The Boots the Foot Surgeon From TLC’s ‘My Feet Are Killing Me’ Recommends if You Have Bunions

Photo: Stocksy / Simone Wave
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Boots + bunions = ouch! It doesn't have to be a painful combination, though. If you suffer from bunions (a bony mass on the side of your big toe), you know how painful it can be to squeeze your feet into too-tight, too-narrow, too-stiff boots. That’s why we shopped for the best boots for bunions—whether you prefer a hiking boot, a western boot, or a waterproof bootie, read on for comfortable, stylish options for activities and outfits of all kinds that also relieve pressure on your painful toes.

Experts In This Article

Best boots for bunions, at a glance:

Before we run down our top picks, let’s get a few FAQs out of the way. We asked Dr. Brad Schaeffer, a board certified foot surgeon and star of TLC’s My Feet Are Killing Me, a few basic questions about bunions.

What are bunions and what causes them?

“Bunions are a deformity in our big toe that presents a mass at the side of the foot that can become red and painful at every step,” says Dr. Schaeffer. Bunions develop because of prolonged pressure on the big toe, which causes it to lean towards your second toe instead of being straight. The result is a bony bump that can make walking and shoe-wearing tricky.

Bunions can be hereditary, or you can develop them from everyday activities. Did you start training for a marathon, dramatically increasing your activity? Wear too narrow shoes for too long? Spend a lot of time on your feet? All of these situations can all cause bunions.

Oh no, I have a bunion! How should I treat it?

First things first: get your achy feet to a doctor. “Whenever you start to experience bunions, you should immediately see a podiatrist to get ahead of the problem and be advised on the proper treatments to prevent the problem from getting worse,” says Dr. Schaeffer. In most cases, a podiatrist will recommend proper support for your feet—shoes, inserts, and exercises—to prevent the problem from returning.

Can the wrong shoes make my bunions worse?

Hate to break it to you, but your pointed-toe boots and towering high heels should be put on hiatus if you’re suffering from bunions. “Continuing to wear ill-fitting and uncomfortable shoes can cause symptoms to worsen over time,” says Dr. Schaeffer.

Instead, invest in shoes that’ll accommodate your bunions—like any of the options below!—as well as inserts to ease pain and pressure. “Once you offload the big toe joint, the pain decreases, the deformity does not grow over time, and it can be a manageable condition rather than a debilitating deformity,” says Dr. Schaeffer.

What to look for in a boot that’s bunion-friendly

While every foot (and bunion, for that matter) has different needs, in general you’ll want to look for a few specific features in a boot. First: plenty of room for your toes. “The best boots for bunions have a deep and wide toe-box to avoid putting pressure on bunions or any difficult joints,” says Dr. Schaeffer. Shop for boots with a round or square toe shape, since they’re more accommodating to your little piggies than boots with pointed toes.

Supportive soles are another must-have. If your boots lack proper support, add an insert designed for bunion relief. “For my patients I usually recommend something like Dr. Scholl’s Bunion Relief & Toe Corrector Massaging Gel Splint ($16), which helps to relieve bunion pain and help prevent it from recurring by correcting toe positioning,” says Dr. Schaeffer.

The material of the boot matters, too. Forget anything stiff or insubstantial. “The best boots for bunions are generally made from leather or soft materials, which are flexible and durable,” says Dr. Schaeffer.

Ready to relieve your bunion pain in pretty boots? Read on for the 10 best boots for bunions.

Best soft boot for bunions:

UGG, Classic Mini II Boot — $160.00

Sizes available: 5-12

Like all things Y2K, UGG boots are back. (Though really, did they ever truly go away?) The iconic style is everything you remember them to be: the warmest, coziest, most comfortable boots of all time—particularly if you have bunions. That’s thanks to the sheepskin-lined interior and cushy, lightweight sole that make each step feel like walking on a cloud.

