The humble human foot is actually quite remarkable. Its structure is far more efficient compared to non-human hominids, many of which have flat feet. According to a recent study published by the US National Library of Medicine, around 17% of the mechanical work of running is stored and returned by the foot’s arch. This is one of the main reasons why humans burn fewer calories when they run compared to bonobos and chimpanzees.
The human foot works incredibly well when it’s healthy. However, when a medical issue arises, the foot can be a major source of pain and discomfort. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel and arch pain. This condition begins to develop when the thick tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes becomes inflamed. Overweight people and people with flat feet or high arches are more likely to suffer from plantar fasciitis. Standing for long periods of time can lead to plantar fasciitis as well– as can old age.
Doctors treat plantar fasciitis with steroid injections, ultrasound treatments and may even recommend surgery if the condition is sufficiently severe. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of things that you can do at home to reduce plantar fasciitis pain. In addition to stretching and ice, you can also switch to shoes that provide extra foot support. Fortunately, there are a wide array of excellent shoes that are specifically designed for people with plantar fasciitis.
Here are the best plantar fasciitis shoes you can buy:
- The Splendid Midi Perf Slip-on from Vionic is perfect for activities like gardening or walks around the block.
- For more intense activities, G-Defy Mighty Walk running shoes are an excellent choice because they’re equipped with extra padding and shock-absorbing soles.
- Othofeet’s BioHeels will change the way you think about high heels with adjustable arch supports and other plantar fasciitis-friendly features.
- If you’re looking for a plantar fasciitis shoe that you can wear to both casual get-togethers and to the office, the Vionic Rest Farra is the ideal choice.
- Othofeet’s Charlotte slippers not only keep your feet warm, they also support your arches and reduce foot pain.
The best plantar fasciitis slip-ons
Splendid Midi Perf Slip-on from Vionic
Slip on shoes come in handy for when you’re in a rush or need to take the dog out for a short walk. They remove the need to tie your shoes, which in turn reduces the amount of time needed for chores and other similar tasks. However, most slip-on shoes lack the arch support that people with plantar fasciitis need– but not the Splendid Midi Perf Slip-on from Vionic. These specially designed shoes look like ordinary slip-ons, but don’t let that fool you. A group of American Podiatric Medical Association podiatrists have verified that they really do help reduce plantar fasciitis pain.
- Casual style. These shoes are perfect for gardening, dog walks and other short excursions.
- Just slip them on and go. No shoelaces, no problem. You can put them on at a moment’s notice and get to where you want to go faster.
- Concealed arch support. Nobody will be able to tell that you’re wearing orthopedic shoes.
- Multiple colors are available. Available colors include blue, brown, green, grey, white, black and peach.
- APMA Seal of Acceptance. A group of qualified podiatrists have verified that these shoes do in fact improve foot health and reduce plantar fasciitis pain. More information about the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance can be found here.
- Breathable. The design is made up of tiny air holes. These let your feet breathe and prevent them from getting sweaty.
- Made from high quality materials. They’re made out of leather and rubber.
- Not suitable for long walks. These shoes are fine for casual use, but the fact that they don’t have much extra padding makes them not so ideal for extended walks.
In a nutshell
There are many casual style shoes for plantar fasciitis, but not all of them are made from leather and look exactly like ordinary slip-ons. Vionic’s claim that these shoes reduce plantar fasciitis pain is backed up with an APMA Seal of Acceptance.
The best plantar fasciitis shoes for long walks and running
G-Defy Mighty Walk
Slip-on shoes are fine for chores, but what if you know you’ll be out and about for an extended period of time? For that, your best option is a shoe that’s specifically designed to help your feet withstand the demands of strenuous physical activities. A high quality pair of running shoes will do the job for most people– but if you have plantar fasciitis, you need even more support. Gravity Defyer’s G-Defy Mighty Walk running shoes for women cater to plantar fasciitis sufferers with an array of features that are designed to take some of the impact stress off of your arch.
- Shock absorption. G-Defy Mighty Walk shoes are equipped with a patented shock absorption feature called VersoShock.
- Front rocker soles. Rocker bottom soles are thicker and rounder than ordinary shoe soles. According to a study published by the US National Library of Medicine, rocker bottom shoes provide a significant plantar force reduction while walking.
- No seams. The seam-free design reduces irritation and improves comfort.
