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Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis According to Podiatrists

best shoes for plantar fasciitis
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Updated May 27, 2024

Foot pain of any kind is never a good thing, but plantar fasciitis takes that hurt to a whole new level that often means you’re unable to participate in high impact activities like running or playing tennis.

Dr. Priya Parthasarathy, a podiatrist in Silver Spring, Md., shares that plantar fasciitis can create pain that hinders your ability to exercise, stand, and walk. It can also result in chronic pain.

If left untreated, it can affect your legs, knees and hips. It’s a pain that is difficult to ignore, she says, because we are on our feet all the time—which is also why it can be difficult to get rid of.

Wearing sturdy, supportive shoes, boots, slippers, and sandals can go a long way in managing this pain – and possibly helping to prevent it from happening again.

What to consider when buying shoes for plantar fasciitis

Shoes appropriate for plantar fasciitis sufferers feature a balance of cushioning and support.

Support

Ample arch support is one of the most important things to look for in a shoe if you experience plantar fasciitis pain. Since your plantar fascia runs along the bottom of your foot, this support reduces the stress that can be put on this ligament during prolonged activity. You also want to look for a shoe with a firm but flexible midsole throughout the foot as well as a supportive heel cup.

Cushioning

Equally important is cushioning, especially in the forefoot section of the shoe. Go for a shoe that feels as if it were cradling your foot and cushioning that will mold to your unique foot shape.

Natural movement and function

Not everyone’s feet are shaped the same. Be sure to try out multiple pairs to find one(s) that fit your feet well and are appropriate for what type of activity you plan on doing.

Our picks for the best shoes for plantar fasciitis

Best sneakers for plantar fasciitis: Hoka Bondi SR

Best sneakers for plantar fasciitis - Women
Hoka Bondi SR
Best sneakers for plantar fasciitis - Men
Hoka Bondi SR

The Bondi SR is the most cushioned shoe in the Hoka family. Made from water-resistant leather with an EVA midsole and grippy rubber on the bottom, they’re an ideal workplace and all-day shoe for anyone, especially those who suffer from plantar fasciitis, which is one of the reasons these shoes have an American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance. “These are excellent for plantar fasciitis because they are supportive and ultra-cushioned,” says Parthasarathy. Shopping tip: Hoka made the cut for the best running shoe brands—and the Hoka Bondi model is particularly popular for the brand.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $175
  • Material: Leather, foam, rubber
  • Available sizes: 5-15
  • Width: Regular, wide

What we like:

  • APMA seal
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Great for professional use

What we don’t like:

  • Not a big color selection

Best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis: Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes

Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes - Women
Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes

Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes

Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes - Men
Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes

Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes

Brooks Ghost running shoes feature a lightweight foam that is both supportive and cushioning while also providing arch support. Parthasarathy says they earn the APMA seal of approval because of this balance of cushion and support. Plus, she says, they’re great for those with a neutral foot type. We like them for all those reasons plus the fact they’re available in a huge range of colorways, including white, which is what also earned them the best tennis shoes category.

Tennis includes lots of running and intricate footwork, requiring a shoe that supports your joints while cushioning your feet. The soft midsole and segmented crash pad of this shoe mean that stopping short (and taking off) and taking off while on the tennis court is as smooth as possible. The Brooks Ghosts also ensure you’ll be comfortable during multiple sets despite any plantar fasciitis issues.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $140
  • Material: Recycled materials
  • Available sizes: 5-13
  • Width: Narrow, regular, wide

What we like:

  • Many colors available
  • Supportive
  • Lightweight

What we don’t like:

  • Some may find them too narrow

Best dress shoes for plantar fasciitis: Samuel Hubbard Frequent Traveler

Best dress shoes for plantar fasciitis
Samuel Hubbard Frequent Traveler (Black) Men's Shoes

Samuel Hubbard Frequent Traveler (Black) Men's Shoes

Handcrafted in Portugal, these leather slip-ons from Samuel Hubbard are one of the pairs of dress shoes with arch support that Parthasarathy recommends for people with plantar fasciitis. They have a springy Vibram sole as well as a removable triple-density foam insole making them perfect for travel or city walking.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $275
  • Material: Leather
  • Available sizes: 7-17
  • Width: Medium, wide, extra wide

What we like:

