Best Walking Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis (Men & Women) – 2020

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, you probably already know the importance of a high-quality pair of shoes. Whether you are walking, running or working, having the right kind of shoe is essential to alleviating the foot pain caused by plantar fasciitis. 

Because there aren’t many shoes that are created specifically for plantar fasciitis, we went on a mission to find the best and most comfortable shoes on the market right now. Most of these are walking or running sneakers, so we tried out the most supportive models from some of the top brands. We also considered the recommendations of podiatrists and those suffering from plantar fasciitis. 

After nearly 26 hours of research and review, we have chosen the New Balance WX608 v4 as the best comfort shoe for plantar fasciitis. The WX608 v4 is an upgrade from the previous version, with enhanced heel support and widths that can accommodate custom orthopedic inserts.

Comparison Table of Top 3
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
New Balance WX608v4
  • Features: Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) footbed, full-shoe ABZORB cushioning, injection-molded EVA
  • Benefits: Flexible platform, high heel-drop for low-impact walking
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
Merrell Edge Hiker
  • Features: Vibram sole, Breathable mesh lining, M-Select FIT.ECO contoured footbed, shock-absorbing air cushion heel
  • Benefits: Great traction, airflow, and odor-control for hiking outdoors while maintaining heel comfort
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
Brooks Ghost 11
  • Features: 12mm heel drop differential, mesh outer fabric, BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning, Segmented Crash Pad
  • Benefits: Responsive and flexible support with the airflow and seamless design necessary for running
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

9 Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Now that you’ve read our buying guide and understand the most important considerations for finding a good pair of comfortable shoes, read our reviews of the top 10 best shoes and decide what will best meet your needs. 

1. New Balance WX608 v4 – Top Pick

New Balance is a favorite among those with plantar fasciitis or other causes of heel pain. They have long produced shoes that focus on cushioning and support, and this WX608 v4 is one of their best yet. 

It includes upgraded insole features to provide incredible support, stability, and shock-absorption while still being light enough for versatile cross-training purposes. New Balance shoes are also wider than most brands and can accommodate custom orthopedic inserts or insoles to add even more cushioning. 

Features: Ethylene-vinyl acetate footbed, full-shoe ABZORB cushioning, injection-molded EVA

Pros

  • Comes in extra-wide widths
  • Comfortable enough for daily wear
  • Versatile
  • Dependable reputation
  • Great stability

Cons

  • Some reviewers complained that their shoes started to fall apart quickly, but these complaints were rare. Our knowledge of New Balance assures us that any issues of quality are unusual and were likely quickly remedied.

2. Orthofeet Sprint – Best for Men 

The Orthofeet Men’s Spring shoes are designed to alleviate foot pain from a wide variety of foot conditions: plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, tendonitis, diabetic neuropathy, arthritis, and more. It includes orthopedic insoles and extra-cushioned heels to reduce impact along points of likely pressure and pain. The seam-free lining ensures that you will not feel any irritating rubbing from the stitching of the fabric, which makes it easier to find a good fit.

Features: FEATURES

Pros

  • Good for flat feet
  • Designed for multiple conditions
  • Extra widths and sizes

Cons

  • We found these shoes to run a bit small, which means you may need to size up when ordering. We were also not thrilled with the design style, specifically the shiny details and prominent foot logo (which indicates their purpose as therapeutic shoes).

3. Merrell Edge Hiker – Best for Outdoors

Merrell is a well-known and well-respected brand for outdoor shoes. Plantar fasciitis should not prevent you from enjoying the outdoors, so we are including these in our list as a good comfort shoe for trail hiking. The Merrell Edge Hiker has a Vibram sole with great traction and grip while still being extremely comfortable and supportive in the air cushion heel. 

Features: 100% Mesh, Vibram sole, Breathable mesh lining, Bellows tongue, M-Select FIT.ECO contoured footbed with organic odor control, Shock-absorbing air cushion heel

Pros

  • No break-in period
  • Good grip in the sole
  • Quick-drying

Cons

  • Because this is primarily designed as a hiking shoe, it will not be as comfortable as some of the others on this list. But finding a comfortable shoe that helps alleviate pain while still facilitating your ability to enjoy your usual hobbies is just as important. 

4. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 – Best for Women

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 is a shoe designed for the person on the go. This shoe is a great option for those who need to walk a lot for work or who enjoy running as a form of exercise. It provides the durability and breathability needed for running, along with all the necessary features of great comfort shoes.  

The uniquely adjustable mid-foot saddle gives you a close-to-customizable fit, and the lightweight fabric lining keeps it comfortable and breathable.  The insoles are removable allowing you to use any inserts or insoles you choose with a seamless fit.

Features: 12 mm. Differential, flexible mesh outer, lace-up closure, BioMoGo DNA, progressive Diagonal Rollbar®: tri-density midsole

Pros

  • Quick-drying
  • Great style
  • Good for running
  • Unirritating fabric materials

Cons

  • The heel drop for this shoe could be more significant. It is designed to balance comfort with performance, but this may come at the expense of maximized heel protection.

5. ASICS GEL Venture 5 – Best-Selling

The ASICS Gel Venture 5 is easily the best-selling comfort shoe for plantar fasciitis that we could find. It is extremely popular among those with an without heel pain because of its focus on all-around comfort and cushioning. 

It comes with amazing gel-support shock absorption that keeps you comfortable for hours upon hours. Many users are fond of this shoe for outdoor activities as well as workplace use, and we found it to be durable and reliable as well.

Features: Rubber sole, 2.25” shaft from arch, GEL cushioning, removable foam sock liner, high-traction AHAR outsole

Pros

  • Great heel drop
  • Well-designed heel cushioning
  • Responsive midsole
  • Good sole traction for outdoor use

Cons

  • It would be nice for ASICS to update their style at some point. The design can feel stale for customers wanting something exciting. But for traditionalists, it is probably a comforting look.

6. Brooks Ghost 11 – Best for Running

While the Brooks Adrenaline GTS is a fantastic comfort shoe runners with plantar fasciitis pain, there’s no competing with the Brooks Ghost 11 in this category. This shoe is consistently rated one of the best running shoes on the market, while also providing amazing cushioning and support for those with foot pain. The Brooks Ghost shoe series has received numerous Runner’s World Editor’s Choice Awards due to its combination of both comfort and durability. This is definitely the shoe to buy if you want to keep running despite intense heel pain from plantar fasciitis.

Features: 12mm heel drop differential, mesh outer fabric, BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning, Segmented Crash Pad

Pros

  • Award-winning running shoe
  • High heel-drop for heel impact
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Soft midsole

Cons

  • The only real complaints that we heard were in regard to the high heel-drop. However, these complaints were from those experiencing little-to-no heel pain, making the heel drop measurement uncomfortable for them. But for those with neutral arches, underpronation, and plantar fasciitis pain, this is not an issue.

7. Brooks Launch 5 – Most Cushioning

It’s obvious that Brooks makes excellent running shoes for those with pain from plantar fasciitis. With the Launch 5, they have made a “running shoe” that is actually more comfortable than any shoe we reviewed. The open-pore mesh outer allows for optimum airflow throughout the day. The cushioning system is flexible, responsive, and built to last. Many reviewers said they felt like they were “walking on clouds.”

Features: FEATURES

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Very breathable
  • Outstanding cushioning
  • Integrated inserts
  • Wide toe box

Cons

  • We found this shoe to have a relatively high arch, which means it may be less comfortable for those with flat feet or lower arches.

8. Gravity Defyer G-Defy Mighty Walk – Most Accommodating

We call the Gravity Defyer G-Defy Might WAlk the “Most Accommodating” because it seems to work for everyone! Podiatrists find themselves recommending this shoe for those with flat feet, wide feet, neuropathy, diabetes, and bunions.

