3 tips for finding the right shoe to go with your prosthetic leg

Do you wear a prosthetic leg and do you struggle finding suitable shoes? Rest assured, you’re not the only one. Making the wrong choice can usher in all sorts of problems and annoyances, like a wobbly posture or even painful falls. We've found three helpful tips for you.

Which shoes are best for you depends on several factors, such as your amputation level, your artificial limb and your posture. And, before we forget, they should be comfortable too! Generally speaking, running shoes or sneakers are best for amputees. They’re firm and sturdy, usually have a good heel height and usually feature shock-absorbing soles. However, variety is the spice of life. That’s why you’ll find three handy tips below. Our main recommendation, though, is to take several shoes to your O&P professional and to ask them for advice.  We’re sure that you’ll find the right shoe together!

1. Choose the right heel height

Contrary to popular belief, a flat shoe is not necessarily the safest option for prosthesis wearers. In fact, many prosthetic feet are made specifically for a modest heel height of about one centimetre. Shoes with a flatter sole can make you feel like you're falling backwards and can lead to a sub-optimal socket angle. With a lower leg prosthesis, this can put pressure on the area just below your knee cap. Your O&P professional might recommend that you use a small insole in the shoe you wear on your prosthesis.

Do you wear different types of shoes? Nowadays, you can even get a prosthetic foot with an adjustable heel height, like Ottobock’s Meridium prosthetic foot . This will allow you to adjust your prosthetic foot based on whatever shoe you would like to wear. More recently, Ottobock also launched its Quickchange adapter , which lets you easily swap out different prosthetic feet without having to adjust the alignment of your prosthesis.

2. Be careful with high heels

Many women prefer wearing high heels for special occasions. If you have a prosthetic limb, it’s very important for your own safety to pick a shoe with the right heel height. If the heel is too high, you may feel as if you are leaning forward, which is especially risky if you’ve had an upper leg amputation. If your heel is too heigh, you will automatically shift your weight to the toes of your prosthetic foot, which can trigger your prosthetic knee joint to bend and may result in nasty falls.

3. Opt for dress shoes with a good sole

Many men wear dress shoes for business meetings or special occasions. If you’re looking to buy a good pair of dress shoes, don’t just look at the heel height, but the sole too. It’s very important that the sole provides proper support, as your healthy leg will also endure quite some shocks while walking. Thin soles will not provide proper support and will not absorb these shocks, so if you do opt for a thin-soled shoe, it’s important to use an insole for extra support.