Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis
Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash

Finding the best shoes for plantar fasciitis—a condition involving pain near the heel—can be a challenge. It requires understanding what causes plantar fasciitis in the first place and getting to know your own feet. While it’s best to have a podiatrist or physical therapist do a personalized assessment of your movement patterns and your feet before buying a pair, we’ve narrowed down the list of options to help get you started.

To determine the best shoes for plantar fasciitis of 2022, the Forbes Health editorial team consulted a panel of experts consisting of three podiatrists who shared their top shoe picks and why they recommend them. Star ratings were then determined by the Forbes Health editorial team based on price, average user ratings on brand websites and the number of color options available. Note: All prices are accurate as of publication date.

Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis of 2022

Best Casual Sneaker

Vionic Malibu Slip-On

Why We Picked It

Vionic Malibu Slip-Ons are stylish, easy to get on and off, and have a good support structure in place. Boasting “three-zone comfort,” they help offload the heel and provide good arch support and comfort. While they are designed to relieve pain associated with plantar fasciitis, Mehgan Susek, a Pennsylvania-based podiatrist and 2021 Forbes Health Advisory Board member, says her patients report feeling better in their knees, hips, back and neck after wearing these shoes.

Key Features
  • Variety of patterns and looks to choose from
  • Made with eco-conscious and vegan materials
  • Machine-washable exterior (let them air dry)

Best Casual Sneaker Runner-Up

Kuru Atom

Why We Picked It

These sneakers, while slightly pricier than the rest of the shoes on our list, combine heel-hugging support with a thick midsole to provide cushioning and stability. With an 8-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, this shoe design helps offload pressure at the heel, relieving symptoms of plantar fasciitis while still functioning as a high-level performance shoe.

Key Features
  • Can slip on and off easily despite having laces
  • Ideal for warm weather thanks to breathable fabrics
  • Athletic fit for maintaining active lifestyle

Best Walking Shoe

Hoka One One Arhai 5

Why We Picked It

If you’re looking for a great walking shoe to accommodate your plantar fasciitis, Hoka shoes are a popular pick. Any Hoka shoe provides great cushioned support for walking, which is ideal for plantar fasciitis, according to Susek. But keep in mind that while the rocker sole makes them smooth for walking, they are not great for activities with side-to-side motion (such as tennis or basketball).

Key Features
  • Designed for walking and running
  • Maximum cushioning while still lightweight
  • Slightly pricier than other shoes on this list

Best Walking Shoe Runner-Up

Orthofeet Coral Stretch Knit

Why We Picked It

While these shoes can be helpful for a variety of foot issues, Susek finds them particularly useful for plantar fasciitis. They have extra heel cushioning compared to other shoes, as well as a deep heel cup with good anatomic arch support that makes them both comfortable and stabilizing. The mild rocker bottom helps reduce pressure at the most painful point of the plantar fascia (where the tissue inserts into the heel bone), and the arch booster system allows for additional insoles to be added as needed.

Key Features
  • Straps available for those who prefer straps to laces
  • Stretchable upper (top of shoe) option to relieve pressure
  • Wide toe box

Best Running Shoe

Brooks Adrenaline GTS

Why We Picked It

Runners who are prone to plantar fasciitis love these shoes, according to Susek. She describes them as “reliable” with consistent stability and a neutral arch, which is essential for preventing overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis. Considered soft and supportive shoes, they guarantee comfort with smart support technology that prevents excessive foot movement while running.

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Key Features
  • Great for low or neutral arches
  • 90-day run-in guarantee
  • Good for soft landings during everyday running

Best Running Shoe Runner-Up

New Balance 410 Trail Running Shoe

Why We Picked It

At just under $65, these New Balance shoes are worth a try if you’re a runner prone to plantar fasciitis. The shoes boast an EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) midsole for comfort and good shock absorbency where the plantar fascia spreads across the foot, as well as a round toe box for extra wiggle room. With an AT TREAD rubber sole, they’re great for both on- and off-road traction, which is beneficial for a person with foot pain.

Key Features
  • Affordable
  • Stylish
  • Soft cushioning at mid-sole for comfort

Best Flat

Vionic Willa Slip-On Flat

Why We Picked It

Unlike most walking flats, this stylish, simple slip-on shoe provides good heel control and stability. The outsole is made of durable rubber, and the 0.57-inch heel height helps offload the plantar fascia insertion point ever so slightly for a “flat.” Meanwhile, Vio-Motion technology is designed to support your arch alongside built-in orthotics for additional heel pain relief.

