Are you about to have an operation on your foot or ankle? Days and hours can be spent going over the procedures, but sometimes an important discussion is missed—how are you going to get mobile once the operation is done? The answer is simple: buy the right pair of shoes to wear after surgery.
Thankfully, there are lots of great products that allow you to be on your feet (with your doctor’s permission, of course).
After looking at seven of the top options for the best shoes after foot surgery, we think that the Aircast SP Walker Brace/Walking Boot offers a supportive, customizable, and comfortable option for those healing from both foot and ankle injuries.
Check out the rest of the list to compare this to the other options and find out which would be the best fit for you.
Best Shoes to Wear After Foot Surgery
1. Aircast SP Walker Brace
For those that have a foot injury or are recovering from surgery, the Aircast SP (Short Pneumatic) Walker Brace/Walking Boot will keep your foot protected, stable, and still during healing.
Its features, however, will still allow mobility and walking.
It has a low rocker sole, large foot base to accommodate dressings, and adjustable air cells within the boot for customized cushion and support. The air cells are filled or emptied of air using the included hand bulb air pump.
This boot has a universal fit that can be worn either on the left or the right foot. It also has a non-skid sole to keep you stable during wet or slippery conditions. Non-slip shoes are really important if you’re still recovering!
Many reviewers found these boots to be a better option than the common black boot given to them by their podiatrist. They liked the smaller profile, the adjustable air cells, and the room for extra padding and bandages.
However, some did have trouble finding the right size and were upset when they realized that this distributor doesn’t accept returns.
- This boot can be worn on either foot and adjusted as needed.
- The boot can be cleaned quickly and reused in the future.
- It has a non-skid and a rocker bottom sole for stability when walking.
- It has ample room for bandages and padding.
- Some had trouble finding the right size, even with the sizing chart.
- This boot can place pressure on specific places that may aggravate your injury, so it may not be the best fit for everyone.
- Some found that the inner liner started to wear away after just a month of use.
If you’re looking for a smaller profile and adjustable walking boot to help with foot issues, like swollen feet, or to keep your mobility while recovering from surgery, this removable cast boot is your best bet.
2. Vive Post Op Shoe
This protective shoe is a practical, affordable option for those who need some foot stability after surgery or injury. This would not be a good option for those with ankle issues like Achilles tendonitis, however. You can try these shoes for Achilles tendonitis to relieve your foot pain.
The Vive Post Op Shoe features a rocker bottom sole, three Velcro straps to get a secure fit, and a wide, and a square toe box that protects the toes and allows for lots of bandage room.
It’s a lightweight, low-profile option in comparison to more bulky boots. Many users with broken or fractured toes found it to be a great way to let their injury heal while still walking throughout the day.
- This shoe can be used on the right or left foot and is adjustable using the three Velcro straps.
- The shoe keeps bandages dirt free.
- The non-skid rocker bottom sole helps in gait and strengthening of the leg muscles after surgery.
- The company offered a 60-day unconditional guarantee and provided at a very affordable price.
- This shoe will not do well for more serious foot injuries or any ankle injury.
- Some people had trouble with this shoe falling apart after just a little bit of use.
- This boot is not washable, so you’d want to be careful getting it wet or dirty.
Overall, this looks like a simple, affordable, low-profile option after foot surgery and has many happy users to back up its reputation.
It may not offer enough support for those with more extensive injuries, though. In those cases, the air boots may be a better option.
3. Premium Post Op Broken Toe
This boot by Mars Wellness is similar in style to the previous shoe by Vive. It is designed for those with foot or toe injuries and those recovering from surgery.
Some of the user photos of the Premium Post Op Broken Toe boot differs from the product photo; both do appear to have three adjustable Velcro straps. The placement, however, is different in some pictures.
It also features a rigid rocker bottom sole and square toe box for protection and ease of mobility.
Many reviewers were pleased with this shoe. Some found that it affected their balance a bit, which is to be expected with this type of shoe.
Others found the Velcro straps to be much too long but were able to trim them as needed.
- This shoe can be worn on either the right or left foot.
- It has three adjustable Velcro straps.
- This is a good, low-profile option for those wanting some support and protection for their foot without a large boot.
- The rocker bottom aids in gait and mobility.
- It’s very affordable.
- Some users had issues with the shoe being two different styles when they tried to reorder after their first pair was wearing out.
- They found that they didn’t fit the same way and offered different support.
- Some had trouble with getting the Velcro straps to attach while needing to trim them to fit tight enough.
This is another great option for those recovering from foot surgery and runs a little bit cheaper than the comparable shoe by Vive. Some users even commented that this pair was a bit more comfortable.
4. Corflex Orthowedge Broken Toe
This unique protective sandal design is set apart from the others in this list by its 15-degree Dorsi-angle bottom that allows weight to be shifted towards the back foot. This feature would allow your toes to heal.