- Extra room in the toe. The extra space in the front is for people with bunions, sensitive toes and other issues.
- Midfoot support. Extra reinforcement in the midsection of the shoe was put in to help relieve plantar fasciitis pain.
- Removable insoles. You can remove the insoles and replace them with a custom design of your own choosing.
- The reinforced soles may be too bulky for some people. The soles of these shoes are thicker than average. If you’re not used to wearing rocker soles, that may take some getting used to as well.
In a nutshell
Running shoes with rocker bottoms are proven to absorb some of the force that normally impacts your feet as you run or walk. However, not everybody is willing to wear odd-looking shoes with curvy soles every time they go out for a job. Gravity Defyer’s G-Defy Mighty Walk shoes offer a nice compromise. They are somewhat curvy in the front, but not so much so that you’d notice.
The best high heels for plantar fasciitis
Most people spend a large portion of their lives at work. In fact, according to Business Insider, the average American will spend roughly 90,000 hours at work over the course of their lifetime. With that statistic in mind, taking care to feel good on the job makes a lot of sense. If foot pain is stopping you from getting comfortable, investing in a shoe that has some extra support might do the trick. The Othofeet BioHeels Lilly are heels that not only actually feel nice on your feet, but also come with fully adjustable arch boosters.
- Classy design. These shoes prove that you don’t have to dress down just because you suffer from foot pain.
- Customizable arch support. An arch support booster gives you the ability to add extra support in the mid-foot area.
- Adjustable spacers. Two different kinds of spacers– a forefoot spacer and a full-length spacer– let you find the perfect fit.
- Quality construction. These shoes are made out of real leather, so they look as good as they feel.
- Extra padding. The interior padding adds additional comfort.
- Conforms to the shape of your foot. The more you wear these heels, the better they feel. The leather and padding dynamically adapt to your foot shape.
- The style may not be for everyone. This shoe will help you fit in well at work, but it’s not exactly trendy or modern.
In a nutshell
Orthofeet’s BioHeels line of dress shoes may make you change the way you think of high heels. Their adjustable features make them ideal for people with plantar fasciitis and other pediatric problems.
The best plantar fasciitis sandals
Vionic Rest Farra
In addition to casual, sports and work shoes for plantar fasciitis, there are also specialized sandals you can get as well. The Vionic Rest Farra sandal is the best of the bunch. It earned a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medal Association– but you would never guess that it has pediatric features that cater to people with plantar fasciitis just by looking at it.
- Made from high quality materials. This sandal not only looks good and feels good against your foot– it’s also more durable than most.
- Choose from several different styles. Available colors and patterns include black, maroon, navy blue, beige, cork and red.
- Multiple price points. The faux leather version of this sandal costs a bit less than the one that’s made from real leather.
- Eye-catching details. The fashionable metal medallions add an extra dash of style.
- Versatile. You can wear these sandals with both casual and professional clothes.
- Extra soft footbed. Reinforced padding adds more comfort.
- The velcro straps may wear out over time. Velcro straps are comfortable, but they’re not quite as durable as buckle-style straps.
In a nutshell
Like many of the other shoes on this list, the Vionic Rest Farra sandal is an orthopedic shoe in disguise. One of the best things about it is that it matches both casual and dressy clothes. If versatility is your priority, this shoe could be your best option.
The best plantar fasciitis house slippers
Othofeet’s Charlotte slippers
Some people with plantar fasciitis feel even more pain when it’s cold outside. Yet, most wintertime slippers have very little padding. This can make them hard to wear, especially on hardwood, marble or tile floors. Whether it’s starting to get frosty or you just want some supportive shoes to wear around the house, you may want to consider Orthofeet’s Charlotte slippers.
- Soft, warm and comfortable. These fur-lined slippers are made from soft, suede leather.
- Cushioned for extra support. Othofeet calls its patented cushioning system “Easy Gait.” Sturdier than simple memory foam, the system adapts to the shape of your feet as you walk.
- No seams. The inner lining doesn’t have any seams, which avoids potential irritations.
- Removable insole. If the insole that comes with these slippers doesn’t meet your needs, you can replace it with a different one.
- Backless design. This feature makes these slippers convenient for people with arthritis in their hands and other similar problems.
- Adjustable strap. You can tighten or loosen the velcro strap on the top as needed.
