Do you suffer from plantar fasciitis but want to create a walking habit?
If so, picking the correct walking shoe is vital for easing your pain and speeding up recovery.
Fortunately, there are a number of choices available for the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis. In this article, we’ll talk a bit about the plantar fasciitis condition, who is at risk for developing this orthopedic condition, how to choose the best pair of walking shoes for your unique needs, and eleven specific walking shoes available for both men and women.
Don’t have time to read the entire review? Here’s a quick look at our top picks for the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis:
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for Women:
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for Men:
What You Need to Know About Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick, fibrous ligament that runs along the bottom of your foot develops tears in the tissue. This long ligament, known as the plantar fascia, acts as a shock absorber for every step you take.
When it becomes inflamed, it results in the most common form of heel pain. Plantar fasciitis pain can be felt near where the fascia meets the heel bone.
The most common discomfort that results from plantar fasciitis is an aching or stabbing pain in the heel. But some people feel pain in the bottom mid-foot area. The pain develops gradually with time and typically affects only one foot, but it can impact both feet.
Most people suffering from this condition will especially feel the pain in the morning after getting out of bed because the ligament tends to tighten up when it is not being used, such as during sleep. But once the pressure is placed on the ligament, it becomes tightened, and the pain is especially acute.
The pain decreases as the tissue loosens up, but can return after long periods of standing or after getting up after sitting down for a long time. After doing physical activity, the pain can flare up because of increased inflammation. But the pain isn’t typically felt while you are being physically active, rather just after you stop.
Plantar fasciitis typically does not require surgery to be fixed. More conservative treatments, such as choosing the right shoes, are usually all that are needed to fix this condition. But because every person is different, recovery times can vary.
Who Is at Risk for Plantar Fasciitis and Why You Need the Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
If you are already experiencing plantar fasciitis, you need shoes to help alleviate the pain and prevent your condition from worsening. Among the most popular causes of this condition is wearing incorrect shoes.
Often, shoes do not fit correctly or do not provide enough support or cushioning. If you walk or exercise in shoes that do not fit properly, your weight distribution becomes imperfect, and you can put significant stress on the plantar fascia ligament.
People who are at a higher risk for plantar fasciitis include:
A Short Guide on Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Your plantar fascia ligament bears a lot of pressure because it has to constantly hold your weight in addition to battling the opposing force that comes from the ground. Things get worse if you have fasciitis. And if you are not wearing the right shoes, simple tasks such as getting out of bed can be very painful.
It is key to have the right type of shoes for plantar fasciitis that can reinforce your feet and maintain their proper alignment. The shoes should also reduce the “windlass mechanism” because this is what stresses the ligament when you walk. The shoes should also be able to reduce the pressure you put on your Achilles tendon.
While various types of shoes can support your plantar fasciitis, having the right shoes means that you have shoes designed to support both your arch and your heel because this is what is needed to reduce your pain.
The best types are shoes that have a supportive footbed in addition to good arch support. Having shoes with cushions on the heel will also provide you with more comfort and give you the relief that you need.
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for Women
1. Best Overall Choice for Women: Orthofeet Women’s Verve-Turquoise Tie-Less Lace
This will prove the right shoe for you if you have an active lifestyle. Orthofeet Verve Women’s Athletic shoes provide anatomical arch support, have a non-binding and relaxed fit, and provide the user with maximum protection in areas of the foot where pressure points are located.
They have a premium orthotic insole as well as ergonomic cushioned soles that help soften each step you take while also improving your stability and allowing your feet to move naturally.
These shoes are engineered to help reduce pain while walking and improve comfort for people who have sensitive feet. They have a deep, wide toe box to let your feet take up the space that they naturally would if you were wearing no shoes at all.
Compared to non-orthotic shoe options, you will find that these features make them ideal for your lifestyle. From the anatomical arch support to the wide toe box and tie-less lacing system, it is the perfect shoe for any foot shape.
