Best shoes for plantar fasciitis 2x1
Rachel Mendelson/Insider recommends: Brooks, Naot, Ecco, Hoka, and Vionic.

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I have to stop myself from going up to people I see wearing flat flip-flops and warning them about the dangers of making that choice. Personally, I suffered from Plantar Fasciitis (PF) for 18 months after years of wearing shoes without adequate arch support. Years later, I'm still using preventative measures to handle mine.

When the ligament that connects your toes and heels (the plantar fascia) becomes inflamed and strained, you experience plantar fasciitis. Then, with each step, a little more of the crucial ligament is torn, eventually leading to severe discomfort.  

The constant ache is the worst part of my life.

This is the most common cause of heel and arch pain, according to podiatrist Kenneth Cornell, DPM of Texas's Austin Regional Clinic. He continues, "Shoes that don't provide adequate arch or heel support are a leading cause of plantar fasciitis." "

Meaningful to you, I'm sure. Time to get some new footwear!

In addition to the best shoes for heel pain that I could find, I found that stretching, a few essential medical gadgets and knickknacks, and a fantastic physician were all crucial in helping me manage the condition.

The most effective footwear for plantar fasciitis

For the best plantar fasciitis running shoes, check out the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19.
The Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 has the ideal amount of cushion with each step, dependable arch support, a lightweight feel, and a stylish look for when you're getting back into running or just walking around the house.

Dansko Pace, available at REI, is the best shoe for plantar fasciitis.
Dansko Pace are more aesthetically pleasing than most orthotic sneakers, and their rigid footbed, strong arch support, and sub-2-inch heel height are all in line with the recommendations of our shoe experts.

The Vionic Tide II Toe Post Sandal, available at Vionic Shoes, is the best pair of sandals for plantar fasciitis.
The Vionic Tide II Toe Post Sandal is a slip-on style that features grippy "beads" to keep your foot from sliding around while you walk, increasing the likelihood that you will wear shoes that provide adequate support at all times.

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, the HOKA Recovery Slide is the best house shoe you can buy.
Walking around the house in the cloud-like comfort of the Hoka Women's Ora Recovery Slide is like walking on a cloud.

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, the Naot Oz/5041 is the best dress shoe for you.
Naot Fantasy Oz/5041 provide lasting support for your foot at formal events like weddings and business meetings.

Dansko Bessie Taupe Burnished Nubuck (available at Amazon) is the best winter boot for plantar fasciitis.
The Dansko Bessie Burnished Nubuck boot is perfect for the colder months because it is fashionable, warm, and supportive thanks to its memory-foam insole.

The Ecco Soft 7 Men's Street Sneaker (available at Amazon) is the best shoe for men with plantar fasciitis.
The Ecco Soft 7 Men's Street Sneaker, with its cushioned but supportive footbed and sleek design, is the best option for men suffering from plantar fasciitis.

Image of Brooks Glycerin GTS 19
Alex Frost/Insider Alex Frost/The Insider

The Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 has you covered whether you're getting back into running or just taking a stroll around the block thanks to its plush underfoot cushioning, supportive arch, lightweight build, and sleek design.

Pros: Modern design, excellent arch support, low weight, and all-day comfort

ConsSizes and colors run out quickly, and there is a little less padding than with some other, bulkier brands.

When I first started dealing with PF, the HOKA Bondis and Cliftons my doctor recommended were lifesavers. While I have a soft spot for Hokas, I've found that the lighter and more affordable Brooks Glycerin provide comparable support for my feet.  

You can't go wrong with either the Brooks or the Hokas, and I spent a lot of time worrying about which one to recommend. The removable inserts in the Brooks Glycerin provide just the right amount of arch support, and you can always swap in your own custom orthotics (try Tread Labs) if you prefer.  

The Brooks' heel provides a fully cushioned step, making them ideal for those with plantar fasciitis who are either returning to running after an injury or looking for a walking shoe for plantar fasciitis. To those who suffer from excruciating pain in the middle of their arch or at the bottom of their heel, this shoe is a godsend.

