By Rehan Iqbal
Plantar fasciitis can have lots of symptoms, including general stiffness, tenderness and swelling in the heel of your foot. It’s also called tennis heel or jogger’s heel, but it’s really all about the long band of collagen in the sole of your foot called the plantar fascia.
Luckily, I’ve learned that there are lots of ways to deal with this problem on your own, including buying the right walking shoes. In this article, I’ll tell you what I have found out about choosing the best everyday, exercise, relaxing and walking shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
What Does Plantar Fasciitis Feel Like & Who Gets It?
In the long run, plantar fasciitis can lead to leg, hip and back pain, but it usually starts out as sharp pain and a burning sensation in your heel, especially when you first step out of bed in the morning. This is what started happening to me in my 60s, but you don’t have to be a senior citizen to get plantar fasciitis.
If you are older than forty, you’re more likely to get it, but younger people can too. If you have high arches and/or you are overweight, it’s likely to develop. If you are very physically active; if you change your activities abruptly; if you do a lot of repetitive motions and/or if you wear poor quality shoes or the wrong shoes for your activity, you are likely to get plantar fasciitis at any time.
What Are Some Of The Best Choices In Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis?
I looked into some of the top rated brands in my search for the best walking shoes, athletic shoes and slippers to keep my feet supported and protected in every situation. Here are some of the ones that I found most appealing.
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
1. Vionic Walker - Best Water Resistant Walking Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
Vionic Walkers are really good looking traditional lace-up shoes made of water resistant genuine leather. The leather upper has a moisture wicking foam mesh lining to keep your feet comfortable and dry, and the sole is of rugged, durable, non-slip rubber.
In addition to being a fairly good choice for slightly dressy or professional occasions, these high quality walking shoes for plantar fasciitis, have deep heel cups that provide firm, stable support and realignment. Reviewers say that the arch support is not as high or firm as some other brands; however, separate arch supports can always be added.
As with many orthotic style walking shoes, these tend to run a little small so order a half size up.
2. Orthofeet Sprint Men's - Best Arch Support Walking Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
Orthofeet is a highly respected brand that is well-known for designing shoes with lots of high quality, durable cushioning and slip resistant rubber soles. These shoes are nice for convenience because of the tie-less fastening system, also the heels are adjustable. This is important for getting really firm, stable support around the heel.
The traditional lace-up closure allows you to adjust fit for your specific foot. The breathable interior lining, on the other hand, keeps your feet cool and dry. The upper is made from a combination of synthetic and textile, providing ventilation and an intimate fit. Overall, wearers said they made walking a breeze and helped them stay on their feet all day without experiencing any pain or soreness. They are an excellent choice for walking around the neighborhood and are definitely among our top recommendations. Vionic advises buying a half size bigger because this style tends to run a bit small.
3. Orthofeet Coral - Most Comfortable Walking Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
With super soft and flexible padded mesh knit uppers and superbly supportive and cushiony foot-beds equipped with cloud-like air pockets, these nice looking, lace-up or strap fastened women’s sneakers are pretty enough and rugged enough to wear anywhere. They are equally suitable as office wear, gym wear, everyday wear or walking shoes.
Lightweight Coral is has the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) seal of approval. The shoes’ orthotic insoles provide good arch support in an adjustable arch-booster system. The slightly rocker bottom, vinyl acetate sole reduces pressure on the heel and provides flexibility.
The narrow heel and wide toe box make the perfect design to give great heel stability and arch support while cradling painful feet in softness. This is really good for problems like bunions and hammertoes that tend to go along with plantar fasciitis.
This stylish shoe is available in lots of pretty colors such as silver, gray, turquoise and black. Unlike many orthotic style shoes, they tend to run true to size so just order the size you normally wear.
4. Gravity Defyer Men’s G-Defy Ion Pain Relief Shoes
The Gravity Defyer Men’s Shoe is designed to ease heel pain and plantar fasciitis with its cleverly designed insoles and orthopedic inserts. There is enough protection and support within the shoe to help users walk long distances without complaint. The VersoShock cushioning helps too and should last a while. There are even some buyers that have struggled with physiotherapy that have enjoyed the benefits of this system. There is the suggestion that the sole is a little higher than normal here, but many of the other features are comparable to a “normal” walking shoe.
In fact, it would be difficult for anyone to look at this G-Defy Ion model and realize that it had any specific medical purpose. This looks a lot like any typical sneaker in regard to the low-rise shape, design and use of fabrics. There is a nice blend of the synthetic upper and breathable mesh to keep feet cool. There is also a range of colors to choose from, so people with foot conditions aren’t stuck with the one “alternative” option.
