Sciatica can cause debilitating pain in the lower back, hips, glutes, or legs. While it often resolves itself without the need for medical treatment, it can happen frequently if there’s an underlying reason that isn’t being addressed.
If you suffer from frequent sciatica, one of the first steps towards easing pain is to choose the best shoes for sciatica. We’ve reviewed the shoes we believe are the top choices.
Our top pick is the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24. It has gel cushioning in the heel and forefoot, it uses a TRUSSTIC device to provide support, and it’s highly comfortable.
Find out which shoe is best for you so you can start relieving sciatic pain today!
Top 3 Best and Favorites
ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 24
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Hoka Bondi 7
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Saucony Guide 14
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1. ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24
The ASICS Gel-Nimbus 24 is a comfortable shoe that offers excellent cushioning and support for people with a neutral foot.
The upper is made of soft multidirectional mesh which hugs the foot and allows it to breathe while providing enough structure thanks to overlays on the sides of the shoe. It also has a good-sized toe box.
The Gel-Nimbus uses Flytefoam Propel cushioning in the midsole, which provides good energy return to help propel you forward faster. Also in the heel and forefoot are gel units for more cushioning.
This is not classed as a stability shoe, but it uses a gender-specific TRUSSTIC device in the midsole to provide support. This technology uses non-intrusive pillars in the forefoot and midfoot to give the foot better support as well as cushioning. This will help to keep the lower leg properly aligned and reduce the chance of sciatica.
An AHAR rubber outsole keeps you safe on a number of different surfaces, both wet and dry. It has flex, but also provides some extra cushioning.
Weighing a bit over 11 ounces, this shoe is on the heavy side and some may feel that it’s a bit uncomfortable on their feet due to this.
- Multi-directional mesh
- TRUSSTIC device
- Gel units in the heel and forefoot
- Flytefoam Propel cushioning
- At over 11 ounces, this shoe is heavier than most equivalents on the market
2. Hoka One One Bondi 7
Shock absorption is important when it comes to protecting the sciatic nerve.
The Bondi 7 is Hoka One One’s most cushioned shoe on the market and it’s ideal for people suffering from sciatica. It’s a neutral shoe but still provides good arch support.
A thick layer of EVA foam serves as the midsole, which reduces the effects of impact. The heel collar and tongue are also padded with soft memory foam, so wearing the shoe is a luxurious experience.
A large toe box allows your feet to rest naturally within the shoe. There’s also an internal heel counter to hold the foot firmly in place so there’s no unnecessary movement.
In the midsole, an early-stage meta rocker and beveled heel help to move you forward with as little fatigue on the muscles as possible.
Strategically placed rubber on the outsole encourages good footing and prevents slipping which could aggravate a sensitive sciatic nerve.
It also helps to keep you steady on your feet without the need for the leg and foot muscles to tense up.
Some may feel that the Bondi 7 is too heavy and uncomfortable on their feet, due to its bulky design.
- Thick layer of EVA midsole cushioning
- Padded tongue and collar
- Molded Ortholite footbed
- Early-stage Meta-Rocker
- Some may feel that the shoe is too heavy
Best Lightweight Shoe
3. Saucony Guide 14
The Saucony Guide is a stability shoe that is designed for mild overpronators.
If your feet fall inwards when you walk or run, it could be the reason your sciatic nerve is being aggravated. Wearing a pair of stability shoes will help to keep your feet aligned and reduce the risk of injury or damage.
PWRRUN foam in the midsole is more responsive than the previous versions but still presents a balance of springiness and soft cushion. To prevent overpronation, a TPU guidance frame in the medial side of the shoe works together with a 3D-engineered fascia sleeve to stabilize the entire foot.
FORMFIT technology in the upper envelops your foot in a comfortable and supportive wrap. The snug heel also helps to keep the foot properly in place.
The shoe features the spacious toe box Saucony is known for, which prevents the foot from being cramped.
These shoes are also light, with the men’s weighing 10 ounces—size 9, medium—and the women’s weighing 9.4 ounces.
A blown rubber outsole provides nice traction on both wet and dry surfaces. There’s less chance of slipping and damaging the sciatic nerve or muscles surrounding it.
The shoe runs slightly narrow, although it seems to be true to size lengthways. You may need to order a half-size up if you prefer some space in your shoe.