2. Best Value for Women: Ryka Women’s Sky Walking Shoe
If you enjoy casual walking/running, the Ryka Women’s Sky Walking Shoes are the best shoes for you, and they are one of the more affordable options we have included on our list. They feature rubber outsoles for firm traction and durability, yet they have a very lightweight EVA midsole and TPU midfoot shank, making them easy to move around in and do a light jog if you wish.
These shoes are made from rubber and mesh, so they are breathable yet durable. They have supportive leather overlays to ensure comfort and support. They also come in various colors, so you can pick a style that best matches your personal preferences.
The sock liner is made of memory foam, which cushions your own unique shape to provide you with individualized support. The sole of the RYKA Women’s Sky Walking Shoe is curved especially to fit the shape of a woman’s foot, meaning your muscles and foot will properly engage to encourage you to walk better.
Why choose these shoes over others? These shoes are made for women, designed for unique foot shapes, and encourage positive muscle movement and build.
3. Best for Women with an Active Lifestyle: Orthofeet Women’s Tahoe-White Tie-Less Lace
This is the best option for women, especially those that live a more active lifestyle, because they are made to slip on and go. The Orthofeet Tahoe sneaker has a non-binding fit, a wide toe box, and optimal protection on and around your pressure points. The anatomical insole and ergonomic sole will give you unrivaled support while still providing excellent cushioning, making each step soothing and comfortable.
These shoes have a tie-less lace, which is an advanced system that combines laces with hook and loop straps, allowing you to have an easy way to tighten and untighten your shoes on both sides without having to tie laces.
The orthotic support in these shoes is offered by high-quality Ortho-Comfort brand orthotic insoles, which have anatomical arch support and several layers of cushioning to help perfect your foot and leg alignment, improve your comfort, and reduce the amount of stress you put on your heel and the rest of your foot.
These shoes have an orthotic-friendly design with removable insoles that leave ample space to put in your own custom-made orthotics. They also come with an Ergonomic-Stride(TM) design to ensure the soles are lightweight but still able to soften your stride, while the shoe’s design helps push your body forward.
4. Best for Pain Relief for Women: Gravity Defyer Athletic Shoes
These Gravity Defyer athletic shoes for women are known for providing pain relief for those suffering from knee pain but also do wonders for a plantar fasciitis sufferer. They have shown to help tremendously and is a pair of shoes that can be worn all day for great arch support.
With your purchase of these Gravity Defyer athletic shoes, you also receive a bonus free pair of podiatrist-grade corrective fit orthotic soles. We have found that these soles help correct body alignment, which is much needed for plantar fasciitis.
The breathable mesh upper of this comfortable shoe allows for improved ventilation and flexibility, and the roomy toe box provides extra room for comfort and improves blood circulation. The front rolling forefoot design of these women’s athletic shoes allows for smooth movements and stability, and the removable insoles accommodate custom orthotic support.
This ion pain-relieving shoe has VersoShock patented technology, a lightweight PU core, a perforated finish that keeps your feet cool and dry, 5.5 mm forefoot foam thickness, foam cushioning, and antimicrobial treated lining cover.
These are different from other walking shoe options because it is an ion pain-relieving shoe. It is specifically designed for people who need pain relief while walking.
5. Most Budget-Friendly for Women: Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker Sneaker
The Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker Sneaker is a comfortable, supportive shoe that provides excellent cushioning and stability at an affordable price. Saucony has pioneered innovative sole-based stability and a cushioning system called the Grid. The biomechanical fit, midfoot support bridge, and heel-centered stability make these shoes a great choice for people suffering from plantar fasciitis and foot pain.
The Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker Sneaker has a synthetic upper with a lace-up vamp and mesh tongue for breathability. The midfoot has a support bridge with impact protection, and the interior has a soft and comfortable sock liner. The rubber outsole provides excellent traction and slip-resistance with an asymmetrical and biomechanical fit. The rearfoot Grid system provides additional cushioning and stability.
The Saucony Women’s Grid Omni Walker Sneaker comes in either all black or in white and silver and is available in standard and wide width sizes.
