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The 11 Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Of 2022, Per Podiatrist Guidelines

The 11 Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Of 2022, Per Podiatrist Guidelines
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September 30, 2022
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Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a large connective tissue band that supports the foot arch. Research shows that this disruptive foot condition will affect about one in 10 people throughout their lifetime, and over two million Americans each year. It manifests itself through pain in the heel and arch—and the pain can be extremely intrusive. Treatment options include rest, hydration, custom orthotics, the proper stretches, and (of course) finding the best shoes for plantar fasciitis. The right shoes can minimize side effects and prevent the pain from worsening.

Foot health is imperative to your overall well-being, and (no matter what injuries or conditions you are facing) a lot goes into picking out the right footwear. To learn more about finding the best shoes to relieve and prevent symptoms, we spoke with four medical professionals.

Read on for their expert advice, along with our picks for the best shoes for plantar fasciitis—and keep in mind, it's always best to consult an orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist for personalized advice.

How we picked:

Arch support

Supporting the arch is crucial to reduce and eventually recover from inflammation and pain due to plantar fasciitis, so we prioritized shoes with sufficient arch support.

Heel cushioning

Pain due to plantar fasciitis typically arises in the heel and the arch. Plenty of cushioning in the heel will help to alleviate this pain, a must when you spend a lot of time on your feet.

Quality

Recovery will take time, and your footwear needs to last. This is why quality was a top consideration in our choices.

Expert criteria

We spoke to experts in podiatric medicine who each stressed the importance of properly fitting shoes with arch support and heel cushioning. We took this criteria into account when selecting these shoes.

Our picks for the best shoes for plantar fasciitis:

Best for walking: Dansko Pace

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Shock-absorbing heel pad
  • Built for arch support

Cons:

  • Narrow toe box
Sizes available: 5-12(half sizes available)
Colorways: 10 options
Return policy: 60 days

Featuring the brand's Arch Plus technology for increased support in the arch and lateral and medium stability in the heel, these sneakers are engineered specifically for walking. They have shock-absorbing heel pads for even more cushioning and comfort (which is key, according to Stephanie Owen, director and owner of SO Podiatry), and they provide a strong push-off from heel to toe. You can easily toss these in your travel bag, too, thanks to the lightweight design. They're also incredibly breathable, with a stain-resistant mesh upper. 

What Customers Say:

These shoes have nearly 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, with many customers raving about pain-free workdays after their purchase. One grateful shopper writes, "I have arthritis in my big toes and plantar fasciitis. I wore these for 6 1/2 hours, and my feet didn't hurt. It was great to be able to get things done without pain in my feet." A few negative reviews mention that the toe box on these shoes is a bit narrow, and wide sizes are not available.

Best for running: Hoka Clifton 8

Pros:

  • APMA seal of acceptance
  • Balanced cushioning
  • Meta-rocker for a smooth ride

Cons:

  • Tend to run large
Sizes available: 5-12(half sizes available)(wide sizes available)
Colorways: 20 options
Return policy: 30 days

These running sneakers feature a balanced, compression-molded cushioning, with meta-rocker technology and are designed for a smooth and powerful stride throughout your run. Additionally, the Clifton 8 has been granted the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) seal of acceptance, which is given to products that are beneficial for foot health. 

The elongated heel and extended Achilles pull tab makes it easy to put these shoes on and take them off—and the tongue fits comfortably on your foot, without digging into your ankle. While these are an excellent pick for runners, they're also a great walking shoe for people with plantar fasciitis.

What Customers Say

This shoe has thousands of reviews across Nordstrom, Zappos, and the Hoka website. One Amazon shopper says, "I walked 17,000 steps in France after having these one week. No pain!!! Before I got these, I tried several other things, and my feet hurt walking less than 2 miles in my neighborhood every day. Well worth the money!" Some negative comments mention discomfort due to the shoes running a half size larger than expected.

