Best Shoes for Shuffling Gait for Elderly and Dancers

by jacky chou
Updated on

As an elderly citizen having the right shoes is vital because falling has higher stakes than before. Most of the time, just one fall is enough to send you to the ER, and it might be because of a balancing issue as a result of the shoe you are wearing in relation to the ground you are on. Getting orthopedic shoes that are supportive and look good on you is the reason why we are here for you today. We have a list of the best shoes for shuffling gait patients to protect them from injury. But, first, let us understand what shuffling gait is.

What is Shuffling Gait?

In medicine, shuffling gait is when a person drags their feet as they walk, often taking many tiny steps. Shuffling gait may result from underlying conditions such as Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, dementia, muscular coordination, changes in orientation or depth perception. These conditions may lead to physical changes in one's body or perception of reality.

The body may tend to be arched forward in some cases, leading to imbalance, which may shift the body's center of gravity. To avoid any accidents that may result, doctors recommend shuffling gait shoes as the best balance shoes. Unfortunately, shoes for shuffling gait may be hard to come by, and it is hard to know which one to choose from because of the high stakes involved. Therefore, we will suggest the best shoes for shuffling gaits that you should go for when you need one.

5 Best Shoes for Shuffling Gait

1) Skechers Performance Women's Go Walking Shoes

Skechers Women's Go Walk Joy Sneaker, Navy/White, 9
  • Lightweight and responsive 5Gen midsole cushioning
  • Skechers Air Cooled Goga Mat breathable insole with high-rebound cushioning
  • Breathable athletic engineered mesh upper
  • Flexible traction outsole
  • Machine washable, air dry

Sketchers have made a name in the shoe world for good reasons. Skechers make shoes that will fit the exact foot shape, but they make shoes built for comfort and functionality. The Skechers performance shoes are such kinds of shoes that are perfect for anyone looking for shuffling gait shoes. In addition, the shoes have a lightweight and flexible build quality that will not wear the patient down.

Sketchers have come a long way in their shoe technology that they know what best fits the needs of everyone needing a shoe. With great arch support, there will be no strain on the back, and the shoes have a snug fit that increases the comfort by a huge margin. As a result, these Skechers performance shoes might be the best shoes for shuffling gait that one can get for daily use.

  • Pros
  • Lightweight shoes
  • Great arch support
  • Best shoes within the affordable price range
  • Trustworthy brand
  • Cons
  • The shoes are not waterproof.

2) Skechers Men Afterburn

Skechers Sport Men's Afterburn M. Fit Wonted Loafer,gray/black,11 M US
  • Slip-on
  • Leather and synthetic mesh upper
  • Skechers Memory Foam comfort insole
  • Flexible rubber traction outsole
  • Articu-Lyte shock-absorbing supportive flexible midsole

Skechers have made it to the list again because of their excellence in the shoes they make. The Sketchers for men afterburn series are all-rounded shoes that offer maximum comfort for anyone with a shuffling gait. In addition, Skechers is known for features like the external tpu heel counter and slick soled shoes, making them the best shoe designers in the market.

The afterburn shoes have a synthetic sole for maximum comfort. The shoes further have padded collars to reduce the friction between the foot and the shoe. They are your best bet towards a comfortable recovery.

  • Pros
  • Memory foam insole for increased comfort
  • Slip-on closure design
  • Leather upper for additional comfort and warmth
  • Many reviews
  • Thick sole for shock absorption
  • Cons
  • The shoes are a bit bulky.

3) New Balance Shoes

New Balance womens 813 V1 Hook and Loop Walking Shoe, White, 7 X-Wide US
  • 13 mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to 13 mm drop are approximate
  • Hook and loop closure provides a custom fit without laces
  • Leather upper
  • Medicare / HCPCS code = A5500, may be eligible for Medicare reimbursement
  • Soft comfort collar

These New Balance shoes are made with patients in mind. The shoes have a Medicare reimbursement that can be given to the owner. The shoes are comfy and easy to wear for people who have to use the shoes for shuffling gait. The shoes have a hook and loop that allow for a custom fit. In addition, the shoes have a comfort collar that keeps you comfortable on your feet all day.

  • Pros
  • Comfortable rubber shoes
  • Custom-fit
  • Soft comfort collar
  • Soft rubber sole
  • Cons
  • The shoes do not have a heel collar.

4) Vibram Shoes

The shoe is as exciting as the name. The shoe takes after the shape of toes and feet to ensure a natural step every time you are on your feet. The shoes are vegan, and the best part about them is that they are machine washable. This is a huge factor because people with shuffling gait use the shoes daily to help them move around. Being able to wash the shoes and dry them up faster for continuous use.

  • Pros
  • Machine washable
  • Lightweight
  • Vegan
  • Natural step
  • Cons
  • The shoes are not easy to slip on

5) Under Armour Women's Hovr

Under Armour womens Hovr Infinite 3 Running Shoe, Black (002 White, 8.5 US
  • Engineered mesh upper is extremely lightweight & breathable, with strategic support where you need it
  • Internal heel counter for additional support that helps keep the back of the foot locked-in place
  • Die-cut, full-length EVA sockliner molds to the foot, eliminating slippage & providing ideal underfoot comfort
  • Anatomically placed, deep flex grooves offer proper flexibility in key areas
  • Carbon rubber pods under the heel deliver greater traction & durability at high-impact strike zones

Under Armour is a brand that has held many top spots in the shoe industry. Under Armour women's Hovr is a special edition with deep flex grooves that offer flexibility in the right places. The shoes feature carbon-rubber outsole rods to give more traction and durability in high activity areas. In addition, the shoes are anatomically placed and comfortable for shuffle dancing shoes. The shoes are all you need if you are a dancer or have a patient with a shuffling gait.