Key Features
  • Many color options
  • Removable footbed lining
  • Relatively pricey but versatile

Best Loafer

Vionic Snyder

Why We Picked It

At first glance, you’d never know that these stylish loafers were designed by podiatrists to give those suffering from foot pain some much needed orthotic support. The shoe is made of a leather upper and rubber outsole with a design aimed to provide stability for the foot. Thanks to these loafers, looking good doesn’t have to be painful for your feet.

Key Features
  • Encourages neutral alignment of foot
  • Designed to relieve heel, knee and low back pain
  • Reduces pressure on plantar fascia

Best Slipper

Vionic Relax Slippers

Why We Picked It

In general, slippers or slip-on shoes are not the best option for people suffering from plantar fasciitis, but the Vionic Relax Slipper is probably your best choice. The colorful slippers offer good heel control with soft cushioning and arch support. The terrycloth footbed and upper surrounds the foot with softness and is even odor-resistant.

Key Features
  • Orthotic built-in footbed reduces foot pain and fatigue
  • Adjustable hook and loop closure for better fit
  • Flexible EVA midsole to absorb shock

Best Sandal

Oofos OOlala Luxe Sandal

Why We Picked It

When we go home, our initial reaction is to relax and take our shoes off. But this tendency can exacerbate plantar fasciitis symptoms. To avoid barefoot walking and prevent the onset of pain, slip on some Oofos to wear around the house. They are a great option because they have arch support and accommodate the foot with a soft cushion footbed. The foam technology used for their arch support makes them stand out.

Key Features
  • Foam technology relieves stress and helps absorb shock in foot
  • Proprietary footbed reduces pain across multiple joints, including the knee and ankle
  • OOfoam technology absorbs 37% more impact than traditional shoes, according to the company

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is a degenerative irritation at the origin of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that spans from the calcaneus (heel bone) of the foot out toward the bases of the toes. It affects 1% of Americans and 10% of runners[1]. What’s more, it’s the leading cause of chronic heel pain in adults. For the many people affected by plantar fasciitis, it can be challenging to find a pair of shoes that provide some relief.

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The plantar fascia plays an important role in how you walk, providing arch support throughout the length of the foot while also helping with shock absorption. Repeated stress or overload to this tissue can lead to inflammation at one of its attachment points. The most common site of plantar fasciitis pain is at the heel bone. Pain is usually worse with barefoot walking (especially those first few steps in the morning), walking in flat-soled shoes and with increased activity.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Many factors can contribute to plantar fasciitis, but the main culprits usually include a combination of foot muscle weakness, overtraining and excessive loading due to poor body mechanics and/or genetics (obesity, for example). That said, the wrong shoes can make any of these issues worse.

What to Look for in a Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis

When shopping for the perfect shoe to help relieve your plantar fasciitis pain, it’s important to pick a shoe that provides both comfort and support. But it’s also about finding a shoe that fits your foot and feels comfortable to you, not just with standing but with the activities you like to do.

Support and Firmness

The arch of the foot helps bear and distribute the weight of the body while also absorbing shock created by the forces of walking and other weight-bearing activities. Many people with plantar fasciitis also have a low arch, or flat feet. Supporting the arch is important to reduce the stress across the plantar fascia and its attachment points.

Cushion and Soft Impact

Cushioning at the heel where plantar fasciitis pain is felt most can help reduce pain and soften the impact caused by ground reaction forces during every step of the gait cycle.

Stability

Stability is important in the sole and heel cup to prevent overpronation (when your foot rolls inward) and excessive movement at the heel. A shoe that hugs the heel can help encourage better alignment of the foot within the shoe. This alignment can benefit joints above the ankle as well.

Removable Soles

Removable soles make shoes more adjustable and can potentially provide extra features that may benefit a person with plantar fasciitis. A rocker sole, for example, is thicker than your normal sole and has a rounded heel. This helps prevent a flat surface for the foot, which can be uncomfortable for someone whose plantar fascia is causing them pain with walking and standing.

Methodology

For the best shoes for plantar fasciitis of 2022, the Forbes Health editorial team consulted a panel of experts consisting of three podiatrists who shared their top shoe picks and why they recommend them. Star ratings were then determined by the Forbes Health editorial team based on price, average user satisfaction and the number of color options available.

Source

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