Are you tired of dealing with the pain and discomfort of plantar fasciitis? Look no further, because we've gathered the ultimate list of the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis. Say goodbye to aching feet and hello to foot-friendly bliss as we take you on a journey through the top-notch footwear designed to alleviate your discomfort. From stylish sandals to sturdy boots, we've got you covered. Get ready to put your best foot forward and discover the perfect pair of shoes to conquer plantar fasciitis once and for all.
The Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis of 2023
Hoka Bondi 8 Shoes
Size range: Women’s sizes range from 5 to 12; men’s sizes range from 7 to 16Weight: Women’s shoes weigh 8.9 oz; men’s shoes weigh 10.8 ozSpecial features: These shoes are suitable for daily walking and easy runs; they offer a "plush" level of cushioning to alleviate pressure on the fasciaPros: The shoes provide a high amount of cushioningCons: They have a lower heel-to-toe drop of 4 mmRetailer availability: You can find these shoes at hoka.com, rei.com, dickssportinggoods.com, nordstrom.com If you’re looking for a scientifically backed purchase, the HOKA Bondi is the right choice. A January 2022 study published in Clinical Research on Foot and Ankle found that maximalist, high-cushion shoes, specifically the Hoka Bondi 6, are the most effective in reducing plantar fasciitis pain compared to standard athletic sneakers. The latest cushioned running shoe available is the Hoka 8, which retains the excellent features of its previous versions, including the use of soft, lightweight foam on the insole and outsole to provide a sensation of walking on air with each step. Hoka refers to their Bondi 8 as the "ultra-cushioned game-changer," so get ready for pain relief.
Tory Burch Good Luck Shoes
Size range: Available in sizes 4 to 13Special features: These shoes provide good arch support, a wide toe box, a thick heel, and a semi-stiff solePros: They offer a stylish option that can be dressed up or downCons: Unfortunately, they are only available in women’s sizesRetailer availability: You can purchase these shoes at toryburch.com, nordstrom.com, amazon.com, zappos.com, bloomingdales.com "The Tory Burch Good Luck Trainer passes my four-test rule," says Brenner. It has a thick arch for support, a wide-chunky heel to stabilize the foot and offer shock absorption, a semi-stiff sole, and a wide toe box, she says. You can find these walking shoes for plantar fasciitis at multiple online retailers, and while the designer's site currently offers four colorways, Zappos, for example, has 11 different color options.
Oofos Ooahh Sport Flex Shoes
- $ = under $110
- $$ = $110–$150
- $$$ = over $150
- Price: $$$
- Pros: lightweight, made to provide arch and heel support
- Cons: some reviewers say the standard width sizes have a narrow toe box
- Available sizes: available in men’s and women’s sizes
- Available widths: standard and wide
When it comes to hitting the road for a run, the Asics Gel Nimbus may be worth your consideration. Designed with a stiff outer design, the Gel Nimbus has a cushioned heel and was created to offer runners a stable, yet comfortable ride.
While most wearers appreciate the durable design and soft, supportive cushioning, some users have complained about the narrowness of the toe box.
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Overall: Vionic Walker Classic
Good for: Individuals in search of a cushioned shoe with solid arch support
Orthofeet Lava Stretch Knit
The Lava (for men) and Coral (for women) Stretch Knit shoe by Orthofeet is an excellent option for individuals with plantar fasciitis. Equipped with the Ortho-Cushion system for comfort and support, the shoe is designed to relieve pressure on sensitive feet prone to pain. The interior is lined with foam padding for additional protection around pressure points and to minimize rubbing against the skin, preventing irritation.
Other features include a removable anatomical arch, an arch booster for realigning the foot, and a wide toe box to accommodate foot conditions such as bunions. If the shoe feels too loose, it comes with removable, fitted spacers to help customize the fit.
The stretchable knitted upper allows for unrestricted foot movement without constrictions. The Lava comes in three widths for men, and the Coral comes in four widths for women.
- Wide toe box promotes natural foot splaying
- Cushioned sole reduces impact forces
- Stretch knit upper allows for flexibility and breathability
- Multiple width options to support various foot types
Best Travel Shoe: Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III
- Extra-wide fit
- Super lightweight and thin
- Flexible for travel and packing
- Some reviewers said you may need to replace the laces
|Sizes||5.5 - 11|
"I like Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for travel because it has a more dressy appearance compared to other running shoes. This allows me to pack it for conferences, but it still performs well during workouts," says Bui. These shoes are available in seven stunning colors and are designed with a minimalist approach to strengthen your feet and promote natural movement during running, walking, or workouts. Additionally, they are versatile, lightweight, ultra-thin, and wide enough to provide natural stability. One reviewer, who had been dealing with plantar fasciitis for six years, wrote, "They are my favorite shoes and they have helped me on my healing journey. They are also environmentally friendly. Overall, the best!"
Best Lightweight Shoe: Xero Shoes HFS
- Extra lightweight
- Breathable mesh upper
- Great for running
For someone who doesn't want to run barefoot but still wants to feel connected to the ground while running, Bui highly recommends the Xero Shoes HFS. These shoes are lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, and provide excellent protection for your feet. The highly flexible sole (HFS) offers a natural fit, motion, and feel. One reviewer mentioned, "Fantastic shoes! They keep my feet healthy, mobile, and strong. They are also VERY durable!"