5. OOFOS Women's Sneaker - Best Shock Absorbing Slip-on shoe for Plantar Fasciitis
This is an even prettier sneaker made for women. Like Orthofeet, OOFOS is also a very high quality, well-known brand that reliably provides soft, flexible, stretchy uppers on a slip free rubber sole with a foot-bed that is designed for comfort, stability and support. This means that impact won’t stress out pressure points like the heel and the arch.
The OOFOS insole is created using a high density, closed-cell foam that does a terrific job of absorbing impact and reducing pain in your feet, joints and lower back. According to the APMA, the support and stability this foot-bed design provides really does help your feet recover from plantar fasciitis. On top of that, this rugged material can be tossed in the washer for cleaning.
Reviewers say that these shoes run a little small, so ordering a half size larger would be a good idea.
6. OOFOS Sport Slide - Best Slide for Plantar Fasciitis
These are not pretty shoes, but no one can complain about their comfort level. They are a superb choice for walking, spending time around the pool or at the beach or just lounging around the house. This sport slide is made of patented “OOfoam”, and like its prettier counterpart, it is rugged, supportive and machine washable.
Like all OOFOS shoes, these slides are approved by the APMA and offer superior heel stability, arch support and cushioning. The patented design with wide toe box and rocker bottom reduces energy exertion when walking by nearly 50% and provides excellent shock absorption to reduce joint impact by nearly 40%.
Take care when choosing your size. If you are a woman and wear a half size, go down to the next lower whole size. If you are a man and wear a half size, go up to the next higher whole size. Note that some reviewers complain about the feel of plastic on their feet. If this describes you, take socks into account when choosing your size.
7. Dansko Women's Professional Clog - Best Clog for Plantar Fasciitis
Dansko is the classic Danish designed clog that has been keeping doctors, nurses, servers, postal workers and others who live on their feet comfortable since 1990. These good-looking, tried-and-true classics have a fatigue reducing rocker bottom, superior arch support in a porous foot-bed that provides cushioning and good breathability. The leather upper and instep collar are generously padded for comfort.
The most important thing with these (or any) Dansko shoes is getting the right fit. If you are able to try them on before buying, stand in the shoes in a balanced way with your arch seated on the arch support. If your pinky finger can just fit between your heel and the heel of the shoe, you have a good fit. Your heel should be able to move up and down as you walk.
If you are ordering online, you may wish to order up a half size.
8. Naot Footwear Women’s Kayla Wedge Sandal - Best Travel Sandal for Plantar Fasciitis
Naot is a traditional handmade Israeli sandal brand that has been well-known for comfort and durability literally for decades. The upper is high quality, flexible leather with a hook-and-loop closure. The signature foot-bed is a specially contoured construction of latex and natural cork with a 1 ½“ heel on a half inch slip-resistant sole of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate.
These APMA approved sandals are designed for travel, and are versatile enough to wear with pants, shorts, swimsuits or dresses for all occasion use. The more you wear them, the more the soles conform to and support your feet.
Available in narrow, medium and wide, width reviewers say that you should order a half size up to be sure the sole is long enough to accommodate your feet. Even though this may leave a bit of extra space at the toes, it will also let you wear socks if you are so inclined.
9. Birkenstock Arizona Unisex - Best Walking Sandals for Plantar Fasciitis
Birkenstocks have always been well known for their stable, firm contoured cork foot-bed that allows for natural foot alignment and spread of the toes. Birkenstock Arizona is the soft, suede-lined version of the classic Birkenstock foot-bed on a slip-resistant EVA outsole.
Like the classic cork Birkenstock foot-bed, Arizona has a raised toe bar and a slightly lowered heel cup which provides heel support and stability. The raised toe bar encourages gripping with the toes, which helps improve blood circulation in the feet and lower legs and provides exercise.
Also like the classic, the more you wear Birkenstock Arizona, the more the foot-bed of the sandals will conform to and support the soles of your feet.
The uppers of this modern version of the classic are made of a faux leather material that is a combination of polyamide felt and acrylic dubbed Birko-Flor™ . This is a soft, flexible fabric with a leather look. Like the classic, the upper consists of a pair of wide, comfortable straps with buckles that you can adjust.
One of the most important things you need to understand about Birkenstocks is the sizing. Look for the outlined foot icon. If you see the regular, open icon, it means size medium-to-wide. If you see the narrow icon with the space colored in rather than open, this is the narrow-to-regular size.
Wear Slippers - Don’t Make Your Feet Suffer At Home!
