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Best Shoes for Stroke Patients

Surviving and Thriving After a Stroke

Light Blue Cadense Adaptive Sneakers

Watch Testimonials from members of our Cadense Stroke Community

With these shoes every step is fully supported.

Charlotte K.

Cadense Ambassador, Stroke Community

Wearing them I don’t feel nervous about my ankle rolling in, which is always my biggest concern.

Maddi N.

Cadense Ambassador, Stroke Community


Cadense Community

Charlotte K. Cadense Ambassador, Stroke Community
Image of gentlemen doing walking exercises

With these shoes every step is fully supported.

Wearing them I don’t feel nervous about my ankle rolling in, which is always my biggest concern.

Image of gentlemen doing walking exercises
Charlotte K. Cadense Ambassador, Stroke Community
Image of gentlemen doing walking exercises
Charlotte K. Cadense Ambassador, Stroke Community
Older gentleman walking with a walker

What happens after a stroke?

After a stroke, recovery can take weeks, months or years. While some patients recover fully from a stroke, others suffer lifelong effects. 

Following a stroke, symptoms may include paralysis, weakness, difficulties walking, cognitive challenges, fatigue, sleep problems, and emotional symptoms.

Common walking problems for stroke patients

Difficulties walking are prevalent following a stroke. A 2022 observational study found that almost half of patients with first time stroke had a hard time walking directly afterwards. 

Between 65% and 85% of stroke survivors recover the ability to walk on their own within 6 months. That means that walking problems can persist for many months, and for 15% or more of patients, they can continue past the 6-month mark. 

Walking problems following a stroke may include foot drop, spasticity, hemiparesis, ataxia, and changes in gait.

Foot drop

Foot drop is a condition where the patient is unable to lift their toes as they are walking, resulting in them dragging along the ground. After a stroke, around 20-30% of individuals experience foot drop.


Following a stroke, your muscles may contract involuntarily at times, resulting in spasticity. While you can experience spastic, rigid muscles in various parts of your body, the ankle is often afflicted. The American Stroke Association reports around 25% to 43% of people who had a stroke will have spasticity during their first year.


Hemiparesis is weakness that affects one side of your body. It can make it hard to walk and do other basic activities. Around 65% of stroke survivors experience this condition.


Patients who develop ataxia following a stroke have a difficult time controlling their muscles when they initiate voluntary movements. That means that they experience a lack of coordination. It can be difficult to maintain balance while walking with ataxia.

Gait Patterns

According to a paper published in Frontiers in Physiology, 25% of stroke patients have impaired gaits afterwards. They may take shorter steps, walk more slowly, and have longer swing phases and shorter stance phases on the side affected by partial paralysis.

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Symptoms of stroke

Along with difficulties walking, stroke patients experience other debilitating symptoms that make daily activities challenging.

Speech problems

Difficulties using muscles can make it hard to speak clearly after a stroke. Patients may also be affected by aphasia, resulting in language problems. According to a review of 75 studies, 7-77% of stroke survivors experience aphasia.


Patients may experience dizziness after a stroke, adding to the difficulties maintaining balance while standing or walking. A study has shown that as many as 70% of patients experience dizziness after a stroke.

Facial drooping

Muscle weakness after a stroke can cause one or both sides of the face to droop around the mouth and eyes. Research suggests around 45% of stroke survivors may be affected.

Vision problems

American Stroke Association states that 65% of individuals experience vision issues after a stroke.

Normally, the eyes move together as a unit. A stroke may impair the eye’s coordination.As a result, you can experience double vision or blurring. When it is difficult to see clearly, that can contribute to difficulties walking. 


Head pain is another common symptom following a stroke, affecting up to 44% of patients.

Treatments for recovering stroke patients

Thankfully, there are multiple treatment options available for patients who are recovering from a stroke. These include various therapies in conjunction with lifestyle changes and assistive devices.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy (PT) is a central component of stroke recovery. Patients participating in PT carry out gentle exercises to help them improve their balance, coordination and strength.

Speech and language therapy

Patients who are having a hard time speaking after a stroke may take part in speech therapy. A speech and language therapist can not only help a patient learn how to talk again, but also read, write and swallow with greater ease.While early intervention is frequently advised, research suggests that more study may be needed to establish the most effective time frame.

