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Hallux Rigidus Shoes

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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).

Shoes for Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus : Dansko Maci

Dansko Maci

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!

Shoes for Hallux Limitus : Birkenstock Bakki

Birkenstock Bakki

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).

Shoes for Hallux Limitus : Fitflop Chai

FItflop Chai with Supercomff midsole

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).

Taos Luckie

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.

Shoes for Hallux Limitus : Dansko Winona

Dansko Winona

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.

Nike Zoom Fly

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.


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35 Responses to 6 Sensational Shoes for Hallux Rigidus [Plus 6 Bonus Picks]

  1. Beatrice says:

    I suspect I have hallux rigidus but I have not been diagnosed by a podiatrist. I do know that if my shoes are bendy my feet are going to be achey breaky.

    I love the Jambu Sugar and Brookline. Recently also picked up the Jambu Bombay Encore. The Encore does not have the space in the toe box I was hoping for and the cut of the vamp runs right across my bunion. the 2018 Jambu lineup has zero new shoes to tempt me.

    I laid down full retail for a pair of Hoke One One Bondi. The guy at the shop said that they were for “serious marathoners” and asked me how many miles a week I run. My squat middle aged self apparently does not appear to be a marathoner, but my $160 turned out to be the right color, so he let me buy them.
    They are very stiff and heavily cushioned but I still get some foot pain.

    Alegria is pretty good for me except for the Mary Jane styles – again the cut of the vamp runs right over my bunion, and that is some stiff, hard leather.

  2. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Beatrice,

    You are SPOT ON with some of those sales people at the running stores. Well said. I agree with your comment about the Alegria MJs–they do run squeeze the bunions-I wish the leather they used was softer. Thanks for your feedback and recommendations.

  3. cedar says:

    When I saw the title of this post, I immediately thought of Dromedaris. They are a beautifully crafted shoe.
    Haflinger could be helpful, too.

    Those Dansko sandals are cute!

  4. Kirsten Borrink says:

    I agree. I wish Zappos would carry Dromedaris.I love that they’re made in Portugal–Portuguese know what they’re doing with shoes.

  5. Joan says:

    I too have Bondi 5,after hip replacement I started wearing,hoping my new hip would take pressure off dorsal bunion but even with carbon graphite plate which is flat under Aetrex innersole(took out Hoka) I still have pressure on bunion.
    If only Alegria could make a athletic type walking shoe with new neoprene uppers! The essence is touted as flexible,a no no for hr sufferers.
    Or Hoka had firmer support under toe area!

  6. Skip says:

    Alegria will have a shoe with neoprene at the side of both the great toe and fifth toe, in their fall products. There is also an Austrian brand, Fidelio, that has this feature in all of their shoes

  7. Mary Dean says:

    I love Hotter shoes from England! Barking Shoes mentioned this brand a couple of years ago for Hallux Rigidus and love them. I love their Mary Janes and their boot styles. They offer fabulous discounts and shipping at times is free. They can be slow on shipping but is worth the wait! Thank you Kirsten!

  8. Lorange says:

    I bought some Hoka One One’s at REI. The sales guy there was surprisingly well versed in foot issues and totally non judgmental about my activity levels. It was really refreshing.

  9. Christie says:

    I first found this blog maybe two years ago after getting diagnosed with hallux limitus and you and your readers helped introduce me to many brands I would not otherwise have know about, so THANK YOU! My podiatrist not so helpfully recommended I wear hiking shoes all the time – not so realistic in my work setting and even when not working, I want more style options!

    Thankfully business casual is pretty acceptable as I find dressier/formal looks the hardest to pull off shoe-wise. In those cases, the best option I’ve found are some of the Vionic flats (Minna and Caballo), they they aren’t stiff enough that I could wear them everyday.

    From a pure comfort standpoint, Dansko seem to work best for me, though their style is more casual, and they can be a little more challenging for me to pair with clothes in a style appropriate for work. I just got the Dansko Loralie Mary Jane wedge in a cognac color and they look pretty nice with dress slacks. I also have the Dansko Tenley in black which also goes well with wider leg black dress slacks. My all time favorite bootie is the Dansko Shirley wedge in taupe suede. So comfy and I get complimented on these too – best with casual pants/jeans though.

  10. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Hi Christie,

    Thanks for the kind words. Those are sound choices for professional shoes. I have hallux limitus that seems to come and go based on shoe choice. I’ve been wearing the Dansko Luann boot when I sub at a local high school (it’s from the same collection the Loralie is from) and the combo of lower 2″ heel and slight platform seem to keep my big toe pretty happy. You’re right–the Shirley is a great boot.

  11. Laurel says:

    I got a pair of the Earth sandals above. They were too narrow in the forefoot for my wider, hobbity feet, but I can see how they would be super comfortable. And they’re stylish too! I wish I could wear them, but I’ll be shipping them back to Zappos.

