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best shoes for elderly to prevent falls

Best Shoes for Elderly to Prevent Falls & Improve Safety in Walking

As people get older, their bones and muscles weaken. This often makes it difficult for them to keep their balance while walking. Other factors affect walking in seniors. A few examples are arthritis, the reduced ability to focus on multiple activities at the same time, and even blurred vision. Unfortunately, these problems can result in falls. Falls which lead to injuries many of which are serious and life-threatening.

It is impossible to eliminate every single reason for a fall. Simple steps though can help significantly increase the chances of preventing falls. According to recent studies, regular foot and ankle exercises by the elderly improve safety while walking.  Wearing the right footwear at all times also plays an important role. Choosing the right shoes greatly reduces the chances of falls among the elderly.

In this article, we will look at how to choose the best shoes for the elderly to prevent falls. And, also that will help them them walk in comfort and safety.

Do seniors really need special walking shoes?

One of the biggest risks faced by seniors is being injured in a fall while walking. Seniors often get bruises, broken bones and even head injuries as a result of a simple fall. One common reason for the increased falls among seniors is the reduced sensation in their feet. Normal sensation usually allows us to know when we are off-balance and so we correct ourselves. Many elderly people though have poor feeling in the feet and also common problems like arthritis, foot pain, weakened muscles and flat feet. These problems with the feet very easily throw the elderly off balance. And, sometimes, a fall is the result.

The proper shoes though help seniors improve their security while walking. They do this by improving balance and stability. In most cases, such shoes will have a non-slip sole to maintain contact with the ground. They may also be fitted with a good orthopedic insert. These inserts offer ergonomic support to the feet and ankle without being uncomfortable. They are usually worn for several hours or even all day. Other key features of safe shoes for seniors is that they must be comfortable and easy to wear. If not, seniors will not wear them. Or they will fidget around trying to wear them everyday.

Research, and common sense, clearly indicates that with the right shoes, elderly people can significantly reduce the chances of falling down and harming themselves.

senior men using walking shoes in park

What are the factors that help make a shoe ‘fall-proof’?

No shoes are 100% fall-proof. But, there are several factors that can make a shoe less likely to cause a fall. Compare these to their other shoes. When choosing safe shoes for the elderly, consider these points:

Non-slip and Shock Absorbent Soles

The most crucial feature to look for when choosing shoes for the elderly is a hard, slip-resistant sole. The sole must firmly grip the surface, even in wet, slippery conditions. A rugged, rough bottom will provide the right amount of grip while walking. Soles should also be shock-absorbing and light. This gives a softer impact on the ankles and the heels.

Comfortable to Wear

Safe shoes for seniors are also comfortable. They should not increase pain in the feet or lower legs. This is really important for people with blisters or tender skin conditions. The shoe's material's should allow the feet to breathe. This helps reduce irritation or itching due to heat. This is very important for people who wear their shoes for a long time.

High-backed and Good-fitting

Bad fitting and worn-out shoes, flip-flops or shoes without a support for the back and the ankles (like some slippers) increase the risk of falls. These shoes tend to come loose. Seniors should wear well fitting shoes. They should have a high back to give the ankle and heel lots of support.

Toe Width

Shoes are available in different toe-widths. Seniors should generally wear broader shoes which allow better stability. Also, people with broad feet will feel comfortable with shoes that have a wider, boxy front. Rounded, closed fronts are tighter and more restricting. This will give their toes enough wiggle space in the front. And, they will not be cramped up in a small space all day.

Flats or Low Heels

Shoes with heels thicker than one inch can make the foot unstable. This may twist the ankle resulting in a fall. The heel, if any, should be less than an inch thick.

Wide-Mouthed

Shoes worn by the elderly should have a wide opening. This makes getting the feet in and out of the shoe easier. This is especially good for people who suffer from swelling of the feet or restricted mobility. Wide mouthed shoes are also a bit more roomier and comfortable than regular shoes. They also allow for a little swelling.

Easy to Maintain

Most seniors like simple lives. When choosing a pair of shoes, try and buy shoes that are stain-proof, dark colored and easy to wipe clean. This will save a lot of time and energy. There is no reason for seniors to spend time in unnecessary cleaning of their shoes.