It is clearly designed to support sensitive feet and offers everything you could ask for in a comfort shoe: seamless inner fabric lining, front rocker sole, removable insoles, extra-wide toe box, and VersoShock technology. Reviewers were thrilled to find that it was comfortable for those with exceptionally large feet as well.

Features: VersoShock spring system shock technology, seamless interior, front rocker sole

Pros

  • Comes with a pair of Podiatrist-Grade CorrectiveFit Orthotic Insoles (at the time of writing)
  • Wide toe-box
  • Popular aesthetic
  • Flexible sole

Cons

  • This is on the higher end of the price range and may not be realistic for all buyers. However, as a podiatrist-recommended model, this is one of the best shoes to ensure relief from a variety of chronic or acute foot pain. Sometimes that can be worth a little more.

9. Merrell Jungle Moc – Best Slip-On

As with our other Merrell choice, the Men’s Jungle Moc is a great shoe for both plantar fasciitis pain as well as outdoor trekking. Its convenient slip-on design makes it an accessible and low-frills shoe that works on hikes as well as city treks. 

As with all Merrell shoes, the Jungle Moc has a solid traction sole and a rugged build that ensure many years of heavy use. In fact, this shoe has been around for practically 20 years and shows no sign of slowing down. We like this slip-on model because of its minimalist design and high-quality materials.

Features: Suede leather upper, M-Select Fit.ECO footbed, Air Cushion heel, waterproof outer, 1lb 9oz weight

Pros

  • Air Cushion heel
  • Good grip
  • Quality materials
  • Heel pull-on tab
  • Durable enough for hiking

Cons

  • While the waterproof nature of this shoe is great for hikes, it does prevent it from being particularly breathable. You will want to consider your airflow needs when thinking about purchasing this shoe.

10. Vionic Walker – Best for High Arches

Vionic is another brand often recommended by podiatrists and those suffering from plantar fasciitis pain. It is a brand that focuses heavily on comfort and support. The Vionic Walker is especially helpful for those with high arches who also experience pain from plantar fasciitis. 

You May Also Like: Best Running Shoes for High Arches

This shoe is designed specifically to help realign your gait and evenly distribute impact to avoid heavy heel strikes. The mesh liner adds good airflow and the leather detailing helps provide protection and durability for many years of use. For a shoe with such a niche market, we found the price to be reasonable and the quality to be excellent. If you have high arches, look no further.

Features: Premium water-resistant leather uppers, thermoplastic heel counter, action lacing system, moisture-wicking mesh liner, PU foam base, biomechanical removable orthotics, deep heel cup, antibacterial covering, motion-controlled footbed

Pros

  • Great arch support for high arches
  • Moisture-wicking to prevent overheating
  • Water-resistant
  • Quality build

Cons

  • Many users found this shoe to be too stiff, but this is something that was useful to wearers with high arches. Make sure to measure your arch needs before purchasing.

Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Pain Relief – Buying Guide

There are few if any shoes specifically designed for those suffering from plantar fasciitis. Some shoes claim to alleviate foot pain from a variety of conditions, but may not meet your specific needs. Others do not make any claims about foot pain but end up being incredibly supportive and comfortable nonetheless. 

To help you navigate the thousands of shoe options on the market, we put together this buying guide with the main factors to consider when buying comfort shoes for plantar fasciitis.

Fit

It’s like sandals like Birkenstocks that fit good, but are arguably the most important consideration when buying any pair of shoes, not just those for plantar fasciitis. But when you are trying to buy shoes to alleviate the pain that already exists, a good fit is essential. Shoes that do not fit correctly may not only aggravate your existing pain from plantar fasciitis, but it may also create new problems and cause additional pain. 

You May Also Like: Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Some of the best ways to ensure a good fit are to try them on towards the end of the day when your feet are likely to be the largest, to wear the socks you will likely be wearing with the shoes, and to carefully measure your feet prior to ordering. If you want even extra support check out plantar fasciitis socks.

