Dr. Hoopes Recommended Shoes by Shoe Type

toe box comparison

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How to decide which shoes to buy and what to look for in a good shoe.

More great lists by biomechanics specilist, Katy Bowman

 Men

 Women

 “Foot-shape”

Notes

Road Running

Best
Altra: All models
Altra: All models
 Best
Lems: Primal
Lems: Primal
 Best
Perhaps the best shape of any shoe, ever (besides toe-shoes)
Merrell: Vapor Glove, Bare Access 4
Merrell: Vapor Glove, Bare Access 4
 Good
 Toe box too narrow
Vivobarefoot: Road Series
Vivobarefoot: Road Series
 Better
Could have more room for the small toes
ZEMgear: All Models
Topo Athletic: All Models
Skora: All models
ZEMgear: All Models
Topo Athletic: All Models
Skora: All Models
 Better
Better
Good
Might wear out quickly
Maker of Five Fingers
Toe box too narrow

Trail Running

Altra: All models
 Altra: All models
 Best
Merrell: Trail Glove
 Merrell: Trail Glove
 Better
New Balance: Minimus Trail
VivobarefootOff-road Series
.
Lalo Mens
New Balance: Minimus Trail
Vivobarefoot: Off-road Series
.
Lalo Womens
 Best
 Better
.
.
Good
.
.
.
.
Need less heel and more space for big toe.
Vibram Five Fingers: All Models
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Casual/Around the town

Altra Desert Boot
Feelmax
: Minimalist Shoes
.
Otz Shoes
Olukai: Nohea Moku, Nohea Lace Mesh
Xero Shoes: Ipari Hana
Adidas Cloudfoam Ultra Zen Cross Trainer
Adidas Zen Plus Recovery
Vibram Five Fingers: All Models
br

br

.
Feelmax
: Minimalist Shoes
.
Otz Paso

.

Overall Best
.

.

Best
 Best
.

.

.
.
Good

br

.

Extreme minimalist
.
.
.
.
Extreme minimalist
.
.

Formal Dress

Senmotic Fine Black (and all other models)
Birkenstock Dress Shoes
Scarba, CorvallisHarris (pictures), Duma (pictures)
VivoBarefoot
: Lifestyle Series
on amazon.com
Senmotic Benita (and all other models)
.
.
Vivobarefoot
: Lifestyle Series
on amazon.com
Best
.
.
Better
Patagonia: “Honeycomb-sole” models only
Pau, Loulu, Banyan, Sitka

 

br
br
GH Bass: (Models w/ wide toe box below ONLY) Bradshaw SlipOn, Delancy Boot
 Good
br
Good
br
Excessive heel height
br
Excessive heel height
br
LemsNine2Five
.
Merrell Encore
.
.
.
Merrell Encore
.
 Best
br
Better / Good
br
br
 br
Excessive heel height, women’s too narrow

Casual Dress

Lems: Boulder Boot
Lems: Boulder Boot
 Best
Altra: Instinct Everyday
Altra: Intuition Everyday
 Better
VivoBarefoot: Lifestyle Series
on amazon.com
Patagonia: Banyan
.
Otz Paso
Vivobarefoot: Lifestyle Series
on amazon.com
br
Cabela’s: Oxford, Buckle, Slip-On
.
 Better
Good
Good
br
br
br
Excessive heel height
.
Sanuk: All Loafers Kyoto, Chiba, Vagabond, etc
 Better
OP Loafers – Surfer-type Slip-ons (Imitation Sanuk cheaper and
better in some ways!):
Canvas, Casual, Mocassin, Lightweight
Best
New Balance: Minimus Leather
 Best
BornMilton, Alpert, Quentin, Carsten, Sandor
br
br
Ecco: Biom Series ONLY, Biom Lite
br
GH Bass: (Models w/ wide toe box below ONLY) Darla SlipOnMeridian Clog
br
 Good
Good
br
Good
Excessive heel height
Excessive heel height
br
Toe box narrow

Cross Training

Reebok Crossfit Acceptable Models
also on Amazon
br
Lalo Mens
 

Golf

Reebok Crossfit Acceptable Models
also on Amazon
br
Lalo Womens
 
Better
br
br
Good
Only models on links
br
br
Need less heel and more space for big toe.
Adidas Puremotion
Vivobarefoot 
Hybrid (old model), Linx (new model)
Best
Better
Barefoot BERBS: General Info,
Black Bear, Polar, Kodiak
General Info
Black BearPanda, Teddy
br
 Best
True Linkswear: Stealth
Kids Golf Shoe: Dawgs
 Better
Good

Military Spec

General Info about the Belleville Mini-Mil Series
Videos on the benefits of Minimalist Boots
Belleville 
101 Tan, 102 Black, 103 Green
Transition Boot: 111 Desert Tan115 Coyote Tan
br
Lalo Mens (OK, not milspec, but created by a former Seal)
br
br
br
br
Lalo Womens
 Better
br
br
br
Good
 br
br
br
br
br
Need less heel and more space for big toe.