As expected, the Corflex Orthowedge Broken Toe boot is specifically designed to protect and aid toes that have been operated on, injured, or are currently suffering from things like bunions and fractures.
Like the others in the list, this sandal features a squared toe that is roomy enough for bandages but will also act as a buffer to keep the toe from becoming re-injured.
There aren’t many reviews to go off of on this shoe online, but those who have used it were pleased with its performance in helping their toe stay elevated and healing after surgery.
- This sandal can be worn on either foot.
- The heel design keeps the weight and pressure of the body off the toes but allows stability when standing and walking.
- Two Velcro straps ensure a customized fit for every foot.
- The square toe box is roomy and protective.
- The design of this boot is only helpful for toe and forefoot injuries. This boot won’t be as useful overall for multiple feet or ankle injuries.
- The heel design may feel unstable or be hard to walk in for some users.
If you’re about to have surgery on your toe, frequently injure your toes, or need to keep weight off the front of your foot, this affordable shoe seems like it would be a great purchase.
5. Aircast AirSelect Walker Brace
This boot by Aircast comes in three different styles and heights and a wide variety of sizes.
The semi-rigid shell supports and protects the leg. SoftStrike technology helps absorb shock while walking.
Duplex air cells line the shell and are adjustable for inflation and deflation. The sole rocker aids in a natural gait and the rubber tread keeps you stable on slippery surfaces.
Many users found this to be a high-quality, affordable, and comfortable boot that allowed their foot and ankle injuries to heal without too much discomfort.
However, some found that while the boot functioned fine, the elevation of the leg wearing the boot could cause back and hip issues when standing a lot of walking on concrete.
Others found the flatness of the footbed was painful on their arches and suggested adding an insole to the bed of the boot.
- This boot can be worn on either the left or right foot and comes in three styles and a variety of sizes.
- The shell is sturdy but lined with adjustable air cells for customizable comfort and support.
- The sole has rubber treads for stability and a rocker bottom sole to assist a natural walking gait.
- This boot is much more affordable than a similar style from a doctor’s office.
- Some found the sizing of this boot difficult to estimate—the consensus is that it runs a bit small.
- Others had issues with areas of the boot poking and causing discomfort or the air cells losing air during the day.
With the reputation of Aircast and the many positive reviews to back it up, you really can’t go wrong with trying this when looking for the best shoes to wear after foot surgery.
The Aircast AirSelect Walker Brace/Walking Boot would work for a variety of foot, ankle, and leg issues.
6. Alegria Women’s Alli Flat
A bit different from the other shoes in the line-up, this flat from Alegria is a right shoe that has some comfortable features. This could make it to one of the best shoes after foot surgery for 2021.
This shoe comes in four leather colors and a variety of whole and half sizes. The leather is stain-resistant and easy to keep clean. The footbed is a mix of cork, memory foam, and leather-covered latex.
The outsole is made of polyurethane and features slip-resistance and a rocker bottom.
Many wearers found the roomy toe box and supportive sole of these shoes to be perfect for standing on their feet all day and recovering from toe injuries.
Another benefit they found from wearing the Alegria Women’s Alli Flat shoes was to wear them at the same time with a recovery type boot.
The platform sole of the shoe kept both feet at the same level and prevented hip and back issues due to an uneven stance.
- These shoes come in four colors and a variety of half and full sizes.
- The leather uppers are easy to care for, and the cork and memory foam soles are comfortable and supportive.
- The rocker bottom sole helps in a natural gait.
- The toe box is wide and roomy.
- The platform of these shoes would be an excellent fit for an uninjured foot in tandem with a walking boot.
- These shoes will not offer enough comfort or support for severe foot or ankle injuries or recoveries.
- Some found that the insole wore away more quickly than the rest of the shoe.
This looks like a great everyday shoe for ready to get into “regular” again after surgery on your toes or feet. However, it probably won’t be a good fit for your bandaged foot right after surgery.
7. Complete Medical Slimline Cast Boot
The Complete Medical Slimline Cast Black Square Toe Boot is similar to some of the other models in this list.
However, it has a notable exception—this boot is more conducive to recoveries involving the ankle than the boots that stop below the ankle.
It has the same square toe design featured in similar models, which allows plenty of room for the bandage and protects the toes from re-injury.
There’s a rocker sole and 10mm of padding in the removable EVA sole, although some reviewers did mention that the footbed was a bit hard and uncomfortable.
Amongst users, there were mostly positive experiences with this boot.
Many users liked how low-profile the boot was, especially when it’s accompanying an already large and bulky cast.
- This boot can be worn on either the right or the left foot.
- It features ankle support for recoveries that require it.
- The straps are adjustable to find the perfect fit.
- The rocker sole also offers to pad for the foot.
- This boot may not offer enough padding on the sole, especially if the user is not in a hard cast.
