10 Best Walking Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis in 2021

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

Your feet deserve better than the stabbing pain in the heel area. Finding the right shoes is #1 step to stand in the way of this. The purpose of this guide is to go 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 over 30 pairs of walking shoes that are recommended 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 in the carousel below.

Disclaimer: This guide was created for educational purposes and tends in no way to offer medical advice or diagnosis.

How we review walking shoes for plantar fasciitis 

We have implemented CoreScore - our systematic approach to shoe reviews. It allows us to remove spam and weigh reviews from true experts more. We gathered reviews from 139,209 users and applied the CoreScore. This way, all the shoes are rated 0-100 based on reviews. That’s how our collection of walking shoes for plantar fasciitis happened!

Best overall

Getting to walk and be on your feet all day while basking in all the comfort and support your plantar fasciitis-stricken feet can get? This is no longer just a dream thanks to the Brooks Ghost 14 - the best of the best out of all plantar fasciitis walking shoes!

This may be technically a running shoe, but its overall construction also works wonders as a walking shoe based on our tests. 

The shoe’s balanced cushioning provides the perfect mix between softness and rigidity, creating a smooth, consistent ride that prevents further stress on our already problematic heels.

The upper material coupled with its wide toebox DOES NOT need any breaking-in, allowing us to go all out in our brisk walks as well as long, daily walks sans the pain and discomfort.

Say goodbye to the root cause of all our PF suffering, as this shoe’s stable design eliminates any wobble and prevents extensive stretching of the fascia. With above-average width both in the forefoot and heel area (113.8mm and 94.2mm, respectively,) staying surefooted even on mildly uneven terrain is guaranteed. 

The Ghost 14 may be priced higher than the average walking shoe, but the fact that you can go on runs AND walks in it makes it a steal!

Coming from one of the most recognized running brands, going on walks every day and even beating your previous personal best is now arm’s reach with the Brooks Ghost 14.

See our full review and facts

Foot pain on long walks can now become a thing of the past with the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11. 

After months of testing and reviewing 50+ plantar fasciitis walking shoes, we can confidently say that this pair knocks out most of its competition!

The shoe’s stellar performance is possible thanks to its Fresh Foam cushioning technology. It keeps our heels protected from repeated impact, keeping the usual pain at bay and allowing us to further push our personal best record!

We find this fantastic offer from New Balance ruthless when it comes to securing our feet in place throughout our walks. The combination of the excellent lockdown and slip-resistant outsole allowed us to walk without losing confidence in our footing.

And can we talk about how gorgeous and stylish it looks? All the little design details that give off that modern sneaker vibe let us enjoy taking it everywhere! We even decided to stop and get a drink, and we blended in as if we weren’t in the middle of our walk.

Ok, at $130, the New Balance Fresh Foam 880 v11 can be considered a bit pricey for a walking shoe. However, you get more than what you pay for as it is technically a running shoe! It is an excellent investment if you ask us!

See our full review and facts

Best for flat feet

Having plantar fasciitis almost always goes together with having flat feet or even overpronation. 

But don’t fret! There are plenty of shoes that can help with these foot ailments, and the Skechers Arch Fit came out on top of the best models for flat feet after plenty of testing!

Straight out of the gate, we were surprised at how light this pair feels! Maybe because the chunky midsole design deceived us into thinking it’s heavy. These are the kind of surprises we like.

The insole and midsole of the Arch Fit are excellent on their own, but their true power is felt when combined. The insole’s plush cushioning hugs our entire foot so cozily, while the firm midsole makes sure every step is steady and stable. This concoction made our dream of walking 10,000 steps a day possible!

In terms of treading wet pavements and rocky terrains, this shoe was pleasantly stubborn. It kept us upright and confident in our footing, thanks to its slip-resistant outsoles.

To top it all off, we were stunned that this creme de la creme walking shoe just sells for $85! How unbelievable is that? Get all these and more with the Skechers Arch Fit.

See our full review and facts

The Adrenaline GTS 21 has its roots in one of the best running shoe brands, so you can be confident in its prowess as a walking shoe!

We went gaga over the comfort coming from all angles. From the plush (but not mushy) cushioning underfoot to the soft upper to the foamy heel collar, our feet felt spoiled from the get-go!

Although technically listed as a daily running shoe, it works wonders as an aggressive walking shoe. With its highly balanced midsole cushioning, the pair kept our flat feet pain-free even on long walks.

With months of walking daily on various fairly rugged surfaces, we were astonished at how the rubber outsole held up! It showed zero to minimal signs of wear! We actually think it would last us several years.

At $130, you’d think it’s pretty expensive for just a walking shoe, right? But the fact that you can go on runs and walks on these; as well as its longevity and excellent performance actually make it a cheap find!

See our full review and facts

Best for wide feet

The Clifton 8 feels so awfully good to our legs and feet. It’s as if our digits are cradled by a thousand pillows! Its 33.7mm-sized midsole paired with a 5mm insole feels so cozy and secure, we don’t ever look forward to taking it off.

The shoe rolls so smooth, our every step feels we’re wearing a silk-covered mattress perfectly shaped to our foot. It is so stable, as well, that our every stride feels surefooted and fixed.

This Hoka model has a broad design that the previous Clifton 7 model’s 2E width fits the same as the Clifton 8’s standard D option. Just imagine how many foot shapes this pair’s 2E width could accommodate?! 

Our worries of walking at night and in the cold weather are now things of the past, thanks to the shoe’s reflective details and uber-padded construction.

We can’t recommend the Hoka Clifton 8 enough to wide-footed walking enthusiasts, as we’ve been persuaded by how excellent it performs on the road!

