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Hallux Rigidus Shoes

Published on September 5th, 2013 | by Kirsten Borrink

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Hallux Rigidus Shoes (and Hallux Limitus) – 5 Solid Options

Do you have pain and stiffness in your big toe when walking? Do you have a bump on the Hallux limitus top of your big toe joint that looks like a bunion, but on top of the toe instead of the side? You may have hallux limitus (or the more drastic hallux rigidus). There are a few causes of this degenerative condition from a congenital foot abnormality to an inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, three readers have sent me emails requesting help in finding somewhat stylish hallux rigidus shoes to help their big toe pain. 

  • Still searching for an attractive comfort shoe to accommodate my arthritis big toe. Most are ugly and I am frustrated…
  • I have a closet full of stylish, and what I thought, decently supportive shoes. However, I have been diagnosed with Hallux Limitus (ballerina toe) and am looking for stiff soled, yet stylish casual shoes. This is such a blow to my vanity. Your website gives me hope there might be enough variety of shoes that fit the bill? Any suggestions from those in the same situation trying to save their big toe joints?
  •  I have fibromyalgia, hallux limitus, plantar fasciitis and the start of tailor bunions. In otherwords, I’m pretty miserable! Any thoughts on shoes you’ve come across? Looking for anything from casual to walking/running.

Friends, I hate to say it, but hallux limitus will in fact limit us, as far as stylish shoes are concerned. We may have to redefine what we consider “stylish.” The best footwear for this condition will have a roomy and somewhat high toe box as to not but undue pressure on the big toe joint. Also, a rigid sole keeps the big toe from bending past its limited range of motion…ouch. And you’ve probably figured out that heels are only a huge pain in the big toe. Here are five hallux rigidus shoes to try (with some honorable mentions at the end). Let me know if anything works for you! Also, if you’ve found a shoe that helps alleviate your hallux pain, do leave a comment and let us know. Thank you kindly.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.10.49 PM (1)

1. Alegria Khloe: A new style for fall 2013, the Khloe features a stain-resistant leather upper, wide and high toe box, and a latex and foam removable footbed with arch support. The sturdy PU outsole is engineered to heel and metatarsal pressure. European sizes 35-42 (5-11). $129.95 at Zappos, free shipping both ways.
Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 10.25.49 PM

2. Clark’s Wave.Route: It’s the WAVEWALK™ technology that makes these shoes a good option for feet with hallux limitus. The curved rocker sole eases the feet through the stride while cushioning the joints and absorbing shock. Available in sizes 5-12, three widths. $119.99 at Clark’s USA with free shipping and returns.Naot nautilus

3. Naot Nautilus: The Nautilus is a new addition to Naot’s Shell collection of footwear for medium to wide feet featuring a single-unit polyurethane platform sole to propel the foot through the stride. The cork and latex anatomical footbed is removable. $180 at Zappos.
Dansk Tilda

4. Dansko Tilda: If you must wear a heel or hate the look of clogs, try the Dansko Tilda from their new Ventura line (which is replacing the Sausalito line). The Tilda features a two-inch lightweight PU heel with a 3/4″ platform. The footbed, like the Sausalito collection, is cushioned with memory foam. This style runs small, so order accordingly. Update 9/2015: The Tilda is a discontinued style from Dansko’s Ventura collection. See the Tamara–it’s the new clog from the same collection. 

Dromedaris Macaw

5. Dromedaris Macaw: Wide toe box, rocker sole, sturdy PU outsole, cushioned removable footbed–this shoe has it all. $149.95 at Shoebuy, free shipping and returns. The Macaw is discontinued as of 9/2015–see the Dromedaris Falcon, a similar style on same footbed and outsole. 

Honorable mention (didn’t make the cut, but might work for you): Tsubo Asmik, Spring Step Burbank, Wolky Emma, Wolky Strap Cloggy, Jambu Scarlet (and other Jambu wedge styles), Kalso Earth Shoes, Klogs USA. 


About the Author

Blogger, Wife, Mom, Dog-Lover, Coffee Drinker, Owl Watcher.



48 Responses to Hallux Rigidus Shoes (and Hallux Limitus) – 5 Solid Options

  1. Robin says:

    Dansko Tilda – I tried this shoe on and it does run SMALL. The elastic was also very tight across my foot which didn’t seem stretch out very much. I thought the shoe looked cute but wasn’t a good fit.

