People with foot conditions like arthritis and plantar fasciitis know how it feels to stand for a long time in a regular-soled shoe.
Even without such conditions, you can relate to the sharp pain you feel after you standing or working long hours on the concrete floor. Rocker bottom shoes are designed to solve this problem.
A rocker bottom shoe has a rounded heel and a sole that’s thicker than usual — the rocker bottom sole arcs with your foot at a slight angle that prevents it from flattening out.
The shoes are designed to help ease pain resulting from lack of movement due to injury or medical conditions.
But these shoes are not only suitable for people with medical conditions and pain in their feet—they offer guaranteed comfort for anyone. They come in stylish variations that can go with any apparel.
Wearing rocker bottom shoes while you work out, take a walk or perform functions not only gives you a unique gait but also helps to tone the muscles in your ankles, feet, and legs.
These shoes have a brilliant cushioning and impact absorption that make them great for long hours of standing.
We’ve done some research, and we’ve put together the seven best rocker bottom shoes in 2021. From our research, the MBT Men’s Ajabu Oxford and Hoka One Bondi 5 is a top choice for men and women respectively among the rest of the rockers.
However, if your podiatrist gives a recommendation, be sure to work with it while choosing your pair.
Best Rocker Bottom Shoes
1. Hoka Bondi 5 Running Shoes – SS17
Running has never felt better than it does with the Hoka One One Hoka Bondi Women’s Running Shoes.
These shoes are delegated to cushion your feet while you take runs on those hard, sometimes uneven, terrain.
The outsole provides a firm grip for you while you hike mountain or forest trails. It features an EVA midsole, a comfort frame, a padded tongue and a curved sole for a relaxing gait.
The breathable mesh sitting against the foot allows fresh air to run through your feet. It incorporates a moderate heel bevel angle for a smooth heel-to-toe transition.
The outsole is combined with the midsole to ensure friction and fewer tears.
The EVA material in the midsole offers long-lasting support and cushioning. In the shoe’s interior is an Ortholite molded insole for an elegant feel, extra relaxation, and cv support.
These shoes go with you through the toughest trails and hardest concrete surfaces. The midsole designed with lower heel-to-toe differential allowing your foot to balance appropriately.
Crowning these fantastic features is the 3D lightweight technology. The shoe is extremely light and won’t weigh you down when you’re hiking or mountaineering.
- EVA midsole for cushioning;
- Rubber outsole with a firm grip;
- Ortholite molded insole;
- The curved sole and padded tongue for support;
- Breathable mesh for air circulation;
- Heel-toe transition;
- Comfort frame for extra support;
- Heel Bevel;
- 3D Puff Print frame for lightweight and snug fit.
- It comes in small sizes.
Whether you’re an adventure-seeker or a fun-lover, HOKA ONE Bondi 5 Women’s Running shoes are just the ideal kicks to start your day.
The cushioned midsole and insole provide exceptional comfort and a balanced natural gait.
2. Skechers Shape Ups 2.0 Comfort Stride Fashion Sneaker
Whether you a “he” or a “she,” Skechers have proven to be one of the most gender-sensitive shoes was manufacturing outfits of this generation.
Renowned for comfort and support in the world of shoes, the Skechers brand keeps living up to expectations.
Skechers designed this athlete-inspired shoe with quality and comfort in mind.
The faux leather exterior nestles the Ripstop mesh and perforations that make sure your feet stay cool for as long as you are wearing the shoes.
There is a lace-front for a tight-fitting, a contrast heel overlay, a padded tongue, and collar to ease your feet.
The rocker bottom soles are designed to reduce pain in the heels and feet and allow you to rock back and forth while maintaining a natural balance and a steady gait.
Male or female, recent users all agree that these shoes are incredibly comfortable!
Skechers brand’s cushioned insole design combines with the midsole and polyurethane frame to absorb impact and relieve the feet during long walks and extended hours of standing.
For better sturdiness, the synthetic outsole made of rubber for a perfect finish and firm grip.
These shoes are flexible, easy and comfortable to wear, light-weight and ideal for people who have arthritis and other minor foot conditions.
No matter your gender, this footwear are ideal for you if you love to take long walks or if you stand for long hours on hard, concrete floors.
- Lace-up front for a tight fit;
- Padded collar and tongue for support;
- Heel, toe and side overlays;
- Contrast heel overlay for easy removal and replacement;
- Polyurethane frame for support;
- Kinetic wedge soap foam midsole for impact absorption;
- Rubber outsole for tight grip;
- Memory foam and Ripstop mesh for breathability.
