What Are the Best Plantar Fasciitis Shoes?
Style is always going to be considered when you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes, but your main priority should always be comfort and support for your feet. This is especially true if you are trying to manage a heel pain condition such as plantar fasciitis.
Learn more about plantar fasciitis by visiting our Heel Pain page.
Your plantar fasciitis pain might be at its worst when you set your bare feet down in the morning, but the time you spend in your shoes can have a significant impact on the intensity of your symptoms, and even help in treating and preventing the condition as a whole.
While simply wearing better shoes often won’t completely eliminate your heel pain—you’ll still want to see us for a comprehensive treatment plan—it is almost always an excellent place to start.
Here are some helpful factors to consider when choosing shoes that are friendlier toward your plantar fascia.
Support for the Arch and Heel
Since the plantar fascia helps form the arch as it runs from the heel bone to the base of the toes, it only makes sense that a shoe should provide support in this area.
It’s important to note that cushioning in the arch and heel does not always mean that support is being provided there as well. Ideally, you should feel consistent contact throughout all parts of the arch. This support should always feel comfortable too, but not be so rigid as to create any areas of intense pressure or other “hot spots” of discomfort.
A shoe should indeed have some firmness and shape within the arch. A completely flat shoe, like a ballet flat or a minimalist running shoe, does not provide adequate support. On the contrary, it can often place more stress on the arch, which leads to more strain on the plantar fascia.
A Softer Strike Against the Ground
We noted above that there is a difference between cushioning and arch support, but that doesn’t mean cushioning isn’t important.
The softer the impact when your foot hits the ground, the lower the stress that needs to be distributed across the foot. This can be especially helpful if you spend significant time either standing on hard surfaces or repetitively striking the ground with your feet, such as with running.
A Firm, Stable Heel Counter
The heel counter is the cup-like section that “hugs” the heel in the back of your shoe.
Stability in this section of the foot can help minimize excess stretching of the plantar fascia by better controlling how the foot pronates (i.e. rolls and shifts while you walk).
How do you test the firmness of a heel counter? It’s honestly kind of like testing some fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. Grasp the back of the shoe in one hand, around the heel counter, and squeeze. The firmer the heel counter, the more support it is likely to provide.
Comfort, Comfort, Comfort!
We have hinted at this a few times already, but it is very much worth stressing: Regardless of what features they might have, your shoes probably won’t do much for your plantar fasciitis if you don’t feel comfortable wearing them!
The reason why is rather simple. When we are not comfortable wearing something, it affects how we move in it. Something that rubs us the wrong way in our shoes will very likely alter our gait – and it may do so in a way that can cause even further pain and injury.
The above advice should help guide you in the right direction regarding shoe selection. However, we can help you determine the best qualities to look for in shoes that meet your individual needs, and a trained associate at a shoe store can often provide good advice, too.
But in the end, you are the only one who can judge whether a shoe actually feels right on you – and it should!
What About Sandals?
If you highly favor open-toed footwear, the unfortunate reality is that most pairs out there are not particularly adept at providing proper cushioning and support. That is not to say they are all terrible for your heel pain, though.
Certain models of sandals do provide fairly good arch support and might work well for you depending on your activity levels and other needs. We would be happy to discuss whether sandals – and what kinds – could work well for you.
When Shoes Aren’t Enough
While there are many different forms and functions of shoes that can help with plantar fasciitis, some cases may require more specialized support. That’s where custom orthotics may come in.
Custom orthotics are inserts placed into shoes that provide exactly prescribed amounts of cushioning and corrective support where needed. They are built especially to the unique specifications of your feet, and can be used with different types of shoes, from dress to athletic.
We might recommend custom orthotics as part of a plantar fasciitis treatment plan. Other forms of treatment might also be considered depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. No two cases and the causes surrounding them are ever quite the same.
Find the Heel Pain Relief that Meets Your Needs
No matter the cause of your heel pain or how long you have had it, we can help you find the most effective means of relief. Most cases of heel pain can be effectively treated without the need for surgery.
Call us at (480) 629-5903 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment. We are more than happy to arrange a telemedicine consultation with you as well.