Best Reflective Shoe: ASICS Gel-Nimbus 21
Now 36% Off
- Contains reflective material
- Heel clutching technology
- Some reviewers say they run narrow
|Material||Synthetic and mesh|
|Sizes||5 - 12|
We love the ASICS Gel-Nimbus 21 for its reflective material that enhances visibility during low-light hours. These shoes are also built for durability, featuring a foam-based sole for bounce and abrasion-resistant rubber. The heel clutching technology provides support and a better fit. One reviewer shared, "I have plantar fasciitis, and these shoes have helped me so much! Great shoes for walking around my college campus."
Best Clogs: Naot Classic Spring
- Footbed molds to your foot shape
- Accepted by the APMA for good foot health
- Great for everyday use
- Slip-on shoes may not be ideal for some
These slip-on shoes are perfect for running errands comfortably. Solomon says, "The thick EVA sole is extremely supportive, and the arch in the footbed reduces strain on the plantar fascia." The anatomic cork and latex footbed is wrapped in suede and molds to fit your foot shape for a perfect fit. One reviewer mentioned, "I wear these every day, everywhere. I didn't even have to break them in. They fit perfectly right out of the box."
Best Minimal Shoe: Altra Solstice XT 2
- Encourages better alignment and form
- Designed to fit your foot shape
- May take time to get used to them
|Material||Rubber and Mesh|
|Sizes||5.5 - 12|
Similar to the Escalante, Bui recommends the Altra Solstice XT 2 for those transitioning to a more minimal shoe. These shoes provide ample space for your feet to move naturally and have a versatile design. The equidistant heel and forefoot platform promote better alignment and form. One reviewer stated, "Comfortable, supportive, and stylish! I love Altras for their wide toe box. I wear these as everyday shoes."
Hoka Clifton 8
"These Hoka's are an excellent option for running. The lightweight and breathable material, combined with the shock-absorbing heel, make them perfect for activities where the sole of your feet endures more pressure, such as running or long walks," says Sayed. These sneakers come in 21 colors and offer a wide range of size options. They are extra-light, have a responsive midsole, and a streamlined look that users love. One satisfied customer wrote, "Bought these for my fiancé who works in the hospital. She wears them for over eight hours a day, day in and day out, and she absolutely loves them. She doesn't want to wear any other shoe."
Best Protection: Altra Escalante
- Great for running
- Designed to fit your foot shape
- Versatile design
- May take some getting used to
|Sizes||5.5 - 12|
Bui regularly runs in the Altra Escalante for its cushioning and protection. "These shoes offer slightly more cushioning than minimal shoes and provide more foot protection. They are a great first step if you're transitioning to a more minimal shoe," Bui explains. One reviewer praised these shoes for being "so comfy and cushy."
He advises that these shoes may take some getting used to. "When I first tried on more natural footwear, it felt like my feet were swimming in the shoes because I was used to traditional running shoes that bound my feet and toes together. After a week, I realized that it was because these shoes match the shape of my foot," Bui notes.
Best Arch Support: Naot Koru Tama
- Accepted by the APMA for good foot health
- Orthotic friendly
- Some reviewers say these run small
Fit for office wear, the Naot Koru Tama offers a plush cushioned footbed with extra arch support. The EVA outsole is made with Cushion Soft technology for added comfort. These loafers feature a rounded toe box and a soft suede upper to allow your feet to breathe. The rubber-like EVA outsole also provides excellent traction, especially during rainy weather. "A rubber outsole is an especially good feature as it can act as an additional shock absorber," Bhuta explains.
"These shoes are awesome! I've been wanting a pair of slip-ons, and these are perfect in every way. Perfect fit, elegant style, beautiful color, great support. It feels like walking on a cloud! I like them so much that I just ordered a second pair," one happy customer wrote.
Best Sandals: OluKai Upena
The adjustable straps on these sandals help keep your foot in place and prevent the need to grip the shoe to keep it on, which can further aggravate your injury. The anatomical leather footbed is contoured and provides ample arch support.
"My absolute favorite sandals ever. These are the only shoes I can wear all day long without insoles that don't cause me any foot pain," notes one (very honest) reviewer. "I've had them for over a year now, and they're still going strong. You can't beat that level of comfort and quality for the price."
Best Heels: Naturalizer Warner Square Toe Pump
Now 39% Off
Credit: Nordstrom Rack
- Contour fit footbed
- Provides stability when you walk
- Heels may be uncomfortable for some
|Sizes||5 - 13|
For many women, heels are a necessary part of office attire or an essential component of a stylish look. However, it is important to avoid heels higher than three inches if you have plantar fasciitis. "A high heel can cause shortening of the Achilles tendon, which attaches to the plantar fascia. The shortened Achilles tendon will pull up on the plantar fascia, increasing pain," Gerres advises.
The Naturalizer Warner Square Toe Pump is a slingback pump with a height of 2.5 inches. It provides both style and comfort, on and off the clock. The N5 Contour Fit footbed molds to the shape of your foot while providing stability as you walk. The block heel ensures stability while wearing the pumps. One customer at Nordstrom Rack commented, "This shoe offers the highest level of comfort and a perfect heel for all-day wear. There are no negatives about this shoe."
