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Why Kizik’s Hands-Free Shoes Work for Me

Living Well

May 30, 2024

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Design by Alexis Lira; Photography courtesy of Kizik

Design by Alexis Lira; Photography courtesy of Kizik

by Effie Koliopoulos


Medically Reviewed by:

Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI


by Effie Koliopoulos


Medically Reviewed by:

Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI


Get fashion and function from Kizik kicks. These shoes are designed with accessibility in mind and have been a game-changer for my mobility needs.

Over the last 2 decades of living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I’ve come across some products that have helped me thrive. Kizik shoes are one of these items that have made daily living a bit easier.

This is my honest review of a shoe I’ve bought not just once but twice. Yes, they are that good. Kizik shoes are touted as the “best hands-free slip-on shoe” on the market right now. But that’s not the main reason that led me to buy them.

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Why I decided to try a pair of Kizik shoes

Kizik launched its first product line in 2017. This was around the same time I saw an advertisement for its Women’s Athens shoe.

I was immediately drawn to the word “Athens” — which may or may not have to do with me being Greek.

The shoe was appealing to the eye and stylish. It can be hard to find a shoe that’s both trendy and comfortable without looking frumpy.

I started reading reviews and exploring other products on the Kizik website. Much to my dismay about uprooting my Greek roots, I decided to try the Kizik Women’s Lima shoe (after all, I’ve always wanted to go to Peru!).

Why the Lima versus the Athens? I love to read the good, bad, and in-between reviews before making a big purchase. By the time I came across Kizik, I was 1 year post-op from a total knee replacement and was on the hunt to revamp my shoe collection.

I still wanted to be mindful of my needs for comfort, practicality, and accessibility. One reviewer pointed out that the Athens shoes had more of an elevated heel. My physical therapist taught me a thing or two about that.

Typically, when a shoe has an elevated footbed, it can cause strain to the patellar tendon. Since that was a sensitive area for me post-op, I decided that the Athens might not be for me.

Then the Lima became my top pick for being neutral and flatter and providing more room in the toe area. And I think my research worked, as I haven’t had any issues with the two pairs of Limas I’ve worn in the last few years.

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So, what makes Kizik shoes special?

Let’s take a step back (pun intended).

While seeing the word “Athens” initially got me interested in the Kizik ad, there were a host of other reasons why I was especially intrigued.

Advertising its products as the “best hands-free slip-on shoe,” Kizik has invested in developing technology that makes it possible to put on shoes without using your hands. For me, someone who lives with RA and has symptoms that have greatly affected my hands, a product that can ease the discomfort of bending down and tying laces is a game-changer.

As Kizik states, “That’s what drove us to revolutionize the footwear industry: to make every day easier, for everyone. It’s a technology that’s life-changing for some and joy-sparking for all. Who likes tying their shoes, anyway?”

The brand has patents or pending patents for a lot of the technologies that enable the back of the shoe to have flexibility when you step in and bounce back to fit your foot. You can learn more about each of these technologies here and discover which of the brand’s products feature each technology.

This really is the future of footwear that I’ve been searching for. It feels amazing to support a company that aims to provide for people like me.

The technology also isn’t obvious. It just blends into the shoe design. Kizik describes it as “the perfect fusion of fashion and functionality — a beautiful shoe with a special superpower.”

The company wants people who may need comfort and accessibility to know that they can have all that and still be fashionable or express themselves through their kicks.

The pros have made it worth it

Now, this doesn’t mean that I have completely ditched my other shoe options, nor that Kizik shoes work for everyone.

When it comes to RA, I’ve learned that having a wide range of shoes for differing needs (and days) can help. I still wear my New Balance, Brooks, and other shoes I’ve found over the years that work for my feet.

RA has affected my hands the most, and tying shoelaces can sometimes be a pain — literally and figuratively.

There are some days when I need to run out the door as quickly as I can, often to go to different doctor’s appointments. Taking off my shoes at the doctor’s office is something I may need to do as well. Some days I may be tired or flaring and need the assistance of my shoe to do the work for me. Other times, there may not be anyone around to help me tie my shoelaces.

My Kizik shoes have given me my independence back because I don’t need to rely on anyone for help. Asking for help and receiving it is OK and needed at times. But when it comes to daily tasks that I was able to do quickly before RA came into the picture, having some normalcy means that I can take the reins from the disease.

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Giving back to others

I admire companies that are transparent and bring awareness to communities in need.

Kizik not only designs its products with functionality in mind to be more inclusive but also gets involved to support other organizations and charities.

Kizik states, “We care deeply about the communities we serve, the nonprofits we support, and the individuals whose lives we’ve changed in ways big and small.”

The company goes on to say, “… it’s not just about shoes. It’s about people.”

When I wear my Kiziks, I feel the love and care that the people at Kizik put into their products.

For me, the cons are minimal

Across the board, Kizik shoes are a bit pricey. However, if you’re used to getting high quality walking or running shoes from other brands, then the prices are similar, with the Limas costing $109 per pair.

Quality, accessibility, and awareness for those living with disabilities and chronic illnesses make the price worth it.

The sizing was a bit hard to gauge, as I had nothing to compare it to. I decided to get a half-size bigger for my first purchase. I found that this worked perfectly if I wanted to insert my custom orthotics from my podiatrist or wear thicker socks in the colder months.

This brings me to my next point: These may not be the best to wear through the snow. This probably sounds obvious, but it’s good to remember that each Kizik product is designed with a certain purpose in mind. The brand does have boots and walking shoes for other terrains and climates, such as the Toronto and the Wasatch.

The other slight concern is the shoelaces. You might be thinking, “But these shoes are slip-on!” But the Limas do come with laces as part of their design, and they’re a nice material and perfect thickness.

Even though they are slip-on shoes and you don’t need to tie the laces, I found myself wanting to make the shoe tighter, and I found it a bit hard to tug on the Lima shoelaces to make it a snug fit around my ankle. This might be due to buying a half-size bigger than usual, and this might be more of a personal preference.

Several of the brand’s products and styles come completely without laces. You can compare all the product lines here.

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Kizik shoes are some of my favorite kicks

Overall, my experience has been very positive.

It’s a plus when healthcare professionals ask where you got your shoes too. It has been a great conversation starter with my rheumatologist and physical therapist, who are interested in sharing products with their patients.

Some of them already knew about the shoes as a result of the awareness and support the company has given to people living with disabilities.

Kizik shoes might not suit everyone, but for me they’ve been great. I give my experience with Kizik a 9.5 out of 10! I dock half a point mainly because it can be a bigger purchase for me. However, Kizik has sales running at different times of the year, which can be a good opportunity if you want to try them out.

Medically reviewed on May 30, 2024

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About the author

Effie Koliopoulos

Effie Koliopoulos launched a blog, Rising Above rheumatoid arthritis, in 2017 after recovering from a total knee replacement. This also started her advocacy work to shine a light on life with arthritis. She was awarded the WEGO Health Rookie of the Year Award and is a recipient of the HealtheVoices Impact Fund, which helped fund her recent book project, Keeping It Real with Arthritis: Stories from Around the World. Her advocacy efforts can be found on AiArthritis, Creaky Joints,, NewLifeOutlook, Everyday Health, Healthline, and Good Housekeeping. Effie is currently working on other writing projects, and she’s a passionate storyteller at heart. She graduated from DePaul University and lives in Chicago.

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