    I did fall in love with the Dansko Pro XP. I have been wearing them for a week now and the insole is not slick like the other danskos so my toe doesn’t try to grip. I do have to pay attention to my walk ( doctor wants me to improve my walking style). But so far these clogs have given me some relief!

    Being 30 and diagnosed this past summer really put a huge damper on my style….

  2. Violet says:

    Merrill Encores have same basic shape as your first pick and work well for me. I have RA in addition to fibro and hallux limitus. The absolute best for me are Nike Air running shoes, but I have had a steroid shot in my toe which alleviated most of the severe pain. I think the Merrell’s are better for times when pain is a problem. Thanks for your research.

  3. Lynn says:

    Do these Danskos have the rocker sole? Those really hurt my toe. I live in Naot, but am looking for other shoes to supplement those.

  4. cedar says:

    The Dromedaris Macaw is comfortable and beautiful, but I could not get a proper size fit. Had to return them, but sure loved that shoe.
    I’ve got a couple styles of Clarks Waves and they are super comfy.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    As Dr. McCarthy often explains, it’s counter-intuitive to select a hard, rigid-soled shoe when your feet hurt — but similar to encasing a broken bone in a cast, it’s what’s necessary for healing.

    Therefore, when my arthritis and hallux limitus really bother me, I slip on my clunky, rigid Dansko Pros and a pair of Thor-Lo socks and wear them around the house for a few hours. Instant relief.

    For daily wear to the office, I wear a slightly more stylish Dansko — for the summer, I loved the Thea and the Tasha. For the winter, I just bought a new pair, the Tandy (same footbed as the Tilda, above).

    I have several pairs of Naot boots (Modesto is wonderful in small doses) but really, they are too flexible for those of us with hallux limitus. When you pick up the boot, if you can bend the forefront, it’s not rigid enough — and the Naots don’t qualify, sadly.

  6. Carly says:

    I got the Tandy for fall, too, and I think they’re really beautiful in person. They run a little narrower than the Dansko classic clogs, or at least fit as if they do. I’m pretty happy with them, though. They’re really nice and stable on the foot.

  7. Kirsten@BarkingDogShoes says:

    Thank you , all, for leaving your helpful, thoughtful comments.

  8. Ann says:

    Thanks so much for this article! I just got diagnosed with hallux rigidus in my left foot a few weeks ago and this blog gives me hope. I’m 35 and when my doctor told me I had arthritis right along side the fear of losing mobility was a fear that I would be forced to wear ugly shoes forever – funny how vainity rears its head in the oddest of moments. I recently purchased a pair of sanita smart step professional clogs and have found they provide a lot of relief and look great with jeans and sweaters for fall. It is nice to know what’s out there and that other women struggle with the same issues.

  9. Lisa says:

    I have found this website to be so helpful, and in particular this recent article. I have both hallux rigidis on one side and bad knees, and am still under 40 with a desire for some style/femininity. The Aravon Maya, Alegria Paloma (not so great on the arch support, but works well enough) and the Dansko Maeve style (no longer readily available) have worked out pretty well for me. Oh, how I wish thicker-soled shoes were in style right now!

  10. Toni says:

    I have a pair of Keen slip on shoes in a style they no longer make and they are really good for my hallux because of the wide toe boxes on them – (I am thinking about getting my big toe fused and that bone spur taken off; the pain is sometimes unbearable). I am 59 and have gotten this condition through years of telemark skiing; also, I have no cartilage left in my right ankle (same foot as the hallux), so really have to find good shoes to wear. I have been relying on Earth Shoes which keep the pressure off the forefoot really well. I can’t really wear any kind of heel because of the ankle problem. Yikes! Who knew my healthy outdoor exercise habits would cripple me? Thanks for this site. It’s given me a lot of ideas for shoes.

  11. Wendy says:

    Just diagnosed with hallux rigidis stage 1 and am depressed!! I also have a growing bone spur on the top of my big toe. Never had pain until recently. I’m looking for cute professional and casual shoe recommendations. I know heels are out – but I’m 45 and want something with some sort of style!!! I love shoes!!! 🙂

    Thanks for the advice!

    • Cheryl says:

      Join the Hallux Rigidus Support Group on Facebook! It’s full of information and resources.

      • frieda nicholls says:

        Is there a Dress Shoe for Hallux Rigidus People? I look like a field hand with these clodhoppers…I don’t care what they say – they are all ugly!!! I wanna a pretty dainty shoe! Is there one out there?

