Best Shoes for Hallux Rigidus

Hallux Rigidus - Shoes to Help Ease Your Suffering

Hallux Rigidus, sometimes referred to as “stiff big toe,” is a degenerative arthritic condition. It is caused by bone spurs at the base of the hallux (the big toe).

There are a lot of shoes that claim to help people who suffer from Hallux Rigidus but these 5 shoes are the best ones on the market right now. 

If you want to learn more about Hallux Rigidus you can read through to the bottom of the article. 

If you're just looking for our top choice, here it is 🙂 

#1 Best Shoe for Hallux Rigidus - Altra Intuition 4.5

The Intuition 4.5 from Altra features a six millimeter contoured footbed with an EVA top-layer midsole and engineered mesh uppers. Using Altra’s InnerFlex and FootPod technology, these sneakers have grooves in the midsole to allow for greater flexibility while in motion.

In addition, the outsole is more responsive to the anatomy of the wearer’s foot to help it bend and move in a more natural way. For those with Hallux Rigidus, the roomy, FootShape toe box of these shoes might raise some concerns, but it should be just enough space to allow the feet to breathe without compromising their stability.

Altra’s running shoes are known for their great shock absorption, so they’re a good choice for those who are constantly on their feet or out and about.

As far as sizing goes, the overwhelming majority of customers found the shoes to fit as expected.

The sneakers provide good shock absorption and don’t put pressure on the toes, a huge plus for those with Hallux Rigidus. Moreover, the shoe is lightweight enough to allow for all day wear or longer runs.

The slightly wider toe box means that those with hammertoes, Hallux Rigidus, and similar conditions can rest assured knowing that their feet are not squished inside the shoe. Many buyers have also reported back that this pair of sneakers can last hundreds of miles, making them a worthy investment.

If there are any complaints, it’s that they can be quite spacious for some people.

What we like

  • Altra cushioning technology is insanely comfortable
  • Encourages natural walking form
  • Good shock absorption

What we didn't like

  • Might be too cushioned for some people
  • Toe box can feel very roomy if you aren't used to it

Runner Up Best Shoe for Hallux Rigidus - Brooks Adrenaline GTS


The GTS stands for “go-to shoe,” a title it earned for being an all-around good choice for so many people. These sneakers are best for those with flat to medium arches, as they have a softer underfoot and a midsole drop of 12 millimeters.

The Air Mesh uppers provide greater breathability, and the securely structured saddle wraps around the heel and midfoot for a more snug fit. Brooks put a lot of their patented technology into these running shoes.

Their BioMoGo DNA midsole is padded, but still responds to the wearer’s stride. The Progressive Diagonal Rollbar prevents pronation, or the inward rolling of the foot.

The soles are equipped with a segmented “crash pad.”

These are grooved textures that ensure the foot stays stable, no matter how it makes contact with the ground. Paired with the swooped sidewall, the impact moves away from the foot so every landing feels soft and even.

Others have combined these sneakers with their own custom orthotics for the best fit. The arch support is great and the feel of them mimics the natural shape of a foot.

It’s a sturdy shoe and a common compliment is that customers felt stable in these sneakers. It’s also nice that they’re breathable and have a moisture-wick lining.

This is great for runners, as well as those who are constantly moving on the job.

What we like

  • Brooks crash pad cushioning is super comfortable
  • Excellent foot stability
  • Tailored to flat feet and medium arches

What we didn't like

  • Not the best choice if you have severe Hallux Rigidus; works best for moderate cases
  • Sizing runs a little small so order 1 size up from what you normally wear

Best Budget Pick - Hoka One One Clifton 4

Hoka One One might not be a familiar brand to some people, but they’re committed to innovative athletic shoes. But you don't have to be a gym rat to enjoy these sneakers.

The Clifton 4s are lightweight and have neutral stability so the foot can achieve a natural placement in the shoe. They have modest cushioning and are available in standard and wide sizes.

The fully-EVA midsole features a consistent foam padding throughout its length, and the forefoot is adaptive and smooth. There is a heel-toe drop of five millimeters.

A breathable upper mesh allows for a more relaxed, yet snug fit. This sneaker also comes with Hoka One One’s molded Ortholite Sockliner to add to the pillowy support.

The soles are geometrically designed to provide a more stable landing, which also helps with shock absorption. In addition, Hi-Abrasion rubber soles take some of the weight off the joints.