Psychological support

The debilitation and disruption caused by a stroke can lead to a great deal of psychological and emotional distress. Patients recovering from stroke may find it helpful to work with a therapist.

Nutritional changes

Patients may have a difficult time preparing or swallowing food after a stroke. Weight loss may follow a stroke as well. Doctors may recommend nutritional changes to their patients that will help them to return to or maintain a healthy weight. They may also suggest changes that will make it easier to prepare and swallow food without sacrificing nutrition. In addition, stroke patients may benefit from a higher intake of B vitamins and zinc.

Assistive devices

Patients who need help walking after a stroke may use assistive devices such as walkers, canes, wheelchairs, ankle-foot orthotics or scooters. Non-slip mats, hand rails and other modifications to the home can also make it safer and easier to move around after a stroke.

Exercises for stroke patients

As part of the physical therapy for recovering from a stroke, it can be helpful to perform certain exercises. Start with simpler, easier exercises, and work your way up to intermediate and advanced exercises. 

If your balance and coordination were affected by the stroke, make sure you exercise near a wall you can grab onto for safety. 

When exercising outdoors, make sure to choose appropriate shoes for stroke patients. 

Fine motor skills

A variety of fine motor skills exercises can be helpful following a stroke. Examples include finger tapping, hand squeezing, and using tools for hand therapy such as a stress ball. Even writing or drawing can help redevelop these skills.

Isometric exercises

Isometric exercises involve contracting individual muscles or muscle groups. You do not move when performing them, except to tighten the targeted muscles.

Balance and coordination exercises

Simple exercises such as weight shifting, standing on one leg with or without support, and swinging the raised leg carefully forward and back can all help to improve balance and coordination after a stroke.

Walking exercises

Patients can perform walking exercises to aid recovery. A simple example is to try walking while slowly turning the head back and forth. Seated or standing marching in place can also be helpful.

Hand and finger exercises

Stroke patients may benefit from exercises such as finger stretches and thumb extensions.

Core and posture exercises

Exercises that can help strengthen the core and improve posture after a stroke include trunk circles, twists and extensions, bridges and crunches.

Aerobic exercises

Once you are up to it, you can try gentle aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, and dancing.

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Features of shoes for stroke patients

Selecting the right footwear while recovering from a stroke can make it easier, safer and more comfortable to walk. As a result, you may be able to live more independently and also get more exercise. 

Suitable footwear for stroke patients needs to fit comfortably, and be lightweight, flexible and slip-resistant.

Adjustable fit

Choose footwear you can adjust to provide a fit that is snug and secure without restricting circulation.

Shoe sole of an adaptive shoe


To help prevent slips and falls, choose shoes that feature excellent traction, providing a firm grip even on smooth, slick surfaces.

Image showing the width of a shoes toe box

Extra width

Now is not the time to be wearing narrow, uncomfortable shoes that pinch your feet. Opt for a shoe shape that features extra width. Just make sure they do not fit too loosely.

Light Weight Adaptive Shoes

Lightweight and flexible

The shoes you choose for stroke recovery should be lightweight, reducing fatigue, and flexible enough to adapt to your movements. At the same time, they need to offer substantial support to keep your feet aligned and comfortable while you walk.

Cadense White Adaptive Shoes worn by a woman

Supports a healthy gait

If you are experiencing foot drop as a result of stroke, you need shoes that help you to maintain a natural gait. Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes for men and women feature patented variable friction technology. This unique technology lets you “glide” over obstacles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there special shoes designed for stroke patients?

Stroke patients should wear shoes that are designed to provide ample support and comfort while assisting with maintaining a natural, healthy gait. Consider the Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes for men and women.

Can stroke patients use regular shoes with custom orthotics?

Research shows that customized insoles can improve gait in hemiparetic patients following a stroke. Another option is simply to wear shoes that are already ideally suited to patients with walking difficulties, such as Cadense.

How often should shoes be evaluated for proper fitting on stroke patients?

Many stroke patients are wearing shoes that do not fit them properly. These patients experience problems with their feet and mobility. Regularly assess whether your shoes are fitting you properly. If they are not comfortably snug and supportive, replace them.

How long does a stroke victim need to recover and improve walking?

According to this paper in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 95% of patients are able to recover their ability to walk within 11 weeks of a stroke. Keep in mind that full rehabilitation may take months or years in some cases.

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