Best Shoes for Sciatica Reviewed & Rated

Most people in the world suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, so I am pretty sure that if you are reading this, you have suffered from back pain of some sort. But, did you know that finding the best shoes for sciatica can relieve the pain?

Sciatica is different from other back pain. While a lot of back pain is caused by an injury or directly stressing your back, sciatica is directly linked to your feet. If one part of your body is stressed, then it can start a chain reaction. In the case of your feet, that chain reaction runs up your legs and into your lower back. Choosing the wrong (most fashionable) type of shoe can be causing your back pain and making it worse.

When we are on our feet, we are in constant motion. Every step we take can be directly affecting the nerves in our lower back. Our core is directly involved in almost every movement we take when our feet are in motion. Adding stress to your feet also adds stress to your back. So, does this mean, that if you have sciatica, you can cure it with a pair of shoes?

Well, you may not be able to cure sciatica with a pair of shoes, but they can go a long way to lessen the pain, improve your sciatica, and stop it in its tracks before it has even begun to take hold. So, what should you be looking for in the perfect pair of shoes for sciatica?

Best Women’s Shoes for Sciatica

How Do My Feet Affect My Back?

The sciatic nerve is one of the longest in the human body. It extends from your spine all the way down to your toes. Armed with this information, you can see how stress on your feet can directly impact your back. A nerve this long also has many nerve endings, which run all the way up your leg. This means that you can have pain all the way up your leg as well as in your lower back.

When a disk in your back is moved or pushed awkwardly, pain can shoot all along the nerve. One cause of this is an incorrect stride and uncomfortable shoes. In my case, I had no idea that the pain was linked to the footwear I was wearing, and it developed over a long period. Since then, I have searched for the perfect pair of shoes to alleviate and rid myself of the pain. Over time, the pain did go away, and my back returned to normal. Ever since I have been very picky about the shoes I wear. Here is what I look for in the perfect pair of shoes.

Ensure the Correct Fit

Badly fitting shoes are a leading cause of back (and foot) pain. If there is one thing that you take away from this article, it is that you should always have correctly fitting shoes. A pair of shoes which fit will do wonders for any back and foot pain. In fact, they will make you a happier person (probably), at least more comfortable.

Now, when I talk about badly fitting shoes, I am talking about all kinds of bad fits. Shoes which are too narrow or tight will pinch at your feet. They can put stress on the bones of your feet and twist them in ways they should not be. This can send pain shooting up your back.

Shoes which are too loose and wide are just as bad. Your feet are not supported, and the movement can place stress on the tendons and muscles in your foot. Your feet can also rub, and blisters can develop. Improperly fitting shoes can also cause you to slip and fall. Injuries can cause back pain to appear instantly, while stress over time can cause back pain to develop slowly.

When you are trying on shoes, there are a few things which you can look for to ensure that you are getting the correct fit. It only takes a few moments, but it can save you a lot of pain in the future.

Firstly, there should be around an inch of space between your toes and the end of the shoe. If you have more than this, then your feet can slide forward too much, and you risk injury from slips and falls. Too little space and your feet can rub up against the front of the shoe causing pressure on your toes which can affect the bones and muscles in your feet.

The footbed of the shoe (the insole) should match the side of your foot. If your foot hangs over the side of the footbed, you are not going to get the support which you need and this will put stress on the muscles in your foot. You should also make sure that there is a little wiggle room at each side of your foot so that your foot is not constricted.

The upper of the shoe and the tongue should not rub against the top of your foot. Look for a shoe which has a padded upper and is adjustable. Laces and Velcro will let you adjust the fit at the top of the shoe, ensuring that you get a tight fit, but not one which constricts or digs into your foot. Shoes which cannot be adjusted may dig into your foot, especially as your foot changes shape through the day and as you get older.

It is also important that you have a good fit in the heel. If your heel slips in and out of the shoe as you walk, then, not only are you going to get blisters, but you are also not going to get the support you need from your shoe. You should also make sure that the heel of the shoe does not squeeze your heel too tightly or the bone in your heel can become inflamed.


