Choosing the Right Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis (2024)

A debilitating and common condition among runners, plantar fasciitis can affect the ability to perform simple daily activities, such as standing and sleeping due to the intense ( and potentially chronic) pain it causes. This condition occurs when the plantar fascia, a tissue band running along the bottom of the feet, becomes inflamed. Such inflammation leads to harsh, sharp pain in the arch and/or heel of the foot. In some cases, people might feel a burning sensation on the bottom of their feet.

One of the key proactive actions to take in mitigating or preventing plantar fasciitis is purchasing the proper gear, especially when it comes to shoes. Knowing the precise insole type and shape of your feet (for example, having high arches) can help you effectively manage this foot condition.

What to Consider When Buying Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

In a cross-sectional study that looked at the impact of footwear on foot health, researchers found that 83 percent of people wear the wrong shoes. A whopping 82 percent of plantar fasciitis patients wear shoes with improper heel height and almost 56 percent wear shoes with non-cushioned insoles that lack built-in arch support. The researchers state that inappropriate shoes can cause severe heel pain, which inhibits a patient's normal day-to-day activities. The results of this study conclude that picking the right shoes can make a significant difference for those with plantar fasciitis.

“It's important to consider [shoe] factors such as arch support, cushioning, and insoles,” says Daniel Pledger, DPM, podiatrist and founder ofePodiatrists. He recommends consulting with a podiatrist to determine the proper course of action based on your individual needs.

When buying shoes for plantar fasciitis, Dr. Pledger states that there are four points to consider: arch support, cushioning, foot shape, and shoe heel height.

Arch Support

Archsupports areadded or built-in to your shoes to support your foot’s natural arch and their purpose is to eliminate or decrease pain. Dr. Pledger says that shoes with good arch support can help distribute your weight across the foot, which reduces strain on the plantar fascia. “Consider shoes with a built-in arch or ones that can accommodate custom orthotics," he says.


Shoes with good shock absorption and adequate padding are best for those with plantar fasciitis. “Cushioning in the heel and forefoot can help absorb shock and reduce the impact on the plantar fascia,” says Dr. Pledger.

Certain running stores and online retailers offer generous return policies, allowing you to test a pair of athletic shoes for up to a month with a full refund. This provides you an opportunity to try out the shock absorption and cushioning on different terrains, such as the track, sidewalk/asphalt, and trails.

Foot Shape

According to Dave Candy, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, CMTPT, FAAOMPT, owner of More 4
, flat-footed people should purchase shoes that help control their foot motion. He recommends these overpronators look for “motion control” athletic shoes.

Those with high arches tend to under pronate, he says, which means that their feet do not absorb shock well.“As a result, people with high arches should look for shoes with a lot of cushioning,” he says. “Additionally, high-arch insoles that have a high arch but are soft and cushioned(rather than firm and hard) may be helpful.”

Shoe Heel Height

Shoe heel height, whether in athletic or non-athletic shoes, can make a difference in plantar fasciitis. In a cross-sectional study conducted in an orthopedics’ outpatient department, researchers collected data from 101 patients diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. They found that appropriate shoes for this condition had a heel height between 0.5 and 4 centimeters; minimal (under 0.5 cm) or high heel (greater than 4 cm) were categorized as inappropriate.

You may need to experiment to find a shoe heel height that feels supportive and comfortable for your feet.

Which Shoes Are Best for Plantar Fasciitis?

The best type of shoe for this condition varies, as it depends on your foot shape and shoe preference—one type fits all does not apply here. It also depends on whether you are walking or running. If your condition is severe, speaking with a podiatrist can help you determine the best shoe fit.

However, Dr. Bruce Pinker, DPM, AACFAS, FAPWCA, DABPM, FACPM, offers overall advice for shoe shoppers. Sneakers can be very supportive for those with plantar fasciitis if there is a cushioned midsole for proper shock absorptionand cushioning.”

Are Birkenstocks Good for Plantar Fasciitis?

As far as having plantar fasciitis and wearing non-athletic shoes, Dr. Candy says that Birkenstocks can work for this condition. Birkenstocks is a brand “that offers decent arch support. These can be good to wear for office work or around the house, so that you always have at least some arch support,” he says.

Are Crocs Good for Plantar Fasciitis?

Dr. Pledger acknowledges that Crocs are popular for their ease of use (simply slip in and out of them) and comfort. However, he does not recommend them for those who have this condition because "they do not provide much arch support or cushioning and can exacerbate plantar fasciitis symptoms in some individuals.” There are other comparable options, such as flip flops, that may work for those with plantar fasciitis.

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Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis

Although they come with a bit of a price tag, insoles or custom orthotics could alleviate pain. Perhaps this makes the cost worth it to better your quality of life. However, if the price of custom orthotics is too steep, you could try out prefabricated insoles. In fact, research supports the use of prefabricated insoles.

In 2019, a comprehensive report was published by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health on the difference between custom-made and prefabricated foot orthoses after 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 12 months of treatment in adult patients with plantar heel pain. In the report, researchers said they found no difference in foot pain, self-reported short-term recovery, and patient satisfaction. However, the reported comfort level was mixed. If you find prefabricated options uncomfortable, you might want to seriously consider custom ones (even with their price).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do compression socks help plantar fasciitis?

    As for 2023, no published, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence supports the theory that compression socks help plantar fasciitis. You would need to try out these types of socks and feel a difference for yourself. You could even experience a placebo effect, but if that helps reduce pain, then the investment could be worth it.

    Learn More:The 10 Best Compression Socks

  • Can too much arch support cause plantar fasciitis?

