It’s a jungle out there when it comes to shoes and plantar fasciitis. Lurking in your favorite pair of shoes could be an arch-killer.
Is your closet safe? Which shoes do the most harm to your feet when it comes to plantar fasciitis?
We’re looking at you first, cheetah-print stilettos!
1. Stiletto Heels or Ultra-High Heels
Hillary Brenner, a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association, says, “Heels are getting higher and higher. We podiatrists like to call it shoe-icide.” And shoe-icide is right! Stiletto heels and other ultra-high heels are one of the worst types of shoes you can wear if you have plantar fasciitis (and put you at risk for developing the condition if you don’t have it yet!).
Ultra-high heels raise the arch of your foot to an unnatural angle, destabilizing it and putting an intense amount of strain on your plantar fascia, making them some of the worst shoes for your feet. Not to mention, you’re always one short step away from an ankle sprain or break!
Hold the front door: If stiletto heels are enemy #1, then shouldn’t flats be one of the best shoes you can wear for plantar fasciitis? Not so fast. Flats create the opposite problem for your feet, offering little to no support for the arches of your feet, meaning that your plantar fascia isn’t able to distribute your weight and the impact of movement nearly as well. Without proper support, your arch can be further strained and flattened because of flats. Bad news for plantar fasciitis!
3. Flip Flops
Flip flops are another top culprit for bad shoes for plantar fasciitis. Flip flops typically have flat, skinny soles that absorb very little impact–leaving your arch to stand alone in supporting your weight and the strain of physical activity. Flip flops also have zero support for your heel, meaning it’s possible for your foot to suddenly shift if you encounter an unexpected obstacle, straining your plantar fascia or other muscles and ligaments in your foot. We have a complete guide to sandals for people with heel pain to help you find a pair that doesn’t hurt your feet!
4. Bare Feet
While initially, it might seem that au-naturale is best, walking in bare feet can take a serious toll on your arch and is terrible for plantar fasciitis. Why? Because without proper support, your feet are left alone to absorb the full impact of physical activity. And when the plantar fascia is already strained because of plantar fasciitis, going barefoot can be one of the fastest ways to exacerbate the condition.
5. Old Shoes
Have a favorite pair of shoes that you’ve owned forever? Take heed! Old, worn-down shoes can make plantar fasciitis worse since the sole is often very worn down through use. Thick, cushioned shoes are one of the most important qualities in a pair of shoes that improve plantar fasciitis. Worn, old soles don’t provide much support and can lead to irregularities in gait, strain to the arch, and an uneven distribution of impact from physical activity–all of which make plantar fasciitis worse!
6. Brand New Shoes
New shoes can be just as hard on plantar fasciitis as old shoes, particularly leather shoes that may have a very stiff or tight heel, since this can cause your heel bone to rub against the heel of the shoe, causing additional pain and discomfort and impacting your gait as well. Instead of subjecting your feet to the obligatory “breaking in process” with new shoes, fill two sturdy zip bags with water, place them inside your shoes, and then put them in the freezer overnight. The water will expand when it freezes, stretching out tight shoes without hurting your feet in the process.
What Shoes CAN I Wear?
Are heavy, expensive orthotics your only option when it comes to wearing shoes that will help–not hurt–your plantar fasciitis? Thankfully, the answer is no. While you should still avoid high heels when possible (or wear them for a very short time), a pair of flats or other unsupportive footwear can be turned into a plantar-fasciitis-busting machine with a pair of slip-in orthotics made especially for plantar fasciitis.
Click here to get 100% guaranteed plantar fasciitis orthotics.
Love going barefoot? There’s hope there too. Wear heel wraps, so your feet have the support they need while your toes get the freedom they need!
More Information on Plantar Fasciitis Shoes & Inserts
|Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis||Dress Shoes||Work Shoes|
|Athletic Shoes||High Heels||Sandals|
|Going Barefoot||Fall Footwear||Orthotics Guide|
I love my heal seats. I miss them when not in my shoes. Wish you had a variety of sandles with heat seats in them not just rubber ones, but nice leather or fabric would be nice.
TEVA sandals have good arch support and nice colors.
I agree. All flip flops are not created equal. Love my Teva flip flops.
Skechers have some very good flip flop type sandals also. I have very poor feet and I live mine.
Reef flop flops are the best loove mine
Hi Donna 🙂 Good news, the “Heel Seat Sandals” are back in stock! Check them out and let us know what you think:
What are heal seats?
Hi Anne! Heel Seats are our top-selling orthotic inserts, designed especially for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. You can learn more about Heel Seats here: https://heelthatpain.com/treatments/htp-heel-seats/
Try Vionic shoes. I ordered a pair on QVC to see if they would help with heel pain. They work great. I’ve ordered 4 more pair of sandals with about a 2 inch heel. They’re not padded but your heel sits down in a curved pocket that seems to work a lot like a heel seat. I even ordered a flip flop that gas a slight heel and rubber soles. Works great.
I bought Vionic sandles from QVC and will buy more in the future.
Also purchased sneakers and flip flops from The Walking Store at the mall. Brand name was Abeo. Good stuff.
I also have some Vionic sandals that are specifically for plantar fasciitis. I don’t wear them for hours on end but they feel good when I want to walk in my yard and when being barefooted hurts.
I tried Vionic shoes and the pain grew trifold. It even spread to my knees. Am I the only one this happens to? So many love Vionic.
I also bought Vionic shoes and my foot pain increased.
I am finding this to be true as well. I do think I read it takes time for your feet to get used to them. I hope so; I just spent good money on two pair.