Toe Box Width

As part of ensuring a good fit, you want to make sure your shoes have sufficient width in the toe box. The toe box is the front of the shoe where your toes sit. They should not be overcrowded or squeezed and should be able to freely wiggle. For plantar fasciitis, it is especially important to err on the wider side. This is because using toe-spread for even weight and support distribution will ensure that undue pressure is not placed on other parts of your feet while walking. You may also want to invest in the best shoe stretcher spray when you’re shoes are brand new in order to loosen them up.

Heel Drop

The heel drop of a shoe indicates how high the heel rises above the toes. If your shoes are completely flat, the heel drop will be zero. A higher heel drop means that you are less able to walk heavily on your heel, as the front or middle of your foot will likely hit the ground first. This is helpful for plantar fasciitis pain because it is the heel that experiences the most discomfort. You want to structure your shoe and gait so that your heel receives a lighter impact.

Arch Support

Plantar fasciitis is very closely tied to arch support. Often it is caused by wearing shoes that are too supportive, which can actually weaken your feet over time by limiting their ability to stretch and flex naturally. But in order to fix plantar fasciitis, you need to start with strong arch support and very slowly decrease it over time as your feet get stronger. You may be interested in our reconditions for the best shoes for standing all day on this page.

A good way to test arch support is to measure your arch height before ordering. Make sure to measure both of them as there may be differences between your left and right feet. The shoes may feel a little stiff at first and that is a good sign. You do not want a shoe that bends too easily at the arch or it will not be able to give you the support you need.

Cushioning

The other side of arch support is overall cushioning. Cushioning is important for shock absorption and should be present all along the shoe, from the ball of the foot, through the midsole, and to the heel. You will likely need extra cushioning in the heel as this is where the pain from plantar fasciitis is usually concentrated.

You May Also Like: Best Running Shoes for Walking

Most of the best shoes for plantar fasciitis have a slight incline or platform to the heel in order to reduce the pressure and workload on the heel and tendons.

Orthopedic Insoles

One of the best ways to tackle pain from plantar fasciitis is to find supportive and cushioned insoles. If you are frequent runner then check out the best new balance shoes for plantar fasciitis. You can even have insoles customized for your specific feet. These insoles will provide even more cushioning at certain points where the pain is most intense. Did you know plantar fasciitis can lead to other harmful injuries such as knee pain? If you already have this problem you can see the article here and can compare what’s the best shoe for you.

You should buy your insoles after you have purchased your shoes though. And you may need to try a few different types of insoles before finding one that blends perfectly with your chosen shoes. Do not rely solely on insoles to alleviate your pain though; make sure you are using them in combination with a supportive pair of shoes.


What Is the Best Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis – Final Thoughts

Ultimately, we chose the New Balance WX608 v4 as the best comfort shoe for plantar fasciitis. You really can’t go wrong with New Balance when looking for a shoe that provides excellent cushioning and support with high-quality materials and reliable production. New Balance has focused a great deal of their business on comfort shoes, which means you benefit from decades of knowledge and specialized design. If you don’t want to waste time buying multiple pairs of flashy shoes in hopes that they help with your pain, buy a pair of New Balance WX608 v4 and you will be instantly happy you did.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
New Balance WX608v4
  • Features: Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) footbed, full-shoe ABZORB cushioning, injection-molded EVA
  • Benefits: Flexible platform, high heel-drop for low-impact walking
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
Merrell Edge Hiker
  • Features: Vibram sole, Breathable mesh lining, M-Select FIT.ECO contoured footbed, shock-absorbing air cushion heel
  • Benefits: Great traction, airflow, and odor-control for hiking outdoors while maintaining heel comfort
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE
Brooks Ghost 11
  • Features: 12mm heel drop differential, mesh outer fabric, BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning, Segmented Crash Pad
  • Benefits: Responsive and flexible support with the airflow and seamless design necessary for running
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

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Austin Mills

Austin Mills in an outdoor enthusiast. He's been featured on some of the top outdoor & fitness blogs sharing his expertise in order to help others. In his free time, he likes spending time with his dogs enjoying the outdoors.

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