Guides to Specialty and Therapeutic Footwear Brands

When it comes to walking and staying active, nothing can ruin the experience as much as a painful pair of shoes. Imagine you’re spending a weekend on the beach or on a mountain trail, and your feet have been hurting for a long time. Not a fun getaway, right?

This is the reason why there are footwear brands that focus entirely on developing and manufacturing shoes that go above average when it comes to what most people will consider “comfortable.” These brands offer footwear that has a footbed with superior alignment, cushioning, and arch support – usually with designs recommended by podiatrists. Other companies are focused on creating the comfiest footwear for outdoor activities like running or hiking. Meanwhile, some brands offer the best of both worlds: style and comfort. They offer footwear for urban explorers who are keen on design, yet want their feet to feel light and easy during the entire day.

So whatever your needs are, here are some brands you can count on to provide you that special, therapeutic footwear you are looking for:

Dansko

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Dansko Women's Liliana Wedge 
Dansko Women's Brandi T 
Dansko Men's Wynn Slip-On Clog 
Dansko Men's Vaughn Fashion Sneaker 

Dansko is a Pennsylvania-based comfort footwear company, and most of their products have been awarded the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association. This seal is granted to products that are found to promote good foot health. This company is most known for its clogs as it was their specialty product when they have started. In the 1990s, the founders started the company for the pursuit of the perfect barn shoe. Nowadays, they also make boots, sandals, dress, and casual shoes that are all stylish and extremely comfortable.

Birkenstock

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Birkenstock Women's Granada BirkiBuc Sanda
Birkenstock Collins Women's Boot 
Birkenstock Essentials Unisex Arizona EVA Sandal 
Birkenstock Men's Milano 

Out of all the footwear brands in this list, Birkenstock is the oldest one. Their history dates back to the late 1700s! Their past and longevity in this industry are impressive, but it’s the contoured footbed they invented in the 1930s is what made the brand a global phenomenon. Birkenstocks have been in and out of fashion, but they have made a big resurgence in their popularity in the past few years. Their famous footbed has been part of every pair of Birkenstocks, which are supportive and actually molds to the shape of the feet over time. After a few months of wear, your footwear will feel like it’s custom-made for the shape of your feet. The footbed is made of jute fibers that absorb moisture, a resilient cork layer for extra support, and a soft suede upper layer to keep your feet comfy and dry all day.

Crocs

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Crocs Women's Busy Day Strappy Wedge 
Crocs Women's Sanrah Diamante Wedge Flip 
Crocs Men's Santa Cruz Loafer 
Crocs Men's LiteRide Pacer Lace Up Sneaker 

Crocs are one of the most polarizing fashion brands out there in the market. People either love it for its comfortable and lightweight shoes, or they hate it because they think that the classic clogs are pretty much an eyesore. But thankfully, Crocs are not just about clogs. They offer sandals, flip flops, and shoes that are soft, lightweight, comfortable, and stylish. Yes, some of their shoes are downright sleek while maintaining a comfortable fit that can be worn all day.

Oofos

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
OOFOS Unisex OOCloog
OOFOS Unisex OOriginal Sport
OOFOS Women's OOmg Shoe
OOFOS OOmg Men's Fibre Low Shoe

Oofos is known for its patented sandals, slides, and clogs. Their products are made of the company’s revolutionary OOfoam, which is made to absorb 37% more impact than the traditional footwear foam materials. It aims to reduce the stress on feet and joints by providing tremendous arch support. The design of their every sandal and shoes allows it to flex with both the foot and the ground, which encourages a greater sense of natural motion. Plus, their flip flops and sandals are moisture-resistant, making them shower-ready. It’s recommended for those who are recovering from injuries at the feet.

Vionic

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Vionic Women's Karina 
Vionic Women's Splendid Midi Perf Slip-on 
Vionic Men's Bryant 
Vionic Men's Tide Toe-Post Sandal

If you’re serious about foot health and foot support, Vionic is a good brand to consider. Their shoes are designed by Australian podiatrist Philip Vasyli and are constantly improved by a panel of podiatrists and fitness experts. Their flats, sandals, and slippers all have a footbed that promotes healthy foot alignment from the ground up. Vionic’s heels and boots also have advanced arch support and increased cushioning for the balls of the feet. Their firm yet flexible insoles deliver all-day comfort.