Best for work: Orthofeet Coral Stretch Knit

Pros:

  • Designed for plantar fasciitis relief
  • Multiple layers of cushioning foam
  • Anatomical arch support

Cons:

  • May be too wide for narrow feet
Sizes available: 5-12(half sizes available)
Colorways: 9 options
Return policy: 60 days

When you're on your feet all day for work, the last thing you want is to feel pain in your feet. These orthopedic shoes provide plenty of arch support and cushioning for the heel, along with support for overpronation, which Bruce Pinker, DPM, at Progressive Foot Care, also suggests for those with plantar fasciitis. The wider toe box makes these a great choice for people with bunions, swollen feet, or hammertoes, as well.

If the engineered orthotic insole isn't supportive enough for you, it can be easily removed and replaced with specialized prescription insoles. While these shoes have the supportive features of an orthotic sneaker, their aesthetic will fit into any business-casual workplace.

What Customers Say:

Reviews are fantastic for this shoe, with one shopper writing, "So far, these shoes are very comfortable. I can tell the difference when I'm working out and doing high-impact exercises. My Plantar Fasciitis started getting better after using these shoes. I inserted a gel heel cup for extra support, and it is helping a lot!" Another reviewer adds, "This shoe gives support & comfort even at the end of the day. The knit is perfect for summertime wear whether work or exercise."

Best heels: Naot Women's Innovate Heel Sandal

Pros:

  • Latex and cork footbed for supportive cushioning
  • Back and middle strap for a great fit
  • Fashionable

Cons:

  • Narrow footbed
Sizes available: 4-11
Colorways: 7 options

If you have plantar fasciitis and are looking for something more dressy than a sneaker, the Naot Women's Innovate heel sandal is an excellent choice. Kshitij Manchanda, foot and ankle specialist and orthopedic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center, recommends avoiding high heels when experiencing acute symptoms—but for an occasional night out or special event, a wedge with a wide heel is your best bet. This shoe is specifically designed to support the foot, with a back and middle strap, and it's fitted with a supportive latex/cork footbed, which molds to the foot and cushions the heel.

What Customers Say: 

Customers love the stylish comfort of this heel. One reviewer says, "I LOVE Naots! I already owned these shoes in a different color, so I didn't hesitate to order the black. Naot is THE BEST ORTHOPEDIC shoe out there that doesn't look like an orthopedic shoe." Another adds, "I love the heel. It sparkles and is comfortable. Also, the straps on the shoe keep your foot in place. Naot are great shoes." Negative reviews note that the footbed tends to run narrow.

Best for nurses: Nurse Mates Bryar

Pros:

  • Slip-on design
  • Lightweight
  • Traction control

Cons:

  • May run a half size small
Sizes available: 5-11(half sizes available)(wide sizes available)
Colorways: 5 options
Return policy: 30 days

Another stylish-yet-functional slip-on option, these shoes are engineered to support your feet while standing for long hours, or while on the go. The wide wedge heel offers excellent arch support and shock-absorbing cushioning, to keep you pain-free throughout your shift. With slip-resistant outsoles, these will ensure a steady step on any surface. The ankle elastic makes it easy to slip them on and off quickly, while helping to provide a comfortable fit for any foot shape. 

What Customers Say

These shoes are made for nurses, and they're loved by nurses, too. One Amazon customer writes, “I have had these shoes for about 10 months now, and they are just as supportive and comfortable as the first month. I walk 5 to 10k steps a day around the clinic, and my feet do not feel beaten up in the evening. Amazing! I also get a lot of compliments on them. When I eventually need to replace them, I will definitely get them again!”

Best for men: Kuru Kivi

Pros:

  • Contours to your foot
  • Built-in arch support
  • Slip-on design

Cons:

  • Not many color options
Sizes available: 7-13(half sizes available)
Colorways: 2 options
Return policy: 45 days

This men’s leather shoe is decked out in comfort. It has a midsole that moves with you as you walk, and an impressive insole that custom molds to your feet over time, providing superb support for your heel, arch, and ankle. With a larger (12mm) heel-to-toe drop, you’ll experience better weight distribution from your heel to your forefront. The broader toe box also gives your feet more room, so you’ll feel more comfortable throughout the day. This stylish slip-on features an all-leather outsole that can be worn anywhere.

