10 Best Hallux Rigidus Shoes: Healthy Feet & Toes

Hallux Rigidus is a condition that’s often overlooked, but can really affect day-to-day life. Luckily, there are shoes available that have been designed to help sufferers cope with the pain and discomfort of this condition.

We’ll be offering some advice on treatments, as well as a buying guide so that you know exactly what to look for in your next footwear purchase.

We’ve found the 7 best shoes on the market for those suffering from Hallux Rigidus and Limitus, whether you’ll be wearing them to work, run or head out on the town...


Comparison Table - Best Shoes for Hallux Rigidus


Image 
Product Name
Type of Shoe
Colour Options
Amazon Rating
View Product
Propet Stability Walker (Black)

Propet Stability Walker (Black)

Walking Shoe

16 Options

New Balance Men's MX608V4 Training Shoe

New Balance Men's MX608V4​

Training Shoe

19 Options

ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe

ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5​

Running Shoe

15 Options

Onemix Men's Lightweight Air Cushion Sport Running Shoes

Onemix Men's Lightweight Air Cushion Sport​

Running Shoe

7 Options

Crocs Unisex Specialist Clog

Crocs Unisex Specialist Clog

Clog

White, Navy, Black

Propét Women's TravelActiv Fashion Sneaker

Propét Women's TravelActiv​

Sneaker

11 Options

Propet Stability Walker (Brown)

Propet Stability Walker (Brown)

Walking Shoe

15 Options

Vionic With Orthaheel Amber Woman's Sandal

Vionic with Orthaheel Amber Women's Sandal

Sandal

9 Options

Vionic Adrie Women's Casula Ankle Boot

Vionic Adrie Women's Casual Ankle Boot

Ankle Boot

Taupe

Dansko Women's Professional Leather

Dansko Women's Professional Leather

Clog

Black Patent, Black


What is Hallux Rigidus?


Hallux Rigidus is the abnormal stiffness of the big toe, and can really take its toll on sufferers of it. Due to issues surrounding the joint at the bottom of the big toe, or ‘hallux’, motion is often extremely limited and uncomfortable.


This lack of movement can cause pain and makes general tasks, such as walking, more difficult. This can be an inherited issue, or may simply arise from foot-type. Lifestyle can play a role, too, with overuse of or putting too much pressure on the big toe at certain angles leading to longer-term issues.


Hallux Rigidus often refers to the later stage of this disorder, with Hallux Limitus normally being diagnosed earlier, and being less severe. Rigidus indicates the extreme stage of this disorder and is identified through the fact that it becomes near-impossible to move the toe(s).


What is Hallux Limitus?


hallux rigidus shoes

This is usually the initial stage of the disorder, and arises before Hallux Rigidus.


At this stage, there is still motion around the toe but there will be pain and discomfort present. People with this condition can still move the affected toe(s), but will struggle to do so without painful side effects. 


As with the later stages, this can be an inherited issue or may arise from lifestyle choices.


While in the earlier stages, there are ways to manage the pain and discomfort that’s caused, including a change in footwear. The joint may feel stiff, tight or ‘in the wrong place’, as well as being inflamed.


It’s important to address this issue early on, as long-term sufferers often find other parts of their bodies suffering. Hip pain and general joint issues can arise due to sufferers walking in an unnatural way in order to compensate for the toe pain.


Causes


It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what causes these issues, but there a few causes that can be identified early on. Foot-type can play a large role in foot issues, due to arch-issues and problems since birth.


High arches, for example, lead to an imbalance in pressure distribution - when walking, people with high arches unintentionally place too much pressure at the front of their foot, thus causing issues with the toe joints.

Big or long toes can also cause issues, due to pressure and force problems, again.


Ill-fitting shoes, high heels or incorrect shoes for running are all contributors. Again, it comes down to where the pressure and force of walking and moving is being directed.


Work that involves a lot of squatting can mean that the big toe is elevated, or placed in an upward-facing position, for long periods of time. This puts strain on the joint and surrounding cartilage.


How Do Good Shoes Help Reduce Pain?


So, does wearing suitable shoes actually help? Yes! And, lucky you, we’ve found the 7 best shoes for Hallux Rigidus and Limitus. Wearing shoes that are designed to make things easier for you is never going to be a bad thing, let’s be honest. And they’re not hideously ugly, either...

Even Pressure

Shoes can make a huge difference to how your feet feel, and this condition is no exception. Hallux Rigidus shoes are designed to cushion the toe and evenly spread the pressure of walking across the whole foot.

Rather than putting force on one tiny area of your foot, or toes, specialist shoes will even things out and make moving more comfortable.

Shock Absorption

The right shoes will have great shock absorption, again, protecting your toe from impact when walking or running. This is often featured in the outer soles of the shoe, and helps to distribute the pressure of moving.

