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If you are overweight, you’ve probably been told dozens of times to “just be a bit more active.” Or my other favorite, the advice disguised as a story: “So my aunt started walking 10 miles per day and has lost 87 pounds….”
Well, great for your aunt. However, being active when you’re morbidly obese is difficult for many reasons. One of these that is easy to solve is the “shoe problem.” Increased body weight often comes with fatter feet that are not happy in normal shoes. Having sore feet and a lack of shoe options is not a recipe for success.
So I have done my best to find the best fitting, longest lasting, and best looking (in that order) shoes for morbidly obese people.
If you’re in a hurry, here are the top options:
What Makes A Good Shoe For a Morbidly Obese Person?
To make this simple, I have narrowed down the things I was looking for to only 3 items. While it’s kind of a bummer to boil down my hours and hours of research to 3 simple points, that’s what I’m here for!
First off, let’s talk for a second about the types of shoes that obese people can wear. Long story short, you can wear any shoes you want. The real question is: how much pain do you want to be in? Can you wear combat boots? Well, how much foot pain do you want to be in? Can you wear heels? Same question. So, while there are many options available, the following shoes are meant specifically for morbidly obese individuals and will fit your needs much better than an average pair of shoes.
So what features did I consider?
1. Proper Fit
Finding a shoe that fits properly is one of the most difficult propositions when you’re big and heavy. I’ve talked to people that have told me they couldn’t care less what their shoes look like as long as they’re comfortable. In fact, this is the reason that many overweight people wear only slides or open-back shoes, as there is much less shoe to hurt your foot!
However, I’m happy to bring the news that there are very good looking and fitting shoes that are made specifically for obese walkers. First, however, we need to understand what exactly we’re looking for when it comes to fit and why.
A shoe that fits poorly not only feels terrible, but it can worsen the condition of your feet. If you feel like you have to kick your shoes off under your desk to survive the day, then you are probably wearing shoes that are not properly fitted. I’ll mention here, this has nothing to do with having odd feet, just your shoe choice. Extra-wide feet? There’s a shoe for that. Feet that swell? There’s a shoe for them. Sensitive feet with bunions and hammertoes? Well, you get the picture.
Another problem with ill-fitting shoes is that they wear out quickly. Shoes that are not made for your feet will often wear unevenly on the soles, split at the seams, or stretch to the point where they will no longer properly support your feet.
So what makes a good fitting shoe? I’ll assume you know what size of shoe you need…lengthwise at least. Most people with high volume feet end up sizing up to get shoes wide enough – but ask yourself, if my shoes were wide enough, what size would I actually wear?
If you have an answer to that question, now we just need to get a shoe of the proper width and depth. There are many wide width shoes on the market. If that is not sufficient, the shoes we recommend are also available in 2X-Wide widths to fit all but the largest feet.
In addition to width, we need to consider depth. In simple terms, depth is the height inside the shoe: meaning the measurement from the insole to the part where the top of your toes contacts the shoe. Having a deep depth (or double depth) shoe not only increases the overall volume of the shoe but provides relief if your toes or the top of your foot is often in uncomfortable contact with your shoe.
If you need to, go and try some shoes on at a store! If you’re like me, however, and don’t need anyone in public staring at your feet, go ahead and order some shoes online. Just don’t be afraid of returning or exchanging them in order to get just the right size!
2. A Usable Closure System
Having a proper closure system for your shoes is extremely important when you are overweight. Now, you’re probably imagining velcro or slip-ons, and usually, you’re right. The best shoes for morbidly obese persons are ones that are easy to put on. Shoes that are easy to put on allow you to retain your independence and go for a walk anytime you please. However, a lack of laces is not always the best option.
The one time that I recommend a shoe with laces is when you are walking with purpose (to lose weight for example) or will be walking longer distances than you’re used to (as in, on a vacation). Having laces will allow a better fit and will provide better support for your arches and ankles. If you can’t deal with laces, that’s fine. Any shoe that is fitted correctly will do the job at least “good enough.”
3. Quality Materials
If you are significantly overweight, I’m sure you are sometimes shocked and dismayed at how fast your shoes wear out. Most people assume that this is just the way things are and resort to buying cheaper and cheaper shoes in an effort to preserve their bank account. The two-headed problem here is that cheaper shoes both provide less support and wear out even faster.
While a proper fit will help your shoes last, buying better shoes in the beginning is the best way to get your money’s worth. Well made shoes will last longer, provide more comfort, and look better doing it. Still, most people are loath to spend much money on shoes – but imagine for a second, what if these shoes actually work for you? What if you are able to put them on every day, enjoy the fit and look, and get home every night without foot pain? That’s worth it in my book!
So enough gilding the lily, without further ado, let’s see some shoes!
Best Walking Shoes for Morbidly Obese
Walking Shoe For Obese Men
New Balance MW928 Walking
- 100% Leather Construction
- Hard-wearing rubber sole
- Thickly cushioned ankle collar
- Stabilizing ROLLBAR technology
- ABZORB midfoot cushioning
- Seamless odor-resistant Phantom Liner
Walking Shoe For Obese Women
New Balance 928v3 Walking
- Fabric and Leather Uppers
- Rubber sole
- ROLLBAR technology
- Endurance boosting outsole
- Removable PU footbed
Best Casual Dress Shoes
DR. COMFORT Men’s William-X
- High quality leather construction
- Removable footbed
- Gel pod cushioning in the toe area
- Extra width and depth in toe-box and forefoot reduces pressure
- Self-adjustable contact closure allows for the perfect fit
If you are a big guy in search of many high-quality classy dress shoe options, I wrote a whole post about The 6 Best Dress Shoes For Fat Guys, check it out!
Propet Women’s Tour Walker
- 100% Leather
- Rubber sole
- One of the widest women’s shoes available
- Double closure is stable and easy to adjust
Make Your Shoes Comfier and Last Longer and
Even high-quality shoes will eventually wear out. To push that day a little further into the future, let’s discuss one of the easiest ways to increase the life of your shoes: getting a high-quality insole!
If you don’t already have an insole or custom inserts, it may surprise you to hear about all the advantages they have, especially in shoes for morbidly obese people:
- Insoles make your shoes more comfortable
- Insoles reduce fatigue, making it possible for you to walk further and stand longer
- Insoles can help correct poor walking styles which cause uneven sole wear
- Insoles can improve the fit of shoes
While all of those things sound great, only really quality insoles can have all of those effects. If you really just want to know what insoles are best, I recommend Physix Gear Full Length Orthotic Inserts.
However, if you’ve got some time and want to make sure you’re getting one that fits your needs perfectly, I wrote a full article on The Best Insoles for Big and Heavy Men and Women.
Now go, buy your perfect pair of shoes, and get out there! Happy walking!
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