8 Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Relief (May 2023)
After checking more than 20 pairs of walking shoes for plantar fasciitis, Hoka One One Clifton 7 quickly landed as our top pick for the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Finding comfortable walking shoes for plantar fasciitis is essential as it is the most common cause of heel pain in people with foot pain. Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition where the heel becomes inflamed, causing the inflammation to spread up the calf muscles. The pain can be so severe that some people cannot walk or stand for long hours on their feet.
“Plantar fascia absorbs the high strains and stresses that people place on the feet. However, in some cases, when the plantar fascia becomes inflamed, it begins to swell and become stiff. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the tissue becomes damaged due to too much pressure, which causes it to stiffen. This can cause pain in the bottom of the foot, and make it difficult to walk,” explains Leonard Greenwald, D.P.M, CEO of Foot Doctor Insanjose.
The best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis should have high-quality cushioning and shock-absorbing properties to relieve the pain and prevent injury. Moreover, plantar fasciitis shoes have a supportive midsole and flexible outsole.
Walking shoes with a flexible outsole and a soft cushioning in the heel can help to reduce the pressure on the foot, and provide comfort. You can also wear shoes that have a deep toe box and a high instep so that the foot is not compressed and there is no stress on the heel.
So, after several hours of research, testing, and asking several people suffering from plantar fasciitis issues, I have reviewed the 8 most comfortable walking shoes for plantar fasciitis that are doctor recommended as they will help you to walk comfortably without heel pain. Insoles are also important to treat plantar fasciitis. I have detailed them at the end of the guide. So, kindly read it till the end.
Bonus Read: Crosstraining Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Before diving further, I would say every foot and person is different, and consulting a specialist for plantar fasciitis is a very wise first step. Shoe brands are important, but some exercises are also required to treat plantar fasciitis that can only be recommended by a physical therapist.
Table of Contents
Features of the Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Walking shoes are perfect for all-day wear, whether you’re at work or going on a casual stroll. However, if you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, you’ll need to buy walking shoes that are specifically designed with your condition in mind.
Support for the Heel and Arch of the Foot
“80% of heel pain is caused by a condition known as plantar fasciitis,” says Dr. Gauntt.
Good shoes for plantar fasciitis should provide adequate arch support to help with heel pain; they should also provide strong lateral stability, both underfoot and around the ankle, to reduce strain on the plantar fascia.
People with flat feet are more prone to plantar fasciitis because the excessive weight on the foot and inability of shock absorption due to the absence of the arch causes the plantar fascia to overstretch. In such cases, we need to look for the deep heel cup in the walking shoes for plantar fasciitis so that prevents rolling of the foot during long-distance walks.
It is important to look for shoes that correct foot imbalance (pronation). Shoes with motion control are helpful for over-pronators, while cushioned shoes can make normal feet more comfortable.
A Cushioning Sole
Plantar fasciitis and heel spur are often caused by placing too much stress on the rearfoot. So, you need a soft material in your plantar fasciitis shoes that absorbs some of that impact and shock to relieve the stress from the heel and prevent heel spur. A good plantar fasciitis shoe will have a light, shock-absorbent midsole.
A number of footwear manufacturers are using foam materials that return energy back to the foot as it hits the ground with each step, thus preventing plantar fasciitis pain. Softer midsoles are better for people who suffer from plantar fasciitis because they reduce strain on the feet, knees, and hips.
Correct Shoe Size
Keep in mind that one of the main reasons for developing plantar fasciitis is wearing shoes that are too small or narrow for your feet. If you want to prevent this painful condition, ensure you have enough room in the toe box area of your plantar fasciitis shoe so your toes are not rubbing against the front of your shoe walking. Also, make sure there is enough space in the heel so your foot can move freely and not get squeezed.
Purchase a shoe that fits well and is neither too long nor too short. If you wear socks, wear them when trying on new shoes to ensure they fit well with or without them. Your feet swell during the day, so it’s important to take this into account when buying your shoes, whether online or at an actual shoe store.
No Slipping Shoes
Make sure you get a snug grip around your ankle; plantar fasciitis sufferers often complain of “the feeling of their feet slipping forward” in their shoes while walking or jogging. If the shoe slips against the back of your foot, it can cause inflammation on your heel which could worsen the condition of plantar fasciitis.
What Exactly Is Plantar Fasciitis?
The plantar fascia is a thick tissue that connects the toes with the heel bone or calcaneus. It is a supporting structure of the foot and it is found under the skin at the bottom of the foot. This tissue supports the arch of the foot. It is mainly responsible for your weight-bearing ability.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful ailment when there is inflammation in the plantar fascia. It affects people who stand and walk for prolonged hours. It is one of the most common foot conditions and it is a serious cause for concern. Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot is overstretched or overused. This can be painful and make walking more difficult.
