Proper footwear beneficial in Parkinson’s

My (Parkinson’s) Life – Mark Chlad
15th August 2023
Partnering Through Parkinson’s – Stephen and Laurine Croasdale
15th August 2023

Proper footwear beneficial in Parkinson’s

Proper footwear beneficial in Parkinson’s

One of the most debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease is the loss of coordination and control in body movements, which in many cases leads to severe walking disabilities. Certain types of shoes can make a difference for those who struggle with walking, balance, gait, or postural instability. 

A 2013 study found that textured insoles can improve posture and reduce sideways swaying in Parkinson’s patients.  

Researchers concluded that, “Such textured insoles may provide a low-cost means of improving postural stability in high-risk groups, such as people with Parkinson’s, which may act as an important intervention to prevent falls.” 

The use of textured insoles was supported by a review published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine of eight other studies involving Parkinson’s patients treated with some type of insole or footwear – including textured insoles, footwear modifications, and habitual footwear.  

Data collected during the review led authors to conclude that, “There are indications to suggest that textured insoles have positive effects on gait parameters, balance, and plantar sensation in Parkinson’s disease patients.” However, further studies are needed. 

Shoes can also be modified specifically for those with foot, balance, or walking problems. In 2020 a partnership was established between the shoe company Kizik and the Parkinson’s Foundation to make hands-free shoes more widely available to Parkinson’s patients.  

Kizik makes hands-frees shoes, which allow people to slip their feet into them without bending over and potentially losing their balance. The shoes also have thick foam on the inside for extra support and comfort. 

For people with Parkinson’s who experience freezing episodes, laser shoes developed by Dutch researchers may be helpful. Lasers added to the tops of shoes project lines on the floor that provide patients with the visual cues they need. This can help to reduce instances of a person freezing in place as they’re walking. 

Additionally, a study published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences found that people with Parkinson’s are at a higher risk for foot deformities and often wear inadequate footwear, which can diminish their quality of life. 

Since balance, gait, walking, and even foot deformity issues are commonly associated with Parkinson’s, it’s important to select the proper footwear. We also recommend adding a podiatrist to your healthcare team. 


Parkinson’s News Today 

Journal of Personalised Medicine 

International Journal of Medical Sciences