The Best Shoes for Sciatica Problems in 2020

Sciatica is often perceived as one of the worst feelings—walking or merely standing can leave you in paralyzing pain. One way to minimize symptoms is to wear supportive, comfortable footwear.

We’ve found seven of the best shoes for sciatica that we’re reviewing today.

 

Our 7 top picks of the best shoes for sciatica problems

1. HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Bondi 6 Running Shoe

Hoka shoes for sciatica are worth considering and the Hoka One One Bondi 6 is a perfect example. This model has the most generous level of cushioning we’ve seen from this range. It’s ample to keep your feet comfortable.

 

2. Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe

If you’re seeking the best mens sneakers for sciatica, have a look here. With EVA sock liners that provide a soft, comfortable step-in, the Under Armour men’s running shoes are great. They include a Charged Cushioning midsole that uses compression molded foam for optimal durability and responsiveness.

Under Armour Men's Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe, Black (002)/Black, 11.5
  • NEUTRAL: For runners who need a balance of flexibility & cushioning
  • Lightweight mesh upper with 3-color digital print delivers complete breathability
  • Durable leather overlays for stability & that locks in your midfoot
  • EVA sockliner provides soft, step-in comfort
  • Charged Cushioning midsole uses compression molded foam for even greater responsiveness & durability, providing optimal cushioning & energy return

 

3. Asics Men’s Gel Nimbus 18 Running Shoe

In terms of best men’s shoes for sciatica pain, the Asics men’s Gel Nimbus is a strong contender. It comes with several features to improve your comfort, such as Fluid Ride, gel cushioning systems, Fluid fit and Heel clutching. If you suffer from painful symptoms, we recommend taking a closer look.

ASICS Men's Gel Nimbus 18 Running Shoe, Racing Red/Black/Silver, 7 M US
  • Fluid ride fluid ride provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning properties with reduced weight and exceptional durability
  • Rear foot and forefoot gel cushioning systems attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement in multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle
  • Fluid fit Asics fluid fit upper technology combines multi-directional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements that adapt to the athlete's foot, creating a truly customized glove-like fit
  • Heel clutching system exoskeletal heel counter provides improved support and creates improved heel fitting environment
  • Seamless construction the use of seamless materials reduces the potential for irritation and friction caused by traditional stitches and seams

 

4. Skechers Women’s Go Walk Joy Walking Shoe

The women’s Go Walk Joy walking shoes from Skechers are lightweight, flexible and comfortable. They offer a Goga Max high rebound insole, soft fabric linings as well as padded collars. Your feet will stay supported thanks to the parametric cushioned 5Gen midsole.

Skechers Women's Gowalk Joy Walking Shoe, White, 5.5 M US
  • Innovative and highly responsive 5GEN midsole cushioning; Mesh upper engineered to naturally expand with your foot while you walk; Lightweight nearly one piece air mesh fabric for comfortable fit
  • Parametric cushioned 5Gen midsole for added comfort; New Skechers Goga Max insole for next generation cushioning and support; Well cushioned 1 1/2 inch heel height
  • Athletic woven nearly one piece mesh fabric upper; Solid colored air mesh fabric for cooling effect; Highly breathable lightweight and comfortable upper design
  • Heel panel overlay with top loop; Padded collar; Featherweight sockliner adapts to the foot while you walk
  • Natural expansion provides a comfortable, natural fit; GOwalk logo detail on side panel; Integrated outsole pattern for easy walking comfort

 

5. Rockport Cobb Hill Women’s Angelina Dress Pump

The best women’s dress shoes for sciatica is the Angelina from Rockport. It comprises soft, flexible leather and a cushioning footbed. Due to the flexibility, it’s easy to walk in, even with the small heel. It features biomechanically designed outsoles, supporting your natural walk.

