Best Shoes For Painful Heels
If you have pain in your heel, the first thing you should do is visit a podiatrist. He or she will be able to tell you what’s causing the pain and advise you on treatment options.
But there are also some simple ways to relieve heel pain at home. These include using anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, icing your foot after exercise, wearing supportive shoes and taking regular breaks when running or walking.
A good pair of shoes can help prevent heel pain by supporting your arches properly. If you already have a problem with your arches, it’s even more important to wear well-fitting shoes that offer arch support and stability.
Here are some tips on finding the best shoes for heel pain:
Pick shoes that fit well and provide plenty of support around the heel area. Look for shoes with an ankle strap or lacing system that helps hold the shoe securely in place so it doesn’t shift around during walking or other activities. You’ll also want a shoe that has enough cushioning under the ball of your foot — particularly if you have high arches — but not so much that it causes pressure over time.
If possible, try on different brands
Best Shoes For Painful Heels
The best shoes for heel spurs have a rigid sole and an elevated heel.
In addition to plantar fasciitis and bunions, heel spurs — blood calcifications at the bottom of the heel — are another common foot ailment.
“The cause is chronic and repetitive micro-tearing of the plantar fascia or Achilles tendon,” says Nelya Lobkova, DPM, podiatrist and owner of Step Up Footcare in New York City. “Over time, the body deposits calcium where the tearing occurs as a reaction to the tearing.”
If left untreated, these spurs can lead to heel pain and inflammation. Luckily, the right pair of shoes can help you manage your symptoms.
The Best Shoes for Heel Spurs
- Best for Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis: HOKA Bondi 8 ($165, Hoka.com)
- Best for Heel Spurs and Achilles Tendonitis: On Cloudstratus ($169.99, On-Running.com)
- Best for Walking: New Balance 990 v5 ($184.95, Nordstrom.com)
- Best for Running: Brooks Dyad 11/ Levitate GTS ($129.95, Zappos.com)
- Best Work Shoes: Oofos Low Shoes (From $133, Amazon)
- Best Sandals: Birkenstock Milano Soft Footbed ($120, Zappos.com)
- Best Insoles/Inserts: Green Superfeet (From $44.69, Amazon)
How We Chose
To put together this list of the best shoes for heel spurs, we tapped two podiatrists for their recommendations. In addition to their input, we narrowed down selections based on the following criteria:
Why Are Certain Shoes Marketed to Men or Women?
We’ve included both men’s and women’s shoes on this list, as brands typically market their products based on gender. Anatomically speaking, though, men’s and women’s feet are similar. The key distinction between the two is a slight inward curve in a woman’s foot compared to a man’s foot. Because of this difference, shoes marketed to women have a slight inward curvature. However, “in reality, the differences are very small and almost negligible,” Dr. Lobkova says.
1. Best for Heel Spurs and Plantar Fasciitis: HOKA Bondi 7
It’s no surprise that Dr. Lobkova recommends the Bondi 7. They are extremely comfortable to wear and provide “great cushioning for concrete streets” or hard surfaces, she says.
Made of a cushioned midsole, the Bondi 7 absorbs shock to reduce heel spur pain and the outer layer is designed with a breathable mesh.
Additionally, each shoe has a memory foam collar to reduce heel friction and is designed to accommodate people with narrower heels.
Buy it: Hoka.com (women’s sizes 5 to 12); Hoka.com (men’s sizes 7 to 16) Price: $165
2. Best for Heel Spurs and Achilles Tendonitis: On Cloudstratu
Achilles tendonitis is caused by repetitive or intense strain on your Achilles tendon while walking, running or jumping. Having a cushioned and supportive shoe can relieve some of the pressure.
Made from the brand’s signature cloud technology, the On Cloudstratus work to absorb the shock during short and long-distance runs, and the shoe’s additional height relieves heel tension.
It’s also a “wide, supportive shoe made for everyday walking,” Dr. Lobkova says.