"Best Protection: Altra Escalante
Best Flats: Vionic North Willa
If you are in search of a highly recommended flat shoe for daily wear, the Vionic North Willa is an excellent option, especially for individuals with Plantar Fasciitis. Vionic is renowned for its shoes that feature footbeds designed by podiatrists, specifically catering to conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, heel spurs, and lower back pain. The breathable suede material used in the making of these shoes ensures optimal comfort during walks.
One satisfied customer wrote, "I am considering buying a second pair of these comfortable shoes from Vionic! The arch support is exceptional and alleviates strain on my back. I purchased them in black, grey, and white snake-skin versions, and they complement dress pants and jeans perfectly."
Best Boots: Børn Cove
For those seeking the best boots, the Børn Cove is a top choice. These Chelsea-style booties come with a one-inch block heel, making them ideal for individuals with high arches who require more stability. Additionally, these boots effortlessly complement any outfit. The soft leather upper provides exceptional comfort, while the stretchy sides ensure a perfect fit for all foot sizes and shapes. They also feature leather, grippy treads and a removable insole, catering to individuals who use over-the-counter or custom orthotics.
"I purchased a black pair last year, and after realizing that I wear them every single day, I decided it was time to buy another pair," shared an Amazon reviewer. "The color matches the pictures, and they are comfortable and sturdy. They are definitely worth the price."
Best Slippers: Vionic Gemma
To relieve pressure from the fascia, it is advisable to avoid going barefoot and wear shoes even when walking around the house. The slip-on style of the Vionic Gemma slippers makes them convenient to slip on as soon as you step out of bed, as recommended by foot experts. These slippers are equipped with a deep heel cup for enhanced stability, substantial arch support, and a firm yet flexible midsole.
"A deep heel cup is beneficial for plantar fasciitis as it helps support and centralize the fat on the heel, alleviating symptoms and preventing atrophy," explained Bhutta. These slippers are an excellent choice as they also contribute to reducing aches and pains by aligning the feet properly. "These slippers are comfortable. They have a deeper heel cup and flexible midsole, both of which support the bottom of the foot," added Pruthi. One reviewer even described these slippers as having "unbelievable support."
Best Vegan Shoe: Naot Apollo Galaxy
For individuals seeking vegan footwear, the Naot Apollo Galaxy is an excellent choice. These fashionable sneakers are suitable for a range of activities, from workouts to casual outings. They are crafted with a lightweight knit material that is 100% vegan. The removable cork and latex footbed wrapped in microfiber provides exceptional strength and flexibility while also supporting the feet.
"The Galaxy from Naot is an excellent sneaker option that offers a comfortable, flexible fit to the upper foot with good support and stability for everyday use," stated Sayed. One reviewer added, "These shoes are modern, feather-light, and extra comfortable. Simply perfect!"
Best Basic Shoe: Saucony Triumph 19
The Saucony Triumph 19 is an exceptional choice for a basic shoe that provides cushioning and a springy base. It features a special midsole and a highly supportive and cushioned heel. The shoe's outer layer is constructed with mesh that incorporates 3D-printed overlays for enhanced flexibility and comfort. Additionally, the suede tongue adds a luxurious and comfortable feel. One reviewer, who spends long 12-hour shifts on their feet, loves wearing these sneakers for their support. They commented, "Very cushioned with good arch support. The wider toe bed allows my toes to spread out while walking, reducing foot fatigue. After 33 years of nursing shifts, I have tried many shoes, and it's worth investing a little if you are on your feet like me."
Best Hiking Shoes: Xero DayLite Hiker Fusion
For individuals searching for hiking shoes that offer extra foot support, the Xero DayLite Hiker Fusion is an ideal choice. The flexible sole of these hiking boots provides excellent protection for the feet, especially when hiking over rough terrain. They are comfortable, durable, and resistant to abrasions and water. Additionally, they feature a zero drop heel design for optimal posture, balance, and agility. "I am actively involved in various outdoor activities, including hiking, and the Xero Shoes Daylite Hiker is a great example of a hiking boot that offers a flexible sole while protecting your foot, even on challenging terrains," shared Bui. These boots have garnered praise for their comfortable fit and resilience. One reviewer exclaimed, "You will notice the immediate comfort as soon as you put these shoes on. The wide-toe bed styling is not exaggerated and adds to the overall appeal of the shoe. I am obsessed with this shoe!"
Soft Impact with the Ground
Furthermore, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ricardo Cook recommends choosing shoes that provide the least impact when the foot strikes a hard surface. The specific characteristics of the shoe depend on the individual's foot and the desired level of control. For individuals with higher arches, rigid arch support may cause further restriction due to the angle of the joint. Conversely, individuals with flat feet and plantar fasciitis should look for shoes with adequate arch support. It is important to avoid minimalist shoes like the Vibram FiveFingers, which lack stability, cushioning, and place excessive stress on the heel bone. Minimalist shoes may work for some individuals, but consulting with a doctor will help determine the best shoe style for individual needs. Any shoe that causes uncomfortable pressure points or foot pain should be replaced with a more comfortable option. It is crucial to take care of the entire foot, including bones, tendons, and ligaments beyond the plantar fascia, as repetitive stress can cause damage. If home treatments do not provide relief and the pain persists after several weeks, it is advisable to consult a doctor for further evaluation and treatment options.