Laces vs No Laces

Many seniors have a difficult time bending over to tie their shoelaces. This could also cause a loss of balance. Untied or loose shoelaces can also cause seniors to trip unexpectedly. A better option are Velcro closure shoes. These are easy to open and close. They can be put on and taken off with minimal energy. And, no bending! Shoes with velcro closures also stay closed longer. They also don't need as much adjustment thtoughout the day.

Adequate Padding

Soft, padded shoes will form a good, secure fit. They will also prevent bruising and abrasions caused by constant friction. This friction is usually felt at the back of the feet and the top of the foot. Such shoes are practical for elderly people with diabetes or swollen feet.

Well, those are my general suggestions on what seniors should look for when buying the best shoes to prevent a fall. I also recommend that older people should discuss their optons with a doctor or podiatrist. This is especially important for people with diabetes.

Recommended shoes for seniors

There are a wide range of options when in comes to safe shoes for seniors. It is important to research the options. This will reduce any confusion about what are the best shoes for preventing falls. Here are a few  of the best options I found for safer shoes for seniors and will reduce the chance of falls.

Best Shoes for Elderly Men

Here are my selected recommendations for shoes for senior men that will reduce the chance of falls. 

Propet Men's M5015 Scandia Strap Slip-On

Propet Men's M5015 Scandia Strap Slip-On,Black Grain,9 M (US Men's 9 D)

Safety Features

Includes most of the safety features discussed

Style and Design

Perfect for a dressy-casual look with complete comfort.

Price

Nicely priced mid-level shoe

The hand-stitched Propet Scandia Strap (M5015) is a smart-looking shoe, set in a full grain leather upper, with an extended and sturdy heel counter that provides all day support. This diabetic safety shoe slips on and off with a single velcro strap closure.

  • Features a padded collar and tongue with a single strap closure
  • Soft sole provides cushioning, durability and shock absorbtion
  • Added stability thanks to the PU outsole
  • Removable EVA insole for increased comfort and better fit
  • Slightly rounded, extra-wide toe box for plenty of wiggle room at the front
  • Only two color choices: Black or Brown Grain

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-08-23 at 19:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hush Puppies Men's Gil Slip-On Shoe

Hush Puppies Men's Gil Slip-On,Tan,10.5 M US

Safety Features

A very nice mix of features that make this a great choice for reducing falls

Style and Design

Good styling for casual and dress use with quality Hush Puppies construction

Price

Priced in the middle of the pack, it is a really good shoe for the money

Hush Puppies Gil shoes are from a brand name you probably already know and trust. These shoes are designed to be both supportive and lightweight. They use a specially designed outsole that is 4 times lighter than that of the standard shoe. But, it remains very comfortable!

  • Leather uppers and synthetic sole
  • Padded collar for comfort while walking
  • Removable EVA footbed
  • Lightweight "Zero G" shock-absorbing outsole
  • Single velcro closure for quick on/off and adjustments.
  • These shoes should be cleaned regularly and treated before wearing for long lasting use.

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-08-23 at 19:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Propet Men's Life Walker Strap Sneaker

Propet Men's Life Walker Strap Sneaker,White,13 M (US Men's 13 D)

Safety Features

This shoe has lot of features making it safer for walking for elderly people

Style and Design

Pretty typical design for a more athletic shoe. 3 colors: white, black, & tan

Price

Generally under $75 for most sizes, these shoes are very well priced.

Here is a great shoe for seniors who walk a lot and want to reduce their fall risk. These look like traditional sneakers but also include a lot of the safety features I recommended above. Designed for the more active senior with great support, improves foot control, and has great shock absorption.

  • Leather uppers with supportive, synthetic sole
  • Padded collar and tongue for top foot comfort while wearing
  • Dual heel counters for heel support
  • Removable cushioned orthotic insole
  • Dual Velcro closures
  • The Velcro straps may not be long enough to cover all of hooks for wide feet.

