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Footwear for Foot Pain

Hallux Rigidus Shoes: 2023

Minute Read


Posted 9 months ago


Last updated: 08/05/2023


by James McCormack

Written by: James McCormack – Foot and Ankle Specialist

Hallix Rigidus shoes should be stiff in the forefoot to prevent excess pressure on the big toe. At the same time, people with Hallux Rigidus should avoid flexible shoes with low levels of support and no cushioning. Throughout this article, we will explain how shoes can impact Hallux Rigidus pain and provide expert recommendations on the best Shoes for Hallux Rigidus. 

Hallux Rigidus is a condition that affects the big toe joint, and it is also known as big toe arthritis. Some people can be born with Hallux Rigidus or develop arthritic change in the joint over time due to injury or patterns in their gait. 

The common symptoms of Hallux Rigidis include pain and stiffness in the morning, pain on extension of the big toe joint and difficulty with exercises such as lunges. The big toe joint may be red and swollen, while there may be a deviation of the big toe away from the midline. 

Alongside exercises and insoles, shoes play a vital role in pain management and reducing the speed of deterioration of Hallux Rigidus. Shoe type, fit and size can be a minefield, so we tried to categorise 3 different stages of the condition and the shoe we find most beneficial for our patients with Hallux Rigidus.

Keep in mind that Hallux Rigidus is a form of big toe arthritis, and our shoe recommendations of Hoka and Asics work equally well for arthritis. 

James McCormack is a Physical Therapist who specialises in knee, foot & ankle injuries. www.james-mccormack.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The money earned from this helps us to create free educational content.

Best Shoes for Hallux Rigidus

For mild to moderate symptoms of Hallux Rigidus, shoes should have a wide toe box with a cushioned sole and a rocker plate. The wide toe prevents compression of the big toe that can lead to osteophytes rubbing in the joint, while the cushioned sole reduces impact and provides additional comfort. The rocker plate facilitates the push-off phase of the gait cycle with less force placed through the big toe joint.

For severe Hallux Rigidus, we recommend the above attributes in a shoe. However, having a carbon plate can stiffen the toe box and prevent or restrict significant toe extension, providing considerable pain relief.

A vast amount of money is spent on running shoe technology, and as a result, our recommendations can be used as walking shoes for Hallux Rigidus.

Hallux Rigidus Shoes for Mild Symptoms

We recommend the Hoka One Bondi 8 for mild symptoms of Hallux valgus due to its plush cushioning, low heel height and wide fit.

The cushioned sole is responsive and reduces impact through the big toe joint, while the low heel height of 4mm slows down the speed of weight transfer onto the forefoot.

The Hoka One has a wide-fitting version to prevent compression of the Hallux within the toe box, which can irritate the symptoms of Hallux Rigidus.

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Hallux Rigidus Shoes for Moderate Symptoms

We recommend the Asics Glideride 3 for moderate symptoms of Hallux valgus due to its wide toe box, mesh cover and rocker sole.

The wide toebox prevents compression of the big toe joint alongside its structured midsole to control excess pronation moments that can irritate a Hallux Rigidus.

Most importantly, the Asics Glideride 3 has a rocker sole which significantly reduces the amount of ankle flexion and forefoot extension during the gait cycle when walking and running. The rocker sole can significantly reduce pain levels for those with Hallux Rigidus.

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Hallux Rigidus Shoes for Severe Symptoms

We highly recommend the HOKA ONE ONE Carbon X 2 due to its comprehensive fitting options, rocker sole and carbon fibre plate.

Similarly to the Asics Glideride, the Hoka has a wide-fit toe box and rocker sole to alleviate pressure from the big toe.

However, in addition to this, the Hoka has a carbon fibre plate which severely reduces the extension possible at the big toe to offload and provides pain relief to Hallux Rigidus.


Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments.

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