BACKGROUND: Foot pain is highly prevalent in older people and in many cases is associated with inappropriate footwear. This study evaluated the effectiveness of off-the-shelf, extra-depth footwear in reducing foot pain. METHODS: Community-dwelling older people with disabling foot pain (72 men and 48 women aged 65 to 96 years; mean age 82 [SD 8]) were randomly allocated to an intervention group (n = 59) or control group (n = 61). The intervention group was provided with off-the-shelf, extra-depth footwear. Participants in the control group received their footwear at the completion of the study. Both groups continued to receive usual podiatry care for the study period. The primary outcome measure was the Foot Health Status Questionnaire (FHSQ), measured at baseline and 16 weeks. RESULTS: There was a significant improvement in the FHSQ pain domain (ANCOVA-adjusted mean difference 11.5 points, 95% confidence interval 4.2 to 18.8, p = .002) and FHSQ function domain (10.0 points, 0.9 to 19.1, p = .032) in the intervention group compared to the control group. The intervention group also developed fewer keratotic lesions (mean difference -1.4, -2.5 to -0.2, p = .021), were less likely to report the use of co-interventions (relative risk [RR] 0.74, 0.56 to 0.98, p = .026) and were more likely to report that their foot pain had moderately or markedly improved during the study (RR = 7.93, 2.51 to 25.00, p < .001; number needed to treat = 3, 2 to 5). CONCLUSIONS: Off-the-shelf, extra-depth footwear significantly reduces foot pain, improves foot function and is associated with the development of fewer keratotic lesions in older people.