The Best Shoes for Hallux Limitus and Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Limitus and Hallux Limitus are medical terms used to describe a dysfunctional big toe. If you have experienced this painful condition, or even had a big toe injury, you know how important footwear is when managing pain. Let's go over more about the condition and what types of shoes you should try to look for.

What is Hallux Rigidus and Limitus?

Hallux rigidus and limitus, both are the stages of a particular arthritis; we call “big toe arthritis”. Both of these disorders are technically not disorders, but are stages of the so-called big toe arthritis.

Hallux limitus is the first stage of this joint disorder where you cannot bend your toe, or the range of motion in your big toe is limited.

If this disorder is left untreated and you continue to bear the pain, it advances to a stage, which we call hallux rigidus. In this stage, the joint becomes incapable to move, and eventually freezes.

Both of these conditions result in a really painful situation that disables you from moving comfortably. These joint disorders are considerably caused by the wear out of the tissue at the joint surface, we call “cartilage”.

Symptoms of Hallux Limitus

If you’re suffering with hallux limitus, then here is what you’ll feel:
  • When you bend your big toe, you’ll feel pain and stiffness.
  • You’ll have swelling and inflammation on top of the joint.
  • The condition can be discomforting during damp and cold environments, even if you’re not moving at all.
  • You’ll have a “tight” feel in and around the big toe joint.

Symptoms of Hallux Rigidus

When your condition reaches to a critical stage, known as hallux rigidus, here is what you are likely to experience:
  • You’ll constantly have pain on your big toe joint, even if it's in rest (not moving).
  • You’ll feel a bump or a hardened joint, which becomes more pronounced, if it is left untreated.
  • It’s almost impossible to wear regular shoes, especially high heel ones.
  • Taking a walk, or putting pressure on the big toe joint becomes very painful, even some other parts of the body, knee and hips are susceptible to pain and discomfort.

Causes of Hallux Rigidus and Limitus

There are several causes that lead to this painful joint disorder, both behaviorally and non-behaviorally. Here are the most common causes:
  • Your joint cartilage can deteriorate if you wear high-heel shoes regularly, or if the shoes don’t fit you as they optimally should.
  • Excessive exercise, such as squatting, can also cause this joint disorder.
  • In some cases, stubbing the toe, or somehow injuring your toe, can also cause you to have hallux rigidus and limitus (depending on the severity of the injury).
  • If you are fond of running but haven’t figured out the right way of running, then this can also cause you to have this big toe arthritis.

Treatments and Benefits of Good Shoes

Mild Cases

If you are experiencing a mild case of pain from HR or HS, many medical professionals would advise to attempt to “retrain” your big toe. It is thought that this condition usually stems from wearing shoes that constrict your toes. 

Therefore, to improve the situation, it is advised to use toe separators to help realign your toes. In addition, you can try wearing shoes with a wide toes box to allow your toes to spread out. Wide shoes with adequate daily toe stretching is a lot of the time enough to kick this condition. 

Severe Cases

There are two main ways you can alleviate severe pain from this disorder, through surgery or by wearing rocker shoes, so-called “rocker-bottom shoes”.

These shoes have rocker-bottom soles, which means they won’t bend like the normal ones do – giving your big toe joint, the support it needs. The soles of these shoes are stiff, this puts a heavy pressure on other parts of your foot rather than your big toe joint.

This relaxes your big toe joint, which leaves you more comfortable, and allows your joint tissue (cartilage) to heal.

But in some cases, hallux rigidus and limitus can only be eliminated through surgery. You have to consult with a podiatrist to know if surgery is the way to go or not.

Choosing the Best Shoes for Hallux Rigidus and Limitus

Flexion

The right shoe depends on your condition. Choose the one that appeals most to you, and try to bend front of the shoe to see the flexion near the big toe. Some shoes have very high movement, and some have very low movement. 

It is based to get a shoe based on the level your condition. The worst pain you have, it is probably better to get a stiffer show. The less your shoe bends the less pressure will be put on your toes.

Width

Another big factor is how wide the toe box (front end) of the shoe is. As stated before, it is a common believe that Hallux Rigidus and Limitus develop from wearing shoes that are too tight on your feet. When trying to relieve pain a wider toe box is usually better.

Heel Height

It’s simple, higher heels put more pressure on the front of your foot and your toes. If your are dealing with HR or HL it is most likely a good idea not to wear heels at all.

