Maximum Support for Your Feet
Approximately two million Americans need medical treatment for plantar fasciitis – or plantar heel pain – every year (Sullivan & Pappas, 2015). But how can it be treated? What are the best shoes for plantar fasciitis?
What is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain that usually requires medical attention. This pain is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia in the foot.
The plantar fascia is a ligament that stretches almost the whole length of your foot. It supports the arch of your foot and acts as a "shock absorber" for the pressure placed on your foot when you’re standing, walking, etc. Plantar fasciitis is the "degeneration of the plantar fascia as a result of repetitive microtears of the fascia that lead to an inflammatory reaction" (Luffy et al, 2018).
Risk Factors for Plantar Fasciitis
There are various risk factors to look out for that can increase your chance of developing plantar fasciitis. The main risk factors for plantar fasciitis are (Umar et al, 2022):
- Excessive pronation of the foot.
- History of excessive running.
- The high arch of the foot.
- Leg length discrepancy.
- A body mass index (BMI) greater than 25.
- Occupations requiring standing for long hours.
- A sedentary lifestyle.
However, wearing the correct shoes may relieve the heel pain and discomfort of plantar fasciitis.
What Characteristics to Look For in Plantar Fasciitis Shoes
- Shoes that support your feet’s arches.
- Shoes that have cushioning in the midfoot and heel.
- Extra rigidity in the shoe’s sole to keep your feet in the best and most comfortable position.
- Firm heel counter (the back part of the shoe’s heel that surrounds the Achilles insertion and will protect the heel and the Achilles tendon).
All of these characteristics together may ensure that pain and inflammation in the heel and the foot arch are relieved even while exercising moderately.
What Type of Shoes You Should Avoid for Plantar Fasciitis
Shoes that don’t have heel cushioning, have minimal stability and don’t support the arch of the feet should not be worn if you suffer from plantar fasciitis. These shoes include, but are not limited to:
- Pumps, flats and ballet pumps.
- Flip flops.
- High heels.
- Old or worn-out shoes that no longer provide the necessary support for your feet.
The Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
The best shoes for alleviating and minimizing your chances of getting plantar fasciitis are sneakers. These plantar fasciitis sneakers are designed to support the feet, ankles, knees and hips while walking or running. This may ensure that your gait leads to fewer – if any – injuries.
The Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
The American Podiatric Medical Association has also approved the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis, and it’s always a good idea to look for shoes endorsed by APMA as these are designed to work with your body to keep your feet in good health.
Two of the best plantar fasciitis running shoes are the Asics Gel Kayano 27 and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22. Both shoes have been created for daily running on the road surface, marathons and long-distance running. Although not the lightest of shoes because of all the built-in stability for plantar fasciitis sufferers.
If you’re looking for a lighter shoe that will still alleviate plantar fasciitis, you can look at the Asics Gel Kayano Lite 3. The Asics Gel Kayano Lite 3 weighs only 281g, while the Asics Gel Kayano 27 weighs 315g and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 weighs 289g).
The Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
When it comes to walking, the Brooks brand of shoes is named the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis by various experts. The Brooks Addiction Walker 2 and Brooks Women’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes are specified as being the top walking shoes for sufferers of plantar fasciitis.
These two sneakers sport soft cushioning (BioMoGo DNA), a slip-resistant sole, a secure fit and maximum support for different foot widths.
Plantar fasciitis symptoms can be alleviated by wearing the correct shoes, especially when exercising. More severe symptoms can also be avoided by wearing the correct shoes for the activity, whether walking, running or another sport.
Now that you have the right shoes, ensure you've got the right socks for your next workout.
- Lindberg, S., Coelho, S., The Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for 2022. Accessed 12 February 2023.
- Luffy L, Grosel J, Thomas R, So E. Plantar fasciitis: A review of treatments. JAAPA 2018;31:20-4.Accessed 12 February 2023.
- Umar H, Idrees W, Umar W, Khalil A, Rizvi ZA. Impact of routine footwear on foot health: A study on plantar fasciitis. J Family Med Prim Care 2022;11:3851‑5. Accessed 12 February 2023.
- Sullivan, J. & E. Pappas. (2015). Determinants of footwear difficulties in people with plantar heel pain. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research.