If you have come to our site to read this article, then you are probably already aware that it can be very difficult to get comfortable footwear if you suffer from swollen feet.
Many of our customers find it impossible to find shoes that fit from high street shops. They need wider widths and deeper shoes to accommodate the swelling.
Wide Shoes offers customers a range of styles with different widths and depths, but getting the right shoes for swollen feet is about more than that.
Please read our guide to discover the features you need to be looking for in your footwear.
Swollen feet can be extra sensitive due to stretched skin or additional complications such as bruising. Our guide will help you buy comfortable shoes that not only fit well, but also protect and look after your feet.
Swelling in the feet can be caused by numerous health conditions. The main reasons are pregnancy, side effects of medication and conditions such as Oedema and Lymphedema. Let's look at those before we take a detailed look at the best footwear for swollen feet.
Swollen Feet Due To Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the extra fluid in the body and the pressure from the growing uterus can cause swelling ( or "edema") in the ankles and feet.
The swelling tends to get worse as a woman's due date nears, particularly near the end of the day and during hotter weather.
It's normal to get some swelling in pregnancy, particularly in your legs, ankles, feet and fingers. Swelling that comes on gradually isn't usually harmful to you or your baby, but it can be uncomfortable and swollen feet can make your shoes hot and uncomfortable.
However, it should be noted that a sudden increase in swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon after the birth. In this instance, it is recommended you contact your midwife or doctor immediately.
Swelling usually recedes the week after childbirth as the kidneys begin to process and eliminate excess fluids. That said, many women still experience swelling of the feet several weeks after their baby's arrival.
So when looking for footwear during pregnancy, we recommend shoes with a low heel (no more than 1inch) to help spread the additional weight over the weight-bearing part of the foot, as well as Velcro close straps, laces ups or shoes with removable insoles, so as your pregnancy progresses you can adjust the fitting if your feet swell.
Check out our other article on shoes for pregnant women which considers other factors you should bear in mind when purchasing footwear during this important time.
Swollen Feet Due To Lymphedema
Lymphedema is a common cause of fluid build-up in the body's tissues. It occurs when the lymphatic system is damaged or disrupted. Lymphedema can occur in any part of the body but is most likely to affect an arm or a leg.
The lymphatic system is a series of glands (lymph nodes) around the body connected by a network of vessels similar to blood vessels. Fluid surrounding body tissues usually drains into nearby lymph vessels to be transported away and back into the blood.
There are two main types of lymphedema:
Primary lymphedema develops at birth or shortly after puberty and is associated with faulty genes and
Secondary lymphedema is caused by damage to the lymphatic system as a result of an infection, injury or cancer. Secondary lymphedema may develop as a side effect of cancer treatment. Surgery is often necessary to remove lymph glands to prevent a cancer from spreading which can damage the lymphatic system.
Both conditions can also be exacerbated by being immobile for long periods of time.
However, when the fluid cannot drain away in a normal way, the lymphatic system becomes overloaded, and fluid builds up between the tissues and causes swelling.
Swollen Feet Due to Medication Side Effects
Some medication prescribed for long term, chronic health conditions can lead to swelling of the feet. These can include anti-depressants, hormonal treatments, blood pressure and diabetes mediation.
If the medication you are taking is for a long term condition then it is important that you purchase footwear that does not irritate or cause friction to swollen feet. The skin can be more delicate and easier to bruise and redden.
What Are The Best Shoes For Swollen Feet?
There are a range of features you should be looking for in your footwear if you have swollen feet. It is important that your feet are not restricted and that they do not feel squeezed into the shoe. There can be variations in swelling during the day or during hotter weather so footwear that can adjust to accommodate this is important.
Velcro Close Shoes Are Easy to Put On And The Fitting Can Be Adjusted Through The Day.
If the swelling in your feet varies throughout the day, then it is important to get a shoe that can accommodate the changing dimensions of your foot. Shoes which feel okay in the morning can feel tight and uncomfortable later on in the day.
Some styles have more than one strap, which allows even greater customisations in fit. Velcro close shoes also offer easy access, as the shoe can be really opened up if required.
