Suffering the pain of plantar fasciitis? Our pick of the best shoes can give you support, comfort, and even help prevent future flare-ups
Wondering where to find the best shoes for plantar fasciitis? We’ve checked with the experts to find out what you need to look for in a supportive shoe, and selected some of the very best shoes you can buy to help with this common foot condition.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammatory condition affecting the plantar fascia – the ligament that connects the heel to the toes. It’s a pretty common complaint, too – in the UK, plantar fasciitis affects up to one in ten people over 50, and regular runners often have plantar heel pain.
People with plantar fasciitis will need extra cushioning in their shoes to relieve pain and provide support. Finding the right shoe will help to minimise foot and heel pain while walking, working or relaxing and, if you’re a keen runner, the right trainer may also improve your performance.
We’ve rounded up some of the best brands for shoes that can help ease the pain of plantar fasciitis, and we’ve got some expert tips on how much to spend and what to look for in a new pair of shoes. Plus, we have self-care advice that can relieve foot pain and help to prevent future flare-ups.
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Best shoes for plantar fasciitis: At a glance
How to choose the best shoes for plantar fasciitis for you
Do I need to buy shoes specifically for plantar fasciitis?
Not necessarily. There are lots of ways to ease the pain of plantar fasciitis without buying shoes specifically designed to support the arches and heel. However, given how long the average person spends in their shoes during the course of a day, and all the different activities we tend to do in them – from running and hiking, to walking and relaxing – it makes sense to ensure that your shoes are comfortable, well-fitting and provide great support.
With that in mind, we’ve picked out a selection of shoes that offer the stability and support you need for plantar fasciitis, without specifically being orthopaedic shoes.
How much should I spend?
Much depends on the materials used, the amount of technology that goes into the shoe, and whether it’s been specifically designed for orthopaedic use. A shoe with good arch support and cushioning is likely to cost around £100, and more if you’re looking to buy a running shoe or hiking boot, but you should consider it a good investment for your feet, as you’ll notice the benefits almost straight away.
However, if you’re not ready to part with such a wodge of cash just yet, insoles and inserts can be picked up cheaply from any pharmacy or online, from anywhere between £5 and £40.
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What features should I look for to help with plantar fasciitis?
Arch and heel support is your number one priority when it comes to plantar fasciitis. Arch support is crucial in helping to spread pressure across the foot, preventing inflammation and pain. It also provides stability and balance, by keeping your foot in the right position.
Cushioning is also important, especially across the midsole. Look for a thick midsole or the classic “rocker” sole design. This helps to minimise foot and heel pain. If you run or do other types of physical exercise, it’s vital that you have enough cushioning to protect the feet and absorb the shock of impact.
Finally, a wide enough toe box will allow you to spread the toes evenly and comfortably, improving stability and balance, and again spreading that pressure across the foot.
Will Kenton, a physiotherapist for Bupa West End Health Centre, agrees that support and cushioning are key. “It’s important to choose shoes that offer good support – for example, sports shoes that lace up, with a slight drop between the heel and the forefront to cushion the heel and help relieve pain,” he says. “If you need any help choosing the best kind of shoe for you, you may be able to get advice from your local running shop. They may also suggest replacing your shoes as soon as they’ve worn out and avoiding exercise on hard surfaces.”
What else can I try to help with plantar fasciitis?
Apart from shoes, there are other products that can help with the pain of plantar fasciitis, and provide extra support or cushioning where necessary. Kenton advises trying out shoe inserts to see if that can give you extra support in your favourite shoes: “Insoles and heel pads are a good way to provide you with some support and prevent excess pressure on the sole of your foot.”
A little self-care can go a long way, too. The following tips can help to alleviate the pain of plantar fasciitis:
- Rest your feet when possible
- Avoid walking barefoot
- Lose weight if you’re overweight, as this puts pressure on your feet
- Apply a covered ice pack to your feet for 15-20 minutes when symptoms flare up
- Perform stretching exercises to stretch the plantar fascia
- See a podiatrist or physiotherapist if symptoms don’t ease after a few months
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The best shoes for plantar fasciitis to buy in 2022
1. Vionic Kellyn Flatform Sandal: The best women’s sandals
Price: £100 | Buy now from Amazon
You might think it’s hard to find glamour in a shoe designed to provide great arch and heel support, but the Kellyn Flatform Sandal from Vionic manages to combine style with practicality and support in this great summer sandal.
