Wearing a pair of the best women’s dress shoes for bad knees can make the difference between an enjoyable night out and a painful and miserable experience.
You’ll need to make sure you look for a pair of shoes with good cushioning to absorb shock and enough support to keep your feet and knees from tiring out.
We have chosen the Aravon Dolly as our best overall women’s dress shoe. It has a soft, comfortable leather upper, a Dri-Lex lining, and a nylon shank for extra stability.
If it’s not quite your style, keep reading. We’re reviewing the top ten dress shoes for women that will ease the pain of bad knees.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
1. Aravon Dolly
If you love New Balance shoes, then these dress shoes may be a good option for you. In 2015, the creator of these shoes—The Rockport Company—was acquired in a dual partnership by New Balance and Berkshire Partners.
This pretty-looking shoe uses ABZORB cushioning to provide comfort and shock absorption to protect both your ankles and your knees. A memory foam insole rests on top of it for added comfort.
For support, you have a full-grain leather upper that locks your foot in place with an adjustable Velcro strap. Inside, a Dri-Lex lining helps to wick away moisture so your feet will remain comfortable.
There’s also a nylon shank that provides more stability and helps to keep your feet in alignment.
The shoe may not be comfortable for some ladies as there’s a chance of the buckle creating a pressure point that can be painful.
- Nylon stability shank
- Dri-Lex lining
- Soft leather upper
- Adjustable hook-and-loop closure
- Some people may find that the strap near the buckle creates a pressure point
2. Orthofeet Lake Charles
Sometimes it can seem like dress shoes are made to be uncomfortable. Thankfully, this shoe is very comfortable, and also provides support and cushioning keep your knees feeling good.
They are made from soft leather and lined with foam that removes hot spots in the shoe by avoiding pressure points. Underneath, an Ortho-Cushion system has a cushioned midsole and an orthotic insole for premium padding.
It also gives you a feeling of soft bounciness, like walking on air, and helps to propel your foot forward with less effort. It should help you retain energy without fatiguing as quickly.
They also feature a wider-than-usual midfoot and toe box that allows your toes to spread out naturally. This can help provide a wider platform for your toes and feet to stand on, improving balance and reducing pressure on the knees.
The shoe is also extra deep and has two removable spacer inserts—2 mm and 3 mm—in it which you can use to adjust how much room is in the shoe. It doesn’t look deeper than usual but that doesn’t mean the cushioning is non-existent.
There’s an insole featuring anatomical arch support and a deep heel cup that absorbs impact and locks the heel in place.
- Wide toe box
- Anatomical orthotic insoles
- Two removable inserts
- Non-binding leather upper
- These shoes may not be as durable as others
3. Softwalk Ramsey
These ankle-high boots come in leather or suede, with a few different colors so you can choose something that suits your style.
Unlike many pairs of dress boots, they are equipped with features that make them a very good stability boot for ladies suffering from bad knees. They also come in three different widths—narrow, medium, and wide—so there should be something to fit every woman.
These boots provide surprisingly good arch support and use a steel or iron shank to emphasize the medial support to prevent overpronation. There’s also a cushioned heel cup and a heel counter, which helps to keep the foot stable even though it’s resting on a slightly raised heel.
The contoured footbed cradles your foot to provide the best cushioning in the places where you need it. An antimicrobial lining is also helpful for keeping your feet fresh in shoes that are a bit less breathable than casual shoes.
Some women may find that the heels begin to wear away quickly and they aren’t as durable as other boots.
- Supportive steel/iron shank
- Antimicrobial lining
- Cushioned heel cup and counter
- Available in 3 widths
- The heels are not very durable especially if you wear these often
Top High Heel
4. Trotters Kiera
If you have bad knees but you love wearing high heels, you may have had one of two problems. Either, you miss wearing high heels, or you wear them anyway and they cause you pain.
These high heels are designed to be supportive in all the right places and reduce pain while allowing you to feel comfortable and stylish while wearing them.
The 2-inch heel is moderate but can be worn comfortably without knee pain thanks to a cushioned footbed and impressive arch support. A layer of memory foam inside the shoe fits itself to your feet so you only have to wear these shoes once for them to begin to conform to your feet.
