7 Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Running Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis in 2024
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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.

In our lab and on the runs, we have tested running shoes that are recommended for plantar fasciitis to help you find the best ones. And because you may have preferences regarding the level of support, cushioning, or price range, we have selected our top picks in 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 test running shoes

Foot pain is no joke. It is our mission to help you find the best shoe to alleviate the discomfort of plantar fasciitis. Given our extensive knowledge base, we have developed a comprehensive review methodology to find out which shoes work the best.

  • To avoid bias, we purchase all running shoes with our own money.
  • Log at least 30 miles in each pair, indoors and outdoors, and on roads and trails.
  • Cut the running shoes open and measure 30+ different parameters.
  • Summarise our data and observations all in an extensive review.

Best running shoes for plantar fasciitis overall

What makes it the best?

The Adrenaline GTS 23 is hands down the best overall shoe for people with plantar fasciitis. It has rock-solid support, ample cushioning, and high heel to toe drop that are ideal for runners who need that added bit of protection for their feet.

And it's hard to find shoes that keep feet protected as well as the GTS 23. Its GuideRails system did a great job keeping the foot from rolling too far inwards or outwards during our runs. The shoe's midsole width in the forefoot and heel are also 4.5 mm and 7 mm wider than average, and we appreciated the safe landing platform that the wide base provided.

The GTS 23 has a good amount of cushioning in the heel with 34.1 mm of foam, which we measured to be 20.7% softer than the average shoe. That combination of cushioning and comfort makes the GTS 23 ideal for cruising along in easy runs.

The GTS 23 also has a 12.6 mm heel to toe drop, which is 41.5% taller than the average running shoe. This is great since shoes with a higher drop help to put weight more in the forefoot and away from the plantar in the heel.

However, the GTS 23 doesn't quite hold up in terms of toebox durability. The shoe scored 1 out of 5 as the mesh upper was significantly destroyed in our standardised Dremel test. So those looking for a shoe with a more durable upper better look elsewhere.

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

Running shoes for plantar fasciitis with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

No shoe can match Brooks Glycerin GTS 21 in terms of cushioning among our lab-tested plantar fasciitis walking shoes. It is the real deal not only in securing our foot alignment but also in making us feel like we’re floating on clouds. We love the low-ley support it delivers. 

We experienced muted ground impact and subtly guided movements in our runs. Diving deeper into the DNA LOFT v3 cushion, we found it elevates the experience with an above-average 37.2/26.5 mm stack height, providing plush comfort that's unusual for stability shoes. The foam maintains a balanced 20.9 HA, offering softness without excess mushiness

The GuideRails system forms the core support structure, integrating firm foam elements in the heel and sidewalls to boost rigidity. This innovation ensures essential stability, curbing excessive movements and reducing injury risks. Our manual tests show outstanding resistance to twisting, earning a top 4/5 rating, while the heel boasts maximum rigidity with a perfect 5/5 score.

Providing us with a substantial area to find our balance is the extensive 117.3/100.2 mm base. Surprisingly, this stability shoe is only 0.8 oz (23g) heavier than its neutral version—a remarkable figure for all the support and confidence it brings.

However, the upper feels extra warm and is suited for cooler climates. Those who prioritise ventilation are better off with more breathable shoes.

Pros

  • Reasonable weight gain over non-GTS version
  • Super comfortable upper
  • Fantastic non-intrusive stability
  • Responsive supercritical foam
  • Built-like-a-tank outsole
  • Roomy toebox
  • Ready for marathon training

Cons

  • Knit upper lacks ventilation
  • Not suitable for faster paces
  • Could be lighter
Full review of Brooks Glycerin GTS 21

Running shoes for plantar fasciitis with the best stability

What makes it the best?

Those of us with plantar fasciitis greatly appreciated the 30th Gel Kayano’s one-of-a-kind stable ride. Its substantial amount of well-loved FF Blast+ cushioning felt like home, while its 4D Guidance System maintained our proper foot alignment. Even our lab results agree that it’s hard not to love this shoe’s perfect balance of comfort and support.

GK30 aced its support features, namely the 4D Guidance System and the extensive landing base. It uses a softer foam under our arches for custom support and protection. This relieves the pressure, effectively preventing inflammation and pain. Ensuring steady landings is the extra wide forefoot and heel that has an extra 10.9/15.1 mm vs. the average.

