It's estimated that roughly 250 million people worldwide live with Lymphedema; it's a pandemic at this rate. It's normal to have a little fluid in the body tissues since it helps nourish the tissues. The lymphatic system should collect this fluid, but when it's not properly collected, it then instead builds up in a condition called Lymphedema. Living with this condition means finding the best shoes for Lymphedema, so here are some shoe recommendations.

Lymphedema can develop on any body part but mostly affects the limbs (arms and legs). It's also a chronic condition that cannot be treated, but there are steps to help you alleviate the symptoms and help keep the swelling on the affected limb down.

What Is the Difference Between Lymphedema and Edema?

a) Edema is a term a medical professional would use to describe the swelling on a body part caused by fluid accumulation in body tissues. These accumulations occur when the blood vessels leak fluid and consequently builds up in the surrounding tissues. This would most likely be in the hands, arms, ankles, legs, and feet and is known as Peripheral Edema.

b) Lymphedema, on the other hand, refers to the swelling on one limb, either arm or leg, or both at the same time at times. However, in this case, the causes for the swelling are different from Edema or Peripheral Edema. Lymphedema is mostly caused when the lymph vessels are damaged, or the lymph nodes are removed (especially as part of cancer treatment). This results in blockage of the lymphatic system, which then prevents the lymph fluid from properly draining, in turn leading to swelling.

What Are the Causes of Lymphedema?

Generally, when the lymphatic system becomes damaged or develops abnormally, and/or there's an increase in the lymphatic fluid in the body's tissues, it could cause Lymphedema.

This condition comes in 2 main types:

i) Primary Lymphedema

Primary Lymphedema is caused by a genetic abnormality that consequently affects the lymphatic system. This can affect people at any age, but the symptoms usually show in the early adulthood stages.

ii) Secondary Lymphedema

Secondary Lymphedema occurs when there's some damage to the lymphatic system or when someone develops a problem with the drainage of lymph fluid to the lymphatic system. It usually appears in conjunction or secondary to an infection, injury, or inflammation of the limb. Patients undergoing cancer treatment, including the malignancy in breast cancer, may develop the condition.

How to Alleviate and Prevent the Condition?

  • Decongestive Lymphedema Therapy (DLT) is the primary treatment for moderate-severe Lymphedema. It mobilizes the lymph and dissipates the fibrosclerotic tissue
  • Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a light lymph nodes massage that's designed to increase the flow of lymph
  • Compression that's meant to help with drainage but an improper application can instead result in skin irritation while increasing the risk of infections
  • Skincare therapies such as Fastidious skin care are essential in the prevention of secondary skin infections
  • Exercising, even light exercise promotes the immune system for protein absorption and lymph drainage through muscle contraction
  • Surgery in microsurgical techniques, such as Lymphaticovenous Anastomoses (LVA) surgery which, has better results when the patient's lymphatic system is not as damaged
  • Drug therapy which is only adjunctive for pain control or for prevention of secondary infections

How To Decrease the Swelling?

As most people living with the condition would notice, the swelling gets worse at the end of the day but tends to go down through the night. To help lessen or control swelling:

  • Wear compression stockings or bandages during the day to help control swelling
  • Elevate the legs since this helps the fluid to drain out from the feet and ankle regions
  • Some people also raise the end of their bed roughly by 6 inches to make sure that their feet are elevated higher than their heads at night to help keep the swelling down
  • Finding shoes that have an adjustable width and are in the right size
  • Use good orthotic insoles for support

1. Propét TravelActiv Mary Jane Flat for Women

Propét Women's TravelActiv Mary Jane Style Lightweight Breathable Walking Shoes, Silver, 9 Wide
  • Perforated fabric shoe featuring stretchy...
  • Removable footbed
  • Lightweight flexible outsole
  • Material: Mesh upper with rubber sole

The Propet TravelActiv Mary Jane shoes are one of the best lymphedema shoes for a lot of women. Interestingly, they are named after the activity for which they are meant, traveling. They feature a casual doll-shoe upper that still makes a great sporty walking trainer. These Lymphedema shoes will definitely benefit you if:

  • Want to find shoes that works great with casual clothing or dresses
  • Want travel shoes that accommodate customized orthotics to help alleviate discomfort

These shoes come with a full-length TravelTek EVA compound that serves as both the midsole and outsole of the shoe, which makes them extra comfy to wear. In addition, this construction helps keep the weight of the footwear at a minimum. The TravelActiv Mary Jane also comes with a removable EVA cushioning insert.

These padded inserts also serve to lessen the impact on your feet as you walk. The shoe also comes with a breathable mesh and sturdy toe box to protect toes since you also have to take into account the increase in width and abrasion. It also features elastic straps that run across the midfoot to keep the footwear secured.