6. Best Walking Sandals for Women: Orthofeet Naples Orthotic Sandals
Orthofeet is famous for making stylish and comfortable orthotic shoes. It can be difficult to find a summer sandal with the support and comfort you need to protect sensitive feet, but these sandals are stylish, summery, and supportive.
The Naples sandals are certified by Medicare and qualified as therapeutic shoes by the Diabetic Shoe Bill and are doctor-recommended for heel pain, foot pain, and plantar fasciitis.
The Orthofeet Naples Orthotic Sandals are lightweight, with air cushioning for comfort and protection. The soft uppers have seam-free fabric lining with extra padding to keep sensitive feet dry and comfortable without binding or pressure.
They have a heel strap for extra adjustability and stability in the heel. These shoes have extra room in the toe box and multiple layers of cushioning, with removable spacers in case more room is needed. The anatomical insoles provide excellent arch support and impact protection while enhancing stability.
The ergonomic stride outsole has air cushioning, and the extra deep design allows room for custom orthotics if needed.
The Orthofeet Naples Orthotic Sandals come in blue, grey, or tan colors and are available in standard, wide, and extra-wide sizes. They have a half-inch drop from heel to toe. Orthofeet invites customers to enjoy a risk-free 60-day trial, with free shipping and free returns, so you can try these comfortable, fashionable sandals at no risk.
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for Men
7. Best Overall Choice for Men: Orthofeet Men’s Tacoma Stretchable
The high-quality orthotic insole and the ergonomic, cushioned sole work together to lighten each step you take, improve your stability, and foster the natural movements of your feet. These shoes are ideal for those suffering from plantar fasciitis and are also recommended for people who have diabetes, neuropathy, corns, arthritis, hammertoes, pronation, and bunions.
A biomechanical expert has engineered these shoes to help reduce pain in the ball of the foot, heel, arch, knees, and lower back. They have a deep, wide toe box that lets your feet relax and spread out as they naturally do for increased comfort.
8. Best Runner-Up Option for Men: New Balance Men’s MW877 Walking Shoe
If you stand while you work, the New Balance Men’s MW877 Walking Shoes are the best shoes for you. They are made from a mixture of suede and mesh and have a great rubber sole for traction control. Their classic look is easily recognizable as being a popular shoe choice among people with all kinds of foot support needs, so they don’t appear to be orthotics, which some people prefer.
These New Balances have an ABZORB midsole cushioning, which helps absorb the shock of every step you take so less pressure is put on your ligaments. And the shoes give you more energy return than other options. They also include Walking Strike Path technology, which makes them lightweight.
These shoes are perfectly designed to fit any foot without pinching, and because they are light, they make you feel like you are barefoot. They come with the traditional padded tongue and collar to further provide you with maximum comfort.
9. Best Value for Men: Saucony Men’s Grid Omni Walker Walking Shoe
The Saucony Men’s Grid Omni Walker is specifically designed to solve foot pain and problems due to pronation, with a compression-molded midsole that provides extra stability and a higher durometer that slows and reduces pronation. Made for walkers, but with all the technical advances of a running shoe, this athletic shoe provides excellent support and comfort at an affordable price.
The Saucony Men’s Grid Omni Walker has a leather and synthetic upper for great fit and style. The mid-foot bridge supports the arch and provides extra cushioning.
They have a forefoot high-rebound compound for impact protection and a rear-foot grid system with an asymmetric sole for an engineered biomechanical fit. The Walk Trac patented outsole design creates a smooth transition at every step.
The Saucony Men’s Grid Omni Walker comes in black or white with silver accents and standard or wide width sizes.
10. Best for Maximum Comfort for Men: Brooks Men’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes
If you prefer to have leather walking shoes, these might be the shoes for you. The Brooks Men’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes are the best leather walking shoes, and they have a casual and contemporary look.
These shoes provide optimal support to low arches and can properly control pronation. These shoes are durable, as they are made from full-grain leather and nubuck, which means they will last for a long time while still being comfortable. They also have a fabric lining that includes a removable sock liner to further match your personal style.
