Plantar fasciitis is a relatively common injury in runners. Perhaps you’re one of the lucky few? In any case, you’re probably itching to get back out there and do your thing. But, what will it take to minimize the afternoon aches and pains that your regular shoes haven’t treated?
Start with a good pair of running shoes.
Not just any pair, mind you, that’s why we’ve listed the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis. Because there IS a difference.
Although you may find some benefit to wearing orthotic inserts to deal with sore heels while you train, a pair of good running shoes with firm ankle and arch support will probably be the better option. That’s why we’ve gone through the trouble of listing the absolute best running shoes for plantar fasciitis sufferers – the keyword being “for plantar fasciitis sufferers” like yourself. These athletic sneakers are the highest rated by them, and for good reason. They actually work to alleviate pain! So, don’t take it from me. Take it from people like you.
Benefits Of Choosing The Right Running Shoe
It is generally noted that running and other moderate exercises can put you at an elevated risk to get plantar fasciitis. And, as you probably know, once you get it, it puts a damper on continuing your training activities.
Your Physician has probably told you to moderate your activities to protect your already-inflamed fascia ligament, so if you decide to continue your running routine, it’s paramount that you at least get the support that your feet will be begging for. And that starts with the right running shoe to protect your arches, heels, ankles, Achilles, etc..
So, let’s get into it, then.
What IS the best running shoe for plantar fasciitis? What distinguishing factors do better footwear offer. Let’s take a look at just some basic elements.
They may look similar, but just the slightest change in your motion, mixed with slightly better support, should produce results that 1) don’t exacerbate your condition, 2) keep you as pain-free as possible and 3) allow you to continue running.
The Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis will provide…
Why Other Running Shoes provide less benefit…
- Constructed with cheaper material
- Offer less, or no foot and heel support, like Barefoot shoes
- Too light and flexible to provide enough support
It’s easy to get caught up in just buying those uber-cool, high tech-looking shoes that everyone else is wearing. Let’s be real for a minute, though. You’ve got a moderate-to-severe condition that you’re trying not to aggravate!
Buying an athletic shoe that supports your arches and heels is number one on your list. Looks should be second. Fortunately for you, most running shoes are marketed to look good. The best walking, casual and work shoes for plantar fasciitis, on the other hand… well, they’re more business than pleasure. But they work.
Common Complaints With Running Shoes And PF
No shoes are perfect. What’s more, as you already know, there is not one fix-all cure to plantar fasciitis. It’s all trial and error to see what works for you. You may not get it right the first time and here are some of those complaints.
Group Studies and Statistics
Several studies over the years have been performed that link the benefit of multiple, conservative treatment options and the short term benefits patients can receive from them. No Physician, however, will tell you how getting the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis is going to be the pain management therapy that is most effective for you. However, we all can use our best judgement based on what is already known.
A group study was performed whereby a set of 45 athletes with no symptoms of plantar fasciitis was tested against another two groups, one of which being a set of athletes with 43 affected feet with symptomatic plantar fasciitis. Statistical comparison of range of motion showed that the group with symptomatic plantar fasciitis was significantly restricted when compared to the other two groups. The study documented strength and flexibility deficits in those with plantar fasciitis.
In a recent article by Thomas C. Michaud, DC, he lays out some new techniques for runners in treating plantar fasciitis. One such measure was for his running patients to reduce their stride length and increase their cadence while waiting for the injury to resolve. Also, runners should avoid making first contact with their mid or forefoot as the heel strike is the recommended pattern, since the former increases tension on the plantar fascia. This would put an emphasis on wearing shoes that minimize shock absorption and provide excellent heel cushioning.
Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis – Men
(click image to enlarge)
Asics is one of the best athletic shoes, period. And the GEL Nimbus 15 is just the newest in the line of great running shoes they’ve produced. Not only did they improve the cushion, fit and stability of previous models, it features a new FluidRide midsole and even more forefoot GEL cushioning for top-of-the-line shock absorption.
Pros: Good solution for high arches – Nice cushioning , very comfortable – Roomy toe-box – Durable – Long line for this model of shoe – Effective for knee and back pain
Cons: May be problematic for wide feet – Run a bit small
Not to be outdone by its competitors, the New Balance 990v3 running shoe has made a comeback. With classic looks, a standard EVA foam midsole to protect against shock and suitable for most foot types, this running shoe quietly offers the total package. Regardless, of the simplicity, it stands as one of the best sneakers for plantar fasciitis. Added Bonus: they’re made in the USA. How about that!
Pros: Fit true to size – Multiple width sizes to choose from – Can add OTC inserts – Good for heavier runners – Very comfortable
Cons: Tongue slides to the side – Lack the quality of other top shoes – Funny smell out of the box
The Saucony Kinvara 3 model couldn’t last forever, much to the lament of its faithful following. Thankfully, in the Kinvara 4 running shoe comes an already highly-rated successor. They’re lightweight, have a lower heel-to-toe drop and feature a wider toe box as an added benefit. To be honest, however, the Saucony Progrid Kinvara 3 is the actual jewel as per its user base, but the 4 is a growing as a worthy successor. Awesome sneaker with a strong fellowship.
