Plantar fasciitis, commonly known as policeman’s heel, is a common and painful condition that will severely limit your walking. So we’ve pulled together some recommendations on the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis, as well as some practical tips on to minimize the pain or even reverse the condition.
Plantar Faciitis is caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia, the ligament that supports the arch of your foot and connects your heel bone to the rest of your foot.
The best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis have:
- Strong Heel Support
- Good Arch Support – often this means after-market insoles such as Superfeet or custom orthotics.
- Substantial, stiff soles
- Extra-soft heel cushioning
The insoles that come with most shoe brands are woefully inadequate for plantar fasciitis. Most are nothing more than a flat piece of foam, less than 1/8th of an inch thick, with no structure or support for the arch. Shop for aftermarket footbeds here.
Stiffer, after-market insoles support the arch and help spread and absorb the impact during heel strike. For more on orthotics, try THIS post.
A simple way to tell if you have plantar fasciitis versus a heel spur/stress fracture is to walk on your toes: heel spurs and heel stress fractures feel better while you walk on your toes, while plantar fasciitis typically produces more discomfort when you shift your weight onto your toes.
Besides buying the best walking shoes for plantar faciitis, there are some simple exercises, stretches and fixes that can significantly reduce plantar fasciitis:
One treatment for plantar fasciitis: Do some calf stretches every day.
According to Competitor magazine tight calves can contribute to heel pain. “As demonstrated in several studies, excessive calf tightness causes a premature lifting of the heel, which loads the plantar fascia excessively. As a result, maintaining calf flexibility is necessary to effectively manage chronic plantar fasciitis.”
Besides stretching the calf, it is also important to stretch the plantar fascia. To do that, stand in your bare feet on a tennis ball. Put weight on it, and stand as long as you can. It’s going to hurt at first, but you need to repeat for best results.
So if you’re going to walk with plantar fasciitis, you need good, sturdy shoes. (Scroll down for specific recommendations.)
Effective treatment for plantar fasciitis…
Also, according to a paper published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, sit and pull your big toe back for 10 seconds. This stretch is repeated 30 times per day. Compared to conventional treatments for plantar fasciitis, routinely stretching the big toe was associated with significantly better outcomes.
You can also accomplish a big-toe stretch by kneeling, tucking your toes under, and then slowly settle back onto your heels, effectively stretching all your toes. This is common practice in many yoga classes, and you’ll have to “breathe through it” 🙂 But it’s worth it in the long run.
Always make sure you’ve chosen the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis. Otherwise, you could compound the problem.
Competitor Magazine said that minimalistic shoes should be worn with caution in the early stages of managing chronic plantar fasciitis.
In fact, minimalist footwear is a common cause for plantar fascial injuries in runners. This is especially true for runners with tight calves. For walking, a good rule of thumb is more substantial shoes mean less heel pain.
Here are some recommendations for the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis sufferers:
OOFOS Unisex Ooriginal Thong Flip Flop
As a general rule, we wouldn’t recommend flip flops for walking. However, if it’s summertime, and you’re suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, these are worth checking out.
Biomechanically engineered to alleviate the foot stress and soreness caused by your daily grind.
Athletic shoe foams are designed to “rebound” and propel you forward. Revolutionary OOfoam does the opposite, absorbing 37% more shock with every step than traditional footwear foam. The soft, flexible OOfoam material enables your foot to articulate the way nature intended.
Unlike flip-flops, the OOFOS patented footbed is designed with tremendous arch support to take the pressure off of ankles, knees and hips, as well as your lower back. OOFOS flex with both your foot and the ground.
According to many reviews and online forums, Vionic makes one of the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis.
Made primarily of leather with mesh paneling for a proper fit and breathability. Available in three color options, these shoes work well with just about any fitness or work-related fashion demand. This simple looking shoe has a lace up, open entry for easy access. Lightweight, flexible rubber sole offers lift and security over an array of terrain.
Brooks nailed it when they labeled these walking shoes “Addiction Walkers.” You can put some serious miles on these, with minimal pain from plantar faciitis. No flash is needed in these lace up or velcro-secured slip-on styles. The thick, durable, slip resistant rubber sole has an energy returning midsole. Wide toe box easily tends to those with current or recurring foot pain.