7 Best Walking Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Walking Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis in 2024
We earn affiliate commissions at no extra cost to you when you buy through us. Why trust us

Your feet deserve better than the stabbing pain in the heel area. Finding the right shoes is the #1 step to stand in the way of this. Our guide goes in-depth on which shoes are best for plantar fasciitis, why are they different from other shoes, and what science has to say.

We have reviewed walking shoes from every major brand to find the best options for this condition. Some shoes are better suited for people with wide feet, some feel extra light, and some offer extra slip resistance on smooth surfaces. See our top picks in each of these categories!

Disclaimer: This guide was created for educational purposes only and offers no medical advice or diagnosis.

How we test walking shoes

Foot issues are something that we, at RunRepeat, take seriously. Walking might be an effortless form of motion, but with plantar fasciitis, a lot could go wrong even just for a few hours of walking in the wrong pair of shoes. That is why we scrutinized walking shoes in a well-thought-out manner.

Before anything else, we get our hands on these walking shoes using our own money. We like to give strong emphasis on this because we like our reviews done with complete fairness. After acquiring the shoes, we wear them right away. We bring them on our morning walks, trips to work, and daily runs of errands. We also tested them on concrete, cobblestones, and other surfaces. 

We assess our experiences and observations from the wear test. And we correlate them to the next and final step, which is lab testing. We conduct tests on the shoes and we measure and score different properties such as breathability, durability, platform width, and midsole hardness. We also split the shoes in half for a more extensive view of each.

Best overall walking shoes for plantar fasciitis

What makes it the best?

Crazy soft and delightful on walks minus the maddeningly shaky rides – this is what put Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 right at the top of all plantar fasciitis walking shoes. The fact that we stopped complaining about heel pain the moment our feet met this shoe already sufficed why it’s the greatest!

Upon measuring the stack height of GTS 23, we learned that its heel is 34.1 mm from the ground and 2.7% taller than the average. Meanwhile, the forefoot is 21.5 mm thick, and 11.5% closer to the ground than average. This yields a drop of 12.6 mm, which is above the others by 41.6%, and translates to moderately high heels that aid in toning down the strain on our feet, especially our plantar fascia. 

Additionally, our heels and ankles are securely hugged by the heel counter. The reason behind that is its stiffness, which we proved by personally evaluating it. After the pinches and presses, we rated the heel counter stiffness a 4/5. We also attempted to contort the whole shoe to determine the overall stability but it felt like it was against the twisting, so we also scored the torsional rigidity a 4/5. On our actual strolls? It’s indeed steady!

The deal-breaker is that it’s upper is not ready for excessive wear. When we applied our Dremel to its material, it was easily nibbled by the tool. Therefore, GTS 23 is not a good idea if you plan on using the shoes heavily.

Pros

  • Excellent stability without being intrusive
  • Ideal for easy miles
  • Specifically designed for heel strikers
  • Outstanding breathability
  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Availability in narrow and wide sizes
  • Capable of handling tempo paces
  • Not expensive at all

Cons

  • The engineered mesh upper lacks durability
  • Lacks cushion for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Walking shoes for plantar fasciitis with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

No wonder our feet are absolved from stress when we sport the Brooks Glycerin GTS 20 as we are basically floating in the shoes. Its cushioning is yet the superlative of all the plantar fasciitis walking shoes we have worn and scrutinized. 

We felt that the primary reason behind our acheless strides was the chunky foam that elevated our heels. We pursued more information about the midsole in our lab and learned that the heel is indeed lifted at a thickness of 36.5 mm. That’s 9.9% more than others. The forefoot stack height is 25.5 mm and 4.9% taller than average. Therefore, the heel-to-toe drop is 11 mm and 23.6% higher than average. In addition to relieving our foot pain, the cushioning served as an impact-proof platform for our feet.

Along with support, the foam of GTS 20 also endowed us with insane comfort. Measuring the thickness of the insole alone, we immediately understood where the fantastic underfoot feel came from. The insole is 5 mm thick, which is 13.6% beefier than the standard.

