Rocker Bottom Shoes Demystified – Shoes That Encourage Walking

May 11th, 2010 by John Almodovar | 31 Comments So Far

cogent_rocker_graphicThe popularity of rocker bottom shoes have really skyrocketed this year and as fitness walkers constantly prowl the market in search of footwear products to improve their daily physical activity, shoe manufacturers are doing their best to deliver new designs and styles of these odd looking shoes.  I remember when I saw my first pair of rocker shoes – they kind of reminded me of the infamous mullet hair style, you know the hair style that sports a short cut in the front and a long cut in the back; I believe the saying goes, “Business in the front, and party in the back!”  Yeah the mullet was popular in the 80’s and early 90’s but last I remember, the mullet didn’t offer health benefits.  Rocker bottom shoes may have the casual look at one end and the rocker look at the other end, but at least they provide us another way to walk healthier.

But not all rocker bottom shoes have the same design or are manufactured to cater to the fitness population.  At, we carry different types of rocker bottom shoes for different types of wearers.   All of the rocker shoes carried at have stable rocker soles and can be categorized as fitness or double rockers, mild rockers or medical rockers.

Fitness or Double Rocker Shoes
Shoes with fitness or double rocker soles have an odd look because of their unique design.  When wearing fitness or double rocker bottom shoes, you’re forced to walk upright and with proper balance.  The whole idea of a fitness or double rocker sole is to force core muscles in the body to work harder to obtain balance in each step.  By working harder during each step, you’ll tone muscles, burn calories, gain flexibility, improve gait and develop better posture.

Cogent Double Rocker Shoes
rachel-wa302blk_blackWhen looking at Cogent rocker shoes, you wouldn’t think that their double rocker sole technology is a design that incorporates principles from ancient Tai Chi and modern technology.  This combination allows you to not only stand more upright, but also experience true balance from heel strike to toe-off.  Cogent rocker shoes will enable you to walk properly and naturally – you’ll also experience a reduction of stress on joints and bones, and your circulation will increase.

New Balance 6002 Fitness Rock & Tone Women’s Sandals
nb_rockntone_white_w6002wtThese women’s leg toning sandals have a rounded sole design to encourage more muscle activity in the legs.  Muscles will get toned and calories will be burned.  These women’s leg toning sandals also come with great features such as an IMEVA midsole for flexible cushioning and a durable rubber outsole for longer wear.

Please Note: New Balance Rock &Tone shoes will be available later this week, so please be sure to check back with us.

Mild Rocker Shoes
Shoes that have a mild rocker sole design are not meant to improve your daily fitness – they’re designed to enhance your gait.  Having a mild rocker sole can also reduce strain to the heel and central metatarsal area because this design allows the sole to roll naturally with each step.
Algeria Paloma and Clog Mild Rocker Shoes
Vibrant colors and endless styles are what you’ll find when shopping for Alegria by PG Lite Paloma and Clog shoes.  Alegria shoes come with natural breathable leather insoles that are anatomically shaped and will conform to the natural shape of each foot.  The mild rocker bottom outsole encourages proper posture and gait; plus it’s environmentally friendly because it’s made out of lightweight biodegradable materials.

Medical Rocker Shoes
Unfortunately, some of us may suffer with arthritis in the ankle or with some other ankle problem that causes joint stiffness.  By wearing medical rocker shoes, the sole design can actually help you get through your gait cycle.  Medical rocker shoes are primarily used for their function to help those with medical conditions, which means they’re usually prescribed by doctors.  Some medical rocker shoes have such a slight rocker sole design that you won’t even be able to see it.

Drew Bloom II Women’s Shoe Medical Rocker
drew_bloom_ii_taupe_nubuckThis attractive orthopedic women’s Drew shoe reflects the Mary Jane style.  It can accommodate AFO’s and KAFO’s.  It offers Drew’s Plus Fitting System: two removable footbeds to allow the easiest customized fit.  The medical rocker sole design is barely visible and made out of polyurethane material.  This shoe is recommended for those with arthritis, charcot foot, diabetes, plantar fasciitis and bunions.