If you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, it can make it really difficult to get through the day and actually get things done. Most people find that plantar fasciitis improves with stretching or with orthotics (foot supports).
Pain in the heel is the most common symptom of this foot ailment. It is caused due to inflammation of the plantar fascia. The condition of plantar fasciitis is common in middle-aged people. It also occurs in younger people who are on their feet a lot, like athletes or soldiers.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
It is caused by inflammation of the fibrous tissues on the bottom of your foot, which connects the toes to the leg. This happens when there is over-stretching or repeated trauma on the foot.
Some possible causes of inflammation in plantar tissues are:
- Standing for long periods, especially at work
- Walking on a hard surface
- Excessive walking
- Using the wrong footwear
- Using heels instead of flat shoes, or wearing high-heeled shoes
- Hiking or running
- Wearing tight-fitting shoes
- Excessive weight
- Heel spurs, bony growths on the underside of the heel bone
- Family history
The plantar fascia is a band of fibrous tissue that runs across the bottom of the foot, connecting the heel bone to the toes. It also acts as a shock absorber when you walk or run. Pain can occur in the area of the plantar fascia, causing it to become stiff. This can cause the pain to get worse over time, making it difficult to walk. If you want to know further about plantar fasciitis causes, you can read this article on the most possible causes and symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
What Can I Do to Treat Plantar Fasciitis?
There are the following things that can help relieve the pain of plantar fasciitis:
- Wear shoes with a cushioned heel
- Calf stretching exercises
- Wear orthotic inserts in shoes to support the arch
- Apply an ice pack to the painful area of the heel
- Avoid strenuous activities
- Try to lose your weight
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Reviews
Here are the reviews of the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis and foot pain.
1. Hoka One One Clifton 7 – Best Walking Shoes for Flat Feet and Plantar Fasciitis
- Meta-rocker sole design allows smooth transition from heel to toe
- Springy midsole
- Low heel to toe drop i.e. 5mm.
Hoka Clifton is our top pick for the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis. These shoes have a special meta-rocket design to help prevent or alleviate heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
Designed for comfort and speed, Hoka Clifton 7 walking shoes feature an open-engineered sandwich mesh construction that delivers the ultimate breathable comfort. At the same time, a vertical pull tab makes them easy to get on.
Hoka Clifton 7 Hoka features a midsole material with a resilient and springy feature that rebounds with every step of your walking stride. The softness of Hoka’s midsole foam provides ample support to your feet, and you won’t feel that you are putting any extra pressure on your tired feet. Overall, it will help to eliminate your foot pain once and for all.
The signature Meta-Rocker design provides more support and flexibility for foot movements, reducing shock peak and impact force. It is responsible for the smooth and easy roll-through of your walking gait cycle, thus relieving the pressure off the heels.
Also, the 5mm heel-to-toe drop design of this shoe promotes a natural stride, so you don’t have to worry about putting too much pressure on your knees or ankles while running.
So, if you’re a person who involves in everyday walking for long distances, I would highly recommend these Hoka Clifton shoes to get rid of heel spurs and pain in plantar tissues.
Some downsides are common in each model of Hoka One One shoes. The ball of the foot/forefoot region is too tight for people with wide feet. Moreover, people have also complained about blisters formation around the arch of their feet while wearing Hoka shoes. I’d suggest you take out Hoka insoles and place other shoes’ inserts in which you feel comfortable.
2. Vionic Walker Classic – Supportive Shoes for High Arches and Plantar Fasciitis
- Orthopedic sole design for arch support
- Insole is made of a soft and cushiony EVA foam
- Soft textile upper with an adequate ankle support
Vionic Walker shoes are some of the best doctor-recommended shoes for plantar fasciitis that are designed to keep your feet comfortable all day long. These sneakers feature a padded insole for added comfort and a textured rubber sole for improved traction. The shoe comes with integrated high arch support that supports the feet during movement and gives a natural, stable stride.
This supportive shoe for plantar fasciitis pain relief also features a removable textile-covered EVA footbed, which provides heel support and ensures maximum support and comfort while providing a smooth transition from the heel-to-toe strike zone.
The Vionic Walker features a durable rubber sole and soft textile upper, along with a breathable mesh lining. This sneaker has received the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) Seal of Acceptance, so you can be confident that it’s built to last.
The downside of Vionic Walker shoes is that they run a bit tighter for men’s feet. So, I would recommend you to buy one size bigger.