Finally, a pair of Brooks that looks good! I got compliments on them within the first few hours of wearing them. Despite the aforementioned, I've found that the Grey/Ombre/White color combination complements most wardrobes and looks sophisticated without the risk of showing dirt, unlike white.

Dansko Pace
Alex Frost/Insider A. Frost/The Insider

Dansko Pace are more aesthetically pleasing than most orthotic sneakers, and their rigid foot bed, strong arch support, and sub-2-inch heel height are all in line with the recommendations of our shoe experts.

Several arch types can find a comfortable fit in the shoe's supportive foot bed.

Not the cutest sneaker.

When it comes to plantar fasciitis, the ideal shoe is a supportive casual shoe that can be worn for long periods of time on the feet. Adding an orthopedic insert to a pair of casual sneakers usually leaves the foot feeling squished, and most non-orthopedic shoes provide very little arch support or heel cushioning to begin with.

Contrarily, Dansko The orthopedic shoe company's ubiquitous clogs are a staple in the footwear of both medical professionals and educators.  

The Dansko Pace is a casual sneaker that is both easy to understand and aesthetically pleasing, which is about as much as one can ask for in the orthotics market. Our experts agree that the Pace satisfy all of the criteria for PF support because of their removable insert and stiff foot bed with strong arch support.  

You can tell that these shoes were made with great care and won't give out on you anytime soon. This durability makes the investment worthwhile. These shoes are what our experts recommend because of their low heel height (less than two inches) and their resistance to bending. These are also the best shoes for standing all day and are highly recommended for nurses with plantar fasciitis.

Vionic Tide
Alex Frost/Insider The Alex Frost/Insider

The Vionic Tide II Toe Post Sandal is a slip-on style that features grippy "beads" to keep your foot from sliding around while you walk, increasing the likelihood that you will wear shoes that provide adequate support at all times.

Benefits include a supportive arch for a variety of arch types and support "beads" on the footbed to prevent sliding when wet.

Negatives: stretches out over time, lacks the support some wearers need, and runs small.

Although you can still find the wildly popular High Tide Sandal by Vionic in some stores, the brand has decided to phase out production of the style. The next best thing is the Vionic Tide II Post Sandal.  

This sturdy sandal is a closet staple because it's so convenient for throwing on and taking off. When I first started my recovery from PF, this was perfect because I was under strict orders to always wear shoes.  

The insoles of the Vionic Tide II Post sandals are cushioned and textured to provide a firm grip. The grippers may seem like a trivial design feature at first, but they end up feeling like massagers for your foot while also keeping your foot in place. Both these and the High Tides tend to become too floppy and flippy when worn frequently, so I advise ordering a size down.  

The one potential drawback is that they may not be "cushy" enough for the first and most challenging phase of PF.

Hoka Recovery Slide
Alex Frost/Insider Alex Frost/The In-Season

The Hoka Women's Ora Recovery Slide has a cloud-like feel and provides excellent arch and tendon support for lounging around the house.

Benefits: They are the most comfortable shoes ever made, and they prevent you from slipping or falling.

Negatives: It's ugly, it's bulky (but still light), and it won't keep you warm in the winter.

Slippers or house shoes are a must-have if you suffer from plantar fasciitis because your feet need to be supported at all times. My go-to slippers for lounging around the house are Hoka's Recovery Slides.  

Hoka's Recovery Slides are designed to make runners feel like they're walking on a cloud after a tough workout. They are not the most attractive, but when you're in excruciating pain, looks are the last thing on your mind, even if they do belong to the "so ugly they're cute" category.

And it's not just important to wear them outside the house, but also inside, where many people experience a sharp or dull pain in their heels first thing in the morning. As Cornell elucidates,  

Because of this issue, going barefoot is no longer an option for me or anyone else in a similar position. You won't even notice the support in these Hoka Recovery Slides because of how lightweight and comfortable they are. They're soft and cushiony thanks to an EVA foam outer layer that provides superior support.  