- The sizes are bigger than regular sizes, you need to order the size that is a snug fit;
- The shoe is not durable.
The Skechers brand is a trusted brand and continues to live up to expectations. The Skechers Women’s Shape Ups provide all the features you need for a healthy walk.
3. New Balance Rocker Bottom Shoes (Men’s Suede 928v3)
New Balance 928v3 is the third in the series available for both men and women. Podiatrists highly recommend them for people suffering from arthritic challenges very often.
The Microfiber-wrapped EVA Footbed works hand-in-hand with the collar to provide fantastic ankle support. An excellent choice for people who are suffering from lower back pain while walking or running.
It is manufactured with 100% synthetic mesh materials, meaning it is flexible enough.
On the other hand, the outsole made from rubber which provides a solid grip on to flat and slippery surfaces.
This shoe design for people who use orthotic ankle braces in mind, the soft lace ensures the tongue and collar fits and holds whatever contraption the leg is wearing.
The fact that the toe box is wide enough ensures that the wearer is comfortable while walking long distances and with proper arch support, jogging or running in them is also very comfortable.
Recent users tend to be dissatisfied with the durability, though, furiously complaining that the threading may not be strong enough which, in turn, make the shoes rip apart just a few months after purchase.
- Available in 5 different colors
- Excellent arch support for motion control
- Leather or natural cock upper
- Multiple width options
- Not very durable
- A bit highly priced
- Fewer ventilation perforations
The New Balance 928v3 may not have met the expectations of many buyers, especially those who have hitherto bought and used the earlier versions.
4. Altra Women’s Olympus 2 Trail Running Shoe
Wide toe-boxed rocker bottom shoes are hard to come by. However, Altra has made wide toe boxes in the Altra Women’s Olympus 2 Trail Running Shoe providing access to wide toe boxes for everyone, including you.
Altra Women’s Olympus is designed to tackle every terrain, be it mountains or riverbeds.
The rubber outsole has a unique design that makes it grip tightly to slippery trail surfaces to provide safety.
Aside from the trail running feature, the Altra Women’s Olympus comes with a 5mm contoured footbed, padded collar, and 36mm stack height designed to ensure comfort.
The EVA midsole has a bound top layer for extra coziness and relieves from pain. The Vibram outsole gives you a firm footing on the trails.
You can use the Olympus 2 for long walks, running through trails, hiking, trail racing, and fast packing without it coming off because of the lace-up feature that gives your feet a snug fit.
- 100% Fabric and leather for durability;
- Vibram outsole for traction;
- Dual layer EVA midsole with a bound top layer for support;
- Contoured footbed for extra comfort;
- Lace-up for a snug fit;
- Rubber sole for resistance to tear and wear;
- Wide toe box;
- Reduced break-in time.
- There are heavy to run in;
- The toe box is slightly curved, causing blisters and pain in the toe region.
- You may need to buy a bigger size to achieve a satisfying level of comfort.
The Altra Women’s Olympus 2 is an enhanced version by the Altra brand. It has excellent traction and soft exterior, but the new toe box is curved so far inward that it is not as comfortable as the earlier version.
5. Drew Shoe Women’s Flare Walking Shoe
With a Drew sneaker, you can take long healthy walks and jogs in comfort.
Even if you suffer from a medical foot condition, the Drew Women’s Flare Walking Shoe is designed to give you nothing short of comfort.
This lace-up athletic shoe features a mesh upper that allows fresh air to circulate through your feet. The soft leather provides durable and long-lasting housing for the insole and midsole.
A foam-padded collar and tongue provide cushioned comfort while the soft Dri-Lex lining and GIS Microbe shield offers a moisture-absorbing foot space.
It also features a lace closure with detachable dual footbeds that provide a flexible, personalized fit. A tempered steel shank and medial heel stabilizer are incorporated to control lateral movement.
The outsole designed with lightweight rubber provides an exceptional grip on any running surface.
- Soft leather and mesh upper for breathability;
- Ultra padded heel collar for extra support;
- Soft Dri- Lex lining and GIS microbe shield for moisture absorbance;
- Light-weight rubber outsole for traction;
- Lace-up closure for a nice fit;
- Foam padded tongue and collar for support;
- Tempered steel shank and medial heel stabilizer for lateral movement control;
- Provides room for orthotics;
- Has a rocker bottom;
- Removable inserts for cushioning.
- Sizes are small.
With the Drew Flare Women sneaker, you can’t ask for more stability and comfort. Its first-class design provides all the support you need in addition to exceptional features that cushion your feet every step of the way.