UGGs are a great choice if you’ve recently had bunion surgery, as the roomy toe box will give you space to heal, while the cushy lining gently hugs your feet.

Colors: 8+


  • Boots don’t get more comfortable than UGGs
  • The sheep-fur lining keeps your feet warm and cozy
  • Available in six colors, both neutrals and bright hues


  • Some sizes in certain colors are currently sold out

Best chelsea boots for bunions:

Sole Bliss, Roxy Boot — $325.00

Sizes available: 5-10

Dr. Schaeffer is a self-proclaimed “big fan” of Sole Bliss. For good reason: they specialize in shoes and boots for women with bunions. No one would know just by looking at them, though. “I love their chelsea boots because they are fashionable and comfortable for bunions,” Dr. Schaeffer says.

Take the Roxy boot, for instance. The chic Chelsea boots feature an extra-wide toe box and what Sole Bliss coined a “Bunion Bed”—a cushioned stretch panel inside the boot that cushions and supports your bunion. Their contoured footbed makes every step feel supported too. No wonder they’re podiatrist-approved.

Colors: 5


  • Designed specifically for bunions with an extra wide fit and anatomically contoured footbed
  • Includes an interior stretch panel to cushion and support bunions
  • Available in several colors (white, black, navy) and materials (leather, suede)


  • Pricey
  • Some sizes are sold out

Best hiking boots for bunions:

Merrell, Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots — $150.00

Sizes available: 5-10

Bunions or not, hiking boots need to check a lot of boxes before you can click “add to cart.” They have to be comfortable for long distances on uneven terrain through rain, mud, and snow, all while keeping your ankles protected and feet dry. Add bunions to the mix and that can make for a tricky shopping experience.

Not with the Moab 3 design from Merrell, a fan favorite that’s available in both standard and wide sizes. Reviewers repeatedly comment how they are comfortable right out of the box and don’t require a painful break-in period. (Music to bunion sufferers’ ears.) With the extra room in the toe box, as well as the shock absorption built into the heels and contoured insoles, you can feel confident to trek out on a long hike.

Colors: 4


  • Available in both standard and wide sizes
  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Sold in four colorways


  • The aluminum version isn’t sold in a wide sizes

Best ankle bootie for bunions:

Cole Haan, Chrystie Square Toe Bootie — $120.00

Sizes available: 5-11

Here’s proof you don’t have to forego fashion to accommodate your bunions. Andréa Bernholtz, founder of Swiminista, recommends these classic—yet contemporary—heeled booties from Cole Haan whether you have bunions or not. “If you want to be a bit more dressy, I would recommend the Chrystie Square Toe Booties from Cole Haan, which are chic with a square toe,” she says. “The toe portion is typically where bunions have the worst luck. Square toe tops are back anyway!”

The built-in arch support cushions your soles, while the inside zip makes getting them on and on (even with bunions) a breeze. Bernholtz favors buying boots a half size bigger; that’ll give you a little more wiggle room both for bunions and thick, cozy socks. “I go by the motto ‘these boots are made for walking,’” she says.

If it’s sold out through Cale Haan’s, site, try Zappos or Amazon.

Colors: 2


  • Accommodating square toe design
  • Fully padded sole with arch support


  • Some sizes are sold out

Best boot for recovering from bunion surgery:

OOFOS, OOmg Bootie — $180.00

Sizes available: 5-12

These are the boots you’ll want to slip on while recovering from bunion surgery. Why? Several reasons. First, the spacious shape gives you plenty of room to stretch your healing toes. Second, the anatomic footbed molds to the shape of your foot with wear, giving that Goldilocks, just-for-you fit, while reducing stress on your knees, ankles, and other joints. They’re also water-resistant, making them perfect for outside wear in the winter, and lightweight, so they’re equally as ideal as supportive slippers.