Our reviewers found that the Recovery Slides' footbeds were neither too flexible nor too rigid. In addition, they feature Hoka's trademark rocking technology, which, in my experience, significantly reduces foot pain.

Because they are made of foam, these slides can even be worn in the shower, and I love that you can wear socks with them in the winter.

Naot Fantasy
Alex Frost/Insider Alex Frost/The In-Season

Naot Oz/5041 offer sturdy support for your foot at formal events like weddings and business meetings.

The benefits include a snug fit, arch support, a comfortable heel height, and a versatile appearance.

Seasonal drawbacks

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, wearing dress shoes may bring on an anxiety attack. Since discovering these Naot Oz wedge shoes, I no longer have to worry about declining invitations to weddings and dinner parties due to the possibility of foot pain.  

The insoles conform to your feet, giving you the arch support you need. The heel height is just right for supporting your feet. More than once during the event where I wore them, my partner and I wondered aloud how it was possible that these shoes could possibly be more comfortable than our usual sneakers.

The velcro-adjustable heel strap on the Naot Oz is another great feature that allows me to fine-tune the fit in the event of discomfort.  

Dankso Bessie Taupe Burnished Nubuck
Alex Frost/Insider Alex Frost/The In-Season

These Dansko Bessie Burnished Nubuck winter boots are fashionable, toasty, and supportive thanks to their memory-foam insoles.

All-weather wearability, a fuzzy tab that rolls down for easy on/off, a sturdy footbed, and a supportive arch are all pluses.

Cons: They're bulkier and heavier than average boots.

Plantar fasciitis sufferers may have difficulty finding a pair of supportive boots that are also comfortable on the footbed due to the focus on weather protection. However, Dansko once again proves victorious.

The Dansko Bessie Burnished Nubuck boot features the firm, arch-supporting, and heel-cushioned sole that has become the brand's hallmark. They're incredibly light for having memory-foam cushioning.

The fact that these boots can be worn either with the shafts straight up or rolled down to expose the soft shearling lining is a nice bonus. In my opinion, the fact that they are genuine leather and have been treated with 3M Scotchgard stain resistor to protect them from spills makes the $190 price tag more reasonable.

When compared to the other boots we tried, these are the most versatile and fashionable option without sacrificing comfort or arch support.

Applying Dansko's Suede and Nubuck Protector Spray will fully waterproof them.

Ecco Street Sneaker
Alex Frost/Insider Alex Frost/The In-Season

The Ecco Soft 7 Men's Street Sneaker, with its cushioned but supportive footbed and sleek design, is the best option for men suffering from plantar fasciitis.

The benefits include all-day cushioning, arch and heel support, and a flexible design.

Negatives: soiled quickly, shoe laces are too short for expert double knotters.

Men's options for supportive shoes that can help with PF prevention and management are limited. Many of the options our male tester tried did not provide adequate support for his heels and arches throughout the day.  

However, Ecco's Soft 7 Street Sneaker did not disappoint. They have a comfortable and supportive footbed, a sleek design, and kept my feet, legs, and back from hurting after a long day at the office. The recommended arch support was readily apparent.

In addition, the leather details transform these sneakers from plain white kicks to chic wardrobe staples. That's why they're perfect for both casual and professional settings. The one drawback is that, unsurprisingly, we found it to get dirty very easily if you choose the white colorway.

Best shoes for plantar fasciitis 2x1
The brands Brooks, Naot, Ecco, Hoka, and Vionic, as well as Rachel Mendelson/Insider

In search of the perfect PF-friendly shoe, what characteristics should it have? The following, according to our specialists, is essential for short- and long-term tendon pain relief. Sandals, boots, and sneakers alike have the same essential features:

  • Shoe width should be appropriate for the wearer's foot length, so that the shoe is not too wide if the wearer has a narrow foot and is not too narrow if the wearer has a wide foot.
  • Include orthotic inserts or the option to insert your own foot pad. Cushioning and shock absorption provided by inserts aid in preventing heel pain.
  • Include a sturdy arch and heel Dr You should be able to feel the arch of the shoe, according to Dr. Summer Bochat of Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. More arch support is needed if your feet have higher arches than average. This relieves some of the stress on the problematic ligament in the heel.
  • Strive to be rigid. You want to avoid wearing shoes like flip-flops that have no structure, so this is a sign that the shoe provides adequate heel and arch support.