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Rockport Cobb Hill Women's Angelina Dress Pump, Black, 8.5 W US
  • Extended sizes and widths offered
  • Comfort insole with extra cushioning

 

6. Birkenstock Arizona Unisex Leather Sandal

The Birkenstock unisex Arizona Leather Sandal is a combination of leather and cork materials that molds according to your feet over time. The Original Birkenstock Footbed is shaped in a way that distributes your body weight evenly across your foot, for optimal comfort. If you want sandals for sciatica, these could appeal.

Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Soft Footbed Suede Sandals, Stone - 36 M EU / 5-5.5 B(M) US
  • Birkenstock Arizona BirkoFlor
  • Flip Flop Sandal - Standard Fitting
  • Slip On With Adjustable Buckle
  • Suede Covered Footbed With Arched Support
  • Black Patent, White Patent,

 

7. Reebok Work Men’s Athletic Oxford Shoe

The Reebok Men’s Work Athletic Oxford shoe is an option if you’re looking for flexible footwear, ready for work. They include deep flex grooves with a Sublite foam midsole that reduces weight and increases your range of motion. They’re breathable and feature a contouring athletic footbed.

Reebok Mens Black Mesh Work Shoes Alloy Toe Oxfords 4 M
  • Mesh With Webbing
  • Moisture Wicking Lining
  • MemoryTech Cushion Footbed
  • Alloy Toe
  • Rubber Outsole

 

 

Reviews of the Best Shoes for Sciatica Pain and Relief

1. HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Bondi 6 Running Shoe

If you’re searching for the best women’s running shoes for sciatica, the Hoka One One Bondi 6 deserves a second look. They embody some of the best cushioning we’ve seen from this brand, making them an ideal road shoe.

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The shoes have a high cushion to weight ratio that allows the runner to remain protected from impact. Still, they’re lightweight, so you won’t feel that the padding is tiring your feet out.

This modified version includes enhanced midsoles that create an effortless feeling. They’re rocking chair-inspired, meaning the transition to your toes during push-offs is smoother.

There’s also the redesigned upper dial, improving breathability and durability, as well as the heel collar, featuring more padding and supportive heel lockdown. The highly cushioned underfoot feel is ideal for road running, while the reconstructed upper allows heat to escape. This keeps your feet dry and minimizes irritation.

 

For a supportive road running shoe, the Hoka One One Bondi 6 has a lot to offer. Everything is optimized to be as light as possible while providing ample support from the cushioned footbed.

 

Pros

  • Lightweight and flexible.
  • Breathable mesh upper.
  • Fully cushioned footbed.
  • Rocking chair-inspired midsole.

Cons

  • Arch support is disappointing.

Watch this video for more information on the Hoka Bondi 6.

 

 

2. Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe

The men’s Charged Assert running shoes from Under Armour have a lot to offer in terms of flexibility and comfort. They consist of 84 percent polyester and 16 percent elastane, giving them a lightweight, breezy feel.

 

For runners who require additional flexibility, the materials used are soft and bendable, giving you a full range of motion. The shaft is a low-top design from the arch.

Around the upper, you’ll have breathable mesh linings, finished with three-color digital prints. There are also durable leather overlays, delivering stability by locking in your midfoot.

The star of the shoes is the EVA sock liners, making the sneakers comfortable to step into. Underneath your feet, you’ll notice the Charged Cushioning midsole, offering greater responsiveness as well as durability for optimal energy return.

 

The Charged Assert men’s running shoes from Under Armour have a lot to offer for avid runners. They include EVA sock liners, making them comfortable to wear from the start. Then the Charged Cushioning midsoles keep your feet comfy while you run.

 

Pros

  • EVA sock liners.
  • Charged Cushioning midsoles.
  • Low-top shaft.
  • Flexible materials.

Cons

  • Sizes run wide.

 

 

3. Asics Men’s Gel Nimbus 18 Running Shoe

Asics persistently treat us with high-performance running shoes, and the Gel Nimbus is no exception. This shoe includes a combination of various technologies to optimize your comfort while on your feet.

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For starters, there’s the Fluid ride, which is a combination of cushioning properties and bounce back. It’s designed to minimize added weight while maximizing durability.

