What Are Orthopedic Shoes?


Orthopedic shoes are specially created footwear that can help to compensate for deformities of the foot, hip and knee. These deformities can cause changes in walking habits, and can also cause considerable pain if uncorrected. In some cases, orthopedic shoes can provide a nonsurgical solution to the problem. For other patients, the shoes may present an alternative to be tried before surgical intervention.

Foot and Ankle Conditions

Foot conditions can cause you minor discomfort or can result in considerable pain and difficulty in moving about. Bunions and hammer toes are examples of toe-related conditions. Ankles can be subject to arthritic ailments. Your feet might be prone to conditions such as clubfoot or diabetic foot. Along with foot-related conditions, you could experience the effects of leg length discrepancy or other leg- or hip-related conditions.

Orthopedic Shoe Benefits

Benefits of properly fitted orthopedic shoes include less pain and swelling from chronic foot conditions. You might notice that better heel and arch support also helps to lessen chronic foot pain. Ankle support is also more rigid compared with conventional shoes, and you’re less likely to roll your ankle in proper orthopedic shoes. Finally, general foot cushioning and support will help to make walking easier for you.

Shoe Types

Orthopedic shoe products have evolved to include many types of footwear for both men and women. If you’re a woman who enjoys stylish and comfortable footwear, you can choose from athletic shoes, sandals and Mary Jane models. There are also dressy shoes for work or evenings out. Men can select casual or boot styles. Orthopedic shoes are also available for children.


You can find orthopedic shoes at a variety of online retailers. Retailers may separate their shoes according to foot condition, style or sex. Some dealers may have trained staff available to help you with your online purchase.

You may also find orthopedic shoes at larger pharmacies and durable medical equipment stores. Your selection may be limited, and qualified staff may not be available to assist you.


You will find that orthopedic shoes have higher prices than conventional shoes. As an example, in May 2010 one retailer’s price range for ladies’ Mary Jane shoes was $95 to $275 per pair. Ladies’ slip-on clogs were priced at $100 per pair.

Keep in mind that some medically prescribed orthopedic shoes may be covered by insurance plans. Consult your medical provider and your health plan before you make your purchase.

About this Author

Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. “Sun Journal” and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.