I love my vionics! I dont honestly know what I would do without them. I also find spenco sandals to help ease my plantar fasciitis as well.
I also developed knee pain has your pain gotten any better?
I agree with your statement. I have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis as a result of my running and my podiatrist recommended these Vionic shoes. When I first tried them they felt weird on my feet, but otherwise comfortable. Wore them for about two hours, then had terrible pain for the next 24 hours. Returning these shoes now. Besides, I don’t want to be tied to any one brand of shoes for the rest of my active live…I have had great results with oofos sandals for now.
The Vionic flip flops make my feet hurt way worse. I have high arches but the shoes put pressure on my arches in an odd area around the inside heel not my arch. I have suffered from plantar fasciitis for a year and a half in both feet. It’s a very debilitating thing to deal with. The SAS flip flops help the most.
Teva Omnium with over the counter Arch Rival insoles work for me. Year round- even in the snow!!
I can wear some shoes without my orthotics. TEVA mush top flip flops , most Danskos and Dawz sandals are all ok for me. Otherwise, I’m in complete agreement with the article:)
Kuru shoes are worth every penny. I work in a nursing home and they have helped me 100%
I now wear Kuru shoes. They have made a big difference with my plantar fasciitis. I have no pain in my right foot and almost none left in my left foot.
I live my Kuru shoes. I now have 4 pair of them.
I got earth spirit sandals from Walmart, and I swear they cured my planters faciitis which I had for several years.
Vionic cured my plantar faciitis and is still the only flip-flop I’ll wear.
I like the Viconic as well. Good arch support.
I live in my vionics!!! The best!!
Wish there were sandals for plantar fasciitis that don’t have the toe separating piece. They really hurt my feet.
Chaco Z1 styles don’t have the toe piece. I wear these all summer long!
Vionic has several styles that don’t have a toe separation — just slip-on sandals, or adjustable straps with excellent arch support. They sell them on QVC at really reasonable prices. Really cute colors and styles. Also available on eBay, if you’re a bidder.
Have you tried Vionic sandals? They have ones without the toe post, but I felt the same way until I tried the Vionic Tide sandal. You don’t even know the toe post is there they are so comfortable.
Oofos are awesome! They have a great arch support, they are what I wear around the house now!
Ofoos have saved my feet! After a year of pain these recovery flip flops were the trick for me. Not the most attractive but who cares-I can walk!
I bought a pair of croc (don’t judge – – these aren’t ugly) sandals and absolutely love them. I have now bought 4 pairs. Stylish enough I can wear them to work.
I also have several pairs. My feet never hut wearing them.
Some of the croc sandals I mentioned don’t have the toe piece which is what I ordered
I wear Spenco sandals and clogs, they are comfortable and reasonable priced, they carrier them at my Orthopedic doctors office store,but purchased them online, best sandal i’ve found and I have heal spurs in both feet and the clogs feel even better!
Therafit has sandals with no type seperator. Variety of colors and styles. P
Vionic has several styles with no toe separator
Try vionic sandals. Anything vionic is wonderful.
STOP STOP STOP wearing flip flops
I swear by Finn Comfort shoes. Expensive, but worth every penny. When I wear Finns, I have no lateral plantar fasciitis. Nothing comes closer than Finns to providing relief…not even custom Foot Levelers.
My one pair of Finns stretched out
Therafit shoes are amazing….great arch and heel support…
The brand flip flop sandals work for me
I wore a plantar fasciitis brace from 6-10 every night for several months. No pain since then. I elso wdar shoes with good support.
I wear vionic shoes and also the vionic flip flop. and the slippers…need a cheeper shoe….i will not give my old shoes away….
I have been wearing for a few months now. Worked great in the beginning but the problem is you need to find the right type of shoe to wear with them.
Its good to know that my avoidance of super high heels is warranted! I did not realize however, that sneakers with super stiff heels can be an issue also. I have recently been buying more cloth sneakers instead. Thanks for the tips!
KURU shoes are fantastic. These are the only shoes that helped my planter fasciitis.
Kruizer II are my favorite.
The only sandal that relieved my pain was Birkenstock. They have many styles & colors to choose from.
The Heel Seats work great in my shoes and have stoped my PF pain!
What are Heel Seats?
Hi Betty! Heel Seats are our specialized orthotic inserts that contain patented Fascia Bar technology. They are guaranteed for heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. You can read more about them here: https://heelthatpain.com/treatments/htp-heel-seats/
I’m getting mixed information on Dansko clog shoes I have a pair of their tennis shoes and they’re phenomenal and I love them what kind of dress casual shoe do you recommend and why are danskos bad
I believe its just the professional clogs that cause the most issues, due to lack of natural movement and no flexibility. One of the reasons I have issues now too.
Can you wear heel seats with sandals that have the back out?
Hi Terre! We would recommend using Heel Seat Wraps for open-backed shoes: heelthatpain.com/treatments/heel-seat-wraps
Hi Terre! We would recommend using Heel Seat Wraps for open-backed shoes: heelthatpain.com/treatments/heel-seat-wraps
Chaco’s are the most comfortable for heal pain.
What about platforms for p.f.?
Chaco sandals are the only thing I can wear with NO pain!!! They are fabulous, durable, water proof, great for hiking and come in a huge variety!!! I had a pair before I got PF, and that’s all I can wear now! Great arch support and comfy!!!
Voinic shoes made my feet hurt worse. After wearing them, the pain traveled to my knees. Does anyone else have this issue? I find my running shoes are the most comfortable, but they don’t exactly look very fashionable with a dress. Suggestions –