Colors: 1


  • Plenty of room in the forefoot
  • Footbed mold to the shape of your foot
  • Warm and waterproof


  • Not very fashionable

Best splurge boots for bunions:

Chloe, Susanna Short Boots — $1,395.00

Sizes available: 4-12

Bunion sufferers often try to detract attention from their feet, but that won’t be the case in these standout bunion-friendly boots. “Chloe booties are an all-time favorite,” says stylist Chantelle Malarkey. “So comfortable, even after two surgeries on my bunions.”

These show-stopping booties, worthy of a rock star (and you!), are made of soft, supple sheepskin leather that’s easy to walk in right out of the box—no break-in period required. “They’re worth the investment and they never go out of style,” says Malarkey. “A classic in my book!

Colors: 3


  • An ultra cool rock ‘n’ roll style
  • Low heel doesn’t put too much pressure on bunions
  • Made of super soft leather that doesn’t require breaking in


  • Expensive
  • Toe box might not be wide enough for some

Best leather boots for bunions:

NAOT, Castera Boots — $239.00

Sizes available: 4-11

Take it from us, or take it from the American Podiatric Medical Association, which approves of NAOT designs for promoting good foot health. Their quilted Castera design is an easygoing everyday boot that would be especially accommodating to bunions. Check out that wide toe box!

They’re also made out of soft leather, with a side zipper that makes getting them on and off extra easy. Slip your foot inside and you’ll breathe a sigh of relief stepping onto their anatomic cork and latex footbed, which is wrapped in soft suede and will mold to your feet over time. Best of all, with their goes-with-everything style, they’ll match a variety of outfits already in your wardrobe.

Colors: 5


  • Wide fit with plenty of room for your toes
  • Outfitted with an anatomic footbed that molds to your feet with wear


  • Only available in whole sizes

Best winter boots for bunions:

Marc Fisher LTD., Izzie Cold Weather Boots — $199.00

Sizes available: 5-12

Cozy, cozy, cozy: that’s the theme of these Marc Fisher boots, which keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable while climbing over snow banks on Old Man Winter’s coldest days. Their supportive sole, wide round toe, and extra comfy sherpa lining are all bunion-friendly.

They’re a favorite of Malarkey, who has had two bunion surgeries; she happily wears these winter after winter, since they hold up beautifully to repeated wear. Not only are they comfortable for all-day wear, but all-day wear with bunions.

Colors: 3


  • Designed with a wide round toe box
  • Sherpa lining keeps your feet warm


  • The white leather version has limited sizes available

Best tall boots for bunions:

Cloud Ace Tall Boot — $205.00

Sizes available: 5-11

If you have bunions and want a pair of tall boots that don’t cause any added discomfort, consider the Cloud Ace Tall Boot, which features a spacious toe area for long-lasting comfort. These boots are constructed from high-quality leather material with a durable rubber sole and feature a short one-inch heel. We love them because they have lots of comfort details, including a stretchy back panel, side zip opening, and removable insoles, so you can add your own custom orthotics for more customized support.

Colors: 1


  • They have a wider toe area which is more comfortable for bunions.
  • They have a side zip closure.
  • They feature removable insoles for more customized support.


  • They only come in one color.

Best padded boot for bunions:

Ara, Trudy Boot — $200.00

Sizes available: 6-11.5

Nearly any Ada boot could have made this list, as their designs focus on fit and function. Each of the brand’s styles cushion the foot’s anatomical structure and flexible materials that adapt to your specific foot shape. The Trudy Boot tops our wish list though, as it’s both pretty and practical—a must for those with bunions.

They’re made with an extra comfortable and flexible outsole, as well as a removable, cushioned insole with arch support. Add to that recipe a wide toe box and voila! You have a bunion-friendly boot that makes for stress-free walking. Consider these boots the finishing touch to any outfit.

Colors: 1


  • Comes with removable, cushioned insole with arch support
  • Wide, round toe box to accommodate bunions
  • Made in Portugal with soft leather


  • Hurry—sizes are selling out

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