3. Skechers Go Walk – Best Budget Slip-on Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
- Best slip-on sneakers with synthetic mesh for plantar fasciitis
- Springy Goga mat insole allows long hours standing
- Cushioning pods in the outsole designed for long-distance walking
Skechers Go Walk is a great plantar fasciitis sneaker for budget-conscious buyers. These shoes are lightweight, comfortable, and breathable. They are not meant for everyday use, but they can last up to six months due to their high quality.
They are available in a variety of colors and designs so that you can match them with your favorite dress or outfit. Moreover, they have a soft fabric upper that will keep your feet comfortable during long walks.
Skechers Go Walk is a very comfortable pair of shoes, thanks to its insole. It has an air-cooled Goga mat insole system which provides a cooling effect even in hot temperatures.
Goga mat is more comfortable and springier compared to the memory foam of Skechers. It provides high rebound cushioning and helps to absorb the impact on your feet from jumping around during walking and fitness activities. In this way, Goga Mat relieves pressure off the plantar fascia and makes your walking stride more comfortable.
This shoe also features lightweight, responsive ULTRA GO cushioning and high-rebound ULTRA PILLARS for the ultimate in walking comfort. These features make Skechers Go Walk a very comfy shoe.
4. Brooks Addiction Walker – Best Walking Shoes for Wide Feet and Plantar Fasciitis
- Available in extra-wide widths
- TPU rollbars in the midsole to provide stability
- BioMoGo midsole material is a perfect blend of resilience and soft cushioning
If you’re a person who can’t afford rocker sole shoes like Hoka One One, or you have too wide feet, I would highly recommend you these Brooks Addiction Walker shoes to relieve plantar fasciitis pain and arch support. Brooks Addiction Walker shoes also come in extra-wide (4E) width in men’s version and 2E width in women’s version.
These Brooks women’s and men’s shoes feature a patented Diagonal Roll Bar System that works as a motion controller to strategically guide your arches and ensure the natural walking stride. This system is specially designed for low arches and overpronation issues while ensuring maximum comfort and an optimum fit.
Rollbars consist of a medial or lateral TPU (Thermoplastic Urethane) post and composite plate to minimize rearfoot movements. Brooks shoes have these structures under the heels, connecting to the posts on the inner and outer sides of the shoes.
A TPU post on the medial side of the shoes reinforces the medial midsole sidewall and prevents your feet from rolling inward. The lateral post on the shoes also stiffens the sidewall of the midsole and prevents your feet from leaning outwards. In this way, this stability structure helps to prevent inward rolling of the foot and reduce the stress in the fascia band.
In addition to those features, I have to say that the cushioning system of these shoes is extremely impressive as well. The DNA BioMoGo adapts to your stride, weight, and gait, to provide the ultimate level of comfort. This is exactly what I need for my plantar fasciitis which requires shoes that have a lot of shock absorption. BioMoGo DNA is a resilient material that ensures shock absorption as well as responsiveness.
The downsides of Brooks Addiction Walker shoes are as follows:
- They are a bit heavy due to sturdy construction
- Breathability is poor
- They are only available in white and black
5. Saucony Ride 14 – Best Budget and Lightweight Shoes for Flat Feet and Plantar Fasciitis
Saucony makes great supportive shoes for people with flat feet. However, Saucony shoes do not come in a wide fit. So, if you have narrow feet and have severe pain in the plantar fascia, you should consider these Saucony Ride shoes.
Saucony Ride 14 is a lightweight running shoe that comes with many amazing features like ISOFIT upper, PWRRUN foam midsole, and TRI-FLEX outsole. The upper is made of engineered mesh with a new sleek look.
The midsole of the shoe has a new PWRRUN compound, which is lightweight and responsive. It has a springy feel that helps keep you moving forward. Plus, the midsole offers more protection than the previous version. PWRUN is a blend of EVA and TPU foam. So, you will be getting the feel of both shock absorption and responsiveness.
You’ll love the secure fit from the FORMFIT design that contours to your foot for additional comfort mile after mile. Also, the EVERUN topsole adds an extra spring to your step. EVERUN adapts to your stride and pressure points, thus relieving plantar fasciitis.
The downside of Saucony Ride 14 shoes is that despite having the most comfortable shoes for plantar fasciitis, the upper is made of a thin fabric that is not as durable as the upper of other shoes I reviewed. Another flaw in Saucony Ride 14 shoes is that they seem to run slightly smaller and narrow than other shoes. If your foot size is 10.5 exactly, they seem to run about a quarter of an inch smaller in width and length.