However, you need to be wary of the sizes as they are on the smaller side; you may need to get sizes that are an inch or two larger than your regular shoe size.
6. MBT Men’s Ajabu Oxford
The MBT brand, representing Masai Barefoot technology, has been at the forefront of rocker bottom shoe production.
The innovative design includes exceptional features that will soothe even the most painful foot condition.
The MBT Men’s Ajabu Oxford is designed with full grain and split leather for durability. A 3D mesh lines the interior to keep your feet dry and cool.
The multilayered curved sole gives you extra cushioning for a more comfortable walking experience.
It also features a dual density midsole, made from TPU, glass fibers and nylon, that provides compactness and durability.
The multi-layered sole also provides natural instability that simulates walking on sand which tones your muscles and eliminates pain.
The rubber outsole is resistant against wear and tear, and offers a good grip, to ensure you are stable while walking.
Putting on an MBT Oxford not only improves your gait, but it also enhances your stance and relieves pressure on your back and joints.
It is the ideal pair for painful joints and other foot conditions, and it provides enough room for orthotics.
The MBT Men’s Ajabu Oxford occupies first place on this list for comfort, durability, and stability.
- Multi-layered sole for stability;
- Casual rubber outsole for traction and stability;
- 100% full grain and split leather upper for durability;
- Dual density midsole for firmness and durability;
- 3D mesh lining for moisture absorption and breathability;
- Removable insole for customized cushioning;
- Accommodates orthotics.
- Finding the right size may be a hassle.
MBTs are not just shoes; they are curative tools that provide support for your bones, joints, and muscles.
This pair is ideal for people dealing with foot conditions and chronic pain. They even aid in muscle regeneration. You should give them a chance.
7. Exersteps Men’s Whirlwind Black Sneakers
At first glance, you can tell the Exersteps brand isn’t messing around when it comes to these shoes.
Incorporated in these shoes are some spring backups and significant padding. The exterior made with leather that provides a soft covering for your feet and firmness.
The curved bottom that stimulates muscle activity by causing instability. The midsole is made with lightweight, sturdy materials to absorb shock and mitigate the impact on compact surfaces.
A molded sock is used to line the interior and provides a long-lasting cushioning as well as relief for your feet.
Its non-marking sole resists wear and tear while providing a sound footing.
Topping these properties with a good look is a significant plus. These shoes are chic and stylish; you can wear them every day to wherever you want without feeling out of place.
- 100% leather upper for durability;
- Curved bottom for muscle stimulation;
- Non-marking sole for traction and durability;
- Molded sock lining for cushioning and comfort;
- Lightweight midsole for shock absorption and impact mitigation;
- Easy to clean;
- Reinforced shaft for support;
- Removable insole for customization.
- The soles are hard and uncomfortable;
- They do not provide overall balance;
- They retain heat.
The Exersteps Men’s Whirlwind Black Sneakers look great; you can go anywhere with them without looking out of place.
However, there are some concerns with the soles and insoles not being too comfortable; so you might want to add some extra padding since the insoles are removable.
They also do not provide balance because of the hard sole, but if you replace the insoles with better-padded ones, you’ll feel more comfortable.
What to Consider When Buying a Rocker Bottom Shoe
Rocker bottom shoes have beneficial therapeutic properties for people with medical conditions such as arthritis, plantar fasciitis, and foot ulcers among others. They are also being used by people who spend long hours standing or walking.
Before you buy a rocker bottom shoe, there are some important factors you need to consider. Some of these factors will help to address questions like: Do you need a rocker bottom shoe? How long should you wear a rocker if you have a healthy foot? A lot of people use rocker shoes every day but, are they meant to be used every day?
We have addressed these questions in this section to help you make a good choice before buying your own pair of rocker bottom shoes. If you want to know more, click here for the study.
The Podiatric Position On Rockers
Once all feet are grouped as foot types, some healthy foot types are encouraged to use rockers for muscle training and exercise. However, this usage is not supposed to be extended to other time like walking and standing.
There is also a group with medical conditions such as flat foot, hallux rigidus and rheumatoid arthritis. This group is encouraged to use these rocker bottoms constantly as they will provide alleviation and relief for their conditions.
Doctors of podiatric medicine recommend rocker bottoms for people with medical foot conditions. So before you make a choice you should consult a DPM to diagnose and recommend the type of rocker bottoms that will soothe your condition.
