Hallux rigidus is the medical term for a form of arthritis that causes stiffness and immobility in the joints of the big toe.
It can be painful and the rigidity of the toe can also make natural movement like walking difficult. This is why it’s essential to choose a shoe that accommodates your affected toe and helps rather than hinders it.
We’ve reviewed the best shoes for hallux rigidus. They all have a spacious toe box, fairly stiff sole, good arch support and cushioning, and soft uppers.
The top shoe we recommend is the Brooks Addiction Walker Suede. It has a soft, comfortable upper, shock-absorbing cushioning in the midsole, and an Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar for stability and support.
There’s a shoe on this list for every person and every occasion. Read on to see the best available if you have hallux rigidus arthritis.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Brooks Addiction Walker Suede
|CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE|
Propet Stability Walker Strap
|CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE|
Hoka One One Bondi L
1. Brooks Addiction Walker Suede
The Brooks Addiction Walker is a motion control shoe.
This is important because the Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar prevents the foot from moving around too much in the shoe. The less movement of the foot, the less the big toe needs to stabilize.
Although this is technically a feature to prevent overpronation, those with a neutral foot shouldn’t find it uncomfortable.
We highly recommend the suede version of this shoe. It’s soft on your feet, preventing any chafing against the affected toe. It’s also sturdy and durable.
The upper has multiple perforations to allow air in to keep your feet cool. A mesh lining also helps to wick away moisture, so your feet stay dry and as comfortable as possible.
BioMoGo DNA cushioning in the midsole delivers excellent absorption of shock on every step, preventing the toe from being jarred as well as the other joints. A removable insole allows you to add a custom insert if you need to.
The outsole is stiff in the midfoot and heel, although the forefoot is more flexible thanks to the presence of flex grooves.
It’s non-slip, so you can walk confidently on any surface and not worry about slipping and potentially jarring or injuring your toe.
- Soft suede upper
- BioMoGo DNA cushioning
- Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar
- Slip-resistant outsole
- Some may feel that the forefoot foam is too thin for comfort
2. Propet Stability Walker Strap
The Propet Stability Strap shoe features a full-grain leather upper that’s durable, abrasion-resistant, and water-resistant.
Inside, the shoe is lined with nylon, wicking away moisture and preventing chafing against your toes.
The shoe has good airflow with perforations across the upper. Two Velcro hook-and-loop straps allow the wearer to get a tight and comfortable fit without the hassle of tying laces.
A roomy toe box allows space for the affected toe to move freely. There’s a built-in heel stabilizer that keeps the heel locked down, preventing shifting as you walk. This takes pressure off the big toe.
Molded EVA foam cushioning provides lightweight padding and disperses shock. For extra comfort, there’s a PU insole that has a gel heel pad for added cushioning. It can be removed if necessary.
Durable rubber underneath makes the sole durable and fairly rigid. It also offers effective grip on a number of different surfaces, so you can walk comfortably and confidently without pain in the big toe.
The shoe runs slightly small and narrow, so you may need to buy a size larger in order to get a comfortable fit.
- Full-grain leather upper
- Molded EVA foam cushioning
- Built-in heel stabilizer
- PU insole with a gel heel pad
- These shoes run small and narrow
3. Hoka One One Bondi L
The Hoka One One Bondi L is the leather-upper version of the beloved Bondi 7.
A full-grain leather upper is the biggest difference, but it makes the shoe stable, water-resistant, and durable.
The toe box is sufficiently roomy for the toes to spread out naturally. Inside, the shoe is lined with fabric, allowing for ventilation and preventing chafing on the sensitive skin of the feet.
There’s a generous chunk of EVA foam in the midsole. This delivers exceptional shock absorption, reducing jarring immensely. An early-stage meta-rocker design reduces foot fatigue.
The midsole is exposed on much of the bottom of the shoe, but certain high-abrasion areas are covered with carbon rubber. There are flex grooves in the outsole, but the thickness of the foam makes for quite a stiff sole.
Some may feel that the design of the shoe is too bulky for their liking.
- Full-grain leather upper
- Full-length EVA midsole cushioning
- Early-stage Meta-Rocker
- Carbon rubber outsole
- Some may not like the bulky design of the shoe
4. New Balance Leather 928v3
The New Balance Leather 928v3 is a durable and supportive shoe.
Although the majority of the upper is constructed from leather, the collar features mesh to keep the inside of the shoe ventilated.
Leather overlays on the midfoot and heel act as lateral support, to stop your feet from moving side-to-side and putting pressure on the big toe. The toe box has more than enough room for the toes to rest naturally and be able to move freely.