The bad news is the generous cushioning cost the shoe a slightly heavy weight. At 10.9 oz (309g), GTS 20 is 15.3% heavier than the average. We recommend getting this shoe if you don’t mind the extra load on the feet.

Pros

  • Excellent for heel strikers
  • Provides protective cushioning
  • Offers comfort on easy running days
  • Ensures smooth transitions
  • Features a secure heel counter
  • Comes with a soft, stretchy upper
  • Good breathability
  • Effective GuideRails system

Cons

  • Midsole may feel overly firm for some runners
  • Pricier than many alternatives
  • On the heavier side
Full review of Brooks Glycerin GTS 20

Walking shoes for plantar fasciitis with the best arch support

What makes it the best?

ASICS Gel Kayano 30 supports the natural arches of our feet while still being an absolute treat. We are mounted in the shoe but our movements aren’t limited. Instead, our feet and ankles got the reinforcement they required, allowing us to walk without unnecessary side-to-side rolling.

Getting on the Kayano 30, we immediately noticed a difference: our weight was evenly dispersed on the cushion, reducing the localized tension in our heels. The one in charge behind this is the terrific arch support that maintained us in a nice center position. For a more analytical viewpoint, we measured the stack height of the midsole. In the heel, it’s 39.7 mm and 19.2% thicker than the average. In the forefoot, it’s 27.7 mm and 13.5% more substantial than others. These values resulted in a huge 12 mm drop that alleviated the pain in our plantar fascia.

Even though we are greatly above the ground, we never experienced any tripping tendency. This is all thanks to the uncompromising construction of Kayano 30, which received a 4/5 in our torsional rigidity test.

We also determined the midsole’s level of hardness using our durometer. The higher the measurement, the firmer it is. As expected based on our dreamy underfoot impression, the midsole is softer than most walking shoes by 32.2% at 16.4 HA. All of the shoe’s supportive features came with a price, and that’s weight. Kayano 30 weighed 10.7 oz (303g), which is 12.7% heavier than average. We recommend switching to lighter options if weight is of great importance to you.

Pros

  • Exceptionally cushioned
  • Impressively stable with 4D Guidance System
  • Lighter than it seems
  • Top-notch breathability
  • Effective maximalist design
  • Superior durability and comfort
  • Ideal for high-mileage runners
  • Ultra-plush FF Blast+ foam
  • Amazing build quality

Cons

  • Actual drop exceeds stated measurement
  • Midsole might require a break-in period
Full review of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

Best lightweight walking shoes for plantar fasciitis

Hoka Arahi 7
78
Decent!

What makes it the best?

The Hoka Arahi 7 sets a new standard for plantar fasciitis-supportive walking shoes, elevating stability shoes to the next level by keeping an airy build while offering comfort and gentle support. Our thorough lab analysis further cements its status as the best lightweight in this category.

Each stride feels easy to take with Arahi 7’s airy nature. Our scales confirm a 9.4 oz (266g) which almost feels weightless for a stability shoe since our lab average is at 10.3 oz (293g). 

This pair knows how to manage any discomfort by keeping its stack high. We recorded above-average measurements of 34.2/27.9 mm in the heel and forefoot. The good amount of foam combined with a balanced 26.6 HA composition worked to our advantage as it granted comfort and support, relieving pressure off our arches and heels.

Arahi 7 features a wider-than-average midsole and Hoka’s J-Frame technology to further guide our foot alignment, effectively mitigating injuries. Our manual assessment found this shoe extremely resistant to twisting, earning a high 5/5 torsional rigidity rating.

Doubling as a running shoe, it offers some resistance as we bend our feet. Our flex test reveals it’s 64.2% stiffer than the average walking shoe, which others may find unnatural on foot.

