best stylish shoes for foot drop

Warning: If you have foot-drop, there may be a risk of falling for some of the shoe styles highlighted in this post. We are not to be held responsible for any credit card injury or marital feuds that ensue.

Please note, I’m not a doctor or an orthotist. I’ve lived with foot-drop my whole life and find ways of doing the things I choose to do (including wearing cute shoes) using the abilities I have. I am simply using my knowledge and personal experience to help to empower others living with chronic conditions like foot-drop, to look and feel their best. So, please talk to your doctor if that’s your thing, and don’t sue me.

 

If you ask 10 people with foot drop what the best kind of shoes are for the condition, you’ll likely get 10 different answers. The best shoes for foot-drop totally depends on an individual’s condition, abilities, and whether or not they wear orthosis. Since Afos (ankle foot orthosis) and custom orthotics provide built in support (they do the heavy lifting) and are intended to help correct foot-drop, an individual with foot-drop who does not wear Afos or orthotics, requires a way more supportive shoe than someone who wears orthosis.

Of course, finding shoes that are supportive, comfortable, and also stylish takes work. But, first…

What is Foot Drop 

Foot drop is a condition that prevents you from being able to raise the front part of your foot due to a weakness or paralysis of the muscles that control your ability to lift the foot. It can significantly affect your ability to walk without tripping or falling and may drastically alter how well you can walk.

Foot drop can affect one foot or may impact both feet. This condition is often a side effect or symptom of another problem including but not limited to multiple sclerosis, Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder cerebral palsy, or stroke. Foot drop makes it difficult for you to flex your ankle or walk using the typical heel-toe pattern. Treatment of foot drop is dependent on its origin or cause. Exercise or activity to strengthen those muscles to sustain or improve your ability to walk is common. However, another conventional treatment may include the use of a light-weight leg brace and shoe inserts or ankle-foot orthotics (Afos). For tips and hacks on how to wear cute shoes with afos , go here.

best stylish shoes for foot drop

Stylish Shoes for Foot Drop Is Not An Oxymoron

Finding a stylish shoe that meets your needs is not for the faint of heart, In my post, Not Your Grandma’s Shoes and Boots Are A Bit$5, I give examples of what to look for when you have foot-drop and wear Afos. But, what if you want stylish, comfortable, and supportive shoes and don’t wear orthosis? After reading many shoe reviews by customers with foot-drop and articles by Podiatrist’s and orthopedic doctors about the types of shoes to look for when you have foot-drop, there are 5 things to look. Here they are along with clickable links to some current styles that fit the bill:

#1 SHOES THAT ARE LIGHTWEIGHT

best stylish shoes for foot drop

When you have foot-drop, everyday walking (especially when tired) can feel like you have a 20+pound ankle weight you’re dragging. In order not to fall and trip over ever random object, people with foot-drop have to consciously lift their feet as they walk. Thus, the lighter the shoe, the easier this action becomes. Of course this can be tricky since supportive, comfort style shoes tend to be heavier and overly bulky (eg. Grandma on cover of doctor’s office brochure). I love the lightweight shoe pictured above as well as some of these light weight shoes below:

#2 SHOES WITH A NEGATIVE ROCKER SOLE

best stylish shoes for foot drop

Many people with foot-drop swear by shoes with a built-in rocker mechanism. MBT and other rocker style shoes are trendy with exercise fans but they are also great for people with foot-drop. Look for shoes with a negative heel rocker where the load from the forefoot is removed and relocated to the mid foot and rear foot. Here, the shoe turns up on the toe instead of being totally flat. Here are some cute shoes I found with a negative heel rocker.

#3 WITH SECURE AND FLEXIBLE STRAPS

best stylish shoes for foot drop

One of the challenges of living with foot-drop and my neuromuscular condition called Charcot Marie Tooth Disorder (if interested, go here for more about me) is a lack of neuro sensation (not sure if that’s an actual medical term) and the lack of an ability to feel where your foot is in space.

A Mary Jane style shoe with a built in strap across the top helps to keep your foot from slipping out of the shoe and offers a more secure (especially when the strap is adjustable) sensation. Traditionally Mary Jane style shoes give off a frumpy, unstylish vibe. But here are some updated styles I like:

#4 SHOES WITH ANKLE SUPPORT

best stylish shoes for foot drop

Since people with foot-drop are more prone to falls and ankle sprains, a shoe with built-in ankle support is a no-brainer. There are many different styles of shoes with built in ankle support including tall boots, ankle boots, hi-top sneakers, and flats with ankle ties like the ones pictured above. See my Boots Are A Bit$% Post to learn what to look for when shopping for tall boots. But here are some of my favorite ankle high shoes in stores right now:

#5 SHOES WITH ARCH SUPPORT

best stylish shoes for foot drop

As a leg brace wearer with foot-drop I buy any shoe that is stylish, comfortable, and fits in as many colors as they come in. Since my afos are supposed to provide me with arch support, I typically remove the insole in order to make additional room for my afos. But for people with foot-drop who do not wear afos or orthotics, (see our Afo fashion guide here if you are thinking about getting them) built in arch support is essential. There are a lot of comfort shoe brands selling styles that they claim mold to an individual’s natural arches, but not all do and some are just plain out ugly. Here are some stylish shoes with arch support I’m loving:

CONCLUSION

Hopefully you found this post about the best shoes for foot-drop helpful. I would love to know what you think in the comments below. What type of shoes work best for your foot-drop? What are your favorite brands? I can’t wait to hear from you! Also, don’t forget to subscribe here and follow our Facebook and Instagram Pages where everyday we discuss new ways to look and feel your best with disabilities.

