By Amber Sayer
Plantar fasciitis is a painful foot condition that can make it difficult to stand, let alone walk, run, or work out without discomfort.
While wearing the wrong shoes can potentially exacerbate plantar fasciitis, the good news is that there are some excellent HOKA shoes for plantar fasciitis that may help prevent plantar fasciitis and relieve plantar fasciitis pain if you have already developed the condition.
In this article, I have put together my top picks for the best HOKA shoes for plantar fasciitis, whether you are standing on your feet all day, walking or hiking, or trying to run with plantar fasciitis.
Keep reading to learn why these particular HOKA shoes may be helpful for plantar fasciitis pain.
Are HOKA Running Shoes Good for Plantar Fasciitis?
Before we get into the list of the best HOKA shoes for plantar fasciitis symptoms, let’s briefly cover what plantar fasciitis is and why or how your footwear choice can alleviate plantar fasciitis symptoms (or make it worse!).
Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a band of thick, fibrous connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the bottom of the calcaneus (heel bone) to the base of the toes in the ball of your foot.
Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis
If you have ever woken up in the morning and stepped down out of your bed and those first couple of steps either feel like an aching or stabbing pain somewhere along the heel, arch, or sole of your foot, you are likely experiencing plantar fasciitis, as morning foot pain is the hallmark sign of plantar fasciitis.
Generally, you will have pain either localized in the heel, or more generalized along the soul of your foot that gets worse after resting or periods of inactivity and then you get back up onto your foot with any sort of weight-bearing position.
This is because the plantar fascia connective tissue will relax when you are sleeping or not on your feet, and then when you apply pressure and step down on your foot, the plantar fascia stretches out. If this fascia is inflamed, which is what is occurring with plantar fasciitis, you will experience pain, stiffness, possibly swelling, and discomfort once you try to stretch the plantar fascia and use your feet.
How Does Footwear Affect Plantar Fasciitis?
Certain footwear can exacerbate plantar fasciitis because it lacks adequate arch support, which ends up causing more strain on your own feet (the small intrinsic muscles of the feet, the plantar fascia, and all of the little ligaments and tendons) to properly support your arch.
Minimalist shoes, flats, dress shoes, and running shoes and walking shoes that are worn out or do not have supportive structures can make plantar fasciitis worse.
Additionally, if you stand on your feet all day working retail, hospitality, a medical position, etc., you need the best shoes for plantar fasciitis to ensure your foot is getting the necessary support to prevent overstressing the plantar fascia.
Excess body weight, having flat feet but not wearing orthotics or supportive shoes, and overtraining (running too much) can also increase the risk of plantar fasciitis.
Why Hoka Shoes Are Good For Plantar Fasciitis
What I love about HOKA running shoes and HOKA walking shoes is that the shoes are all thoughtfully designed with optimal biomechanics in mind, and there are some great models for plantar fasciitis.
Low Heel Drop
HOKA shoes have a low heel-to-toe drop. A lower heel drop lengthens the Achilles tendon and puts less pressure on the ball of your foot. This reduces stress on the plantar fascia, relieving plantar fasciitis symptoms and decreasing the risk of developing the condition in the first place.
Ultimately, my choices in this list of the top HOKA running and walking shoes for plantar fasciitis are those that have thicker cushioning on the bottom (called “stack height”). The thicker stack height is a common characteristic of HOKA shoes for plantar fasciitis because ultimately what is constituting this higher stack height is all of the cushioning materials that are built up between the bottom of your foot and the ground.
These cushioning materials aid shock absorption and reduce the necessity of your foot muscles to control your arch. While this may not necessarily be optimal long-term in terms of strengthening your feet, if you are dealing with plantar fasciitis or have a history of plantar fasciitis, it is an excellent feature of HOKA running shoes suitable for plantar fasciitis.
Finally, HOKA sneakers for plantar fasciitis feature a wide base of support. This will reduce pinpoint pressure if you develop a heel spur with plantar fasciitis or if you just have a lot of tenderness with your plantar fasciitis symptoms.
Best HOKA Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
1. HOKA Clifton 9
The new HOKA Clifton 9 is even lighter, shaving off 4 ounces of weight, and there is a plush memory foam collar around your ankle to keep your foot snug and secure in the shoe.