Biomechanically designed to hug the foot arches, the Kellyn Flatform helps to support the foot from the ground up. A microfibre EVA foot bed adds comfort and shock absorption, while a heel height of 1.75in gives a little lift to the platform height of 1in.
Made from metallic linen and mirror, these shoes are just sparkly enough to take you from day to night. They’re available in black, marshmallow, moonlight and Vallarta blue, and sizes 3 to 9, including half sizes. With an overall rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 on the Vionic website, users say they’re the most comfortable shoes they’ve ever worn.
Key details – Sizes: 11; Half-sizes included: Yes; Colours: 4; Width: Medium; Upper: Leather and fabric; Heel height (cm): 4.5
2. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11: The best running shoe
Price: From £135| Buy now from Amazon
The New Balance 1080v11 is part of New Balance’s Fresh Foam collection. This series of running shoes provides a thick foam midsole to give the arches and heels great support during a run.
These are perfect if you’re the kind of runner with plenty of mileage in you as these shoes are designed for long distance. They have a wide toe box and stretchy knit upper to give comfort, while New Balance’s Ultra Heel technology hugs and supports the back of the foot for a snug and supportive fit.
The extra cushioning is ideal if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, and the laser-cut midsole lightens the whole shoe and provides flexibility. The New Balance 1080v11 running shoes come in sizes from 3 to 15.5, and are available in half sizes and different widths. They’re available for men and women in a range of colourways.
Key details – Sizes: 23; Half-sizes included: Yes; Colours: 19; Width: Narrow, standard, wide, X-wide; Upper: Synthetic/mesh; Heel height (cm): 3
3. Keen Targhee ll Mid Hiking Boots: The best walking boot
Price: From £130 | Buy now from Amazon
Keen is known for its wide range of comfortable, well-designed footwear, offering heel and arch support. Their Targhee ll Hiking Boots feature an internal support mechanism designed to support the arches and cradle the natural shape of the foot, with no sacrifice on traction, stability or cushioning.
These boots include a waterproof, breathable membrane, an Eco Anti-Odour feature, and a cushioning EVA midsole. The quick-dry lining ensures you’re always ready for another hike at short notice, while the removable PU insole gives long-lasting comfort.
With versions for men and women, the Targhee ll comes in sizes from 2.5 up to 16 and includes half sizes. A range of colours is also available.
Key details – Sizes: 23; Half-sizes included: Yes; Colours: 3; Width: Standard, narrow, wide; Upper: Leather/Mesh; Heel height (cm): 5
4. Vionic Graham Lace Up: The best smart shoe for men
Price: £100| Buy now from Vionic
These classic shoes are a smart alternative to trainers, with a leather upper, a durable rubber outsole and a removable leather-covered EVA foot bed. Vionic’s innovative podiatrist-designed shoes offer orthotic arch support, relief and stability, helping to realign the feet back to their natural position and improve walking gait.
The Graham features exposed stitching and a partial wooden outsole for an on-trend, smart style, making them perfect for the office, events or simply day-to-day wear.
They come in sizes 6 to 12 and are available in brown or black, but, unfortunately, they are currently only available in a medium width, so plantar fasciitis sufferers with wide feet may have to wait for Vionic to expand the range.
Key details – Sizes: 11; Half-sizes included: Yes; Colours: 2; Width: Medium; Upper: Leather; Heel height (cm): Not specified
5. OOFOS Unisex Original Thong: The best unisex sandals
Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon
The OOFOS brand is synonymous with comfort and style. Its patented biomechanically engineered range of shoes and sandals offer arch support, relieve pressure, improve circulation and allow flexibility. The brand has also seen its full collection approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting good foot health.
The unisex Original Thong design features a footbed designed to reduce stress and impact on the joints, including the knees and ankles, while cradling the arches. The whole shoe can also be thrown in the washing machine.
Key details – Sizes: 14; Half-sizes included: No; Colours: 5; Width: Standard; Upper: Closed-cell foam; Heel height (cm): 2.5