This shoe is classified as a motion control shoe. It has a Rollbar technology posting system, which uses medial and lateral posts in the midsole to prevent excess movement—either rolling or lateral movement—of the midfoot and heel. A stable foot means less pressure on the toes.
A CMEVA midsole absorbs impact and protects the joints as well as the hallux rigidus. ABZORB foam in the forefoot and midfoot provide more comfort.
The padding also has a slight rocker effect for reducing fatigue in the ball of the foot. The sole unit is quite stiff in comparison to others.
On the outsole, Ndurance rubber gives you traction on most surfaces without needing to use the toes to grip.
There’s also a technology called Walking Strike Path, which is a vertical strip of rubber along the outsole that helps smooth the heel-to-toe transition.
- Leather upper
- Rollbar technology posting system
- Walking Strike Path innovation
- Ndurance rubber
- Some may find that the tongue of the shoe is too short and digs into their foot
Top Dress Shoe
5. Orthofeet Gramercy (men’s)
6. Orthofeet Celina (women’s)
We recommend the Orthofeet Gramercy for men and the Celina for women.
Both shoes have a leather upper that’s resistant to water, stains, and abrasion. It also has a smart look that’s ideal for almost any occasion that warrants a dress shoe.
The men’s shoe features a lace-up closure, while the women’s has a hook-and-loop strap. Inside each shoe is extra foam padding for comfort, especially if you’re going to be wearing them for hours.
Each has extra width in the forefoot to accommodate painful or swollen toes. Both have lightweight, ergonomic soles that offer moderate cushioning and arch support.
These shoes feature two sets of removable spacers. You can remove them completely for extra depth in the shoe, or add a custom insert to suit your foot. The women’s shoe can also accommodate AFOs and KAFOs.
Both the men’s and women’s shoes have a plastic heel counter that can be molded to your foot by heat. The manufacturer recommends having this done by a professional cobbler for the best results.
- Genuine leather
- Heat-moldable heel counter
- 2 spacers
- Ergonomic soles
- The heel counter should be molded by a professional
Best For Outdoors
7. Altra Olympus 4
Altra shoes are known for their wide, comfortable toe boxes and outdoorsy design.
An engineered mesh upper makes the shoes very breathable, which is ideal for the outdoors, especially in warm weather.
A FootShape toe box gives all of your toes plenty of room to splay. There’s also a protective toe cap, which protects your toes from being bumped by rocks or other hazards while outdoors.
The shoe is a zero-drop shoe, which means there’s no extra pressure placed on the forefoot. With a stack height of 33 mm, there’s more than enough cushioning to absorb impact and reduce vibration.
A Vibram Megagrip outsole is sufficiently stiff and offers excellent traction on various outdoor terrain.
- Engineered mesh upper
- Protective toe cap
- Altra balanced cushioning
- Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsole
- Some may be uncomfortable with a zero-drop platform
Top Casual Sneakers
8. Orthofeet Sprint (men’s)
9. Orthofeet Coral (women’s)
The Orthofeet Sprint men’s shoe and Coral women’s shoe are very similar. They’re both athletic-looking shoes that are easy to get on and off.
Both have stretchable uppers with soft inner padding that will go easy on your toes. The toe boxes are ample and they also have deep heel cups, which help to keep the foot stable and prevent movement that requires the big toe to stabilize the body.
Both of these shoes have an insole with moderate arch support. These can be taken out to make space for prescribed orthotics.
EVA midsoles offer some protection against impact. The women’s shoe has gel in the heel for extra support and cushioning.
Both the men’s and the women’s shoes run small and the manufacturer suggests ordering ½ a size larger.
- Soft, stretchable uppers
- Deep heel cups
- Soft inner padding
- EVA midsole
- These shoes run small and you should order ½ a size larger
Best Sneakers For Orthotics
10. Saucony Echelon 8
Orthotics can help with hallux rigidus. If your doctor has prescribed an orthotic and you’re looking for a pair of shoes that can accommodate it, then the Saucony Echelon is a good choice.
Saucony shoes are known for having a large toe box and a wide platform, which takes pressure off your sore toe. The Formfit engineered mesh upper is stretchy and conforms to the foot, but remains soft on the feet.
The inside of the shoe is spacious and the Ortholite sockliner is removable to make way for an orthotic. Thanks to the space inside the shoe, almost any orthotic can fit easily.
For comfort and shock-absorption, there’s a PWRRUN midsole that’s light and soft. A 3D heel counter increases the stability of the shoe and your feet.
The Tri-Flex crystal rubber outsole helps to disperse force over a greater area, improving impact absorption.