Pros

  • Premium and comfy upper
  • Still surprisingly light
  • Subtle yet effective stability features
  • Versatile for all footstrikes
  • Reasonably priced
  • Excellent fit and security
  • Plush tongue
  • Cushioned

Cons

  • Limited breathability
  • Low energy return
  • Slightly snug fit
Full review of Hoka Arahi 7

Best slip-resistant walking shoes for plantar fasciitis

Hoka Bondi SR
85
Good!

What makes it the best?

In our search for exceptional slip-free walking shoes for plantar fasciitis, we discovered that Hoka Bondi SR is the one to beat. Being slip-resistant is already on its name (SR) but we were still blown away by how we were able to traverse paths, whether wet or icy, without being anxious and without actually falling. Not to mention, our heels were in so much comfort and twinging was way out of the picture!

Testers with plantar fasciitis among us were thrilled about the heel stack height of Bondi, which we measured at 39.4 mm. This was 23.9% thicker than average and it was exactly what we needed to cater our heel with extra support and protection.

We found that shoes that are too narrow are a no-go for plantar fasciitis. Good thing that when we measured the widest part of the shoe using our caliper, we found that it was very accommodating. At 100.3 mm, Bondi is 2.5 mm wider than average. 

We measured Bondi SR’s outsole hardness, and it didn’t come as a surprise when our durometer indicated a 3.7% softer value than average: 73.1 HC. This allowed the outsole to stick to different surfaces, especially smooth ones. The catch is the outsole’s not that durable. We confirmed this when we put our Dremel to use and pressed it to the outsole, as it caused a 2.48 mm dent compared to the 1.4 mm average. So we suggest seeking other pairs if durability is non-negotiable.

Pros

  • Comfort is off-the-charts
  • Extra thick cushioning for all-day support
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transitions
  • Alleviates foot discomfort (podiatrist approved)
  • Stable for a neutral shoe
  • Slip-resistant outsole
  • Superior material quality
  • Water-resistant leather upper
  • Accommodating toebox

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Not breathable
Full review of Hoka Bondi SR

Best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis and wide feet

What makes it the best?

After extensive testing in and out of the lab, the Brooks Beast GTS 23 emerged as our top pick for the best plantar fasciitis walking shoe for wide feet. It offers generous room while securely cradling our heels. What's remarkable is that it delivers stability without compromising our natural foot movement—a winning combination for anyone seeking comfort and support.

Those of us with wide feet enjoyed the shoe’s accommodating fit, particularly in the toebox area, allowing for our natural toe splay. The widest part measures 102.2 mm vs. the 98.3 mm average. What we also measured to be exceptionally spacious is the 102.7 mm heel vs. the 90.3 mm average, providing steady landings for heel strikers.

Brooks ensures secure landings by stiffening the heel for foot alignment, earning a perfect 5/5 score in our manual assessment. The GuideRails technology limits excessive movements, while the midsole offers comfort with its flexibility, proven by our bend test result showing 27.3% higher flexibility than average.

Beast GTS 23 houses the premium DNA Loft v3 cushioning which our durometer reveals is a comfy yet firmer-than-average 25.3 HA. This is the perfect density for a stability shoe as it offers support without sacrificing comfort.

However, this shoe doesn’t shine in the weight department. At a bulky 12.4 oz (352g), it’s quite tiring to carry for long hours.

Pros

  • Exceptionally stable
  • Effective GuideRails technology
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Superior build quality
  • Responsive DNA Loft v3 foam
  • Durable and grippy outsole
  • Comfortable and breathable upper
  • Good volume in the upper for those with wide feet

Cons

  • High weight can lead to leg fatigue
  • Not versatile for faster paces or longer distances.
  • Becomes too firm in cold weather
Full review of Brooks Beast GTS 23

Best budget walking shoes for plantar fasciitis

What makes it the best?

At an unbelievable $90, we believe the 2nd edition of Skechers Arch Fit is worth every penny because our lab tests and actual walks show it elevates stability to the next level. Its stacked yet balanced cushion feels more luxurious than its price suggests, while its wide base offers non-intrusive support. Compared to the $117 walking shoe, AF2 is our best budget pick for plantar fasciitis walking.