The Best Shoes for Hallux Rigidus - Limitus Reviews

We are going to recommend a few shoes in each of the following categories: running shoes, walking and hiking shoes, dress and casual shoes, boots, and sandals.

Running Shoes

The Hoka One One Clifton 4 are the most popular type of running shoes for people having hallux limitus or hallux rigidus. They are comprised of high abrasion rubber outsole along with full-EVA midsole and early stage Meta-Rocker geometry. Its toe box is slightly wider than the predecessor Clifton 3, which is perfect for individuals who have toe issues & forefoot pain such as metatarsalgia, hallux limitus, hallux rigidus and bunions.

What We Like:
  • Best cushioning and stability on the market
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Very lightweight
  • Good traction on the surfaces
What We Dislike:
  • The toe box is still narrow
  • The outsole isn't very durable
Sale
HOKA ONE ONE Men's M Bondi 5 Running Shoe
6 Reviews
HOKA ONE ONE Men's M Bondi 5 Running Shoe
  • Molded Ortholite footbed
  • Open engineered mesh uppers with 3D Puff Print Frame synthetic overlays offers maximum breathability and structural support
  • Lace-up closure
The Hoka One One Bondi 5 is one of the best running shoes for hallux rigidus you’ll find on the market. It has wonderful comfort and provides tremendous support to the big toe joint. They are lightweight and very cushioned to give comfortability, and they also offer great stability and support for most important parts of the feet even if you have to walk for hours.
What We Like:
  • They have the lightweight and breathable upper.
  • They're very comfortable and stable
  • They provide incredible cushion and support
  • The toe box is wider than Bondi 4 or Clifton 3, keeping the pressure off from the big toe.
What We Dislike:
  • These shoes run narrow for some users despite the added space in this Bondi 5 version
  • The tongue is too long that may rub the front of the ankle
  • Quite expensive
Sale
Altra Men's Olympus 2 Trail Running Shoe
286 Reviews
Altra Men's Olympus 2 Trail Running Shoe
  • Ideal uses include trail running, hiking, fastpacking, trail racing
  • Trail specific sticky rubber
  • Dual layer ethylene vinyl acetate with A-Bound top layer

The Altra Olympus Trail Running Shoes are known to be one of the best athletic shoes for hallux rigidus for several reasons. These shoes rock a rubber sole platform that’s about an inch thick, feature a rubber sole, plush collar, breathable mesh upper, gaiter traps, max cushioning, and a sticky rubber outsole which is ideal for trail terrains.

These shoes are one of the best hallux rigidus running shoes because they are very comfortable, and offer a lot more support than regular running shoes. In simple words, these Altra running shoes for hallux rigidus are worth every penny.

What We Like:
  • The Foot Shape Toe Box is very efficient in keeping the pressure off from the big toe, while ensuring that the other toes spread out naturally, and are relaxed evenly. This allows the individual to have more stability and better running performance.
  • The lower-impact technique is also quite handy when it comes to walking for longer miles, and with Foot Pod, you get an easy and natural flex to your foot.
What We Dislike:
  • These shoes can be a little heavy
  • They wouldn’t last longer than the Hoka ones, as we mentioned above.
Sale
Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 18 Running Shoe Wide 2E
251 Reviews
Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 18 Running Shoe Wide 2E
  • With stellar cushioning and a more streamlined look, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 running shoe will have you ready to perform at your best!
  • 13 D(M) US
  • Navy-grey-black

For those who have been searching for shoes that give great support for low arches, the Brooks Adrenaline is a must have. These shoes give wonderful support and the over-pronation control is great for those have flat feet and overpronation.

These shoes are one of the best running shoes for hallux limitus because they provide a good amount of room in the toe box that allows your toes to spread out, and you can feel comfortable enough for everyday wear.

What We Like:
  • Great arch support & stability for flat feet and overpronation
  • Very comfortable
  • No need for a breaking-in period
What We Dislike:
  • Not as durable as other running shoes in this guide
  • These shoes can be slightly heavy
  • The toe box is narrow for the few users with wide feet

Walking & Hiking Shoes

New Balance Men's MW928 Walking Shoe
1,883 Reviews
New Balance Men's MW928 Walking Shoe
  • Classic leather walking shoe featuring secure lace-up vamp and thick cushioned collar
  • Stabilizing ROLLBAR technology
  • ABZORB midfoot cushioning

How can we not mention the New Balance 928 walking shoes, when these shoes have some great features?

