skip to main content
These Are the Best Shoes for Pregnancy in 2024
Updated on
March 29, 2024

These Are the Best Shoes for Pregnancy in 2024

By Danielle Halibey | Fact Checked by Karen Reardanz
Babylist editors love baby gear and independently curate their favorite products to share with you. If you buy something through links on our site, Babylist may earn a commission.
Pinterest logo.
These Are the Best Shoes for Pregnancy in 2024.
These Are the Best Shoes for Pregnancy in 2024

Pregnancy is an amazing thing, but the toll it takes on a body? At times it can be head-to-toe taxing. As your pregnancy progresses, the extra weight you’re carrying can put pressure on your feet, while pregnancy hormones can relax ligaments in your feet (as well as in the pelvis as you near delivery time), causing fallen arches/flat feet. The increased blood volume moving extra oxygen to your baby often can result in foot and ankle swelling as well. It’s definitely a trip, and one you’ll want to take with supportive footwear in tow.

Babylist’s Top Picks for the Best Shoes for Pregnancy

Read full reviews of the best maternity shoes below.

How Does Pregnancy Affect Your Feet?

Pregnancy affects everyone differently, but foot changes are common. Here are some you might experience:

Foot growth

In order to make room for a growing baby and prepare your pelvic area for delivery, your body produces a hormone called relaxin that softens the cervix and makes bones and ligaments more pliable. For some moms-to-be, relaxin can force the feet to lengthen and expand. While these changes sometimes go away after pregnancy, some people find their shoe size has permanently changed.

A waddling stride

Your gait—or the way you walk—may change, as well, as a result of your spine and pelvis curving inward to accommodate the extra weight and growth in your abdomen. You may start to lean backward as a way to compensate. In the last few weeks before baby comes, you’ll also experience “lightening,” when your baby starts to drop in your pelvis. As your pelvis expands, your stance gets wider, and voila: The much-talked-about mama “waddle” is born.

Ingrown toenails

Swollen feet (which we’ll get into later!) can also do a number on your toenails. If you’re constantly squeezing your feet into ill- or tightly-fitting shoes, your nails can start digging into your skin, causing inflammation and even infection. Sizing up, wearing open-toe shoes that are less confining and perhaps even a warm foot soak at the end of the day can help prevent and treat ingrown toenails.

What to Look for in Pregnancy Shoes

Almost every foot-related concern in pregnancy can be improved with a new pair of well-fitting, comfortable shoes (even if that means sizing up a half to one size for the duration of your pregnancy). When choosing a maternity shoe, though, keep the following considerations in mind:

Comfort

Pregnancy can be an uncomfortable experience, so when it comes to what you’re wearing on your feet, you want to choose supportive shoes.

“Widening and flattening of the arch is very common during the gestational period,” says Sarah Haller, DPM, FACFAS, a Fellowship-Trained foot and ankle surgeon. If pregnancy hormones have caused your arches to flatten—this can increase the likelihood of ankle sprains or instability issues—you can ameliorate some of the pain or soreness with contoured, cushioned insoles.

You’ll also want to avoid squishing your feet into too-tight shoes. If you’ve wondered if your feet got longer, you might not be too far off! As the weight from your belly pushes down into your extremities, your feet may become flatter and grow in size a bit. Combined with any swelling you might experience in your ankles, you’ll find that shoes that are “roomy and supportive, like cushioned sneakers,” says Dr. Haller, are most appropriate. Again, don’t be afraid to go a size larger!

Breathability

Hormones have a way of making you all kinds of sweaty (no matter what time of year it is), so when you’re considering shoes for everyday wear, consider options made from breathable fabrics such as mesh, canvas, leather and suede to help your sweaty feet.

Stability

When you’re pregnant, your body’s center of gravity (or balance point) changes, so you may become less coordinated as your bump gets bigger. It doesn’t mean that you have to surrender all your heels, but wearing wedges or espadrilles or finding a shoe with a stable block heel and wide supportive straps can be good ideas.