- FORMFIT upper
- Medial TPU guidance frame
- PWRRUN foam cushioning
- Blown rubber outsole
- The shoe runs slightly narrow
Top Recovery Shoe
4. GravityDefyer Gray Mighty Walk
The GravityDefyer Gray Mighty Walk is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a comfortable, supportive recovery shoe.
Muscle tightening after exercise can place pressure on the sciatic nerve. These shoes are designed to accelerate recovery so that doesn’t happen.
The amply-cushioned VersoShock midsole has been proven to relieve pain in the entire joint chain by more than 90 percent. It uses a hidden spring system that compresses when your foot hits the ground, soaking up the shock of the impact and preventing it from affecting the foot and leg.
A rocker design in the forefoot helps you to move forward effortlessly without strain on the muscles.
There’s a spacious toe box so your toes have plenty of space to spread naturally. This allows for a more comfortable platform and better circulation.
When you buy these shoes, they come with Corrective Fit insoles. But these can be removed if you wish to insert your own.
These shoes run slightly small in both the men’s and women’s sizes, and you should order a size up to ensure a snug fit.
- Front rolling design
- Spacious toe box
- VersoShock technology
- Includes Corrective Fit Orthotics
- These shoes run slightly small and you should order a half-size up
Best For Walking
5. Brooks Addiction Walker Suede
If you’re a walker, the Brooks Addiction Walker Suede is an excellent shoe to keep your feet protected and lower the chances of sciatic pain.
The shoe features an Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar for stability and extra support.
The upper is made from suede, which is durable and looks sharp. Micro-perforations in the upper and an inner mesh lining allow ventilation through the foot chamber.
Traditional laces allow for a good fit and there’s an extra eyelet for those who want to really cinch down.
BioMoGo DNA in the midsole protects the foot and the other leg joints from the shock of vibration when landing. A removable insole allows space for a custom insole.
The HPR Green outsole is non-slip. This allows you to walk with peace of mind, knowing that there’s less chance of you slipping and hurting yourself, which can lead to sciatica.
This shoe is somewhat heavy, weighing 12 ounces for the men’s shoe and 11.8 ounces for the women’s.
- Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar
- Full-length BioMoGo midsole cushioning
- Removable insole
- HPR Green outsole
- Some may feel that this shoe is heavy
6. Skechers Max Cushioning Elite – Amplifier (men)
Those who prefer slip-on shoes may like the Skechers Max Cushioning Elite Amplifier.
A breathable mesh upper uses Stretch Fit technology to create a snug fit despite having no shoelaces. The sock-like heel collar is comfortable and easy to slide into.
Max Cushioning Elite technology in the midsole means your feet are well-protected from potentially harmful vibrations that run up the legs on every step.
The ULTRA GO cushioned platform absorbs shock and an Air-Cooled Goga Mat insole provides high-rebound cushion for excellent energy return.
There’s a natural rocker shape to the sole, which helps with a smoother heel-to-toe transition, whether walking or jogging.
The outsole has some of the midsole exposed but features traction rubber on the toe, heel, and arch for safety on various surfaces.
- Knit fabric upper
- Natural rocker technology
- ULTRA GO cushioning
- Air-Cooled Goga Mat insole
- The insole is glued into the shoe and may be difficult to remove if you want to wear a custom insert
7. Skechers Max Cushioning Elite – Promised (women)
The Promised is very similar to the Amplifier, just with a slightly lower stack height.
While the Amplifier has a heel of about 1.5 inches, the Elite’s heel is around 1.25 inches in height, which may be more comfortable for some people.
It uses the same ULTRA GO comfort platform, Skechers’ Air Cooled Goga Mat running insole, and has a “midfoot strike zone” where the midsole meets the ground.
The midsole is then reinforced with rubber at the forefoot, heel, and instep for good traction that keeps you safe on many surfaces.
- Mesh upper
- Mid-foot strike zone
- ULTRA GO comfort platform
- Air Cooled Goga Mat running insole
- May not be suitable for those with wide feet
Best Casual Shoe
8. Crocs Santa Cruz Slip-On (men)
These slip-ons are casual and stylish and would be at home in the house or out visiting friends or shopping.