A lack of support in your shoes can lead to back pain. Even if you do not have an existing back problem, a lack of support in your shoe can lead to you developing sciatica, plantar fasciitis, and pronation. The place to start is with your arches. If you have high arches, then there is no point in looking for support evenly distributed along the shoe. If you have flat feet, then there is no point in looking for arch support.

To check the arches of your feet, you can do a simple test at home to determine whether you have flat feet or high arches (or something in between). Take a piece of paper or cloth which will show wetness. Moisten the bottom of your foot, and then step onto the paper or cloth. When you take your foot off, you will see an impression of the bottom of your foot. If you have a complete outline of your foot on the paper, then you have flat feet. If the middle of your foot is very skinny, then you have high arches. If your foot is somewhere in-between, then you have medium arches.

Heel support is also very important. If you find that you have a lot of heel pain, then I would recommend investing in shoes with extra heel support. Most support is found in the midsole or outsole. The extra support gives more shock absorption in the heel area. If you have weak ankles, you can also look for a high heel counter.

The heel can also be supported by rigid pieces of metal or plastic in the material surrounding the heel. The higher the heel goes up your leg, the more support it will give to your ankles, and the stronger your walking position will be.

It is essential that you find shoes which are shaped for your feet, or you run the risk of adding injury to any existing injuries you have.


A lot of strain and stress is put on the muscles and bones in your foot when there is poor cushioning. If your foot is not correctly cushioned, the shock and impact are felt in your foot and all the way up the leg. I recommend starting with the outsole and working your way in. I almost solely look for a rubber outsole; it is sturdy enough to support your foot while still offering some flexibility and shock absorption.

For the midsole and insole, I would recommend looking for a memory gel or foam. You can also look for air pockets to cushion you, but I have always found the most success with memory gels and foams. If you can cushion the impact as you hit the ground, especially when you are walking or running, then you are not going to place stress on your feet.

Traction and Grip

While traction will not necessarily alleviate pain in your back and foot, it will stop you from gaining more injuries and needlessly aggravating the pain you already have. If you have back pain, you do not want to slip or trip or fear of making it worse. Shoes which properly grip the ground will keep you on your feet and better manage your pain.

You also do not want to place any undue stress on the muscles in your feet. If you find that you are slipping a lot, then your foot muscles are going to try and compensate for this, causing them to work harder and have more stress. A pair of shoe which give you good grip are going to help you manage the pain.

Room for Insoles?

Depending on the type of back pain which you have, you may have been prescribed orthotics by a podiatrist, or you may have special insoles which you wear. When you are looking for shoes, there are many which come with extra room for insoles to be added. Just make sure that there is not too much room in the shoe, and your foot is adequately supported. You can also find shoes which have removable insoles so that you can replace them with your own.

Flexible or Supportive?

When it comes to shoes for back pain, you want a balance between the two. You want your feet to be supported. You want to mimic the natural movements of your feet while they are barefoot, but you also need to keep in mind that many feet will begin to move in unnatural ways, such as overpronation. A supportive pair of shoes will help your feet in the correct position when you are walking and running.

Of course, if a shoe cannot flex, then you are going to feel the impact more when your foot hits the ground. A harder shell is going to be more constricting for your feet and not give them room to breathe. The outsole is one critical place to pay attention to when you are looking for shoes. You should be able to bend the outsole slightly without it falling over on itself.


Back pain affects almost every person in the world. The good news is that a lot of back pain is preventable. While I am not saying that a pair of shoes can solve all back pain, it can relieve a lot of it. It can also prevent a lot of it. For many years, I was wearing shoes which were too tight, without actually doing anything about it. This caused sciatica, which, thankfully, I was able to take care of relatively easily.

If you follow my tips, I am sure you will never have to suffer from back pain as I did. If you do have back pain, then a swap in shoes may help to remove or relieve that pain. It only takes a few hours to try on a few pairs of shoes and find what fits.

Remember, the fit is the most important thing. If your shoes do not fit correctly, then it will only be a matter of time before pain appears.

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