Best Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis of 2019 (How to Use Them Right)
Here’s the brutal truth about shoes for plantar fasciitis:
Over 90% of the shoes on the market will make your heel pain worse.
That’s why choosing the PERFECT shoes is a crucial step if you truly want to get rid of your plantar fasciitis.
It’s important for you to know that even the best supportive shoes won’t cure your plantar fasciitis alone.
As I said, it’s just a “step”.
If you want a complete solution for your plantar fasciitis, go and follow this comprehensive guideand come back here later.
Before you choose shoes for plantar fasciitis, you have to know that:
Plantar fasciitis is mainly caused by wearing supportive shoes.
Yes, wearing shoes and orthotics weakens your feet and will cause your plantar fasciitis to come back again.
Human populations that don’t usually wear shoes rarely, if ever, suffer from plantar fasciitis.
With that said, to get rid of your plantar fasciitis once and for all, your primary goal is to develop your foot strength. But because you are already in pain, you will need to progress gradually and slowly from “full-supportive” shoes to minimalist footwear. Keep reading and I will show you how..
How to Use This Guide
At the top of the best shoes, it’s important to keep an eye on two metrics:
Support Level (from 10 to 1):
- 7-10 represents a “top-supportive” shoe for severe pain.
- 3-6 represents a “semi-supportive” shoe. You will need this type of shoe for the time when the pain subsides. This is the stage when you need to begin to strengthen your foot to prevent any future plantar fasciitis. (Gradually progress from a “top supportive” shoe to minimal footwear, remember?)
- 1-2 represents a minimalistic shoe. After a few months with “semi-supportive” shoes, you will want to finally progress to minimalistic shoes (or barefoot) to maximize your foot strength. In the last section, I will mention some of our top minimalistic shoe picks.
2. Support Type (pronation) – The kind of heel support you will need to look for in a shoe depends on how your foot pronates. Both under and overpronation can cause plantar fasciitis. But the support you need will differ based on your foot. To make things clear you should know that:
- People with low arches (flat feet) normally overpronate
- High-arched people typically underpronate (supination)
- People with normal arches are just neutral
- The “neutral shoes” I will mention in this guide can fit both mild overpronators and mild underpronators.
Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Women
1. New Balance Women’s 1080
- Support Level: 10
- Support Type: Neutral to Underpronation (for Overpronation check the 940 Model)
The New Balance 1080 is one of my best picks for 2019. It has a lot of cushioning around the collar and in the footbed so this will be a very comfortable shoe to wear while walking—or running since it is a running shoe, after all. Beyond the cushioning, there is some asymmetrical heel counter to keep the foot locked into place.
It will hold your foot in a healthier position while also cushioning the shock from your step so that your heel doesn’t get further inflamed. The sole design will also redistribute shock so that it’s not shooting straight through your heel. So these are an amazing choice for all day wear while you’re recovering from severe plantar fasciitis.
Pros: Perfect for severe pain. Super comfortable design that protects the heel and holds the foot in place.
Cons: Weight of shoe may bother some
2. Brooks Ghost
- Support Level: 10
- Support Type: Neutral
From what I’ve found in my research, a lot of women’s running shoes have stiffer soles that make them really bad for your feet if you’ve got plantar fasciitis. So it’s a lot harder to find a running shoe for women that will actually provide the support and cushioning that you need. The Ghost model is one of the few that doesn’t have the problem. It has a softer rubber sole. Rubber is a great choice because this is a material that is solid enough to provide support but flexible and soft enough to not force the foot into a weird position.
The arch support has been designedfor those with a neutral arch or slight underpronation so it has a lower arch but a bit of a firmer sole. The sole also has this nice split design from the middle down the heel that helps redistribute and absorb shock so that it spreads around the heel rather than shooting straight through it. Overall, the Ghost model is another awesome choice for severe heel pain.
Pros: Great support for underpronation, great shock absorption in the heel.
Cons: Still a little on the stiffer side compared to other options.