Alternatively, if you’re already more inclined to choose flip flops over high heels, look for picks that feature cushioned footbeds and built-in arch contours that cradle your feet where they need it most.

“For balance and stability, I always suggest an over-the-counter insert to my pregnant moms since their arch will continue to change as they go through pregnancy. A Powerstep Orthotic is exceptionally accommodative and supportive.”

In addition, compression socks are also your friend. Edema—or swelling—is a common concern during pregnancy, as there’s greater blood volume in the body.

Compression socks can help keep fluid from accumulating in the calves and feet. They’re also ideal for improving circulation and reducing the risk of blood clots. “I like Doc Millers, but anything with a compression intensity of 15 to 20 mmHg is appropriate,” suggests Dr. Haller.

Keep in mind: Some swelling is totally normal during and after your pregnancy, but if you’re noticing something outside of what’s normal for you—particularly excessive swelling in your legs, hands or especially the face—you should talk to your healthcare provider right away. It could be a sign of preeclampsia.

The Best Shoes for Pregnancy

Best Everyday Sneaker for Pregnancy

They actually have “cloud” in the name, so you can bet these sustainable sneakers (the breathable upper contains recyclable materials) are soft, lightweight and ultra-breezy. As for comfort, insoles made of made memory foam provide a supple landing for your feet, while the brand’s proprietary Cloudfoam technology cushions your midsole. They’re also available in 18 great colors to match whatever kind of athleisure you’re living in these days. (i.e. They’ll match every pair of maternity leggings you own.)

Best Walking Shoes for Pregnancy

Kiziks weren’t designed specifically for pregnant people—but they should have been. These innovative sneakers solve one of THE biggest pains of pregnancy: bending over to get your shoes on and off throughout the day. Kiziks are completely hands-free shoes. The brand’s patented technology lets the heel spring back when you slip on the shoe, so all you need to do is slide your foot in and you’re ready to go. No laces to fumble with, no bending, no sitting, and most of all, no groaning every.single.time you need to head out the door. We can’t believe anyone hasn’t thought of this sooner.

The Limas have a foam outsole for rebound and feature enhanced ankle padding and a roomy toe box for your ever-expanding pregnancy feet. The materials are sustainably sourced and the insole is machine washable. They’re perfect for walks and everyday wear.

Best Sandals for Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant during the warmer months, putting on socks may be one of the last things you want to do. Sandals are a much better choice, says Haller, who recommends ones with a “large strap to go around the ankle and a wide strap at the forefoot for support.” These sandals from Nisolo are appropriate for all kinds of summer settings. The cushy memory foam footbed feels luxurious, and the durable sole, with grippy treads and slingback straps, means you won’t be sliding anywhere. Just remember to order at least half size up, as these run small.

Best Slip-On Shoes for Pregnancy

Traditional slip-on shoes sometimes can be a little stiff, but that’s not the case with these Allbirds Tree Loungers. They’re designed with a stretchy, lightweight and airy eucalyptus tree fiber knit that keeps your tootsies cool and dry and wicks away sweat. They come in a variety of colors (we love the Kaikoura White and Calm Teal) and are outfitted with a cushioned, removeable insole that’s super soft and endlessly ergonomic. You seriously won’t want to take these off at the end of day. Bonus: these comfy shoes are also machine washable.

Best Loafer/Mule for Pregnancy

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style for comfort. And that’s been Naturalizer’s M.O. since the very beginning. Whether you’re heading to the office or meeting up with friends for lunch, these are the perfect, slightly elevated shoes to wear for any occasion. Why do we love them for pregnancy? Definitely the inclusive sizing (4 to 12) and variable widths (medium and wide) that offer a comfortable fit when your feet ebb and flow in size.

