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The Best Shoes for Dementia Patients

Written by Joe Carney
 about the author
10 minute readLast updated November 16, 2023

Shoes for dementia patients need to maximize safety and support limited mobility since dementia can increase a senior’s fall risk and hinder their movements. A dementia patient’s shoes should fit well and be supportive, comfortable, anti-slip, and easy to take on and off. If your loved one uses orthotics, be sure to consider that when shopping.

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How to pick shoes for dementia patients: Key features

Shoes are crucial to the safety of seniors, and finding the right pair of dementia shoes for your loved one is key. Studies have shown that wearing proper footwear in the home can lower the fall risk for those with dementia. Wearing unsupportive styles, like slippers, may lead to a significantly increased fall risk among community-dwelling seniors, according to a systematic review from the Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development.[01]
In addition, certain geriatric shoe features can improve balance, safety, and joint health among seniors. Traction is especially important when looking for shoes for dementia or Alzheimers patients, as traction can help minimize slips and falls.
Other key features to look for when shoe shopping for dementia patients include:
  • Proper fit
  • Good arch support
  • Large foot hole openings
  • Secure and easy-to-use fasteners
  • Anti-slip treads
  • Beveled heels
  • Comfortable heel height
  • Room for orthotics, if needed [02]
Hook-and-loop or Velcro shoes for the elderly will likely be easiest for patients who are able to take their shoes on and off independently. Memory-related conditions can decrease fine motor skills, and using hook-and-loop straps generally requires less dexterity than using laces or zippers. However, zipper-lace designs can combine the ease of large zipper pulls with the support of one-time tying for customized tightness.

The importance of comfortable shoes for seniors: Why a proper fit matters

It’s crucial that a senior’s shoes fit the length, width, and arch profile of their feet. Proper-fitting shoes for dementia patients can reduce their fall risk, add comfort, and reduce joint and back pain.[03,04]
Shoes that are too long can increase their tripping hazards or cause your loved one to stub their toe. Shoes that are too narrow limit the surface area between the sole and the ground, which can lead to balance and stability issues. Shoes that are too wide may cause discomfort by allowing the foot to slide around inside the shoe.
Talk to your loved one’s doctor or a podiatrist if you’re not sure how to fit shoes properly to your relative’s feet. Professionals will also be able to recommend orthotics if your loved one needs specialized support.
Medicare may cover some of the cost of orthopedic shoes if they’re a necessary part of a leg brace, as well as therapeutic shoes and inserts for seniors with diabetic foot disease.[05,06] Some of the shoes listed below may qualify for Medicare coverage. However, coverage only applies to shoes and/or inserts when they’re prescribed by a doctor enrolled in Medicare and supplied by a provider who participates in Medicare and accepts assignment. Online purchases do not satisfy these requirements.

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Best shoes for seniors with dementia

Walking shoes are likely the best type of shoe for seniors with memory-related conditions. Their athletic-oriented design and comfortable yet supportive materials often fulfill safety needs better than sandals, slippers, or fashion-oriented designs.
Since feet generally become wider and flatter with age, most options listed below come in various widths and feature removable insoles. Some may also offer room for a variety of orthotics if your relative needs extra support.
Now that you know what to look for when picking out geriatric shoes for your loved one with dementia, here are some of the best sneakers for seniors on the market.

Friendly Shoes – Voyage

The Voyage collection from Friendly Shoes is a great choice for older adults with dementia. These unisex shoes are simple, comfortable, and perfect for everyday wear. The standout feature is the easy-to-use front zipper, which makes putting on and taking off the shoes a breeze. And if your loved one has wide feet or wears braces, no worries — the Voyage shoes have a flexible mesh upper that will adjust for a comfy fit. These shoes aren’t just practical; they also come in both classic and fun colors, so your loved one can look and feel confident no matter the occasion.
  • Zipper-lace design
  • Beveled heels
  • Anti-slip treads
  • Removable memory foam insoles
  • Cushioned heel collars
Cost: $99.95 on the Friendly Shoes website