  • Excellent comfort
  • Stylish
  • Great arch support

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive

Best slip-on shoes for plantar fasciitis: Dansko Linley

Best slip-on shoes for plantar fasciitis
Dansko Linley

Also recommended by Parthasarathy, these slip-ons from Dansko feature the company’s natural arch technology for a molded arch shape that feels supportive through hours of wear. The lining is equipped with cooling technology as well as microbe shield odor control to keep your feet dry and odor-free. The sturdy, flexible rubber outsole provides traction and unrivaled durability. These shoes are built to last for a long time.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $140
  • Material: Leather, rubber
  • Available sizes: 5-12
  • Width: Medium

What we like:

  • Durable
  • Flexible outsole
  • Stylish

What we don’t like:

  • Limited color selection

Best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis: Merrell Bravada 2

Best hiking shoes for plantar fasciitis
Merrell Bravada 2

With extra cushioning in the heel area, a snug fit through the ankle and a removable EVA foam footbed, the Merrell Bravada is an excellent choice for a hiking shoe. These shoes also feature a breathable mesh lining and a durable rubber outsole with exceptional grippy-ness no matter what the terrain, another bonus feature for hikers. The molded nylon arch shank coupled with the EVA foam midsole provides the support and cushioning that plantar fasciitis sufferers need.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $110
  • Material: Mesh, nylon, recycled materials
  • Available sizes: 5-11
  • Width: Medium, wide

What we like:

  • Knit upper with attached tongue
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight

What we don’t like:

  • Some wearers find them too narrow

Best workout shoes for plantar fasciitis: Asics Gel Nimbus 24

Best workout shoes for plantar fasciitis - Women
Asics Gel Nimbus 24

Asics Gel Nimbus 24

Best workout shoes for plantar fasciitis - Men
Asics Gel Nimbus 24

Asics Gel Nimbus 24

Built with Ascis’ rear and forefoot gel technology that absorbs shock with every strike of the pavement or gym floor, these shoes help to prevent the stabbing pain plantar fasciitis from flaring up. They’re super lightweight with excellent rebound properties—meaning that while the cushioning is soft, it’s also resilient and doesn’t flatten out with use. They also possess a strong, durable, outsole designed to resist abrasions. Shopping tip: Asics Gel Nimbus 24 also made our list of the best running shoes for men.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $160
  • Material: Mesh, synthetics, rubber
  • Available sizes: women’s 5-13
  • Width: Regular, wide

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Amazing shock absorption
  • Excellent color choices

What we don’t like:

  • Runs narrow

Best sandals for plantar fasciitis: Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle

Best sandals for plantar fasciitis
Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle

Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle

With an anatomically shaped cork-bed, Birkenstocks have long been a popular choice for people who need support and cushioning in their sandals, and we’re not just talking about those who self identify as “hippies” (not that there’s anything wrong with that). These feature the legendary Birkenstock two-strap design, each adjustable via a metal pin buckle. They’re also a pair recommended by Parthasarathy, “The cork footbed provides shock absorption and arch support,” she says.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $160
  • Material: Leather, cork
  • Available sizes: 4-12.5
  • Width: Regular/wide, narrow

What we like:

  • Great style
  • Comfy cork bed
  • Great colors

What we don’t like:

  • Expensive for a pair of sandals
  • Birkenstocks are very trendy right now, which means many sizes/colors sell out frequently

Best flip flops for plantar fasciitis: Fitflop IQushion flip flops; Mens

Best flip flops for plantar fasciitis - Women
FitFlop iQUSHION
Best flip flops for plantar fasciitis - Men
FitFlop iQUSHION

While this style of shoe isn’t necessarily the best shoe choice if you experience any type of foot issues, these from Fitflop are the best flip flops you can find for plantar fasciitis. That’s because they provide impressive cushioning as well as a contoured footbed that cradles and supports your feet. The high rebound air foam means that they don’t “flatten” out over time and the extra impact “pillows” positioned at the ball-of-foot points mean you can comfortably wear them for hours at a time.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $38.00
  • Material: Rubber
  • Available sizes: 5-13
  • Width: Standard

What we like:

  • Great arch support
  • Relieves heel pressure
  • Great colors in women’s versions

What we don’t like:

  • Some reviewers find them too hard

Best boots for plantar fasciitis: Keen Targhee II Mid hiking boots; Womens

Best boots for plantar fasciitis - Women
Keen Targhee II Mid hiking boots

Keen Targhee II Mid hiking boots

Best boots for plantar fasciitis - Men
Keen Targhee II Mid hiking boots

Keen Targhee II Mid hiking boots

Keen Targhees feature a padded, supportive design that hikers and outdoor adventurers with plantar fasciitis love. They also have a waterproof, breathable membrane for comfort and grippy rubber outsole so you won’t slip while scrambling up wet rocky terrain. The speed lacing system allows for a comfortable, snug fit, and the contoured heel lock keeps your foot in place no matter what’s happening in the environment around you. All of this adds up to the reason There’s a reason why these shoes are consistently one of Keen’s best-selling styles.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $155.00
  • Material: Leather, mesh, rubber
  • Available sizes: 5-17
  • Width: Regular