What Customers Say:

With over 300 reviews on the Kuru website, this shoe receives a lot of praise. One reviewer says, “I feel so stable when wearing these shoes. They just hug and support the feet.” Another adds, “I have had the Kivi for a few months now. I work in healthcare and have 13 hour shifts, 4 days a week. They are so comfortable; my feet feel great at the end of my shift.” 

Best for women: Clarks Sharon Dolly

Pros:

  • Stylish suede or leather outsole
  • Orthopedic footbed
  • Breathable (even without socks)

Cons:

  • Narrow toe box
Sizes available: 5-12(half sizes available)(wide sizes available)
Colorways: 27 options
Return policy: 60 days

A great everyday option for women, this shoe combines a fashionable (leather or suede) outsole with a comfortable orthopedic footbed. The fabric is so breathable, this shoe can actually be worn without socks. It has a wide supportive heel and firm arch support, making it a perfect choice for anyone experiencing plantar fasciitis. It’s also incredibly easy to put on and take off, thanks to the slip-on design, and it comes in a ton of different colors, with half and wide sizes available.

What Customers Say:

These shoes have 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with over 2,500 five-star ratings. One reviewer raves, “When I started working from home, I needed comfortable shoes that look nice and have good support. Enter Clark's women loafers. I now have five pairs in different colors, and I wear them everywhere.” Negative reviews note a narrow toe box, even in wide sizes.

Best for the gym: New Balance 1540 v3

Pros:

  • Contours to your foot
  • Encourages an even stride
  • Multiple width options

Cons:

  • Shorter laces
  • Expensive
Sizes available: 5-14(half sizes available)(wide sizes available)(x-wide sizes available)(xx-wide sizes available)(narrow sizes available)(x-narrow sizes available)
Colorways: 3 options
Return policy: 45 days

This performance sneaker is a great option for the gym—and it won’t let you down on comfort. The midsole consists of multiple layers of performance foam that mold to your foot, for plenty of support and reducing over-pronation. The New Balance v3 features stability posts through the shoe, meaning you’ll feel in control with every movement (and your feet will stay in alignment). There are also a full range of size choices from extra narrow to extra-extra wide, so it will be easy for you to find the perfect fit.

What Customers Say

Amazon shoppers love the options this shoe affords. “These features allow me to slip in the full foot size ankle orthotics for severe drop foot,” one reviewer notes. Another adds, “Very comfortable. I put my own orthotics inside. Very stylish. Very few pairs of shoes can you open right from the box and put on and out the door, you go...no blisters, no pain, just overall a great shoe.”

Best slip-on: Kuru Pivot

Pros:

  • Encourages proper heel-to-toe alignment
  • Contours to your foot

Cons:

  • Reviewers say these can take a few days to “break in”
  • Not many color options
Sizes available: 6-11(half sizes available)
Colorways: 3 options
Return policy: 45 days

This lightweight slip-on sneaker has built-in arch support and an 8mm heel-to-toe drop for a more even weight distribution as you walk. These shoes are durable-yet-flexible, and they move with your feet while still supporting your heel. The mesh upper is breathable and contours to your foot’s shape. You’ll feel like you’re walking on clouds, thanks to the amped-up shock absorption in the midsole. 

What Customers Say:

Customers rave about the pain and symptom relief from this shoe. One writes, “I switched to these when I had plantar fasciitis, and it went away. It's a miracle shoe!” Another adds, “I have had my pivot shoes for less than a week, and I wish I could wear them every day. My foot pain disappears when I have them on.” The few negative reviews point out quality issues, but they note that the support team is very fast to answer and direct to warranty and replacement options.

Best for hiking: Topo Trailventure WP2

Pros:

  • Contours to your foot
  • Waterproof
  • Traction control

Cons:

  • Some say these don’t hold up well over time
Sizes available: 6-12(half sizes available)
Colorways: 2 options
Return policy: 30 days

According to Dr. Manchanda, the design of hiking boots often inherently provides the soft heel and arch support needed to tame plantar fasciitis symptoms—but a firm boot is still the best option. These boots have a breathable waterproof inner bootie to keep your feet dry, without getting sweaty. The midsole molds to your foot, providing stability and support and keeping your feet comfortable, even during long hikes. Plus, the durable outsole will ensure a stable step on any surface (and in any weather).

