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.
Shop for Plantar Fasciitis Shoes
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 Brooks.
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 squash it.
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 ground.
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.