It is a low-drop shoe, with a 5 mm heel drop to reduce the pressure on your metatarsal heads and to keep your Achilles and calves stretched.
One reason I think this is one of the best HOKA running shoes for plantar fasciitis is that you get a responsive, neutral running shoe, to support your natural running gait in a lightweight design. However, there is still the most advanced cushioning technology that HOKA has and the meta-rocker design on the sole of the shoe.
Basically, this means that there’s a very slight curvature on the bottom of the shoe to facilitate easy heel-to-toe transitions for a smooth running stride.
This can help cut back on unnecessary stretching and pressure points on your plantar fascia.
2. HOKA Bondi 8
If you already have plantar fasciitis and you are looking for a running shoe to ease plantar fasciitis pain, I can’t recommend the HOKA Bondi 8 running shoes enough.
The HOKA Bondi 8 may be the best for plantar fasciitis as there is unprecedented cushioning.
I describe it as marshmallow-like softness, and the company sometimes refers to it as “cloud-like cushioning.“
The HOKA Bondi 8 shoes provide maximal cushioning to reduce shock. They have a wide stable base to distribute pressures over a large surface area, and there are more stability elements built in like a gentle J-shape to control your foot pronation.
These design elements all cut back on the workload for the intrinsic muscles and for the plantar fascia, which can help alleviate plantar fasciitis pain.
3. HOKA Arahi 6
If you are looking for HOKA shoes for flat feet while also dealing with plantar fasciitis, I suggest the HOKA Arahi 6.
This is one of the best HOKA stability shoes, featuring the proprietary J-frame technology to control pronation upon heel strike when you run. Because flat feet and overpronation can exacerbate plantar fasciitis symptoms, getting supportive HOKA running shoes for flat feet can help provide the stability and control you need to optimize your biomechanics when you run or walk.
There is maximal cushioning to absorb impact forces, which is particularly helpful if you have a heel spur with plantar fasciitis.
It’s also a perk that the HOKA Arahi 6 comes in wide widths to accommodate different foot shapes.
4. HOKA Gaviota 5
The HOKA Gaviota 5 has a lower heel-to-toe drop, which, as discussed, evens out the pressure on your foot, keeps the Achilles and calf muscles lengthened, and allows the intrinsic muscles of your feet to operate in their natural fashion rather than at an inclined angle as most running shoes require.
I also love these HOKA sneakers because there is a plush, softer cushion to help with shock absorption, which is good for Plantar Fasciitis.
Particularly if you are running on asphalt or concrete, or have to stand on a hard surface all day, the give in these shoes will help soften the impact and provide comfort.
There’s also extended heel support with a heel flare, which again widens the base of support so that the shoes are nice and stable and disperse forces over a large surface area.
5. Hoke Bondi SR
The HOKA Bondi SR is best for standing all day.
These shoes feature water-resistant leather, a slip-resistant outsole, and a high-quality, compression-molded EVA midsole to ensure all-day cushioning.
If you stand on your feet all day, this is definitely the best HOKA sneaker in occupational settings.
The ultra-grippy, anti-slip outsole provides full ground contact rubber to increase safety and stability in any workplace environment, even if it is wet, greasy, or slick.
This work shoe features a memory foam collar that contours and cradles your midfoot and ankle for improved comfort and fit, helping you stay stable and supported on your feet while reducing fatigue in your legs.
6. HOKA Ora Recovery Slide 3
Lastly, while “supportive shoes for plantar fasciitis“ and “sandals“ are usually the antithesis of one another, the HOKA Ora Recovery Slide 3 turns the normal everyday flip-flop or sport sandal on its head and it’s actually a great recovery slide for foot pain.
Let’s face it, you’re not always going to want to wear sneakers, so the HOKA Ora Recovery Slide 3 is the best HOKA plantar fasciitis casual shoe to wear around the house, the beach, or after your workout at the gym.
It features a thick stack height with arch support (surprising for a sandal!). Plus, there is the meta-rocker design on the sole to help with a smooth heel-to-toe transition when you are walking around. Perhaps most importantly, they are super comfortable and lightweight and will support your achy feet yet allow your feet to breathe. What more could you want?
Overall, among all of the popular running shoe brands, I truly believe that HOKAs reign supreme as the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis.