6 Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for Men and Women
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Do you suffer from plantar fasciitis, but want to create a walking habit?
If so, picking the correct walking shoe is a vital step 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 six specific walking shoes available for both men and women.
Don't have time to read the entire review?
If you're a busy person who doesn't have time to read this entire review, we've simplified everything. Here is a table to show you a quick rating of the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis.
For more information, here is some general knowledge about plantar fasciitis and the top reasons why you should pick the shoes that we recommend.
Let’s get to it!
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 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 is 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 that will help alleviate the pain and prevent your condition from worsening. Among the most popular causes of this condition is wearing incorrect shoes.
Often, shoes either do not fit correctly, or they do not provide enough support or cushioning. If you walk or exercise in shoes that do not fit properly, the distribution of your weight becomes imperfect and you can put significant stress on the plantar fascia ligament.
People who are at a higher risk for plantar fasciitis include:
- People who are overweight or obese: This is because of the increased pressure that is put on the plantar fascia ligaments, especially if sudden weight gain has occurred.
- Pregnant women.
- People who have high arches or flat feet.
- Long-distance runners.
- Active people between the ages of 40 and 70 (who are at the highest risk for developing this condition).
- People with active jobs that involve standing or walking for long hours.
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.
Having the right type of shoes for plantar fasciitis that can reinforce your feet and maintain their proper alignment is key. The shoes should also reduce “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 a variety of types of shoes can support your plantar fasciitis, having the right shoes means that you have shoes that are 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 foot bed 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.
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 that occur 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 toe 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 that has 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. To avoid this issue, it is important to get your feet properly measured at a shoe store to find your exact size.
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 that are designed for the shape of your feet.
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 that have 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 that have 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 walking shoes that are flexible 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.
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for Men
Orthofeet Pacific Palisades Men's Athletic shoes are the best option for men. They offer anatomical arch support, flexibility, and strong cushioning in areas in the foot with pressure points.
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, hammer toes, pronation, and bunions.
These shoes have been engineered by a biomechanical expert 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.
If you prefer to have leather walking shoes, these might be the shoes for you. These are the best leather walking shoes, and they have a casual and contemporary look.
These shoes provide optimal support to low arches and are able to 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 provide 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 you are walking. They fit and feel like a running shoe would, but are perfect for everyday walking use.
If you stand while you work, these are the best shoes for you. They are made from a mixture of suede and mesh, and have a rubber sole that is great 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 there is less pressure 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.
Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for Women
This is the best option for women. 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 you with excellent cushioning, which makes 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 an 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 you with ample space to put in your own custom-made orthotics. They also comes with an Ergonomic-Stride(TM) design to ensure the soles are lightweight but still able to soften your stride, while the design of the shoe helps push your body forward.
These might be the right shoes 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 feel to move in their natural way.
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.
If you enjoy casual walking/running, these are the best shoes for you. 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 a variety of colors, so you can pick a style that best matches your personal preferences.
The sockliner 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 specially to fit the shape of a woman's foot, meaning your muscles and foot will properly engage to encourage you to walk better.
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 their shoes are often recommended by podiatrists.
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 have relieved millions of people from the pain of plantar fasciitis in addition to improving mobility, enhancing overall comfort, and relieving knee and lower back pain.