If you’re looking for shoes to run or exercise in, make sure they have shock-absorbing technology. This will reduce any pain when your foot hits the floor, whether you’re walking, running or jumping!

Plenty of Room

There are lots of shoes with plenty of room at the front, meaning that your big toes can rest comfortably, whatever position you are in, without being squashed and cramped. This reduces the amount of unnecessary pain caused by Hallux Rigidus and Limitus, making things less traumatic than they need to be. 

Support

Overall, good shoes will provide support to your feet. Simple as that! This is very important for everyone, but especially those with foot pain. 

Supportive shoes will make sure your feet are in the right position while you move. Added cushioning will help your feet stay protected and allow you to walk, run and stand without experiencing excessive pain or discomfort. 


Features Of The Best Shoes For Hallux Rigidus


Soft Material

While the shoe itself should be nice and sturdy, opt for soft material. You don’t want something too stiff that takes a lot of effort to get on and off, as this will cause further problems with your big toe. They should fit tightly to your feet without feeling cramped or too small. 

Roomy Toe Box

Look out for shoes with a large toe box area - this will give your toes enough wiggle (or not wiggle, really!) room and your big toe won’t feel squashed in. Your big toe may be slightly elevated or may stick out at a strange angle, which can be made more painful by tight toe boxes. Shoes that become considerably narrower at the front are a no-no - avoid heels, too!

Sturdy Soles

Of course. Is there a ‘sensible shoe’ in existence that doesn’t have sturdy soles? Don’t worry, they don’t need to look like clumpy school shoes, but you should keep an eye out for shoes with a supportive, thick sole. 

You need shoes that will distribute your weight evenly, rather than crushing your toes due to high heels, thin soles or impractical shoes. This is where shock absorption will come in to play, too.

Arch Support

Depending on the reason behind your toe issues, your arches may need some extra support. Some sufferers have high arches, meaning that their weight lands on the front of their feet, namely the big toes! 

Imagine constantly walking downhill and having your toes rammed against the front of your shoe with each step - painful, right? Luckily, shoes with arch support exist and actively distribute your weight more evenly, meaning you can walk, run or stand without being in more pain.

Rocker Soles

This is an interesting one, and may not really be your style! Rocker soles are essentially shoes that have an upward-curving sole rather than a flat base. This adjustment can be found on all types of shoes, from running to work shoes.

There are two main types - one which raises the front of the foot (the toes) and keeps them from directly hitting the ground each time you step and from moving much in general; one where the centre of the rocker-curve is in the middle of the foot, meaning your feet roll up from the heel when you step. For Hallux Rigidus shoes, I’d suggest going for a front-based curve. 


7 Hallux Rigidus Shoes Reviewed


Men’s Top Five

1. ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe

ASICS Men's GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

87%
 Chance of Success

Asics are another brand renowned for their comfy sports-wear, and these GEL trainers are perfect for those with toe problems.

These trainers are designed to be worn while running or exercising, meaning that they have a sturdy and supportive rubber sole. This makes them one of the best shoes for Hallux Rigidus available, as they cushion feet and spread pressure evenly. As a friendly bonus, the shoes also feature a gel pad to keep your feet comfy while you move.

Moreover, they're breathable and feature a removable sockliner; so if you want to put on your own orthotics you can do it (although the insole cannot be taken out).

These are a great choice for anyone with toe issues as the toe box is roomy and allows you to keep your feet in a comfy position, whatever you’re doing.

Pros

  • Breathable fabric
  • Removable inner sock-liner
  • The heel area is nice and deep

Cons

  • These don’t offer enough support to be used solely for professional runners
  • The sock-liner can be swapped but the insole cannot be taken out and replaced

2. Propet Stability Walker

Propet Stability Walker (Black)

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

71%
 Chance of Success

These rocker-sole shoes from Propet are ideal for anyone struggling with toe-related pain and discomfort.

They’re made from soft leather, meaning they will comfortably fit your foot and allow movement. They have perforations to allow breathability and a molded, removable EVA midsole which provides greater comfort.

The rubber sole is curved to take pressure and impact off the toe area, and the shoe offers wide sizes. According to the experts at Professional Podiatry LLC, these two features are crucial when treating Hallux Rigidus:

Changes in footwear may also be suggested (when treating Hallux Rigidus), including advice to avoid thin-soled shoes or high heels, wear wider shoes with a curved sole (rocker bottom)".


They also offer arch support, again cushioning the feet and not adding unwanted pressure to the front of your feet.

They do advise the customer to get a half size larger.