Heel height of 1-2 inches Neither a completely flat sole nor a very high heel is preferable. Pulling on the plantar fascia, the Achilles tendon, and possibly tendons in the ankle can result from the angle your foot sits at as you step. The ideal heel drop is between one and two inches, as this provides the optimal angle for reducing stress on the Achilles tendon and other foot tendons that can aggravate plantar fasciitis.

First Examined: Methods of Pain Control

Since the only thing that matters when you're in excruciating pain is getting better, this is obviously the most crucial exam. I would know within a few minutes if I were trying on a pair of shoes that did not get along with PF. Later that night, when my pain was less severe, I would always regret not wearing shoes with more arch support. After a full day of wear, I experienced no discomfort from any of the options outlined here.

Support for the Arches Test 2

The doctors recommended arch supports to help your strained Plantar Fascia ligament. What counts as "proper" in this context is determined by your individual arch height — I have high arches, so I researched which shoes would be the most comfortable and supportive for someone with a medium to high arch. Check out my picks for yourself if you have low arches or flat feet.  

Cushioning test (stage three)

You either feel a sharp pain and want to stay in bed when you land on your foot if you have PF, or you feel a soft cushioning in your heel and want to keep walking. The latter is naturally the focus of these picks.

Fourth Criteria: Overall Appeal

Because we're not robots, we use aesthetics as a motivator to put on our supportive footwear before heading out the door. While advancements in orthopaedic footwear are still needed, fashionable, pain-free options are now available. Since they can be pricey and you probably won't be able to afford one in every color, we also tried to select options that can be worn in a wide variety of seasons and with a wide variety of styles and outfits.

Hand holding the heel of a foot colored red to illustrate plantar fasciitis pain.
photographs by iStock; Gilbert Espinoza/Insider

Pain from plantar fasciitis results from a tightening of the plantar fascia, a ligament connecting the toes and the heels, which in turn tears a tiny bit with each step. As a result, unsupportive footwear is no longer acceptable.

The plantar fascia and its surrounding ligaments and tendons can be protected from strain with properly cushioned and supported arches and heels. Shoes that are too thin or flexible, such as sandals or ballet flats, are not permitted. High heels are another no-no because they put unnecessary stress on your ligaments.

Experts recommend opting for a heel height of 1-2 inches and shoes with arch support you can feel instead.

I have plantar fasciitis; what shoes should I wear around the house?

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, you should wear shoes with arch support anytime your foot makes contact with the ground. According to Cornell's explanation, "the first signs of plantar fasciitis may be morning heel pain, either a sharp or dull pain usually experienced first thing in the morning." If you wake up with foot pain, try slipping into a pair of supportive shoes right away.

Try to find a pair of house slippers with a good arch and heel cushion. It's likely that your regular house slippers won't suffice. The Hoka Ora Recovery Slide is a favorite of ours because of how lightweight and comfortable they are. Hoka's signature rocker design aids your foot's natural motion, and the shoe's layers of dense EVA foam provide support without adding unnecessary weight.

When does plantar fasciitis get worse

One of the leading causes of worsening plantar fasciitis is inadequate foot support. This may involve standing for long periods of time barefoot or on unforgiving surfaces like concrete. A plantar fasciitis flare-up can be avoided with the help of a supportive pair of shoes, such as those recommended in this guide.

Freelance journalist and content marketer based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Alexandra Frost covers topics such as health and wellness, parenting, real estate, education, and lifestyle. Glamour, Today's Parent, Reader's Digest, Parents, Women's Health, and Business Insider are just some of the publications where her work has appeared. She is the proud wife of an assistant principal and mother of three active young boys. Visit her website to connect with her or read more of her work. Find out how our Insider reviewers evaluate products by clicking here!
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