This pair didn’t skimp on cushioning and even pushed the limits with its 39.2 mm heel—one of the highest we’ve ever recorded among walking shoes. It’s paired with a 24.0 mm forefoot that results in a steep 15.2 mm that relieves pressure off our Achilles and heels. To ensure controlled movements, AF2 maintains a firm cushion so that it doesn’t bottom out. Our durometer confirms it’s 21.6% denser than average, contributing to balanced strides. 

Further enhancing stability is the wider-than-average landing base of the shoe. Its generous 114.5/90.9 mm space helps us find our footing securely. The midsole also retains a level of resistance to mitigate excessive motions. Our bend test reveals it’s 15.7% more resilient than average.

AF2 falls short in breathability, earning a disappointing 2/5 score. On humid days, the lack of ventilation becomes evident, making it uncomfortable to wear, especially under the sun's heat.

Pros

  • Amazing support for overpronation
  • Wide and stable platform
  • Tons of cushioning
  • Lighter than the Arch Fit 1.0
  • Perfect for all-day wear
  • Padded and cozy interiors
  • True to size and fit

Cons

  • Very poor breathability
  • Lacks durability
Full review of Skechers Arch Fit 2.0

Do you need shoes for plantar fasciitis? 

Yes, if you have plantar fasciitis.

It is well known for the pain that happens in the heel area and might even spread to the midfoot area. The pain is present because the fascia that connects your heel to your toes becomes inflamed, usually because of overuse.

The best thing to do is to see a specialist about it - better than trying to self-diagnose. There are numerous possible causes of heel pain.

Symptoms of plantar fasciitis 

In this review of the most current scientific literature on plantar fasciitis, the symptoms are listed as follows: 

  • A severe heel pain in the morning or after a rest period
  • The heel pain that gets worse with weight bearing 
  • Pain might spread from heel to the midfoot 
  • Soreness when palpating plantar fascia 
  • Discomfort when you bend your big toe by hand (passively)

How to find the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis

If you’re experiencing plantar heel pain you might experience difficulty with footwear comfort, fit, and choice, as this research has shown.

Don’t be discouraged, here’s the list of shoe features to help with the pain.

Features-of-plantar-fasciitis-walking-shoes.png

These are the things you should look for in a shoe in case you have plantar fasciitis. The idea behind these features is to find a shoe that minimizes impacts when your foot hits a hard surface. 

First and foremost, comfort. The shoe should be comfortable overall! Aside from that, a shoe appropriate for plantar fasciitis should have the following features:

Features of a plantar fasciitis walking shoe

Wide and stable sole

Provides the needed stability and sure-footedness.

Sufficient and moderately soft cushioning

Decreases the impact forces while walking. The heel area should have additional cushioning to take the strain off the plantar fascia ligament.

Firm and supportive heel counter

Keeping the heel steady minimizes additional stretching of the plantar fascia.

Spacious toebox

So that your toes don’t feel squeezed or pressured.

Arch support (optional)

If you also have flat feet and overpronation.

Removable insoles (optional)

You might need this option in case you go for special insoles for plantar fasciitis.

Not all these features are a must. Comfort comes first. Everything else is there to eliminate/lessen the pain and make your walking a comfortable experience.

You should avoid minimalist or barefoot shoes because they lack most of the abovementioned features.

how-to-find-shoes-for-plantar-fasciitis.jpg

Here is an overview of walking shoes that meet the criteria listed above and can be recommended for plantar fasciitis. Each criterion is elaborated in detail in the sections below.

Wide and stable sole: a must for plantar fasciitis

When you suffer from foot pain, the last thing you want is shaky and wobbly footwear. You will only feel at ease when stepping on a stable platform that keeps you surefooted.

That’s why we put each walking shoe through a series of stability tests before we can recommend it for plantar fasciitis.

