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Experts recommend these shoe features if you have plantar fasciitis

These kicks are ideal for kicking your foot pain.
Vivian Le / TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Finding shoes that are comfy and cute is hard enough, but when you add pre-existing foot pain into the mix, shopping can be a pretty discouraging experience. If you're dealing with plantar fasciitis, you've likely searched far and wide for your sole-mate, but you don't have to look in vain any longer.

The Shop TODAY team spoke with several podiatrists to find out what types of shoes work best for the foot condition, and we've also rounded up 13 rad pairs to give you plenty of options. Now go on, get ready and slip into comfort!

What is plantar fasciitis? | What are some issues plantar fasciitis can create? | Insoles for plantar fasciitis | Boots for plantar fasciitis | Sneakers for plantar fasciitis | How we chose | Meet the experts

Shop TODAY Snapshot

Best shoes for plantar fasciitis

What is plantar fasciitis?

According to Johns Hopkins University, plantar fasciitis occurs when the ligament that connects your heel bone to the base of your toes at the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. Not only is it one of the most common causes of heel pain, a 2019 study released by American Family Physician also notes that this condition will affect 1 in 10 people in their lifetime.

What are some issues plantar fasciitis can create?

Not sure if you're dealing with plantar fasciitis? There are several telltale signs to look out for.

Arch pain: "When someone with plantar fasciitis puts their foot on the ground (from sitting to standing, for example), they will have a lot of pain in the arch. People with higher arches are more prone to this problem than [those with] flatter feet," New York-based podiatrist Dr. Suzanne Levine tells us.

Heel pain: "Other causes of heel pain (such as fractures or contusions) will cause significant pain when one applies weight to their foot in the morning, but plantar fasciitis patients tend to see a reduction in their pain as they get moving," Dr. Bradley A. Levitt, a podiatric surgeon, reveals.

Inability to walk barefoot: "People with plantar fasciitis find that walking barefoot, especially indoors on hardwood floors, is no longer comfortable. They will also find that non-supportive shoes can increase their pain," says Dr. Ashley Lee, a foot and ankle reconstructive surgeon at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists.

According to board-certified podiatrist Dr. Najwa Javed, the symptoms of someone with plantar fasciitis appear in two stages.

Stage one: "A dull ache in the heel best known as post-static dyskinesia, which is pain after rest," she explains. "There is pain with the first step in the morning and pain after a long day on your feet."

Stage two: The pain is elevated to "a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel," which Javed says can be triggered by long periods of standing or when you get up from sitting.

Insoles for plantar fasciitis

Dr. Scholl's Work All-Day Superior Comfort Insoles

What we like
  • Customizable
  • Odor control
Something to note
  • Need to replace every 6 months

Size: Women 6-10 | Good for: Plantar fasciitis | Materials: Polygiene StayFresh Technology

Audrey Eckman is a fan of these insoles for its superior comfort. "They’re designed for people who work on their feet all day to help absorb impact on hard surfaces and combat fatigue. I put them in every pair of boots I own and they make every pair exponentially more comfortable — even on days when I’m running around the city and far exceeding 10,000 steps," says Eckman.

One Amazon customer also wrote, "I’ve been dealing with plantar facilities. While these did not cure the problem, I was just needing some relief! These did the (temporary) trick!"

Fulton Athletic Insole

What we like
  • Doesn't slide
  • Great arch support
Something to note
  • Top fabric can wear off

Size: Men 8-14 and Women 5-12 | Good for: Plantar fasciitis | Materials: Cork and organic cotton

If you are constantly on the run or need more support on your running shoes, add these insoles for extra alignment and comfort.

Since these insoles are made from a cork material, you get extra stability when standing for hours. Jannely Espinal, an SEO writer at Shop TODAY, recommends these insoles and says they’re “the best pair of insoles” she’s tried. Espinal continues, “I wear them with a pair of boots and they provide extra support when walking. The cork construction helps a lot in not allowing them to slip. I have early signs of plantar fasciitis and they have really alleviated my foot pain when I wear them.”

Plus, one shopper on the Fulton website wrote, "These actually work!! My plantar fasciitis pain is gone when I wear these insoles. I can wear any shoe I had in my closet, pain free."

Boots for plantar fasciitis

Soda Pilot Chelsea Ankle Bootie

What we like
  • Easy to break in
Something to note
  • Can scuff easily

Sizes: 5.5-11 | Colors: 19 | Heel height: 1.5 inches

Associate editor Allison Wise loves these Chelsea boots for their affordability and comfort level. One thing she mentioned is that this pair doesn't require a break-in period. Plus, they're great for walking long distances and have rubber outsoles for ongoing support.

According to her experience, "The best part about these booties is that they are easy to slip on and off, which I prefer over a traditional-style boot with laces, mainly because the design helps me save time."

Naturalizer Madalynn Gore Water Repellent Bootie

What we like
  • Great for wide feet
Something to note
  • Need time to break in

Sizes: 5-12 | Colors: 3 | Heel height: 3 inches

Commerce editor Amanda Fama found her new everyday boot for any weather condition. This pair is built with the brand’s Contour+ technology that provides all-day comfort, sans after-pain results.

Fama says, “Recently, I was looking for a comfortable pair of black boots that were durable enough to walk around the city in (rain or shine), and I found these. They’re my favorite; my arches feel supported and my feet don’t hurt at the end of a long day commuting. Plus, they match everything from jeans to dress pants. I highly recommend!”