See our full review and facts

The Saucony Triumph 19 may be a running shoe meant for slow run days, but it’s such a treasure trove of goodies for walking-obsessed people like us!

The shoe’s main superpower lies in its breathtaking comfort. The cushioning of the upper paired with the plushness underfoot feels like walking on clouds - we could go on and on forever!

Another secret to this pair’s success is its wide construction, making room for most foot shapes, especially fully-footed individuals like us! Our feet feel so at ease in the Triumph 19; we even wear it casually!

The pair does not fall short in the grip department either. Its mini-lugs and tread design perfectly stick onto the various road, gravel, and dirt surfaces.

It stands out in dimly lit settings, improving visibility and safety, thanks to its reflective detailing. 

At $150, it belongs at the expensive tip of the scale, but you get what you pay for and more in this dual-purpose, exceptionally comfortable gem.

See our full review and facts

Best for heavy people

What seemed like a simple daily walker ended up sending us into a frenzy.

After months of testing this pair along with other 100+ walking shoes, the Addiction Walker turned out on top of our list for providing through-the-roof comfort for full-figured people like us!

The midsole provides off-the-charts comfort to our feet. With its unrivaled 360-degree support, wobbling and ankle strains are ancient history. It allowed us to breeze through our errands as it eliminates any symptoms of discomfort and pain!

The Addiction Walker brings down the house when it comes to its staying power. We’ve beaten this shoe to its core by wearing it everywhere for months. It’s been with us every day, from work to errands and special occasions, and it’s still holding up and not losing its supportive prowess. How amazing is that?!

Another strong point that sold us is its slip-resistant soles and ground contact. Its grip and stability came off with flying colors as we’ve never felt like we would lose our balance throughout our tests. 

It’s a jackpot if you’re looking for long-lasting, supportive footwear that has the perfect blend of style and functionality.

See our full review and facts

Another Hoka shoe that pleasantly surprised us is the Arahi 5. Coming from one of the best running brands in the market, the search for a compelling walking shoe that can support above-average weight has reached an end!

This shoe is the epitome of support and durability! With its sturdy and robust build, the Hoka Arahi 5 held up excellently against the distance we’ve walked as well as our weight. 

In terms of stability, we didn’t fickle in our confidence when it came to feeling surefooted. The shoe may have reached a close second next to the Brooks Addiction Walker, but its steadfastness is just as awe-inspiring. This is thanks to its reasonably firm midsole, wide construction, and extended heel collar.

Don’t let this pair’s bulky looks deceive you, as you might be surprised at how it can slowly feel like it disappeared on your feet. At 266g (9.4 ounces,) the Hoka Arahi 5 wins hands down in the weight department, adding to the overall comfort.

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

What can be more satisfying than buying a pair of shoes and getting more than what you paid for?

For $65, the Asics Gel Contend 7 packs a punch when it comes to its price-to-performance ratio. After thorough tests and research on 100+ walking shoes, this pair came out at the top as having the best value for money!

We are highly impressed with the shoe’s overall comfort. It kept our feet pain-free throughout all our trials. It may not have a very soft underfoot, but it consistently provided a smooth and persistent sensation for an offering at its price point.

And with its uber affordable price tag, we are dumbfounded how this pair can also cater to several foot conditions like supination and plantar fasciitis.

On top of these, the pair’s versatile aesthetic and excellent performance could also be used in the gym and while jogging. All for just $65!!

See our full review and facts

If your budget wanders around the $100 mark and you’re after stability, Asics GT 1000 10 might be the perfect match for you! 

With its moderate price and running-based features, the GT 1000 10 is a jackpot! It is packed with the brand’s technologies that bring the house down when used as a walking shoe.

The shoe’s versatility in function alone elevates the price tag’s worth. We’ve used it in the gym, running errands, light jogs, and surpassing our personal best in walking - both in distance and time!

On top of this, the cushioning’s pillowy-soft goodness kept our digits feeling brand new even though we’ve been on our feet for hours. 

We didn’t run out of energy prematurely, thanks to its responsive midsoles. This helped beat our PB as we had so much more to give even after hitting the 2.5-hour mark.

Yup, the GT 1000 10 provides all these in just a $100 package. You probably should cop it now!

See our full review and facts

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 the overuse. The best thing to do is to see a specialist about it - better than trying to self-diagnose. There are numerous possible causes for 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)

7 features of 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. 

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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. 

  1. Comfort: shoe should be comfortable overall! 
  2. Wider forefoot area so your toes don’t feel pressure (avoid shoes that are snug in the forefoot) 
  3. Cushioning: appropriate amount of cushioning which decreases the impact forces while walking. Pay special attention to the heel area, it should have additional padding which takes the strain off the plantar fascia ligament.
  4. Arch support: in case you have flat feet. 
  5. Sturdy sole: offers highly needed stability features 
  6. Firm heel counter: keeping the heel steady minimizes additional stretching of the plantar fascia
  7. Removable insoles: 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 definitely avoid barefoot type of shoes, because they lack in majority of the features mentioned above.

Average price of walking shoes for plantar fasciitis 

For comparison, we’ve shown average prices of shoes for flat feet, for plantar fasciitis, and all walking shoes. Keep in mind that this is the manufacturer's suggested retail price - you can always look for discounts.

average-msrp-of-walking-shoes-flat-feet-plantar-fasciitis-all-shoes.png

Also, per our database, 28% of walking shoes are for plantar fasciitis. 

walking-shoes-market-breakdown-flat-feet-plantar-fasciitis-other.png

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 paint 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.