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Slippers and Other Footwear for Swollen Feet

Slippers and Other Footwear for Swollen Feet

Suffering with swollen feet and ankles (oedema) is common among elderly people and can lead to serious discomfort. Extra wide slippers provide welcome relief, reducing pressure on the skin and significantly easing any pain caused by tight footwear.

Many modern styles have special fixing straps which accommodate not only wide feet, but those which may vary in size according to the amount of swelling on the day. Some people experience different degrees of oedema at different times, so this is a useful feature.

As well as slippers for swollen feet which are conventional in appearance, Essential Aids also supplies footwear like 'hospital boots'. These have completely open and flexible sections which provide warmth and comfort without applying pressure.

'Sock aids' or devices which help putting on socks, stockings and tights, are another tool which people with enlarged feet can benefit from. We'll come to those later.

First, we'll run-down some of Essential Aids' key items of footwear which help deal with swollen feet.

Slippers for swollen feet

For men

The popular Dunlop 'Arthur' Slippers are comfortable and suitable for men with a wide fitting or enlarged feet. They have a hook and loop fastening which allows for a wide range of foot widths. They are available in UK shoe sizes 6 to 12.

The Arthur slippers also have a low ankle section to accommodate people with the common problem of extra swelling in this area.

For men looking for more support around the ankles, the Dunlop 'Albert' Gents Slippers are a good option. Like the Arthurs, these have a hook and loop fastening and a wide opening, making it easier for the foot to enter than standard footwear allows.

Their slightly raised ankle section delivers more support and provides the 'boot' feel preferred by some.

If an even wider aperture is required, the Walter Mens Extra Extra Wide Slipper is worth consideration. This has an oversized one-touch fastening flap, stretching from the top of the foot down to the start of the toes.

For women

For women the Dunlop 'Bluebell' Ladies Slippers have a wide fitting and are great slippers for swollen feet.

They have an extra-large aperture, making it easy for the foot to slip through. They have non-slip soles and again the adjustable hook and loop fastening. This fixing means they fit snugly even at times when your feet may be less swollen than others.

Available in sizes 3 to 8 and in a choice of colours, the Bluebells have a low ankle section, similar to that on the gents' Arthur slipper.

For more of a boot design, the Dunlop 'Betsy' Ladies Slippers are just the job. Like the men's Alberts, these have a raised section at the ankle, improving support in this area.

Extra wide fittings

If swelling is making a dramatic difference to the size of your feet, you might want to consider extra wide fitting slippers.

Among Essential Aids' range is the Selina Ladies Extra Wide Slipper sizes 4E-6E which an especially comfortable and accommodating design.

It has an oversized foot aperture and very broad fit, along with an inner liner with a fleece section for additional comfort. The touch fastening strap makes them exceptionally easy to put on or remove.

Footwear with open toes

A good option for women if you're looking to go outside, are the Dora Ladies Extra Extra Wide Lightweight Shoes.

These are suitable for inside and outdoor use they feature two long and wide Velcro straps. As with the other slippers mentioned here, this enables them to remain comfortable regardless of the amount of swelling you're experiencing on the day.

They are open-toed so not suitable for wet conditions.


Essential Aids supplies socks which can help with the skin sensitivity which often comes with swollen feet. Made from 75% cotton, 15% Spandex and 10% amorphous polymers, they are designed to reduce irritation.

Irregularities in blood flow may be exacerbated by raised edges, so these socks have hand-linked seams, providing as little impact on the skin as possible. Friction from standard seams can be problematic for diabetics.

Our diabetic socks extend up to the knee and have a gentle stretch, encouraging healthy blood flow.

Fleece-lined bed socks

Essential Aids does an excellent range of open and semi-open bed socks. These keep your feet warm but apply very little pressure to tight skin which is under the pressure of swelling.

They have a thick fleece lining which comes right up over the ankle.

Wool fleece bootees

If you want an option which puts the absolute minimum of pressure on the skin and is almost entirely open in design, the Wool Fleece Bootees are worth considering.

