If you are unsure what Plantar Fasciitis is, scroll to the bottom of this article. If you are looking for a new shoes to help ease the pain and make a full recovery, you are in the right place. (If you want to read more about PF, I covered this topic pretty extensively in my article Best Plantar Fasciitis Treatments for Runners). But the most effective way to remedy and prevent plantar fasciitis is to wear the right shoes.
When looking for shoes for treating/preventing plantar fasciitis, here are the most important features to look for:
- Comfortable cushioning that will protect your heel from future damage.
- Firm ankle support.
- Shock absorption to dissipate the force whenever you strike your heel on the ground. This ensures that any particular part of your foot doesn’t get full impact while you’re running.
- A firm midsole to keep your arch at a right angle.
- Shoes with solid heel counters and super flexible toe-box. (the shoe should only bend from the front half while remaining rigid at the rear-half).
The seven shoes I’m going to review in this article are all highly recommended for sufferers of plantar fasciitis and include most or all of these features. As a runner who periodically suffers from plantar fasciitis myself, I have personally owned some of these shoes and thoroughly researched the ones I haven’t. All of these shoe models are available in mens and womens sizes and have hundreds of positive reviews. Each shoe is linked to Amazon so that you can further read more reviews on each shoe.
Top 6 Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Our Top Choice:
Here are the products that I include with links so you can check pricing on Amazon.
The Nimbus has been around for awhile and older models (such as the 15’s, 16’s, and 17’s) have all been highly regarded by PF sufferers, and even won an Editor’s Chice award from Runner’s World magazine. The new and improved Gel-Nimbus 18 continue the legacy of great comfort and stability.
- FluidRide: FluidRide provides the ultimate combination of bounce back and cushioning properties with reduced weight and exceptional durability.
- Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning Systems: Attenuates shock during impact and toe-off phases, and allows movement on multiple planes as the foot transitions through the gait cycle.
- FluidFit: ASICS FluidFit upper technology combines multi-directional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements that adapt to the athlete's foot, creating a truly customized glove-like fit.
In this model, Asics improved the rearfoot and forefoot gel units in order to create a perfect cushioning area. They also feature a new heel clutching system that provides a suited environment for the heel while supporting the ankle and keeping it stable.
These shoes are designed for runners with natural or high arch feet (underpronators), who will find this shoe ultra supportive and comfortable. Overpronators or people with flat feet should check out the Asics Gel-Kayano 20 (below) or the Asics Gel-Foundation 12.
2. The Asics Gel-Kayano 22
Similar to the Gel-Nimbus, the Asics Gel-Kayano 22 features a patented rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning system that provides superior comfort and stability, but this model is designed for overpronators and anyone with low arches/flat feet.
- Lace-up running shoe featuring mesh overlays for breathability
- Removable insole for comfort
- Rearfoot and forefoot GEL cushioning systems to attenuate shock
These shoes have a lot of ‘new’ technology in them such as the patented Asics DueMax support system which provides comfortable arch support that isn’t too high, and more rigid foam under the arch area. The midsole itself is also very firm.
I’ve found that Asics gel cushioning system is rather lightweight in comparison to other shoes that boast superior cushioning (it makes sense that a gel material would be lighter than layers of cushioning fabric, right?)
Some runners aren’t bothered by the heaviness of support shoes, some even prefer it, but if you are runner who is looking for comfort and relief from PF pain AND a shoe that is lightweight, I’d invest in Asics. If you are a serious overpronator, look into the Asics Gel-foundation 12 model, which provides extra arch support for this pronation style.
These trusted, go-to running shoes by Brooks are the perfect balance of support and soft cushion, and especially great for those who tend to pronate. The midsole dynamically adapts to every step thanks to their patented DNA midsole, while your body is guided into it’s natural alignment with the help of a supportive rollbar.
The full-length “Crash Pad” helps distribute the force of each step evenly on the bottom of the foot, making it great for urban runners who run mostly on paved surfaces and are hard pressed to find soft surfaces to run on. Older generations have this shoe have been praised by PF sufferers and extreme pronators alike, but the sixteenth edition is more plush than ever.
An updated V-Groove folds deeper inward to absorb and disperse impact away from the foot, and a new seamless interior design provides a comfortable and secure fit.These are by far the best Brooks running shoes for plantar fasciitis sufferers.
Saucony is well established as one of the better shoes for plantar fasciitis. As of 2016, Saucony has the Guide 9, a sequel to the highly regarded Guide 8. They feature a special technology called the PowerGrid midsole which offers superior impact absorption and long-lasting cushion support. Many reviewers mention that these shoes have great rebound and that the Everrun technology provides an energizing bounceback, making them great shoes for those long runs on a hard paved surfaces.
- Light-stability road running shoe with highly-breathable mesh upper featuring GLEXFILM technology with exoskeletal support
- EVERUN topsole
- Dual-density SSL EVA midsole
Additionally, this model also has the SRC Crash Pad and IBR sole technologies which are fancy names for a rigid midsole that offers great stability and motion control. They also feature a new tri-flex outsole configuration that allows for better ground contact, pressure distribution and overall smoother stride.