  • Pros
  • Comes in a versatile style
  • True to size for the perfect size when making an online purchase
  • Perfect width size
  • Light in weight
  • Allows orthotic heel inserts for support
  • Cons
  • Sloppy heel fitting
  • Sole doesn't come with enough support
  • Straps might be a little too short for people with a high instep

2. Skechers Performance Go Walk Slip-On Walking Shoe for Women

Propét Women's TravelActiv Mary Jane Style Lightweight Breathable Walking Shoes, Silver, 9 Wide
  • Perforated fabric shoe featuring stretchy...
  • Removable footbed
  • Lightweight flexible outsole
  • Material: Mesh upper with rubber sole

Here's another brand with great options for women living with Edema and Lymphedema. These are a lightweight pair that's a great option for people with swollen feet. These shoes also come with soft OrthoLite insoles to maximize on comfort and reduce odor. In addition, it also has shock-absorbing midsoles that help minimize the impact with every step.

The Skechers Performance Walking shoes for women also feature a Resalyte lightweight cushioning for next-level flexibility to ensure that you can walk without a restricted range of motion or limitations. Its breathable mesh upper also allows vapor to escape to prevent the buildup of moisture, sweat, or odor inside your footwear.

These women's walking shoes have been known to provide next-level comfort, which means that they are quite comfortable for swollen feet, so definitely worth a shot.

  • Pros
  • Quite comfortable
  • Resalyte lightweight cushioning for flexibility
  • Breathable mesh upper construction
  • Anti-bacterial footbed for loss of odor and sweat
  • Lightweight construction
  • Cons
  • Not as durable in construction
  • Not true to sizes

3. Skechers Men's Afterburn M. Fit Strike on

Skechers Sport Men's Afterburn Strike Memory Foam Velcro Sneaker, Black, 10 4E US
  • Dual-strap sneaker featuring lugged outsole and...
  • Perforated hook-and-loop straps at vamp
  • Two strap front classic athletic walking sneaker...
  • Supportive shock absorbing midsole

The AfterBurn Fit-Final men's Skechers are overall one of the best options for men living with this condition. They come with great quality antimicrobial drilled linings and a soft sock lining making them one of the most comfortable shoes for male patients. In addition, since they come in a double footbed, which also makes it fully compatible with orthotic inserts.

Unlike the other brands that come in a close form, these Skechers come in a lace-up closure, making them perfect for wide, flat, or swollen feet since they are easy to adjust. Moreover, its knitted Mesh Vamp makes them unconditionally breathable for fresh air circulation, which is quite important for the patient's feet.

Interestingly, it also features an eyelet that allows you to adjust your shoelaces easily. With this feature, the patient's feet get a little freedom for movement within the shoes. In addition, they come in a slightly wide shoe vamp, which creates enough space for your toes for max comfort.

  • Pros
  • Great shock absorption
  • Anti-skid construction and grip
  • Ultra-light but with plenty of support
  • Hollow carved construction
  • Great bounce-back
  • Maximum foot balance
  • Cons
  • Construction is relatively weighty

4. Avia Avi-Union II Strap Women's Non-slip Shoes – Comfort Safety Shoes

Avia Avi-Union II Strap Non Slip Shoes for Women – Comfort Women's Restaurant, Work & Safety...

Avian also has comfortable lace-up closure shoes that also offer a wide toe box. These Avian sneakers are one of the best extra wide shoes for swollen feet for women. Interestingly, it also has an upper that's crafted from a soft material for cushioning that still offers protection with every single step you take. As stretchable shoes that also use a mesh upper, the Avia Avi-Union II non-slip shoes are one of the best strap shoes that a medical professional would recommend for severe cases.

The mesh upper also promotes snug-fitting since it comes in a sock-like design. As a result, it's great for compatible women patients who need a snug fit. Moreover, this mesh upper also lets out bad odor and promotes overall breathability. Additionally, this mesh construction makes the shoe quite light.

  • Pros
  • Lace-up adjustable closure
  • Cushioned insole for maximum comfort
  • Breathable mesh lining
  • Memory foam insole
  • Lightweight mesh construction
  • Suitable for severe Lymphedema/Edema
  • Cons
  • Sizing runs quite big

5. Crocs Men's and Women's Literide Clog

Crocs Unisex Men's and Women's LiteRide Clog, Black/Smoke, 10 US
  • Science And Magic: Take A Ride In A Superbly...
  • Innovative Comfort: Next Generation Literide Foam...
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  • Foam Design: This Clog Is Made Of Crocs Croslite...
  • Shop with Confidence: Crocs products are backed by...

The Literide crocs are Lymphedema/Edema clogs that are easy to put on and remove since they come in a slip-on design. Interestingly these clogs come in innovative comfort and cushioning in a sink-in sole technology that allows a snug fit that just hugs your foot, which helps keep the swollen Edema feet impact and shock-free. Medical research has categorized this condition as almost incurable, but these clogs promote flexibility which helps alleviate the situation.

