The 7 Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis of 2023

Brooks' Women's Addiction Walker 2 offer arch support and cushioning

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Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

If you have plantar fasciitis, staying comfortable while being active can be difficult. The painful condition occurs when excessive stress and pressure cause the connective tissue at the bottom of your foot to stretch and become inflamed. Symptoms improve if you give yourself a break, but may return as soon as you start walking again. That's why finding a good pair of shoes is a must.

Reviewed & Approved

Brooks' Addiction Walker 2 are our top pick because they have good arch support, cushioning, and durability. We also recommend Brooks' Ghost 14 Running Shoe because it offers smoother transitions for people with flat feet.

Finding the right pair of cushioned and supportive shoes is a proactive way to help with the pain. According to John Huenink, founder of insole company BioMoto, you’ll want to look for a walking shoe with a tight and structured heel counter. “You shouldn’t be able to fold the shoe directly in half—the shoe should bend only at the ball line, which is the metatarsal line,” he explains. Huenink also notes that the shoes shouldn't be able to twist excessively. “We call it torsional stiffness. If you take the heel and twist the forefoot, it shouldn't turn too much,” he says. 

We researched dozens of walking shoes for plantar fasciitis and evaluated them based on material, price, breathability, arch support, and durability. Here are our top pairs for combatting plantar fasciitis pain, so you can get moving again.

Best Overall

Brooks Addiction Walker 2

Brooks Addiction Walker 2

Zappos

Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Provides great arch support

  • Durable

Cons
  • Limited color options

The Addiction Walker 2 is recommended for plantar fasciitis because it is loaded with cushioning and arch support to address low arches and overpronation, which is why it's our top pick. The midsole features soft cushioning that's designed to reduce the impact on your joints, and an Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar provides robust arch support to cradle even your most aggravated tendons.

Plus, it comes in four widths and has a slip-resistant outsole. However, there are only a few neutral color options to choose from.

Price at time of publication: $130

Key specs:
Materials:
Synthetic and mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Foam  | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Flat Feet

Brooks Women's Ghost 14

Brooks Women's Ghost 14

Amazon

Pros
  • Helps promote smoother transitions

  • Earned APMA Seal of Acceptance

  • Wide range of colors

Cons
  • Mesh isn't waterproof

Flat feet, or fallen arches, occur when loose tendons in your foot and calf cause your arch to fall and make full contact with the ground. People with flat feet are more prone to plantar fasciitis, and finding a great walking shoe for both conditions is vital for anyone looking to stay fit. Brooks' Ghost 14 may be a running shoe, but it has all the qualities we recommend in a perfect walking shoe.

The Ghost 14’s thick cushioning accommodates any foot landing and sets you up for smoother transitions. But the mesh upper isn't waterproof, for walking in less-than-ideal weather.

Price at time of publication: $140

Key specs:
Materials:
Mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Bunions

Orthofeet Breeze Stretch Knit

Orthofeet Proven Bunions Heel and Foot Pain Relief

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Breathable

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Limited color options

Orthofeet’s shoes are designed with problem feet in mind. Their Breeze Women’s Walking Shoes are our pick for anyone who loves staying fit with brisk walks but struggles to stay in stride due to pain or discomfort from both bunions and plantar fasciitis.

This pair’s premium orthotic insole has anatomical arch support and a cushioned heel pad. The Easy Gait system combines a lightweight sole with air cushioning to soften your stride, leading to a lighter footstep. The Breeze shoes also have a wide toe box to cut down on added pressure, even after a long day of walking. But they're only available in a few colors.

Price at time of publication: $130

Key specs:
Materials:
Foam midsole, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Foam | Closure: Velcro

Best for Bunions

Orthofeet Proven Plantar Fasciitis

Orthofeet Proven Plantar Fasciitis

Amazon

Pros
  • Inner lining prevents irritation from rubbing

  • Lightweight

  • Comes in various widths

Cons
  • Sizes run small

We also recommend Orthofeet's lightweight Sprint Sneakers, which have a roomy, extra-depth design for walking comfortably with plantar fasciitis. You may lean into your forefoot harder when you have plantar fasciitis, and this shoe’s non-binding upper and extra-wide toe box eliminates that excessive pressure. The seam-free interior lining prevents irritation from rubbing against stitching.

Available in four widths, this shoe makes it easy to find the right fit. However, some wearers note that they tend to run small.

Price at time of publication: $140

Key specs:
Materials:
Synthetic upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for High Arches

Vionic Women's Walker Classic Sneaker

4.8
Vionic Walker Classic Sneaker

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Excellent cushoning

  • Helps promote smoother transitions

  • Helps keep proper alignment

Cons
  • No extra-wide size option

Having high arches throws another wrench into walking with plantar fasciitis: your foot puts more weight on your heel with high arches, which doubles down on heel pain if you don’t have the right walking shoes. Vionic’s Orthaheel Walker has the American Podiatric Medical Association’s seal of acceptance for its special attention to the needs of people with plantar fasciitis and high arches.

This shoe’s removable textile-covered EVA footbed has an Active Motion System that provides flexible cushioning throughout your sensitive heel and forefoot, ensuring a smooth transition from heel to toe with every step. However, they only come in two widths.