Orthotics are shoe inserts designed to manage specific conditions such as heel pain, general foot discomfort, arch pain, and plantar fasciitis. Custom orthotics, specifically tailored to an individual's needs, are available but are often more expensive. Off-the-shelf orthotics offer a more affordable alternative, although they are not personalized for individual feet. Custom orthotics aim to maintain the foot in an optimal position during walking, reducing the mechanical forces associated with plantar fasciitis. Over-the-counter orthotics provide temporary relief by cushioning the heel. Orthotics play a crucial role in decreasing tension and stress on the plantar fascia while reinforcing any lack of arch support in footwear. Additionally, orthotics feature a deep heel cup that helps absorb shock during each step. It is important to note that healing from plantar fasciitis can take a few months, and proper rest and care are essential to prevent the condition from recurring. It is recommended to consult a doctor if persistent pain is experienced even after home treatments or if there are concerns about the specific symptoms.
The Benefits of Wearing Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
According to Bui, wearing shoes with extra cushioning and an elevated heel can help alleviate pain caused by plantar fasciitis. While it won't solve the underlying problem, it can provide relief from symptoms while working with a doctor.
How to Choose the Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Dr. Bergin explains that while shoes won't treat plantar fasciitis, they can significantly improve comfort. For most people, approximately 10 months of treatment for plantar fasciitis will be sufficient.
In the meantime, our experts recommend looking for shoes with the following characteristics:
- Ample arch support
- A firm, yet flexible midsole
- If using plantar fasciitis insoles, look for removable insoles
- Cushioning in the forefoot
- An elevated heel no more than 2 inches
- Shoes that offer natural movement and function
Best Flip Flops: FitFlop Iqushion
Certified with the APMA seal, these sandals are highly recommended for a beach getaway. The anatomically shaped EVA footbed provides arch support, while the platform helps relieve pressure from the heels. A standout feature is the strategically placed pressure-relieving cushion for the heel. Additionally, the dual-density midsole aids in evenly distributing weight and absorbing shock. Although flip-flops are not the best choice for plantar fasciitis, these FitFlop Iqushion flip-flops are supportive, according to Pruthi. Amazon reviewers have praised them as "simply the best" and "recommended for everyday use."
Best Athletic Shoes: Hoka One One Bondi 7
Ideal for trips to the gym, the trail, and even the grocery store, these running shoes from Hoka One One offer overall comfort. Known for their extra-comfy kicks, Hoka One One doesn't disappoint with the Bondi 7. Despite their appearance, they are lightweight with roomy toe boxes and breathable mesh uppers. One reviewer who suffers from plantar fasciitis attests that these shoes, along with physical therapy, have allowed them to get back to their workouts.
Best Running Shoes: Brooks Levitate 4
The Brooks Levitate 4 running shoes are designed for conquering any hill, no matter the size. With their springy midsole cushions, they effectively absorb shock from foot strikes and provide an energy boost with each stride. The removable insole is a major advantage, allowing users to customize their footwear with custom or over-the-counter orthotics, which is particularly beneficial for healing from plantar fasciitis. Reviewers have praised the shoe's fit, with one mentioning that they suffer from plantar fasciitis and these shoes have been a lifesaver.
Saucony Women's Cohesion 13
Affordable and available in a wide variety of colors, the Saucony Cohesion 13 is a neutral running shoe. While it may not offer the same level of cushioning as other options, it allows for the option of adding personal orthotics to enhance comfort. It boasts a durable rubber outsole with decent-sized lugs for traction on most terrains. Reviewers often comment on the shoe's versatility, noting that most people can walk many miles without issues.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II
For treks on rugged terrains, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II is a reliable choice. These shoes offer two layers of cushioning to alleviate discomfort caused by plantar fasciitis. The compression-molded EVA foam in the midsoles absorbs shock and provides protection, while the additional EVA insert adds an extra layer of defense. They require a short break-in period but are ultimately considered the best hiking shoe by performance editor Anthony O'Reilly. With their foam midsoles, heel stabilizers, and durable outsoles, these shoes provide stability and foot security during hikes.
Kuru Pivots are lightweight slip-on shoes designed with built-in arch support for a comfortable and supportive stride. The 8-millimeter heel-to-toe drop and elastic midfoot ensure a secure fit, while the pull tab on the heel makes them easy to put on and take off. The shoes utilize Kuru's patented KuruCloud lightweight, shock-absorbing EVA foam and KuruSole dynamically flexing midsole to promote foot posture and alignment. Wearers with wide, flat feet have remarked positively on the comfortable fit, cushioning, and arch support provided by these shoes.
Hoka Bondi 8
The Hoka Bondi 8 is a high-quality, stylish, supportive, and functional everyday running shoe. While it may be on the pricier side, its 30-day return policy makes it an excellent option to try. The soft DNA Loft cushioning in the midsole relieves pressure on the foot and absorbs impact, providing a uniform midsole for smoother transitions. The shoe's billowed shape helps balance foot strikes to reduce the risk of injury and features additional rubber on the outsole for stability and durability. The Hoka Bondi 8s have earned the Seal of Acceptance from The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) for their contribution to foot health.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is a supportive shoe designed for running. Its soft, cushioned DNA Loft midsole absorbs impact and provides pressure relief for the foot. The shoe's GuideRails support system allows for a natural strike pattern while reducing extra rotation in the heels and shins. This feature helps keep knees and feet in a safe range, reducing pain and enhancing overall comfort. The Adrenaline GTS 22 has received the Seal of Acceptance from The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) for promoting good foot health. Despite some concerns about durability, many reviewers have praised the shoe's comfort and support.