These sneakers come in a variety of colors and consistently receive great reviews from people with Hallux Rigidus. They’ve been recommended by podiatrists and customers that suffer from metatarsal bone injuries have reported great results with these shoes.

The wide curved sole is a crowd favorite because it reduces the stress from landing in one spot on the foot. Many people have expressed satisfaction with the shoes’ ability to stand up to all-day walking or standing jobs, such as nursing.

While there is padding throughout the sole, there seems to be more of a focus on the heel, which might not bode well for those with severe Hallux Rigidus. Furthermore, the uppers could be a bit more supportive; there are users who said that they started to get pain on the dorsal, or top, surface of their feet.

One way to combat this is by tying the laces a different way, perhaps looping them in the opposite direction.

What we like

  • Super lightweight so you can wear them all day without getting fatigued
  • Supportive cushioning keeps your foot in place and feeling comfortable
  • Wide, curved sole provides a lot of support and makes your foot feel more stable

What we didn't like

  • Best for minor to moderate Hallux Rigidus. Not the best choice for severe cases
  • Uppers could be a little more supportive but not a deal breaker

KEEN Newport H2 Sandal

During the summer months, people don’t want to have to wear ugly, protective footwear. These sandals from KEEN are a best seller on their website and look great on the trail, at the beach, or chilling at home.

It’s a fresh take on a water shoe that will suit all ages. An enclosed toe box ensures the toes stay safe and protected from the elements or environmental debris. They’re constructed of PFC-free water-resistant materials and include KEEN’s Cleansport NXT for odor control.

The EVA footbed is designed to be anatomically consistent with natural human feet for great arch support and cushiony cradling. The midsole is compression molded for additional softness.

A webbed polyester upper combines comfort and ease, as it’s super washable. A rubber toe bumper adds another layer of protection, perfect for those with Hallux Rigidus. The lacing system is designed to create a snug fit that’s still breathable.

These sandals come in a range of colors and styles to suit anyone’s personality and preferences, too.

Compared to other KEEN models, it’s clear that the Newport H2 sandals provide more in terms of reinforced protection. That should set some people’s minds at ease, especially if they’re worried about doing further damage to their feet.

In fact, these sandals cup the entire foot to create a more even layer of protection. This also makes them more robust. These seem like a good fit for those who need something to accommodate wider shoe sizes.

What we like

  • Anatomically designed footbed makes these sandals feel as comfortable as a nice pair of shoes 
  • Rubber toe bumper helps protect your feet just like a pair of shoes would 
  • Suitable for daily use: not quite a shoe but better than flip flops 

What we didn't like

  • Can feel a little bit bulky 
  • Sizing runs small so order up 1 size 

Prophet Travelactiv Sneakers

Propet’s a low-key brand, but their Travelactiv sneaker can hang with the leading fashion sneakers. Affordably priced, they’re lightweight and have a removable EVA footbed.

The insole is cushioned to accommodate the wearer, while the outsoles have the flexibility to allow for a freer range of motion. They’re stain and water resistant, so they’re great for taking on the go.

The engineered outer mesh makes walking more comfortable, and they’re true to size. Speaking of which, they come in standard, wide, and extra wide sizes.

These lightweight sneakers get great feedback for helping foot conditions such as bunions and Plantar Fasciitis. The wider sizes can easily accommodate these kinds of ailments while still providing the comfortable support they need.

The shoes could use a second insole, but they’re not a bad deal for the price.

What we like

  • Very affordable
  • Can easily fit orthotics inside
  • Wide, comfy fit

What we didn't like

  • Could use some extra cushioning
  • Kind of plain looking (but this is a plus to some people) 

What Is Hallux Rigidus?

At the base of the big toe sits the MTP joint, and Hallux Rigidus can lead to pain and stiffness throughout the toe, both during movement and rest. It’s an ailment that can prevent people from participating in activities such as running or other forms of exercise.

It can even make going up the stairs a struggle. The inflammation and swelling around the MTP joint can become worse with time, so it’s crucial that people with Hallux Rigidus wear proper footwear to prevent any further changes in their condition.

What Kind of Shoes Can Help Hallux Rigidus?

To find the best shoes for Hallux Rigidus, it’s important to look for options that keep the foot in a stable and secure position, even while in motion. The shoe should also prevent the big toe, or any of the toes for that matter, from shifting or bending while walking.

The shoe’s uppers should be flexible and soft, while the sole should have more sturdiness to it. A more snug fit will be more accommodating for someone with this condition, and orthotic inserts or cushioned insoles can help, too.

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