The most supportive shoes will have the following characteristics:

  • high torsional rigidity (it is hard to twist the shoe sideways)
  • very wide platform (in the heel, midfoot, and forefoot)

We perform a manual test to check the torsional stiffness of each shoe. We then rate it on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the stiffest. A shoe must have a score of at least 3 to be considered suitable for plantar fasciitis.

midsole-width-in-walking-shoes-for-plantar-fasciitis.jpg

Using a caliper, we also measure the width of the shoe’s midsole. For consistent results, we always measure it in the widest areas of both the forefoot and the heel.

Putting together our lab findings, here is an overview of walking shoes that we consider suitable for plantar fasciitis:

To broaden your options, we also include running shoes with the same parameters that can be comfortably used for walking.

You can find even more options here.

Arch support in walking shoes for plantar fasciitis

It is possible that in addition to plantar fasciitis, you also have flat feet and/or overpronation. You should consider a more supportive walking shoe if:

  • your feet have no arches when you sit or stand
  • your feet and ankles tend to roll inwards a lot
  • your shoes wear out faster on the inner side

When in doubt, we highly recommend consulting your doctor.

But if you recognize yourself in all three cases listed above, there is a high chance that you need a stability shoe.

arch-support-in-walking-shoes-for-plantar-fasciitis.jpg

Choosing the right cushioning in walking shoes for plantar fasciitis

To be recommended for plantar fasciitis, a shoe must have enough cushioning to provide impact protection and take the pressure off the heel.

cushioning-inwalking-shoes-for-plantar-fasciitis.JPG

A study with 101 participants revealed that 83.2% of people with plantar fasciitis were wearing inappropriate shoes for their condition. These were shoes with a minimal heel height or hard, non-cushioned insoles without built-in arch support.

On a positive note, another study showed that 95% of patients who wore max-cushioned shoes reported that the footwear helped in their recovery process.

Heel stack and drop

But what is considered good cushioning for plantar fasciitis?

While there is no specific guideline, we believe it is safe to recommend at least:

  • 30 mm of heel stack height
  • 8 mm of heel-to-toe drop*

*The drop indicates the elevation of the heel above the toes. It is the difference in height between the heel stack and the forefoot stack.

heel-to-toe-drop-for-plantar-fasciitis.jpg

Example of a shoe with a 36.5 mm heel stack and an 11 mm drop.

To make your life easier, we measure every walking shoe’s stack height in our lab. We use a caliper and follow the rules set by the World Athletics as to where the stack height should be measured. The thickness of the insole and the outsole is included as well.

measuring-heel-stack-in-walking-shoes-for-plantar-fasciitis.jpg

Depending on personal preference, you can opt for a slightly higher or lower heel stack and drop. You might as well stick to shoes with average measurements to be on the safe side.

You can also find more options among running shoes that are suitable for walking and meet the criteria for plantar fasciitis.

Midsole softness

On one hand, you need a touch of softness to dampen the impact upon landings. On the other hand, an overly plush shoe may aggravate the plantar fascia.

The common ground is to choose moderately soft or even a bit firm cushioning.

midsole-softness-measurement-in-walking-shoes-for-plantar-fasciitis.jpg

In the lab, we cut all tested shoes in half and measure their foam softness with an HA durometer to find out which walking shoes could be suitable for plantar fasciitis.

We recommend choosing from shoes with an HA reading between 20 and 30:

The lower the HA number, the softer the cushioning. You can choose plusher or firmer based on your preference.

Do check the heel counter too

The lack of proper support at the rearfoot may lead to excessive shifting of the heel and ankle. This, in turn, is likely to exasperate the heel pain.

We perform a manual squeeze-and-push test to check how structured is the heel counter on each walking shoe. The stiffness is rated on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the stiffest.

A heel counter must score at least 3 in this test to be considered as appropriate for plantar fasciitis.

Make sure there is enough space in the toebox

Even when you find a shoe with the most ideal support and cushioning, the experience can be ruined by a tight-fitting upper.

