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Which shoe to choose for back pain ?

Table of contents


Back pain and its main causes

Why can shoes cause back pain ?

Addressing footing Issues with insoles

The characteristics of the best shoes for the back​

Comfortable soles

A wide and comfortable fit

A non-slip, cushioning outsole

A moisture-wicking liner

A flexible shoe

Conclusion: a comfortable shoe for your back​


Back pain is so common that many people seem to simply ignore the pain and hope it will go away on its own. However, the fact that it is one of the leading causes of work stoppages and that it is a pain that can be very debilitating, back pain should be of some concern to sufferers.


There are many alternatives to consider relieving back pain. These include orthopedic shoes combined with custom-made orthopedic inserts.


Back pain and its main causes

Here are some common signs and symptoms of back pain that can be influenced by the right choice of orthopedic shoes:

  • Muscle pain
  • Pain radiating from the back to the leg
  • Stabbing pain in the back
  • Pain that worsens when you lift, bend, stand or walk
  • Pain that goes away when you lie down

Back pain usually goes away on its own when you use treatment or rest. However, if you find that it doesn't get better - or that the symptoms only get worse - then you should contact your doctor.


Why can shoes cause back pain ?

Shoes affect the health of our feet more than you might think. See, for example, how the choice of a bunion shoe can affect walking in our feature on what shoes to wear with bunion. This is especially true for those who stand for a long part of their day. We understand why it is so important to have a comfortable pair of safety shoes if you are going to wear them. If you wear the wrong shoes, even for a short period of time, the result can be disastrous for your feet. And as a result, you can end up causing strain on your vertebrae and the muscles that support your back.


The mechanics of walking are a very complicated process that involves many factors. If you don't walk properly, you can put yourself at risk for complications such as sciatica, disc pain, herniation and other spinal disorders caused by aging joints in your back.

The shoes we wear, as well as the way we put our feet on the ground, can greatly influence the development of back pain. If we walk and put our feet in a certain way, our body will follow - and that will affect our entire body pattern.


Addressing footing Issues with insoles

When you take a step, the heel should touch the ground first. After that, the midfoot will come into action and roll out with a slight inward rotation, leading the toes to complete the propulsion phase.


However, in some cases, improper positioning of the foot during walking can result in poor shock absorption. If the shock is not properly absorbed, your spine can be jarred and this can lead to hernias and other injuries.

In the case of overpronation of the foot, inward rotation of the rest of the lower body can occur. This rotation can cause stress to your spine and back pain.


To solve these problems of pronation and supination of the foot, we strongly advise you to consult a pedorthist or any other foot professional who can make orthopedic insoles.

This is why we recommend that you always choose shoes with removable inserts that you can replace with your own corrective inserts.

Of course, there are shoes that offer correction of pronation or supination. Unfortunately, these are standard corrections whereas with a pair of orthopedic insoles made to measure, you will have the correction that suits your feet.

We also invite you to discover which shoes to wear with orthopedic insoles.


The characteristics of the best shoes for the back

There is no such thing as a special shoe for back pain as there is no such thing as a shoe for flat feet as such, but there are many criteria you should consider when choosing your future pair of shoes. The more your pair of shoes has the following characteristics, the more likely your back pain will decrease.

The ideal shoe is a comfortable shoe with support and flexibility.


Comfortable soles

If you do not suffer from foot deviation when walking and therefore do not need orthopedic insoles, the choice of the insole of your shoes will be crucial.

Indeed, if the insoles are not well-designed, it can cause tension on your spine. The ideal insole will give you a light support of the arch of your foot and especially a good cushioning of the heel.


A wide and comfortable fit

If your toes are cramped in your shoes, it will prevent blood from circulating properly, which can lead to pain that can spill over into your lower back.

Also, if your feet hurt, you will tend to transfer more weight from one foot to the other, causing your spine to become misaligned, which can lead to a hernia in more severe cases. There are shoes for swollen feet that will provide comfort to your feet.



back pain shoe selection



A non-slip, cushioning outsole

You didn't think that a slip could lead to back pain? Well, yes, and even if the slip does not cause a fall, it can create tension in the back. Indeed, you slip, you hurt your back, and it can be the beginning of an imbalance in your back.

So to avoid this kind of trouble, you need to choose non-slip shoes that keep you anchored to the ground and prevent you from slipping and therefore falling.


Most back pain is caused by poor shock absorption. When you walk on hard surfaces, if your shoe does not absorb the shock, your spine will and this can lead to pain.

That's why you'll need a pair of cushioning shoes that can absorb this type of shock.


A moisture-wicking liner

If your feet get wet and start to stick to your socks, they will tend to swell and this discomfort can lead to tension that can be felt in your back.

An airy, breathable shoe will reduce this unnecessary stress and contribute to better comfort and less strain.


A flexible shoe

You may be thinking that flexibility is the opposite of support, which is what we were talking about before. But one does not prevent the other. A balance must be found between support, which ensures stability, and flexibility, which ensures comfort.

In addition, a soft pair of shoes will prevent any unnecessary injury to your sensitive feet.

We recommend shoes that are firm enough to support your foot, but soft enough to allow it to move comfortably.


Conclusion: a comfortable shoe for your back

We have seen that you choose a pair of shoes adapted to your back pain, you must take into account various characteristics. For starters, the shoes you choose should be both comfortable and have support and cushioning.

Each person will need to know which features will fit their situation. If you tend to stand or move on hard floors, look for stability and support. If you work behind a desk, look for flexibility and comfort.


Author : Philippe Vesin - Pedorthist