Best Shoes For Back Pain in 2022

Back pain can happen for a number of different reasons.

One of the reasons—that is more common than people realize—is wearing the wrong type of shoes.

When your feet are misaligned, the joints above them also go out of alignment. This incorrect position can lead to strain on joints.

The best shoes for back pain are ones that keep your feet in the correct position. That means that overpronators need to wear a stability shoe, and if you have high arches you need to wear shoes that give you the correct support.

Our top pick is the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11. It has comfortable Fresh Foam X cushioning, an 8 mm heel-to-toe drop, and Ultra Heel technology for a snug fit.

We’ve reviewed shoes for all occasions to relieve your back pain and help improve your gait.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

 

  • Ultra Heel technology
  • 8 mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Blown rubber forefoot
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Hoka Bondi 7

 

  • Internal heel counter
  • Early-stage Meta-Rocker
  • Full-length CMEVA midsole
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

Vionic Walker

 

  • Full-grain leather upper
  • Firm TPU heel counter
  • Deep heel cup
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

Best Overall

1. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 is an excellent choice for individuals who suffer from back pain.

A 30 mm stack height in the heel for the men’s shoe and 27 mm for the women’s shoe—with an 8 mm heel-to-toe drop—is more than sufficient cushioning to absorb impact and prevent jarring to your back.

The Fresh Foam X midsole cushioning is soft and comfortable and has a slight rocker design to get through the gait cycle with less muscle fatigue. It has a laser engraving design on the outer sole which reduces the weight slightly.

A soft knit engineered mesh upper provides comfort and stretches where necessary to support your foot where extra structure is needed. The shoe also features New Balance’s wider-than-usual fit and has plenty of space in the toe box for your toes to splay.

The Ultra Heel is made of a stiffer material but it’s shaped to hug the heel and lock it in when the shoe is laced up tightly. Some runners may feel that the heel is too shallow to be comfortable, but others will find that the fit is both comfortable and prevents heel slippage.

A small area of the midsole is exposed under the shoe, and the rest of the outsole is covered with rubber.

The toe and heel use harder rubber and the forefoot is mostly covered with softer blown rubber for better grip on any surface.

PROS:

  • Fresh Foam X midsole cushioning
  • Ultra Heel technology
  • 8 mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Blown rubber forefoot

CONS:

  • Some may find the heel cup to be quite shallow

Most Cushioned

2. Hoka Bondi 7

The Bondi 7 is well-known as Hoka One One’s most cushioned shoe.

You can see that cushioning in the shoe with its impressive 29 mm stack height in the forefoot and 33 mm in the heel of the men’s shoe. The women’s is almost as cushioned, with 27 mm in the forefoot and 31 mm in the heel.

A full-length compression-molded EVA foam midsole absorbs impact effectively and offers protection for your joints and muscles. Some runners may find that this substantial midsole feels heavier on their feet than other shoes.

An internal heel counter offers a locked-in fit that prevents heel slippage, which is important in a shoe with a heavy midsole.

There’s also an early-stage Meta-Rocker in the midsole which aids runners in their gait cycle and enables a smoother heel-to-toe transition. The beveled heel also makes the transition smoother.

TPU overlays on the engineered-mesh upper provide slightly more stability and rubber pieces placed strategically on the exposed midsole minimize weight and provide grip where it’s needed most.

PROS:

  • 33/31 mm stack height in heel
  • Internal heel counter
  • Early-stage Meta-Rocker
  • Full-length CMEVA midsole

CONS:

  • Some runners may feel that the shoe is heavy

Best for Walking

3. Vionic Walker

The Vionic Walker has a full-grain leather upper that provides support to the feet and won’t flex much when walking. It’s also water-resistant, keeping the feet dry in wet conditions.

There’s a mesh lining inside the shoe which wicks away moisture and a polyurethane base for extra cushioning. The EVA midsole is medium-density so it provides adequate shock-absorption for most walkers.

To keep your feet locked down and stable, a deep heel cup and a TPU heel counter have been added. These work together with the leather upper to cup the foot and prevent any movement of the foot inside the shoe that could lead to misalignment.

Durable rubber on the outsole offers excellent traction and flex grooves make the heel-to-toe transition easier.

These shoes have received the APMA Seal of Acceptance, which means the American Podiatric Medical Association has stated that they improve foot health.

The shoes run slightly small and you may need to order half a size larger to get a snug fit.

PROS:

  • Full-grain leather upper
  • Firm TPU heel counter
  • Deep heel cup
  • APMA Seal of Acceptance

CONS:

  • These shoes run slightly small and it would be best to order a half-size larger

Top for Overpronation

4. Apexfoot Lace Walkers – X Last

Overpronation—an inward rolling of the feet, common if you have flat feet—can lead to back pain.

These shoes are made for walking and they use a Carboplast footbridge for motion control. This keeps the foot upright and prevents it from falling over, protecting all the joints in the leg in the process. An X-shaped last also offers good motion control.

The upper is made from leather, which is also stiffer than mesh so it offers better support. There are perforations in the leather for breathability, but these shoes may be less breathable than those with mesh uppers.