Secondly, you’ll have rear and forefoot gel cushioning systems that reduce force during impact and toe-off phases. In turn, it allows for movement in several planes as your feet transition through the gait cycle (stride).

Another good-to-have feature is the Asics Fluid fit upper technology. This consists of multi-directional stretch mesh combined with stretch reinforcements, adapting to the wearer’s foot. It creates a glove-like fit around your feet.

When we venture to the back of the shoes, you’ll find a heel clutching system, which is essentially an exoskeletal heel counter. This system delivers improved support and heel fitting, preventing rubbing.

Lastly, the Gel Nimbus sports a seamless construction, which reduces the chances of potential irritation or friction caused by stitching.

 

For optimal support throughout your feet, the Gel Nimbus is worth a second look. The multiple systems that it includes offer a fully-supportive shoe. The gel cushioning makes shocks from impact a breeze to power through.

 

Pros

  • Comfortable gel cushioning system.
  • Flexible upper for a glove-like fit.
  • Exoskeletal heel counter.
  • Seamless construction.

Cons

  • Durability of the front is disappointing.
  • Toe box is narrow.

 

 

4. Skechers Women’s Go Walk Joy Walking Shoe

Skechers is known for producing some of the most comfortable shoes, so we had to include the women’s Go Walk Joy Walking shoes.

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This option consists of breathable mesh, stretching across the entire shoe. The result is maximum breathability and flexibility. It’s also very lightweight, minimizing the impact on your feet. On the inside, you’ll have soft fabric linings and padded collars, hugging your feet.

For your comfort, Skechers included its Goga Max high rebound insole, which absorbs impact and restores energy to your feet. The Responsive 5Gen cushioning system perfectly complements the insole.

The shoe is quite aesthetically appealing, too. You can choose between 10 colors, ranging from black-on-black to bright turquoise.

 

Whether you’re walking for exercise or need a supportive shoe for work, the Skechers GoWalk Joy is worth a look. The shoe includes comfort features we’d only expect from Skechers, such as its Goga Max insole.

 

Pros

  • Lightweight and breathable materials.
  • Padded collars and fabric linings.
  • Goga Max high rebound insoles.
  • Responsive 5Gen cushioning system.

Cons

  • Slippery outsole.
  • Sizes run large.

 

 

5. Rockport Cobb Hill Women’s Angelina Dress Pump

Finding the best women’s dress shoes for sciatica pain isn’t always easy. Fortunately, Rockport has a stylish option.

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The Angelina is a retro-inspired, full-grain leather dress shoe for women. It has that classic strap-look with an enclosed toe cap, giving you a vintage-chic appeal. It includes an antiqued buckle for the strap and has features to keep you secure and supported.

It’s designed with gore, delivering a comfortable platform, even though you’re wearing heels. Inside the shoe, there’s a contoured EVA foam footbed, finished with additional arch support. In the midsole, you’ll have a stability shank, which adds to the comfort as well as enhances your gait cycle.

The interior consists of a soft textile lining that’s both breathable and comfortable to step into. For the outsole, Rockport used thermoplastic rubber, providing traction and stability. The heel isn’t too high either, measuring approximately 1.5 inches.

 

For a vintage style dress shoe, the Angelina from Rockport has a surprising amount of comfort features. Everything from the EVA footbed to the textile lining makes your feet feel comfortable and secure.

 

Pros

  • Contoured EVA foam footbed.
  • Adjustable strap.
  • Embedded stability shank.
  • Additional arch support.

Cons

  • Not a style for everyone.
  • Narrow toe box.

 

 

6. Birkenstock Arizona Unisex Leather Sandal

Birkenstock is recognized worldwide, thanks to its production of comfortable sandals since 1774. The unisex Arizona leather sandals come with suede straps with adjustable buckles. It’s available in various colors, suitable for both women and men.

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Beyond the classic Birkenstock look, the Arizona offers an ultra-comfortable footbed. This is shaped and contoured to optimize comfort and allow your feet to splay naturally. At the front, you’ll notice slightly raised indentations that your toes will lay across. This provides a natural grip, which, in turn, makes your toes feel relaxed.