The padded footbed is unusually cushioned for a high-heeled shoe, and it’s also removable so that you can add a custom insert if you need to. The outsole is lightly rubberized so there’s some traction on most surfaces.
They come in four different widths—narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide—so there’s a shoe to suit every lady. They can run slightly small and narrow, so you may need to order a larger or wider size.
- Available in 4 widths
- 2-inch heel height
- Memory foam cushioned footbed
- Soft leather upper
- These shoes can be narrow in the forefoot, so you may have to get a WW or go a size up
5. Klogs Naples
If you like the convenience of slip-on shoes, then you should try the Klogs Naples.
They come in a variety of colors and patterns and deliver good stability and comfort, especially if you’re on your feet for long periods of time.
There’s a roomy toe box to let the toes move freely without restriction. A PU midsole is shock-absorbing and gives impressive energy return. TRUComfort insoles deliver a supportive structure with firm but comfortable arch support and a deep heel cup.
TRUBase PU outsoles feature PURGrip treads to grip the surface for better traction. The Maxum rubber soles are designed to meet the (ASTM) F489-96 standards for non-slip shoes to be stable in slippery conditions.
It is recommended that women who wear half sizes should order a half size larger.
- TRUComfort Insoles
- Spacious toe box
- PURGrip treads
- Full grain leather upper
- Some people may find that the leather separates from the seam
6. Softwalk Sonoma
Ladies who prefer flat shoes will find that the Softwalk Sonoma strikes the perfect balance between pretty, functional, and comfortable for those with bad knees.
The leather upper is soft enough to be kind to the foot but firm enough to be supportive when walking.
Inside you’ll find a removable antimicrobial footbed. It features surprisingly springy cushioning with firm and effective arch support to keep your feet and knees supported from the ground up.
The outsole is flexible enough to allow easy movement and slip-resistant for safety.
- Available in 4 widths
- Textured rubber sole
- Removable footbed
- Soft leather upper
- Some may find that the “vintage” effect can create more of a mottled, damaged effect
Best Mary Jane
7. Drew Rose
One of the best things about this footwear is the wide variety of colors and patterns you can choose from.
There’s something for every woman’s style, plus they’re supportive enough to be worn by ladies who need extra stability for their knees.
Their Plus Fitting System is an innovative way of getting the perfect fit for your feet, with a double-depth shoe that comes with two removable insoles. You can even remove them and add your own custom orthotic if necessary.
The main insole molds to your feet for a comfortable and customized fit, and has a Dri-Lex top cover to wick away moisture. If the cushioning in this insole is not enough, add the second one for an extra layer.
To support your feet and keep them properly aligned, a tempered steel shank in the midsole provides sturdy arch support. The medial heel stabilizer also contributes to keeping your foot stable within the shoe.
The polyurethane outsole is lightweight and non-slip, reducing the chances of tweaking a knee if you stumble on a slippery surface.
The shoes run slightly large so it may be advisable to order a size smaller than usual.
- Plus Fitting System
- Dual-density insert
- Extended medial heel stabilizer
- Velcro brand closure
- These shoes run a little big
8. Propet Matilda
If you prefer a sneaker-like shoe, then try the Propet Matilda.
The polyurethane and mesh upper provide a combination of ventilation and foot support and has a more casual appearance. It comes in a variety of colors to fit a variety of styles.
The traditional lacing system allows you to get a tight but comfortable fit and feel stable in your shoes. A deep and wide toe box allows the toes space to splay naturally and a seamless interior reduces the chance of chafing.
A padded tongue and ankle collar also provide comfort and reduce hot spots where pressure points would usually be created.
Gel-like cushion means every step will feel like you’re walking on clouds. The cushioning offers excellent shock-absorbing properties, which can help to reduce pain in your knees.
Arch support prevents the effects of overpronation that cause unnatural foot position and movement, keeping your foot properly aligned and promoting natural movement.
Extra-depth inside the shoe lets you insert your custom orthotics so you can get the right support for your foot.
- High-density EVA medial post
- Double-depth insole
- Padded collar and tongue
- Seamless interior
- These shoes may run narrow so order half a size up or a wider size
9. Aravon REVsmart
If you’re looking for a shoe that will provide all-day comfort and support when you’re going to be on your feet all day, then the REVsmart may be the shoe for you.
