How to find great shoes for those with bunions?

If you have bunions, you know the pain at the base of your big toe can be difficult to ignore. Wearing shoes that are just a tad too tight or made from a stiff or hard material can be enough to cause total agony.

We always try to lead a healthy life. The fast-moving life is so full of stress that sometimes we fail to take care of ourselves. We tend to neglect what is suitable and comfortable for our body. So, it is time that we care more for ourselves, and it starts from our feet. 


Bunions are bony bumps that form on the joint at the base of your big toe. It occurs when some of the bones in the front part of your foot move out of place. This causes the tip of your big toe to get pulled toward the smaller toes and forces the joint at the base of your big toe to stick out. The skin over the bunion might be red and sore.

Wearing overly tight and stiff shoes might cause bunions or make them worse. Bunions can also develop because of the shape of your foot, a foot deformity or a medical condition, such as arthritis. Smaller bunions (bunionettes) can also develop on the joint of your little toe.

When bunions grow on your feet, walking in the same set of shoes becomes a challenge. People fall in a fix when they need to decide which shoes they should use and which ones they should keep away.

How common are bunions?

Unfortunately, they are twice as common in women than in men and about 23 per cent of adults aged 18-55 have bunions. Since bunions are more common in women than in men, it becomes even more important for women to be aware of the shoes that they pick to help alleviate the pain or prevent bunions. 

Shoe Shopping Guideline for Those with Bunion

When picking shoes suitable for those with bunions, it is more than just the fit, it also about the stability features, material, as well as their breathability and flexibility.

For your ease, here’s a list of what to look out for when you choose shoes that are perfect for bunions.

Wider Toe Box

Bunions, when they occur, can cause friction when you wear footwear with a tight and enclosed toe box. The skin of the feet also gets a lesser amount of air to breathe.

The confinement of a tightly covered shoe makes our feet warm. It is detrimental to people who suffer from bunions. The first thing that people should look for is footwear with a wider or stretchable toe box. 

A wide toe box or a spacious vamp allows your toes to have some movement instead of being held tightly in one position. The outgrowth caused due to bunion does get compressed with the surface of the shoe if the toe box has more space.

For regular usage, it is better to choose shoes that are one size up than usual, to account for the extra width that your bunions may need. 

Low Heels

Choose heels with a maximum of 5cm (or about 2 inches) in height. This is the perfect height for everyday wear. Wearing heels that are too high will force your toes into the front of your shoes, often crowding your toes and causing too much pressure on your bunions, thus worsening the inflammation.

As for heel type, go for chunkier heels. They provide better stability, so you do not exert unnecessary pressure on your bunions. 

Low Heel

When you can choose, opt for relaxed fit rather than a snug fit to avoid slippage, friction, or soreness of the feet. Have you heard of the saying that leather will stretch after a few wears? Well, if you have bunions, you should never go by that saying. Pick the fit that is comfortable from the get-go and not wait for it to expand. So, testing the shoes beforehand is very important to ensure a comfortable fit. 

Stretchy and Breathable Material

Have you seen people taking off their shoes when they are travelling in a car or after reaching their office? It is quite common when people have bothersome bunions. They complain that they cannot wear a shoe for a prolonged period.

The material used to make the shoe plays a pivotal role in comfort. 

Unlined shoes, for instance, bring much solace to people with bunions. Always opt for shoes made from soft leather of premium quality. These are well-treated and are well suited for skin. They are delicate and do not feel harsh on the skin around the bunion. If possible, avoid those that have lining or are just simply too structured and stiff.


Choose shoes that allow you to flex your feet. While shoe shopping, check that you can flex your feet and walk comfortably. While you do this take a shoe trial and walk around in them to assure yourself of the right selection. 

If you are in dilemma between two sizes, always choose a size up and if the length is a tad large, a heel grip would be a great addition instead of downsizing and having a fit that is too snug for you. Remember, it is best to give the right amount of space for your bunions. They need some personal space too. 


No-No to Strappy Sandals

Unlike what most people would tell you, we do not recommend wearing strappy sandals that either strap above or below your bunions. If they do, it will just accentuate the bunion formation, thus making them more distinctive. The worst is if the strap falls on the bunion itself. Strappy sandals are not so ideal as what people had previously thought. In fact, a soft unlined covered shoe would be better, as it provides the right amount of coverage and protection without putting unnecessary pressure on the bunions.

Strappy Sandals

In summary...

The purpose of being extra careful while buying such shoes is to alleviate the pain. Don't compromise on a misfit. Judge your feet shape and shoe shape. By staying aware, you can buy the right pair and give full marks to comfort.