These shoes are comprised of imported rubber soles, with leather uppers, thick cushioned collars, lace-up vamps, mid-foot cushioning, odor-resistant liners, and walking outsole. Their firm soles and slight rockers also make them the best walking shoes for hallux rigidus.

These shoes are made for walking purposes only, so if you’re going to run wearing them, these wouldn’t suit you. But if you want to rock decent looking shoes that can be worn almost anywhere, these walking shoes are the ones for you.

What We Like:
  • By wearing these shoes, you’ll immediately feel a perfect fit and a lush quality material. Since the toe box is wide, your toes will get plenty of space and remain relaxed.
  • On the other hand, they are very stylish and versatile, which means you can rock them anywhere you want to.
  • Of course, the New Balance 928 also is very comfortable and will provide you with a pleasing experience during the walk.
What We Dislike:
  • Many users complained about the quality.
Skechers Women's Shape Ups 2.0 Fashion Sneaker
321 Reviews
Skechers Women's Shape Ups 2.0 Fashion Sneaker
  • Walking sneaker featuring knit mesh upper and Memory Foam footbed
  • Lace-up closure
  • Rear pull loop

If you’re looking for a pair of shoes that are not only the best shoes for arthritis in big toe, but are also made to be used in strength/fitness trainings, these stiff soled sneakers would be the ideal choice for you. These shoes are made of two-tone breathable leather, mesh upper, rubber sole, padded tongue and padded collar.

If you’re looking for the best sneakers for hallux rigidus/limitus patients, these shoes are meant for you. Although, we do recommend for you to use hallux rigidus inserts with these sneakers, if you find them a bit uncomfortable.

What We Like:
  • These shoes are by far the best hallux rigidus shoes for both men and women. Why? You won’t find more comfortable sneakers like the Skechers Shape Ups. Even if you wear them for work, and need to wear them for hours and hours, you won’t feel even a tiny bit of pain in your foot, especially your big toe joint area.
  • Its toe box is wide enough for people who have wide feet.
What We Dislike:
  • These shoes can be too heavy for some people.
  • They are a bit unstable in the heel, and are not recommended for people who have knee, ankle, and hip problems.
Sale
MBT Men's Sport3 Walking Shoe
1 Reviews
MBT Men's Sport3 Walking Shoe
  • Rocker unit sole
  • MBT
  • Large

The MBT Shoes are known to be one of the best rocker sole shoes for hallux rigidus/limitus. They have a midfoot rocker and work well for these issues by limiting motion in the big toe joints.

These shoes have been found to be very good for the hallux limitus treatment, especially in the case of post-operative treatments for surgical fusion of the first MPJ. They are also good for people have plantar fasciitis.

Due to their inherent instability, they’re not recommended for those who have Achilles tendinitis, ankle sprains, knee and back problems.

What We Like:
  • These shoes are recommended for patients with forefoot pain, heel pain or plantar fasciitis.
  • Your toes will get plenty of space and remain relaxed, because they have so much room in the toe box.
What We Dislike:
  • They’re not appropriate for people who have Achilles tendinitis, poor balance and nerve damage.
  • They’re heavy
  • Expensive

If you are suffering from hallux limitus/rigidus, but you still want to go hiking, you will need a good pair of hiking boots that will allow you to walk comfortably.

The Tor Summit Mid WP is one of the best hiking shoes for hallux limitus/rigidus on the market. It comes with trademark Hoka One One features, like Meta-Rocker geometry and Hoka One One running shoe cushioning. These features are ideal for those with arthritic/stiff big toes. Its Multi-directional Vibram lugs provide good traction while the waterproof upper keeps your feet dry.

According to users, these boots perform above-average among others, especially for lightweight hikers in traction on wet and dry rocks, stability, and water resistance.