Best Low-Heel Boot/Booties for Pregnancy

It’s a general rule that booties look adorable on pregnant people. But if the pair you’re wearing isn’t supportive or comfy, there doesn’t seem to be a point. Dansko is known for incredibly comfortable clogs—nurses and medical professionals who spend all day on their feet are big fans—but everything the brand puts out has earned an impressive Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

We’re partial to the Cagney suede bootie for its minimalist, yet chic and wearable design. And the fact that it features a naturally stretchy (and removable) EVA footbed with memory foam and Dansko’s trademark Natural Arch technology (this ensures proper foot alignment, taking pressure off of the feet and lower limbs) doesn’t hurt. Minimizing strain to the feet during pregnancy can help curb long-term foot issues and provide a smoother road to recovery in the postpartum. Bonus: if pregnancy-related issues have led to a licensed podiatrist prescribing you custom orthotics, Dansko booties can likely accommodate them.

Best Running Shoe for Pregnancy

Staying active during pregnancy can be good for both your physical well-being and mental health. If you’re already a runner, you might want to think about a shoe that’s less about speed and agility and more about comfort and support while you’re pregnant. Brooks is one of Dr. Haller’s favorite brands, and we think the Ariel ‘20 road-running shoe, available in sizes 6 to 13, with medium to extra-wide widths, is amazing for the marathon of pregnancy. Their soft, dynamic cushioning is courtesy of a patented EVA foam midsole that matches every runner’s unique stride, weight and speed. And Brooks’ lightweight support technology not only aids your arches, it’ll help your knees and hips (other common ailing spots in pregnancy), too. Not a runner? These shoes are great for walking, as well.

Best Heels for Pregnancy

Heels and pregnancy aren’t mutually exclusive. That being said, you should still aim to take it easy when you’re wearing them. Dr. Haller advises her pregnant patients to “wear the shoe you love for a half hour to one hour, and then spend time sitting down.” When it comes to heels, Dr. Haller prefers “a platform sandal or a simple 1-to-2 inch block heel.” We love these stunning INEZ heels for that reason. The best-selling Lulu heels are not only at that perfect 1-to-2 inch sweet spot, they’re fashioned with a custom-designed insole with arch support and a leather sole with rubber inset for traction and stability.

Dr. Haller also says, “once you get home and take off your heels, elevate your legs (higher or at the level of your heart, depending on your flexibility) to allow for lymph drainage.” Just lie down, prop your feet up with a few pillows and let gravity do its job to move the excess fluids out of your feet and ankles and back into your blood circulation.

Best Flip Flops for Pregnancy

Summer pregnant folks rejoice! You can still hang by the pool, stroll along the beach or relax with the AC on in your favorite pair of flip flops. Dr. Haller says, “there are some days where you just can’t get your feet that are swollen into a pair of shoes.” But when it comes to choosing a pair of flip flops, she says to look for specific features, including supportive arch and ample cushioning. Enter: the FitFlop iQushion Ergonomic Flip Flop. These vibrantly colored sandals highlight FitFlop’s featherlight, pressure-diffusing midsole and high-rebound air-foam cushioning that doesn’t deflate. In other words, they keep their shape and bounce back every time you take a step. Add to that solid heel and ball-of-foot impact pillows—their shoe shock absorbers, essentially—and an anatomically shaped footbed that matches the natural contours of your foot, and you have a flip flop that just won’t quit. With 13 punchy colors to choose from, you might just need to “eeny meeny miny moe” to figure out a favorite.


Danielle Halibey

Danielle Halibey is a mom, writer, editor and publicist living in Central New Jersey. Danielle has written for The Bump, Cubby at Home, Babe by HATCH and countless other lifestyle publications. But her biggest passion is for expert product curation. From pregnancy game-changers and baby essentials to toys for growing children, Danielle is always seeking out the best buys for everyone who makes a child’s world go round. When she’s not writing, she cherishes the daily experiences and conversations shared with her three little ones. She also wouldn’t mind living in her maternity leggings indefinitely.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.