These Brooks walking shoes use HydroFlow® technology to improve cushioning in the midsole and increase shock absorption. This unique technology has the added placement of dynamic fluid in the sole to ensure your feet are comfortable. They also use an innovative MoGo midsole, which gives you a stable yet cushiony feel and provides you with increased energy return.
These shoes have optimal pronation control due to the presence of an extended progressive diagonal rollbar. This dual-density post is located in the middle of the arch, which gives you progressive pronation control. Users find these shoes to be durable and flexible while still offering optimal motion control for the duration of every step you take.
These shoes are skid-resistant and give you a lot of traction when walking. They fit and feel like a running shoe would but are perfect for everyday walking use.
11. Stylish Shoe for Men: Orthofeet Men’s Baton Rouge Sand Boat Shoes
Orthofeet specializes in innovative, comfortable orthotic shoes, using their expertise in foot biomechanical function and orthotic design to make doctor-recommended shoes proven to alleviate the pain of plantar fasciitis and neuropathy, pronation, and other painful feet conditions. These casual boat shoes have a relaxed style and soft leather upper for classic fashion in a supportive shoe that looks as great as it feels.
The Orthofeet Men’s Baton Rouge Sand Boat Shoes have everything you need to manage foot pain and plantar fasciitis in a stylish, high-quality shoe. These comfortable shoes have a non-binding fit, with a soft leather upper that gives plenty of room for toe movement without pressure points. The padded collar and seam-free lining reduce friction. They have anatomical orthotic insoles for great support throughout the foot, lined with antimicrobial foam and fabric to reduce odor.
The Ergonomic Stride sole has special cushioning air pocket inserts to relieve heel pain. These shoes come with removable cushioning spacers, so you can have an adjustable fit for more room as needed or for your own custom orthotic inserts.
The Orthofeet Men’s Baton Rouge Sand Boat Shoes come in a natural sand brown or a brown version with a tie-less lace for easier adjusting. They are available in medium, wide, or extra wide sizes, and each pair comes with a free set of premium orthotic insoles. Orthofeet offers a 60-day wear test with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can try them with no risk.
How to Choose the Best Walking Shoes to Alleviate Pain from Plantar Fasciitis
If you fix your shoes, you will likely be able to fix your symptoms. It is best to do this as soon as you begin to feel pain from this condition because prolonging treatment for plantar fasciitis can quickly worsen the condition.
A mild aching may turn into a chronic problem, such as a change in your gait as you try to counteract pain while you are moving. A change like this can then lead to knee, hip, or back pain as well.
When you are looking for a shoe, there are several things you want to consider:
A Supportive Arch
The arch is one of the most critical structural features of feet, which endure 200,000 to 300,000 pounds of stress per mile of travel. Your arches absorb the pressure that is put on your feet with every step you take. Not only can arch heights significantly vary from person to person, but they can also change as you age.
Having a shoe with a properly supportive arch can avert a variety of musculoskeletal issues that may otherwise lead to a disability. It is important to support low or high arches with appropriate footwear that fits well. Doing this can help prevent many of the problems from over or under-pronation.
An Adequately Wide Toe Box
The toe box is the very front of a shoe that covers and protects your toes. The shapes and styles of the boxes vary from shoe to shoe depending on the type, but with walking shoes, the box should always be large enough to accommodate your toes comfortably.
Finding a shoe with a toe box that fits perfectly can be difficult, but it is worth it. If your toe box doesn’t fit properly, it can cause blisters, calluses, ingrown toenails, and crooked toes. It can also lead to more major issues like nerve inflammation, pain, and arthritis.
If a shoe feels tight around your toes, your feet will lose their ability to move naturally, which can lead to the aforementioned health problems. It is important to get your feet properly measured at a shoe store to find your exact size to avoid this issue.
If you take out the insoles of your walking shoes and stand on them and your toes, or your feet surpass the edges, the toe box is too small. Your pain could be resolved easily by buying a pair of shoes designed for your feet’ shape.
If you have plantar fasciitis, having shoes with cushions on the heel will also provide you with more comfort and give you the relief that you need.