Pros

  • Sturdy soles and added traction
  • Soft leather
  • Offers wide sizes
  • Wider toe box than many standard shoes
  • Elevates your big toes and takes pressure off them

Cons

  • They take a little time to wear in
  • Not the most stylish shoe

3. Crocs Unisex Specialist Clog

Crocs Unisex Specialist Clog

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

78%
 Chance of Success

Ah, Crocs! One way to divide a room, that’s for sure. Those who wear them tend to swear by their comfort and practicality; those who don’t tend to be put off by their appearance.

However you feel about them, Crocs are well worth giving a try if you suffer from foot or toe pain. The closed-toe has lots of room for your toes to rest as comfortably as possible. Moreover, the enhanced arch support and the massaging footbed really make them feel like heaven.

Unlike the original Crocs, these shoes fully cover the front part of your foot, making them ideal for anyone working in a hot kitchen who needs to be comfy and safe!

The outer sole is very grippy, so it can be worn indoors and outdoors with confidence. This classic is also unisex so there is no excuse for you and your partner not to wear them!

Pros

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Comfy enough to wear all day
  • Great cushioning
  • Hole-free version that can be worn in a variety of environments

Cons

  • Not stylish, not cute
  • Arch support could be better
  • Not suitable for every place

Women’s Top Five

1. Propét Women's TravelActiv Fashion Sneaker

Propét Women's TravelActiv Fashion Sneaker

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

82%
 Chance of Success

These are really lovely shoes for general wearing - they can be worn in some workplaces, thanks to their neutrality, or just out and about. They’re super lightweight and feature a flexible rubber sole that helps you foot stay supported in any position.

The shoes also feature a mesh designed to let your feet breathe, making them a good choice for outdoor walking and gentle running, and a removable footbed.

If you’re after a pair of everyday shoes that will boost your foot-health, these are the best shoes for Hallux Rigidus you’ll find that don’t look like stereotypical orthopedic shoes!

Pros

  • Lightweight and breathable material w
  • Neutral and inoffensive
  • Spongy, supportive sole 
  • Removable inner sole

Cons

  • Not ideal for running or heavy-duty exercising

2. Propet Stability Walker

Propet Stability Walker (Brown)

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

71%
 Chance of Success

Another pair from Propet, these trainers are some of the best out there for Hallux Rigidus and Limitus sufferers. They come in a variety of colors, so you can choose something neutral for work or go for something bright and fun if you fancy embracing the fashion-trainer trend.

These are supportive and bulky, but in the best way possible. Style is very personal, but these are pretty nice looking in comparison to orthopedic-trainers of the past.

The rubber sole, the speed-lacing closure system and a removable insole complete the list of amazing features that this shoe has to offer. The last of these three is great because that means you can treat your condition more specifically with the help of orthotics, which according to the specialists at Podiatry Network:

These devices will generally fit into normal shoes and correct the underlying functional problem with the joint. Orthotics will not reverse what damage may have occurred, but can slow or halt the on-going damage to the joint".


Moreover, they provide great traction and arch support, meaning you can exercise in them, too.

They come in lots of different widths, meaning your toes aren’t crammed in if you have naturally-wide feet. Also, keep in mind that the shoe runs half a size smaller.

Pros

  • Outer soles offer amazing traction
  • Great sole support
  • Stable, constant level of motion, whatever surface you’re walking on

Cons

  • They take some time to wear in
  • They don’t go very far up the ankle, which could be a problem for those who need extra ankle support

3. Vionic With Orthaheel Amber Women's Sandal

Vionic With Orthaheel Amber Woman's Sandal

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

79%
 Chance of Success

If you’re after something slightly more ‘dressy’, these sandals are a great option. They came in a range of colors, so there should be something there that you like the look of.

While they might not be your initial choice in terms of style, they’re a lot better looking than most orthopedic sandals. The curve of the durable sole keeps your toes elevated and the open-toe lets them settle in a comfy position.

There are four points of adjustability so you make sure they fit just fine, and a whole load of support going on under your feet with cushioning and arch support. There’s also a really handy midsole with shock-absorbing technology, so you can walk on most terrains without jolting your feet and causing added toe pain.

Pros

  • Stylish, as far as ‘sensible shoes’ go!
  • Shock-absorbing
  • Open-toed 
  • Rocker-soles 
  • Great arch support

Cons

  • They're not as breathable as some people may like
  • The material used for the straps can be stiff at first

4. Vionic Adrie Womens Casual Ankle Boot

Vionic Adrie Women's Casula Ankle Boot

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

64%
 Chance of Success

Finally, some decent boots that won’t kill your feet! These little ankle boots are a great choice for the style-conscious among you, and will look after your feet too.

These are much-loved for the fact that they look like ‘normal’ boots but actually have lots of hidden tech to look after your toes. The boots are made from leather, so have plenty of ‘give’ and are very comfy to wear for long periods of time.

