Do you want to know the best shoes for heel pain?
If you’re like most people, then the answer is yes. You’re probably spending your days in pain, wondering how on earth you’re going to manage to get through another day of work.
Well, we’re here to help! We’ve reviewed some of the best shoes for heel pain and selected our favorites based on comfort and durability. We’ll also explain what exactly makes these shoes so great at relieving your pain and helping you get back out there as soon as possible!
Best Shoes For Heel Pain
12 Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis, According to Podiatrists
Heel pain is no fun, but the extended hurt from plantar fasciitis is next level. Thankfully, the best shoes for plantar fasciitis can help alleviate daily aches. Finding sturdy, supportive sneakers, sandals, boots, and/or slippers that are specifically designed for people who suffer from foot pain can go a long way in managing your pain.
But first, what is plantar fasciitis?
“The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, attaching the heel into the toes,” says E. Charisse Dunn, D.P.M., a podiatrist and owner of PGA Foot & Ankle, P.A. in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Plantar fasciitis occurs when too much pressure damages or tears the tissue. “When it becomes inflamed, it causes tenderness when the heel is placed flat on the ground,” Dr. Dunn says. This condition affects approximately 2 million people every year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
There are several things that put you at risk for plantar fasciitis. For example, being active and frequently walking, running, or otherwise putting stress on your heel can bring on the condition. Wearing the wrong shoes—or sporting heels often—can also make your pain even worse, especially in the morning.
How to choose the best shoes for plantar fasciitis
Although shoes for plantar fasciitis won’t actually treat your condition, they can definitely help improve your level of comfort, says Barbara Bergin, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon in Austin. For most people, about 10 months of treatment for plantar fasciitis will do the trick.
In the interim, Dr. Bergin and Dr. Dunn both recommend looking for shoes with the following characteristics:
- Ample arch support
- A firm, but flexible midsole
- If you’re using plantar fasciitis insoles, a removable insole
- Cushioning in the forefoot
To help you find the best shoes for plantar fasciitis, we rounded up top picks from leading podiatrists. Shop their choices, as well as top-rated options online, below.
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Best Overall: Vionic Rechelle
Vionic Curran Rechelle Casual Sneaker
As easy as they are to slip on and go, mules aren’t a good choice for day-long wear when you have plantar fasciitis. With backless shoes, it’s necessary to crimp your toes to keep the shoe on while walking, and this could irritate the plantar fascia further. If you’re looking for a shoe that’s easy to slip on, yet won’t make your plantar fasciitis worse, try this sneaker.
The supportive footbed hugs the arches of the feet, giving maximum comfort. Plus, the firm yet flexible orthotic insole is removable, and the shoe has a deep heel cup for stability. “This is definitely preferred over a mule since most mules do not have support in the back of the foot,” says Rebecca Pruthi, D.P.M., podiatric physician/surgeon and owner of Foot Care of Manhattan. “These shoes have a supportive footbed with great arch support. A good choice for plantar fasciitis.” As a bonus, their classic look is perfectly on-trend for 2022 (and beyond).
Best Value: Naturalizer Marianne
If you have plantar fasciitis, the number one thing to look for is arch support. “We place about three to four times our body weight upon our feet with each step,” says Jennifer Gerres, D.P.M., a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic in Washington, D.C. “A supportive shoe with a good arch provides pain relief by transferring those stresses on the plantar fascia to the shoe.”
The insole of this casual Naturalizer sneaker—which comes in four unique widths (regular, narrow, wide, and extra-wide) and is popular among nurses—features that all-important arch support, plus a nonslip outsole, durable leather uppers, and elastic panels for an optimized fit. “It’s difficult for me to buy shoes because I have plantar fasciitis,” one Amazon reviewer writes. “I’m so happy that I have finally found a nice-looking shoe that is extremely comfortable. This shoe offers good support and I love the blush pink color that I got.”
Best Athletic Shoes: Hoka One One Bondi 7
Hoka One One Bondi 7
For all-around comfort during trips to the gym, the trail, and the grocery store, these running shoes from Hoka One One are ideal. The brand is known for its extra-comfy kicks, and these are no different—in fact, they’re the most cushioned shoes in Hoka’s running lineup. Despite their look, though, they’re lightweight, with roomy toe boxes and breathable mesh uppers.
And shoppers love how versatile they are. “I run, hike, and walk many miles each week in my Hokas,” one reviewer, who has plantar fasciitis, writes. “These shoes, along with physical therapy, made it possible to get back to my workouts.”
Best Running Shoes: Brooks Levitate 4
Brooks Levitate 4 Running Shoe
You can conquer any hill, big or small, with these running shoes, which are a favorite among Prevention editors. The midsole cushions are perfectly springy, which absorbs shock from foot strikes and gives some pep with each stride. “Having a removable insole is a big plus so that one can put their own custom or over-the-counter orthotic into the shoe, which is very beneficial for healing from plantar fasciitis,” Dr. Pruthi explains. Better yet, the upper has a padded tongue and collar for additional support and comfort—and runners absolutely love these things.
“I suffer from plantar fasciitis in both feet and these shoes have been my saving grace,” one reviewer writes. “This particular pair hugs the ankle nicely without being too tight and is very lightweight!”