What we like:

  • Water repellent
  • Excellent traction
  • Quick drying

What we don’t like:

  • Not many color options

Best slippers for plantar fasciitis: Kuru Draft Slippers; Mens

Best slippers for plantar fasciitis - Women
Kuru Draft Slippers

Kuru Draft Slippers

Best slippers for plantar fasciitis - Men
Kuru Draft Slippers

Kuru Draft Slippers

For those days when you’d rather not change out of your best pajamas, Kuru Draft slippers keep your feet feeling great no matter how many trips you make between the couch and the kitchen. Or, keep a pair at work as I do, to slip into after commuting in a downpour and getting your regular shoes soaked. They feature an energy return foam and reinforced arch that means your heel bone and footpad won’t flatten out while walking—which can cause plantar fasciitis to flare up. Plus they have a heel-hugging design that keeps them on your feet where they should be.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $135.00
  • Material: Mesh or fleece, rubber
  • Available sizes: 6-13
  • Width: Medium

What we like:

  • Soft inner lining
  • Energy return foam for bounciness

What we don’t like:

  • Run small

Best budget shoe for plantar fasciitis: Naturalizer Marianne Sneaker Loafer

Best budget shoe for plantar fasciitis
Naturalizer Marianne Sneaker Loafer

Naturalizer Marianne Sneaker Loafer

Yes, you can enjoy the stylish look of loafers for women even with plantar fasciitis. The contour plus comfort technology of the Marianne loafer makes them a great all day, comfortable shoe in a classic slip-on style —because you don’t always want to wear a traditional “athletic” sneaker. These are a great blend of casual and dressy that go with almost almost any outfit for nearly most any occasion. We just wish there were more colors available.

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $89.00
  • Material: Leather, rubber
  • Available sizes: 4-12
  • Width: Narrow, medium, wide, extra wide

What we like:

  • Elevated style
  • Made with sustainable materials

What we don’t like:

  • Limited color options

What to avoid when buying shoes for plantar fasciitis

Parthasarathy calls the transition from summer to fall plantar fasciitis season because “people have been wearing poor unsupportive shoe gear all summer such as flip flops or flats and it catches up to them, resulting in plantar fasciitis.”

If you want to wear sandals choose a pair like the Birkenstocks or Fitflops included on our list as they provide the support and cushioning that promotes healthy and happy feet.

How we selected the best shoes for plantar fasciitis

As an avid runner with high arches and chronically tight calves (and now argumentative knees), I’ve been through a few bouts of plantar fasciitis. I’ve tried the majority of the shoes on this list and they all received high marks for comfort, cushion, and support. I also spoke with Parthasarathy to get her recommendations, and read through numerous online reviews to put together this guide.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a ligament that runs along the arch of your foot, providing support and shock absorption as you walk, run, jump, and generally move about your day. Stress on the plantar fascia can result in small tears that cause inflammation which in turn creates a stabbing pain, most commonly near the heel. It’s often more intense first thing in the morning.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

As stated above, repeated stress on the plantar fascia can result in small tears that become inflamed and painful. Factors that may contribute to this stress include tight calf muscles, partaking in repetitive high-impact activities such as running, a sudden uptick in weight-bearing activity (things like walking, elliptical training, climbing, or even gardening), flat feet or high arches.

What kind of shoes should I look for with plantar fasciitis?

Whether you’re looking for the best running shoes for women (or men) or walking shoes, Parthasarathy recommends looking for a shoe with a firm, supportive heel counter that does not fold completely in half. Ideally, she says, it should have a removable insole. Cushion combined with arch support is especially important.

“Patients often think that cushion or soft footwear will help their pain but it doesn’t work without all of the above criteria as well,” she shares.

Does plantar fasciitis ever get better?

As someone who has had plantar fasciitis, the answer is yes, as long as you pay attention to what shoes you’re wearing, especially if you’re a runner (as I was/am). An exceptionally painful episode may require you to limit your high-impact activity until the inflammation subsides.

Are tight shoes good for plantar fasciitis?

While you want a snug fit, you don’t want to wear tight shoes. If too tight, your foot is not able to take its natural position inside the shoe, which can possibly worsen the condition.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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