These are technically trail running shoes, but they can be worn no matter what terrain you run on and are a great pick for PF sufferers – especially if you are a trail runner! Because they are made to stand up to any terrain and weather condition, they are light, breathable and moisture resistant, yet they provide a lot of cushioning and stability.
- Aggressive Grip: The fourth generation of our legendary Speedcross lug pattern is an even hungrier monster for eating up soft, technical trails.
- Precise Foothold: Feel one with the trail with a precise combination of Sensifit with Quicklace, performance last shape and endoFit. For wet and dirty terrain trail
- OUTSOLE: Wet Traction Contagrip. Sockliner- Molded eva, eva shaped footbed and ortholite. Features mid feather upper construction
These shoes are super comfortable and provide great stability to your ankle when running on uneven surfaces. They are designed with a Sensifit system that works to cradle the foot and provide a precise and secure fit and a lightweight cushioned midsole that feels like a cloud.
I’m a huge fan of their QuickLace system that gives my feet a secure feel without the laces being in the way. One reviewer stated that these were the best shoes he ever had for treating his plantar fasciitis during his frequent ten mile runs, stating “These are light, fit great, provide the support and stability I need, and have made me all but forget about the pain I used to be in every day.”
The New Balance 990 V4 is an improved version of the classic 990 series of New Balance shoes (a design that has remained popular for more than 30 years now). With over 1000 positive reviews on Amazon alone, this lightweight sturdy shoe is widely regarded as being one of the best New Balance shoes for plantar fasciitis because it provides a great combo of comfort and stability.
- Pigskin/mesh upper
- Encap PU ring with EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) core
- Dual density collar foam
- ENCAP midsole technology provides support and maximum durability
- 12 mm drop: due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes all references to 12 mm drop are approximate
Made in the USA, the New Balance 990 V4 features dual density foam to not only cushion but support your feet as well. I also like that they come in more minimal and neutral colors, a great choice if you’re slightly turned off by the flashy busy colors on most running shoes. These shoes also sport reflective strips that increase your visibility while jogging at night.
Where Can I Buy These Shoes?
Many professional running stores sell these brands and these shoes, but if you can’t find them (or don’t have a specialty running store in your area) I’ve provided links to Amazon in which these shoes can be ordered. Amazon is more than likely the cheapest option.
Just reading the reviews on Amazon can provide valuable insight into how the shoe is going to fit your foot and what size you should order. Not being able to try something on before you fork over $100+ is never fun, but that’s where reviews can really come in handy.
Other buyers can let you know if the shoes run a half size larger or smaller, if they are narrow or wide, or if they have any sort of weird quirks – “they release a weird smell when they get wet,” or “the heel is really high and made me feel like I was leaning forward,” for example. If you want to be extra certain that you are getting the right shoes for your feet, speak to your podiatrist about which features should be a top priority for your unique feet.
The plantar fascia (a connective tissue that runs from the heel of your foot, through the arch, to the base of your toes) may be one of the most under-appreciated parts of the human body. We often take for granted this ligament that is single handedly responsible for allowing us to maintain balance when we walk, run or stand – unless you suffer from plantar fasciitis.
WebMD describes Plantar Fasciitis (PF) as an inflammatory condition that causes pain in this area, and can affect the heel or arch of the foot. Even if you don’t suffer from this condition often, you are most likely still familiar with this pain in small doses. You might feel a sharp pain in this area when your feet first hit the ground in the morning, or after a long day walking in unsupportive shoes (flip-flops, stilettos, etc.).
Runners are especially prone to this condition as they put pressure on this tender area over and over again in their workouts. And while many of us, runners and non-runners alike, can often recover from this condition, others suffer from it continually throughout their lives.
Probably the most frustrating of with this condition is that cause is clinically unknown. Sometimes you can be doing all the right things and still suffer from pain in the bottom of your feet. It is presumed that runners struggle with pain frequently due to to a drastic increase in mileage, wearing old/worn running shoes, neglecting to stretch calf muscles, running on hard surfaces, or overdoing hill or speed workouts.
All of these conditions increase the stress on your plantar fascia, which is what most experts presume in the reason for the pain. It also is more likely in runners with tight achilles tendons, high arches, flat feet, or who have excessive pronation.
Plantar fasciitis is a debilitating problem that can cause unbearable pain and potentially ruin an active lifestyle. Fortunately, there are several shoes designed to combat the pain associated with plantar fasciitis and prevent it from returning.
Remember to replace your shoes every 300-400 miles or so. As your shoes wear, you may not notice the comfort and stability slowly slipping away, and wearing worn shoes will invite plantar fasciitis to return. If you are a sufferer of plantar fasciitis or any other problem of the foot, there is no reason to continue on in pain.
Invest in a pair of running shoes designed to keep you on your feet and enjoy life to the fullest.
Last update on 2020-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API