Best Walking Shoes: New Balance 1540 V3
New Balance 1540 V3
If you want to keep up with your workouts but diminish the pain, this stabilizing running shoe may help. It’s designed with New Balance’s special cushioning in the forefoot, which reduces shock that is transferred through the shoe and up into the leg and body. There’s also a multi-density polyurethane insert that supports the arch and fascia. “These are a great choice for walking,” Dr. Pruthi says.
“They are supportive and cushioned, both in the forefoot and arch.”The shoe comes in standard, wide, and extra-wide sizes, so your feet and toes will have as much room as they need to spread comfortably. Dr. Bhuta also notes that New Balance shoes can easily accommodate custom foot orthotics because they come in different widths, so they’re a solid choice if you’d like to use your own inserts.
Best Flip Flops: Fit Flop Iqushion
Certified with the APMA seal, these sandals are the pair you should pack for a beach getaway. The anatomically shaped EVA footbed provides arch support while the platform helps relieve pressure from the heels. Another amazing feature? Its pressure-relieving cushion smartly is placed right where your heel needs it. It also has a dual-density midsole that aids in evenly distributing weight and absorbing shock.
“Although flip-flops are not the best shoe overall for plantar fasciitis, if one must choose a flip-flop, these are supportive,” Dr. Pruthi says. Amazon reviewers rave about these things, calling them “simply the best” and “recommended for everyday use.”
Best Slippers: Vionic Gemma
To take pressure off the fascia, you should avoid going barefoot at all times, Dr. Dunn says. That means wearing shoes as often as possible, even when you’re walking around the house. The slip-on style of the slipper also makes it easy to put on when you first step out of bed—just what foot experts recommend. They feature a deep heel cup to enhance stability, substantial arch support, and a firm yet flexible midsole.
“A deep heel cup is good for plantar fasciitis to help hug and push the fat on the heel towards the center as a way to alleviate symptoms and atrophy,” explains Jay Bhuta, D.P.M., a podiatric surgical expert at Ankle & Foot Doctors of New Jersey. These shoes are a good choice because they can also help reduce aches and pains by placing your feet in the proper alignment. “These slippers are comfy. They have a deeper heel cup and flexible midsole—all of which are helpful in supporting the bottom of the foot,” Dr. Pruthi says.
Best Boots: Børn Cove
These Chelsea-style booties have a one-inch block heel, making them the perfect pair for people with high arches who need more stability. They also match effortlessly with any outfit. And you’ll want to wear them all the time, since the soft leather upper makes them super comfy, while the stretchy sides fit to any size or shape. We also love the leather, grippy treads and the removable insole, which is great for those who use over-the-counter or custom orthotics.
“I bought a black pair last year and after realizing I wear them every single day, I decided it’s time to buy another pair,” an Amazon reviewer writes. “The color matches the pictures and they’re comfy and so sturdy. Definitely worth the price.”
Best Flats: Vionic North Willa
Vionic North Willa Slip On Flat
If you’re looking for an expert-approved flat to wear daily, this one is a great bet for those with Plantar Fasciitis. In fact, all of Vionic’s shoes are made with podiatrist-deisgned footbeds that can help with plantar fasciitis in addition to bunions, heel spurs, and lower back pain, according to the brand. These shoes are made with a breathable man-made sock upper and a rubber outsole for comfortable walking.
“I’m thinking of buying a second pair of these comfy shoes from Vionic! The arch support is wonderful and takes the stress off my back. I bought the black, grey, and white snake-skin version. They look nice with dress pants as well as jeans,” one satisfied customer writes.
Best Heels: Naturalizer Warner Square Toe Pump
NATURALIZER Warner Square Toe Block Heel Pump
For many women, heels are just part of working life—or a key element of any date night look. However, if you have plantar fasciitis, you should stay away from anything more than three inches. “A high heel can cause shortening of the Achilles tendon, which attaches to the plantar fascia, and the shortened Achilles tendon will pull upon the plantar fascia increasing pain,” Dr. Gerres says.
These slingback pumps by Naturalizer are 1.75 inches high and both look and feel great, on or off the clock. It features the brand’s N5 Contour Fit footbed which molds to the shape of your foot while also provided added stability as you walk. The block heel also ensures stability on your feet. The pump “offers the highest level of comfort and a perfect heel for all-day wear,” one Nordstrom Rack customer says. “There are no negatives about this shoe.”
Best Sandals: OluKai Upena
The adjustable straps on these sandals help keep your foot in place and prevent you from having to grip the shoe to keep it on—something that can further aggravate your injury. The anatomical leather footbed is also contoured and has plenty of arch support.
“My absolute favorite sandals ever. These are the only shoes I can wear all day long without insoles that don’t cause me any foot pain,” one (very honest) reviewer notes. “I’ve had them for over a year now and they’re still going strong. You can’t beat that level of comfort and quality for the price.”
Best Loafers: Clarks Sharon Dolly
Clarks Sharon Dolly
Fit for the office, these loafers have a plush cushioned footbed with extra arch support and EVA outsole made with Cushion Soft technology made for comfort. They also have a rounded toe box and a soft suede upper to give your feet some breathing room. The EVA rubber-like outsole offers great traction for rainy weather too. “[A] rubber outsole is an especially good feature as it can act as an additional shock absorber,” Dr. Bhuta says.
“These shoes are awesome! I’ve been wanting a pair of slip-ones and these are perfect in every way,” one happy customer writes. “Perfect fit, elegant style, beautiful color, great support. Like walking on a cloud! I like them so much that I just ordered a second pair.”