So you have a bunion.
Finding trail shoes that fit and are comfortable is a challenge in itself.
Choosing a hiking boot when you have a bunion or are prone to them is worse.
We know this because we have bunions too; even the founder of this site has a bunion!
So helping you find the right footwear is
Now then...get ready, because you're about to discover the best hiking boots and shoes for bunions.
Leather and textile
Leather and synthetic
Pu Coated Leather/ Suede / Mesh
Table of Contents
- 1 Bunions and How to Choose the Right Footwear
- 2 Full Review: Women's Best Hiking Footwear for Bunions
- 3 Full Review: Men's Best Hiking Footwear for Bunions
- 4 WINNERS: Our Picks for the Best Hiking Boots & Shoes For Bunions
Bunions and How to Choose the Right Footwear
Bunions and Bunionettes
A bunion is a lump at the joint of your big toe that occurs when bone or tissue at the bottom of the toe is moved out of place. This happens as a result of abnormal motion and pressure on the joint. Without the right shoes or boots, your bunion will cause you a lot of pain and discomfort walking to the next room, not to mention how it will feel on a five (or ten) mile hike.
Similar to a bunion is a bunionette, also called a tailor’s bunion. A bunionette will occur at the outside of the foot at the base of your little toe. Having a bunionette will cause you similar challenges to a bunion. With the wrong shoes, a hike with a bunionette can quickly turn unpleasant.
The key then, is finding the right footwear. But what makes footwear “right” when you have a bunion (or bunionette)?
Best Boot Features for Bunions
To get started, we will talk about a few features that are key when choosing a hiking boot that will keep you on the trails regardless of bunions.
Wide Toe Box
If you have bunions or bunionettes look for a boot with a wide toe box with depth. With such a boot, your toes won’t be squished and pressure won’t be put on your bunion. Many hiking boots are made with a wide toe box and there are also brands that offer a “wide” boot along with their “regular” width version. This is what you want to keep your eyes out for.
The toe box is the area of the shoe or boot where your toes are. A wide toe box will offer you comfort, especially when wearing them while active for a long period of time. This is because your toes will be able to move around and won’t feel cramped. The wide toe box will also help your balance, as they will have a larger platform that offers additional support.
Whether you have a bunion or a bunionette (or both), boots with a wide toe box are a must.
The Softer the Leather the Better
Boots made of softer leather are best for bunions as pressure on the bunion will cause friction and can lead to localized inflammation. Outside of a soft leather, you want to be sure the material is stretchable.
Good arch support will be important in your boots as it will decrease the pressure on your big toe, which will relieve pain. With good arch support, your weight will be more evenly distributed and not concentrated on your big toe and your bunion. A removable footbed can be helpful; if necessary you can replace it with orthotics that work best for you.
Tips for Hiking with Bunions
Before we launch into our picks for the best hiking boots for bunions, we have a few recommendations for increasing your comfort while on the trails.
Coverage is Key
Think about adding a little extra protection for your bunion or bunionette. Lambswool or moleskin, for example, can be used as additional cushioning for your bunion.
When it comes to protecting your foot, don’t forget to think about your socks. You will want to avoid cotton socks, which have a high “coefficient of friction”. What this means is that they are rough and are likely to irritate the skin over your bunion. They also lack cushioning. Wearing cotton socks with bunions is like asking for trouble.
Instead, find a sock that is made of materials (acrylic materials are popular) that lessen friction from your boots and that offer padding for the bunion. Some socks even encourage separation between the toes. These socks should also wick moisture from your foot.
A Few Other Tricks
First, check out out our guide on how to fix a bunion without surgery.
Next, consider taping your bunion. This won't resolve you bunion but it will relieve some of the stress on your foot and encourage normal motion patterns. Check out the video below to learn how to tape your bunion.
If you have been looking for a reason to invest in trekking poles here’s your chance. These poles will lessen the impact on your feet, particularly when going downhill. This is good news for keeping your feet pain free when hiking with a bunion.
While these tips will help keep you comfortable, they is no substitute for a pair of hiking boots that fit, bunion and all. So let’s get to it…read on for our top 6 best hiking boots for bunions where we will review three top options for women and three for men.
Full Review: Women's Best Hiking Footwear for Bunions
Full Review: Men's Best Hiking Footwear for Bunions
WINNERS: Our Picks for the Best Hiking Boots & Shoes For Bunions
These decisions were not easy; a boot made specifically for those with bunions sounded ideal, however the Hanwag Alta Bunion Boot did not have what it takes for backpacking, an option that many would like to have.
On the mens's side, we were impressed by the Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot; what sold us on the boot by Keen is the durability they offer, something that might be an issue in the boots made by Lowa.
A bunion does not need to keep you off the trails. Take advantage of our research to find the right boots for you and keep on trekking.