  12. Dolores says:

    why do NONE of these pictures show the pertinent problem spot on the shoes? The toe joint area?

  13. MARY SZYMANSKI says:

    I have Hallux rigidis but also have a wide foot any suggestions?

  14. Karen says:

    I’ve been wearing rocker bottom shoes since being diagnosed with hallux rigidus, and am pain-free while wearing them. But at the end of the day, I just want to slide into some slippers. Has anyone found a house slipper that feels good? I Muk Luks advertised a rocker sole slipper, but the sole is very flexible and there’s no rocker in their bottom 🙂 I gave them to a friend.

    • Nancy says:

      Try Hafflinger slippers. They have a rigid, shaped cork sole sole, and a boiled wool upper is cozy when worn with socks. Obviously for winter. Expensive but will last for years.

    • Mary says:

      Nothinz Warm Breeze clog slippers are very comfortable and cozy with good support, as well as not too pricey.

    • Gail says:

      I’ve worn the Stegmann Wool-Flex clog for years. It’s got a wide toe box and is very durable. I’ve had several with the cork sole and am now wearing the L108p which is a newer model with a fairly stiff rubber sole (available on Amazon). I’ve got hallux rigidus like you, but have no problems spending the whole day in these slippers. Very comfortable.

  15. Bill Dobrucky says:

    I’ve been wearing rocker bottom shoes since being diagnosed with hallux rigidus, and am pain-free while wearing them. But at the end of the day, I just want to slide into some slippers. Has anyone found a house slipper that feels good? I Muk Luks advertised a rocker sole slipper, but the sole is very flexible and there’s no rocker in their bottom 🙂 I gave them to a friend.

    also looking for slippers for hallux rigidus relief, please assist.

    • Jules says:

      My absolute favorite slippers for hallux rigidus are Haflinger wool slippers with the cork sole. They are so good for my feet. They’re a bit expensive but mine are two years old and still have lots of life in them.

      • Kirsten says:

        AMen!! I love my Haflingers.

      • M Pamela says:

        I just got my first pair of Haflingers slippers and with my issues with my feet and the hard floors in my house, they are a life saver!! What a difference! Only when I found your website, Kirstin, that I have be educated, well informed, and helped in getting the right shoes, slippers, boots, etc for my poor feet. They have to carry all of me around and they were suffering terribly! Also, I love hearing people’s comments and suggestions too, and knowing that I am not alone with feet issues makes me feel we are a very supportive bunch!
        Thanks Kirstin!!

  16. Sarah Burtner says:

    Thanks for all the suggestions! This is so helpful.

    Regarding slippers, I’ve been wondering about those rigid inserts for hallus issues. Has anyone tried them? I’ve thought about putting some in a pair of well-fitting slippers (with a snug back, not floppy). I have put gel inserts into a pair of crocs to help them fit more snugly. They are nice for around the house as long as I’m standing but not walking too much.

    The rigid inserts are kind of pricey, but I thought they might allow me to continue wearing some of my older shoes as well. Thoughts?

    • diana says:

      Try out the naturalizer maestro. They are great for anyone with hallux limitus or ridigus. I bought a pair and they are the most comfortable shoe I have ever had. They also look good no matter what you are wearing. They run about a half a size bigger. I normally wear a 5 1/2 but with ridgus I had to go a half size bigger. Go to 6pm.com. They have that shoe marked down to 27.00 from 87.00. Try them you’ll love them. i have hallux ridigus.
      Very painful condition. The right shoe really makes the difference. Good luck all.
      diana

  17. Jo Ann says:

    I was in such severe pain in both joints of my big toes, that I couldn’t walk. I finally found a pair of suede shoes called total walkers at Norm Thompson. They have women’s clothes also. The shoe have kind of different colors, but the black and gray aren’t too bad. Some of my friends made a few comments but when I said let’s trade feet and you can put up with the pain, they shut their mouths pretty quick. They saved my life!!

  18. Jen says:

    Hi, I’ve just been diagnosed with Hallux Rigidis and a bone spur. I have been searching for some of these shoes. However, at least three of these styles are no longer being made (I can get some through online searches, but not through the company; some not at all). Would it be possible to make a new list of 2015 shoes that fall into this category?
    Thanks so much; I love so many of the shoes on this site!!

