What Footwear is Safe for My Senior to Wear?

feet on the ground showing shoes and walker

Dear Cheryl:

My mom and I are going to do some shopping for a few pair of shoes for her this weekend. Her medication has made her a little less steady on her feet, and I think having the right footwear will help keep her safe.

Do you have any advice on how to help an older adult find good footwear? We’ve never really worried about it before, so we aren’t sure how and where to start!


How to Shop for Safe Footwear for Older Adults

Dear Cindy:

Great question! Having quality footwear is important at any age, but especially so for older adults who may be at higher risk for falls.

Research shows that most older adults who experienced a fall were wearing only socks or slippers when they took a tumble. But it might also surprise you to learn that many seniors who were wearing shoes when they fell had athletic shoes on and not heels.

So what makes a shoe safer for a senior you love to wear?

  • Textured sole: This helps prevent a senior from sliding if the floor or sidewalk is slippery.
  • Broad, firm heel: Another feature of a good shoe for a senior is one with a broad, firm heel that helps prevent slipping.
  • Laces or Velcro closure: Laces or Velcro straps allow the senior to tighten the fit of the shoe according to the width of their foot. This helps prevent their shoe from flopping around and throwing them off balance.
  • Avoid wedges and narrow heels: Shoes that have narrow heels or wedged shaped soles may be tough on older, weaker ankles. They can be unstable, causing an older adult to turn their ankle and experience a sprain or break.

The same holds true if you and your mom will be shopping for winter boots to keep her warm during this central Ohio winter.

  • Look for boots with a sturdy, textured sole.
  • Boots that are tall enough to cover at least the lower part of the senior?۪s calf also offer ankle support.
  • Laces also help keep the boot in place when the senior is out and about on cold, snowy days.

And, just in case you will be shopping for some cozy winter clothes when you and your mother hit the mall this weekend, you might find these tips for purchasing comfortable and fashionable clothing for a senior helpful.

I hope you and your mom enjoy your shopping trip, Cindy!

Kindest regards,

Cheryl Beckman