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Supportive and comfortable shoes can help reduce knee and back pain, including pain as a result of osteoarthritis. We discuss 10 of our top picks.

We use “men’s” and “women’s” in this article to align with how companies market their products, but there is no need to stick to one or the other. A person should choose the product with the fit, style, and features that work best for them.

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Below, we list some of the top shoes to help reduce the symptoms of knee and back pain.

The following table compares the shoes in this article on price, weight, width, and more:

PriceAvailable sizesWidthWeightNumber of colors
Orthofeetaround $119 to $135men’s 7 to 15• standard
• wide
11.5 oz3
Skechers$65women’s 5 to 13• narrow
• standard
• wide
2
Brooksaround $105 to $143• men’s 7 to 15
• women’s 5 to 13
• narrow
• standard
• wide
• extra wide
9.10 to 10.01 oz40+
HOKA$165• men’s 7 to 16
• women’s 5 to 12
• standard
• wide
• extra wide
8.9 to 10.8 oz16+
Sauconyaround $108 to $140• men’s 7 to 15
• women’s 5 to 12
standard8.5 to 9.2 oz5
New Balancearound $73 to $165• men’s 7 to 16
• women’s 5 to 13
• narrow
• standard
• wide
• extra wide
8.3 to 10.3 oz35
Asics$160• men’s 6 to 16
• women’s 5 to 13
• standard
• wide
• extra wide
8.9 to 10.2 oz20
Vionic$130women’s 5 to 11• standard
• wide
5
Nike$130• men’s 6 to 15
• women’s 5 to 12
standard5+
Cushionairearound $25women’s 5 to 12standard30

Medical News Today chooses shoes that meet the following criteria:

  • Sizes: MNT chooses shoes that fit the majority of people, including those with narrow, wide, or extra-wide feet.
  • Activity: MNT chooses shoes people can wear to work, while exercising, or around the home.
  • Support: MNT chooses supportive shoes that provide cushioning for aching joints.
  • Price: MNT chooses shoes that meet a range of budgets.
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People may wish to consider the following when choosing a shoe:

  • Cushioning and support: Pain in the back and knee may mean that a person requires a shoe with extra cushioning and support. Shoes with these features can help reduce strain on joints and absorb the impact of the foot hitting the ground.
  • Fit: It is important to wear shoes that fit. According to research from 2018, people who wore slip-on shoes and shoes that were narrower than their feet were more likely to have foot problems, including pain.
  • Weight: Shoes that are too heavy may make walking and exercising uncomfortable. However, shoes that are too light may not provide the right level of support.
  • Ease of use: People with long- or short-term conditions that affect the joints or mobility, such as arthritis, may wish to consider buying shoes that have a slip-on or laceless design.
  • Cost: People may wish to consider their budget when purchasing new shoes. Additional features usually come with extra costs.

People with knee and back pain may find moving around painful. However, research shows that aerobic activity alongside strengthening exercises two to three times per week can prevent or reduce lower back pain.

Custom-made orthotic insoles can reduce chronic lower back pain in comparison to regular shoes. People can purchase custom orthotics. Many cushioned and supportive shoes have in-built orthotics that may provide varying levels of support.

The most common cause of knee pain in adults is osteoarthritis. Shock-absorbing insoles, such as those in running shoes, may help reduce pain from osteoarthritis in the lower body.

Supportive shoes may decrease knee pain more than flexible shoes in people with knee osteoarthritis. Additionally, cushioned shoes can help reduce knee pain.

People should contact a doctor if they have knee or back pain that does not go away with rest.

Sometimes, knee and back pain may be the result of osteoarthritis. Common symptoms include:

  • joint aches and pains, especially during or after physical activity
  • stiff joints, especially in the morning or after resting
  • limited motion in the joint
  • a clicking or popping noise when moving the joint
  • joint swelling
  • joint weakness
  • joint instability or buckling

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, healthcare professionals may recommend several therapies, including physical activity, physical therapy, and medication.

Learn more about osteoarthritis treatment.

Here, we answer some common questions about these shoes.

According to a 2023 study, cushioned shoes help reduce knee pain from osteoarthritis.

Shoes with more cushioning and shock absorption may provide more support and reduce knee pain. Running shoes often have built-in support and cushioning, but some orthopedic dress shoes may offer similar benefits.

No, physical activity can improve symptoms and increase flexibility.

Knee and back pain can result from wearing unsupportive shoes. Another common cause of this pain is osteoarthritis. Supportive and cushioned shoes that provide total foot and ankle support can reduce pain and make exercising easier.