I hope you’ll agree with me when I say that finding the best shoes for plantar fasciitis is not an easy task.
After 7 years of strenuous physical activity, I woke up one morning and the arches of my feet screamed at me, “NO MORE.”
This scream was in the form of pain in my arches. This pain is called plantar fasciitis.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Perhaps you have it.
I’ve struggled with the pain of plantar fasciitis since I was 14, and I’m happy to say I’ve overcome it. I’m here to tell you that you can too with the help of supportive tennis shoes.
Lucky for us, shoe companies recognize this ailment as a common occurrence - affecting 1 out of 10 Americans - and have crafted shoes with us in mind. In this article I will share with you the best sneakers for plantar fasciitis.
Are you ready for happy, healthy arches? Then, let’s get started.
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
You’re probably wondering, “What is a plantar fascia anyways?” Sounds like the title of a foreign gardener. It’s actually the name of a very important and sensitive ligament in your foot.
The plantar fascia is a flat, thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. This band of tissue acts as a shock-absorber to support the arch.
Repeated strain on the plantar fascia causes tiny tears in the ligament, which can lead to pain in the heel of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by over-pronation (rolling inward of the feet) and having flat feet or high arches. It is often caused by engaging in high-impact activities for extended periods of time (running, soccer, ballet dancing, etc.). The worst pain is usually experienced after waking up and taking the first steps of the day.
Plantar fasciitis causes a nagging pain that can be especially debilitating if you engage in a frequent physical activity. Some people may even need to take a break from their rigorous training schedule to allow the ligament to heal. A quality tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis will allow the foot to heal by adding support where it is most needed.
Your feet take the brunt of your weight for your whole life! It is important to take care of your feet by only wearing shoes that are comfortable and supportive. They should support the healthy alignment of your feet for strong ankles, arches, and bones.
Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis in 2017
Do you feel you have enough background information now? Are you ready to get into the good stuff? I know I am.
Remember: a great pair of shoes are a worthy investment if it means pain-free arches and a more active lifestyle. You’re already winning by reading this article and thinking seriously about a worthy pair of shoes for your feet. Congratulations!
Now, I’ve made the next step super easy for you. Following are the best shoes that can help you kick that stubborn arch pain one step at a time.
Get ready for happy, supported feet.
Different Types of Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
From sports activities, outdoor hiking adventures, and casual days hanging out at the beach, there’s a shoe made for every type of activity. What activities do you find yourself engaging in throughout your life?
Whatever they are, all shoe types come in variations that can help heal your plantar fasciitis. Some are more supportive than others, and these are the ones you’ll want to make a note of.
Let’s take a look.
A running shoe is a type of sneaker that is made with ample support around the foot and arches.
A good running shoe is durable and able to take a beating with high-impact activities. They are usually made with good traction to avoid slips. A good shoe offers breathability (usually in the form of mesh overlay) which allows some ventilation to the feet.
Running shoes are some of the best shoes you could wear for plantar fasciitis as they provide all-around support for the feet. Running shoes are also versatile: You can use them for playing sports, working out, hiking, or casual walking purposes.
Sneakers are a broad umbrella category of shoe encompassing walking, running, and casual wear shoes. Sneakers provide all-around coverage usually with a rubber sole. They are most often worn for sports activities (like the running shoes described above), but many people wear them as daily casual wear.
A good pair of sneakers is supportive and comfortable. If worn casually, you won’t need as much traction or durability as a shoe that you’d be doing intense physical activity in.
Since sneakers can come in the casualwear variety, many people wear them for fashion purposes (think Nike’s Jordan’s). Whatever the reason, purchasing a good pair of sneakers can help ease the pain of plantar fasciitis when worn regularly.
Walking shoes are made for just that: walking. They come in different styles including slip-on, sneaker, or hiking shoe.
As walking is a low-impact activity, these shoes don’t require as much cushioning in the heel. Cushioning, instead, is focused on the ball of the foot.
Naturally, running shoes are often versatile enough to work as a walking shoe. If you want something lighter and less bulky, you may want to find a pair of walking shoes.
Walking shoes are great for casual wear and are usually a good investment as they will be worn often. The simplicity of a good walking shoe is not to be underestimated.
Hiking boots have to be the most durable of this list, and for good reason. If you plan on traversing rough terrain and many miles of hiking, you’ll need a hiking boot that can keep up.