Please note that the prices and availability of these shoes may vary.
Brooks Addiction Walker 2
- Available in four widths: Narrow (1B), Medium (1D), Wide (2E), Extra Wide (4E)
- Also available in suede and with velcro straps instead of laces
- 90-day trial and return period
- Available in a large range of sizes
- Customers complain that they are noisy and squeaky
- Users say the shoes feel narrower and tighter than previous versions
The Brooks Addiction Walker 2 is highly praised for its exceptional comfort. However, some customers have expressed concerns about the weight of the shoes and have mentioned that they can be noisy and squeaky. Additionally, a few users have noted that the shoes feel narrower and tighter compared to previous versions.
As individuals age, the strength of their ligaments and tendons naturally declines, resulting in reduced "spring back" capabilities. This can lead to the flattening of arches and lengthening of feet and toes. To address these changes, it is crucial to select the best walking shoes for seniors. The key is to find shoes with a firm, yet cushioned insole that provides optimal foot support during this stage of life.
The Brooks Addiction Walker 2 offers a moderate level of cushioning paired with maximum support. The midsole features soft DNA foam cushioning that responds specifically to an individual's movement patterns, weight, and speed. Additionally, the shoe incorporates extra support throughout, known as the Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB), which allows for a natural stride while preventing excessive wobbling or ankle rolling. The slip-resistant outsole also enhances stability.
In terms of aesthetics, the Brooks Addiction Walker 2 is available in classic all-white or all-black color options. However, what sets these shoes apart is the availability of four different widths, catering to the diverse sizes and shapes of feet. It is crucial to wear properly fitting shoes to avoid or alleviate conditions like plantar fasciitis. The shoe is available in narrow, medium, wide, and extra-wide widths to offer extra roominess for changing feet.
|How it helps||Responsive cushioning and extra support to prevent unnatural movement; comes in four widths to properly fit all types of feet|
|Midsole construction||DNA foam|
|Heel-to-toe drop||12 mm|
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for Seniors: Brooks Addiction Walker 2
Good for: Individuals with flatter feet who prefer a simple-looking shoe
Vionic Walker Classic
- Customer-favorite style
- Orthotic insole with antibacterial top cloth
- Action-lacing system for a customized fit
- AMS technology for optimal support
- Takes time to break in and adjust to the support
- Some customers feel that the sole could use more cushioning
The Vionic Walker Classic is a walking shoe that has been extensively researched and tested to provide the best quality at its price point. The shoe is designed for easy cleaning and maintenance, ensuring its longevity.
When it comes to determining the best overall walking shoe, especially for individuals with painful conditions like plantar fasciitis, it can be challenging. However, the Vionic Walker Classics possess several features that make them appealing to a wide range of individuals.
One of the key features of these shoes is the podiatrist-designed orthotic insole. It features an antibacterial top cloth, a deep heel cup for stability, and ample arch support to correct any pronation and keep the ankle secure. The heel is firm, while the midsole and heel offer just enough flexibility to ensure comfort without compromising stability. The midsole is made of EVA foam with minimal elevation, allowing for a smooth transition from heel to toe.
The Vionic Walker Classics strike a good balance between flexibility and support. The shoe provides enough flexibility for natural movement while providing adequate support to alleviate discomfort.
The American Podiatric Medical Association has recognized the foot health features of the Vionic Walker Classics, granting them a Seal of Acceptance. These shoes are available in regular and wide width options.
|How it helps||Podiatrist-designed orthotics, flexible midsole|
|Midsole construction||EVA foam|
What To Look For in Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Unlike running or using an elliptical machine, walking does not require a specific type of shoe. There are various options available, including sneakers, clogs, sandals, and athletic shoes. However, it is essential to consider the intended use of the shoe before making a choice. For example, walking long distances in flats can cause foot pain. It is crucial to dress your feet appropriately for the activity you are engaging in and consider shoes as a form of exercise equipment.
Comfort plays a significant role in selecting walking shoes for plantar fasciitis. The footbed cushioning is a crucial factor contributing to overall comfort. Without a comfortable shoe, individuals are less likely to wear them regularly. Cushioning acts as a shock absorber, particularly for those with inflamed heel pads. It softens the impact when the heel strikes the ground, reducing discomfort.
Arch support is a vital aspect to consider, especially for individuals with plantar fasciitis. The condition often involves excessive extension of the plantar fascia, leading to inflammation. Footbeds with supportive arches help prevent excessive stretching, thereby reducing pain and irritation associated with plantar fasciitis. Arch support is considered one of the most important elements of treatment.
Walking shoes consist of multiple materials, including the footbed, insoles, lining, and upper. Each material contributes to overall comfort. The market offers a variety of rubber and foam soles, some of which use gel or air to provide additional cushioning. The choice of fabric depends on individual needs and preferences. Mesh offers breathability, nylon is sweat-wicking, while leather provides durability.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are walking shoes good to wear if you have plantar fasciitis?
Yes, wearing supportive and well-cushioned walking shoes can help alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and prevent recurrence. These shoes often have removable insoles, allowing them to accommodate functional foot orthotics if needed.
Can walking make plantar fasciitis worse?