What We Like:
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Very lightweight
  • Incredible cushion
  • No break-in required
  • Very well made
What We Dislike:
  • Poor traction in mud
  • Run a little narrow

Dress and Casual Shoes

Vionic Womens Rust Amber Open Toe Casual Slide Sandals
35 Reviews
Vionic Womens Rust Amber Open Toe Casual Slide Sandals
  • Style: Slides
  • Closure Type: Hook and Loop
  • Heel Height: 0.5

If your profession calls for a formal dress code, then Dansko Women’s Professional Clogs would be the dress shoes for hallux rigidus for you to buy. These shoes have an imported leather upper, polyurethane outsole, rocker bottom synthetic sole, padded instep collar, a roomy reinforced toe box, and a wide heel strike.

Apart from the sizing issue, these shoes are exceptionally well made, and offer a very comfortable experience even for all-day usage. That is what makes them the best dress shoes for hallux rigidus and/or limitus.

What We Like:
  • These professional clogs do exactly as they claim. You’ll have that exceptional arch support that provides all-day long comfort - leaving your big toe joint stress-free. When you wear them, you’ll pamper your feet like they have never been pampered before.
  • These clogs are very comfortable, and are very breathable; thanks to the PU foam foot bed.
What We Dislike:
  • They’re handmade. Although, that’s considered a plus point for a shoe since they are sturdier and more reliable than machine-made ones. When it comes to buying online, you need to be perfectly sure that the size you’re buying will fit you, or be ready to ship the clogs back for exchange.
Sale
Alegria Women's Paloma Flat
2,016 Reviews
Alegria Women's Paloma Flat
  • A cushioned flatform sole is topped with a bright patent-leather upper in this vibrant Mary Jane.
  • Alegria
  • 37 European US Women

If you are looking for rocker bottom dress shoes that are stylish and super comfortable to wear while standing for many hours, Alegria Women’s Paloma Flats just might be the pair for you. These shoes come with a wide toe box and rocker soles that are perfect for hallux limitus or hallux rigidus patients. The Alegria Paloma features a naturally breathable leather insole that prevents your feet from getting sweaty. Its foot-bed is removable to accommodate your own custom orthotic insoles to provide the solution for your condition.

These shoes are very stylish and sturdy, and come in a ton of cute colors and patterns.

What We Like:
  • Wide toe box
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Very comfortable & removable foot-bed
  • Breathable leather insole
What We Dislike:
  • A little squeaky
  • Some people complain about the shoe strap being uncomfortable
Dansko Women's Lulu Mary Jane Flat
216 Reviews
Dansko Women's Lulu Mary Jane Flat
  • Round-toe shoe with leather upper featuring wide ankle strap with hook-and-loop closure
  • Removable polyurethane footbed
  • Dansko

Stylish and extremely comfortable, Dansko shoes has caught our eyes. These shoes were awarded the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association, guaranteeing they are incredibly comfortable.

Its thick soles provide more cushion and a rocker effect that helps reduce motion in the toe joints. These shoes also come with a roomy toe box, quick back zipper closure, removeable foot-bed and ankle-strap style, making them great hallux rigidus shoes for women to wear to work.

What We Like:
  • Well made
  • Wide toe box
  • Removable foot-bed
What We Dislike:
  • Few users complain that the buckle rubs the ankle

Best Sandals

Sale
Alegria Women's Colette Sandal
335 Reviews
Alegria Women's Colette Sandal
  • Hand sewn leather upper
  • Removable insole with polyurethane, cork, and memory foam
  • Slip resistant Polyurethane rocker outsole

Of course, why not buy stylish sandals for hallux rigidus and limitus patients? Sandals are one of the most common types of shoes that women wear.

The Alegria Colette Sandal features hand-sewn leather upper, synthetic sole, polyurethane rocker outsole, and polyurethane insole, cork, and memory foam that are removable.

Apart from the inserts, we can’t deny that these sandals are worth buying. Due to their comfort and versatility, We’d recommend women to try these sandals once.

What We Like:
  • They are super comfortable, easy to wear, can be rocked anywhere and provide perfect support for hallux rigidus.
  • If you have bought the Alegria shoes, then you know that its shoes are also quite pricey but this sandal is on the lower side, and worth the money.
What We Dislike:
  • There is only one thing that we don’t like about these sandals, which are the inserts. You’ll want to replace them with orthotics for hallux rigidus to enhance their life and make them light.
Dansko Women's Marta Heeled Sandal
231 Reviews
Dansko Women's Marta Heeled Sandal
  • Clog-inspired sandal featuring leather toebox with delicate cutouts and adjustable strap with buckle closure
  • Cushioned, leather-wrapped footbed
  • Dansko

The Dansko Marta is a closed-toe sandal with eye-catching design, cushioned leather-wrapped foot-bed, and rocker soles that provide more arch support and comfortability to the feet.

