walking boots

How to Choose the Right Walking Boot for an Injured or Broken Foot?

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The walking boot or walking cast has become a popular piece of medical equipment due to its frequent and common use for treating bone breaks, injuries, and fractures. The walking cast, which also goes by the names of stabilizers, air casts, or walking boots, are specifically designed to immobilize specific regions along the ankle and leg. By immobilizing the calf, ankle, foot, or even all three, walking boots are mainly used to stop the injured parts from moving while keeping the affected parts in place to promote more effective and faster healing.

Since walking boots are used to treat many different types of injuries or conditions, they come in a range of shapes, constructions, specialties, and sizes. The most common sub-categories include air cast boots, soft or stiff casts, ankle casts, low-tops, and high-tops. Here is more information on a few essential considerations you should be making when determining the specifications or features you will need from a walking boot.

Tips on How to Choose the Best Walking Boot

Walking casts or boots are treatment devices for various conditions or injuries linked to the lower leg, ankle, and foot. Here is an overview of the main types and the specific types and conditions they are designed for.

1. Low-Top Walking Boots

The majority of the low-top walking casts are designed to cover the toes up to just above your ankle or lower calf. This particular design is helpful to treat fractures or injuries that impact the heel, lower ankle, or foot. A popular example of this type of boot is United Ortho Short Cam Walker Fracture Boot.

2. High-Top Walking Boot

Most people think about high-top walking casts when discussing walking boots. These are devices that are designed to wrap around your leg from mid-calf to your toes. These are casts that are used for treating injuries that impact the calf or the ankle. High-top walking boots are generally characterized by their cushioned and tighter leg wrap enclosed by a durable, hard outer-boot layer. The outer layer is usually made up of metal portions and plastic.

The robust outer layer usually fastens around inner wrapping made up of either adhesive banding or Velcro. Aircast AirSelect Walker Walking Boot is a good example of these types of walking casts.

3. Air Cast Walking Boots

The Air Cast Boot represents a more innovative advancement when compared to the traditional low-top or high-top walking boots or casts. Unlike the standard walking boots, the Air Cast Boot surrounds the regions of the leg that are covered in a comfortable and “supportive” air cushion. These boots are also much easier to adjust to provide a customized fit and comfortable support. These designs promote a much faster healing time and allow for more mobility.

While the traditional walking boots are designed for use with a hard cast, the Air Cast Boot can perform the role of the actual cast itself and a walking cast. This is extremely useful since it allows the user to take the cast off for certain circumstances. This can include when they take a shower or let fresh air reach the foot or leg.

However, it is very important to note that an Air Cast Boot is only intended for minor injuries and is not designed to replace a cast to treat more major injuries, including fractured or broken bones and damaged ligaments. This is usually why the Air Cast Boot is more often used for transitioning between the hard cast to no cast. Since it acts as a type of intermediate, these Boots provide a level of protection, allowing you to increase the strength in your leg with a bit more freedom compared to the hard casts.

Some popular examples of this product include: United Ortho Short Air Cam Walker Fracture Boot and United Ortho Tall Air Cam Walker Fracture Boot.

4. Hard Cast Bottoms and Shoes

Hard Cast Shoes are rough “shoes” that surround the foot part of your hard cast. This type of product won’t provide extensive support and protection on offer by the other walking boots previously mentioned. Instead, this product offers a thin protective layer. These hard cast shoes are designed to protect the foot part of your hard cast from becoming damaged or scuffed during your daily activities.

Features to Consider Before Purchasing a Walking Boot for a Broken or Injured Foot

Cast Size

While this may be the most obvious consideration to keep in mind, it is worth noting that walking boots come in many different sizes, which mainly corresponds or matches up to measurements of your foot or your shoe size while taking the added bulk into account the cast itself. It is essential to review available sizing options for every walking boot you are interested in. Most of these products come with sizing charts to help you find the right walking boot for your needs. One of the most important parts of promoting adequate and faster healing is to make sure you choose the right sized boot so that it provides the proper immobilization and support.

Your Shoe SizeCorresponding Size
Men’s US shoe sizeWomen’s US shoe size
4 -6XS
6- 86.5 – 9S
8.5 – 10.59.5 – 11.5M
11 – 13.512+L
Typical Cast Size Chart

Anti-Shock Technology

Anti-shock technology is an innovative feature that is made available in a few of the walking boots. While just about all the walking boots provide some level of cushioning impact, a few products take this one step further with the implementation of anti-shock designs that lowers the risks of further injuries. Specific anti-vibration and anti-shock cast or sole constructions are beneficial, especially when you have a great deal of discomfort or pain caused by either a broken or injured foot.

Strap Types

While most walking boots use Velcro straps that keep your cast secured, there are other options. Some of the products, especially the cast shoes or smaller boots, can use non-Velcro-based straps or clasps for fastening. While this may not be a crucial consideration or concern, it might be worthwhile reviewing what type of straps the product features if you have a specific preference, or you find it a difficult task to fasten smaller clasps.

Boot Or Cast Liners

The inside of a walking boot often includes a liner that can be made from different materials. Most of these products feature liners that are comfortable, supportive, and soft. There are also many options available when it comes to liners, with some preferable when it comes to weather conditions or your specific condition or injury. For this reason, it may be worth your while to review the interior lining and whether replacement linings are available should your lining wear down.


Some of the walking boots also include added supports that are typically made from metals or dense plastics. These supports add additional support to your leg. This type of support is more common in the Air Cast Boots or high-top walking boots that usually require an added degree of vertical stability. If you need more mobility and more significant support, you may want to check if the product includes this feature before making a purchase.

Final Thoughts

Since there are notable varieties when it comes to walking boots, you should always consult with a doctor to assist you in finding a device that matches your needs. If you have a broken foot or a foot injury, your doctor will be able to advise you on how to care for your injuries with the proper medications and the correct walking boot to promote faster and more efficient healing.

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Donald R. Rowe
Donald R. Rowe
Donald is the editor-in-chief of Mobility Deck. He has a lot of experience with the difficulties of accessible transport in a big city. Donald enjoys writing and is dedicated to discovering the most innovative and valuable mobility products worth sharing with others – the ones that genuinely improve users' lives.
Donald R. Rowe
Donald R. Rowe
Donald is the editor-in-chief of Mobility Deck. He has a lot of experience with the difficulties of accessible transport in a big city. Donald enjoys writing and is dedicated to discovering the most innovative and valuable mobility products worth sharing with others – the ones that genuinely improve users' lives.

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