Walking, especially for long distances, can exacerbate the pain and symptoms of plantar fasciitis if not wearing appropriate footwear. Wearing unsupportive shoes, such as flimsy flip-flops or sandals, can worsen the condition.
How much do quality walking shoes for plantar fasciitis cost?
High-quality walking shoes for plantar fasciitis typically range from $100 to $150. Cheaper shoes may lack adequate support and cushioning, while more expensive options may offer enhanced style and durability. It is important to find a balance between price and necessary features.
Meet the Experts
Hillary Brenner, DPM: A New York-based podiatrist and foot surgeon, as well as a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Dr. Brenner has received extensive training in foot care technologies, including shock wave therapy for treating plantar fasciitis.
Meredith Warner, MD: A board-certified orthopedic surgeon based in Louisiana. Dr. Warner is the founder of Well Theory, a health supplement brand, and the inventor of The Healing Sole, a patented flip flop designed to help heal plantar fasciitis.
Tim Karthas, DPM: A podiatrist based in Peabody, Massachusetts, and an experienced marathon runner who collaborates with the Oofos brand of recovery footwear. Dr. Karthas specializes in foot and ankle surgery, podiatry, and has personal experience in dealing with plantar fasciitis.
Paul Langer, DPM: A board-certified podiatrist with Twin Cities Orthopedics and a part-owner of Fleet Feet Minneapolis. Dr. Langer specializes in foot and ankle surgery, podiatry, and is a fellow at the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. He has experienced plantar fasciitis flare-ups himself.
Tips for Walking with Plantar Fasciitis
In mild cases of plantar fasciitis, light walking can help reduce symptoms. However, if the pain level reaches 5 out of 10, it is best to rest instead. The RICE strategy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) can be helpful in reducing inflammation and initiating the healing process. Gentle stretching exercises, such as manually bending the toes back, can release tension in the tight plantar fascia ligament. Over-the-counter pain medication can also provide relief.
If walking is unavoidable, it is recommended to limit time on the feet to less than 10 minutes and avoid walking on concrete terrains. Wearing shoes with ample cushioning is essential to provide the necessary support. If stabbing pain or redness and swelling occur in the heel, it is recommended to discontinue the activity and seek medical attention.
Best Rainproof Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis: KLAW Footwear 528
Good for: Individuals who prefer walking outdoors even in rainy weather
Best Value: Naturalizer Marianne
If you have plantar fasciitis, the most important factor to consider is arch support. According to Dr. Gerres, we place approximately three to four times our body weight on our feet with each step. Therefore, wearing shoes with good arch support is crucial as it helps transfer the stresses on the plantar fascia to the shoe.
The Naturalizer Marianne casual sneaker prioritizes arch support. It offers a removable insole with an anatomical arch, along with a nonslip outsole, durable leather uppers, and elastic panels for an optimized fit. This versatile sneaker comes in four unique widths (regular, narrow, wide, and extra-wide) and is also highly recommended for nurses due to its supportive features. One Amazon reviewer with plantar fasciitis expresses their satisfaction, stating, "I'm so happy that I have finally found a nice-looking shoe that is extremely comfortable. This shoe offers good support and I love the blush pink color that I got."
Best Overall: Vionic Rechelle
- Easy to slip on
- Supportive footbed
- Great arch support
- Some reviewers said they run small
For individuals seeking easy-to-slip-on shoes that won't aggravate their plantar fasciitis, the Vionic Rechelle is an excellent choice. The shoe features a supportive footbed that hugs the arches, providing maximum comfort. The firm, yet flexible orthotic insole is removable and offers a deep heel cup for stability. Dr. Pruthi recommends these shoes because they have a supportive footbed with great arch support, which is crucial for individuals with plantar fasciitis. Additionally, the Vionic Rechelle sneakers boast a stylish design that is in line with current trends.
According to Dr. Horn, individuals with plantar fasciitis should wear supportive inserts to prevent over-lengthening and tension on the inflamed ligament. Whether using custom-fitted insoles or over-the-counter options, it is important to ensure that shoes have enough space to accommodate the insoles. Insoles for plantar fasciitis should have a defined arch to reduce pressure on the heel and maintain optimal foot position.
Cushioning plays a crucial role in combating plantar fasciitis, as it helps reduce stress from impact. There are different categories of cushioning in various shoe brands and models, with "maximalist" indicating higher levels of cushioning compared to traditional running or walking shoes.
Orthofeet Arch Support Slippers
When it comes to comfort, simplicity, and functional wearability, clogs consistently rank high among slip-on shoes. For individuals concerned about plantar fasciitis, the Orthofeet Bondi Orthotic Clogs offer a solution. Orthofeet, a brand accredited for developing a 3D foot scanner, specializes in over-the-counter orthotics that address common foot ailments, including plantar fasciitis.
These clogs. accredited by the APMA, are made of UltraSKY injected EVA foam, providing maximum cushioning and shock absorption for pain-free movement. Arch support encourages proper body alignment from the ground up, leading to a more stable walk that alleviates aches and pains associated with plantar fasciitis. The Bondi Orthotic Clogs are water-friendly, lightweight, antimicrobial, and available in four neutral colors.
