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6 Sensational Shoes for Hallux Rigidus [Plus 6 Bonus Picks]
Rigid big toe. That’s what hallux rigidus means. My sincerest condolences if you’ve been diagnosed with this arthritic condition–I know too well the pain and discomfort it can cause. Take a minute to read through our comprehensive article on both hallux limitus and rigidus to understand the condition better. Chances are your doctor prescribed a thick, rigid-sole shoe for good reason–it will help protect the big toe joint from over-flexing during the stride causing further erosion and pain. While this type of shoe can bring relief, the news can be discouraging when you have a closet full of dainty flats and elegant heels. But do not despair, the Barking Dog dug up six finds for your perusal (plus a few bonus picks at the end).
Maci’s leather-wrapped 2.5″ block heel with 1″ platform is as on-trend as it is foot-friendly. A contoured footbed provides good arch support while a memory-foam footbed cushions from heel to toe. I like the thick wood-grain outsole with a slight rocker effect to protect the painful big toe. Find the Dansko Maci from the Madeira collection in euro sizes 36-42 for $139.95 at Zappos, Nordstrom, Amazon, and The Walking Company. For a closed-toe version of the Maci, consider the Malin. Good news! Dansko just released a similar style with a back strap called the Madalyn!
Some feet with hallux limitus or rigidus find relief from Birkenstock sandals, but did you know you could get the same comfort and support come wintertime in the Birkenstock Bakki? We love the plush shearling fold-over ankle cuff and luxurious suede uppers. The supportive cork insole features arch and metatarsal support, just like your favorite Birkenstock sandals. Find the Birkenstock Bakki in euro sizes 36-42 (5-11) for $190 from Birkenstock.com, Zappos, and Amazon. If you have a high instep, you may have trouble getting your foot into the Bakki–try the Birkenstock Bennington instead (it has a side zipper).
If you read through any online discussion about favorite footwear for hallux rigidus, Fitflop sandals come up almost every time. The reason? Fitflop’s thick sole doesn’t bend much at the forefoot yet cushions well. Fitflop has a wonderful closed-toe collection of work-appropriate styles, but they’re constantly changing so it’s hard to feature just one. Look for thicker-soled Fitflop shoes that feature their original triple-density Microwobbleboard™ midsole (such as the Superloafer or the Loaff or Shuv mule) or their SupercomFF™ dual-density midsole (like the Chai bootie or the Petrina loafer).
How lucky can your feet get? If you live in Birkenstocks, but would like a change, consider the Taos Luckie. The contoured cork footbed plus thick rubber outsole make them a good choice for hallux limitus or rigidus. Plus, you get the added benefit of two adjustable straps for a customized fit, deep heel cup and metatarsal support. Find the Taos Luckie in euro sizes 36-42 for $145 from Taosfootwear.com, The Walking Company, Zappos, and Amazon.
If you’re an avid Dansko fan, you may recall the Golden Gate collection from years gone by. It was one of Dansko’s best collections next to their flagship clog, in my opinion. I’m thrilled to see a similar sole/footbed on the new Winona shoe. Do you find relief for your hallux limitus or rigidus in a rocker sole but are hesitant to wear a clog for fear you’ll roll your ankle? The Dansko Winona may be for you. The 1.5″ heel is wide and sturdy to keep ankles stable. There is a slight rocker sole from mid-foot to toe which helps alleviate pressure on the toes. A removable footbed with arch support may accommodate an orthotic. Find the Dansko Winona in euro sizes 35-43 (order up if between sizes), for $129.95 from Zappos, and Amazon.
I learned of the Nike Zoom Fly from the Hallux Rigidus Support Group Facebook page. This shoe generated a lot of buzz for its full-length carbon-infused nylon plate in the midsole. As the Nike site states, this plate “feels like it propels you forward with every step.” If you want to get back to running or need a fitness shoe with less bend at the forefoot, check out the Nike Zoom Fly. Available in whole and half sizes 5-12 for $150 from Nike.com.
Honorable mention: Dromedaris Hornbill oxford (with similar sole to the Dansko Winona featured above), Altra Lone Peak hiking shoe (zero-drop, foot-shape toe box and thick sole), Dansko Pro XP 2.0 (a cushioned, lightweight version of the Dansko Professional), Hoka Bondi 6 running shoe (super-thick cushioned sole), Chocolat Blu wedges (with thick platform and cushioned footbed) and stylish L’Amour Des Pieds footwear (look for the styles with thick platforms).
Do you have hallux rigidus? Which shoes have helped you get through your day pain free? Leave a comment and let us know. Also, take a look at our “shoes for hallux rigidus” category for more comfortable options.