02nd January 2023
Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis: 11 Tips for Choosing the Best PairDr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the thick band of tissue that runs the length of your heel to your toes.
Plantar Fasciitis may be a long-term issue, so while you are healing, you will still want to walk, run, and properly use your feet.
Choosing a great shoe will help you on your way to recovery with hopefully less daily pain in the meantime.
In this article, we will go over the main things to look for in a shoe when you are experiencing Plantar Fasciitis to help you get back on your feet.
1. Look for good arch support
Arch support means the shoe has a nice sturdy, but comfortable, bump in the center of the foot to directly contact the arch all the way through.
And, since the plantar fascia runs the whole length of your arch, this is especially important to prevent worsening and reduce the pain of walking or running with plantar fasciitis.
People have arches of different heights, so try on a few pairs until you find one that seems to really fit your foot structure.
2. Make sure you feel comfortable
You can find shoes that seem to tick all of these boxes, but if you are feeling foot discomfort from your first spin around the shoe store, you are probably in the wrong pair of shoes.
One of the most important things on this list is to make sure the shoe feels comfortable to you, and the comfort levels on shoes don’t tend to change a whole lot with additional use.
3. Correct sizing is key
A lot of people may have been wearing an improperly sized shoe for their whole lives, because they don’t realize that just being able to wedge your foot in there and lace them up doesn’t mean the fit is right.
Shoes need to have enough extra space in the toe so that the toes are not actually touching the front, but not so much that your foot is not securely held.
Pop over to your local shoe store and they can help you professionally determine your perfect shoe size.
4. Choose a lighter shoe
When choosing a shoe for plantar fasciitis, the ones that are on the lighter side may be a better choice, especially if you are going to be running.
Hold different shoes in either hand to get a feel for the respective weights, or ask an employee to point out their most supportive but lighter-weight options.
5. Choose a toe shape that fits your feet
The part of the shoe that holds your toes is called the toe box of the shoe, and it is important that the toe box is wider or narrower depending on the shape of your feet.
In general, if you have wide feet, you will want to buy shoes that have a wider toe-box to give you adequate space without cramping your toes.
6. Opt for more cushioning
Walking or exercising when you have plantar fasciitis can be painful, so it is even more important for those with plantar fasciitis to put an emphasis on cushioning when looking for shoes.
You don’t want to be walking on an unstructured pillow, but try to find a pair that combines cushioning with well structured visible arches, heel cups, and generalized support.
7. Consider your activities
Some people don’t let plantar fasciitis get in their way, and you may want to continue your jogging or running routine while your condition is present.
So, if you are going to run or be active with plantar fasciitis, make sure you are picking out shoes that are tailor-made for your main activity - if you run on a track find running shoes, if you are more of a hiker look for hiking shoes.
Shoes will be made differently based on which exercises they are meant for, so sticking with shoes made for what you want to do may stop the condition from worsening and give you more pain relief during activities.
8. Find contoured foot beds
This tip aligns with a few others including finding good arch support and deep heel cups, but we thought it was important enough to mention on its own.
Make sure there is a clearly defined contour of supporting elements inside the shoe - if it’s totally flat inside, it’s time to keep looking.
9. Look for removable foot beds
Finding shoes with easily removable footbeds is a good tip for those that have orthopedic or specially made customized foot inserts.
If you place custom foot inserts into a shoe that already has deep contours which can’t be removed, your separate foot inserts will likely not fit properly and not give you the same effects.
10. Find deep heel cups
Looking for a deep, rounded concave heel cup is a great tip for identifying shoes with enough support for plantar fasciitis.
Heel cups go hand in hand with the arch supports as they help stabilize the back portion of the foot with each step.
11. Get shock absorption to lessen the impact
This one might be harder to identify without speaking with someone about the shoe or reading up on it, but shock absorption is great for those with plantar fasciitis to limit the discomfort of walking on hard terrain.
Look for shoes with thick rubber soles, as this will generally contribute more shock absorption to your feet.
The best shoes for Plantar Fasciitis: Bottom line
Plantar Fasciitis can be an annoying and painful condition with each step you take, but finding a great fitting and well-structured pair of shoes can help give you a leg up.
Try to find a shoe that fulfills all of the tips listed above, but remember that the most important tip is that you feel comfortable in the shoe enough to wear them on a regular basis.
If just a shoe change doesn’t seem to be cutting it for your Plantar Fasciitis pain relief, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist to see what other options may help.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.