Our recommended rocker soled shoes can be found below.
Rocker soles on shoes have been shown in a number of studies (some listed below) to substantially relieve pain associated with a variety of foot problems. Depending on where the rocker is placed on the shoe, it can provide different benefits.
Video: Using Rocker Soled Shoes to Treat Foot Pain
Types of Rockers Soles
Forefoot Rocker Sole: A rocker placed just behind the metatarsal heads is very effective at reducing pressure under the ball of the foot and reducing motion in the toe joints. Thus we use it for treating hallux limitus (big toe arthritis) and ball-of-foot pain.
Heel to Toe Rocker Sole: As you can see in the picture, this type of rocker sole has the thickest point farther back on the shoe. This type of rocker shoe can be effective for limiting ankle and midfoot motion. Thus, it is helpful when a patient has ankle arthritis or midfoot arthritis. It also can reduce force on the heel at heel strike, as the foot rolls faster off of the heel.
How Do You Get a Rocker Sole on Your Shoe?
There are several ways to get rocker bottom soles on your shoes:
- We can write a prescription to have a rocker sole added to a shoe.
- You can buy a shoe with a rocker sole.
- You can achieve some, but not all, of the benefits of a rocker sole by using a “turf toe plate“ in your shoe. This is a steel or graphite plate put in the shoe to limit toe motion.
Prescription for a Rocker Sole
We can write a prescription to have a rocker added to many types of shoes – including running shoes and women’s dress shoes. Once we write the prescription we will refer you to skilled shoe technicians in the Seattle area to have the work done on your shoes. Contact us for an appointment to discuss a rocker shoe prescription.
Our Recommended Rocker Sole Shoes
Some shoes come with rocker soles built-in. In fact, it became a bit of a fad a few years ago brands like MBT and Sketchers were marketing rocker soled shoes as “fitness shoes” and claiming they will strengthen your muscles just by wearing them. Most of those companies were sued for making false claims and are now out of business.
There are, however, some shoes on the market with rocker soles that are quite effective. PW Minor makes a number of rocker soled shoes. Hoka makes some good running shoes with rocker technology and Dansko offers particularly good rockers for people with ball-of-foot pain and big toe joint pain. Listed below are brands that we recommend to our patients that come with built-in rocker soles. These are affiliate links:
Best Running and Walking Shoe with Rocker Sole
Hoka One One: The best running and exercise walking shoes with a rocker sole. Excellent for runners with heel pain or ball of foot pain. Hoka shoes also include extra cushioning under heel and forefoot. These shoes are, however, less stable than some athletic shoes because of their thick sole so should not be used for side-to-side sports such as tennis or basketball. They also make great rocker soled shoes for trail running and day hiking.
Best Walking Shoe with Rocker Sole for People with Wide Feet
New Balance 928: The New Balance 928 comes in widths up to 6E in addition to having a generous toe box and an excellent forefoot rocker. Probably the best rocker walking shoe we have seen for people with wide feet. Because this is a “forefoot rocker” shoe, it works best for people with pain under the ball of the foot and in the big toe joint. Also great for those with hammertoes and bunions. See the New Balance 928 here.
Best Dress and Casual Shoes with Rocker Soles
Dansko: Most Dansko clogs and shoes have an excellent forefoot rocker. They are a great choice for people with bunions and other big toe joint problems and also for those with ball of foot pain. Dansko shoes used to be quite clunky, but now they have many models that are quire attractive. You can see a selection of Dansko shoes here.
Best Rocker Shoes for People with Hard to Fit Feet
PW Minor Rocker Soled Walking Shoes: PW Minor shoes are know as one of the best shoes for people with hard to fit feet such as those with bunions and / or hammertoes. The PW Minor models Quartz, Emerald, Diamond and Jasper all have an excellent rocker sole.
If you have arthritis in the ankle or the middle or back portion of your foot, then a shoe with a “midfoot rocker” tends to work best to decrease pain in those regions. This is a rocker that is place just forward of the ankle joint and does the best job at limiting motion in those painful joints. Both the MBT and the Sketcher Shape-ups have a midfoot rocker and work well for these problems. Both of these shoes are a bit unstable in the heel, so if you have any instability we recommend the Hoka One One or the PW Minor Rocker Shoes instead. They are a bit more of a forefoot rocker, which may not provide as much motion reduction in the ankle, but they are much more stable shoes.
Alegria: Our patients have had great success with Alegria. Not only do they have an excellent rocker sole, most of their sandals also have a removable insole so that we can make a custom orthotic to go in the sandal. If you want us to make a custom orthotic for the sandal, buy the the sandal first. We will then send the sandal to the orthotic lab with the image of your foot and our prescription to have an orthotic made to specially fit the sandal. See a selection of Alegria sandals here.
El Naturalista Boot: This stylish boot has a thick crepe rubber sole that is very stiff in the forefoot. In addition it has a removable foot bed that makes it a great choice for orthotic wearers. It comes in only one width, but it fits relatively wide. It has a side panel elastic that makes it easy to slide on and off. See the El Naturalista Boot here.
Video: Hoka Technology Including Rocker