- It may take time to get used to the thickness of the soles. These slippers have extra thick soles. This makes them feel heavy compared to ordinary house slippers.
In a nutshell
These extra-supportive slippers will not only reinforce your arches, they’ll also keep your feet warm and toasty during the winter months. However, it may take some time for you to get accustomed to the weight that the extra sole supports add when you walk.
Buying guide for plantar fasciitis shoes
Don’t force yourself to wear a painful shoe because you think there’s no other option. Believe it or not, there’s an orthopedic version of just about every type of ordinary shoe. Some types are nice enough to wear to the office, yet wouldn’t look out of place if worn to a casual event. On the other hand, other types are designed for specific activities, like jogging or spending a day at the beach.
Some shoes come with removable insoles and customizable arch support pads. An insole system can help you get a better fit if your shoe is slightly loose or too tight. Removable arch pads can help you make adjustments if the middle part of your foot doesn’t feel comfortable enough.
Flats vs. high heels
When you think of shoes that are designed to help people with plantar fasciitis, the word “stiletto” probably doesn’t come to mind. There are some shoe brands make high heels for people with plantar fasciitis and other similar problems, though.
Standard vs. rocker bottom soles
Some– but not all– shoes that are designed to lessen plantar fasciitis pain have curved soles, or “rocker bottom” soles. Rocker bottom soles do lessen the impact of walking and running. On the other hand, plantar fasciitis shoes with standard style soles look more like ordinary shoes.
How sensitive are your toes?
Some people that have plantar fasciitis also have sensitive toes. If you often feel pain around your toes in addition to arch pain, you may want to look for shoes that have large toe boxes. In addition, some shoes feature a seamless design. Shoes that don’t have interior seams don’t rub as much compared to those that do.
Manufacturers often equip plantar fasciitis shoes with features like thicker soles and extra padding. While these features do make shoes more comfortable, they also make them heavier. Some plantar fasciitis shoes are heavier than others, but they’re all heavier than ordinary shoes. Just keep in mind that it may take some time for you to adjust to the added weight.
Shoes that are made from high quality materials– like real leather and rubber, for example– generally tend to last longer compared to shoes that are made from polyurethane and other synthetic materials. Of course, other factors come into play as well– like the quality of the stitching, for example. Generally, plantar fasciitis shoes that last longer also cost more.
Budget: House slippers and casual shoes tend to be the cheapest categories. You can get a decent pair of either type for around $60. These types have less cushioning and thinner soles, which is why they cost less.
Mid-range: The next most expensive shoe category is work wear. Office shoes that are made of real rubber and leather tend to look nicer and cost more than shoes that are made from synthetics. Expect to spend around $100 for office shoes that have the extra support you need.
High end: Athletic shoes with thick rocker bottom soles and extra padding tend to be somewhat pricey. To get a good pair, expect to pay $150 or more. The extra cost may be worth it, though– particularly if you’re physically active. The stress and shock that your feet endure when you run or play sports may very well make your plantar fasciitis worse.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will shoes that are designed for people with plantar fasciitis make my condition go away?
A: The Mayo Clinic has advised that supportive shoes can lessen plantar fasciitis pain. Applying ice to your feet for 20 minutes three times a day can help expedite a full recovery, as can losing weight. Simple foot stretches may help as well.
Q: Can I exercise normally if I wear running shoes that are made to help people with plantar fasciitis?
A: High impact sports like running can take a toll on your feet over time. If you do start to experience plantar fasciitis symptoms, the most common sense thing to do is rest until your feet recover– and take up a low-impact sport like swimming in the meantime.
Q: Can shoes that are meant to reduce plantar fasciitis pain also prevent the condition from happening in the first place?
A: Plantar fasciitis has many causes, ranging from injuries to diabetes to old age. However, it’s generally true that– all things being equal– the less stress you put on your feet, the better.
Tips and tricks
- Don’t ever throw your shoes in the wash. Even gentle wash cycles can damage the stitching and glue that holds your shoes together.
- Avoid wearing the same pair every single day. Rotating your shoes helps them retain their shape over time.
- Remember to dry your feet first before you put on your shoes. Moisture damages the materials and creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and fungi.
- Wipe your shoe with soap and water immediately if you spill something on it. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the mess will create a stain.