Do you suffer from MS and have difficulty balancing and walking?
We have compiled 5 tried and tested shoe brands that could help people suffering from MS and balance problems
Many sufferers of MS have problems walking. Two main factors cause these issues. The first is damage to the nerve pathways. This damage often affects the coordination of the patient resulting in problems with their natural gait. When we walk, we subconsciously roll our feet pointing our toes upward as we pick up feet. There are many nuanced processes involved in walking that most people do automatically but often these breakdown with MS patients.
The second issue involves fatigue. MS sufferers often experience extreme fatigue making walking difficult. Muscle wastage then becomes an issue, which often exasperates the fatigue.
The type of footwear MS sufferers could help to relieve the fatigue associated with walking and also help to correct minor issues with gait and balance. The most important factor to consider when purchasing a pair of shoes is weight. The lighter the shoe, the less fatigue the patient is likely to suffer. Correct sizing will also help to improve not only the comfort but also the control of the patient. Many people both abled and disable where poorly fitting shoes. There are many variations of shoe sizing now on offer and from extra wide, narrow, half sizes and more. There are also variations between brands, so it’s essential to try on different brands and sizes to make sure you get the best fit. A running shop is a great place to start as they often have trained staff who can measure your feet and recommend brands to suit.
Hoka one one
These shoes have been described as “Like walking on air”. They are marketed as a running shoe but their cushioned sole and extreme lightness, make them a great everyday shoe for those with walking issues and fatigue. Their “Meta-Rocker” technology and bevelled toe provides an excellent platform form for improved balance when walking. Another plus is that they offer a range of products extra wide versions.
These are the most expensive of our brands with prices ranging from £120-£150 for their best-sellers.
Nike free flyknit’s
Trainer giant Nike answer to the lightweight running shoe is the Free Flynit. These trainers are everything you’d expect from Nike, trendy, well designed, and of course lightweight. They have less cushioning than Hoka one and sketchers, but some people may prefer this as it allows the wearer to really feel the ground. By being able to feel the ground, allows the body to make more accurate adjustments when walking and potentially improve balance. The main feature of these shoes is their comfort level, which is positively mentioned on all of their reviews.
A similar price point to Hoka one one but a little cheaper at £100-£120 depending on the model.
Sketchers offer a variety of models of trainer with rocker soles. These models have an exaggerated inverted sole which is designed to force the wearer to roll their foot when walking. The soles of the shoes are also thicker than most which provide extra cushioning and added spring. Both of these features are great for those with typical MS walking issues. They are also lightweight but tend not to be as light as some of the pure running shoes due to their thicker soles. There are several lace-free, slip-on models which might be appealing to some MS sufferers who also have dexterity problems.
The downside to Sketchers include a breaking in period. During this initial period, wearers tend to find that it is difficult to balance whilst standing still. This is due to the rocker sole and as your weight is adjusting from front to back. However, this soon passes as you quickly learn to adapt.
I have also read that people find them unsupportive at the ankle, but this depends on the model.
The price point is midrange at £60-£70
Brooks again are predominately a running brand and offer lightweight advanced running/walking shoes. The Brooks Glycerin is marketed as low impact, lightweight, performance running shoes.
What makes them great for those with walking issues is that they have a tight heel and significant heel drop. This holds the heel in place as the foot is picked and forces the foot to roll naturally. The toe end is also highly flexible which again helps promote the rolling motion.
Brooks are quality trainers that look great, are lightweight and have excellent cushioning.
Their prices vary depending on the model but on average are £60-£70.
Clarks (Wave Model)
These hiking/walking inspired shoes from Clarks also feature a curved sole like sketchers.
Their website describes the sole as “propelling you through every step, conserving energy and enabling you to walk further and feel fitter.” Bold claims but there’s lots of positive feedback from reviews and forums supporting this.
Again it’s curved sole that everybody seems to like, helping to stop the foot catching or dragging when walking.
While not as light as the pure running shoes, they are more robust and provide excellent support around the ankle.
The price of £45 makes them by far the best value of all of our options.
Lightweight shoes that fit you perfectly is what you should be aiming for. You could also experiment with insoles to help correct gait problems, and a physiotherapist could help you with this.
If you’re looking for a shoe that will help with drop foot, based on my research I’d recommend sketchers. Their cushioned rocker sole has lots of feedback from the general public and MS sufferers on forums.
For a lightweight and trendy option, I’d go Nike Flyknit.
Finally, for great value and practicality, the Clarks Wave are unbeatable.
If you are looking for further help with walking, we offer a range of walking aids on our website.
We hope you found this article useful.