- Available in standard and wide fits
- Orthotic insoles with anatomical arch support
- Stretchable upper for easy slipping on and off
- Adjustable strap for a customized fit
This list of the best shoes for plantar fasciitis is the result of expert recommendations from podiatrists and extensive research into brands specializing in this footwear. It takes into account customer and expert reviews, footwear features, enhanced functionality, and price points. The list is regularly updated to provide the latest selections and answers to frequently asked questions.
Factors to Consider When Shopping for Footwear:
To avoid irritating the fascia and minimizing the risk of injury, properly fitted shoes are crucial. An orthopedic outpatient study conducted in 2022 found that shoes lacking a cushioned insole and built-in arch support can exacerbate pain. Here are key features to consider when shopping for shoes designed to alleviate plantar fasciitis:
Aetrex Bondi Orthotic Clogs
When it comes to comfort, simplicity, and functional wearability, clogs consistently rank high among slip-on shoes. If you fear that your plantar fasciitis will persist while following this trend, the Aetrex Bondi Orthotic Clogs may be the solution. Aetrex, an accredited brand for developing a 3D foot scanner, specializes in over-the-counter orthotics that combat common foot ailments like plantar fasciitis.
With the AMPA seal of approval, these shoes are made of UltraSKY injected EVA foam, providing maximum cushioning and shock absorption for pain-free movement. The arch support encourages optimal body alignment from the ground up, yielding a more stabilized walk that may alleviate some of the aches and pains caused by plantar fasciitis. Furthermore, the clogs are water-friendly, lightweight, and antimicrobial, ensuring a fresh and clean experience. They are available in four neutral colors to suit different styles.
- Arch support reduces unwanted inflammation
- Water-friendly design withstands dirt and debris
- Maximum cushioning provides ample support
- Slip-on comfort eliminates unnecessary bending
Style and orthotic support are not typically synonymous, but the Oofos OOahh Slide Sandals may have found the winning combination. If you are looking for a supportive sandal that allows your feet to breathe during warmer months, these might become your go-to footwear.
Sleek in design yet intricate in technology, this recovery footwear brand incorporates OOfoam into its shoes, which absorbs up to 37% more impact compared to similar foam materials available. It literally lightens the load on your feet. Additionally, a proprietary footbed is integrated to reduce stress on the lower joints. The sturdy base "cradles" your arches, which may take some getting used to if you usually walk on flat shoes. However, this feature significantly reduces foot discomfort, so it is worth sticking with.
- OOfoam offers impact-absorbing technology
- Slip-on style for easy on and off
- Four color options for added style
- Machine-washable design for fresh and clean materials
Brooks Ghost 15 Running Shoes
The Brooks Ghost 15 is the latest model in the highly acclaimed Ghost series, specifically designed to offer exceptional comfort, support, and a seamless running experience. What sets it apart is its commitment to sustainability, with a significant portion (at least 62.5%) of the upper made from recycled materials.
The cutting-edge cushioning system, called DNA LOFT v2, is a perfect combination of rubber, air, and lightweight foam that effectively absorbs the impact of your landings. Additionally, the midsole features a crash pad, ensuring a smooth transition from heel to toe. Notably, this cushioning is especially beneficial for individuals at risk of plantar fasciitis. The shoe also boasts a 12mm heel-to-toe drop, which minimizes stress on the heel and encourages weight distribution towards the forefoot.
The enhanced upper of the Brooks Ghost 15 provides excellent structure to cradle your feet while allowing them to breathe during your run. However, it's worth mentioning that some customers have noted that the Ghost line tends to have a wider toe box compared to other brands.
- Available in medium and wide fit options
- Enhanced and lightweight cushioning ideal for long-distance runs
- Neutral, cushioned support suitable for various foot types
- Multiple color options to choose from
The Hoka Challenger 7 is the latest addition to the Challenger line-up, a series renowned for its performance across a range of outdoor terrains. The latest iteration of the Challenger takes its cushioning to the next level, delivering a plush ride that is particularly beneficial for individuals with plantar fasciitis. This enhanced cushioning is achieved through the use of a compression-molded EVA foam midsole.
The outsole of the Challenger 7 is thoughtfully designed with strategically placed lugs around the center and perimeter, providing exceptional stability and ensuring adaptability to various outdoor terrains. This feature guarantees a balanced and secure footing even on uneven surfaces.
One notable update is the newly designed lightweight upper, which offers improved freedom of movement for your feet. Additionally, the extended heel collar allows for easy slip-on and removal of the shoe. It's important to mention that like other Hoka shoes, the Challenger 7 carries the APMA Seal of Acceptance, indicating its positive impact on foot health.
- Four-millimeter lugs for superior traction
- Durabrasion rubber outsole for exceptional durability
- Plush footbed that absorbs repetitive impacts
- Vegan materials for a more environmentally-friendly choice
FAQs About Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
What Types of Shoes Should You Avoid if You Have Plantar Fasciitis?
According to Dr. Brad, shoes that are excessively high, completely flat, too loose, or excessively tight can contribute to the development or worsening of plantar fasciitis. He explains that a suitable shoe for plantar fasciitis should facilitate the proper transfer of weight during the gait cycle, which includes the movement from the heel striking the ground to toe off. Flat flip-flops or shoes are unsuitable for this purpose as they fail to provide adequate support to the plantar fascia.
On the other hand, Dr. Brad emphasizes the importance of wearing comfortable shoes with sufficient arch support, stability, and a proper fit. Such shoes can effectively relieve strain from the plantar fascia.