New Balance 577Hv1 Hook and Loop Walking Shoes

The New Balance 577Hv1 Hook and Loop Walking Shoe is a solid choice for seniors who prioritize comfort and ease. These shoes come with Abzorb cushioning in the heel, which helps absorb shock with every step. They’re also caregiver-friendly, as the hook-and-loop closure makes them much easier to help put on and take off. These shoes are not only built for walking but also for providing support throughout the day, which can help minimize foot fatigue. The classic 577Hv1 style is available in both men’s sizes and women’s sizes.
  • Hook-and-loop design
  • Anti-slip treads
  • Variety of shoe widths made for each size
  • May be eligible for Medicare reimbursement
Cost: $84.99 on the New Balance website

Silverts Wide Ultra Lightweight Walking Shoes

The Women’s Wide Ultra Lightweight Walking Shoes by Silverts are a fantastic choice for anyone, especially seniors who may have foot issues or limited hand dexterity. These shoes are designed to provide ultimate comfort with their adjustable Easy Touch closure, which is a necessity when dealing with swollen feet or ankles. Silverts also offers Men’s Wide Ultra Lightweight Walking Shoes with the same features and functions. Pulling them on is a breeze with the Easy Grip Loop, and the True Grip Strap makes adjusting the fit simple. Plus, the extended heel adds that extra bit of stability with each step. They are also labeled as the best walking shoes for seniors, making them a solid choice for your elderly loved ones.
  • Hook-and-loop design
  • Anti-slip treads
  • Removable insoles
Cost: As low as $50.98 on the Silverts website

Propét Stability X Strap Sneakers

The Propét Men’s Stability X Strap Sneakers and Propét Women’s Stability X Strap Sneakers are an excellent choice for seniors with dementia due to their unique double insoles. This feature, known as the Propét EV (Extra Volume) insole system, makes finding a comfortable and customized fit a breeze. If your loved one has custom orthotics, no problem — the insoles can be easily removed to accommodate them. The adjustable hook-and-loop straps make it easy to get these shoes on and off. The sneakers also have a semi-rigid heel counter that provides excellent support, while the foam midsole and rubber outsole ensure a smooth and durable stride.
  • Hook-and-loop design
  • Beveled heels
  • Anti-slip treads
  • Removable insoles
  • May be eligible for Medicare reimbursement
Cost: As low as $66.61 on Amazon

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Buying shoes for a senior with dementia

Your loved one’s comfort should be a priority, and shoes are a great place to start. Alzheimer’s and dementia shoes are out there, specifically designed to enhance the stability, comfort, and independence of your loved one. With the proper shoe and the proper fit, walking, standing, and engaging in some of their favorite activities will be all the more enjoyable. If you are overwhelmed by which walking shoes to try first, order a couple so you can compare them side-by-side. Sometimes, you and your loved one won’t know what works best until you try!


  1. Menant, J. C., Steele, J. R., Menz, H. B., Munro, B. J., & Lord, S. R. (2008, November 8). Optimizing footwear for older people at risk of falls. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development.

  2. Jellema, A., Huysmans T., Hartholt, K., & van der Cammen, T. J.M. (2019, June 6). Shoe design for older adults: Evidence from a systematic review on the elements of optimal footwear. Maturitas.

  3. Mulford, D., Taggart, H., Nivens, A., & Payrie, C. (2008, August). Arch supports for improving balance and reducing pain in older adults. Applied Nursing Research.

  4. Gross, T., Mercer, V. S., & Lin, F. (2012, July 1). Effects of foot orthoses on balance in older adults. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.

  5. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Orthopedic coverage. Medicare.gov.

  6. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Therapeutic shoes coverage. Medicare.gov.

Meet the Author
Joe Carney

Joe Carney is an associate content strategist at OurParents. As a copywriter, he specializes in nuanced medical content that explores diseases, procedures, and medications of top concern to seniors. He holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and philosophy from the University of Kansas.

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