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- Best running shoes for plantar fasciitis: Asics Gel-Nimbus | Skip to review
- Best foam running shoes for plantar fasciitis: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 | Skip to review
- Best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis: Hoka One Bondi 7 | Skip to review
- Best affordable walking shoes for plantar fasciitis: Saucony Omni Walker 3 | Skip to review
- Best lounging shoes for arch support: Kocota Recovery Slide | Skip to review
- Best sandals for plantar fasciitis: NAOT Krista | Skip to review
If you’ve ever experienced a persistent stabbing pain on your heel — especially when you get out of bed in the morning — then you know all about plantar fasciitis.
This common orthopedic complaint can cause nagging discomfort that makes walking almost unbearable. While many runners battle this condition while exercising, it can also affect your daily life.
The good news? There are several ways to manage plantar fasciitis, including choosing and wearing the proper footwear for work, exercise, and leisure.
So, to help you get back on your feet, we have chosen six shoes you may want to consider that could help reduce pain and offer shopping tips to help you find the best shoes for plantar fasciitis. Read on to learn more.
We asked experts about what materials, cushioning, and designs were important when comparing shoes for plantar fasciitis pain. We looked at dozens of different shoe brands and looked closely at their selections and how each shoe was constructed.
In addition, we included suggestions for different types of physical activities — like running, walking, and hiking — along with a few sandal choices, in case you want something to wear for the beach or around town.
- $ = under $110
- $$ = $110–$150
- $$$ = over $150
|Price||Available sizes||What it’s best for||Highlights|
|Asics Gel-Nimbus||$||– women’s 5–12.5 standard and wide |
– men’s 7–15 standard, wide, x-wide
|running||lightweight with arch and heel support|
|New Balance Fresh Foam 1080||$$$||– women’s 5–13 narrow, standard, wide, x-wide|
– men’s 10–16 narrow, standard, wide, x-wide
|running||good arch and heel support with lots of width options|
|Hoka One Bondi 7||$$$||– women’s 6–11 standard and wide|
– men’s 7.5–14 standard and wide
|running and walking||ultra-cushioned shoes with wide footbed|
|Saucony Omni Walker 3||$||– women’s 5–12 standard, wide, x-wide|
– men’s 7–14 standard, wide, x-wide
|walking||ample cushioning at a lower price point|
|Kocota Recovery Slide||$||– women’s 6–13|
– men’s 7–14
|lounging||thick, comfy rubber sole in a slide|
|NAOT Krista||$$||– women’s 4–13.5 narrow||wearing to work or traveling||comfort and support in a sandal|
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that affects the bottom of the foot, specifically the bottom of the heel. When the ligament that runs along the length of the bottom of the foot — called the plantar fascia — becomes irritated, it can cause pain.
You’re more likely to experience plantar fasciitis if you:
- have tight calf muscles
- have high arches
- participate in high impact activities like running
- recently started a new activity or ramped up your training
In most cases, treatment for plantar fasciitis involves taking a break from activities that make the pain worse.
Other treatment options may include:
- icing the area to relieve inflammation
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- exercises and stretches to improve flexibility
If you’re having severe pain that doesn’t let up with rest, consider seeing a doctor who may recommend:
- cortisone injections
- custom orthotics
- other medical treatments
Wearing a good, supportive pair of shoes that’s appropriate for your gait and foot anatomy is also key to preventing stress injuries like plantar fasciitis.
Can shoes fix plantar fasciitis?
Many experts, such as podiatrists and physical therapists, are hesitant to recommend a specific shoe for plantar fasciitis. That’s because each person needs to be evaluated to figure out what’s best for their particular feet.
Unfortunately, shoes that are uncomfortable from too much or too little cushioning, incorrect sizing, or poor construction may result in an altered gait pattern and thus may lead to further discomfort.
Whether your pain level is a 1 or a 10, the ultimate goal for your shoe is to provide support with comfort. Experts recommend that you look for these key features:
Arch and heel support
In many cases, support is more important than cushioning. It’s crucial that your arch and heel feel supported to help prevent plantar fasciitis.
Extra rigidity in the sole and cushioning in the midfoot
When it comes to choosing shoes, Dr. Nelya Lobkova, DPM, says someone who has plantar fasciitis needs extra rigidity in the sole and cushioning of the midfoot to prevent impact on the heel, where there is pain associated with plantar fasciitis.