Lastly, these Saucony Ride 14 shoes may not be suitable for you for long-distance walks. But for short walks less than half a mile, they work quite well.
6. New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 – Stylish and Lightweight Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
New Balance 880v11 are also great shoes for flat feet and plantar fasciitis. If you have wide feet that couldn’t fit in the above-reviewed Saucony Ride shoes, I recommend you try these New Balance 880v11 shoes. It comes in wide (2E) and extra-wide (4E) widths to fit your wide feet.
Here’s what a real user says about these New Balance 880v11 shoes:
I bought them because of extreme foot/heel pain and I needed something with lots of cushioning. I can’t really comment on other aspects of the shoe such as durability, but the cushioning is excellent, allows me to do considerably more walking than any other shoes I have.
The midsole feature of the New Balance 880 shoes feature is similar to New Balance 1080. The difference lies only in thickness. The fresh Foam of these New Balance shoes is made from 3D-printed EVA foam that has been altered structurally for a springy, cushioned ride.
7. ASICS Gel Cumulus 23: Best Walking Shoes for Chronic Plantar Fasciitis
The GEL-CUMULUS 23 running shoe is fine-tuned with the addition of FLYTEFOAM midsole material, and more GEL technology in the rearfoot to offer a more plush feeling underfoot.
This Gel technology in the rearfoot is a great feature so that your heels do not bear excessive pressure while walking. So, you should get these ASICS Gel Cumulus shoes if you have severe pain in plantar tissues.
Also, the 3D SPACE CONSTRUCTION™ of these ASICS shoes improves cushioning and flexibility in targeted areas to improve both shock absorption and durability through each mile of a walking stride. You can check out the video below to understand SPACE CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY in ASICS shoes.
The midsole of ASICS shoes is made of Flytefoam that is lighter than EVA foam with better resilience, durability, and shock absorption.
The only downside of ASICS shoes is their narrow toe box. So, if you have wide feet, ASICS shoes are not for you.
8. Dansko Clogs XP 2.0: Best Slip-on Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Sixty percent of people with plantar fasciitis also have “heel spurs” — forked bone growths at the bottom of your feet.
Heel spurs often form as a response to degenerative changes to the plantar fascia, the tissue that connects and supports the muscles in the arch of your foot. When this tissue is damaged or stressed, calcium may accumulate due to pressure on your heel’s connective tissue: This can lead to painful, bony outgrowths called heel spurs. [reference].
Finding a walking shoe that looks professional to wear every day, won’t aggravate both conditions, and looks sleek enough for work or play is tough, but Dansko’s XP 2.0 Clogs are tried and tested for this purpose.
This comfort-minded Dansko clog has a deep heel cup in the EVA midsole and a TPU (thermoplastic urethane) stabilizer to cradle your heel spur and relieve the pressure off the foot during long-distance walking.
Also, a roomy, reinforced toe box of these Dansko clogs keeps your foot in place throughout the day without getting squeezed. The rocker bottom of clogs supplies a smooth walking stride from heel to toe. Lastly, the classic leather of Dansko clogs upper adds a professional touch to your most comfortable shoes yet.
Are Walking Shoes Good to Wear If You Have Plantar Fasciitis?
Wearing supportive walking shoes can help alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and prevent a recurrence. Removable insoles can help you if you have a problem with your foot orthotics. Wearing walking shoes with removable insoles offers a variety of benefits including improved stability and balance, better posture, and increased comfort.
Shoes with good arch support and shock absorption can help reduce strain on the plantar fascia by reducing tension in the tissue. This reduces inflammation and encourages healing.
Lastly, I would say that a supportive walking shoe is not everything to treat plantar fasciitis. Supportive insoles also play a crucial role in the relief of plantar fasciitis while walking. For this purpose, I would highly recommend Superfeet insoles.
I hope this article about the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis has helped you identify and purchase a pair of orthopedic walking shoes. It took me quite a bit of research and trial and error to find the best walking shoes to relieve plantar fasciitis. For plantar fasciitis relief of my feet, I selected Hoka Clifton 7 shoes. Brooks walking shoes also work well for plantar fasciitis for people having wide feet. If plantar fasciitis at its worst condition, you can try Vionic shoes.
Lastly, to relieve plantar fasciitis pain, your first move should be stretching your calf muscles by hanging the heel off steps a few times a day and doing the stretch where you face a wall, place one leg in the back of you and place both hands on the wall to stretch. In addition to this, custom orthotics and consulting a specialist is also a wise step to get rid of the inflamed plantar fascia. You should avoid gel insoles as they are not so supportive. Superfeet insoles will work for you.