Best Shoes for Ankle Pain

Lateral stability and support for injury prevention.

Updated on May 3, 2024

What is Ankle Pain?

Ankle pain is any discomfort or soreness felt in any of the tendons, ligaments, or bones of the ankle joint. Ankle pain has many causes and can happen for many varied reasons.

If you are experiencing ankle pain, you may feel pain, stiffness, or swelling anywhere in or around the ankle joint. Depending upon the severity of your pain, you may not be able to bear weight or walk without crutches.

Knowing the cause of your ankle pain can help you know the best possible way to treat your symptoms. Choosing the best shoes for ankle pain will help your feet and ankles get the support they need, all while easing your painful symptoms.

In addition, improving ankle mobility and strength can help alleviate ankle pain, and foot circle exercises are a great way to achieve this. To learn how to perform these exercises and incorporate them into your daily routine, check out the video below. With the right shoes and regular exercise, you can effectively manage your ankle pain and improve your overall foot health.

  • Man wearing KURU KALA comfortable flip-flips at the beach.

Most Common Causes & Risk Factors

There are many different causes of ankle pain. The most common causes are ankle injuries, arthritis, tendonitis, and normal wear and tear. Knowing the causes and risk factors can help you better understand how to prevent and treat ankle pain.

Common Causes of Ankle Pain:

• Achilles tendonitis or tendon rupture
• Arthritis
• Ankle sprain
• Broken bones in feet
• Flat feet
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Peroneal Tendonitis
• Stress fractures

Common Risk Factors of Ankle Pain:

  • Exercising Too Much, Too Fast
    There’s a reason experts recommend starting slow when you begin a new exercise program.Attempting advanced workouts as a beginner puts you at a higher risk of an ankle sprain or injury.
    Exercising Too Much, Too Fast
  • Muscle and Ligament Fatigue
    Ankle injuries are much more common when you are tired. As you near the end of your workout, your muscles and ligaments are tired. Listen to your body. You might need to pause for a quick rest instead of pushing through.
    Muscle and Ligament Fatigue
  • Skipping the Warmup
    A gentle warmup before working out does wonders for your muscles and ligaments. Even just a few minutes of dynamic stretching or walking helps prevent injury by warming up your body, helping to relieve tightness and increasing flexibility.
    Skipping the Warmup
  • Weight
    Carrying excess body weight can put added stress on your joints, increasing your risk of injury.
    Weight

Symptoms & Diagnosis

As with any medical condition, it is always best to make an appointment with your doctor to get a formal assessment and diagnosis of ankle pain.

That said, there are a few common symptoms people experience when suffering from ankle pain that might help you know when it’s time to visit the doctor:

  • Pain in the ankle joint
  • Swelling and bruising in the ankle and/or foot
  • Ankle instability
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Pain when bearing weight/inability to bear weight

For a few tips on conservative treatments you can try at home, check out our Ankle Pain Treatment section below.

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Facts and Stats

We take a look at some facts and stats you might not have known about ankle pain. Read on to find out more!

  • More than one million people visit the emergency room each year because of ankle injuries.
  • Ankle sprains are the most common ankle injury. Every day in the United States, 25,000 people sprain their ankle.
  • When it comes to ankle sprains, your age and gender play a role. Females over the age of 30 are more prone to ankle injuries than their male counterparts, while males between 15–24 are more prone to ankle injuries than their female counterparts.
  • The best way to prevent ankle injury or pain is to maintain strength, balance, and flexibility in the legs, feet, and ankles.

Treatment

The causes of ankle pain vary, and there are many different treatment options that may help ease ankle pain and discomfort. As always, talk with your doctor about the best possible treatment options for you.

  • Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE)
    In many cases, pain caused by injury can be treated with conservative, self care. Simple measures such as keeping weight off the ankle, icing the painful area for 10–15 minutes three times a day, using a compression bandage to prevent swelling, and elevating the ankle above the heart can help ease your ankle pain.
    Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE)
  • Over-the-Counter Medications
    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve ankle pain and help reduce swelling and inflammation.
    Over-the-Counter Medications
  • Ankle Stabilization
    An ankle brace can help stabilize your foot and ankle, relieve pain, and help prevent further injury.
    Ankle Stabilization
  • Physical Theraphy
    No matter the cause of your ankle pain, a customized physical therapy plan may help reduce your ankle pain by strengthening the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your lower leg and ankle.
    Physical Theraphy
  • Steroid Injections
    If needed, your doctor can inject anti-inflammatory medication directly into the ankle joint to help reduce pain.
    Steroid Injections
  • Surgery
    For some, surgical intervention is a good option for treating ankle pain by repairing torn ligaments or tendons.
    Surgery
  • Supportive Shoes
    Whether you are an athlete or not, you need to choose shoes that will give your feet and ankles the support they need. Avoid shoes without arch support and shoes that are too tight or put the foot in an unnatural position, such as high heels.
    Supportive Shoes

FAQs

  • Can shoes cause ankle pain?

    Yes! Ill-fitting shoes (shoes that are too loose, too tight, or not supportive) can cause pain in the feet and ankles.

    When shoes don’t give your feet the support they need or force your foot into an unnatural or uncomfortable position, it puts added stress on the bones, ligaments and tendons in both the ankles and feet. If you find that your shoes aggravate your ankle pain, it might be time to find a shoe that gives your ankles the support they need.

  • What are the best shoes for ankle pain?

    When it comes to supportive shoes, sometimes we think the more cushion the better. However, too much cushion without enough support puts even more stress on the bones, ligaments and tendons in your ankle joint.

