seniors to stay active is to help reduce the effects of arthritis which seems to plague many seniors. An added bonus to walking is that it’s a great way to enjoy some fresh air and to enjoy some time with friends. Remaining social is so very important for seniors.
Why Seniors Should Buy Right Walking Shoes?
The importance of good shoes for seniors should not be underestimated. As people age, the chances of them being injured in a fall will increase substantially. It is not uncommon for elderly people to fall and sustain bruises, lacerations, broken bones and serious head injuries as a result. There is good news, though, and that is that ensuring that the senior has good shoes can lower the risks of falling and being injured.
Older adults are much more likely to fall because of a variety of reasons. Experts believe that as people age there are natural changes that occur in the feet that can cause people to fall over more easily. Another reason is that older people tend to lose some of the feeling in their feet which can cause a person to feel as though they are off-balance. The shape of your feet can change significantly as you age. Your feet can flatten, arches drop, toes can curl and form “claw toes” due to the imbalance of muscle. These changes, together with other physical changes can force a person to walk differently and to lose their balance which can cause them to fall.
Foot pain can be another reason for increased falls. Claw toes and bunions can create extra pressure on the foot which can cause a great deal of pain. Chronic diseases and injuries including diabetes can be another cause of foot pain.
There are several recommended brands of footwear for seniors including: Acor, Orthofeet, Comfortrite, Brooks, Pedors, Drews, Apis and P.W. Minor. These brands make shoes that are ideal for seniors because they understand their unique requirements. It is important to have a consultation with a podiatrist or other foot health professional that can give the appropriate recommendations for size and style.
Walking Highly Recommended for seniors: Some Things You Should Know
Walking is a simple and natural exercise that is done by most people and can be done anywhere. It can have a serious and positive impact on a person’s happiness and health. The benefits are numerous including weight loss, a better heart rate and the lowering of blood pressure. If a person walks regularly, they can also prevent the onset of diabetes and improve their memory. Before starting a walking program, it is important to have a good shoe, also, the shoes should:
- Match your walking stride, weight, speed, distance and surface:
- Hug the heel so the foot does not come out of the shoe:
- Have a good heel counter with ankle padding;
- Be flexible at the forefoot to allow the shoe to bend as you walk;
Choosing Walking Shoes for Seniors
When you are choosing walking shoes for seniors, you will need to consider what type of shoes they will need. If they are over-pronators, then they will have a flat arch and an ankle that has a tendency to roll when they walk. Their shoes will wear on the inside of the sole and shoes that work best form them are motion control shoes. These shoes are rigid and specifically designed to help in the reduction of the over-pronation issue.
Under-pronators tend to have an ankle that rolls out when they walk and their shoes wear on the outside of their sole. It is best to choose shoes that are cushioned with thick heels and flexible midsoles.
Neutral walkers have a neutral stride and a normal arch and their heel maintains a vertical position when they walk. Their shoes will wear at the location of the first and second toes. Shoes designed for stability are great for neutral walkers
Where to find shoes for seniors
It is important to find a suitable place to purchase shoes for seniors that cover all of the needs that seniors have. As seniors age they may be afflicted with many medical conditions. They may have a stroke which can affect their stability and increase their risk of falling. Some shoes that are designed for medical needs may be large and heavy. Shoes should be light and supportive and soft, such as a good athletic shoe because they tend to be light and supportive. It is important to find shoes that are wide enough for the feet and are comfortable enough.
At first glance, when you take a look at New Balance shoes or a variety of others, you might think that they are heavy or look big, but they are very supportive, safe and comfortable. They have a good treat that helps to prevent slips in most types of weather.
It is important to find the right type of good walking shoes for seniors based on the type of foot that they have. Ensure that the shoe is supportive for the senior’s foot and that they like the shoe. This is the best way to ensure that they will not fall and injure themselves when they are walking for exercise or just getting around.
One of the most important steps when considering walking for health is to select the right supportive walking shoe that will be appropriate for the person’s needs and feet. Walking is an ideal form of exercise so let’s take a look at our shoe options.
1. Skechers Go Walk
Skechers Go Walk shoes are ligtweight, flexible sole, breathable, slip on for easy to take on and off are perfect shoes for seniors with arthritis of knee joint, hip joint or foot. They offer good arch support, cushioning and flexibility for natural foot movements. They come in wide toe box and have stretchable upper to accommodate feet with foot deformities such as bunions, hammertoes and heal spurs. They are available for men and women in walking and running in various styles and colors.
These shoes offer plenty of stability and support as well as a cushioned insole. A shock absorbing outsole ensures that your foot is comfortable during your entire walk.
2. New balance 812
With a wide base to provide plenty of stability, these shoes offer a Velcro as well as a lace up version. Ideal as a diabetic shoe and since they are available in wide to extra wide they have a shoe to fit nearly every foot.
3. Propet Stability Walker Sneaker
These shoes offer both a tie version only that make it easy to select the best fitting shoe. With a cushioned removable insole you’re sure to get the best possible fit. With a shock absorbing outsold and a padded tongue, you’re sure to have plenty of cushioning for your foot. They are available for women as well.
Selecting the best walking shoes is an important step in ensuring that you’re maintaining your health and your body. The wrong shoes can cause all sorts of health issues including blisters and heel irritations that can take a long time to recover from.
Here are some tips to find the best walking shoes for seniors:
- Always select shoes that have a thick sole and give good arch support. If you don’t know your arch type, see the 2nd tip in our list below.