Work Boots

Keen: Steel toe options
br

Warrington:
Steel toe Firefighter boot, (Better Pictures)
Georgia Boots: Only the following models
Hammer HD Composite Toe Mid
Hammer HD Composite Toe High

 

 Better
br
br
 Better
Milwaukee model has worked well for my patients
br
br

Cycling

Bont
All models including Road, Mountain, Triathlon

Cleats

CustomCleats.com (Take any shoes from this list and they will make them into cleats in a couple of weeks!)
 Best

Kids Shoes

The best shoes for kids: NO Shoes!
Plae
Kid O Fit
Various shoes at Walmart (surprisingly!)
Casual Loafer, Athletic Shoes (another), Sandal
Nerf Water Shoes
Reebok Nano
Skidders
Momo
.
The best shoes for kids: NO Shoes!
Plae
Kid O Fit
br
br
br
Reebok Nano
Skidders 
Momo
.
By far the BEST
Best
Best
Casual loafers: Best
Others: Better
Best
Better
Best
Better/Best
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Baby and toddler shoes

Some great articles by Dr. William Rossi on the poor design of most shoes

Why Shoes Make Normal Gait Impossible
Footwear: The primary cause of Foot Disorders
Childrens Footwear: Launching Site for Adult Foot Ills
br

Classic Article from 1905 on how shoes can alter foot shape and mechanics

Hoffman 1905 Article from JBJS
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More web sites with lists of good “foot-shaped” shoes

Wear Tested by Nick Pang
Northwest Foot & Ankle, Ray McClanahan, DPM
br

Information on what to look for in a good shoe

Mark Cucuzella MD on children’s shoes
More tips on kids shoewear: Kangaroo Fitness
Natural Running Center: tons of info on shoes & good running form
br
br
Brand Physiologic Foot Shape Zero-Drop Heel/Toe (Good) Sole Padding (less usually better) Formal Styles available   Price Web Site & Notes
Altra ★★★★ Variable Casual $$ – $$$$ altrazerodrop.com                                    Unless Specified otherwise by Dr. Hoopes, look for models with less cushioning.
Lems ★★★ Variable Casual $$$$ lemsshoes.com
Merrell-Glove Series ★★★   Little, Variable Casual $$$$ merrell.com
Vivobarefoot ★★★ None Many $$$$ vivobarefoot.com
New Balance Minimus ★★★ Little $$$ joesnewbalanceoutlet.com                      Model 10v2 Trail and any shoe based on the NL-1 last.For basketball: Minimus Cross-Training
Patagonia (Honeycomb sole models only) ★★ Yes Many $$$$ patagonia.com                                            ONLY good models: Pau, Loulu, Banyan
Sanuk ★★★    Almost Some Casual $$ sanuk.com
Imitation Sanuk ★★★★ Little Casual $ Go to local Wal-Mart. “Sanuk-style” ONLY. They are better than real Sanuk in terms of foot health, but a step down in quality.
Keen ★★ Yes Casual $$$$ keenfootwear.com                                   Has steel toe options.
Vibram Five Fingers ★★★★★ Variable $$ – $$$ vibramfivefingers.com                          Possibly the best “shoe” ever, but you might get made fun of.
Topo Athletic ★★★ Almost Variable $$$$ topoathletic.com
Crocs (clogs only) ★★★ Yes $$ – $$$ crocs.com                                                    Only the clogs are good enough to make this list, unfortunately.
Primal Professional ★★★ Very Little Formal Only $$$$$$ theprimalprofessional.com                      Men’s only, very formal.
Kids Shoes
Kid O Fit ★★★★ None (Good!) $$ kidofit.com                                                  Kids only.
Plae ★★★★ None (Good!) $$ goplae.com                                                 Kids only.