    • Jules says:

      I’ve been trying shoes on for two years now since my diagnosis and these are my favorites…
      Summer: Birkenstock and Chacos. Some espadrille style wedges are ok for short-term dressy wear.
      Winter: Haflinger slippers, DANSKOS!! (I have four pairs now), and Hoke One One sneakers for days when I need to keep up with my young kids and do lots of walking.

  19. Pingback: Stylish Footwear for Hallux Limitus | BarkingDogShoes.com

  20. Lisa In Boston says:

    I was just diagnosed with Hallux Limitus/Rigidus ( from running and have a congenitally short 4th toe contributing to slight bunion deformity) and really appreciate the sharing of information here. I’ve just ordered Haflinger Grizzly Clogs based on the posts. I have had amazing pain relief wearing Dansko Profesional clogs at work and on weekends. I have also found the wedge soles of Fly London boots provide the rocker action with a lot of cushion and no pain. I plan to buy some Fly London sandals with the wedge sole for an upcoming trip to Cuba.

  21. Amy Fullmer says:

    I too have hallux rigidus
    I have had surgery on both big toes. They permanently fused the bones together. Surgery is quick, same day. Recovery the first 7-10 days is tough.
    I wear Dansko. Love them. Will be wearing a boot and then a shoe for a total o 12 weeks for right foot to heal.
    Excited to see some other rigid sole shoes to try.
    Tennis shoes will be a challenge I assume.
    Glad I stumbled upon your blog!
    Thanks

  22. Karen says:

    What a lovely blog. I actually thought I was the only one who and felt embarrassed at my vanity re my shoes. I have hallux rigidus and a cupboard full of shoes hardly worn, each time I think they will be OK and find they are not.

  23. Valerie Griffin says:

    This site is wonderful!

  24. Gracie Brooks says:

    I am so glad I stumbled on to your site. I just got diagnosed with Hallux rigidus both right and left and severe bunions on both right and left. I have a wide foot and a heel spur on both right and left. I also have severe arthritis in my feet.To top it off I’m a pharmacist and I work 8 to 8 (12 to 13 hour shifts) on my feet the entire day, I was coming home with severe pain every night. I finally went to see a podiatrist and he recommended surgery ASAP. Glad to hear some comments about the surgery, especially since I must have the joint fused due to the severe arthritis, joint replacement is not an option. I have a closet full of shoes that I just knew would work and after wearing a few hours they became torture devices. I never thought I was vain about shoes….but now that I see my options, I want to cry. I LOVE to wear dresses and skirts and live in Hawaii, I can’t hide my ugly shoes under pants cuz I seldom wear them. Do you have any recommendations for cute, feminine, flats for wide (Fred Flintstone) feet with Hallux Rigidus and bunions???

  25. Cheryl says:

    Join the Hallux Rigidus Support Group on Facebook! It’s full of more information, and resources that will supplement this site.

  26. Heather Kulaga says:

    My daughter begged to have a pair of Nike Roshe running shoes, and eventually saved up enough to buy them. I was despairing over the orthopedic options for my hallux limitus and she was listening to me tell of the pain from ANY ridge along the top of a shoe near where my big toe joint it. She said, “Mom you should get Roshes! They’re in style and I think the mesh top wouldn’t press on your toe!” I went with her to the store and almost cried when I tried them on because sure enough, they don’t cut into the top of my foot like others “feel” like they’re doing. Plus they are actually in style right now! I put a pillow insert in each to help with support, and I wear them everywhere, with any kind of pants. Here’s a link: http://www.finishline.com/store/product/womens-nike-roshe-one-casual-shoes/_/A-4878?categoryId=cat302269&productId=prod765297

  27. Janice says:

    I needed a dressy shoe for my daughter’s wedding. I desperately wanted a heel because my new son-in-law’s family is all very tall and I didn’t want to look super short in pictures. I found the Naturalizer Danya. It has a very rigid platform so there was no pressure on my toe. I wore them all day. The only issue was that they have a Velcro strap and the chiffon layer of my gown was getting caught on it. Fortunately, we found some silver duct tape at the venue and wrapped it around the back strap. Duct tape really does fix everything! http://www.shoebuy.com/naturalizer-danya-sandal/458128/1470023

    • Kirsten says:

      Wow wow wow! That IS a gorgeous shoe, at a good price too. Glad to hear it worked to you, even with a little duct tape.

      • Janice says:

        The platform in the front allows for a higher heel in the Naturalizer Danya without all of the forward pressure on the toe. I have hallux limitus and my feel let me know very quickly what does not work. Those worked. I also took this site’s advice about Alegria shoes. I bought a pair of Alegria Verona sandals and those are also pain free. I have narrow feet, so the multiple adjustable straps on the Verona’s help me so much in getting a good fit.