A contoured EVA midsole provides arch and heel support, while also dispersing shock with every step. There are two inserts in the shoe, which can be removed to open up a 5/16-inch space that can accommodate custom inserts.

A slip-resistant outsole helps to prevent accidental slips on wet or smooth surfaces that could make your back pain worse.

PROS:

  • Carboplast footbridge
  • 100% leather upper
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Contoured EVA foam insole

CONS:

  • These shoes may be slightly less breathable due to their leather upper

Best Dress Shoes

5. Apex Lexington Moc Toe Oxford (men)

The Apex Lexington Moc Toe Oxford is a smart shoe that can be worn to the office or to formal functions.

Its full-grain leather upper looks professional and comes in both black and brown. The rigid leather provides stability for the foot, and a firm heel counter helps to lock the foot in so that there’s no sliding around within the shoe.

There are inserts within the shoe that offer some padding on top of the outsole. These can be removed if necessary to make space for your own custom insoles.

This may be necessary for individuals with flat feet or high arches, as there’s very mild support in these shoes that may not be enough for some.

A polyurethane rubber outsole provides good traction on a variety of surfaces, keeping you safe from small slips that can cause further back pain.

Note that some people may feel that these shoes are heavy on their feet.

PROS:

  • Full-grain leather upper
  • ¼-inch removable depth
  • Firm heel counter
  • Polyurethane outsole

CONS:

  • These shoes may feel heavy

6. Apex Petals – Linda (women)

Ladies will appreciate the smooth leather upper of this shoe as it offers rigid support.

There’s a hook-and-loop closure that’s comfortable across the top of the foot and doesn’t cause pressure points. It also makes it easy to slip these shoes on and off.

The rubber sole helps to absorb the impact of each footstrike. It’s also slip-resistant so there’s less chance of causing an injury or exacerbating back pain. Although these shoes only come in one color, they are available in regular, wide, and extra-wide sizes.

PROS:

  • 99% leather upper
  • Slip-resistant rubber outsole
  • Hook-and-loop closure
  • Available in wide sizes

CONS:

  • The stiff leather may take some time to break in

Best Leather

7. New Balance 928v3

The New Balance 928v3 has an upper made almost entirely of leather. There’s mesh on the tongue and around the ankle collar to provide good ventilation throughout the foot chamber.

It’s actually a stability shoe, using ROLLBAR technology in the heel to prevent overpronation, which could lead to worsening back problems.

There is a TPU plate that prevents the foam in the midfoot from compressing on the medial side. The ABZORB midsole is made up of compression-molded EVA foam for shock absorption and comfort.

On the outsole, Walking Strike Path technology uses a thick rubber guidance line to help transition seamlessly through the gait cycle. This is helped by extra flex grooves in the forefoot and a rocker-shaped sole.

Some may feel that the shoe is uncomfortably heavy, as it weighs over a pound.

PROS:

  • Leather and mesh upper
  • ROLLBAR technology
  • ABZORB midfoot cushioning
  • Walking Strike Path technology

CONS:

  • These shoes are heavy, weighing more than a pound

Top All-Day Shoes

8. Rockport Midland Waterproof Oxford (men)

These shoes are suitable for all-day wear in many different conditions.

The leather upper has been treated with a waterproof layer so they can withstand rainy weather.

The leather upper offers structural support and the tongue has a mesh section that allows for breathability. Note that the tongue is not waterproof and may let water into the shoe in wet conditions.

You can get a tight, customized fit thanks to the traditional lacing system with five pairs of eyelets. There’s a removable footbed inside the shoe, which allows space to insert custom orthotics.

The midsole has been strengthened and stabilized by the addition of graphite into the midsole. A rubber outsole absorbs impact and provides traction.

PROS:

  • Waterproof-treated leather upper
  • Removable footbed
  • Graphite in midsole
  • Durable rubber outsole

CONS:

  • These shoes run narrow so order a half-size up

9. Klogs Mission (women)

These leather slip-ons have dual side gorings to make it easy to slip on and off.

The leather is smooth and looks professional enough for work purposes but can also be worn casually.

It has a Klogs Komfort footbed that’s latex-free, so it’s suitable for everyone. The footbed is odor-resistant and very light, so these shoes won’t weigh you down. Underneath, a Maxum slip-resistant outsole keeps you safe on both dry and wet surfaces.

The manufacturer recommends ordering a half-size larger than your usual size.

PROS:

  • Smooth leather uppers
  • Maxum slip-resistant outsole
  • Klogs Komfort footbed
  • Odor-resistant footbed

CONS:

  • The shoes run small and it’s advisable to order a half-size bigger

Best Boots

10. Propét Grady (men)

This full-grain leather boot is sturdy and has excellent ankle support.

It’s available in both black and brown leather and also in wide sizes. Some may find that it takes a little while to break in and become comfortable.

Inside, there’s an Ortholite insole that offers light support and comfort underfoot.

It is removable to be replaced with a custom insole, which is advisable for those who need strong arch support.