Depending on the type of hiking you do (day hiking or backpacking), you will want to assess for durability and support. Any hiking boot you purchase will provide much needed added support around the ankle and tread that will keep you from slipping on uneven or wet surfaces.
It is important to note that hiking boots are heavier than sneakers. This is to increase support and versatility in different environmental conditions. You wouldn’t want a pair of wimpy boots as you climb Mount Everest, would you?
A good pair of hiking boots for plantar fasciitis will definitely provide all-around support for your trekking needs.
The most important feature of work boots is protection. If you have a job that requires work boots, they need to be able to withstand all kinds of danger. Broken glass, high heat, ankle sprains, and grease spills are just a few of the things shoes should protect against depending on the job.
Work boots for plantar fasciitis should be supportive and light as you move about quickly from one place to another. They should be able to support your weight and more if you transport heavy objects. A good work boot will also prevent against fatigue after a long day on your feet.
Work boots are meant for utility, so don’t take your purchasing decision lightly. You’ll want a pair of shoes that have your back so you can worry about the most important part: making your money.
Flip flops are slip-on shoes that only stay on your foot by a material placed between your first and second toe. These shoes are probably the least supportive when it comes to ankle support and full foot comfort, but many flip flops are made with arch support that form to your feet.
These shoes are worn casually, usually to places where you could easily take them off later (beach, pool, etc.). Many people walk in them for extended periods of time, but this is not recommended for people with plantar fasciitis. At least while tending to the pain, you’ll want a shoe with more coverage.
If the pain has mostly subsided, finding a pair of flip flops for plantar fasciitis that mold to the shape of your feet would be the next best option to going barefoot. Avoid buying flip flops that are flat all the way across.
As I alluded above, going barefoot for long periods of time is not good for people with plantar fasciitis. A pair of supportive slippers for plantar fasciitis is the answer to added support at home.
Although they lack the full foot and ankle support that sneakers can provide, the arch support and cushioning below the feet helps form your foot shape to ease some pain in your arches. Slippers are also comfortable and warm, great for the cozy winter months.
Popular Plantar Fasciitis Shoe Brands
There are plenty of shoe brands out there but only a handful have created shoes with plantar fasciitis in mind. Let’s take a look at those brands that have gone above and beyond to create shoes to support our foot ailment.
Anima Sana in Corpore Sano. This is the Latin phrase from which the acronym ASICS stems from. Founder Kihachiro Onitsuka believed in its meaning: “A sound mind in a sound body.”
ASICS promotes total health and fitness to create a happy and healthy lifestyle for everyone. They opened the Research Institute of Sports Science in Kobe, Japan in 1990 to help support this mission. ASICS develops shoes with true research to back their claims for performance.
Many people trust the ASICS brand to produce quality shoes, and it shows with consumer ratings time and time again. A pair of ASICS will most likely be a welcome addition to anyone’s collection of training shoes.
New Balance was originally founded as “New Balance Arch Support Company” in 1906. This should be very telling and reassuring to those of us with arch ailments.
William J. Riley founded the company and began by making arch supports and other shoe accessories. Throughout the years, New Balance has maintained its’ pride in providing great arch support as well as overall comfort. New Balance also produced innovations in shoe technology including heel counters and blended gel inserts.
As an added plus, supporting your arches can also mean supporting your country. 70% of New Balance shoes are produced in the U.S. This does mean a higher price tag, but it also means a better economy.
Francois Salomon and his family founded Salomon Shoe Company in 1947 with products in saw blades, ski steel edges, and cable bindings. The Salomon Company now produces products for various sports markets including skiing and snowboarding.
Salomon creates footwear for the adventurer. Hikers, backpackers, rock climbers, and trail runners alike attest to the quality of the Salomon shoe for support in the roughest terrain.
Salomon is known to produce shoes that are comfortable and sturdy no matter where you take them. I encourage you to take them to the coldest mountaintops and the wettest rainforests. Don’t just take my word for it.
Mizuno was founded in Osaka in 1906 by Japanese handyman Rihachi Mizuno. He began by selling baseballs and then began creating order-made athletic wear for customers.
Mizuno is now a well-known sports equipment brand trusted by many for quality and performance. Tiger Woods used Mizuno golf clubs and accessories throughout his training years before he became a pro.
Mizuno creates sports equipment and sportswear for the widest range of sports of any of these brands listed. Golf, tennis, volleyball, rugby, judo and table tennis are just a few.