Xoxo

Lainie

Please note that there are affiliate links to stores and should you choose to use them, I may receive a small commission. This does not in any way effect the price you pay but it does help me to pay my website costs and to buy an occasional Starbucks skinny vanilla latte.

24 Comments

  1. Lainie you make me so happy. Thank you for all your hard work putting this together. I don’t wear braces but it’s getting harder to go without them. I’m gonna try some of the shoes you put in this post. Thank you again !

  2. Thank you Lainie! I’m so glad I found your blog and pod casts! I was diagnosed with CMT a couple years ago, but have known for a long time I would probably have symptoms at some point, as my father and several of his siblings had CMT. I currently only wear a leg brace on my right foot. I have struggled finding shoes to wear since having the brace. I have found that I can wear tall stiff boots, such as cowgirl boots, and can manage without my brace for some dressy occasions. Although a dress and cowgirl boots isn’t super dressy, I feel dressy!

  3. Hi Lanie, there are some awesome looking shoes on your list! I have suffered from foot drop for almost 3 years now and have struggled everyday to walk with the use of a brace, on my right foot. I’ve recently discovered a much smaller, less obvious brace, called the Step Smart brace that helps with my limitations and is hardly noticeable when wearing jeans. I’ve also found that shoes from Anodyne Shoes work great with this brace. I now wear sneakers and laced flat shoes that have given me back somewhat of a “style” to my wardrobe. However, I’ve recently tried a pair of Mary Jane type shoes that don’t work well. They are cut pretty low in the toe area and didn’t provide the coverage that is required for the front of my weak toes. I see a few pairs that are similar to this on your list. What is your recommendation on these types of footwear? My experience has been matching the footwear with the brace, and of course, finding the right brace. I am pretty happy with what I have and look forward to the continued changes in the industry.

  4. Great post! I’d love to know what the mary janes #6 in the third photo-hold me tight- are. Clicking on the picture takes me to beauty products on Amazon.

  5. Lainie, you get a STANDING OVATION for this incredibly detailed and well researched post! Thank you for getting it.
    XOXO Julie

  6. Great post again, Lainie and I am delighted to have found some of these fab styles available in the UK. Thank you!! Claire (PainPalsBlog) x

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Living with MS for nearly 19 years, I have searched for and experimented with many shoe styles. I have an AFO (hate it) and an assortment of canes but it really does come down to THE SHOE. Can’t wait to go shopping!

  8. Hi Lainie,
    I thought I had written a post last week but it seems to have disappeared, hmm?. I just want to say how thankful I am to have stumbled upon your website. I was diagnosed with foot drop 8 years ago when they had to surgically remove a malignant tumor in my right leg. With the peripheral nerve being dissected, I lost all feeling in the bottom of my foot and I’ve relied on orthotics ever since. Most recently, I’d say over the past few years I’ve been using the blue Toe-off device which appears to be the one you are wearing as well.? . It’s a very discreet device and I rely on it heavily. I have had trouble finding decent shoes and have just pretty much worn the same pair for the past several years. This year I’ve decided to do more for myself, so finding your website came at the perfect time. It’s so nice to know that I’m not alone and that there are other people that go through this every day. As you know it’s quite a struggle. I have a question for you. Do you find that you have to wear a different size shoes.? I find that I have to get a larger size to accommodate my AFO. So I wind up having to buy two different size shoes. It’s extremely frustrating and gets very expensive. Just wondering if you had this difficulty or if you know of a certain way around so I don’t have to keep breaking the bank just to look stylish and be comfortable. Thank you again for putting all this together and making us feel stylish and trendy despite our disability.

    You’re amazing!

    Jamie

    • Jamie,

      I love this! I’m so glad you decided to start doing more for yourself & that you found me & this website in the process! Definitely not a coincidence 😀. I wear the Allard Blue Rocker which is a bit more intense than the Toe Off & their most supportive Afo. You are definitely not alone & I do know the struggle well. Here is a link to my post on buying just one shoe: https://trend-able.com/odd-shoe-out/
      Check out the comments as some people recently commented & I have not updated it since. Also, this post will be helpful: https://trend-able.com/7-hacks-for-orthotics-afos/

      Please let me know if you have any other questions 💙 Lainie

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