Best Shoes For Heel Pain And Plantar Fasciitis

Heel pain and plantar fasciitis are common conditions that can be debilitating. In fact, one in 5 Americans experience heel pain at some point in their lives. The good news is that there are many ways to relieve your heel pain and help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible. One of the most effective approaches is through the use of specially designed shoes which provide arch support and cushioning for the heel and foot.

In this article we will take a look at some of the best shoes for heel pain and plantar fasciitis so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing new footwear. We’ll also provide tips on how to choose the right shoes based on your specific needs or preferences and how long they should last before needing to be replaced due to wear or tear.

Best Shoes For Heel Pain And Plantar Fasciitis

The 25 Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis, According to Experts

Close up of legs putting on new sneakers

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

To quote Cliff Clavin from Cheers, “If you’re not wearing comfortable shoes, life is just chaos.” If you have plantar fasciitis, you may agree. The best shoes for plantar fasciitis help relieve the tension and pain in your feet (especially your heels) and ultimately keep the chaos in check. 

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

In case you’re unfamiliar with plantar fasciitis, here’s a quick explainer. Susan Eby, PT, MS, owner of Eby Physical Therapy in New York City, tells SELF that the plantar fascia is a fascial band or ligament that runs from the bottom of the calcaneus, or heel bone, to the base of the toes and helps support the long arch of the foot. The plantar fascia becomes thicker with age and with increased body weight. This decreases the flexibility and shock-absorbing ability of the ligament. Plantar fasciitis is caused by repeated stress placed on the plantar fascia, resulting in fibrosis, or scarring of the tendon. It’s characterized by a stabbing pain in the sole of your foot, usually near your heel, and it tends to be more intense in the mornings or after you’ve been off your feet for a while. 

What are Side Effects of Plantar Fasciitis?

Risk factors include tight calf muscles, the repetitive impact from activities such as running, a rapid increase in weight-bearing activity, prolonged standing or walking, and having flat feet and very high arches.

Your choice of footwear can also be an aggravating factor, whether you’re running, walking, or standing for long stretches of time. By choosing better shoes for life in general, you can ward off this annoying foot pain in the future without missing too many steps.

What to Look for When Buying Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

In general, the best shoes for plantar fasciitis will fit correctly (i.e., not too small and wide enough to fit your foot comfortably) and have the right amount of support. “You’ll want a shoe with a deep heel counter and plenty of midfoot arch support,” Carla Gamez, DPM, podiatrist at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute (IBJI), tells SELF.

You should also consider shoes with orthotics or insoles that have substantial heel cups to help with cushioning and shock absorption to avoid heel pain, Eby says. A good pair of insoles can have multiple benefits, such as providing shock absorption and comfort, while correcting malalignment and reducing foot fatigue. But plantar fasciitis is the number one reason custom orthotics are prescribed and worn, says Yolanda Ragland, DPM, a podiatrist and founder of Fix Your Feet in New York City. “Orthotic insoles work to support the arch of the foot, offering relief from plantar fasciitis discomfort.”

Insoles function a bit like a mattress topper for your shoes: You can slip them into any unsupportive pair to add arch support and cushion to an otherwise flat shoe. “Better ankle alignment leads to better walking mechanics, better knee alignment, and just better mechanics of the whole chain,” says Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, owner of Marko Physical Therapy. Additionally, many shoes are flimsy and bendable, and these inserts provide rigidity, so you’re more supported as you walk and have something firm to push off with each step.

What to Avoid When Buying Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Dr. Gamez says to avoid flat, non-supportive shoes or sandals. Those cute flip-flops that sell for $1? Probably not the best plantar fasciitis shoes. Same goes for sneakers without arch support, like Converse or Vans (unless you add orthotics, heel cups, or insoles), and flats.

Speaking of flats, most are low-profile with minimal or no arch support, and they don’t have room to accommodate inserts. If you are shopping for flats, however, look for a slight heel (at least a half inch) to minimize stretching on the plantar fascia, as well as a shoe that stays on your foot without toe gripping (i.e., that has elastic or other straps to secure the shoe to your foot), plus a cushioned insole with some arch support. “Flat shoes by nature will be less supportive, so this is a category where personal comfort is most important,” Eby says.