- Formfit upper
- PWRRUN midsole cushioning
- Wide, spacious toe box
- Orthotic-friendly sockliner
- Many reviewers find these shoes to be lacking in style
Best Work Shoes
11. Dansko Wayne (men’s)
12. Dansko Beatrice (women’s)
The men’s—Wayne—and women’s—Beatrice—shoes both have leather uppers that are smart and durable. Soft, moisture-wicking linings keep the toes comfortable and prevent chafing.
The men’s shoe features stretchy gorings on either side for a true slip-on design. The women’s is classified as a slip-on, but it has a hook-and-loop strap across the foot.
Both shoes feature a stiff sole and good-sized, deep toe boxes. The men’s shoe also has a steel shank to prevent overpronation, which will keep the foot properly aligned. When the foot is prevented from falling over, it takes a lot of pressure off the big toe.
Although the women’s shoe doesn’t have the shank, it has a rocker-bottom design, which also takes strain off the forefoot and toes.
Contoured EVA footbeds provide adequate arch support. The women’s has gel-like padding and the men’s is triple-density. They can be removed if necessary.
Rubber soles give you an excellent grip on a variety of surfaces and reduce the chance of slipping and hurting your toe even more. These shoes are slightly heavy and some may find this to be off-putting.
- Leather uppers
- Moisture-absorbing lining
- Deep toe box
- Contoured footbeds
- These shoes are slightly heavy on the feet
Top Snow Boots
13. Propet Blizzard Ankle Zip (men’s),
14. Propet Lumi Ankle Zip (women’s)
Walking through snow can be painful on hallux rigidus. These boots are what we recommend to keep your feet and toes safe and pain-free.
The men’s boot has a leather upper treated with Scotchgard to make it water-resistant. The women’s shoe has an upper made of suede and knit and also features Scotchgard coating.
A good fit is provided by the zip on the bridge of the foot. The women’s shoe covers the ankle, while the men’s doesn’t. Either way, the shoes are supportive and stable.
For even more water-resistance, each shoe features a Sealtex waterproof bootie. Other technologies include a Thinsulate lining to insulate the feet and a Vaporex heat-retention system.
This is a double-insole system that traps heat between the layers, keeping you warm at the same time as it adds padding.
EVA midsoles provide shock-absorbing cushioning to protect the feet and toes from vibrations from the impact of each step. A rubber outsole is textured to give you the best grip possible, so your big toe doesn’t have to work more than it absolutely needs to.
- Water-resistant upper
- Thinsulate lining
- Cushioned EVA midsole
- Textured rubber outsole
- Some may find the upper to be too inflexible
What Exactly is Hallux Rigidus?
Hallux rigidus is the medical term for a common form of arthritis that affects the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe. It causes stiffness in the toe, restricting your ability to bend your toe upwards.
This condition is a progressive degenerative condition. Symptoms include pain in the joints, inflammation, and swelling, and difficulty walking.
What Causes Hallux Rigidus?
Almost two-thirds of people with hallux rigidus have a family history of hallux valgus—bunions.
But there are certain things that can contribute to the development of hallux rigidus. Shoes with an improper fit or that are too tight around the toes can cause hallux rigidus.
You should avoid wearing high-heel shoes that place pressure on the toes and pointy shoes that cause the toes to be cramped.
Certain types of exercise can also cause hallux rigidus when performed consistently over a long period of time. Any exercise that puts strain on the forefoot or toes can contribute to the development of hallux rigidus.
Is Walking Good for Hallux Rigidus?
Walking can help to improve the range of motion in the big toe, as long as it isn’t overly painful and you’re wearing the right shoes.
If you’ve chosen the right shoes to support your feet and you can walk without pain, you should try to walk uphill. This helps to stretch the toe out and improve the range of motion, but it can be painful.
If you feel pain when walking, the first thing to do is check that you’re wearing the right shoes. If you are, you should rest the foot until it’s feeling better before you attempt to walk on it again.
What to Look for in Hallux Rigidus Shoes:
You should choose a shoe with a stiff outsole to support the foot and the toe. Too much flexibility in the sole can leave the toe open to injury.
The upper of the shoe should be fairly flexible. An inflexible upper can prevent the toe from moving in its natural motion, amplifying the problem.
Roomy Toe Box
With hallux rigidus, there’s often inflammation and swelling in the ball of the foot and the base of the big toe. There should be enough room in the toe box for your toes to splay naturally and be able to move freely.
A breathable shoe allows for the foot to stay cool, dry, and comfortable. If your foot is too hot or uncomfortable inside the shoe, the inflammation in your big toe can become worse.
Always check the size chart before buying your shoes and check reviews to find out if the shoe runs small or large. Buying the right size shoe is an important part of keeping your feet healthy.