What Customers Say:

These boots have mostly positive reviews, with one customer writing, “Love these boots! Water proof, wide toe base, neutral heel rise are my favorite features. I have worn then hiking in the park on a 30 degree day and found them to be warm." Note that a few negative reviews cite early wear and tear after long hikes and that these run narrow.

Best for golf: Klaw 528

Pros:

  • Cushioning from heel to forefoot
  • Rainproof leather
  • Firm arch support

Cons:

  • Expensive
Sizes available: 4-11
Colorways: 4 options
Return policy: 30 days

With a podiatrist-backed design, the Klaw 528 is an excellent choice for golfers suffering from plantar fasciitis. It has firm arch support, plenty of cushioning in the heel, and is equipped with a deep heel cup for added foot stability. The insole is removable, so you can use your own custom orthotics if needed. They’re also incredibly lightweight and provide a ton of buoyancy (thanks to the shock absorption from the midsole). These sneakers will look snazzy out on the green, and the flexible rainproof leather will ensure you will stay comfortable rain or shine. 

What Customers Say

There are not a ton of reviews on these shoes yet, but those that are available are incredibly positive. One reviewer says, “From the minute you put the shoes on, they are completely comfortable and help your knees and legs, and even your hips feel better.” Another adds that they are “light as air.”

How to choose.

If you experience pain due to plantar fasciitis, we recommend any of the shoes from this list. Your choice should be dictated by the specific use-case and the severity of your symptoms from plantar fasciitis. If you are experiencing a lot of discomfort, you may want to seek custom orthotics, which can be combined with many of the choices we have provided. To find an option tailored to your needs, you can speak with an orthopedic surgeon or podiatrist for personalized advice.

Can shoes make your plantar fasciitis worse?

As plantar fasciitis is cause by inflammation of the plantar fascia (a connective tissue band that supports the arch), relief often requires maximum support and cushioning for your arch and heel. According to Pinker, this support often comes in the form of footwear, meaning that walking barefoot or in poorly supportive shoes (such as flats or flip-flops) could worsen your condition. Although choosing one of the shoes from our list may relieve symptoms, each of our experts recommends that you see a podiatrist, too, as every foot is different and has its own needs for long-term relief from pain due to plantar fasciitis.

FAQ

What aggravates plantar fasciitis?

Pain from plantar fasciitis typically occurs at the insertion point of the plantar fascia on the heel bone. "Typically, the problem flares up with overuse of the foot, usually while exercising, especially when there is poor support on the feet," Laura Purdy, physician, says. "Sometimes, people with hard floors in their house can have pain in the plantar fascia from walking around their house barefooted."

Are soft or firm shoes better for plantar fasciitis?

Both soft and firm shoes can work for plantar fasciitis relief. "It matters less whether they are hard and soft and more whether they provide proper structure for the arch on the bottom of the foot," Pinker explains. "It's best for shoes to have a firm arch, which is often referred to as semi-rigid."

Can you permanently fix plantar fasciitis?

The short answer is yes, but according to Pinker, “Plantar fasciitis can easily return, as we walk all throughout our lives, and we can aggravate our feet.” Shoes with plenty of arch support can be worn as a means of prevention, even if the pain goes away. Dr. Purdy adds, “It tends to be a condition that is more manageable in the long-term, and people learn what makes them more or less likely to have problems.”

The takeaway.

The primary underlying condition of plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia (the connective tissue between the heel and the foot arch). To help alleviate pain and prevent future symptoms, you will want a shoe with plenty of firm support for the foot arch. Above, you can find 11 excellent choices to help you recover from pain due to plantar fasciitis, including orthopedic shoes, sandals, running sneakers, and more. For cases of high discomfort, a professional should be seen for a more custom direction and orthotics.

Meet The Experts

Rachel Macpherson is a CPT and certified nutrition coach.
Robert Kornfeld, DPM is a holistic podiatrist, dedicated to treating chronic foot and ankle pain at its source.