Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a wide, flat
ligament made of collagen that runs from the heel to the ball of the
foot. It supports the arch of the foot and disperses weight across
the foot when walking or running. Plantar fasciitis is the term used
to describe an inflamed and painful plantar fascia, a condition often
resulting from overuse, lack of a proper warm up, sudden increase in
training mileage, change of running surface, wearing inadequately
supportive shoes, or just a biomechanical flaw.
Walking with plantar fasciitis can be
extremely painful, as every step will be stretching an already
overstretched plantar fascia. However, it is important to keep the
ligament reasonably stretched in order to avoid it tightening up and
causing even more pain when moving. For this reason it can be helpful
to wear a specialized splint, sock or sleeve during the night.
The correct shoe to look for depends on
the cause of your plantar fasciitis. If it is a result of
overpronation (the collapse of the arch when weight is put on it) you
will need shoes that control the tendency to overpronate. The degree
of support will depend on the level of overpronation you experience.
Some examples of shoe brands to consider are Asics, New Balance, and
In order to
minimize pain while walking, the best shoes will be those with a
good, supportive arch. Keeping the arch supported will prevent the
plantar fascia overstretching at each step. Along with good arch
support, look for shoes with a solid outsole and a slightly elevated
heel. The back of the shoe that surrounds your heel should fit firmly
and snugly, with no sliding up and down of the heel when you walk. It
should be strong, but not overly stiff; you should not be able to
The sole should be firm, but it needs
to have a good rocker and a slight heel. When you hold the shoe and
flex it, it should bend in the toe box (front part of the shoe) i.e.,
where the ball of your foot would be, not in the middle or back.
Cushioning will help absorb the impact of your heel striking the
When trying on a new pair of shoes, do
it in the afternoon, or after a walk, when your feet will be warm and
slightly swollen. Whichever shoes you choose, they should be
immediately comfortable and not need any Ďbreaking-in.í
Choose activity-specific shoes, i.e.,
tennis shoes for tennis, running shoes for running, and so on.
And donít rule out flip flops for the
summer. ABEO, Orthaheel, and Okabashi all make flip flops that
provide arch support and are reported to be extremely comfortable to
wear, even with plantar fasciitis.
Heel cups, insoles, and arch supports
can be purchased to customize your regular shoes. If purchasing an
over-the-counter arch support, make sure that you canít squash it
down with your hands. If you can, it isnít strong enough.
Whatever you do, donít try to walk
barefoot until your symptoms have gone.