10 Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis in 2021

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
10 Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis in 2021

Based on studies, plantar fasciitis affects 1 in every 10 adults, both men and women. Whether you are an athlete or not, one of the ways to reduce plantar fasciitis is to wear comfortable shoes.

We have tested over 40 running shoes that are recommended for plantar fasciitis in our lab to help you find the best ones. And because you may have preferences regarding the level of support, cushioning, or the price range, we have selected our top picks in five different categories.

And if you want to learn more about this foot condition, read our in-depth article on plantar fasciitis and how to deal with it.

How we pick the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis

Foot pain is no joke. It is our mission to help you find the best shoe to alleviate the discomfort of plantar fasciitis.

Equipped with a shoe testing lab, an extensive knowledge base, and a team of dedicated testers, we spend at least 7 hours on every new shoe release. Here is our procedure:

  • To avoid bias, we purchase all running shoes with our own money
  • Log at least 30 miles in each pair
  • Cut it open and measure 30+ different parameters
  • Gather all available feedback from experts and users
  • Summarize it all in an extensive review

Assign each shoe a CoreScore to measure it up against 80+ shoes in its category.

Best overall

There is no better all-in-one shoe than the Brooks Ghost 14 when it comes to comfort.

The series has been loved and enjoyed by thousands of runners for years! And we are happy to confirm that the 14th iteration keeps getting better!

The shoe has a very well-balanced cushioning that’s neither too soft nor too firm. It creates a very consistent ride with reliable impact protection, which is so crucial for runners with plantar fasciitis.

There is padding everywhere! You get a huge plush ankle collar and tongue that immerse your ankle into instant comfort. We really enjoyed their soft yet firm hold which helps to eliminate any wobbling.

The upper fits so well from the start that you will want to take it on a run straight from the box!

Runners with PF will also appreciate the Ghost’s wide base which we measured to be above average across running shoes.

And we are happy to report that this Brooks shoe is built for some long service. It’s got a solid rubber outsole which is 32% thicker than average! We expect at least 500 miles.

The Brooks Ghost 14 is a really versatile workhorse. Use it for shorter daily runs, longer efforts up to half-marathon, a tempo workout, and even on some moderate trails!

See our full review and facts

If you are in search of a trainer that helps you forget about foot pain on long-distance runs, the 880 v11 is very likely to be it!

We LOVE the Fresh Foam from New Balance. It strikes such a fine balance between cushiness and responsiveness that you feel like gliding through that entire marathon distance.

The upper conformed to our feet straight away. There were no pressure points and the toebox felt nice and spacious. And if you are a fan of extra secure lockdown, the shoe has additional pairs of eyelets for a lace lock.

And this is a wide-foot friendly shoe too! There are Wide and Extra Wide options available for both men and women

Having tested this shoe for over 100 km, we see barely any wear on the outsole. It is a really heavy-duty horse! Expect to get at least 500 miles from it.

And, boy, what a beautifully designed shoe this is! There is something so fresh about it that gives it a sneaker-like vibe. We enjoyed taking it to a local Starbucks after some wear tests and it felt right at home on any occasion!

A comfortable running shoe that relieves plantar fasciitis, runs a marathon, and has got style? Yes, please!

See our full review and facts

Best for flat feet

It is quite common for plantar fasciitis to be accompanied by flat feet and even overpronation.

Luckily, there are shoes that can help you ease the pain and discomfort, and one of our absolute favorites is the Brooks Adrenaline GTS!

It is a stability shoe but it feels more like a neutral one thanks to the brand’s innovative approach to pronation control. The GuideRails support system wraps around the heel, gently guiding your foot from the heel to the toes.

We never felt like our feet wanted to roll inwards and yet there were no rigid stabilizers underfoot. That’s why we highly recommend the Adrenaline for PF - it is softer and smoother than most traditional stability shoes with medial posts.

The upper on this Brooks shoe is just as comfortable! It’s got that acclaimed out-of-the-box comfort that the brand is known for. Your heel and ankle receive a supportive clutch while the forefoot gets a generous toe space.

The Adrenaline excelled in our durability tests too! This shoe’s lifespan is at least 500 miles and you can confidently wear it all day long.

Overall, there is no other shoe that we could recommend more than Brooks Adrenaline to people with PF and flat feet. It is a fantastic trainer for daily miles, longer efforts (up to half-marathon), and all-day wear.

See our full review and facts

And if you prefer a highly stable shoe that’s more on the firm side, you can’t go wrong with the Asics Kayano!

The king of stability shoes, it ensures a phenomenally stable ride and leaves no chance to overpronation. You get a solid wide base that is ready to support you even on a marathon distance.

The 28th iteration of the shoe actually gets better cushioned and more forgiving compared to the predecessors. Despite using a medial post for stability, it felt noticeably less intrusive and more fluid on our wear tests.

