How Arch Support Slippers Can Help Relieve Bunion Pain

Slippers can play an important role in reducing pain from bunions. This is particularly true because many of us have hardwood and tile throughout our homes and these hard services can injure the big toe joint.

What Causes Bunion Pain?

A bunion is a progressive enlargement of a bump on the inside of the big toe joint. For detailed information on how to best treat bunions read our Guide to Bunion Treatment and Prevention. Bunion pain comes from two sources:

  • Pressure on the bump on the side of the toe
  • Compression within the big toe joint

What Role Do Slippers Play in Treating Bunions?

A primary goal in both eliminating pain from bunions and preventing them from getting bigger is to reduce the forces within the big toe joint that lead to bunion formation and cause the pain associated with bunions.

Proper shoes and either prefabricated or custom orthotics are critical in reducing these forces. You can learn more about how orthotics can treat and prevent bunions here.

When you come home and slip off your shoes your feet still need protection and wearing slippers (if they have the proper features) can help get rid of bunion pain and prevent them from getting bigger.

For slippers to reduce bunion pain they must do two things:

  • Transfer pressure off of the big toe joint and onto the arch of the foot. This helps eliminate pressure within the joint. To accomplish this the slippers must have exceptional arch support. The closer the arch of the slipper conforms to the arch of the foot the more effective the slipper will be at transferring this pressure.
  • Avoid compressing the side of the big toe joint (the bump of the bunion). This requires that the slipper be fairly flexible over the big toe joint.

Recommended Slipper Features for Treating Bunions

In order to reduce compression within the big toe joint and pressure on the bunion itself slipper must include these features:

  • Arch support that conforms very close to the arch of the foot. Slippers with higher arches conform closer to the arch and transfer pressure off of the big toe joint. This helps improve function of the big toe joint and reduces the forces in the joint that cause bunions and pain.
  • Be as wide or wider than the foot. In order to transfer as much pressure as possible off of the big toe joint, the arch support in the slipper must be at least as wide as the foot.
  • Deep heel cup. Deep heel cups help stop the heel from rolling in. When the heel rolls in the big toe joint is shoved into ground and this leads to bunion pain.
  • Be flexible over the “bump” of the bunion.  The slipper must be soft enough to avoid irritating the enlargement on the side of the big toe joint.

With this type of support damaging tension and pressure on the bunion is reduced significantly. Most people notice the difference immediately.

Recommended Slippers to Reduce Bunion Pain

The slippers listed below all have the required features. These are the slippers we recommend to our patients (and families) and they are also affiliate links so we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if your order from the link.

Vionic Slippers: The Very Best Bunion Slippers (various models)

These are the slippers we recommend to most of our patients with bunions.  You can find Vionic slippers for women here and Vionic slippers for men here

Vionic slippers have the best arch support of any slipper on the market and do an exceptional job at transferring pressure off of the big toe joint.  Prices range from $29 to $65 depending on the model. All have the same superior orthotic arch support, however.

Pros: The best built-in orthotic on the market. Most effective slipper at reducing bunion pain and force in the big toe joint in most patients.  Wide variety of styles and colors. Great feedback from our patients with bunions. Very durable. Good value.

Cons: Higher arch may take some getting used to for some people. Most people adapt with no problem but occasionally we have had a patient who does not tolerate the arch. We recommend wearing them around the house for a few days to make sure they are comfortable and then returning them if they are not. Vionic slippers might cost a bit more then other brands, but worth it

Spenco Supreme Slippers: Best if the Vionic Arch Feels Too High

The Spenco Supreme slippers have very good arch support, although not quite as supportive as the Vionic. The Vionics are a better choice for most people but if you have any trouble tolerating the arch height of the Vionic slippers give the Spenco a try.

I also found that the EVA in the arch support felt softer than the Vionic. Some people may find the softer feel a bit  more comfortable but I worry that it may make the slipper less durable.  

You can see both men’s and women’s Spenco Supreme slippers here.

Pros: Good choice for those who don’t tolerate the high er arch in the Vionic slippers. Good choices for men and women.  Attractive slippers in several styles and colors.

Cons: Not as supportive as the Vionic slippers. Fewer styles than Vionic. May not be as durable as it has softer EVA foam in the arch.

 

Dr. Larry Huppin
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Dr. Larry Huppin

Podiatrist specializing in biomechanics at Foot & Ankle Center of Washington
Lawrence Z.Huppin, DPM is an internationally recognized lecturer and teacher on orthotic therapy and biomechanics.In his Seattle private practice his focus in on treatment of mechanical problems such as heel pain, bunions, ball of foot pain, athletic injuries and children’s foot conditions.In addition he specializes in toenail problems including ingrown and fungal toenail conditions. He is always focused on helping patients avoid surgery if at all possible and keeping your medical costs as low as possible.
Dr. Larry Huppin
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3 thoughts on “Best Slippers for Bunions

  1. Can you recommend someone on the San Francisco bay area. Unbearable foot pain for almost two years. Have seen at least 10 podiatrist and have two pair of useless custom orthotics. I’d love to come to your office, but Seattle is a little far for me. Who do you know and respect in my area. This pain has taken over my life. Please help me. Thanks!

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