  12. Sandi Vasey says:

    I love Fitflops . I must have 12 pairs and wear them year around . I have had bunion surgery on one foot and have a small one on the other foot . Hallux ridigus in one foot and ledderhaus disease in both soles of my feet . That causes me to have tumors in the soles of my feet . Fit flops saved the day after my surgery when my foot was so swollen . That is when I discovered them and have never turned back . I love your web site . Thank you

  13. Mars says:

    I don’t get it. Almost all of the shoe choices above have some sort of height to the heel and so many of the shoes available today have a curved up toe like the Alegrias. I cannot tolerate even the slightest heel and definitely not a curved up toe. Danskos are excruciating. Also bone spurs on top of and to the side of the joints cause constriction in some way or another. I have had success with certain MBTs from years gone by, but their latest offerings are a disaster. What I wouldn’t give for a cute little snow boot with rigid soles and traction as winter approaches! Any suggestions?

  14. Andrea says:

    Hi, thanks so much for this great, specialized information! I wish I could wear the shoes featured, but I have a narrow foot. Other than the sandals with front and back open so I could wear a 1/2 size shorter and tighten width to make them fit well enough, I can’t wear any of these. I must have narrows for any shoe with a closed toe or heel. Do you have ANY suggestions for closed toe shoes that come in narrows and are suitable for this condition? Thanks!

  15. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Hi Andrea, can you wear a heel at all? I was just looking at this bootie by Munro that comes in super slim and narrow. I thought maybe the thick platform would protect big toe from hallux rigidus pain.

  16. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Another idea is the Clarks Un Cruise sneaker – it has a slight rocker sole to take pressure off forefoot and comes in narrow.

  17. Amy says:

    I’ve found the Naot Rhythm to be very comfortable for me.

    One of the biggest problems I have with finding shoes for my hallux limitus is that I can’t bend my toe enough to even get some shoes on if the top of the shoe covers most of the foot.

  18. Jennifer says:

    I have the Birkenstock Bakki and although they are comfortable, they don’t have the same support as the sandals. I’ll have to give some of the others listed a try. Thanks for always providing hope that there may be comfortable shoes

  19. Pam says:

    For years I wore Brooks Ghost but they became too squishy for me. I now wear the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19. Much more stable but still comfortable for walking and gym wear. I went up to a wide width since the Adrenaline is a more close-fitting shoe. Has the high toe box I need as well. FYI: If the insoles in your Brooks shoes wear out, contact the company and they will send you a new one free.

  20. Gordon Alexander says:

    Hi,
    I am just completing one year after having surgery on both big toes for hallux rigidus. The results are very promising getting me back to maybe 90% of my previous walking/sports abilities. In terms of shoes, before the operation, I also went through many brands trying to find the ones that relieved the pain from my arthritis most. MBT shoes, although expensive, were my favourite to begin with, but eventually the movement expected in the foot became too painful. So I kept switching as my feet became more and more painful, down to even walking down the street. I did, however, find the Camper Lab series worked well for me, with their rigid soles but comfortable and flexible uppers allowing space for the inflamed toes to breathe! They keep changing each year so you have to be quick to find the edition that works for you. The other message I would like to share is that, after the operations,( when also you need well shaped soft shoes in the early part of recovery), I gradually found myself able to wear many of my old shoes. So dont throw them away because you cant wear them during the time of pain with hallux rigidus! Hang in there. And bon courage for everyone out there with this ailment.
    Gordon

  21. KT says:

    Sorry to see so many of us have this problem. Happy to see I’ve found many of the same brands/shoes to be best for my toe problem. One brand I don’t see listed is expensive but seems to really work for me: Paul Green. The boots and booties are great as are sandals. Nordstrom carries them and I watch for them to go on sale. This year though I splurged on the booties at full price and have been amazed at the comfort without any break-in period!

  22. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Hi KT–that is great to hear. I’ve seen Paul Green but have hesitated featuring because of the high price tag (and then I hear it from some folk who freak out). Do you have a specific style that you recommend for HR?

  23. TC Ferrito says:

    I wear the Dansko clogs with the backs, so they stay on. With pants and in the right color, they are fine for work. I read that Dansko was based on the Sanita clogs. I found Sanita on Amazon. They differ in price, based on the color and size. I ordered 3 pair and got each for less than $50. Look on Amazon for shoes.

  24. Deb says:

    Hallux rigidus with bone spurs on top means I need a rigid roomie toe box with a bit of a rocker sole ideally Here’s what works for me. Birkenstock’s as inside slippers Warmer months I live in Wolky Sandals, the jewel style allows you to adjust everything. They can accommodate orthotics, titanium inserts, bunion pads etc. This winter I found Lowa boots from Foot Sensations, slight rocker, stiff sole roomy fit. I find The Danskos irritate bone spurs and MBTs are very shallow hard to accommodate orthotics. I use titanium, very thin, inserts where I can. Foot Sensations is able to order and bend them slightly to create a rocker effect in shoes that have a large enough toe box. No luck so far with any dress shoes. Dress occasions I wear Patrizia dress sandals, stiff platform with slight rocker, adjustable forefront and ankle straps. Live in Canada but I look for shoes everywhere I go!
    Love this site.

