These Are the Best Walking Shoes To Wear if You Have Plantar Fasciitis, According to a Podiatrist

Photo: Getty Images/Tom Grill
If you have plantar fasciitis, shoe shopping is no easy feat (hehe). "Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation or microscopic tearing of the plantar fascia—the tendon-like connective tissue that joins your heel to the front of your foot," explains podiatrist, Adam Kaplan, DPM, founder of Arcus Orthotics. It's one of the most common foot ailments that podiatrists see (about 10 percent of adults in the United States suffer from it), and it's caused by repetitive, micro-trauma to the foot.

Plantar fasciitis may be a result of new activity, new shoes, the misalignment of your heel, your foot architecture, or something that's built up over time. Whether you're walking, running, or dashing around the kitchen meal prepping for the week, the stabbing pain that shoots from your heel all the way through your sole can make even the most passé of daily activities feel supremely uncomfortable. The first step you should take to remedy the situation? Finding the best pair of walking shoes for plantar fasciitis that you can wear all day, pain-free.

Experts In This Article

How do you know if you have plantar fasciitis?

According to Dr. Kaplan, signs that you may have plantar fasciitis include the following: "pain with your first steps out of bed in the morning when barefoot or pain in your heels and arches after having been off of your feet for an extended amount of time and then standing up." This is known as "post-static dyskinesia" and usually lessens as you continue to walk, but will often come back after a short period of inactivity. Age, weight, and having a job or a lifestyle that keeps you on your feet for extended periods of time are all factors that can cause plantar fasciitis.

What should you look for when picking the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis?

Your shoes can be to blame for the pain. "Modern shoes with elevated heels, narrow toe boxes, and exaggerated heel posting all make hyper pronation more likely as well as weaken the intrinsic feet muscles," Lara Heimann, physical therapist, yogi, and founder of Movement by Lara, previously told Well+Good. When it comes to picking out a good pair of walking shoes for plantar fasciitis, there are a few key factors that you should be on the lookout for. The shoe should:

1. Be supportive and really fit your foot without being too tight or too loose.
2. Keep your foot in a neutral position but not be entirely flat. "It should have a heel that is higher than the front toe area," explains Dr. Kaplan.
3. Have a cushioned sole because plantar fasciitis can cause some of your natural foot cushioning to disappear, resulting in boniness and decreased stability.
4. Be a bit stiff so it doesn't bend easily. Kaplan suggests testing a shoe before you buy it. "Try bending the sneaker or shoe in half, it should fold just before the toes, not in the middle of the sneaker," he advises.
5. Have a structured heel counter. The place where your heel sits in the shoe "should be rigid so your heel will not sway or rock," explains Dr. Kaplan.
6. And, if you are hoping to replace your insole with a custom orthotic, the shoe should have a removable insole.

All of these elements will help prevent any additional strain on your foot and ankle, provide a bit of extra padding for you while you move, and will help ease the pressure that walking already puts on your feet.

What should you avoid when picking out a walking shoe if you have plantar fasciitis?

According to Dr. Kaplan, "if you have acute pain, do not walk barefoot, even around your home. Wear sneakers inside at all times unless sleeping or showering," to support your feet. He also advises against wearing shoes with too much flexibility and no arch support. "You can always add custom orthotics to your running or walking shoes to help treat acute and prevent chronic plantar fasciitis. A modification can be added to help align the heel, support the arch, and modify the first metatarsal to reduce the strain and stress to the plantar fascia," Dr. Kaplan adds.

6 best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis

Brooks Running Adrenaline GTS 22 — $137.00

With 25 different colors and styles to choose from, these Brooks runners are great for any kind of activity. The sizes range from 5 to 13 and there are options for Medium, Wide, Narrow, and Extra Wide so you can find the perfect shoe for your feet. The added support and extra cushioned sole make the pair easy to wear all day if you have plantar fasciitis.

Skechers GOwalk Arch Fit Sneaker — $85.00

Breathable mesh uppers make for easy, breezy walks. These are easy to slip on and off without tugging and they feature an Air-Cooled insole and a Comfort Pillar foam midsole for comfort and support.

HOKA Clifton 8 — $140.00

These colorful sneakers come in seven different dual-tones. The newly crafted midsole is just as comfortable as the brand’s other iconic sneakers, but is made from a lighter foam that limits foot strain. The breathable mesh upper also hugs your feet perfectly as you move.

HOKA Bondi 7 — $160.00

This sleek black pair is a great, comfortable shoe option for a night out. Its minimalist design will go with every outfit, and the memory foam design will keep your feet comfortable, protected, and your Achilles without strain.

Asics Gel Nimbus 23 — $150.00

With 14 different color combinations to choose from, this sneaker comes in a style for everyone. It has great support and stability for improved balance in your gait, and has maximum cushioning so it feels like you’re walking on a cloud while you wear them.

Clarks Wave 2.0 Lace — $140.00

If you’re looking for an option that’s a bit more stylish than your classic running shoes, Clarks has got you covered. These fashionable sneakers come in four different width options so you can fit them to your feet, three colors, are sustainably made, and have a rocker sole to aid your natural step pattern and keep you walking comfortably for longer.

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