Choosing the Right Footwear for Seniors

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For older members of the public, footwear is something that has long-been accepted as something that has to be practical, but not necessarily comfortable. In fact, in recent years, research has been carried out into how many senior citizens wear ill-fitting shoes. 

However, things are changing, and manufacturers are creating footwear that is both functional and fashionable, moving away from the trend towards unappealing shoes that provide an incorrect fit. 

Here, we look at the issues that many older people face when it comes to getting their footwear right, as well as tips to help find the right pair. 

Why is the right fit so important? 

As we age, a lot of the pressure placed on our feet over the preceding decades can start to have a detrimental impact. Bone density changes with time and many older people experience pain in their feet. 

Wearing the wrong type of shoes can make the issue worse. Where once it was possible to wear trainers or court shoes, senior citizens must swap to shoes that meet their needs and reduce pain levels. Otherwise, it could have a negative effect on balance and the way senior citizens walk. In some cases, there can be the tendency to change posture to accommodate painful feet and this can, in turn lead to back problems. 

This is why the medical footwear industry is forecast to be worth almost $13 billion by 2027. There is a market for purpose-built footwear that is designed to alleviate pain. 

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The common footwear problems

Our feet change as we age, so we need to choose footwear that suits the stage we’re at. Arches get flatter and joints become stiff. Many older people develop arthritis or diabetes, which can lead to swollen ankles, therefore adjustable straps and shoes that provide support are crucial. 

Some of the most common footwear issues for older people can impact on younger members of the population too, however the impact can be more severe for older people. For instance, bunions, callouses, and hammertoe, where toe joints point downwards, can happen to younger people. But these issues, combined with weaker joints or arthritis, can cause more pain. 

What to look for

If you’re looking for footwear that will be comfortable and provide support, there are certain things to look for. First, look at the materials used. Non-slip materials such as rubber can be hugely beneficial, especially as you want to prevent the risk of slips and falls. 

Also, an easily adjustable, easy-to-open fastener is ideal both for those who are prone to swollen ankles and for those who experience pain on their feet due to sores such as bunions. Padding and arch supports are ideal for providing a soft, cushioned space for the feet.  


If you need to update your footwear, it’s worth doing some research. There are plenty of variations available and there’s more choice now than ever before.