  25. Jan Matuseski says:

    I have BIG FEET, size 12W-13XW

    I find that most of the shoes referred to this month stop at a size 11. Many other brands end with size 12

    I don’t have any cartilage in my right toe and a lovely bone spur on top. The only shoes that I can wear are ZIERA SHOES and the occasional Aravon. I can wear a 44W (12) in a sandal as the velcro allows a custom fit with my perfect size 12W left foot and my 12WW HR right foot. In a CLOSED TOE shoe my right foot demands a 45XW! The velcro with a little padding in my left shoe and I’m good to go. Ziera goes up to a 45XW with 4 last variations, regular to a roomy toe box, varying footbeds and shoe soles and shoes designed to accommodate custom orthotics. I haven’t worn a closed toe for over 20 years and recently purchased Xray in 45XW. Roomy toe box, velcro, designed to accommodate custom orthotic and a super support footbed.

    The shoes are pricey: about $189 – $269. The shoes are very well made and last. They also go on sale. Stores have to contract with Ziera so check the Ziera site to locate stores that sell their shoes. In the US, most stores are in California.

  26. Kirsten Borrink says:

    Hi Jan,

    Thanks for the reminder about Ziera. Oh how I wish more online retailers contracted with Ziera in the US. They make such great shoes in extended sizes and widths. I will link to their store locator in your post.

  27. Janet Jacobs says:

    I loved the Hoka One One Clifton 3 but find the toe box too narrow in the later versions (4 and 5). Any recommendations for a reasonably stylish exercise sneaker with a rigid sole and a roomy toe box?

    For women looking for summer dress shoes, I recommend Naot and Des Amours des Pieds – both have very stylish summer sandals. I found the Wolky was too deep for my flat feet, even with extra orthotics. I haven’t had any luck finding attractive winter dress shoes as I’m restricted to a one-inch heel. Again, suggestions are welcome!

  28. Helen says:

    Whoever recommended the Clarks cruise was so right. I’m always wary of trainers as they tend to be so bendy!
    I walked round Prague for 3 days and yes my feet were aching but no painful toes, which I didn’t even notice till I got home and put some different shoes on and instantly went ouch.
    I normally go for fitflop as they do size 3 and have quite a lot of sales!

  29. loretta jungreis says:

    hamertotes a bungions ver active women who to formals and dance up dance kivekeep

  30. loretta jungreis says:

    need stylfor very avtive woman with many defornatirs bunion and hammortoes

  31. Prudence says:

    I have HR a s bone spurs and have found the opposite to be true – I don’t wear ridgid shoes, I wear minimalist shoes with no support (or go barefoot) so my foot muscles can support me properly and prevent my joints from calcifying. Use it or lose it. My favorite brands are Gentle Souls for dress shoes and Lems or Xero for casual wear. I am lucky to live in a warm climate. If I wore shoes that didn’t allow my toe joints to move I’d be crippled by now.

  32. Marjorie says:

    I really like the Taos Luckie, especially NOW that a shoe store put me in the CORRECT size (it runs smaller than my “About Time” Taos Wedge from 2018). THANK YOU Kirsten for reviewing SO many shoes. Your recommedation for Waldalufer (for Narrow Heels & Wide Toes) encouraged me to seek them out.
    That eventually led me to a WONDERFUL shoe store with a Certified Pedorthortist. IF your NEW shoes need adjustments: they can shorten straps, stretch shoes, soften straps, etc. Of course the pedorthist does more than just fit shoes for the “hard to fit” customers. He makes orthotics and modifies shoes for various foot problems. It was even worth the very long trip and being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic!!! Moral of my story: Don’t give up!!! Even after you thought that you had TRIED every shoe & EVERY store – try 1 more time: You might find the right professional whose store carries a good selection for your needs.

    Whoops – forgot to say that the store has a web site.
    https://turnpikeshoes.com/

  33. molly David says:

    New Balance 1080 – recommended by my podiatrist.

  34. Sheri says:

    I have tried so many shoes…. Had hallux rigidus for probably 15 + years. I liked Fit Flops but they have lessened their support in some newer shoes. I still can wear the basic fit flops some. I have recently found Birkenstocks in a platform base. Those have been good. I have tried Hoka One One. They are ok but not THE answer. Just got Bondi 6 ones. They have nice cushion but aren’t good for a long walk. My big toe was complaining. I have liked the MBT Zee 18 shoe. Just wanted to find something that isn’t a rocker because sometimes it feels unstable.

  35. Kristi Pascarella says:

    My Brooks Adrenline GTS also work well for me. I’ve been wearing them for years now and just pick up the latest when I wear out the others. I’ve also found that green Super Shoes in the shoes shoes rather, than the factory insoles, help.

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