Pros: Lightweight and fast – Supportive fit – Good for marathon or as a work shoe – Solid traction – Work to correct stride
Cons: Lack sufficient cushioning – May wear out quicker than expected
The Adrenaline GTS model is self-proclaimed as Brooks’ most popular shoe, and the GTS14 might be the best of them all. For a smoother stride, these running shoes come with a segmented midsole “Crash Pad” that enable a better heel-to-midfoot transition. Note: though discontinued due to newer models, the Adrenaline GTS12 running shoes are still rated best by plantar fasciitis runners – and still might be available for purchase.
Pros: Good running shoe for flat feet – minimal durability complaints in comparison to others – Comfortable for running, walking or working
Cons: Less cushion than previous models – a little too tight of a fit
The Asics GT-2170 had been one of the most popular Asics running shoe for years, especially for those running with plantar fasciitis. Luckily, the lineage goes on with the GT-2000 2. This next generation running shoe has been designed even lighter and with an Impact Guidance System to enhance your natural gait, from heel strike to toe-off. This has become one of the best running shoes, period, and could easily have been rated a few spots higher on the list!
Pros: Great fit – Good midsole and heel support – Optimal for neutral feet – Excellent overall stability
Cons: Mesh may wear prematurely – Might run a half-size too small – Few people prefer its predecessor GT-2170 – Complaints of short laces
Other Top Men’s Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis
Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis – Women
(click image to enlarge)
The Saucony Guide 6 comes as the highest rated women’s running shoe for plantar fasciitis specifically, however, that model has been discontinued (a common theme on this list). But the lineage continues with the Saucony Guide 7. In the newer Guide 7 comes a shoe 3 years in the making. Strategic stability zones add to functionality and support while maintaining optimal cushion and flexibility. Moderate over-pronators and neutral runners get maximum support with the Saucony Guide 7… a welcome upgrade to an already fantastic athletic shoe.
Pros: Great for long distance running – A lighter shoe with plenty of stability – Good cushioning – Best for mild pronators
Cons: May run a little small – Color choices may be too eccentric – Might not be as good as the Guide 6
The New Balance W1540 is one of the top running shoes for motion control, and it starts with their proprietary Rollbar supports and Absorb mid-foot cushioning technologies. New Balance has the name, but also has the following – in particular, its popularity with the foot pain crowd.
Pros: Comfortable, with plenty of heel and arch support – Lots of support from plantar fasciitis crowd – Positive feedback in conjunction with over-the-counter inserts – Good shoe for overweight people
Cons: One of the more expensive running shoes – Best for moderate running and walking
While the W1540s are rated just above the New Balance W1340s, the technology and fan support are equally agreeable. This is one of the premier training shoes and comes engineered with their Stabilicore medial support system, which provides a smooth transition from heel strike to toe-off, and their TBeam shank designed for torsional stability. This is another popular shoe for runners dealing with heel and foot pain.
Pros: Available with different width options (see “Cons”) – good running shoe for flat feet – Cushiony – Works to correct motion – Another good shoe for plantar fasciitis crowd, lots of positive reviews
Cons: Some narrow width concerns – Short laces – May need to order a half-size up
While the Addiction 10 remains the highest rated, the newer version comes with the normal gambit of upgrades. The Brooks Addiction 11 stays true to the family line and comes with their DNA cushioning system, customized for a smooth ride for runners of any size – responding to every step and dispersing impact. Most importantly, it’s highly rated by flat feet and moderate over-pronators for its support and motion control.
Pros: Great feel – Positive reviews from over pronators – Fantastic overall support – Upgrade to an already fantastic shoe (Brooks Addiction 10)
Cons: Color options are lacking – May not be as good as the Addiction 10 shoes for alleviating plantar fasciitis aches
Another shoe highly recommended for neutral and over-pronators is the Asics Gel Exalt. With the Rearfoot Gel cushioning for shock disperation upon impact and their lightweight, Trusstic system engineered to retain the structural integrity of this shoe, many runners find this to be a viable solution to their problematic arches.
Pros: Inexpensive versus the rest – Fit true to size – Comfortable and cushiony – Positive reviews for knee, Achilles and plantar fasciitis pain
Cons: Heavier than other running shoes – Better arch support can be had with an over-the-counter insert
Other Top Women’s Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis
So, there you have it. Plenty of running shoes for plantar fasciitis sufferers. And, since shoe manufacturers update so frequently, you’ll find that a few of the shoes on this list are previous models. Don’t take that to mean out-dated, however. A tweak here and a toe-to-heel drop “improvement” there and it can throw off the dynamic of a great shoe. Of course, there ARE positive reviews on some of the newer versions (i.e. that they continue to promote good posture, they’re comfortable, have a nice, tight fit, etc.) so don’t be afraid to “trade up” from one of these. We’ve merely posted the best Make and Model athletic shoes for plantar fasciitis.