Throughout the middle of the sole runs a support system that stabilizes the metatarsal bone. This has a dual effect, as it also provides transverse arch support, enhancing your feet’s natural stance.

 

The classic Arizona Birkenstock sandals are both casually stylish and supportive. Throughout the insole, you’ll have contours and indentations that allow your feet to remain stable and supported without added pain.

 

Pros

  • Adjustable leather straps.
  • Large color selection available.
  • Comfortable EVA contoured insole.
  • Added arch support.

Cons

  • Sizes are tricky to get right.
  • Footbeds wear out quickly.

 

 

7. Reebok Work Men’s Athletic Oxford Shoe

If you’re on the hunt for a supportive work shoe, we recommend having a look at the Reebok Work Men’s Athletic shoe.

 

This option includes Sublite cushioning, achieving optimal lightness and flexibility. The Sublite foam midsole works to reduce weight while increasing your range of motion.

Around the heel are rubber pads, which provide traction during heel strikes and takeoffs. The option also comes with mesh uppers that deliver all-day cooling comfort by transferring moisture away from your skin.

For the footbed, Reebok includes memory tech massage material that adapts to your feet. At the front, you’ll have a protective alloy toe.

 

The Reebok work shoe offers athletic performance, keeping you comfortable throughout your workday. It provides a good balance between flexibility and safety, thanks to its traction outsole and alloy toe.

 

Pros

  • Memory tech footbed.
  • Rubber pads for traction.
  • Mesh uppers.
  • Alloy safety toe.

Cons

  • Narrow fit.
  • Alloy safety toe is stiff.

 

 

What Is Sciatica

Sciatica is a symptom referring to pain radiating along the sciatic nerve. It runs from your lower back to the buttocks, hips and down both legs.

Sciatica generally affects one side of the body, but the pain is often severe. It occurs when the nerve is compressed, leading to inflammation, numbness and pain in the lower back, hips and affected leg.

Risk factors of sciatica include pregnancy, obesity, age, some occupations, prolonged sitting and diabetes. Fortunately, it is preventable by keeping active, maintaining a proper posture and exercising good body mechanics, like elevating one foot when you’ve been standing for long periods.

Treatment for sciatica can involve medicine, physical therapy, steroid injections and in severe cases, surgery. Usually, however, it’s treatable without any invasive procedures. But if you experience leg weakness, bowel or bladder changes, surgery is likely to be the only option.

 

Can Shoes Help Sciatica?

Although supportive shoes can’t cure sciatica, they can help alleviate the pain. You see, the feet are what make the base for your body. So when you wear ill-fitting or unsupportive footwear, they trigger a chain reaction, which radiates through your ankles to your back.

To prevent feeling aches and pains while you walk, run and even stand, proper footwear is imperative. Without such shoes, you may shift your posture or gait. Ultimately, setting your spine out of alignment because it has to compensate for the lack of support.

Another way that proper shoes help sciatica is through shock-absorption. As your feet hit the ground, shockwaves gush through them, into the ankles and may continue up to your lower spine. Padded shoes help to bear some of the force, minimizing the impact on your body.

Wearing suitable footwear improves and stabilizes your feet’s position, which, in turn, betters your posture and stride. Having good posture is crucial for preventing back pain and muscle strain since it ensures everything remains aligned.

 

How to Find Good Shoes for Sciatica

good shoes for sciatica pain

1. Weight

Most shoes that provide support, generally come with additional padding, which, sadly, often ends up increasing the weight. Wearing heavy footwear may not have a noticeable impact. But it can cause extra strain on the sciatic nerve, resulting in more pain.

Hence, it’s ideal to look for shoes that are as light as possible. Most of the options on our list are lightweight.

 

2. Support

Another crucial feature is proper support. This is essential for minimizing pain and relieving pressure on your feet, which triggers a flare-up.

