Choosing the right shoes for Parkinson’s

Wearing comfortable footwear is important for helping you move around properly and help ease Parkinson’s symptoms you experience in your feet or legs. 

Here we share our tips for choosing the right footwear for you.

Get the right fit

A good fitting shoe should have:

  • around 1cm space between the end of your longest toe and the top of the shoe
  • enough depth and width so that you can move your toes easily, without touching the lining

Shoes that don’t fit correctly can damage your feet and increase your risk of tripping over or falling. Wearing shoes that are too narrow can lead to your toes becoming cramped and may overlap. This can prevent your foot from staying balanced and moving around effectively.

Remember that if a shoe needs ‘breaking in’, it might not fit you or be comfortable day to day.

Look for the right fastening

A well fitting shoe should not move at your heel when you move, so choose a good fastening that stops your foot from sliding forward.

Shoes with laces, velcro or a strap and buckle will have a better hold on your foot than a slip-on shoe.

Try to avoid wearing slippers, as these don’t give the same support as shoes.

Pick the right height

If you wear heels that are too high, too much pressure is put on the balls of your feet and knee joints. This can cause pain and affect movement.

Try to choose shoes that have a low, wide heel, and that fasten over the top of your foot, close to the ankle.

Choose the right material

Trainers made from natural or breathable fibres can often provide a good fit and strong support.

Avoid wearing leather-soled shoes, as they could increase the risk of trips and falls.

Shop at the right time

If you experience oedema (a buildup of fluid in your feet, ankles, and lower legs) or other foot problems such as dystonia, try to shop for shoes when your symptoms are at their worst. This will help you find shoes that always fit well.

If you’re not able to go out shopping, you could order shoes online and return any that aren’t suitable.

If a podiatrist has prescribed inserts or arch supports to wear in your shoes, make sure you have these with you when trying on new shoes.