Is It Safe to Continue Walking With Plantar Fasciitis?
Yes, it is generally safe to continue walking with plantar fasciitis. Dr. Brad recommends activities such as walking uphill outdoors (including hiking), utilizing a treadmill incline, and stationary biking. Walking on inclines helps stretch the plantar fascia and can provide benefits for the condition, as long as there is no significant or worsening pain. However, activities that cause notable or chronic pain, including stretching exercises, should be avoided.
How Important Is Arch Support for Plantar Fasciitis?
Dr. Brad considers arch support to be one of the most crucial factors to consider for individuals with plantar fasciitis. While over-the-counter insoles like those from Dr. Scholls can be a temporary solution, it is recommended to consult a board-certified podiatrist for a complete assessment, diagnosis, and treatment in cases of persistent pain. Neglecting to seek timely intervention may lead to long-lasting damage and the need for more invasive treatments.
Buying Guide: What to Look for in the Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
While individual needs may vary, there are several key factors to consider when selecting the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Dr. Brad emphasizes the importance of adequate arch support, which plays a critical role in keeping the feet stable during walking. Optimal alignment of the lower body is crucial to prevent various issues, making arch support a critical feature for both comfort and preventing potential problems.
It's important to find a shoe that strikes a balance between rigidity and flexibility. A shoe that is excessively rigid is not recommended, but one that is too flexible may lack the necessary support. The walking shoes chosen for this guide fall within the desired range of flexibility and support.
Sufficient cushioning is another key consideration for individuals with plantar fasciitis. Cushioning helps absorb shock and reduces tension on the fascia, protecting it from further irritation and damage. The ideal amount of cushioning may vary depending on personal preference and individual anatomy, so it may be necessary to try out different pairs to find the perfect fit. Look for shoes with midsole foam and the option to add orthopedic insoles for additional comfort.
Toe Box Space
Proper space in the toe box is often overlooked but essential for a good fit. Ill-fitting and constricting shoes can lead to a range of foot problems, including bunions, ingrown toenails, blisters, and, of course, plantar fasciitis. Ensuring adequate room for the toes is crucial for maintaining comfort and foot health.
Style and Aesthetics
Although orthotic shoes are often associated with a lack of aesthetic appeal, many manufacturers now prioritize both comfort and style. You no longer have to compromise on visual appeal when selecting walking shoes. There are numerous options available in terms of colors and styles, allowing you to find a pair that meets your comfort and fashion preferences.
Benefits of Walking Shoes Designed for Plantar Fasciitis
Maintaining foot health is integral to overall well-being. Wearing the wrong type of shoes or exercising in worn-out footwear can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Conversely, choosing the right walking shoes specifically designed for plantar fasciitis can provide several benefits:
- Proper support for the heel and forefoot
- Extra cushioning in the footbed to absorb impact and reduce tension on the fascia
- Optimal space to ensure the foot is not cramped
- Enhanced stability to maintain a steady stride without wobbling or ankle rolling
Other Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis We Considered
As our team thoroughly tested over 70 pairs of athletic shoes, there were several other contenders that did not make it to this guide. Here are a few notable mentions:
New Balance 880: These shoes offer considerable cushioning but are more suitable for running rather than walking. During testing, our reviewer found them to be unremarkable. While they may work for neutral running, other options are more well-suited for pain-free walking.
Asics Gel Nimbus: The Gel Nimbus shoes from Asics have a similar style to Hoka's footwear. Although they provide ample cushioning and feature a rocker-style sole, our writer and personal trainer, Lauren Strong, experienced a forward pitch that negatively affected her gait. These shoes are designed primarily for running rather than walking.
HOKA Clifton 8: The Clifton 8s offer more cushioning than regular running shoes but less than the recommended Bondi 8s for walking with plantar fasciitis. If you are looking for a pair for running, the Clifton 8s are a suitable choice.
Brooks Ghost 14: The Brooks Ghost 14s are highly popular running shoes and were named the best neutral running shoe in our comprehensive guide. However, we do not consider them the most comfortable option for walking with plantar fasciitis. While they feature Brooks' signature DNA Loft foam in the midsole, there are better choices available for individuals seeking relief from plantar fasciitis pain.
OOFOS OOmg eeZee: OOFOS shoes are well-known for their recovery properties. While they can be a good option for severe pain or if recommended by a healthcare professional, they may be excessive for daily walks. However, their impressive cushioning makes them desirable for specific needs.
Orthofeet Kita Hands-Free: Orthofeet shoes are marketed as orthotic sneakers, but they primarily offer additional arch support and removable insoles similar to those found in over-the-counter alternatives. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with them, we prefer the features and style of the other pairs included in our list.
In conclusion, finding the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis is essential for anyone looking to alleviate pain and discomfort while staying active. From the top picks for overall support like the Vionic Walker Classic and Orthofeet Lava Stretch Knit to the specialized options for travel, lightweight, and reflective features, there is a shoe to fit every need. With extra rigidity in the sole, firm heel counters, and arch and heel support, these shoes offer the necessary cushioning and stability for those with plantar fasciitis. Whether you're a hiker, runner, or prefer slip-on styles, there's a shoe on this list to keep you on your feet and pain-free. So, lace up your new pair and hit the trails with confidence, knowing that you've chosen the best shoes for your plantar fasciitis journey.