The footbed uses Abzorb cushioning technology to provide superior shock absorption on every foot strike. A contoured arch helps to distribute body weight evenly and keep the foot in its natural alignment. The midsole also features a nylon stability shank for added support during the gait cycle.
The rocker profile helps for smoother transitions from heel to toe and prevents overpronation.
These shoes can run narrow so you may need to order a wider shoe or a size larger.
- Abzorb with Memory Foam footbed
- Nylon stability shank
- Rocker profile
- Contoured arch
- These shoes can run narrow and you may have to get a size bigger or order a wide
10. Aravon Cambridge 3 Strap
Sometimes a sandal is the most stylish shoe for the occasion.
If you’ve been struggling to find comfortable and supportive sandals due to bad knees, these ones could be your new best friend.
Three straps provide support across the foot, with a front strap offering support in the forefoot, the middle strap providing structure around the midfoot, and a rear strap serving the purpose of locking the heel in place.
The EVA memory foam footbed cushions your foot with every strike of your foot on the ground, and it can be removed if necessary. The shoes do provide some arch support, but depending on your foot type, you may need to use a custom orthotic.
The sandals come in a variety of colors and are made of soft leather that won’t chafe or cause irritation. A flexible, textured outsole provides good grip to help you to stay steady on smooth or slippery surfaces.
If you have narrow feet, you may find that the shoe may be a bit wide even when the straps are fully tightened.
- Removable cushioned footbed
- Soft leather upper
- Adjustable straps
- Textured outsole
- Some people may find that the shoe is a bit too wide even when the strap is pulled very tight
How Do Shoes Affect The Impact On Your Knee?
If you’re wearing shoes that don’t provide the support you need, or if you wear the wrong shoe, it can make existing foot problems worse.
This can lead to pain in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips, which can also exacerbate arthritis.
Even if you wear the wrong shoe for 5 to 10 minutes, the stress that’s placed on your legs can leave you experiencing pain for several days.
This is because shoes alter the position of your foot and can create pressure points inside the joints of your foot and knee. This will alter the way in which your leg moves and affect the alignment of the joints.
While you walk, the stability of the knee can be affected, which will also create uneven distribution of body weight and the knee will become misaligned.
The misalignment places strain on the supporting ligaments and muscles, which can lead to a tear in the meniscus or ACL or even to stress fractures.
If You Have Bad Knees, What Shoe Should You Buy?
When looking at shoes, there are a few things that you should keep in mind, aside from the style and the color of the shoe.
You want to make sure that the shoe has a spacious—wide—toe box, as this will prevent pressure points on the forefoot, allowing the toes to splay naturally.
The shoe should have adequate arch support for your foot type. If the shoe doesn’t provide adequate arch support, then it should have enough depth so that you can insert an orthotic. It should provide cushioning that helps to reduce the amount of shock from the impact of your foot.
The outsole of the shoe should be firm, as a shoe that has an overly flexible sole could place strain on the knee joint due to an inward rotation.
The dress shoe should allow you to walk longer distances or stand for longer periods of time—at a work function or wedding—without your feet and legs feeling fatigued.
What Can Happen If Shoes Don’t Have Enough Support?
We have all been guilty of buying a pair of shoes that don’t provide adequate support and then wearing them to work or a function.
But wearing shoes that don’t provide the support your foot needs can lead to a number of foot and leg problems that can take months to heal.
One of the most important features to look for in shoes is arch support. If your shoe doesn’t provide you with the right amount of support, it can lead to instability.
This instability can cause you to roll your ankles, leading to a sprain. It can also lead to the overstretching of the ligaments and tendons in the bottom of your foot.
Over time, these stretched tendons and ligaments will collapse the arch of your foot. Your body weight is then unevenly distributed when you walk and the alignment of your foot and knee are affected.
Your knees will try and compensate, as they’re absorbing more shock from impact and this then places stress not only on the knee but the hips.
Your gait will be affected, which also affects your posture, and this leads to back, hip, and knee pain and may cause arthritis in the joints.
If the toe box of the shoe is narrow and places pressure on the forefoot, this will lead to bunions, hammer toes, metatarsalgia, and other foot conditions.
These conditions, if left untreated or if you continue to wear shoes that don’t provide adequate support, will not only affect the foot, but your knees, hips, and back as well.