It is also one of the most heavily padded shoes on the market. Its tongue is astonishingly plush (14 mm) compared to the average (5.8 mm). The same goes for the ankle collar. Yes, it makes it less suitable for summer runs but if you want all the cushy comfort that you can get in a running shoe, this is it!

The Kayano is a beast. Showing stratospheric results on our durability tests, it is one of the most durable running shoes in history. You can even use it as a trail shoe for moderate terrain!

So, if you want a shoe that screams stability and yet doesn’t compromise comfort, the Asics Gel Kayano 28 is our strong recommendation.

See our full review and facts

Best for wide feet

A real spa for your feet that comes with a voluminous upper - that’s the Clifton.

We could just as well give this shoe the Best cushioning award given all that plushy goodness underfoot. But it is in fact so wide that even if you are used to getting a Wide in most running shoes, you could go with a Medium in this case.

Combine that with an insanely wide platform that scores high above the average: 115.5 mm (forefoot) and 96.1 mm (heel), compared to the average shoe at 112.7/89.3mm. It makes it one of the most stable neutral trainers that can even support some mild overpronation.

Plush. Padded. Unbelievably comfortable. Clifton maximizes every aspect to provide a little extra in all departments. There is extra softness in the midsole compared to version 7. The insole is 0.8 mm thicker than the average. The tongue is 5.3 mm thicker than the average. the upper overall has more padding than most other running shoes.

And all of that is offered at a below-average weight! 8.8 oz is really light for a max-cushioned daily trainer.

All in all, this is more than just a shoe for wide feet. It is a well-cushioned blessing that gives you more while asking for less (a very reasonable price for a shoe of this level.)

See our full review and facts

And if you are wondering if there is a Clifton that comes with extra stability and support for flat feet, that’s the Hoka Arahi 5.

It is a real foot doctor! A highly cushioned shoe that can alleviate the pain and discomfort of plantar fasciitis and overpronation and is spacious enough to accommodate very wide feet. It even felt a bit too spacious for our slightly wider feet!

And if you thought the Clifton had a wide platform, the Arahi sets a new record with ~1mm more in the forefoot and the heel (116 mm/97.2 mm)! This is one of the widest stability shoes to date.

The Arahi is a tad firmer than the Clifton given its supportive foam cage that helps to stabilize the foot. However, it still scored with an above-average softness in our lab tests, compared to other running shoes.

What surprised us the most was that the Hoka still managed to keep the Arahi below 10 oz (9.4 to be exact) given all that cushion and arch support! How do you like that, Asics Kayano (10.8 oz)?

Overall, the Hoka Arahi became a “running proof” that the medial posts are a thing of the past by offering a mind-blowingly stable shoe for wide and flat feet.

See our full review and facts

Best cushioning

Triumph is the embodiment of luxurious comfort.

If you want to ride the brand’s premium cushioning that feels unbelievably plush and bouncy, this is THE shoe!

It feels like it takes off all the pressure from your feet and legs, becoming a real remedy! It is hard to think of a better shoe for the slow recovery days. And the Triumph will just as well take you through the marathon distance with flying colors.

The ride is very consistent and buttery smooth. And yet, it’s got some pop to it! It’s not a speed shoe by any means but it has the best response among the max-cushioned daily cruisers.

And the luxury doesn’t end with the midsole. You also step into a very cozy, form-fitting upper that just feels right. There is a very firm hold around your ankle and a good amount of toebox space.

The shoe is also plenty durable. Our outsole thickness and stiffness tests promise a good 500-mile lifespan from the shoe.

Overall, if you want a true Cadillac for cruising long miles with exceptional comfort, it’s hard to beat the Saucony Triumph 19! It also feels very lively and energetic for that amount of cush.

See our full review and facts

A tried-and-true daily trainer, the Glycerin is the amped-up, softer version of the Ghost.

With plenty of plushness underfoot and in the upper, this Brooks shoe will keep you in a 360-degree comfort.

We thoroughly enjoyed its consistently soft ride which prevents the plantar fascia from flaring up. It is 75(!)% softer than most running shoe foams.

The upper feels just as great. There is lots of padding to keep you comfortable while the material itself is quite stretchy and accommodating. And we love the gusseted tongue! It really helps to create a nice and secure hold around the midfoot.

The Glycerin has impressive durability too! You can expect a long a happy 500-mile life from this shoe (if not more). The heel has significantly more rubber compared to the forefoot which makes it extra resistant for landing on the heel.

If you want a shoe that feels like a soft armchair and helps you run mile after mile or maybe even spend a whole day on your feet, the Glycerin 19 is your go-to!

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

What first appeared as a very simple trainer ended up blowing our mind with its functionality.

For $65, the shoe packs Asics’ acclaimed Gel cushioning in the heel which did an excellent job of protecting our feet on the wear tests. It’s not a very plush ride, but it is surprisingly smooth and consistent for a shoe at this price point.