This sandal delivers a trendy look thanks to its Mary Jane-inspired strap and thick heel, while the toe box has plenty of room, you don’t have to worry about exerting pressure on your toes.

These sandals are also available in different colors, allowing you to blend them with multiple outfits for a truly stunning look.

What We Like:
  • Super comfortable to wear all day long
  • Wide toe box
  • Also good for wide feet & bunions
What We Dislike:
  • Run large
  • Expensive
Sale
Wolky Comfort Sandals Jewel
2 Reviews
Wolky Comfort Sandals Jewel
  • Removable, anatomically shaped cork footbed
  • This shoe offers a sleek smooth leather upper and a leather lining.
  • The open back sandals offers adjustable 3 velcro strap and a cork footbed for a comfy feeling.

These incredibly comfortable dress sandals are known to be one of the best sandals for hallux limitus and rigidus for most foot types you’ll find on the market.

They have everything that hallux limitus shoes should have. Its thick, but lightweight, rigid rocker-bottom sole helps put less motion through your foot joints.

The anatomical cork and latex foot-bed provides excellent arch support, it’s also removable and replaceable so that it can accommodate your own custom orthotic insoles. These sandals also can accommodate all foot types due to its all adjustable straps.

What We Like:
  • Excellent support
  • Adjustable straps
  • Many color choices
What We Dislike:
  • A little pricey

Best Boots

El Naturalista Women's Yggdrasil N158 Winter Boot
13 Reviews
El Naturalista Women's Yggdrasil N158 Winter Boot
  • Ankle boot, 100 percent leather, removable insole, rubber outsole
  • El Naturalista
  • 37 M EU

This is another shoe that’s best for winter, and can be worn with jeans, preferably with any kind of casual apparel. The El Naturalista Ankle Boots feature pure leather upper, rubber sole and outsole, Mid-Calf shaft, and removable insole.

If you can manage to afford these ankle boots, and are looking for stylish looking boots that provide real comfort to your feet, these boots are the way to go.

What We Like:
  • Ankle Boots can’t get any more comfortable than these ones.
  • By testing them out, we found that they can be worn all day long, without any kind of discomfort or pain in the joints.
  • We also realized that these shoes are durable, and you look sexy wearing them.
What We Dislike:
  • The truth is, these boots run a bit small. Other than that, there are no drawbacks we have found in them.
Sale
Alegria Women's Caiti Boot
331 Reviews
Alegria Women's Caiti Boot
  • Removable memory fowm, latex and cork footbed with suede top
  • Alegria
  • 36 M EU
The Alegria Caiti is a gorgeous boot, it has everything you need to ensure your comfort and ease of movement. This women’s ankle boot features a rocker outsole to limit motion in the big toe joints and reduce metatarsal pressure, while a roomy toe box provides plenty of room for your toes to stay relaxed. It also has excellent arch support provided by the removable memory foam, latex and cork foot-bed, making it one of the best winter boots for hallux rigidus.
What We Like:
  • Extremely comfortable to wear all day long
  • Nice arch support
  • Very stylish
What We Dislike:
  • Runs a bit large
  • Not slip resistant
Sale
Sanita Women's Norma Boot
74 Reviews
Sanita Women's Norma Boot
  • Removable footbed
  • Sanita
  • 38 European US Women
The Sanita Norma Boots are a nice combination of style and comfort. This boot has a lightweight PU rocker sole to keep your toes from bending, a soft and wide toebox to provide ample room for your toes, and a cushioned removable foot-bed – which can accommodate your custom orthotics. Overall, an excellent boot for hallux limitus/rigidus.
What We Like:
  • Very comfortable and stylish
  • Lightweight
  • Great price
What We Dislike:
  • Runs a bit large

Conclusion

Dealing with pain in your feet and toes can be extremely frustrating. It is very clear that proper footwear will play a huge role in recovering and healing from HR and HS. We hope we provided you with good guidance in regards to buying the right type of shoe for your needs.

TFT Team

Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. When you see “TFT Team” this is because the content was not written by a single author, but rather a team effort.

Last update on 2018-07-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API