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-08-23 at 12:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Shoes for Elderly Women

Grasshoppers Women's Stretch Plus Hook-and-Loop Sneaker

Grasshoppers Women's Stretch Plus Velcro Sneaker,Black,7.5 M US

Safety Features

This shoe has most of the safety features discussed but is desinged for more acrive seniors.

Style and Design

More of a minimalist design with the look of an athletic shoe. Black looks a bit more dressy. 

Price

Priced well under $50.00 in most sizes, this shoe is a great entry into  senior shoes area.

This Velcro closure shoe is best for senior ladies who are active and don't need a lot of support. This shoe is lower cut around the ankles. But it is easy to take on and off and comfortable. It is also designed to accomodate swelling feet which is a major plus.

  • Padded collar and tongue for comfort
  • Easy on/off and readjustment with the Velcro straps
  • Suede/mesh uppers with rubber sole
  • Slow recovery memory foam insole
  • Lower cut heel offers less support than other shoes for senior walking.

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-08-23 at 19:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Womens Indoor/Outdoor Velcro Sandals with Adjustable Fastener Straps

Womens Comfortable Indoor/Outdoor Sandals with Adjustable Fastener Straps - Natural 5

Safety Features

The features of this shoe make it extremely supportive with a custom fit and reduced chance of trip falls.

Other Features

This shoe is styled like the house shoe that many elderly women are familiar with.

Price

Priced under $50.00, these shoes are affordable for any senior concerned about falls.

These Velcro closure sandals for senior women are a great choice for elderly with significant swelling or toe problem. The two Velcro straps each adjust for swelling and allow for a secure fit without being too tight. The open toe design could be helpful for people with toe deformities that are aggravated by a tight toe box.

  • Dual Velcro straps make these very easy to take on/off with no collar to navigate through.
  • The Velcro straps also give maximum adjustability for swelling
  • These shoes also accommodate feet of various width
  • Cushioned insoles
  • Washable
  • Careful with the open toe. This will be helpful for some but could expose the toe to injury.

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-08-24 at 01:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Propet Women's Tour Walker Strap Sneaker

Propet Women's Tour Walker Strap Sneaker,Sport White,9 M (US Women's 9 B)

Safety Features

This shoe has almost every safety feature discussed and is comfortable too!

Style/Design

Typical athletic shoe styling. Nothing looks "old" about them at all. Lots of color and style choices.

Price

Priced under $75 for most sizes, these shoes offer a lot of security for not a lot of money

This athletic shoe is designed for active senior ladies who walk a lot. But, it also has many features to make them safer and reduce the chance of a fall. These shoes offer a lot of support for the foot and ankle while also including a lot of comfort features too.

  • Leather upper with rubber sole
  • Dual Velcro strap closures for easy on/off and adjustments
  • Padded collar and tongue for comfort throughout the day
  • Cushioned EVA midsole
  • Supportive ankle and heel 
  • Because these shoes are designed for active walking, they will be a bit more snug than other shoes reviewed.

My Overall Rating:

Last update on 2017-08-23 at 19:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

BONUS : Simple Foot Care Tips to Prevent Falls

While choosing the right footwear is crucial to reducing the chances of falls, it is also important to follow a simple foot care routine to reduce pain and can further help to increase stability while walking. These include :

  • Dry your feet completely after a bath, as excessive dampness trapped between the toes can lead to fungus and infections.
  • Regularly apply moisturizer to the feet to keep the skin healthy.
  • Cut your toenails regularly with the right clippers, to ensure that there are no nicks or cuts.
  • Regular exercise for the feet will maintain toe and ankle strength and will improve balance.
  • Visit your podiatrist regularly to get the right treatment for foot problems.

Summary and Conclusion

When looking for the best shoes for elderly to prevent falls, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. You want to find a shoe that supports the foot. But, it also has to give enough to allow for swelling. The shoe should be able to adjust it's fit throughout the day.

To reduce the chance of falling, it is also important to find a shoe that is easy to take on and off. But, it also needs to stay securely fastened. If the elderly person wearing the shoe has to keep bending over to tie a shoe, that is an opportunity for a fall.

Tell me about your experiences buying a shoe that is safer for the elderly. Do you have a particular shoe you recommend? What features were most important to you. Please share in the comments below.​

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