    For the best ankle support, choose a shoe with a supportive insole that has adequate arch support. This will keep your foot and ankle in the most natural position and prevent your ankle from over pronation (rolling inward more than it should) or under pronation (rolling outward more than it should). For back of ankle pain, shoes without a back can help that area heal without added pressure.

    KURU has created some of the most comfortable shoes for ankle pain with increased support in the arch and heel to give you the most support and comfort possible.

  • What are the best shoes for peroneal tendonitis?

    Peroneal tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon that runs along the outside of the ankle and foot. The best shoes for peroneal tendonitis have plenty of cushion and good arch support along with a supportive heel cup to give total heel and ankle support without restricting movement.

    KURU footwear is a smart choice for this condition, which includes our KURUCLOUD midsole. Made of lightweight EVA foam to absorb shock and diffuse the impact of each step, this foundation provides long-lasting comfort for all-day wear even when standing for prolonged periods or walking on hard surfaces.

  • What is posterior tibial tendonitis?

    Posterior tibial tendonitis happens when there is inflammation or tearing in the posterior tibial tendon. The posterior tibial tendon helps support your foot, holding up the arch, as you walk. Inflammation or injury to this tendon may lead to flat feet, as the tendon is no longer able to support the arch of the foot.

    The best shoes for posterior tibial tendonitis have a stiff sole that helps give the bottoms of your feet a rest and provide relief from painful symptoms.

Three Layers of Support

At KURU, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to shoe design. We believe that shoes should be shaped to fit the natural contours of your feet, which is why we create every pair in three distinct support layers, not just an insole.

 

Our revolutionary ergonomic design starts with a curved footbed and adds unparalleled triple-layer support that includes shock-absorbing KURUCLOUD, heel-cupping KURUSOLE, and arch-supporting ULTIMATE INSOLES. The result? Shoes that are so comfortable you’ll stop thinking about your feet.

  • 1

    KURUSOLE

  • 2

    KURUCLOUD

  • 3

    ULTIMATE INSOLE

  • How KURU brings relief

    KURUSOLE

    Our patented KURUSOLE protects and stabilizes the heel and provides dynamic flexion with each step. This plate extends from the arch to wrap around the heel—but not under it—to support and leverage your heel’s natural cushioning system: the fat pad.

Our Secret

Animated GIF showing KURUSOLE tech in KURU shoes vs. typical flat interiors for plantar fasciitis pain.
Why Others Love KURU

Why Others Love KURU

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ratings.

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Great shoes! I have chronic ankle pain due to past injuries from an upper ankle ligament tear. While surgery helped it didn’t take away all the pain. I have tried various shoes (some helped and some didn’t) and have also tried medical custom arch supports that are twice as much as these shoes and only last a few months. This makes it very difficult to find shoes that I can wear that don’t cause more pain in my ankles. The heel support in these shoes have been exactly what I needed.

Jimmy C.

Best sneaker ever. I have arthritis in my feet/ankles. Also have flat feet and over pronate which are a big issue with some of the arch support in most shoes. I saw these and thought I would give them a try especially with the wonderful return policy. I’ve had them for 2 weeks and followed the directions about length of wearing each day, etc. They are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I now wear them all day completely free of pain. I walk every day and can’t believe how good my feet feel. Absolutely the best and I am so glad I took the chance and bought them. And one thing that really makes these sneakers work for me is the way the heel is made…it’s also supportive and just makes wearing these a real pleasure.”

Patricia S

Love these sandals! So comfy. Bought these because I needed a comfortable sandal to wear with shorts and around the house without worrying about ankle pain. These were perfect! There is just enough heel height to truly support my heel and maintain ankle stability.”

Nancy W.

Best shoe I’ve ever worn. Fits perfectly, super supportive, and looks fantastic. I have high arches and my heal curves/twists in when I walk. This shoe is strong enough to limit the twist and keeps my gait straight without hurting my leg and ankle . The shoe offers great support during a vigorous workout and is also really lightweight. Love them!”

Kathlene B.

The perfect shoe. I’m very active, and I bought these shoes after sustaining ankle/foot injuries that left me with chronic pain that interferes with activities. Kuru does not oversell the support of their shoes! The insoles support and stabilize my arches and heels so well that it alleviates most of the pain from the injuries. These shoes have saved me spending hundreds of dollars on custom orthotics. And they’re classically understated and go with everything. I love the limited edition olive green! (Thank you for making the men’s shoes in small sizes).”

Dr Kat

Best gym shoe ever. I have been struggling with shoes. I take cardio and kettlebell classes and mix in some “nature walks” and my feet have been SCREAMING daily. I have a Morton’s Neuroma and arthritis in both ankles from previous fractures and subsequent surgeries. Since Michigan reopened, I have once again stepped up my fitness routine, and have tried probably 12 different sneakers – many brands and styles. I had settled on a pair that was “almost” good. I finally decided to try these, given the good reviews, though I hadn’t heard of them before last month. I immediately bought another pair, so that I can swap on and off. I can’t get enough of how comfortable they are, and how pain free my feet have been since making the switch. Wish they were a bit more stylish, though. I feel a bit like a granny or something, but I guess I’ll survive. Comfort is 15/10. Style is 3/10. I’ll take it. I don’t wear them on my outings – unfortunately, the desire to be stylish does leave me wanting to leave them at home for my upcoming vacation. Side note – everyone will be getting a pair for Christmas!”

Amanda C

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Recommended Shoes for Ankle Pain

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