Telic

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Telic Energy Flip Flop 
Telic Women's Mallory Sandal
Telic Unisex Recharge Slide 
Telic Unisex Shoe Mule Clog + Bundle

Telic prides itself for its exclusive Novalon material, which supports the arches of the feet through their anatomically correct footbed and custom deep heel cup. This material also minimizes pressure and maintains shock-absorbing properties much longer. It’s tested to rebound better and give your feet a comforting hug. Their sandals can adapt and mold to any foot type, making their products unique. Do to their footwear’s forms and orthopedic functionality, Telic’s sandals are recommended for alleviating foot ailments like bunions, joint pains, and plantar fasciitis.

Merell

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Merrell Women's Jungle Moc Slip On 
Merrell Women's Siren Edge Hiker 
Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
Merrell Men's Jungle Moc Slip-On Shoe 

Merell is a brand popular for hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts. For the past 30 years, the brand has focused on that audience, keeping their products on top-of-the-line quality. Their shoes are designed to provide maximum all-day comfort and support, as well as durability to make it ready for any type of terrain. Their sneakers typically feature a textile upper, a grippy outsole, and an air-cushioned heel that adds stability and absorbs shock. Their breathable mesh lining and contoured insoles guarantee the comfort that will last for a long time.

Keen

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
KEEN Men's Uneek o2-m Sandal 
KEEN Men's UNEEK Sandal 
KEEN Women's Rose Sandal 
KEEN Women's Presidio II-W Hiking Shoe 

Popular for their strappy outdoor sandals, Keen focuses on providing all-day support for the active traveler’s feet. Their products offer additional protection for the toes and plenty of traction since their target market are hikers and outdoor enthusiasts of both sexes and all ages. Their shoes have footbeds that can cradle your foot. In their founding year in 2003, the Portland-based company launched their strappy “Newport” sandals, and they have been known for it ever since.

Ugg

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
UGG Women's W Solana Loafer Sneaker
UGG Women's Bailey Button II Winter Boot 
UGG Men's Pismo Sneaker Slip-On Sneaker
UGG Men's Ascot Slipper 

We all know a pair of Uggs boots are so comfy and warm – perfect for the autumn and winter season. But the brand is more than their shearling-lined boots. Founded in California by an Australian Surfer, Uggs is popular for their signature luxurious comfort, both for the home in your slippers, as well as in your daytime shoes for your casual outings.  

Alegria

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Alegria Women's Petal 
Alegria Women's Classic Clog
Alegria Men's Chairman Clogs and Mules Shoes 
Alegria Men's Schuster Cognac Pull Up 42 European 

Launched in 2008, Alegria has become a leading maker of therapeutic footwear, as they are famous for their comfortable work shoes. Each pair of Alegria shoes are made from genuine leather and suede with their signature Perfect Fit Footbed System and rocker outsoles. It features arch support, thanks to the blend of latex, memory foam, and cork to create a comfy fit that forms in the natural contours of the feet. Plus, the shoes are hand-stitched to give you a unique style. Their professional collection is enjoyed by nurses, doctors, chefs, hairstylists – professionals who are on their feet most of the time – because their footwear can impress with style and comfort. It’s also stain and slip-resistant.

Chaco

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Chaco Women's J106764 Hiking Shoe 
Chaco Women's ZX2 Classic Athletic Sandal 
Chaco Men's Zcloud Sport Sandal 
Chaco Men's Teton Hiking Boot 

Chaco is an American footwear brand well-known for its product line of classic, adjustable Z-strap sandals for outdoor and water use. Since then, it’s the footwear of choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to find a comfortable yet durable and supportive sneaker for their adventure. Each Chaco shoe has a proprietary “Luvseat” footbed that is designed to provide comfort all day, contoured to cradle the foot to make a better alignment and a more efficient stride. The brand provides a variety of outdoor-influenced sandals, flip-flops, shoes, boots, and accessories.

Ecco

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
ECCO Women's Felicia Stretch Wedge 
ECCO Women's Soft 7 Fashion Sneaker
ECCO Men's Soft 7 Fashion Sneaker 
ECCO Men's Soft 7 Sneaker 

Ecco is a well-known Danish shoe company that provides innovative comfort footwear for men, women, and kids. They pride themselves on their Scandinavian approach to shoemaking, which ensures that their designs are following the function of the foot, keeping it lightweight, sturdy, and flexible. Their leather shoes are crafted from the company’s own tanneries, making sure that their footwear undergoes exceptional quality control. The company began with producing only footwear, but is now expanded into leather production as well as accessories and bags.