There’s a special footbed feature, which cushions your feet and evenly distributes your weight while you walk - great for those with painful toes. The insole helps keep your feet in the right place, so that you don’t put unnecessary pressure on your heels or toes.

Pros

  • Smart enough to be worn in most workplaces
  • Super comfy insoles
  • Very durable soles
  • The cushioned heel offers support

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Not very breathable

5. Dansko Women's Professional Leather

Dansko Women's Professional Leather

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

63%
 Chance of Success

Women on the hunt for work shoes that won’t crush your feet, look no further! These leather clogs from Dansko will do just the job. Yep, they’re a little bit clunky-looking at first, but these feel so comfy that you’ll quickly let go of any style-related reservations.

Every part of this shoe seems to be padded with a lovely, cushiony fabric so your whole foot will be comfy, not just your toes. The toe-box is very roomy, which makes a change from narrow work-shoes, helping you to relieve your pain. The specialists at London Foot and Ankle Centre state:

Shoes with a large toe box should be worn, because they put less pressure on the toes. High heels and shoes with pointed toes should not be worn".


So here you go. High heels are no longer the fancy-go-to shoe for work. Danskos are.

There’s a lot of reinforcements in the way of shock-absorption, so these are perfect for anyone whose job takes them from the office to concrete warehouses to outdoor terrains.

Pros

  • Great for anyone who spends a lot of their day on their feet
  • Shock-absorbing technology
  • Toe-box allows great comfort
  • The strap keeps you feeling secure

Cons

  • They’ll need some wearing in
  • They may seem very pricey

Other Treatments & Exercises For Pain Relief


Alongside wearing suitable shoes, there are a number of other steps (sorry!) that you can towards relieving foot pain. While some may seem a little drastic, there are other, easy ways to improve your daily life and wellbeing.

Insoles

Special insoles can be bought and inserted into regular shoes. These will normally offer extra cushioning to the arches of the feet. Many people compensate for their toe-pain by walking on the outer edges of their feet - this can be a short-term relief, but often results in hip pain and joint issues

Insoles are designed to balance body weight and protect the toes from jarring. They will often feature raised or thicker areas, which are designed to keep your feet in a certain position, thus preventing excess pressure on your toes.

Orthotics

Shoes can be adapted to better fit the feet if there are limited options available. These adaptations normally feature the rocker-soles mentioned earlier, and will help elevate your toes and prevent them from shock or trauma. 

This is particularly useful for those who spend a lot of time walking on uneven or very solid terrain, such as outdoor work or concrete floors, those who squat for long periods of time or those who walk a lot. 

It’s worth considering adapting your current shoes if you have other foot-related issues to take into account. Running, hiking and walking shoes are some of the shoes that are most often adapted.

Surgery

Of course, surgery is an option. This is generally seen as a last resort, or as a much-needed step if there is a lot of traumatic side effects resulting from the condition. 

Toe surgery of this sort will involve changing the shape, and amount, of cartilage around the joint of the big toe. Old, loose cartilage is removed. 

This then allows room for new and spongy, supportive cartilage to grow, which in turn allows for more movement. Some surgical options also include the removal of some bone in the big toe, which can lead the toe very loose and floppy, but much more comfortable.

Stretches

best boots for hallux rigidus

Possibly the easiest option, and often very successful, stretching can be done at home. Flexing the big toe can make a big difference if done regularly. 

Using your hands to help you, move your big toe slowly so that it bends forwards and backwards.

This can improve the muscle around the toe and can really help improve mobility in the earlier stages of Hallux Limitus. 

You can also try spreading your toes, as if trying to get the largest toe-span possible. Hold for a few seconds before pressing them closely together.

Again, you can use your hands to help your toes move.  The key is to go slowly, not force it and to stick at it - you won’t get results overnight, but long-term benefits will arise.

Taping

Kinesiology tape can be used to hold the foot, and toes, in a position that either reduces pain or enables more movement. Depending on the underlying issues, tape can be applied either by a medical professional, or by yourself at home if you have been taught how. 

Taping around the toe can reduce pain and keep it in a stable position. Taping around the foot can help balance out issues caused by high arches, thus keeping the toes on more of a level wit the rest of the foot. 

This can enable more movement, as the toes are no longer fighting to be elevated to a similar height as the foot already is.


Conclusion


Hallux Rigidus and Hallux Limitus are two stages of a painful and distressing disorder, but need not ruin your life. Luckily, there are certain types of shoe available for every imaginable activity, all of which offer the right kind of support.

Whether you’re after the best running shoes for Hallux Rigidus or want a work shoe to ease the pain of Hallux Limitus, we’ve got you covered. These shoes are all designed to improve foot health, and we’ve listed a few other handy ways to reduce the pain caused by these conditions.

Hopefully you’ve found something that works for you, and are well on the way to healthier, and happier, feet!

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