Price at time of publication: $108

Key specs:
Materials:
Leather upper, synthetic sole | Cushioning: Foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Plantar Fasciitis with Heel Spurs

Dansko Women's Professional Clog

4.4
best-kitchen-shoes

Courtesy of Zappos

Pros
  • Deep heel cup

  • Excellent shock absorption

  • Comes in various colors

Cons
  • No extra-wide size option

Plantar fasciitis is no picnic, but adding heel spurs to the mix can take the condition from uncomfortable to unbearable. About 70% of plantar fasciitis patients have heel spurs, which are hooks of bone that protrude from the bottom of your foot. Finding a walking shoe that won’t aggravate both conditions and looks sleek enough for work or play is tough, but Dansko’s Professional Clogs are a tried-and-true favorite.

This comfort-minded clog has a deep heel cup to cradle your heel spur and a roomy, reinforced toe box to keep your foot in place throughout the day. The rocker bottom supplies superior shock absorption, and the classic leather upper adds a professional flair to your most comfortable shoes yet. But they are only available in two widths.

Price at time of publication: $140

Key specs:
Materials:
Leather upper, polyurethrane sole | Cushioning: Not listed | Closure: Slip-on

Best Walking Sandals

Birkenstock Arizona Leather Sandal

Birkenstock sandal

Birkenstock

Pros
  • Sole molds to your feet

  • Distributes weight evenly

  • Durable

Cons
  • Only two widths

Sandals can be a plantar fasciitis-friendly option for people with foot pain, as they can be slipped on first thing in the morning to prevent "first step pain." Contoured sandals are as effective as shoe inserts in reducing pain, although it is important to distinguish them from flat flip-flops. Birkenstock’s sandals are designed with comfort in mind for an easy, breezy summer walking sandal.

Birkenstocks has been making sandals for hundreds of years, and the simple design with a footbed that molds to your sole is perfect for plantar fasciitis. It distributes weight evenly across the sole of your foot, removing some of the burden from your heel.

Plus, these durable sandals come in dozens of color options. However, they're only available in two widths.

Price at time of publication: $135

Key specs:
Materials:
Leather upper, synthetic sole | Cushioning: Foam | Closure: Slip-on

How We Selected the Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

To choose the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis, we first asked John Huenink, founder of insole company BioMoto, Dr. Ami Sheth, DPM, FACFAS, a podiatrist, and Alan Bass, DPM, a podiatrist, for their expert opinions on which features every pair should have.

After that, we researched dozens of shoes from the most popular, trusted brands. We considered cushioning, support, price, and style. We also examined the type of shoe, which materials it was made with, and how much arch support it offered.

What To Look For in Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Shoe Type

Unlike running, walking doesn’t require a specific shoe. There are multiple options to choose from, including sneakers, clogs, sandals, and athletic shoes, but you want to remember the intended use of the shoe before wearing one.

"Are you wearing flats and walking for miles? Then, your feet will hurt,” says Dr. Ami Sheth, DPM, FACFAS. “Just like you aren’t going to play soccer with house slippers on, you have to remember to dress your feet for the appropriate job you’re going to ask them to do,” she says. She recommends thinking about shoes as exercise equipment and using the shoe appropriately. 

Cushioning 

One of the main factors contributing to comfort is the footbed cushioning, and without a comfortable shoe, someone is less likely to wear it in the first place. Sheth says that cushioning is a good shock absorber. “Some people with plantar fasciitis also have an inflamed heel pad, so cushioning can help soften the blow when your heel strikes the ground,” she explains. 

Arch Support

It’s important to pay attention to arch support because those with plantar fasciitis have a plantar fascia that wants to extend more than it should, causing inflammation. A supportive arch on the footbed helps prevent the foot from stretching, limiting the pain and irritation caused by plantar fasciitis. “For me, it’s one of the most important parts of treatment and one of the most successful,” Sheth says. 

Materials

Between the footbed, the insoles, the lining, and the upper, a walking shoe has multiple materials that contribute to overall comfort. Sheth notes that there is a variety of rubber and foam soles on the market, and some of them (like Brooks' Women's Addiction Walker Walking Shoes) use gel or air to provide additional cushioning. In terms of fabric used, you want to make sure it suits your needs and where you’ll be walking—mesh is breathable, nylon is sweat-wicking, and leather is durable.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are walking shoes good to wear if you have plantar fasciitis?

    Yes, wearing supportive and well-cushioned walking shoes can help alleviate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis and prevent a recurrence. "Another benefit of wearing walking shoes is that most of them have removable insoles, so they can accommodate a functional foot orthotic," says podiatrist Alan Bass, DPM, a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

  • Can walking make plantar fasciitis worse?

    Walking, especially for long distances, through the pain of plantar fasciitis can often lead to more pain and result in months of recovery, especially if you’re walking in the wrong type of shoes. Wearing flimsy flip-flops, unsupportive sandals, or shoes without much cushioning while walking can exacerbate plantar fasciitis symptoms.

  • How much does a pair of quality walking shoes for plantar fasciitis cost?

    You can expect to pay $100-$150 for a high quality pair of walking shoes for plantar fasciitis. Cheaper pairs might not have enough support or cushioning, especially if you stand or walk around all day long. More expensive pairs may be more stylish, and will likely last longer. The cheapest shoe on our list, Vionic's Women's Walker Classic Sneaker, is often available for under $90. Our top overall pick, Brooks' Women's Addiction Walker Walking Shoes, was $120 when we published this list.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Isabella Broggini is a lifestyle and health writer and commerce editor for Verywell Fit. She's a NASM-certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and former Equinox personal trainer.

Additional reporting contributed by Sarah Felbin

With over two decades of dance experience, Sarah Felbin loves diving into the latest wellness research. As a health and fitness writer, she's passionate about finding products that are a great value and make life easier.

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