A true lover of sports, the Mizuno Company creates products true to their mission of “Contributing to society through the advancements of sporting goods and the promotion of sports.”
Saucony is a brand that is passionate about creating the best shoes for runners. Founded 2 years after the first Olympic marathon in 1898, Saucony has been dedicated to changing the way people run for over 100 years.
They began by specializing in racing shoes, track spikes, and cross country racing flats. They now produce a wide variety of running shoes for everything from trail running to trainers.
Saucony cares deeply about the runner’s experience, which is clear in the make of the shoe. Each shoe is crafted with regard for runner’s foot size, arch type, and pronation. They also take into account the type of running they will be used for and running location.
As if that wasn’t enough, their standards for quality are apparent.
In 1977, they were awarded best quality in consumer reports magazine. As an added anecdote, in the 1983 New York Marathon, New Zealand runner Rod Dixon won by 9 seconds in his Dixon racing flats. These shoes he co-engineered with Saucony designers.
If that doesn’t show excellence in shoe making, I don’t know what does.
Fairly younger than other brands in this list, Skechers is doing very well in the shoe market as the second largest athletic brand in the U.S.
Skechers was founded in 1992 with products in skate shoes and utility-style boots. They now offer a variety of shoes for outdoor wear including casual, comfort shoes, and well-built shoes for an active lifestyle.
Their Lifestyle Division includes shoes made for comfort and casual wear. These include the Skechers Memory Foam, BOBS, and Relaxed Fit comfort shoes. Their Performance Division includes Skechers GOrun and GOwalk for athletes.
Skechers shoes are well-made and affordable. A number of celebrities and pro-athletes also endorse their products improving their popularity amongst the masses. Skechers really seems to scream, “Trendy!”
Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
At the top of the list, we have the ASICS GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe. This is the type of shoe that is bound to make the trail-runner with plantar fasciitis exceptionally happy.
These ASICS come with the company’s famous GEL-cushioning system. Don’t let the word “cushion” fool you into thinking this shoe is unstable. These shoes provide great arch support and give you the ease of inserting your own orthotics if necessary.
The durability of these shoes is apparent with the high-abrasion outsole, which makes these particularly great for traversing rough, uneven terrain for those hikers who enjoy wandering through the woods. A protective bumper has been put in place to shield toes against branches and rocks. All of these features combine for a very stable, yet lightweight shoe.
Since these shoes are made with stability for the outdoors, you can expect these shoes to be versatile. Take ‘em on a walk, jog, or to play your favorite sports on the court.
- Made for uneven terrain of trail running
- Lightweight and durable
- May be too stiff for long distance runners
Another winner in the trail-running division, you can expect Salomon’s SpeedCross 3 to take you through the roughest, wettest, and most slippery terrain.
The reason these shoes do so well outdoors is all thanks to the Winter Contragrip tread. The multi-directional lugs are spaced out across the tread, allowing for some of the best traction.
This gives you the ability to run across slippery slopes, mud, snow, water, loose dirt and sand without fear of slipping. Need more proof? These shoes are often seen worn at Mud Runs or Spartan races.
These shoes also employ Salomon’s Sensifit feature, which wraps around the foot in a comfortably cradled position. They’re like gloves for your feet!
Besides all of Salomon’s fantastic shoe technologies, this shoe is aesthetically pleasing visually. The design is crisp, clean, and comes in a wide variety of colors. Expect to receive many compliments while wearing these shoes.
You can bet that your orthotics can make a home in these shoes. They might just remain there as you realize how comfortable and supportive these Salomon’s are.
- Winter Contragrip Tread is some of the best around for dealing with rough/slippery terrain
- Beautiful shoe
- Sensifit for glove-like fit
- Warm shoe
- Lugs may wear down quickly
For a lightweight running shoe with stability, Mizuno has created the Wave Inspire 11 made for the over-pronating runners of the world.
The structure of the shoe has been designed to give extra support to those who roll-in over their arches. Stitched overlays secure the foot on both lateral and medial sides are ensuring a snug fit that supports the arches and ankles.
The real clincher that makes these shoes great for pronators is the wave plate inserted in the heel of the shoe. It provides additional structural support and disperses the shock of impact evenly throughout the shoe. The plate also provides torque resistance, keeping the foot from rolling inward.