Best Plantar Fasciitis Shoes

Below, we asked physical therapists and podiatrists what they consider the best shoes for plantar fasciitis (including workout shoes, dress shoes, flats, clogs, sandals, and slippers) along with their recommendations for removable insoles to make any shoe more plantar fascia friendly. You’ll find stylish options from brands such as Teva, Dansko, Hoka One One, Clarks, Oofos, and Superfeet from retailers like Amazon, Nordstrom, REI, and more.

Running Shoes

Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoes

Hoka One One is known for its “maximalist” shoes that starkly contrast with the many minimalist models out there that offer extra speed often at the expense of additional foot support. The Bondi running shoes are some of the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis sufferers, as they’re wide and lightweight yet super cushioned (in fact, they’re Hoka’s most cushioned road-running shoe), says Bianca Beldini, DPT, a physical therapist, founder of Sundala Wellness, and a USA Triathlon Level One coach in New York City.

Asics Gel-Nimbus 21 Running Shoes

Dr. Gamez recommends these ultra-popular Asics for a cushioned ride. Like many Asics shoes, these have gel technology, which absorbs shock as you pound the pavement and thus reduces that stabbing pain. These also have supportive arches and a mesh upper for plenty of wiggle room in your toes.

Saucony Triumph 19

These Saucony sneakers come with a seal of acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), which means they’ve been evaluated by foot and ankle specialists and found to be beneficial to foot health. From its cushioned, springy feel (the softest ride that the brand offers) to its thick, supportive heel, these shoes strike a pleasant balance between sturdy and comfortable, which should provide people with plantar fasciitis the relief they seek.

Topo Athletic Trailventure Trail Running Shoes

The Topo Athletic Trailventure has a seal of acceptance from the APMA due to its anti-compression footbed and major under-heel cushioning, both of which should relieve some of the tension and pain associated with plantar fasciitis. On top of that, these shoes come with all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a high-quality trail runner, including rock plates, rubber outsoles, and ankle protection.

Walking Shoes

Hoka Clifton 8

Hoka shoes have deep heel counters and that iconic cloudlike cushioning, which means that your heels feel “hugged,” making them some of the best walking shoes for people with plantar fasciitis. Dr. Gamez recommends the Cliftons for walking because of its responsive midsole, which helps bring energy into your feet and legs as you walk.

Brooks Addiction Walker 2

The difference between running and walking shoes is that walking shoes are designed more for comfort than hitting your peak performance. So if you have plantar fasciitis, walking shoes are excellent to have on-hand—even just for running errands. Brooks Addiction walking shoes have maximum cushioning plus a comfortable leather upper and excellent grip.

Kuru Pivot

These comfortable walking shoes are specifically designed for people with plantar fasciitis. The brand’s patented Kurusole technology hugs your heels and provides strong arch support so you can walk on any surface with more ease. It supports the fat pad on your foot while standing and walking, explains Dr. Beldini.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21

These shoes have neutral arch support, so they’re ideal for folks with low or neutral arches. Plus, neutral arches help to prevent exacerbating overuse injuries like plantar fasciitis. The shape of the shoe, cushioning, and stability helps to reduce foot movement during walks or jogs.

Casual Shoes

Nisolo Leather Pull On Chelsea Boot

When you have foot conditions like plantar fasciitis or bunions, many of the “best” shoes are simply…orthopedic-looking. Turns out, you can wear regular shoes like boots. These Nisolo boots come backed by podiatrists and, when paired with cozy socks, make an excellent supportive shoe for chillier weather.

Birkenstock Super-Birki Vegan

Clogs are having a moment; even if you have plantar fasciitis, you can still stay up on the trends without making the pain worse. Case in point: these slip-on clogs from Birkenstock. They’re ideal for wearing around the house, gardening, or other low-impact activities. 

Dansko XP 2.0 Clog

With a seal of acceptance from the APMA, this classic Dansko clog is made with foot health (and pain relief) in mind: Its insole not only features a densely cushioned footbed but an arch designed for stability and support, promising all-day comfort.