Shoes with rocker sole designs have been with us for a while now; and even though some of the newer shoes are strictly designed to increase our daily exercise, they all pretty much do the same thing: they enhance the way we walk.  And at the end of the day, having the ability to walk better is really the most important thing of all.


About Author 

I'm a multimedia production specialist and web editor for I write about foot care and footwear related subjects to promote health from the feet the up.

31 Comments on “Rocker Bottom Shoes Demystified – Shoes That Encourage Walking”

  1. barbee5757 said:

    Huge fan of the Cogent …haven’t tried some of the others, but on my list of things to do…I really appreciate the feeling of being centered and balanced as most things in my life are anything but!!!

  2. linda brooks said:

    I need to buy some rocker bottom shoes but have no idea what brand or how much to spend. Can I simply go to a shoe store and they will know how to fit me best depending on my medical requirements (arthritis in the feet/toe) thank you for your help

  3. amandas said:

    Linda- we recommend you try a pair of Drew shoes. They have a slight rocker at the midsole that will help you walk easier. Let us know if you have any other questions.

  4. Gwen Good said:


    I have been wearing extreme rocker fitness shoes almost exclusively for several years, except for rough terrain and photography. I love the comfort and all day wearability of rockers. Due to balancing with one eye closed and the other covered the rocker shoes Really don’t work when I’m shooting.
    I am looking for The Most Comfortable Shoes made. Can you help? I’m doing a Europe photo tour and I am looking for great walking/ standing sandals.

  5. amandas said:

    Hi Gwen- Our pedorthist on staff suggests you look at our Durea women’s shoes because they’re very well made, comfortable shoes. Mephisto women’s shoes are also very comfortable and well made: and she suggests them if you’ll be walking on uneven terrain. Wearing rocker bottom shoes on rough terrain is not a safe idea, so we suggest you get shoes with good traction and breathable uppers. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  6. WalkWithoutPain said:


    If you are looking for better stability in a rocker-sole shoe, you may wish to consider Ryn, Mephisto Sano or Finn Comfort’s “Finnamic” sandals. Here’s a video comparing and contrasting rocker sole shoes:

  7. amandas said:

    Yes- we sell Mephisto and Finn Comfort shoes at our online store: Ryn shoes are also good.

  8. Christa said:

    I was in a car accident 3 years ago and have metal plate and screws in my right ankle. My question is I’m a caregiver and I’m on my feet a few hours. I was told my the podiatrist that I should get Rock bottom sneaker. I will also have a brace and orthro (insole). I notice if I’m on my feet or if I’m not I get pain my the right ankle. What is the best shoe to wear to support the ankle?

  9. amandas said:

    Hi Christa- We recommend you wear a shoe with a slight rocker at the toe box, like Drew shoes. This standard rocker will keep you stable but make it easier to walk. The Drew Women’s Mary Jane Bloom II accommodates AFOs and has two removable inserts, so you can probably fit your insole and ankle brace in the shoe. You can see the shoe here:
    Let us know if you have any other questions.
    Thank you,

  10. DDAnDan said:

    I had a ankle fusion with rods and screws. I will not be able to bend it what is a good shoe to get for walking

  11. Amanda Strouse said:

    We suggest any of our rocker bottom shoes for you.

  12. Catherine said:

    Should I walk differently on a rocker sole. i.e. toe first vs heel first or visa versa?

  13. Amanda Strouse said:

    Please walk how you normally do on a rocker sole. The rocker shoes that we sell will keep you stable, balanced and will improve your posture. Our rocker shoes also ease walking for the wearer, so each step should be comfortable and easy to take.

  14. Jennifer said:

    My daughter has mild cerebral palsy and toe walks on her right foot. I’m wondering if rocker bottom shoes might be good for her and possibly help the toe walking? She is 4 and wears size 11 so I’m not sure if they come that small?

    Thank you for your time to answer my questions.

