The 8 Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis of 2021

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Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Verywell

Our Top Picks
Targeting plantar fasciitis and overpronation, its midsole technology enhances cushioning while the Rollbar offers arch support.
A solid option for flat feet, the Crash Pad accommodates any foot landing and sets up smoother transitions as you stay active.
The affordable but supportive option features a leather design for added style, and its engineered sole promotes smooth landings.
The Easy Gait system combines a lightweight sole with air cushioning to soften your stride, reducing irregular pressure.
Designed for men, its non-binding upper and extra-wide toe box eliminates the extra pressure that accompanies plantar fasciitis.
Made to manage extra pressure on heels due to high arches, its EVA footbed offers flexible cushioning throughout the heel and toes.
Best for Plantar Fasciitis with Heel Spurs:
Dansko Professional Clog at Amazon
The comfort-minded clog has a deep heel cup to cradle your heel spur and a roomy toe box to keep your foot in place.
The slip-on sandals may require a break-in period but perfectly contours to your foot and distributes weight evenly.

Staying fit with plantar fasciitis is no easy feat. The painful condition occurs when the tight band of tissue that forms the arch of your foot becomes inflamed, creating deep discomfort in your heel. This changes the way your foot hits the ground as you walk, creating excessive pressure in your heel and forefoot and leaving you at risk for muscle imbalances or injuries. Symptoms usually improve if you kick back and relax for a while, but your overall health depends on regular activity, and you’ve got to keep moving to stay fit.

The right shoes can go a long way when it comes to plantar fasciitis. Sufficient arch support and generous cushioning can protect your feet from excessive pain when you’re walking.

Here are the best walking shoes to buy for plantar fasciitis. 

Best Overall: Brooks Women's Addiction Walker Walking Shoes

Brooks Addiction Walker
Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Provides great arch support

  • Durable

Cons
  • Limited color options

Brooks is well known for their commitment to crafting superior running shoes, but their walking shoes are well worth a look too. The Addiction Walker is recommended for plantar fasciitis pain across the web, and there are more than a thousand overwhelmingly positive reviews on Zappos to back that up.

These shoes are loaded with cushioning and arch support for plantar fasciitis as well as low arches and overpronation (which can occur alongside plantar fasciitis). The midsole HydroFlow technology enhances cushioning by adding dynamic gel units in the heel and forefoot, and the Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar provides robust arch support to cradle your most aggravated tendons.

Brooks fans on Zappos said these shoes made it easier to stay on their feet all day at work despite their plantar fasciitis, and many reviewers said these shoes were recommended by their doctor.

Materials: Leather upper | Cushioning: BioMoGo DNA  | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Flat Feet: Brooks Women's Ghost 11 Running Shoe

Pros
  • Helps promote smoother transitions

  • Compatible with custom orthotics

  • Comes in various 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. The Brooks Ghost 11 model is listed as a running shoe, but it has all the qualities you’d want in a perfect walking shoe.

The Ghost 11’s full-length Segmented Crash Pad accommodates any foot landing and sets you up for smoother transitions. The removable foam insole adds extra cushioning (or you can take it out and replace it with a custom orthotic), while Brooks' earth-friendly BioMoGo DNA cushioning design creates a dynamic ride for an energized walk.

Brooks fans on Zappos said that they became die-hard Ghost fans after switching to this shoe, saying that they’d never go back to other brands after experiencing this pair’s superior support for their plantar fasciitis and flat feet.

Materials: Mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: BioMoGo DNA | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"The Ghost 11s proved to be a comfortable, orthotic-friendly option for daily errands as well as longer excursions. Luckily, it was easy to swap the Brooks Ghost 11’s original inserts with my orthotics, and they fit comfortably within the shoe. The flexible mesh uppers conformed well to my narrow feet, and I found that the toe box offered the right amount of wiggle room." Danielle Directo-Meston, Verywell writer and product tester 

Best Budget: Saucony Men's Grid Omni Walker Running Shoe

Pros
  • Durable

  • Excellent cushioning

  • Helps promote smoother transitions

Cons
  • Limited color options

Walking your way to health with plantar fasciitis shouldn’t cost a fortune, and Saucony’s Grid Omni Walking Shoes support your feet without breaking the bank.