PROS:

  • Full-grain leather upper
  • Removable footbed
  • Available in wide widths
  • Ortholite insole

CONS:

  • The insoles don’t offer much arch support

11. SoftWalk Highland (women)

The Softwalk Highland is an attractive women’s boot that has a pull-on design for ease of use. It’s made of soft leather with large gorings on either side and comes in various colors.

There’s a supportive shank in the midsole to provide excellent support. The footbed is easy to remove for cleaning but also can make space for custom inserts to provide the best arch support.

A textured rubber sole is both shock-absorbing and grippy on many different surfaces.

This shoe’s sizing can be slightly inconsistent. But they are available in narrow, medium, wide, and extra-wide.

PROS:

  • Pull-on design
  • Textured rubber sole
  • Removable footbed
  • Supportive steel or iron shank

CONS:

  • This shoe’s sizing appears to be somewhat inconsistent

Top Hiking Boots

12. Hoka Speedgoat Mid GTX 2

The Hoka Speedgoat Mid GTX 2 is a plush and comfortable hiking shoe.

It offers excellent ankle support with synthetic overlays to keep the ankles from moving. A wider forefoot allows for the toes to splay comfortably to help create a stable platform.

This shoe is also waterproof, using a Gore-Tex layer to effectively prevent any water from getting into the shoe. This is ideal for hikers to trek through any weather without worrying about wet feet.

The midsole is ample, with a 33 mm stack height in the heel and a drop of 4 mm. It absorbs shock and disperses vibration across the foot, reducing the chance of injury that could make back pain worse.

A Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole to keep you stable on dry, wet, and loose surfaces.

The Speedgoat can run slightly small.

PROS:

  • Excellent ankle support
  • Ample midsole cushioning
  • Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole
  • Gore-Tex protection

CONS:

  • They run slightly small

Best Slip-On

13. UGG Sheldon (men)

Available in navy blue and gray, the UGG Sheldon is a stylish slip-on.

It’s also extremely lightweight, at just 7 ounces per shoe. The upper consists of Hyperwave mesh in the forefoot for ventilation and flexibility and suede in the rearfoot for stability in the heel.

Inside is a soft textile lining and a synthetic footbed that are soft on the feet and provide comfort. A hidden elastic strap inside keeps a snug fit on your foot.

The sole is adequately shock-absorbing for a lightweight shoe. The midsole foam is exposed in the midfoot, while rubber is strategically placed on the heel and toe for better grip.

PROS:

  • Hyperweave and suede upper
  • Lightweight at 7 ounces
  • Strategically-placed outsole rubber
  • Soft textile lining

CONS:

  • These shoes run small, may need to order a half-size larger for a snug fit

14. UGG Bren (women)

The UGG Bren is similar to the men’s Sheldon.It features a breathable upper, although it’s made from cotton webbing, which could be warm in summer weather. Dual side gorings make the shoe comfortable and easy to get on and off.

At just 6 ounces, this shoe is very light on your feet. Adding to the comfort is a terrycloth inner liner, which is soft and prevents friction against the skin. The EVA insole reduces vibration from foot strikes that could contribute to back pain.

The shoes are light and minimalist in design, but they may not offer enough support for everyone. It could be hard to fit a custom orthotic into these shoes due to their snug design.

PROS:

  • Cotton webbing upper
  • EVA insole
  • Terrycloth inner lining
  • Weighs just 6 ounces

CONS:

  • These shoes may not have enough support for some and there may not be space to insert an orthotic

FAQs

What Features Are Important in Shoes When Having Back Pain?

The first feature to look for when buying shoes to relieve back pain is stability.

Individuals whose feet fall inwards towards the medial side when they walk or run should choose a shoe that states that it’s a stability shoe.

Cushioning is also important as it absorbs shock when you step. Choose a shoe with comfortable cushioning that feels soft under your feet but doesn’t “sink” or feel mushy when you walk or run.

Good cushioning will help protect your joints from damage caused by jarring due to impact.

There should also be adequate arch support and support both under and around the heel.

A firm heel cup helps to keep the foot in place when moving without allowing it to move around inside the shoe.

What Shoes Should Be Avoided?

People who suffer from back pain should avoid wearing shoes with little to no support or cushioning.

Minimalist—barefoot—shoes don’t offer enough foot support and should be avoided, as should sandals, flip flops, and any shoe that doesn’t hug the foot firmly b comfortably.

High heels should also be avoided as much as possible. These shoes place the feet in an unnatural position and can cause pain not only in the back, but also in the feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

How to Treat Back Pain

The first step towards treating back pain is to get the right shoes that support your feet properly.

Focus on improving posture, which can be done by performing exercises and yoga poses or stretches that strengthen the back and core muscles.

Try to balance sitting and standing and don’t do either for too long before having a break from it. If you work in an office where they spend most of the day sitting at a desk, take regular walking breaks to prevent muscle fatigue and bad posture.

If you’ve tried everything you can to alleviate your back pain and it hasn’t helped, then you should consult a medical practitioner to find out what could be causing your back pain.