When your heels are sending bolts of pain through your body because of plantar fasciitis, every step is a challenge and every moment on your feet an agony. Finding the best plantar fasciitis sneakers can drastically improve the quality of your steps – and life.
The best plantar fasciitis sneakers share these traits:
- A firm heel counter that cupped and supported my heel
- Good and stable support for my arches
- A good cushioned heel that was elevated
- A sole that propelled (rocked) my foot forward
And of course, for me they had to look good enough to quell my fashion conscious inner critic.
Your personal preferences may differ from mine, so I’ve provided a list of some of the best sneakers for plantar fasciitis that I could find.
Personal Favorites: Vionic with Orthaheel Venture
I liked this shoe right away because of the overall design and bright color options. Slipping my aching feet into them, I was really pleased with Vionic’s Orthaheel Technology which helps to naturally align your foot and reduce over-pronation which helped reduce pain in my heel. These were (and still are) a personal favorite of mine.
The Good: Stable heel counter and rocker sole – Good cushion, lightweight and breathable – Various widths for proper fit – Bright colors and modern design
The Not So Good: Requires break-in period – Durability questionable (6+ mos.)
Top Recommended: VIONIC Women’s Walker
If I had to recommend just one shoe for a fellow plantar fasciitis shoe, it would be the Vionic Walker because they offer the best all-around comfort, support and stability. The only drawback I found was the overall look of the shoe. It’s not as colorful or sleek as some other models, but for the sake of easing heel pain I can’t fault anyone for picking these. In fact, hundreds of people have written positive reviews on Amazon. (And yes, they make a version for men which you can view here.)
The Good: Very strong arch support and stable soles – Quality material and long-lasting build – Very stable heel counter
The Bad: Limited color options – Some wearers report the footbed is too firm
Top Rated: Women’s Fyn Fabric Athletics
Initially, I looked at these because their sleek design appealed to me. But after trying them out, what really impressed me was the “Advanced Motion System (AMS) technology” – even though the shoe is lightweight and includes a breathable upper, my foot felt properly supported and comfortable.
- Athletic fleet-foot design and colors
- Orthopedic insole with great arch support
- Recommended by renowned podiatrist Dr. Andrew Weil
- Various widths for better fit
- Ankle support caused discomfort for some wearers
- Not as strong arch support as other models
Vionic has been around for over forty years and was the brainchild of podiatrist Phillip Vasyli who invented a heat-molded orthotic to provide his patients with immediate relief for their heel pain. Today, Vionic offers sneakers, sandals and casual shoes with a focus on support and relief for sufferers of plantar fasciitis and other foot problems.
Brooks Addiction Walker
I tried a pair of these on locally and have to say I was really impressed with how comfortable they were. The shoe features really comfortable support thanks to their Hydroflow technology and MOGO midsole. Available in multiple widths, it was easy to get a near custom fit with these shoes. Unfortunately, the all leather upper and limited color options were a deal-breaker for me. But that’s me – if you’re ok with a more traditional looking walker, you can’t go wrong with these.
- Highly recommended by professionals and heel pain sufferers
- Quality construction
- Superior cushioning and arch support
- Very traditional look
- Limited colors
Brooks has been a major shoe manufacturer for as long as I can remember, but I’ll be honest with you. I never owned a pair as a runner though I have many friends that swear by them. My only real interest in them came as they were one of the brands recommended to me for my plantar fasciitis.
928 Women’s Walking Shoe
I was confident these would be comfortable and properly made based on the brand alone and I wasn’t disappointed. Honestly, they were one of the more comfortable shoes I’ve had on my feet in a long while. If the outside looked as good as the inside felt, I’d be sold. These are fantastic for heel pain suffers looking for a quality shoe that will last a long time.
NOTE: I noticed a lot of recent Amazon reviews complaining about the latest redesign of the New Balance 928s. Looks like NB may have to roll back their designs to the old version that made these so popular in the first place.
I was introduced to New Balance shoes when I was early on in my running career. I was always impressed with the quality of the shoe and the overall fit and comfort as a runner. Even though NB was less about form and all about function, I certainly appreciated how well they worked. I never considered their walking shoes before, but since I have known the brand so long, I was willing to give them a shot.
A Final Word on Finding the Best Sneakers for Plantar Fasciitis
What we put on our feet is highly individual.
While we may all suffer from the same type of pain, the shape of our feet, our gait, our overall body alignment and our fashion sensibilities are all different, so I don’t want to simply say “these are the best” because the best plantar fasciitis sneakers for me may not be best for you.
Take a look at what other wearers have said and then try a pair yourself. If they’re comfortable and provide the right support to ease your heel pain, all the better. If not, try a different brand or model until they fit like the proverbial glass slipper.
For me, that was the Vionic Venture. So if you’re looking to take your first pain free step, I would try these.
I hope you like them as much as I have.