Clarks Breeze Fur Tan

What we like
  • Slip-resistant outsole
Something to note
  • Not ideal for rainy days

Sizes: 5-11 | Colors: 4 | Heel height: 1.38 inches

For snowy days, opt for a cozy and warm shoe like this pair from Clarks. The boots have a slip-on style and feature faux-fur linings to ensure you stay warm during the winter. The sturdy, grippy outsoles and the cushioned footbeds are what makes this shoe design reliable.

According to one five-star shopper, these boots are ultra-comfortable and ideal for a 13-hour work day.

Aetrex Brooklyn Weather-Friendly Fur Lace Up Boot

What we like
  • Removable arch support
Something to note
  • Not waterproof

Sizes: 5-11 | Colors: 3 | Heel height: 2 inches

The lug outsole will help give you stability when you walk in this pair from Aetrex. The heeled boots look classic and reliable, even if you need to step outside into the snow.

"These were every bit as comfy as my running shoes, but cuter and warmer," shared one verified reviewer. Plus, they're built with an arch support that helps to stabilize your body and posture.

Sneakers for plantar fasciitis

Saucony Guide 14 Running Sneakers

What we like
  • Easy to break in
  • Shoe laces stay tied
Something to note
  • Can feel narrower in the toe box

Sizes: 5-12 | Colors: 11 | Material: Synthetic uppers, rubber outsoles

When it comes to footwear, plantar fasciitis patients often do best with good old-fashioned sneakers.

"Gym shoes are usually the most supportive and can accommodate an orthotic, which many people with plantar fasciitis or a history of plantar fasciitis wear," Lee says.

Saucony's running sneakers have contoured footbeds for optimal comfort, along with solid rubber outsoles to provide sturdiness and cushioning. Plus, a variety of neutral hues are available that go with just about any outfit.

Vionic Miles II Sneaker

What we like
  • Great arch support
  • Plenty of toe room
Something to note
  • Can be tight for high instep

Sizes: 5-13 | Colors: 7 | Material: Textile uppers, rubber outsoles

Talk about the best of both worlds! This lightweight sneaker combines support and style and comes in many neutral colors (our favorite is the traditional white). Comfortable features like removable, mesh-covered footbeds and plenty of cushioning even earned the shoes the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance. You can also wear them with or without socks!

Rothy's The Original Slip On Sneaker

What we like
  • Lightweight build
  • Comfortable design
Something to note
  • Some experienced blisters

Sizes: 5-13 | Colors: 10 | Material: Knit

Shop TODAY intern Domonique Tolliver trusts this pair for its comfort and support around the heel area.

"These sneakers are the perfect slip-on shoe for summer. The removable insole supports your heels while you walk and the shoe’s fabric stretches to hug around your foot. I struggle with my feet sweating during the summer and this fabric seems to make that problem go away. It is airy and soft against the foot," says Tolliver.

Aetrex Carly Arch Support Sneakers

What we like
  • Removable insoles
Something to note
  • Not enough heel support

Sizes: 5-11 | Colors: 9 | Material: Knit uppers, rubber outsoles

Aetrex designed these snazzy sneakers with comfort in mind with built-in cushioning, arch support contours, padded heels and removable insoles. Customers seem to thoroughly enjoy them, too: “Lightweight and great arch support,” one Aetrex reviewer raved.

Brooks Women's Ghost 14 Neutral Running Shoe

Sizes: 5-13 | Colors: 34 | Material: Mesh uppers, rubber outsoles

These bestselling Brooks offers neutral support throughout the sneakers, which can help anyone with supination (weight transferring to the outer edge of your foot) when they run. Additionally, the wider platforms and raised edges around the midsoles help provide stability. They also come in a plethora of colorways.

One Amazon customer said, "Great arch support, super comfortable and look really nice too!"

Klaw 528 Sneakers

What we like
  • Heel support
  • Ideal for walking
  • Removable insoles
Something to note
  • Not ideal for workouts

Sizes: 6-11 | Colors: 7 | Material: Leather

If you need a travel shoe with all-day support, these sneakers are the best choice. Espinal owns a pair and she says "These are the most reliable shoes I have if I'm walking long miles. They hug my arches and support me throughout the day."

Aside from being podiatrist-approved, Klaw's design features a light midsole for shock absorption and a wide toe box that won't constrict your toes.

Bala Footwear Twelves Sneaker

What we like
  • They're waterproof
  • Ideal for fast-paced environments
Something to note
  • Not very breathable

Sizes: 5-12 | Color: 1 | Material: Fluid-resistant uppers

You know a shoe means business when it's designed for nurses, and Bala Footwear has the comfort market cornered with its sneakers that are meant to last as long as you do. The fluid-resistant, high traction shoes are machine-washable and have highly cushioned platforms that cradle your arches as you go about your busy day.

"It hugs my feet and arch and feels like I’m floating on air!" raved one shopper.

How we chose the best shoes for plantar fasciitis

We selected the best sneakers and boots that feature arch support, cushioned footbeds and comfortable construction. We followed expert recommendations and chose some editor-approved picks.

Meet the experts

  • Dr. Suzanne Levin, DPM, RPT, PC, is a New York-based podiatrist and foot surgeon. She also co-chairs the International Aesthetic Foot Society.
  • Dr. Bradely A. Levitt, DPM, is a podiatric surgeon at Bayview Physicians Group in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He's also a contributing editor for the Diabetic Foot and Ankle journal.
  • Dr. Ashley Lee, DPM, is a foot and ankle reconstructive surgeon at Northern Illinois Foot and Ankle Specialists.
  • Dr. Najwa Javed, DPM, is a board-certified podiatrist and founder of E'Mar Italy. She specializes in foot and ankle surgeries and clinical research.