  • Pros
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Deep flex groves
  • Carbon rubber pods
  • Anatomically placed
  • Cons
  • The shoes do not have a heel collar.

Important Features to Check for When Buying Shuffling Gait Shoes

When buying shuffling gait shoes, you can not afford to make the tiniest mistake. The walking shoes for shuffling gait have to get every aspect right for the wearer's safety. The shoes must have the right dimensions, grip, height and more. Here are some features you must consider when buying shuffling gait shoes.

a) Heel Height

If you walk up the stairs, and one staircase is an inch higher, you will trip. This is proof that the brain makes calculations based on the environment and direct experience. If the shoes feature a slightly higher sole than a normal shoe would have, there is trouble breeding. The best shoes for shuffling gait have the primary role of avoiding a fall, and a high heel collar will be bad for the wearer.

Most people with shuffling gait have a forward lean. The forward lean is one of the reasons they need the shoes to avoid falling due to the shifted center of gravity. If the heel is high, the body's center of gravity will be pushed further outward, increasing the risk of falling. Therefore, the walking shoe will pose a high risk to the wearer.

The sole plays a major role in arch support. How you stand directly affects the pressure applied on the backbone. If the backbone is strained, there is more danger to wearing the shoes. Therefore, the best walking shoes have to consider the lumbar support system as one of the primary factors considered during the design stage.

b) Cushioning and Comfort

Comfortable shoes will encourage more walking and more activity. In addition, shoes with a memory foam insole will reduce ankle pain and enable the patient to move around more freely than wearing uncomfortable shoes. However, shuffling shoes are made with many adjustments that may make it hard to achieve the desired comfort. That is why we have carefully selected shoes you should buy for a patient if you have one.

The comfort does not end at the insole. The tongue and heel collar need to be padded. A padded collar will reduce the strain that may lead to ankle pain. The wrong shoes will lead to more disaster than you already try to avoid. Running shoes often have clinical-level design because of the science of how the body works. Shuffling gait shoes have to be treated with similar importance or more.

c) Fit

Have you ever worn a pair of poorly fitting shoes? That would be the worst day of your life. If the shoes are too tight, your feet will burn with pain. If the shoes are just half an inch wide, you will feel like dropping them in the next bin you find because of the annoying discomfort. But, on the other hand, a patient with a shuffling gait needs to have their feet locked just precisely.

With correctly fitting shoes, the patient will walk on wet or rough surfaces with ease. In addition, falling will no longer be a major concern because the shoes will not allow it. Correctly fitting shoes include a roomy toe box, correct heel-to-toe drop, correct height, and a perfectly snug heel cup.

A patient with a shuffle gait will develop blisters if the shoes do not fit correctly. When you wear shoes, there is a lot of friction that is bound to happen on any moving parts. Imagine wearing shuffle dancing shoes that do not fit, and think of the disaster that would take place in such a situation. Foot pain will develop sooner than you would think if you had shoes that do not fit. If you have to fit an internal heel counter, do so to increase the comfort and fit.

The first time you wear shoes, especially if you like them, they always seem to fit. Many have fallen for this brain trick that makes you overlook imperfections. Before buying a pair, let the patient wear them for at least five minutes to get a feel and have correct judgment. That is a trick you can also use the next time you buy shoes.

d) Flexible Rubber Sole

This is a tricky one because there are a lot of factors to consider when dealing with the sole of a patient with a shuffling gait. Once you get the foot locked, the next consideration is how the feet move inside the shoes. Well, the answer quickly becomes getting shoes with a rubber outsole. While that is a good proposition, there are some downsides to getting very flexible shoes.

There might be a challenge with muscle activity in patients with shuffling gait. For this reason, very flexible soles will not be ideal because they involve a lot of muscle movement. Thick hard soles are no good either. The best rubber soles to get would be hard, thin soles. The soles do not have to be very hard, of course, because they might lead to swollen feet.

e) Other Features

Other features increase comfort in the pair of shoes you or the patient will wear. Deep flex grooves increase the comfort when in high mobility, such as running. Your body balance will be better than using shoes without deep flex grooves. A soft fabric lining on the inside of the shoes will ensure that your ankles are not in pain and your feet are moving freely inside the shoes. The foot pressure will be reduced or relieved, increasing comfort at all times.

The breathable mesh upper ensures sweaty feet remain dry at all times. Patients with shuffling gait need to be in shoes for shuffling gait almost always to keep them safe. With long periods of wearing the shoes, the breathable lining and the engineered mesh upper come in handy to keep the feet fresh at all times. There is a chance that patients will wear the same shoes for long periods. Know whether you are going for a shoe with a leather upper or breathable fabric.

Each shoe in pair should be lightweight to avoid plantar fasciitis, significant toe arthritis, swollen feet, and other conditions. A snug fit and a good grip make a versatile shoe with the back-movement performance of a tennis shoe while keeping the forward movement comfortable. Slip-on shoes will accommodate swollen feet with easy wearing and removal. The foot shape will not cause much trouble, and the shoes will further accommodate custom orthotics.

Final Take

Shoes have a huge impact every time you are on your feet. Shoes can make or break your physical health. If you are a dancer or someone who has a shuffling gait, the best shoes for you are well thought out. You can get diabetic velcro shoes, removable sock liner, upper mesh technology with compression mesh energy web with sufficient toe-box, and more. The best shoes are out there for you.

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jacky chou


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