The Biomechanics of Rockers
Rockers are prescribed by podiatrists for people with foot conditions that have impaired their internal rockers, in a bid to prevent or treat those conditions. Biomechanical care should be taken in order to repair or arrest the conditions affecting the sagittal plane.
Short-term use of rockers allows for healing and repair of internal rockers, whereas long-term use of rockers causes the internal rockers to become non-functional.
This has a lot to do with the rigidity of the insoles. Soft insoles tend to replace internal rockers and make them vestigial, whereas hard insoles aid in the repair and renewal of the internal rockers.
Purchase and use of rocker bottoms should be restricted to a podiatrist recommendation, as constant use of rockers by a healthy foot type may cause their internal rockers to become non-functional.
Type of Rocker Bottom Sole
Heel to Toe Rocker soles
Heel-to-toe rocker soles have their thickest points farther back. They limit midfoot and ankle motion. This is why they are prescribed for people with ankle arthritis or midfoot arthritis.
They can also help lessen the force impact on the heel when it hits the floor because they enable the foot to roll quickly off the heel. Toe rockers that curve up help to prevent the plantar fascia from overstretching.
Forefoot Rocker soles
A forefoot rocker sole is placed behind metatarsal heads and is valuable in reducing motion in joints of the toe and alleviating pressure under the ball of the foot. It is used to remediate arthritis in the big toe and pain in the ball of the foot.
Double Rocker soles
Double Rocker soles are designed to absorb plantar midfoot forces. People with midfoot limited motion arthritis and Charcot plantar prominences are required to use them.
Ankle Joint Rocker soles
Ankle Joint Rocker soles are used to lessen impact at the heel strike thereby reducing the need for ankle motion. It is used by people with limited front and back ankle motion, ankle arthritis and ankle fusion.
Mid Rocker soles
This type of rocker sole is used by diabetic foot patients to relieve pressure and reduce pain on the metatarsals. It is also used to attain increased propulsion, and stabilize gait. It reduces the energy used to walk.
Toe Only Rocker soles
The toe only rocker sole shifts load to weight-bearing areas of the foot near the metatarsal heads. It provides a stable mid-posture. It is ideal for people with ulcer over metatarsal heads.
Negative Heel Rocker soles
Negative Heel Rocker removes load from the forefoot by moving the load to the midfoot and rearfoot. By doing this, it encourages a heel gait, and the reduced heel maintains the forefoot in fixed dorsiflexion.
It is used to mitigate pain in people with heavy callous, chronic forefoot overloads, and plantar ulcerations.
Severe Angle Rocker soles
This type of rocker removes all weight bearing forces that are in front of the metatarsal head. This is why it is used to relieve conditions such as hallux rigidus, ulcer on the distal part of the sole, hammer toe, and ulcer metatarsal heads.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do rocker bottom shoes do?
A: A rocker bottom shoe is a shoe that has a sole that is thicker than normal with a rounded heel. They ensure that you don’t have flat footing along the proximal-distal axis of your foot.
Q: Are rocker shoes good for you?
A: Rocker shoes are generally good for people with foot conditions but may cause instability and non-functionality of the internal rockers for a person with healthy feet, if used constantly.
However, there are some brands that can be used without disruption of gait and stance, like Hoka One One. They have forefoot rocker soles which may not cause severe motion disruption.
Q: Are rocker bottom shoes good for plantar fasciitis?
A: Yes, rocker bottom shoes are good for plantar fasciitis, and aid to prevent the plantar fascia from overstretching.
Q: What shoes are best for arthritic feet?
A: The Drew brand generally produces shoes with rocker soles that are good for arthritis. However, the types of rocker bottom soles that are recommended for arthritis are heel-to-toe rocker soles, ankle joint rocker soles, forefoot rocker soles, and double rocker soles.
Rocker Bottom Shoes come in different varieties and brands.
Finding the perfect fit for you would require you to visit a podiatrist to specify your pathology before recommending a brand to you.
Wearing rocker bottoms shoes doesn’t mean that you can’t still look stylish; they come in different styles that are chic and classy.
Overall, the right rockers for you would be comfortable rockers, enhance your gait, reduce pressure and help you to regain your internal rockers.
If you have foot pathology issues, rockers are a must-buy for you, as they help you to get your feet back to normal.
Meanwhile, if you have healthy feet, you should minimize the use of rockers as they can impair the function of your internal rockers.
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Further Recommended Resources:
- Stiffness Effects in Rocker-Soled Shoes and Biomechanical Implications, A Journal published on NLM.
- The 7 Best Rocker Bottom Shoes Worth Looking Into, by ShoePursuits