It also has a well-designed heel counter which holds the ankle securely. We never had issues with heel slippage or rubbing.

The upper overall has enough padding to keep you comfortable and securely locked in.

The best thing about this trainer is that it can be recommended for a wide variety of uses. You can wear it casually or as part of your athleisure outfit. It does great on daily mid-distance runs as well as moderate gym sessions.

And if you feel like you need more support for your plantar fasciitis, its removable insole can be easily replaced with custom orthotics.

We still can’t believe how much Asics managed to put into the Contend while keeping the price at $65!  

See our full review and facts

And if your budget hovers around $100 and you really need some additional arch support, Asics offers the GT 1000 10. It is a moderately-priced stability shoe that packs all the essentials to make it functional and supportive.

We expected it to be a downgrade from its high-end siblings, the GT 2000 and the Kayano, but the shoe really surprised us on the wear tests!

It has a steady ride, with the foot smoothly transitioning from heel to toe. The cushioning is far from dull and has some good response to it. It wouldn’t make a speed shoe but it does an amazing job as a daily trainer for moderate paces and distances.

The shoe has the same support system as its pricier siblings and it performed as expected. There was no rolling of the feet or ankles and we felt nice and stable.

It may not live up to a Kayano durability (500 miles+) but you can expect a solid 300 miles from this trainer.

Wear it on your daily runs or casually, this trainer feels versatile enough to keep you supported on any occasion.

See our full review and facts

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is the pain in the arch of the foot that is caused by the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick ligament that connects the heel and the front of your foot. The repetitive pressure on the ligament can cause lots of small tears that result in pain and inflammation.

Those who are suffering from this foot condition often notice acute pain in the morning, after a running session or after exercise. The pain also tends to become unbearable when standing for a long period.

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5 expert tips to find the best shoes for plantar fasciitis

If you are experiencing plantar fasciitis, your goal is to find a comfortable running shoe that is cushioned and at the same time, supportive. In finding the right pair, consider these tips:

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Good cushioning helps with pain relief

Cushioned running shoes will protect the plantar fascia from tension caused by repetitive impact while running. A reliable running shoe for plantar fasciitis offers excellent shock absorption as the foot strikes to the ground.

At the same time, it is not recommended to wear an overly plush shoe as it may cause instability in the foot and ankle.

Running shoes with balanced or firm cushioning are more suitable in the case of plantar fasciitis.

Adequate arch support is important

Arch support is one of the important elements to look out for if you have plantar fasciitis. No matter how expensive the shoe is, without proper arch support, the problem will continue. 

Depending on the severity of the condition, arch support comes in different levels. Some running shoes are better for high arches while others are best for low arches; thus, it is important to find a shoe that matches your arch needs:

  • If plantar fasciitis is accompanied by low arches/flat feet and overpronation, consider stability shoes for moderate cases and motion control shoes for severe ones.
  • For those with normal or high arches, it is more beneficial to wear a softer, neutral shoe.

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neutral shoe (left) vs. stability shoe (center) vs. motion control shoe (right)

Robust heel counter stabilizes the feet

A firm heel counter reduces the abnormal stretching of the plantar fascia. It also stabilizes the feet and keeps them aligned. A flexible toe box goes well with a robust heel counter, allowing the front of the shoe to stretch while keeping the back of the foot strong and stable.

Runners with plantar fasciitis can also benefit from shoes with deep heel cups as it also protects the heel bone and reduces pronation. 

Avoid minimalist running shoes

Minimalist running shoes are not recommended for runners with plantar fasciitis because they have less cushioning with little to no arch support.

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Merrell Vapor Glove is one of the most well-known minimalist shoes

Minimalist shoes are bad for both heel and forefoot strikers since there is no enough cushioning to lessen the impact forces.

Consider wearing orthotics

Orthotics provide additional arch support that your running shoe may lack and the deep heel cup helps absorbs impact in every step. Orthotics are also great in minimizing the tension on the plantar fascia.

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Both custom and over-the-counter orthotics offer plantar fasciitis relief. If you wear custom orthotics, consider buying a shoe with a removable insole.

For more guidance on custom insoles and orthotics, see our ultimate guide.

Plantar fasciitis and flat feet are often confused. They are not the same but they are related. 

Flat feet, sometimes called fallen arches,  refer to a foot condition in which the arches are flattened, so when standing, the soles of the feet touch the floor. Flat feet are linked with overpronation and those suffering from this condition are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis.

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How to prevent plantar fasciitis

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few things to remember to avoid or address an early stage of plantar fasciitis. 

  • Do not wear uncomfortable shoes. Avoid heels and shoes with no support. Instead, choose running shoes with impact-absorbing heel support.
  • Rest as soon as you notice discomfort during or after running. Avoid running and other impact sports for a few weeks.
  • Keep doing leg and foot stretches.
Author
Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic

Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.