That’s why it is critically important to get the right shoe size in your day-to-day walking shoes.

In addition to getting the size (length) right, you should also check if the toebox has enough room for your toes.

toebox-width-in-walking-shoes-for-plantar-fasciitis.jpg

Equipped with a caliper, we check the toebox width of each walking shoe in our lab. We measure both the widest part and the big toe area to make sure that the upper doesn’t taper towards the toes.

As our lab data shows, the width and shape of the toebox varies, even when all tested shoes are of the same men’s US size 9.

Some shoes have very spacious toeboxes even in medium width. In other shoes, you will need to order wide or extra wide to accommodate your toes.

Are rocker shoes good for plantar fasciitis?

They are. In fact, podiatrists often prescribe shoes with a stiff rocker profile to help alleviate the pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

The curved shape of such shoes acts like a rocking chair for the foot. It makes heel-to-toe transitions much smoother and easier, distributing the pressure evenly across the foot.

They also make the ride feel more propulsive as the rocker encourages the foot to roll forward.

However, there are a couple of caveats.

A rocker-bottom walking shoe may not be a panacea for plantar fasciitis. Even though such shoes can be used as part of the treatment, they only help to ease the pain. Do consult with your doctor first.

Another downside is that rocker shoes can take some getting used to, especially if the curve is aggressive. Standing in some shoes can feel tricky at first.

We have tested a number of rockered walking shoes to find out which ones meet our criteria for plantar fasciitis.

Treatment of plantar fasciitis 

It’s important to consult your specialist about possible treatments for your condition. The treatments that should likely be attempted first are those that are low-cost and low-risk such as stretching of the plantar fascia and/or Achilles tendon, education about the condition, and prefabricated orthotics (as explained here). 

This, however, is a general overview of how the treatment algorithm looks like: 

Treatment-for-plantar-fasciitis-timeline.png

If you’re dealing with chronic plantar fasciitis, this research offers an in-depth comparison between different inserts and insoles.

Don’ts for people with plantar fasciitis 

1. What happens if you ignore plantar fasciitis?

It will go from acute to chronic pain. It might even lead to pain in other body parts, because you’ll start walking differently in order to lessen the pain by changing the impact in the feet. This way, compensation will happen and other body parts will light up. In order to avoid new discomfort and pain, it’s important to treat plantar fasciitis while it’s in the acute phase.

2. Can I walk on the treadmill if I have plantar fasciitis?

Walking on a treadmill might make your plantar fasciitis worse. Basically, you’re doing more steps in a shorter period of time. The best suggestion for plantar fasciitis is to stop repetitive motion with impact forces in the heel. 

Some even advise activities such as elliptical machine or stationary cycling until the symptoms resolve, as shown in this study

3. Can I wear running shoes for walking if I have plantar fasciitis? 

Depends on the purpose. If you’re doing quick power walks, running shoes might do. Pay attention to how your feet feel. However, if you’re looking for shoes for casual walks, you should look for models made especially for walking. To read more on the differences between running and walking shoes, read our in-depth guide on walking shoes

4. Can I walk barefoot if I have plantar fasciitis? 

You should not walk barefoot. Plantar fasciitis means your plantar tendon is under too much pressure and you need stability features that shoes offer to help decrease both pain and pressure.

5. What causes plantar fasciitis?

The main cause hasn’t been discovered scientifically. However, there are numerous risk factors

Intrinsic risk factors: 

  • Obesity
  • Pes planus (flat feet)
  • Pes cavus (high-arched feet)
  • Shortened Achilles tendon
  • Overpronation (inward roll)
  • Limited ankle dorsiflexion
  • Weak intrinsic muscles of the foot
  • Weak plantar flexor muscles

Extrinsic risk factors: 

  • Poor biomechanics or alignment 
  • Deconditioning
  • Hard surface
  • Walking barefoot
  • Prolonged weight bearing
  • Inadequate stretching
  • Poor footwear
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.