The wave plate and overlay design make these shoes great for those with flat feet. Lots of room in the toe box make these a great option for those of us with wide feet.
As an added plus, these shoes are made with soft foam insoles and overlay mesh for breathability. The heel of the sole is made with X10 carbon rubber, while the rest is made with blown rubber for durability.
Have the Mizuno’s intrigued you? They should, as these are some of the best athletic shoes for plantar fasciitis.
- Wave Plate acts as great structural support
- Roomy toe box
- Ventilated, comfortable
- Short laces
- Run small
Best Sneakers for Plantar Fasciitis
The former “New Balance Arch Support Company” have created a shoe with the extra stability and firmness needed for those of us with particularly flat and wide feet.
The memory foam insole plus added cushioning will make it feel like you’re walking on nothing but plush pillows. The IMEVA foam midsole is made with flexible cushioning but does not lose in firmness.
The structure of these sneakers includes deep heel cups and heavily padded insoles that provide excellent lateral support. This provides relief exactly where plantar fasciitis can hurt most. The insoles can also be removed to add your own orthotics.
But, remember: we’re looking for shoes with extra structural support. Think about the activities you will be doing, then decide for yourself whether more flexibility is necessary.
New Balance is known for their wide variety of sizes and colors. The classic style of this shoe gives them the ability to match with almost any outfit.
Those with wide, flat feet have always been known to find a pair of New Balances that fit well. If this sounds like you, look into these shoes by New Balance.
- Stability shoe
- Wide variety of sizes and colors
- Memory foam
- May prove too stiff for some
- Long laces
Remember how Saucony loves to make shoes for runners? Well, they’ve created a treat for casual sneaker-heads as well.
Before we get into the technical aspects of the shoe, let’s take second to appreciate its retro-style. The suede upper and slim-fitting nylon are reminiscent of the 1980’s groove of its time. Saucony offers this model in a wide range of colors and two sets of shoelaces to mix and match your style.
Okay, now for the feel of the shoes.
The Jazz Low Pros are comfortable with no break in time. They have that nice breathable mesh we enjoy and low-to-ground cushioning support. These shoes work great as a summer sneaker.
A roomy toe box makes these ideal for those with wide feet and bunions. They’re lightweight yet durable.
Users love being able to walk in these all day long with no pain. Some people also take them on runs, but I would not count on them to last very long as running shoes. Take them out for walks and casual leisurely days with friends.
- All-day comfort
- Not the greatest support
If you’re a woman who loves memory foam, the Skechers Sport D’Lites were made to make you and your feet happy.
These plantar fasciitis women’s shoes are made with a leather upper and comfy memory foam insole. If you’ve never experienced walking on clouds before, these shoes may be a good place to start.
A padded collar and tongue make for all-around softness. A thick midsole helps with shock absorption. This well-padded shoe will make your leisurely experiences even more enjoyable as you forget you’re even wearing any!
The classic design will make these shoes a regular staple in your wardrobe. They come in a number of color combinations as well. There’s sure to be a pair that matches your personality.
The sole of the shoe is made with light, flexible traction for easy walking. Some may find that the flexibility of the shoe does not provide the best arch support. Inserting your own orthotics can easily fix this problem.
The D’Lites are a pair of durable shoes that win in softness and comfort.
- Memory foam (everywhere)
- Nice design
- Not breathable
- Questionable arch support
For the man looking for a casual walking shoe, Skechers has the Men’s Equalizer Persistent Slip-On Sneaker.
The ease and convenience of a slip-on shoe are not to be underestimated. The elasticized goring makes these the quickest shoes to put on. The padded collar and memory foam insole will make you not want to take them off.
These slip-ons are structured well for the low-price point. The sole of the shoe is made with the same shock-absorbing lightweight midsole and flexible outsole as the D’Lites.
The arch support is as good as one could expect from a slip-on shoe. Don’t expect slip-ons to be the most supportive and stable on your feet. You can expect these shoes to be comfortable when you wear them for short periods of time.
Although the upper is made with mesh overlay, the added layer beneath the overlay can trap heat inside the shoe. The memory foam also has a heat absorbing quality that can make these shoes warm if worn for long periods of time.
- Memory foam
- Low cost
- Trapped heat
- Not the most durable
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Here we have the convenient slip-on shoe for women. This model by Skechers is a nice walking shoe that has been known to be extremely comfortable.