Buy it: On-Running.com (women’s sizes 5 to 11); On-Running.com (men’s sizes 7 to 14); Price: $169.99
3. Best for Walking: New Balance 990 v5
Having a good pair of walking shoes can help to eliminate heel spur pain, and this New Balance pair checks all the boxes.
This hybrid lifestyle and running shoe is recommended by Dr. Lobkova for its engineered sole, which supports the foot’s natural alignment and provides “mild arch support.”
If the sole doesn’t impress, don’t fret. You can remove the insoles for custom orthotics.
The shoe does come with a heftier price tag, but it’s reinforced with a durable rubber to withstand areas of wear and tear, making it worth the investment.
Buy it: Nordstrom.com (men’s sizes 7.5 to 14); NewBalance.com (women’s sizes 5 to 13); Price: $184.95
4. Best for Running: Brooks Dyad 11/ Levitate GTS
Made with a foam insole and high cushioning, Brooks Dyad 11 offers heel support that allow you to go the distance. The soles have a gender-friendly cushioning design, which supports the natural running mechanics of your feet, and the heel crash pad absorbs shock upon impact.
Additional stability is offered in the firm plastic surrounding the midsole, Dr. Lobkova says.
The shoe is breathable, thanks to its fabric lining, and it received the seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting good foot health.
(Psst: Check out our full guide to the best running shoes for every foot shape, running style and stability need.)
Buy it: Zappos.com (sizes 6 to 12); Price: $129.95
5. Best Work Shoes: Oofos Oomg Low Shoes
If you’re on your feet all day, Dr. Lobkova recommends Oofos Low Shoes. They’re designed to cradle the footbed and prevent your ankles from being overworked.
The brand touts its highly absorbent foam insole, which absorbs 37 percent more impact than other foams and reduces pressure on your feet, joints and back.
Made of a breathable fabric, the outer layer allows airflow to prevent your feet from overheating.
Buy it: Amazon (women’s sizes 5 to 12); Amazon (men’s sizes 8 to 14); Price: From $133
6. Best Sandals: Birkenstock Milano Soft Footbed
The Birkenstock Milano cradles all feet types with its contoured footbed, which molds to the shape of your foot with each wear.
The straps are made of acrylic and polyamide felt fibers to prevent irritation and skin friction. The sandal also comes in a style with a backstrap, but Dr. Lobkova recommends avoiding that pair if you’re experiencing posterior spurs.
Bonus: It comes in regular and wide widths to accommodate different foot sizes.
Buy it: Zappos.com (women’s sizes 5 to 12.5 and men’s sizes 6 to 13.5); Price: $120
7. Best Insoles/Inserts: Green Superfeet
Shoe inserts are a great way to add more support to you shoe, and this one “adds a specified foam disk and heel spur pad in the area of the heel spur,” Dr. Lobkova explains.
Made of high-density foam, these insoles support and stabilize the rear foot. To use, simply trim the excess to fit into your shoe.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: From $44.69
What to Look for in a Shoe for Heel Spurs
When looking for a shoe for heel spurs, Dr. Lobkova recommends a rigid sole, as that dictates the stability of the shoe.
“Someone with heel spurs needs extra rigidity in the sole and cushioning in the midfoot to prevent impact on the heel,” she explains.
To see whether your sole is rigid enough, Dr. Lobkova recommends a test: “Hold the front of the shoe with one hand and the back of the shoe with another hand. Try to twist the shoe side to side. There should be minimal to no twisting motion possible.”
2. Heel Elevation
“A heel drop of 6 millimeters or higher will take pressure off the plantar and posterior spur,” says Dr. Lobkova. You can also elevate the heel, which supinates the foot and reduces the stretch on the Achilles and plantar fascia insertion.
Suzanne Levine, DPM, RPT, PC, podiatric foot surgeon and Millenium Podiatry founder, recommends avoiding flat shoes, as they can cause too much pressure on your heel.
3. Heel Counter
For people with posterior heel spurs, Dr. Lobkova recommends shoes with a soft heel counter, as a firm heel counter may irritate the Achilles insertion. If the heel spur is consistently irritated, it can cause internal blisters.