- Do the “wet foot test”. Place feet in shower or tub and add some water. Step out onto a towel that will show the foot prints well. If the foot print is flat, the arches are flat. If there is a crescent shape then there is an arch. If there is barely a crescent shape, then the foot is a high arch.
- When walking, are you over pronating or supinating? Check with a local shoe store like new balance and see if they can help find the right shoe for your feet according to your pronation. Pronation can throw your entire gait off if you aren’t careful so be sure to find out what your walking style is.
- Select shoes with plenty of cushioning. There is nothing worse than feeling as if you’re walking barefoot along the bumpy road all because the shoes don’t offer enough cushioning.
- Make sure that the shoe can accommodate extra soft inserts to make them more comfortable. Something like Spenco which is a brand approved by APMA is an ideal choice.
- Avoid backless shoes for the purpose of walking. While comfortable, they don’t offer enough support around the back of the foot and ankle. Many have twisted their ankles while attempting to walk in shoes of this type. They are great however for inside of the house.
- Seek shoes that have a wide base for stability purposes. Narrow based shoes force larger feet to comply with a smaller area and can cause instability.
- Opt for Velcro over tie or buckle as these are much easier for elderly to connect. Many shoes offer both styles so be sure to ask if you don’t see a Velcro style and need one.
- Select lightweight shoes. There is nothing more challenging than dragging around heavy shoes while on a walk. Select a lightweight shoe that makes it feel as if you’re walking on air.
- Biomechanical outsoles are ideal for those who suffer from limited joint mobility. They offer plenty of support for joints that are stiff or difficult to maneuver.
Choose your shoes very carefully. Most people are not aware of the true size of their foot, so if you are purchasing your shoes in a store, have the sales person take an accurate measurement of your foot before you try shoes on. When purchasing a pair of shoes online, you can make use of a standard conversion charge to convert the length of your foot and width in inches into the size of your shoe. Online charts can give you an accurate shoe size when you input the width and length of your foot. You may need to choose a shoe that has more room because your foot might require more room than it has in the past.
It is important to wear shoes all the time, even at home. Wearing shoes inside of your home instead of wearing socks, slippers or having bare feet can help to prevent you from sustaining a serious injury that can occur from you having a fall.
Never wear a shoe that is too loose or is untied. Do not wear shoes that have slippery soles or shiny soles. Never wear shoes with thick rubber soles that may become caught on carpet. Flat shoes that have wide and thin soles can give you the best sense of your proximity to the floor and provide the best stability.
If you have already purchased a decent pair of shoes, consider outfitting them with some orthotics. These specially crafted inserts are molded to your feet and can prevent falls by redistributing the pressure in the shoe, stabilizing the feet and giving your brain that little bit of extra information it needs with additional tactile input so that it can communicate with your feet.
Custom-made orthotics can be quite costly and are made from an impression of your foot. Prefabricated orthotics are a lot less expensive and both types of orthotics can help to reduce foot pain and prevent serious falls. It can make sense to try the lower cost orthotics to see how you like them before making a substantial investment with custom made orthotics. If you have a major foot issue or deformity that necessitates custom orthotics, then you will probably need to go with the more expensive option.
If you are carrying around some extra weight, losing some of that weight can not only take a load off of your feet but reduce your pain. It can also reduce the chance of you falling.
Foot exercises are another very good way to prevent accidental falls. Exercises for your ankles and your feet can help you to reduce the stiffness that comes with age-related muscle loss.
Seniors or those who know seniors who are prone to falls may wish to speak to a health professional that specializes in feet to receive the right treatment. It is important for seniors to avoid wearing just stockings or socks, high heels, walking barefoot or wearing any kind of footwear that has a slick outsole. Many people tend to think that slippers are the best thing for seniors to wear around their home indoors, but they can be uncomfortable and dangerous.
What should you look for when purchasing shoes for seniors?
Never wear shoes that are worn out or footwear that is overly flexible. Shoes should have midsoles that are sturdy without being too flexible and will ensure greater stability.
Size is very important – always wear shoes that fit properly. If shoes are too large they can become problematic for walking in. If they are too small they can cause a variety of foot problems including corns, calluses and bunions. This can all lead to increased foot pain when the senior is walking and they also have an increased risk of falling. Footwear that is open in the back is a terrible choice because shoes that do not have a closed heel can cause serious instability because the fit is highly insecure.
Shoes that are too high can cause a senior to lose their balance, so it is important to remember that shoes that are small or bigger should be avoided. Also, shoes that have over padded insoles should be avoided. Shoes that are heavy and have thick soles can present a problem for seniors because they do not provide enough stability to the wearer. Shoes that are lighter in weight are generally more highly recommended because they are much easier to walk in. Although you are looking for lightweight shoes, make certain that they are not too light (flimsy) or that they do not have too much flexibility near the midsole.
The tread design of the sole can also be a contributor to falls. If the sole is too smooth it can cause the wearer to slip but if it has too much grip it may contribute to tripping. If older adults are too high from the ground they have an increased risk of a fall, so it is important to choose a shoe with a lower profile. Those shoes should have a low and wide heel that has more contact with the ground.
Shoes that feature hook and loop closures because they are much easier for seniors to adjust. These closures should not be left unattached because it could cause an improper fit which could lead to a serious fall. Laces are a good closure as long as there are tied securely.
Now that you know our 10 tips for selecting the best shoe for your personal needs, and the 3 great selections and how they differ, you can make an educated decision on the best walking shoes for seniors. All of these shoes mentioned are available online on a variety of sites and offline in regular brick and mortar type stores. Be sure to recheck the shoe size prior to any purchase as foot size can change no matter how old you are.