“A shoe that has a thick midsole or rocker bottom is an ideal shoe for someone with this condition,” she says.
Firm heel counter
Lobkova also recommends a firm heel counter, the back part of the heel surrounding the Achilles insertion.
“A firm heel counter minimizes abnormal stretching of the plantar fascia and diminishes pain and inflammation in the heel and arch of the foot, which are both associated with plantar fasciitis,” she says.
Soft impact with the ground
In addition to comfort, patients with plantar fasciitis should look for a shoe that provides the least impact when the foot strikes a hard surface.
From there, the characteristics really depend on the specific person’s foot and what they are trying to control.
For example, if you have a higher arch, the joint is at an angle that restricts the range of motion, so rigid arch support would cause further restriction.
On the other hand, people with flat feet and plantar fasciitis should look for shoes with adequate arch support.
As far as what you should avoid, Lobkova says the most important shoe to avoid is a minimalist shoe, such as the Vibram FiveFingers.
“There is minimal stability in the sole, no cushioning under the heel, and maximum stress on the heel bone,” she says. All of these factors could exacerbate preexisting plantar fasciitis.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that minimalist shoes may work for some people. Work with your doctor to figure out the best style of shoe for your feet.
No matter the type, any shoe that causes uncomfortable pressure points or makes your feet hurt should be swapped for something more comfortable.
Choosing the right shoe for plantar fasciitis can be challenging, but it’s an essential step in managing the condition. Here are some questions to ask yourself when shopping for shoes:
- What is the level of pain in my foot?
- Do I need a shoe with extra arch support?
- What type of cushioning do I need?
- Is the shoe the right size and width for my feet?
- What type of activity will I be doing in the shoes?
- How much do I want to spend on a pair of shoes?
- Do I prefer a specific brand or style?
By considering these factors when shopping for shoes, you’ll be sure to find a pair that provides the necessary support and comfort to manage your plantar fasciitis.
Don’t hesitate to try on multiple pairs and seek advice from a podiatrist or shoe specialist to make the best choice for your needs.
Shoes to avoid with plantar fasciitis
- high heels
- worn-out shoes that no longer offer good support
Your foot contains many bones, tendons, and ligaments aside from the plantar fascia that may become damaged from repetitive stress.
If rest, ice, and other home treatments don’t seem to help and you’re still experiencing pain weeks after the initial flare-up, consider talking with a doctor about your symptoms.
They can suggest other treatments and determine whether something else may be causing your pain.
Can I permanently get rid of plantar fasciitis?
While it can take a few months to heal, most people recover with treatment. However, there is a chance the condition can return — especially if you don’t let the injury heal properly the first time around.
How long does plantar fasciitis last?
This depends on the severity of the condition. However, most people with plantar fasciitis recover within 1 year.
Are there any treatments for plantar fasciitis?
Yes. Plantar fasciitis is a very treatable condition. Treatments include at-home remedies like rest, ice, and NSAIDs. For pain that doesn’t go away with rest, a doctor may recommend steroid injections or other medical treatments. In rare cases, doctors may recommend surgery.
What causes plantar fasciitis flare-ups?
Things like increasing or new activity can cause a flare-up of plantar fasciitis. Shoes with poor arch support can also cause bottom of the foot pain.
Orthotics are shoe inserts you put in your shoes to help manage specific conditions, such as:
- heel pain
- general foot discomfort
- arch pain
- plantar fasciitis
Depending on the severity of your pain, you can buy custom orthotics made specifically for you. But, they tend to be costly. Off-the-shelf brands are a more affordable option, but they’re not custom-made for your feet.
According to Lobkova, custom orthotics are made to keep the foot in an optimal position while walking to eliminate the mechanical forces that cause plantar fasciitis. Over-the-counter orthotics typically provide temporary relief for plantar fascia in the form of cushioning under the heel.
Orthotics are helpful when it comes to decreasing the tension and stress on the plantar fascia. Plus, they can reaffirm any arch support that your shoe may lack. They also have a deep heel cup, which can help absorb shock with each step.
When it comes to choosing a shoe for plantar fasciitis, your best bet is to talk with a specialist — either a podiatrist or physical therapist — and try on a lot of different styles.
While every shoe discussed in this article is designed to provide support and comfort, your goal is to find which one feels best on your feet.