The Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis (2024)

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Recovery from plantar fasciitis takes time and may require a blend of strategies. But wearing the right shoes is key. Read on for our recommendations for the best running, walking, work, dress, and slip-on shoes to help support your feet.

The Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis (1)Share on Pinterest

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition felt along the bottom of the foot and heel. It happens when the plantar fascia, the ligament that runs along the length of the bottom foot, becomes irritated, creating an acute pain that makes it difficult to walk, exercise, or sometimes to even to stand for any length of time.

While treatment for plantar fasciitis may be multifaceted, and will often require taking a break from intense activity, it usually doesn’t mean you have to give up all activity. But finding shoes that properly support your feet is key.

“A shoe that has a thick midsole or rocker bottom is ideal,” says Nelya Lobkova, DPM. Additionally, a shoe with firm heel support will minimize stretching of the plantar fasciitis and help ease pain, Lobkova says.

Pricing guide

The best shoes for plantar fasciitis will range in price depending on the materials used and the intended activity.

While you can find good, supportive shoes at multiple price points, those featured in our list range in price from less than $40 to over $160.

$ = under $100
$$ = $100–$140
$$$ = over $140

PriceAvailable sizesWhat it’s best forHighlights
Asics Gel-Nimbus 25$$– women’s 5–13 standard and wide
– men’s 7–15 standard, wide, x-wide
runningwell-cushioned but lightweight with arch and heel support
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v13$$$– women’s 5–13 narrow, standard, wide, x-wide
– men’s 7–16 narrow, standard, wide, x-wide
runninggood arch and heel support with lots of width options
Hoka Bondi 8$$$– women’s 5–12 standard and wide
– men’s 7–16 standard and wide
running and walkingultra-cushioned shoes with wide footbed
Saucony Omni Walker 3$– women’s 7–12 standard, wide, x-wide
– men’s 7–14 standard, wide
walkingno-nonsense shoe with ample cushioning and sturdy construction
Kocota Recovery Slide$– women’s 6–13
– men’s 4–11
loungingthick, comfy rubber sole in a slip on
NAOT Kayla$$women’s 4–12work or out and aboutcomfort and support in a stylish sandal

We asked experts about what materials, cushioning, and designs were important when comparing shoes for plantar fasciitis pain. We looked at dozens of different shoe brands and looked closely at shoe design and construction.

In addition, we included suggestions for different types of physical activities — like running, walking, and going out — along with a few sandal choices, in case you want something to wear for at home or around town.

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition felt as a sharp pain at the bottom of the foot, specifically the bottom of the heel. When the ligament that runs along the length of the bottom of the foot — called the plantar fascia — is stressed, it causes small tears which are felt as pain when you take a step.

You’re more likely to experience plantar fasciitis if you:

  • have tight calf muscles
  • have high arches
  • participate in high impact activities like running
  • recently started a new activity or ramped up your training
  • have overweight or obesity

Can shoes fix plantar fasciitis?

Many experts, such as podiatrists and physical therapists, are hesitant to recommend a specific shoe for plantar fasciitis. That’s because each person needs to be evaluated to figure out what’s best for their particular feet.

Shoes that are uncomfortable from too much or too little cushioning, incorrect sizing, or poor construction may result in an altered gait pattern and thus may lead to further discomfort.

Being mindful about the shoes you’re wearing both for exercise and everyday activity is a core part of overcoming plantar fasciitis. There are key factors you’ll want to prioritize, such as having adequate arch support and cushioning, as well as what activities you’ll be performing while wearing the shoes. It can be especially helpful to seek shoe recommendations from your podiatrist or to enlist the help of a sales associate while shopping.

Other factors to consider include:

Extra rigidity in the sole and cushioning in the midfoot

When it comes to choosing shoes, Dr. Lobkova says someone who has plantar fasciitis needs extra rigidity in the sole and cushioning of the midfoot to prevent impact on the heel, where there is pain associated with plantar fasciitis. She also recommends a firm heel counter, the back part of the heel surrounding the Achilles insertion.

Soft impact with the ground

In addition to comfort, patients with plantar fasciitis should look for a shoe that provides the least impact when the foot strikes a hard surface.

From there, the characteristics really depend on the specific person’s foot and what they are trying to control.

For example, if you have a higher arch, the joint is at an angle that restricts the range of motion, so rigid arch support would cause further restriction.

On the other hand, people with flat feet and plantar fasciitis should look for shoes with adequate arch support.

As far as what you should avoid, Lobkova says the most important shoe to avoid is a minimalist shoe, such as the Vibram FiveFingers.

“There is minimal stability in the sole, no cushioning under the heel, and maximum stress on the heel bone,” she says. All these factors could exacerbate preexisting plantar fasciitis.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that minimalist shoes may work for some people. Work with your doctor to figure out the best style of shoe for your feet.

No matter the type, any shoe that causes uncomfortable pressure points or makes your feet hurt should be swapped for something more comfortable.

Shoes to avoid with plantar fasciitis

  • flip-flops
  • flats
  • high heels
  • worn-out shoes that no longer offer good support

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Recovering from plantar fasciitis requires patience, especially if you’re otherwise a very active person. If you don’t let your foot heal properly, there’s a good chance the condition will come back. While you don’t need to stay completely off your feet, taking a break from things like intense or high impact activity is necessary for your condition to improve.

Even though it might still take a few months, or even a year, to recover, there are things you can do to help the healing process.

In addition to rest, other treatment options may include:

  • icing the area to help relieve inflammation
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • exercises and stretches to improve flexibility

Other recovery techniques, such as rolling your foot on a ball, or even a frozen water bottle, can provide relief.

If you’re having severe pain that doesn’t let up with rest, your doctor may recommend:

  • cortisone injections
  • custom orthotics
  • other medical treatments, including surgery

The best shoes for plantar fasciitis should have good arch support, ample cushioning, and solid construction to keep your foot stable. These criteria can be applied to shoes for a range of activities, including running, walking, dress or work, or just lounging around.

The worst shoes for plantar fasciitis are ones with no arch support (think flip flops and ballet flats), minimal cushioning, and thin construction.

You don’t need to buy shoes specifically marketed for plantar fasciitis — in fact, most shoes that offer supportive features likely won’t be.

There are many shoes offering adequate arch support, ample cushioning, and solid construction that will support your feet while you recover from plantar fasciitis.

When it comes to preventing and providing relief for plantar fasciitis, is is definitely better to wear supportive shoes rather than going barefoot.

If you crave easy, slip-on shoes, there are plenty of options that offer a more minimal shoe feel but will still support your feet. Brands like Kocota, Vionic, OOFOS, and Kuru, among others, offer simple slip-on, supportive shoes.

When it comes to choosing a shoe for plantar fasciitis, your best bet is to talk with a specialist — either a podiatrist or physical therapist — and try on a lot of different styles.

While every shoe discussed in this article is designed to provide support and comfort, your goal is to find which one feels best on your feet.

The Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis (2024)
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