It uses features such as an Ethylene-vinyl acetate outsole, a flexible outsole that's professionally used to help reduce swelling and pain. These crocs also come with quality Literide foam insoles that are extremely soft and compatible with either elderly or swollen feet. Additionally, the Literide foam insoles are extraordinarily resilient but still incredibly light since they only weigh 10.2 Ounces.

  • Pros
  • Maglite upper construction for flexibility
  • Literide foam insoles that are soft, light, and resilient
  • Flexible construction
  • Easy to put on and remove with the slip-on design
  • Flexible Vinyl acetate outsole to help with the swelling
  • Incredibly light
  • Cons
  • Not true to size, so you have to order the next size

6. Under Armour Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe for Women

The Charged Assert 8 by Under Armour easily make the cutest shoes for women with Lymphedema/Edema feet, but they also make the best tennis shoes overall if you have lived with this condition. It comes with leather overlays that not only make it more durable but also help securely lock in the patients' mid-foot to help boost the foot's stability. Additionally, its EVA sock liner is built to offer a unique step-in cushioning and comfort since it's crafted from a soft material.

The mesh upper on the Charged Assert 8 also makes it one of the most comfortable Lymphedema Tennis shoes for either summer or winter. Additionally, this mesh construction promotes both arch support and ventilation. One of the best ways to manage this condition requires you to wear a comfortable and breathable pair of shoes, which is the major reason why Under Armour uses the mesh material.

As the primary shoe upper, the mesh material help enhances the foot's flexibility and air circulation. Additionally, this breathable mesh upper also comes in a stretch fabric that offers a dynamic fit. The Under Armour  Charged Assert 8 also comes in an anti-slip sole option for an anti-skid grip on the tennis court which also helps improve the overall foot stability.

  • Pros
  • Makes a great gift for active tennis women
  • Durable construction
  • Flexible and adjustable design
  • Can be washed in the washing machine
  • Has a non-slip grip
  • Cons
  • Has a tad snug fit

7. Hotme Men's Memory Foam Diabetic Slippers

Hotme Men's Memory Foam Diabetic Slippers Extra Wide Width Adjustable Comfy Swollen Feet Arthritis...
  • 【Mens Slippers Wide Width】 --- Soft cozy upper...
  • 【CUSHIONING & SUPPORT INSOLE】 --- Easy to put...
  • 【NON SLIP RUBBER SOLE】--- Durable rubber...
  • 【PERFECT GIFT CHOICES】--- These diabetic mens...
  • 【TARGET USRES】--- Mens house slippers are...

These are memory foam diabetic slippers that offer extra-deep spaces for extra swollen Edema feet or Lymphedema. In addition, it makes them so easy to slip in and out for superior comfort while you work or walk around. What's more, the memory foam midsole and padded tongue come with a high-density insole for next-level propping, which also helps soothe ankle and foot pain.

In addition, it has a high-density insole, which will save you a great deal if you've been walking or standing all day. Furthermore, it has Maglite uppers, which makes these slippers quite flexible. With a perforated upper, it reduces the risk of infection by promoting fresh air circulation, while the sink-in sole design gives the slippers a non-slip construction.

  • Pros
  • Lightweight construction
  • Extra-deep spaces with a slip-on design
  • Sturdy non-slip rubber sole
  • High-density foam insole
  • Durable construction
  • Full-coverage shoe style
  • Cons
  • No cushioned comfort insoles

What To Consider As You Buy the Best Shoes for Lymphedema?

A) Keep It Moisture-free

Always find shoes and styles that are made using breathable materials to help cut down on moisture.

B) Shoes That Stretch

Note that footwear styles that come in a deep and wide space also give you the option of adding supportive inserts. Also, as your foot swells in the course of the day, having a velcro or loop closure is easy to adjust during the day.

C) Shoes That Have A Wide Toe Box

If the toe box is a little too narrow, it won't accommodate the toes comfortably, so take into account the swelling of your feet that will occur and fill your shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions on Best Shoes for Lymphedema

1. What shoe fabrics are great for swollen ankles and feet?

Leather is a great place to start since its soft, breathable, durable, flexible and soft. When the feet swell and fill the shoe, leather shoes have less risk of rubbing your swollen feet compared to synthetic materials.

2. Are crocs great for swollen feet?

Generally, it entirely depends on its construction. Crocs aren't as restrictive at the toe box area, which is great also as you take into account the swell-ups from Edema feet and foot deformities such as hammertoes or bunions. Since they're cushioned, they also have great shock absorption.

About the Author Jacky Chou

Hello, I'm Cindy. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

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