  15. Amanda Strouse said:

    We don’t sell rocker shoes that small, and we’re not sure if there are any rocker shoes that are made that small. Also, many doctors recommend a stiff soled shoe or the addition of a carbon plate to a shoe that you would have to have custom made.

  16. Ellie said:

    Are the Fila Fit rockers stable or unstable?

  17. Jon said:

    Which sneaker do you recommend for metatarsalgia or ball of the foot pain? Can I use these sneakers for running?

  18. Dee said:

    My 15 yr old son has arthrogryposis and had a surgery on his left foot last year. His doctor recommended rocker bottom sneakers because the bones have not healed/fused all the way. Which kind of rocker bottom is best? He’s not really looking to tone his muscles; he’s trying to reduce the pain in his ankle joint (top of left foot). Which brand is best for this?

  19. Administrator said:

    Both brands Drew and p.w. minor offer styles with stable rockers unlike most of the unstable rockers currently on the market. These might work for your son. If you search for “rocker” on, you’ll see styles come up that mention rocker in the content. Be sure to read the description to see if it’s what you are looking for in a rocker bottom.

  20. Administrator said:

    I would recommend a good supportive arch support insole. Make sure your shoes have a wide toe box so they aren’t cramped. A good athletic shoe is always best. Any athletic shoe on our site would be a good choice.

  21. Sharon said:

    I was diagnosed with Synovitis/capsulitis of the 2nd and 3rd toes. I have swelling/inflammation and burning & pins & needles on the ball of my foot. My Orthopedic Surgeon gave me a shot of cortisone and I brought up the possibility of Rocker bottom shoes to off load the pressure on my 2nd and 3rd toes during toe off. I would like to buy a rocker sole shoe but I have no idea which type is best for me.

  22. Administrator said:

    Give our customer service a call at 866.324.3338 and we’ll try to help you out!

  23. Heather said:

    HI. I have arthritis in my toes. I accidently discovered rocker soled shoes this last year (tennis shoe clearance sale!). Wearing a pair of rocker soled athletic shoes that has really helped me walk comfortably since my toes never have to bend much. I’d like to have a couple of nicer pairs of shoes (maybe a Mary Jane style & a dress style, and want to find some based a bit more on research than luck this time. I also wear orthotics for PF, so they need to fit in. Any suggestions? Thanks Heather

  24. JennaG said:

    Hi Heather,

    We recommend Alegria Classic Clogs or Drew Stretch Bloom II Women’s Shoes

    Thank you for the comment!

  25. Shelli said:

    This design is steller! You certainly know how to
    keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your
    videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost.
    ..HaHa!) Great job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented
    it. Too cool!

  26. Lisa said:

    Are any of these rockers available in colorado?

  27. jane said:

    Hello I have a high arch and pain in the ball of the feet.

    I need to wear supports and need a rocker style shoe.

    I can get a medical shoe, but i like the fitness and mild rocker shoes. Would it be detrimental to wear these types of rocker shoes

  28. Patricia farber said:

    what shoes to you recommend for capsulitis – I have HOKA Bondi 4
    but the colors are so loud and I need business shoes

  29. Melissa Kumler said:

    Hi Patricia – Your question has been sent to our pedorthist who will email you directly.

  30. Dianne Scamyhorn said:

    I fractured my 5th metatarsal Sept 6, 2015. I had to wear the aircast boot for 2 months, because i continued working alot. I would like to know what shoe would be best for my situation. I purchased the New Balance 928 for work and they already bother me after a few hours, also feels like something rubs near my little toe. When I fractured my foot I was wearing Dansko shoes through the grass on my way to my car, and there was just a unlevel spot in the yard, The dansko’s felt good at work, I also have heal spurs. I do not want to risk breaking my foot again, and would like to know if you have recommendations for me being on my feet over 12 hours when i work. At home I wear Croc RX shoes and do not go barefoot.

  31. Susan said:

    I need a slip resistant shoe that has a a mild rocker to take pressure off the ball of my foot. I have arthritis in the top of my foot and in my toes. I also have hammertoes. I need something with room for my toes. I need slilp resistant for working in a kitchen, can you help me?