3. Mizuno Wave Rider
- Support Level: 6
- Support Type: Neutral to Underpronation
The Wave Rider will help hold your heel in place and keep it protected from the shock of walking or running. But what I found really interesting about the design is that despite the stiff sole, this shoe is built with a wider, flexible toe. So this combination would allow you to minimize pain and injury while also training and strengthening your foot to prevent future injuries. You can use a toe spreader or orthotics with these which makes them a good transition shoe as well (Transition to a “semi-supportive” shoe). You can start with these inserts and then phase them out over time rather than having to buy different shoes for different stages of your recovery.
Pros: A unique blend of great arch support and flexibility at the toe help to gently strengthen your foot.
Cons: Ride could be a little softer
4. Saucony Guide 10
The Guide 10 from Saucony is better for the middle phase of recovering from plantar fasciitis. When your pain has settled to maybe a 6 or 7 (out of 10). It has a mid-range heel drop of 8mm that will help naturally encourage you to walk more on the middle of your foot rather than on your heel. This is important because striking the ground heel first is one of the most common ways people damage their feet in the first place. So this shoe helps to correct the problem. But it does that while still providing a lot of cushioning that will keep your foot protected. The sole also has a nice design that maintains flexibility while also redistributing shock around the foot rather than letting it shoot straight through the heel. In my opinion the Guide 10 could also easily become your everyday shoe to prevent problems in the future.
Pros: A great everyday shoe for preventing heel pain in the long run. Awesome pre-transition to minimalistic shoes.
Cons: Runs a ½ size small so consider buying a ½ size bigger.
5. Z-Coil Shoes
If you are sick and tired of heel pain, can’t walk far, and want immediate results, go for Z-Coil. These shoes have been designed with the goal of minimizing impact as much as possible. They’ve got a steel coil in the heel that provides the perfect amount of spring back so that you can walk (or run) without your heel ever suffering the sharp impact. While the steel coil is definitely the most unique feature of this shoe, it’s definitely not the only feature.
It also has a huge amount of padding in both the heel and the toe. The toe box is wide enough to allow your toes to spread naturally. Even the sole on the bottom of the shoe is padded to further cushion against impact. And inside the shoe, you’ve got a built-in orthotic that provides the support you would expect from a plantar fasciitis shoe.
These shoes provide the best support in the market. And it’s exactly what you need if you’re in serious pain from plantar fasciitis. These are designed to be the ideal recovery shoes.
Pros: The best design for minimizing impact and protecting a healing foot.
Cons: Looks somewhat funny for some.
The Features of the Right Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
The main job of a recovery shoe is to provide great arch support and proper cushioning to the heel. You want to minimize the impact to your foot that happens when walking. And you want to gently hold your foot in a proper position to correct improper walking gait.
So when choosing shoes with good arch support, you need to consider the following factors:
Cushioning in the sole decreases the pain from the impact. And cushioning in the upper part helps to hold your foot in a healthier position and prevent improper pronation.
Heel drop is a term used to refer to the incline in the shoe. That is, how much is your heel raised above your toes. A shoe with zero heel drop would mean that your heel and toe are level and your whole foot forms a flat line.
A higher drop forces you to land in the middle or front of your foot. This prevents you from slamming down on your heel as you normally would in a lower shoe.
The bottom of the shoe is where you’ll find most of the features that decrease impact. What you want to look for is a stiff outer sole and a heel that is formed in a way that redistributes the shock of impact around the shoe.
The toe box is the front of the shoe where, you guessed it, your toes go. It’s an often overlooked part but it is important. For plantar fasciitis, you want to make sure that it’s a bit on the wider side. Toes naturally spread out for balance and impact distribution when you walk. If the toe box is too narrow, they can’t spread as much as they need to. This puts a strain on your foot, weakens your toes, and can make plantar fasciitis worse.
Now that you know what kind of factors going into choosing a shoe for plantar fasciitis, it’s time to look at some real examples. I’ve done some extensive research, read through countless reviews, and compiled a list of some of the best shoes for plantar fasciitis to help you learn more about your options and find the right shoe for you!