A Deep Heel Cup with Adjustable Cushioning
Heel cups are designed to support your heels. Many foot problems, including plantar fasciitis, can be irritated by improper support and inadequate shock absorption in your soles.
Heel cups are designed to provide your entire heel with cushioning, from the portion that makes initial contact with the ground to the edges and end of the heel. It is important to be able to adjust this cushioning as needed in your walking shoes so you always have proper support.
Solid Support and Cushioning
There are many reasons you need walking shoes with solid support and cushioning. You need proper support for your fascia ligament and shoes that have enough cushioning to allow for proper shock absorption, so the job isn’t left entirely up to your feet.
Walking shoes with solid support will encourage proper walking motion by correcting over-pronation or supination. They will also help prevent other injuries by reducing your risk of falling by stabilizing your feet.
Did you know that almost 25% of the bones and joints in your body are located in your feet?
Your feet were made to flex, move, bend, and feel the ground beneath you. If you wear inflexible shoes, your senses are muted, and your feet stop telling your brain where your feet are in your stride or how you need to walk in your current conditions. It is important to have flexible walking shoes so you can allow your body to walk as naturally as it can.
Now that you know what you are looking for in a pair of walking shoes and why you need them, let’s look at some options that we have deemed to be the best products on the market right now.
A Final Word on Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
The best choices for men’s and women’s walking shoes for plantar fasciitis come from the OrthoFeet brand. They specialize in creating footwear specifically for people with plantar fasciitis, and podiatrists often recommend their shoes.
This brand of shoes is biomechanically engineered and comes with unique features that cannot be found in other brands. The advanced construction of the shoes combined with the anatomical orthotic insoles has relieved millions of people from the pain of plantar fasciitis and improved mobility, enhanced overall comfort, and relieved knee and lower back pain.
Looking for more information about the best walking shoes? Why not check out some of these related posts:
- 5 Best Walking Shoes for Men With Flat Feet (2023 Review)
- 5 Best Walking Shoes for Rainy Weather (2023 Review)
- The 5 Best Women’s Walking Shoes for High Arches
Walking Shoe and Plantar Fasciitis FAQ
Still have questions while hunting for the best shoe for plantar fasciitis? Review the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions below.
Can you wear hiking shoes when you have plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is considered a repetitive strain injury. So, if you love hiking, you should build up to a longer and more difficult hike very slowly. Allow your body some time to adjust. With that being said, there are a few good hiking shoe options for plantar fasciitis sufferers. These hiking shoes are ergonomically designed and help you maintain the natural alignment of your foot.
- Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boots
- KEEN Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots
- Foxelli Women’s Hiking Boots
What is the best heel height for plantar fasciitis?
Proper heel height is critical for plantar fasciitis sufferers because you want to put the least strain possible on your plantar fascia. So, the proper heel height will be a 10mm difference between the heel and forefoot. A low heel height can strain the Achilles tendon and exacerbate your plantar fasciitis. Alternatively, avoid a high heel as well because it can put a lot of pressure on your feet.
People with flat feet or a high arch need to wear supportive shoes, or they are at increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis, which can worsen their current condition.
What kind of shoes should I wear for plantar fasciitis at home?
You should wear orthotic insoles that provide anatomical arch support to relieve foot pain and plantar fasciitis when hanging around the house. The right shoe to wear at home provides good arch support and provides good cushioning.
There are some sandal and flip flop orthotic options if you want a supportive shoe but don’t want to wear a walking or running shoe. Some of these options also work if you have heel spur pain.
- Skechers Women’s Reggae-Mad Woven Sandal
- Vionic Women’s Tide II Toe Post Sandal
- Birkenstock Unisex Footbed Sandal
What should you avoid when picking out a walking shoe if you have plantar fasciitis?
One of the biggest things to avoid when you have plantar fasciitis is a minimalist shoe. There is little to no stability in the sole, no cushioning under the heel, and they allow for maximum stress to be placed on the heel bone. You should also avoid wearing cheap flip flops or sandals that lack sufficient arch support and high heels that will put a lot of pressure on the feet.