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. 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, Susan Eby, P.T., M.S., owner of Eby Physical Therapy in New York City, tells SELF. 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, as well as 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,” Dr. 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.”