  28. LouLou says:

    I am surprised that no-one has mentioned Earth Kalso with negative heel technology. I discovered them about 10 years ago and have been wearing them ever since. Unfortunately, the quality has deteriorated and now it seems that they are becoming increasingly scarce and are difficult to find, especially outside the USA. The negative heel takes all the pressure off the toes. I have been able to avoid surgery, but now it looks like I will have to have the joint fused.
    I will try the other brands that are mentioned here before I submit to the knife.

  29. Randi says:

    I have hallux rigidus and bunions. I too have a closet full of beautiful shoes and boots I cannot wear because of the pain. What I have found works best for me are Birkenstocks and Alegria shoes. Alegria has many more styles and are much less pricey than Birks. They are always putting seasonal colors and styles on sale. Not all work for me – I look for the professional styles with the rocker bottoms. They have an adorable Mary Jane but unfortunately it cuts across my bunion. I just ordered a short bootie and I’m hoping it will work. Last winter I lived in the Birkenstock Farmington tall boot and plan on wearing it again but it would be nice to a winter alternative. If you can find the Alegria Bree lace-up style in your size on line – grab it. For me it is more comfortable than a sneaker, people literally stop me in the street to ask me where I found that shoe (I say – oh my orthopedic nursing shoe!?) but it looks to me that Alegria has discontinued it — there are still some in various sizes and colors on the internet.

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      An expensive condition to have for sure–those Birkenstock Farmington are super cute but $$! Thanks for your helpful input. I like the Alegria Bree–I had no idea they discontinued it. I’m going to see what their oxford lineup is for fall…

  30. M. B. says:

    Omg, I am so happy to have found this blog!! My hallux limitus is getting worse and worse. I have had plantar fasciitis for many many years, yet the OA toes (both) have now overtaken that as my worse mobility limiting problem. Last night toe pain ruined a special event, so now time for action, must take more care in finding the RIGHT shoes as really most are hurting me now. Anyway again, SO happy this blog is here 🙂 .

  31. Alane says:

    If anyone has a recommendation for a walking shoe I would really appreciate it. I need to take my bernese mountain dog for a walk on gravel roads and I am in excruciating pain wearing too flexible a walking shoe. I used to love keens, but they changed their fit and now I am unhappy with them. I am on my feet a lot and trying to stay active due to psoriatic arthritis plus hallux rigidus, two knee replacements after which I broke both kneecaps. (I know, right!) I need a major shoe intervention because I have a closet full of shoes that work for one thing but not the other….I’m turning 49 in three days and I feel hopeless. So far I have leaned towards Dansko, Birkenstock (although I’ve never tried their boots), and Haflinger clogs for home. Oh, and I have Raynaud’s Disease to boot and live in Northern Minnesota. Ugh! Just typing out all of these problems hurts!!!!!!

    • Linda says:

      I just found out I have hallux rigidus. I got some shoe advice from my brother who has had it since 2012 – he has been wearing the same kind of shoe ever since and he says it gives him great relief. I ordered the same style he has – I wear a women’s 10 or 11 usually – I ordered a men’s size 9 Wide (about equal to a women’s 10.5 wide) because I really wanted a big toe box – I tried them on and the comfort was amazing. This is a very stiff shoe. I didn’t think it would be comfortable because they are so stiff, but they cradle my foot in just the right position. They take a little getting used to due to the rocker bottom. I just wanted some shoes I could wear on walks around the streets in my neighborhood and not have constant pain in my feet. These shoes fit the bill and my feet even feel better for awhile after I take them off. It is like the shoes reshape my foot and I’m pain free for awhile. I’m not sure how they would work walking on a gravel road. The shoes are Skechers for Work – Men’s Brawny Lace-ups, Model # 76990 (also used to be called Shape Ups). On some sites you can order these and return them for free if they do not fit. Good luck!

    • Anna says:

      Alane,

      I’d recommend Hoka One One Clifton 2, Altra Olympus 1.5, New Balance MW928 & Skechers Shape Ups for walking & running.

      My team have made a in-depth reviews of the top shoes for hallux rigidus/limitus you can find the details of what we like & what we don’t like about these shoes here:

      http://www.healthaddon.com/best-shoes-for-hallux-rigidus-and-hallux-limitus/

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