They have a breathable mesh canvas upper with unique frayed edges for an interesting look. Dualside gorings help slip your foot easily into this shoe, and a moc toe design hides a spacious toe box for the toes to splay.
There’s a light Croslite insole that’s made of material and contours to the shape of the foot for comfort and light cushion. The footbed has small bumps on it which give you a massaging feel as you walk, stimulating circulation which helps to keep the muscles feeling loose.
The outsole is slip-resistant as well as non-marking and offers effective traction. It should help you keep your footing and not risk jarring or tweaking your sciatic nerve or the muscles and joints around it.
- Canvas upper
- Dual Crocs Comfort
- Croslite insole
- Non-marking outsole
- Some may feel that these shoes are not cushioned enough
9. SKECHERS GOwalk Joy (women)
Ladies will find plenty of choice in these casual slip-ons, with a range of pretty colors. An engineered mesh upper provides good support while allowing ventilation.5GEN cushioning technology protects your feet from impact, and a good-sized toe box allows the toes to splay and create a natural, stable platform. An Ortholite foam insole provides nice cushioning for a lightweight shoe.
The 1 ½-inch heel height is comfortable and helps to relieve pressure from the lower legs. A unique perforated and grippy outsole allows the freedom to walk on many different surfaces safely.
These shoes are machine washable. They may run slightly large, so you might need to order a half-size down for a comfortable and snug fit.
- Engineered mesh upper
- 5GEN cushioning
- Slip-on design
- Goga Max cushioned insole
- These shoes run a little large
Top Work Shoe
10. Rockport Ridgefield Eureka
Many work shoes don’t provide adequate cushioning for someone who needs a shoe for sciatica.
But the Rockport Ridgefield Eureka not only looks smart and professional, but it has good cushioning thanks to an EVA midsole and latex footbed.
The leather upper is sturdy and comes in three different colors and a nubuck option. An inner mesh lining makes the shoe breathable and wicks away moisture so that your feet remain fresh all day.
A heel counter keeps your feet stable within the shoe. Reducing movement that could cause sciatic pain. The EVA midsole provides adequate cushioning for low-impact activity and absorbs light impact to prevent vibration and jarring.
A soft rubber outsole helps with impact absorption, improves durability, and offers excellent traction on a variety of surfaces.
- Leather upper
- Mesh lining
- EVA midsole
- Rubber outsole
- This shoe may not be suitable for people who have an allergy to latex
Best Motion-Control Shoe For Women
11. Vionic Nalia Slip on Sneaker
Excess movement of the foot within the shoe can lead to strain on the joints of the leg, hip, and back. A motion-control shoe helps to prevent unnecessary movement and keep the foot properly aligned all the time so that the sciatic nerve isn’t activated.
These shoes have a casual design and come in a range of different color combinations. It’s a slip-on shoe with a supportive textile upper featuring two gorings for easy slip-on.
Vio-Motion support technology uses a Three-one Comfort system that uses multi-density foam to provide added support in the midsole and arch.
Their biomechanical technology has also been proven to reduce heel pain, protecting you from your feet to your back.
A rubber outsole prevents slipping, which reduces the chance of straining the sciatic nerve.
The manufacturer recommends wearing the shoes for just a few hours a day for the first few days until these shoes have worn in.
- Vio-Motion support technology
- Dual gore panels
- Removable EVA footbed
- Rubber outsole
- May take some time to break-in
Best Running Shoe
12. New Balance Fresh Foam X Vongo v5
If you’re a runner, pain in the sciatic nerve can make your running difficult. You will have to choose a shoe that offers everything you need for running as well as features to protect the sciatic nerve.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5 is classified as a stability shoe but the stability features are light enough for people with a neutral foot to wear them comfortably too.
A Hypoknit upper and synthetic overlays provide light support from the outside in. A traditional lacing system allows you to cinch down and get the perfect fit to eliminate heel slippage. The tongue and heel collar are lightly padded so they don’t cause pressure points across the foot.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo uses NB Fresh Foam in the midsole, which is plush and comfortable and excellent for shock absorption. There’s also a molded foam insole that contours to the foot, which is also removable to add a custom insert.
The rubber outsole protects the wearer from slipping, whether you’re running on a wet or dry road. A geometric design on the outsole also prevents it from looking scuffed.
