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The 14 Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis, According to a Podiatrist

Footwear News 12/3/2021 Gabrielle Porcaro
best walking shoes plantar fasciitis © Courtesy of Adobe best walking shoes plantar fasciitis

For anyone suffering from plantar fasciitis, the sharp heel pain it causes can disrupt your daily life, and the pain can become unbearable. It can make it hard to keep a fitness routine or simply go for a walk. Luckily, solving the problem and alleviating the pain can be an easy solution. While all sorts of footwear, including socks, can help provide relief, having supportive shoes really makes all the difference and can help you walk comfortably.

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the heel that can cause lots of distress and discomfort. “Everyone has a rubber band-like structure, the plantar fascia, on the bottom of our feet that attach our heel bone to the front of our foot,” explains Dr. Brad Schaeffer, owner of Sole Podiatry N.Y.C. “When this rubber band becomes too tight, it develops inflammation and then causes pain.” What often causes this condition is unsupportive shoes or improper inserts, which will make walking excruciating. “This inflammation can start from our plantar fascia being too tight and causing small micro-tears in our plantar fascia,” he adds. “When this happens, we start to develop plantar fasciitis and pain.”

What to look for in the best walking shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Walking adds pressure to the entire foot, including the arch, heel, and plantar fascia. Good, supportive walking shoes can keep your feet pain-free and comfortable and prevent any foot issues from forming. “If we wear properly-fitting shoes and also a good insole to support our arch, then every step that we take will not put so much pressure on our plantar fascia and will not cause plantar fasciitis,” Dr. Schaeffer says.

When it comes to the best shoes to treat plantar fasciitis, you want a sneaker or shoe that keeps your foot position neutral. “Some people have flat feet and tend to overpronate, and some people have a higher arch and are over supinators,” Dr. Schaeffer adds. “It’s the job of your doctor to show each patient what foot type they have. It’s also important for our shoes and insoles to support every step that we take.” He always recommends Dr. Scholl’s plantar fasciitis iInsoles for any shoes needing additional support.

The good news is all sorts of shoes that range in appearance can help this issue. There are more feminine options and athletic sneakers (that double as the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis) for those who want to be more active, proving you don’t have to trade in style for relief. Considering all this, we compiled the 14 best walking shoes that support feet with plantar fasciitis, including a few of Dr. Schaeffer own picks.

Brooks Ghost 14 Shoes

Many of Brooks’ running shoes also makes excellent sneakers when you want to take a slower stride. Recommended by Dr. Schaeffer, this sneaker has a thick and soft cushioned sole with added technology that makes every step feel smooth, no matter your personal gait and speed. The upper also uses 3D print technology for a fit that balances stretch and structure to keep your feet comfortable. Additionally, the Ghost 14 uses 30% recycled materials and is carbon-neutral, so producing it isn’t harmful to the environment.

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Vionic Women’s Celeste Sneakers

For a more sleek, fashion-forward option, check out this sneaker. Composed of leather and synthetic mesh and constructed with asymmetrical laces, the look is both cool and functional since it relieves pressure and keeps blood flowing. A podiatrist-designed orthotic also promotes proper foot alignment, which is a feature anyone with plantar fasciitis will appreciate. Whether paired with jeans or leggings, this is an excellent option for a stylish pair of walking shoes that will help soothe pain.

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Hoka Clifton 8 Shoes

Another one of Dr. Schaeffer’s top picks is also a running sneaker. This update in the popular Clifton series introduces one of the most energetic and lightweight midsoles to the brand. The shoe is also super responsive to support your stride. Engineered, breathable mesh and a gusseted tongue will keep your foot cozy as well.

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New Balance 1540 V3 Shoes

For people who tend to overpronate, New Balance’s 1540 V3 sneaker helps combat the issue by providing a stable footbed. Layers of performance foam in the forefront also achieve a soft rebound. Inclusive sizing with widths from narrow to extra-extra wide is also helpful for anyone who has a custom orthotic insert. If you like to run and walk, these are a great option since they support both activities.