Chaco Fields Waterproof Chelsea Boots

Chaco is perhaps best known for its outdoorsy, go-anywhere sandals, but the brand also makes stylish boots, like these waterproof Chelseas to which the APMA awarded its seal of acceptance. Reviewers on Chaco’s site have also given their enthusiastic approval, with one customer writing, “I’m recovering from plantar fasciitis and have been on the hunt for stylish boots that also provide good arch support—these boots have been awesome.” Meanwhile, another customer notes that these boots are a great pick to wear all day long: “I have issues with my heels and foot pain and usually all sneakers hurt my feet. I can walk all day in these and be completely pain-free!”


Teva Verra Sandal

These sporty sandals are comfortable, include arch support, and are easy to clean, Dr. Marko says. The strapping system around the front and the back is adjustable for a sturdier fit so your ankle stays secure. Lastly, they hold up with a lot of wear and tear and have a water-resistant finish.

Teva Verras are great for walking longer distances thanks to the backstrap, Dr. Marko adds. Standard flip-flops require a bit more movement and gripping to keep your foot in place. “These sandals will make the plantar fascia on the bottom of your foot tighter because it’s constantly active and working,” she says. “But with its backstrap, you will be able to keep your foot comfortably rested inside the shoe.”

OOFOS Original Sandals

These cushiony, cloudlike Oofos are a SELF Fave for workout recovery (and just padding around the house, honestly), owing to their thick soles, wide range of colors and styles, and versatility. According to Dr. Marko, they check off plenty of plantar fasciitis boxes too, as they have a wide strap at the top of your foot to hold it in place, plus good arch and heel support.

Naot Kayla Sandal Naot

These stylish strappy sandals are comfortable for everything from outdoor events to walking around for hours. They have a cushy memory foam sole and a decent heel lift to keep your feet in alignment.

Oofos Ooahh Luxe Slide Sandal

If flip-flops aren’t your thing, Dr. Gamez recommends Oofos Ooahh slides as a solid alternative. The reviews speak for themselves—but we’ll try to convince you, too. They’re made with the brand’s proprietary foam (which feels akin to memory foam) that absorbs shock, molds to your feet for support and cushioning, and gives support to your ankles, knees, and back. Tote these to the beach, locker room, pool, and everywhere in between.

Dress Shoes and Heels

Clarks Sharon Dolly

Eby rarely recommends flats for her patients, as most women, especially pronators, have short calf muscles. “If the calf is short, the ankle can’t flex enough during gait, so the foot compensates by pronating, which is what we are trying to minimize in plantar fasciitis,” she explains. “The toe gripping, which is required to keep the shoes on the foot, can also be aggravating to the heel.”

Here’s one example of a flat that meets the above criteria: It has a half-inch heel drop, an elastic strap across the instep to help keep the shoe on your foot, and a cushioned insole with moderate arch support, Eby says. These shoes are also lightweight, come in two widths, and are relatively inexpensive.

LifeStride Saldana Pump

Comfortable heeled dress shoes may seem like an oxymoron, but these LifeStride pumps are just that, Dr. Marko says. “While these particular shoes don’t have arch support, the cushioning is like walking on pillows,” she says. “Just having your foot in the heeled position makes the plantar fascia create more of its own arch.”

Ecco Shape 35 Squared Pumps

A low-heeled shoe can go with pretty much anything. These best sellers from Ecco are made entirely from soft leather and a shaped footbed, which is the key for folks with plantar fasciitis. It cups your heel to keep your feet stable, supported, and free from annoying aching pain


Vionic Gemma Mule Slippers

This comfy house slipper is covered in spa-like terry cloth material, and with Vionic’s Orthaheel technology, it offers fantastic support thanks to its built-in arch support and deep heel cup that contains the fat pad under your heel, Eby says. The EVA midsole is shock-absorbing for the heel too. A Velcro closure allows for a custom fit so they stay snug on your feet.

OrthoFeet Charlotte Slippers

If you have wider-than-average feet, these are the slippers for you. The Orthofeets come in two widths, and the orthotic-like inserts provide arch support and foam cushioning, particularly at the heel. “The suede uppers are lined for comfort, and the low heel counter allows for use of alternate insoles or orthotics and gives some heel stability while still allowing you to slide in and out of the slipper with ease,” says Eby. “The toe box is also extra deep to accommodate any toe issues, with Velcro adjustment to fit this slipper snug to your feet.”

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.