- This may be the right choice for a hard cast, but may not be enough to heal or prevent injury in a softer bandaging situation.
If you’ve got a large, bulky cast that requires protection and reinforcement over the ankle, or if you’re looking for a low-profile boot that can offer some stabilization when almost recovered from a foot or ankle injury, this would be worth considering!
What to Look Before Buying Shoes to Wear After Foot Surgery
After foot surgery, you will need more support than usual. There are good house shoes that can provide the support, but for your situation, so a more rigid one better fits the bill.
The material of the uppers should not be the most rigid area. You will still benefit from a breathable, soft upper material.
For the uppers, the rigidity should come from the laces or straps that allow you to get a secure fit over the top of your foot, without irritating your feet. A rigid toe box could be helpful, as long as it fits properly.
The toe box may need to be more extensive than what you wore before surgery. There should be a quarter to half an inch of space between the end of your toe and the end of the shoe.
A heel cup will be a necessary area for rigidity. A solid heel cup will keep your foot from slipping and sliding within the shoe.
The sole of the shoes best for after foot surgery will be supportive, comfortable, and comprehensive for stability.
The outsole should be of a durable material that has traction features to keep you from slipping on wet or smooth surfaces. The heel of the outsole should be nice and wide to provide stability and support. Ideally, there should be close to an inch of heel lift in the outsole.
The insole of the shoe needs to either be of a supportive material like memory foam or gel or have space to add an orthotic insert for support.
Above all, these shoes need to be comfortable! You may need to buy a bigger size than you wore pre-surgery to be able to handle the swelling that comes.
Everyone usually has one foot that is slightly bigger than the other. When shoe shopping, always buy shoes that fit the larger foot. Don’t be tied to a specific size—all brands are different.
Find a shoe that offers plenty of room in the toe box that doesn’t slip off the heel, and that doesn’t press in any way on the top of the foot.
Try on shoes in the afternoon as opposed to the morning, as your feet will generally swell throughout the day.
As mentioned above, some removable insole that uses gel or memory foam could be helpful support after foot surgery. Removability ensures that if that insert doesn’t fit well, you can take it out and find one that does.
A rocker bottom outsole may help instability and strengthening of the leg muscles. Treads on the outsole can help with stability on wet or slippery surfaces.
You need comfortable with durable shoes after your surgery. This is an essential factor, especially since you may be using these shoes exclusively in the months following surgery.
The upper should be sturdy enough to withstand lots of wear and tear. Leather or a faux leather material will be very sturdy, but may not be as comfortable as mesh.
The outsole should also be durable. Polyurethane or rubber are two materials that can be used to make supportive and durable soles that won’t wear away in a couple of weeks.
This aspect goes hand in hand with comfort as one of the most critical elements of the best shoes to wear after foot surgery. The support for the shoe has two aspects—what’s going on with the outsole, and what is going on with the insole.
On the outsole, a sturdy material, a slight heel lift, and a wide heel bottom will all help with support.
In the insole, you’ll want a semi-rigid heel cup, and supportive but shock-absorbing material like gel or foam in the insole, and a wide toe box towards the front of the foot.
When you are recovering from foot surgery, you don’t need steel toe shoes. A good pair of shoe that provides the support your foot needs is more than enough.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the best style for a shoe to wear after foot surgery?
A. Depending on what point you’re in your recovery, different styles will be better than others.
If you’re in a structured, hard cast, a soft fabric boot with Velcro straps will suffice to protect the cast and offer some padding between you and the ground.
After the cast removed or if you need stabilization with the cast, a structured air boot or wide toe box shoe would be the best style for you.
Q. What are some of the best brands of shoes to wear after surgery?
Q. Do I need to wear socks with shoes after surgery?
A. If you have a cast, don’t wear a sock with a walking shoe after surgery.
If you are wearing shoes without a cast, socks are recommended. Many people find it helpful to wear socks that come above the top of the shoe or boot for comfort.
Q. What should I do if I need shoes to wear during summer after surgery?
A. There are many roomy, open-toe options for shoes for hot-weather climates. Check out one of those for the support and a squared toe box that will allow airflow but also protect the foot.
Q. Are there waterproof shoes to wear after surgery?
A. Many waterproof shoes or shoes can get wet that can be worn, depending on what condition your feet are in.
If your foot is still in a bandage or cast, you can buy a plastic protection sleeve to be worn around your boot and cast in wet conditions.
Foot surgeries and injuries are no fun, but the minute your procedure is over, you can start the healing process and look forward to increased mobility and strength.
An essential part of the healing process is resting the injured areas, but sometimes the demands of life require us to still be on our feet even when it’s not ideal.
Thankfully, supportive shoes and boots can stabilize the foot and keep us healing even when we’re on the move. You don’t need shoes for long-distance walks just yet; focus on your recovery by choosing any of the shoes mentioned here.