The super-plush, full-grain leather adds a touch of class to these well-cushioned walking shoes. A compression-molded midsole shields your arches from impact, and the engineered sole creates a biomechanical fit that guides your foot from takeoff to landing. Best of all, these shoes are ultra-affordable, so you’ll have no excuse for not getting up and moving.

Materials: Leather upper, rubber sole | Cushioning: N/A | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Women: Orthofeet Proven Bunions Heel and Foot Pain Relief

Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Lightweight

  • Breathable

  • Comes in various styles

Cons
  • Limited color options

Orthofeet’s shoes are designed with problem feet in mind. Their Breeze Women’s Walking Shoes are perfect for women who love staying fit with brisk walks but struggle to stay in stride due to plantar fasciitis pain.

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, reducing irregular pressure from plantar fasciitis for a lighter footstep.

Overall, this shoe's ergonomic design is perfect for troubled feet. It also comes in a Mary Jane style, making this pair suitable for casual office wear as well as exercise.

Materials: N/A | Cushioning: N/A | Closure: Velcro

Best for Men: Orthofeet Proven Plantar Fasciitis

Pros
  • Inner lining prevents irritation from rubbing

  • Lightweight

  • Comes in various widths

Cons
  • Sizes run small

Orthofeet makes another appearance on our list with their Sprint Men’s Sneakers, which have the roomy, extra-depth design men need 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.

One man with plantar fasciitis proclaimed that these were “magic shoes,” saying that this was the only walking shoe that gave him any relief from his plantar fasciitis pain while walking. Another reviewer said that these worked better on plantar fasciitis pain than his priciest orthotics.

Materials: Synthetic upper | Cushioning: N/A | Closure: Lace-up

Best for High Arches: Vionic Walker Classic Sneaker

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.

High-arched walkers with plantar fasciitis said that these shoes helped keep their feet, ankles, knees, and hips in proper alignment and drastically reduced their heel pain while walking.

Materials (upper, sole, etc): Leather upper, synthetic sole | Cushioning: N/A | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Plantar Fasciitis with Heel Spurs: Dansko Women's Professional Clog

best-kitchen-shoes
Pros
  • Deep heel cup

  • Excellent shock absorption

  • Durable

  • 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.

Plantar fasciitis sufferers with heel spurs loved this pair, saying that they were comfortable in them all day even without custom orthotics.

Materials: Leather upper, polyurethrane sole | Cushioning: N/A | Closure: Slip-on

Best Walking Sandals: BIRKENSTOCK Unisex Arizona Leather Sandal

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed
Pros
  • Sole molds to your feet

  • Distributes weight evenly

  • Comes in various colors

  • Durable

Cons
  • Expensive

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.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” definitely applies to Birkenstocks. The company 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.

Materials: Leather upper, synthetic sole | Cushioning: EVA | Closure: Slip-on

Final Verdict

An ideal pick if you’re spending long periods on your feet, the Brooks Women’s Addiction Walker Shoes (view at Amazon) is crafted with leather so there’s no questioning its durability. Loaded with cushioning and arch support, its technology helps absorb shock and keep inflammation at bay. 

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 says. 

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 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.

FAQs

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.

How do I treat plantar fasciitis?

If you’re dealing with plantar fasciitis, consult your podiatrist or physical therapist for the best treatment plan based on your symptoms and medical history. Treatment for plantar fasciitis typically involves a combination of rest, icing, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, targeted stretches and exercises, and possibly a cortisone injection. If you’re currently dealing with plantar fasciitis, wearing a walking shoe that provides excellent stability and cushioning, especially in the heel area, is crucial, according to Dr. Bass.

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.

What happens if you ignore plantar fasciitis?

“Ignoring plantar fasciitis can make the condition much worse and more painful, keeping you sidelined from walking, running, and other activities way longer than if you addressed the problem when you first noticed the pain,” says certified personal trainer and running coach Christine Luff. Be sure to address the problem and take the proper steps to remedy it before it becomes a full-blown injury that may need more serious intervention such as surgery.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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