Open from the ankle right down the centre of the foot to the toes, this footwear could not be any easier to put on and take off.

They fasten using two long Velcro straps, which close without putting any pressure on the foot.

As with other flexible fastenings, they can be easily adjusted according to the amount of swelling present at a given time.

They are made from natural wool pile fleece which is especially gentle and warming to the skin. Because of their open design, the foot is allowed to breathe and reduces the chance of over-heating.

The two side panels fold outwards in order to create a very large aperture in which to insert the foot. The panels then fold inwards, enclosing the foot.

This type of footwear does not have a sole, so is not suitable for walking around. For this, you might consider Essential Aids 'Hospital Boots'.

Hospital boots

These are made from a soft wool pile that naturally warms and cushions the feet.

This is uniquely adaptable footwear which allows more 'closure' than the wool fleece booties, retaining more warmth.

Each boot features an extra-long 'tongue' which attaches at the toe area of the slipper, folding forwards and out of the way to allow the foot to be inserted unobstructed.

Once the foot is in place, the tongue folds up into a conventional position. The two large side panels, similar to those on the wool fleece booties, then fold up inwards and fasten with Velcro, holding themselves and the tongue gently in place.

This softly encases the foot without adding any undue pressure to the skin.

A flexible middle section provides adjustable length and width to suit feet of most sizes and to soothe any swelling.

The soles of the hospital boots are vinyl, so they are suitable for short trips around the house.

Hospital boots offer outstanding comfort, warmth and flexibility. They are great for swollen feet, but also for those with bandages around their feet too.

Raising your feet off the ground

For many people experiencing the discomfort of swollen feet and legs, simply raising them off the ground can make a difference. It helps blood circulation and may improve comfort. Sometimes, lifting the feet above the horizontal level of your heart makes even more of a difference.

Bed wedges

If you're in bed, pillows are an easy way to elevate the legs. Alternatively, you could use one of the triangular bed wedges supplied by Essential Aids.

These are foam filled blocks which you can position to your liking under the duvet. They come with washable covers can also be used to support your back if you want to sit up in bed.

Another popular option is the Foam Leg Raiser. Like bed wedges, this is made of foam with a soft removable cover. It has a contoured 'wave' design which allows the user's legs to lay comfortably, gently elevated and in a natural position.

This product is particularly effective if you're spending a lot of time in bed with your legs raised.

Leg and foot-rests

For a sofa or armchair, a leg-rest might be the answer. Essential aids does a number of leg and foot-rests designed to do exactly this job.

Most models are height-adjustable and some tilt, allowing you to find an angle of your choosing. Others have a design which supports the calves as well as the feet.

Essential Aids' popular Tuffet Leg Rest can be set in two positions. One is lower, supporting the feet and lower legs. To convert it into a more standard horizontal foot rest, just turn it upside down.

You can adjust the softness of the Tuffet by operating a simple valve to reduce or increase its inflation.

Dressing aids

Swollen legs and feet can make it difficult to get dressed and even stretch socks, tights and stockings over your feet.

If you find this is a problem, has a range of sock aids to help.

Most designs involved a plastic or metal frame which helps guide the foot into the sock or stocking.

The popular Compression Stocking Aid for example provides a wire frame onto which the tights are stretched. This provides a wide aperture in which the user inserts their foot.

Integral handles then allow the user to pull the frame up and towards them, which in turn draws the stocking on to the foot and lower leg.

Using sock aids like this takes practice, but they usually work out well with a bit of patience to learn the technique.

When putting on shoes, you may find a simple but effective tool is a shoehorn. If your feet are swollen, these can be particularly useful.

Sally Madeley-Carr, OT

Sally Madeley-Carr, OT

Sally qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1996 and is a well-respected professional in the field of rehabilitation equipment and living aids. She has worked in private practice and within the NHS, developing a broad experience with adults and children. Click here for Sally's registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. The HCPC regulates health, psychological and social work professionals in the UK.

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