    Evidence is limited on too much arch support causing plantar fasciitis. However, a muscle-driven finite element analysis from 2021 on various arch support heights did find that different heights can affect a foot’s internal biomechanics. Researchers discovered that high arch support decreased plantar fascia loading by 5%-15.4% in proximal regions but increased it in distal and middle regions.

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Choosing the Right Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis (2024)


Choosing the Right Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis? ›

Dr. Pledger says that shoes with good arch support can help distribute your weight across the foot, which reduces strain on the plantar fascia. It's also a key feature to consider when shopping for walking shoes for flat feet. “Consider shoes with a built-in arch or ones that can accommodate custom orthotics," he says.

How to pick a shoe for plantar fasciitis? ›

High heels and flats increase the strain on your feet. But a slightly elevated heel may lower the strain and help alleviate heel pain. According to a 2022 study, shoes with a heel height from 0.1 to 1.5 inches may be best for plantar fasciitis.

What is the best shoe drop for plantar fasciitis? ›

A higher heel-drop (at least 7-12mm) will help to put your weight more in the forefoot and away from the plantar fascia in your feet. This will help to adjust to the lack of ankle dorsiflexion.

What shoe brands are good for plantar fasciitis? ›

Sovella is a renowned brand known for its exceptional recovery abilities, comfort, and remarkable arch support. Specifically designed to alleviate foot stress and soreness, Sovella sandals and shoes are highly recommended for individuals with plantar fasciitis.

What should you not wear with plantar fasciitis? ›

Shoes that are too tight or raise your heels significantly higher than your toes can also exacerbate your Plantar Fasciitis, as these kinds of footwear prevent your foot from molding into its natural position.

Are tighter shoes better for plantar fasciitis? ›

Putting too much weight on your feet without adequate arch support or padding might cause strain on your plantar fascia. Additionally, the issue can be made worse by wearing shoes that are overly tight or with a heel that is raised too far above the level of the toes.

Are soft or hard shoes better for plantar fasciitis? ›

In general a softer, more cushioned shoe is better than a hard shoe in slowing down the speed of the plantar fascia elongation. Shoes that are really soft – can in fact be too soft. To be good shoes for plantar fasciitis, the sole needs to deform, but with resistance.

Does anything really help plantar fasciitis? ›

Applying ice to the injured tissue, massaging the area, or using a combination of both approaches 2 to 3 times daily for 5 to 10 minutes at a time can help to treat plantar fasciitis. Rolling the bottom of your foot on a plastic ball covered in soft spikes is an easy form of massage your doctor may recommend.

How do you get 30% for plantar fasciitis? ›

30 percent: You may receive this rating if you have not found relief from non-surgical or surgical treatments and your plantar fasciitis affects both feet.

What will make plantar fasciitis worse? ›

Predictably, being on your feet all day can exacerbate your plantar fasciitis. If your job or daily activities require you to stand for long stretches of time, make it a point to take breaks for a few minutes throughout the day. During these brief breaks, stretch or massage your feet -- or better yet, elevate them.

Are Brooks or Hokas better for plantar fasciitis? ›

But the common dominator across every shoe doctors recommended: arch support and shock absorption. "The brands of shoes that I recommend for patients with plantar fasciitis are either On or Hoka, as they provide ample cushion and support while still being relatively light," Dr.

Are Skechers good if you have plantar fasciitis? ›

3. Lightweight and Breathable Design. Skechers shoes are known for their lightweight construction, making them ideal for individuals with plantar fasciitis. The lightweight design minimizes the burden on the feet, allowing for more natural movement and reduced strain.

What shoes do podiatrists recommend for heel pain? ›

Our picks for the best shoes for plantar fasciitis
  • Best sneakers for plantar fasciitis: Hoka Bondi SR.
  • Best tennis shoes for plantar fasciitis: Brooks Ghost 15 running shoes.
  • Best dress shoes for plantar fasciitis: Samuel Hubbard Frequent Traveler.
  • Best slip-on shoes for plantar fasciitis: Dansko Linley.

What aggravates plantar fascia? ›

Inflammation and pain in the fascia can be caused by: An increase in activity level (like starting a walking or running program) The structure or shape of the foot. The surface on which you are standing, walking or running.

What sneakers do foot doctors recommend? ›

Cushion Neutral
  • TOPO. Ultrafly 5mm drop.
  • New Balance. 890. 990. 1080.
  • Saucony. Ride.
  • Mizuno. Wave Rider. Wave Creation.
  • Nike. Pegasus. Vomero. React Infinity Flyknit.
  • HOKA. Bondi. Stinson. Speedgoat.

Is it better to walk or not walk with plantar fasciitis? ›

In fact, walking may actually inflame the plantar fascia more, leading to an extension of your treatment. While it's not walking alone that could further inflame the ligament, if you're not wearing the right shoes or are exerting yourself too much, the plantar fasciitis can flare up.

Do I need arch support shoes for plantar fasciitis? ›

Certain people are more prone to developing plantar fasciitis than others, including people with flat feet and high arches. The most effective way to relieve plantar fasciitis pain (and prevent recurrence) is to keep your arches from flattening by adding firm arch support to your footwear.

Do you need more arch support for plantar fasciitis? ›

Wearing supportive footwear is absolutely vital if you suffer from plantar fasciitis and having the right pair would mean that there's no need to buy other insoles or inserts, unless your existing ones are worn out.

Should I wear shoes all day with plantar fasciitis? ›

Put on your shoes as soon as you get out of bed. Going barefoot or wearing slippers may make your pain worse. Reach and stay at a good weight for your height. This puts less strain on your feet.


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