One thing I’ve learned about plantar fasciitis is that it’s a full-time malady. It doesn’t take any time off at home, so you have to take just as much care in buying slippers as everyday shoes. Otherwise, your feet will hurt at home, and you’ll lose any recovery you may have gained in your expensive everyday shoes.
Just like regular shoes, plantar fasciitis slippers should provide cushioning, heel stability and arch support. Of course, it’s possible to wear OOFOS slides or Birkenstock Arizona as house shoes, but there are also some good, purpose-made slippers available like the Vionic and Orthofeet Innovative Orthopedic Slippers for Women.
10. Vionic Indulge Gemma Women’s Slipper - Best Arch Support Slippers for Plantar Fasciitis
The Vionic Indulge Gemma Slipper has everything your feet need to perform at their best. The microfiber footbed is designed to contour to the natural shape of your feet, providing both heel and arch support in an excellently cushioned insole. This slipper’s ample support is essential for those needing to relieve heel pain. The upper is made from breathable fabric to keep your feet dry and airy throughout the day. The interior is well-padded for extra support and comfort. If you’re looking for shoes that will allow you to walk around stress-free, then you are sorted.
The shoe also has a durable rubber outsole that is well-trod for superior traction and stability. The sole is also non-skid, meaning you can walk on slippery floors without the fear of skidding. As far as support goes, there is also a rocker bottom to give you just the right amount of support and kick-back energy to propel you forward. There is also a heel counter that stabilizes your landing whenever you make a step. Vionic Indulge Gemma sandal is available most online stores in a variety of colors and sizes at an incredibly reasonable price.
11. Orthofeet Asheville Arch Support Men’s Orthopedic Slippers
Orthofeet Asheville Slippers are instant head-turners. They’ve got a signature leather upper, available in lots of different designs and finishes. These are among Orthofeet best-selling models. They provide excellent arch support, heel elevation and promote correct posture. And with the superior cushioning, you have more than enough comfort to get you through the day. If you have plantar fasciitis, this is the ideal slipper for you. It combines sophistication and comfort into your daily walking routine while giving you a chance to rock in style.
The inside of the shoe is padded for maximum support and comfort. The outsoles are very light, and the heel counter is stable to offer superior traction. The stylish design of this slip-on adds to the comfort levels provided. Additionally, they are very breathable allowing your feet to remain dry and airy inside. Apart from all these, they are extremely easy to maintain yet long-lasting and durable. You definitely get what you pay for and more. Buyers are very loyal to these slippers, and as you’ll notice in the product reviews, most have come back for their 2nd and even 3rd pair.
12. Orthofeet Charlotte Orthopedic Slippers for Women - Best Slippers for Plantar Fasciitis
These are especially good during the cold winter months because they are nice and cozy with a faux fur lining and have an adjustable strap at the top to keep out the cold. These slippers have plenty of cushioning, a deep heel cup and good arch booster design arch support inside a soft, accommodating leather upper, atop a rugged polyurethane sole that can stand up to short trips outside.
These lightweight cuties from Vionic are simple on the outside but sophisticated underneath! They provide maximum cushioning as well as superior support. Women say that they fit well right out of the box and are also very durable and comfortable.You’ll definitely fall in love with the one-piece mesh upper that contains a simple lacing system to help you fit the shoe snugly and securely to your feet while you walk.
Can Wearing The Right Shoes Cure Plantar Fasciitis?
One thing I’ve learned is that you’ll never really “cure” plantar fasciitis. Once you have it, there will never again be a time when you can toss on a pair of cheap tennies or flip-flops and run merrily off to the beach. What you can do is choose a wardrobe of shoes that deliver comfort, good looks and convenience so that you can enjoy walking, exercising, working and having fun with maximum comfort and a minimum of fuss about your shoes.
To do that, it’s a good idea to buy your plantar fasciitis shoes from an in-person shoe store where you can try them on and get help from a sale person who actually knows something. If that’s not a possibility, you can still order online reliably. Be sure to measure your feet and compare the measurements to the brands’ sizing charts. Only order from reputable websites that have a good history of excellent customer service.
When your shoes or insoles begin to wear out, replace them. Sometimes the soles and uppers of your shoes may be fine, but your insole may be flattened. Be sure to choose shoes that have replaceable insoles. It’s a good idea to keep a few extra sets of new insoles on hand so that you can make the switch right away when you need to. It’s also a good idea to have a new set on hand to take along when you go shoe shopping. Compression socks can also help.
Once you have your supportive shoes, wear them regularly. Don’t go barefoot or wear cheap, unsupportive shoes even for a few minutes. You could hurt your feet and undo all the good you’ve done.