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Asics Gel-Nimbus 21 Shoes

Runners are prime suffers from plantar fasciitis, so whatever sneaker they choose to get their miles in has to support the heel and prevent strain. Dr.Schaeffer suggests this popular running shoe because of the technology and comfort it delivers to your foot. Their iconic Gel technology offers maximum shock absorption and cushions the heel, preventing tension.

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Olukai Men’s Lae’ahi Li’lli Shoes

A stylish walking shoe for men, these low-tops can easily be worn with jeans, joggers or a suit. In addition to featuring a flexible leather construction that will look better with wear, these offer a comfortable fit thanks to a microfiber lining and cushy gel insert — the latter which will certainly please tense heels. Plus, a collapsible back makes these easy to slip on and off.

 

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Saucony Triumph 19 Shoes

An ultra-plush sole, called PWRRUN+, makes these Saucony sneakers a dreamy option for both walking and running. A bed of springy foam creates a lightweight, responsive feel, while a flexible, 3D mesh upper gives you a customized fit and allows your foot to move freely. The flexible fit will also eliminate pressure and keep inflammation at bay.

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Allbirds Wool Runners Shoes

Responsibly made with ethically sourced and renewable merino wool, these Allbirds are an excellent sustainable sneaker option. While the entire shoe — from its soft, breathable material to cushy foam sole — is designed for comfort, the roomy inside leaves enough room for a more structured insole if needed. The natural fiber is also machine washable, so you can go sockless. All in all, these are a great travel shoe for lasting comfort and support.

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Oofos Oomg Low Shoes

Created to keep feet happy, these Oofos shoes feature an arch-cradling footbed that, according to the brand, absorbs 37% more impact than traditional shoes to help recharge joints and muscles. A four-way stretch mesh upper enables the shoe to easily be slipped on and off, keeping the silhouette sleek and refined. And, a soft construction makes these a breeze to pack in your suitcase for on any vacation where you plan to walk a lot.

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Ecco Soft 7 Shoes

You might be attracted to the simple, clean profile of this shoe, but once you slip your foot into it, you’ll notice there’s more than meets the eye. For one, it has built-in arch support with an anatomical shape that provides natural support. Moreover, it offers a soft feel thanks to its durable leather and suede construction and keeps feet dry and fresh-smelling featuring an Ecco Comfort Fibre System. The perfect finisher for any outfit, these sneakers pair well with everything from sundresses to jeans and tee combos.

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Birkenstock Arizona Slide Sandals

The contoured footbed on these sandals makes them a favorite comfort shoe year after year (not to mention, their nostalgic look is super on-trend right now, too). All Birkenstocks have a perfectly molded footbed that mimics a natural shape to keep pressure off the heel. The iconic sandal might require a break-in period, but will live in your closet for many seasons. Men and women can enjoy slipping bare feet into these during summer or wearing them with thick socks in the fall and spring.

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Dansko Women’s Kane Blue EVA Clogs

There’s a reason why working professionals who are on their feet all day swear by these clogs. A deep cup interior sole will cradle the heel, keeping it comfortable and easing stress that can cause plantar fasciitis. For one hour or ten, these will support feet whether walking or standing. The slip-on style with a lightweight sole is also a great option for anyone looking for a comfortable non-athletic shoe.

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Naturalizer Women’s Lotus Sneakers

Chic meets comfort in this elegantly sporty style. Contoured technology with a soft fabric lining makes the fit beautiful, while a thick, wedged sole ensures each step feels cushioned. For anyone with wide feet suffering from plantar fasciitis, this cool sneaker is offered in extended widths.

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Orthofeet Plantar Fasciitis Sneakers

Constructed to prevent foot issues, these shoes have superior support. From the extra-wide toe box to a premium orthotic insole, every aspect of the shoe is made to keep your foot from getting sore. Included in the insole is adjustable arch support for an individualized fit. The brand offers 60 days for you to test the shoe, and if you don’t like it, you can return it free of charge.

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