For a supportive shoe, look for shock absorption, a snug heel and arch support. Shock-absorbing shoes usually have a thick sole, padded with EVA foam. EVA is ideal to look for as it effectively absorbs impacts.

For the heel, you want a shoe that sits snugly around it to prevent it from sliding up and down as you walk. When footwear glides in the heel, it compromises the support coming from the padding, not to mention the increased chance for blisters.

Lastly, look for proper arch support, especially if you have either low or high arches. Without arch support, you could impair your walk, leading to further pain.

 

3. Materials

Do your research on materials beforehand—some will leave you hurting for days. An ideal therapeutic shoe includes a seamless interior with supportive insoles, like gel pads, that enhance your comfort and minimizes irritability.

Avoid plastic and flat, cushionless shoes. These are likely to leave you in pain.

 

4. Fit

A shoe including all the right support features, is useless if the fit is wrong. The biggest contributor to sore feet is ill-fitting footwear. Ensure that the size is right by measuring your feet.

If you use special insoles or have a condition such as diabetes or bunions, consider that too. Diabetes, for example, can make your feet swell significantly, so you may need a wider size.

We recommend that you size your feet before starting your search. Then compare your numbers to the manufacturer’s sizes and find your fit. Read our guide on how to tell if shoes are too big.

 

Pro Tips

  • Try to measure your feet in the afternoon or early evening. Feet swell during the day after you’ve been walking and sitting. So measuring later gives you a more accurate idea of your size.
  • Wear your regular socks. If you’re going to use socks with the shoes, wear them while measuring.
  • If one foot is longer or wider than the other, use that as your guide for the size. You can, to some extent, make a big shoe smaller, but vice versa isn’t always possible. Read our guide on the effects of wearing shoes that are too big and how to fix it.
  • If you wear special insoles for a foot condition, make sure you consider how much space they’ll take. Place them under your foot and measure the circumference.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

red high Shoes for Sciatica

Can Shoes Affect Your Sciatic Nerve?

Shoes can affect the sciatic nerve in various ways. The force coming from the ground as you walk is likely to radiate through your legs and into the nerve. Some footwear has more effect than others.

For instance, uncushioned shoes or high heels are best avoided if you’re likely to experience painful symptoms. When wearing heels, for example, you’re unknowingly throwing your weight forward. This, in turn, causes you to flex at the hips in an effort to stay upright, which could touch the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain.

Another issue with wearing high heels is that the pelvic movements stretch the hamstrings. Because the sciatic nerve runs down the same path as this muscle, you could be pulling or aggravating it, leading to a flare-up.

When wearing supportive shoes, your body doesn’t have to compensate as much, which means less stretching in these places. However, that’s not to say that you can’t wear heels again. But instead of those 7-inch stilettos, try something with a larger platform and a shorter heel.

 

Does Walking Help Sciatica?

Walking can relieve your sciatic pain—it’s one of the best natural remedies. It reduces symptoms by releasing pain-fighting endorphins and lowering inflammation.

With that said, it does depend on your form. A poor walking form can aggravate painful symptoms. When you walk, try to shorten your stride and engage your core. This will minimize stretching and your core will support your back.

You should also ensure that you get a good pair of walking shoes that provide cushioning where needed. We have a review here of the best Nike walking shoes.

 

Are Birkenstocks Good for Sciatica?

socks for Sciatica

Birkenstocks have been around for a long time, and it has developed shoes that help alleviate back pain and foot conditions. Although it’s no cure, many of its options include specialized insoles that provide support throughout the footbed.

So, if you want to wear sandals for sciatica, Birkenstocks are probably some of the best to look for.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Finding the best shoes for sciatica can be a way to reduce painful symptoms and get on the road to recovery. Walking is an excellent method for relieving your condition, but concentrate on correct posture and wear supportive shoes.

Features to look for in such shoes include being lightweight as well as durable, supportive padding and insoles, plus comfortable materials. Ensure that you get the right size for your feet and consult your doctor if you experience leg weakness and numbness.

We hope that you found a potential shoe for you and feel free to share with others who also have sciatica. We’d also love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

 

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