- Hypoknit upper
- Fresh Foam midsole cushioning
- Lightly padded tongue
- Rubber outsole
- Slightly heavy at 10 ounces
Top Non-Slip Shoe
13. Merrell Jungle Moc Leather SR
Slipping can be extremely detrimental to the sciatica nerve. Injury to any part of the leg or even the lower back can cause the nerve to become pinched, so a non-slip shoe is an excellent choice if you want to protect yourself from slipping and hurting yourself.
The full-grain leather upper is sturdy and holds the foot in place. Their COMFORTBASE technology throughout the shoe offers a variety of features to care for your feet.
A contoured footbed made of well-ventilated foam keeps your foot comfortable as well as cool. The rubberized EVA midsole offers excellent shock absorption and there’s an air cushion in the heel for added padding.
Under the arch, there’s a molded nylon shank, which keeps the foot in place and is good for overpronators to keep their feet properly aligned at all times.
The outsole uses Merrell M Select GRIP rubber, which is resistant to slipping on water and oil, heat-resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and has multiple differently shaped lugs of 3 mm for traction.
- Full-grain leather upper
- Air cushion in the heel
- Rubberized EVA midsole
- Merrell M Select GRIP rubber
- The sizing is slightly inconsistent
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is nerve pain in and around the sciatic nerve. This is the thickest and longest nerve in the body and runs from the lower back down through your hips and legs.
The pain can be described as a burning, electric pain that shoots up or down the legs or is felt deep in your lower back. You may feel pain in the hips, buttocks, or down the legs. Along with the pain, you may feel tingling, weakness, numbness, or a pins-and-needles feeling.
It is usually only felt on one side of the body at a time. The pain of sciatica can occur for a number of different reasons, such as:
- A herniated disc in the spine
- Degenerative disc disease—wear and tear
- Spinal stenosis
- Trauma to the lower spine
- Piriformis syndrome
It’s important to note that sciatica is not a condition on its own. It’s a symptom of a condition, so every time you feel the pain in your sciatic nerve, it’s a sign of something else happening to or close to the nerve.
Is Walking Good for Sciatica?
Walking can be a good way to reduce the inflammation associated with sciatica. Physical exercise can trigger the release of endorphins that relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Walking is also low-impact and so it’s unlikely to cause jarring that could possibly aggravate existing conditions.
But it’s important to wear the right shoes to support their feet, as wearing unsupportive shoes may force the joints into unnatural positions and aggravate the sciatic nerve.
How to Deal with Sciatica
Minor sciatic pain often resolves itself within a few days. You may perform stretches or have a deep tissue massage to help relieve the pain.
Over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen or muscle relaxants may also be taken. In minor cases, the piriformis muscle is often to blame and the pain eases when the muscle relaxes.
In extreme cases, consult a medical practitioner. If the pain has not eased within a few days or it has moved to another area, visit a doctor to work out the underlying cause.
Once the doctor knows what’s causing the pain, they will be able to advise you on the best steps forward.
Why Can Your Shoes Worsen Your Sciatica?
Wearing shoes that don’t adequately support your feet could cause your sciatic pain to worsen. If the shoes don’t have adequate support for your arch type, then your foot is likely to be out of alignment.
This in turn causes all joints above it to move out of alignment which can place pressure on your sciatic nerve.
A small toe box that causes the feet to be cramped can also worsen sciatica. When the foot is in an unnatural position, you end up compromising their gait in order to relieve pain in certain places.
However, this may place more strain on other areas of the leg, which can lead to sciatica.
Shoes that don’t provide adequate traction on the outsole may also contribute to the pain of sciatica. Without a good grip on the surface with your shoes, the foot and leg muscles may tense in order to provide more stability.
If you do slip, it’s also easy to hurt a muscle or joint that could aggravate the sciatic nerve.
How to Choose the Best Shoes for Sciatica
When looking for the best shoes for sciatica, consider the following. The fit should be comfortable, without too much space in the toe box but with enough room for the toes to splay naturally.
The shoes should offer the right arch support for your feet. Those with neutral feet can choose a neutral shoe, but those who overpronate—flat feet or high arches—should wear a stability shoe to prevent the foot from turning inwards and increasing the chance of injury and pain.
There should also be enough cushioning to be comfortable and to absorb the impact, even if only walking in the shoes. An outsole with good traction is also a necessary feature.