If your feet are very swollen, then look for styles which have longer Velcro straps or have an option to buy Velcro strap extensions. These are separate Velcro straps which can be fitted to shoes to increase the length of the strap. These can be purchased separately and they are very easy to add to your footwear.
Look For Soft Leathers And Stretch Uppers
Stretchy uppers, combined with a wide fitting, are a great option for those with variations in the swelling of each foot. It is quite normal for each foot to have a different level of swelling and a stretchy upper material will adjust to accommodate each foot.
If your feet are very sensitive, then stretchy uppers will reduce friction and pressure and will stretch to adapt to your individual foot shape.
Strechy uppers come in plain or patterned styles, and are available in both ladies and men's styles.
Soft, supple leather uppers are also a good option for those that want a more formal look. Please stay away from stiff, cheaper leathers as they will restrict the foot and put pressure on swelling. If opting for leather, the leather must be soft and high grade.
All the shoes in our collection for swollen feet are made from stretchy uppers or soft leather to ensure there is no excess pressure on the foot.
Extra Deep Toe Boxes Are A Must For Severe Swelling
A deep toe box is essential if your foot is very swollen. This gives extra depth inside the shoe and stops the top of the shoe squeezing down on your foot.
We stock a range of wide widths to ensure you get the best width for you, so your shoes feel comfortable and supportive, whatever the degree of swelling.
Use our path finder guide above to see what width would be best for you. We are also happy to advise you over the telephone if you want to discuss what width would suit you best.
Socks For Lymphedema and Swollen Feet
If you have swollen feet, ankles or calves then finding socks that do not restrict your circulation can be difficult.
We stock a range of socks that stretch to ensure your feet or calves do not feel restricted and uncomfortable.
Our socks are made with an extended stretch material which will stretch out to a 80cm circumference and the ribbed construction keeps them secure without causing pressure. They also have a seam free toe to reduce irritation if your feet are sensitive.
Extra Things To Look Out For If You Have Swollen Feet
Swollen feet can be extremely sensitive as the skin can feel stretched and red.
Footwear with no rough joins inside the shoe and minimal internal seams are worth looking out for, as this will reduce rubbing, abrasion and irritation.
Many shoemakers do not consider this when designing shoes, but rest assured, all the shoes in our collections for swollen feet have smooth seams and many styles have no seams at all around the front of the shoe.
Finally, we strongly recommend that you look for shoes which offer high levels of support and cushioning. Always buy footwear with high grade insoles and shock absorbing outsoles to protect your feet.
Again, all the styles in our swollen feet collection have premium insoles and soles, which are flexible and offer excellent grip.
Our Wide Fitting Shoe Shop For Swollen Feet
We have helped thousands of customers over the last 30 years with this condition, so let us help you too.
We have a shop in NW London, near Wembley Stadium, you can visit for a personal appointment with one of our experienced fitters. They can advise and guide you, and show you a range of shoes in your particular width fitting.
We have free parking right outside and wheelchair access if required.
Don't worry if you are not able to visit our shop. We have used our years of experience to create some dedicated online collections for swollen feet. These collections include established brands such as DB Shoes, Padders and Skechers and offer all the features you need for comfortable all day wear.
We have split the range into two, one for moderate swelling and one for severe swelling.
The shoes recommended for severe swelling are our widest width fittings and offer lots of extra depth inside the shoe.
All our recommended styles are Velcro close as we have found that this type of closure works best for swollen feet. It is easy to put on and can be adjusted to get a secure and comfortable fit. This type of fastening also accommodates changes in the swelling through the day. Some styles are also available with Velcro strap extensions to accommodate extreme swelling.
All recommended styles have stretchy uppers or soft, gentle leathers to stop any undue pressure on the foot.
And all our recommended shoes for swollen feet offer fantastic support and cushioning with high-grade insoles and minimal seams and no rough edges inside the shoe.
We are always happy to help so if you have any questions then please feel free to call or email us. We would be delighted to help you!
Updated: August 2023
Recommended Shoes For Swollen Feet
View Our Ladies Collections For Swollen Feet
View Our Men's Collections For Swollen Feet
Useful Links For More Information On Oedema