The memory foam is not in the insole as with the previous models mentioned. Instead, the memory foam lines the heel area, giving a nice soft feel supporting your ankle. The midsole is also layered in foam to help absorb impact.
The insole is well cushioned with the Ortholite foot bed and an anti-microbial sock liner to keep the germs away. The added GOimpulse and GOga pillars make the shoe flexible and provide feedback for a more responsive walking experience.
The multi-directional traction sole grips any surface well enough to keep you from slipping and sliding. You should feel safer across the different terrain in these slip-ons more than other shoes in its category.
Most likely if you’re buying this shoe, you care more about comfort and support than making a fashion statement. And I wholeheartedly support that cause.
- One of the most comfortable slip-ons you’ll ever have
- Great structural design
- Convenient shoe
- Not the most fashionable
- Narrow shoe
The New Balance WW577 Walking Shoe is a nicely padded shoe. Its’ defining features include a wide toe box, narrower heel, and structure that aids with pronation problems.
These shoes are best suited for those with flat feet and over-pronation. The structure of the shoe is improved with the Walking Strike path outsole which stabilizes the foot to a proper walking gait.
These shoes have that nice classic sneaker look that goes well with most outfits. A nicely added feature is the reflective detail along the sides, which will make you more noticeable at night.
They’re made with ABZORB cushioning for maximum shock absorption as you walk. The inside is also nicely padded, and you can bet that the insole is removable if needed.
The durability of these shoes should come as no surprise. New Balance produces their shoes in the U.S., ensuring a shoe made with only quality materials.
- Great for flat feet, over-pronators
- Structured nicely
- Not much color variety
These Brooks Addiction Walking Shoes are just what the doctor ordered. These shoes were made specifically as a remedial shoe for those of us with foot ailments like diabetic feet, foot deformities, and- you guessed it- plantar fasciitis.
These shoes were crafted with Brooks’ best shoe technology. MOGO midsole and S-257 cushsole give superior cushioning and shock absorption. The outsole is even slip-resistant.
The shoes overall are heavier and perhaps a bit bulkier, but that’s because of the support that these provide. You can wear these all day (think 8-12 hour shifts) with no foot or back fatigue.
The secret is in the motion control technology. It limits excessive motion of the ankles and keeps the feet in proper alignment as you walk. This is great for those of us who over-pronate.
These may take some time to break in as they are such tough shoes, but the leather has been known to be supple. After a full day of wear, they should be well broken in and very comfortable on your feet.
These are some of the best walking shoes on the market. Like I said, even doctors recommend them.
- Excellent support and stability
- Helps remedy alignment of feet
- Great as shoes for standing all day
- On the heavier/bulkier side
- Expect some break in time
What should you look for when buying a pair of shoes for plantar fasciitis?
The biggest factor is overall support of the foot. People with plantar fasciitis lack strength in their arches and ankles. You’ll want to find shoes that form your foot back into a natural, healthy alignment.
A lot of shoes have great arch support within them already, but many people with flat feet will find they’ll need to insert their own orthotics for added support. I did for many years and it helped immensely with regaining strength in the arch until eventually the pain disappeared completely. For this reason, you’ll want to look for shoes that have removable insoles.
Any shoe you consider should provide support around the ankle. Look for shoes that will help take the weight off your arches and will disperse weight evenly across the entire foot. This is where good shock absorption is important, especially if you will be engaging in high-impact activities.
Good shoes for plantar fasciitis should fit snug around the foot, with no extra space inside for sliding. A good amount of cushion will hug the foot, and allow for a good amount of stability.
If you begin to notice that the shoes are beginning to wear down and not be as supportive, it’s time for a new shoe. Consistently reassess for structural support around the ankles and arches. This will be endlessly important for the healing process of your feet.
The key here is support. Support under the arches, support around the ankle, support around the whole foot. A pair of supportive shoes can go a long way in mending plantar fasciitis pain.
Plantar fasciitis can be a pain the butt, but it does not have to be debilitating to your active lifestyle. With supportive shoes, you can beat plantar fasciitis and continue your daily activities in comfort.
A good shoe is not hard to find. Plenty of shoe companies continue to take this ailment seriously, and produce quality shoes to help. For that reason, we can be grateful to not have to endure the arch pain for longer than necessary.
Don’t let painful feet weigh you down. Find comfort and support in a great pair of shoes, and say goodbye to arch and heel ailments forever.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com