This ASICS redefined the traditional stability shoe by adding tonnes of comfort to its midsole. With a tall stack packed with the brand’s softest cloud-like foam, the ride feels so luxurious and forgiving. We ran long miles without counting since our legs remained fresh. Our durometer confirms it’s 30.2% softer than average. Adding to GK30’s charm is the top-notch breathability of the well-ventilated upper., making it a pleasant place to be in for long hours.

Unfortunately, this maximalist weighs a heavy 10.7 oz (303g). Not everyone needs this much cushioning. We recommend checking for lighter options that also offer stability.

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 running shoes for wide feet and plantar fasciitis

Hoka Gaviota 5
83
Good!

What makes it the best?

In our test runs, Hoka Gaviota 5 delivered a comfortable in-shoe experience and consistent support suited for runners with instability and arch issues. Its cushioning is a strategic combination of firm and soft elements to provide comfort and surefootedness, while the wide midsole and unrestricted upper are extra accommodating. Our lab agrees that Gaviota 5 perfectly fits the needs of wide-footed runners with plantar fasciitis.

Each footfall of ours was caught by a generous amount of cushioning underneath. It saved our legs from feeling bruised due to repetitive landings and kept the ride smooth sailing and centred. The plush 12.9 HA layer enhances comfort, while the second firm 22.0 HA foam ensures controlled strides to prevent injuries.

The inclusive midsole measures 11.7/16.3 mm wider than average in the forefoot and heel so that our landings are safe and sound. Another stability element is the H-Frame that guides our foot alignment so we don’t roll our ankles and move excessively.

We never endured the cramped-up feeling since the spacious toebox and airy upper feel refreshing. We had room for natural toe splay and optimal airflow to prevent hotspots and blisters. Our smoke and light tests confirm a perfect rating in terms of breathability.

Its minimal 2.2 mm drop may bring discomfort to heel-strikers. We warn caution to runners who aren’t used to low-drop shoes.

Pros

  • Remarkably stable
  • Breathable and comfortable upper
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Plushier than ever
  • Good stability option for forefoot strikers
  • Ideal for wide feet
  • Excellent for long runs

Cons

  • Low drop might pose issues for heel strikers
  • Performs poorly in colder conditions
  • Not for narrow feet
Full review of Hoka Gaviota 5

Best lightweight running shoes for plantar fasciitis

Hoka Arahi 6
87
Great!

What makes it the best?

Hoka redefines the traditional heavy stability shoe with Arahi 6. A breath of fresh air on our feet, it offers consistent and subtle support through its balanced cushion and vast platform. The lab results show this but it's our actual runs that cemented Arahi 6 as the best lightweight shoe for runners with plantar fasciitis.

While most stability shoes weigh above 10.0 oz (283g) and the average running shoe is 9.5 oz (268g), Arahi 6 boasts a feathery 8.9 oz (252g). With its high-density foam and spacious platform, we’re surprised by how airy it is. 

Zooming into the midsole, Arahi 6 integrates the J-Frame technology — a firmer J-shaped foam outside the midsole for better balance and support. To enhance comfort, Hoka provides enough stack to mute out ground feel. It’s notably higher than average in the forefoot leading to a more levelled 4.1 mm heel drop. We noticed a more even weight distribution and less localised tension.

Further ensuring a steady ride is the platform that runs 2.1/7.4 mm wider than average in the forefoot and heel. This gives all types of foot-strikers enough room to land more stably.

We’re not too convinced with the outsole as it lacks the coverage to last long and the soft rubber for reliable grip.

Pros

  • Fits true to size
  • Balanced cushioning
  • Lightweight for stability shoes
  • Good lockdown
  • Stable platform
  • Fun to run in
  • Very comfortable
  • Improved lacing

Cons

  • Grip is not reliable
  • Durability problems
Full review of Hoka Arahi 6

Most comfortable running shoes for plantar fasciitis

What makes it the best?

Contrary to its name, Nike Structure 25 is devoid of any rigid sidewalls and shanks, carrying a cushioned midsole instead. We were pleasantly surprised by how it seamlessly combines a smooth and stable ride with gentle, non-intrusive elements that help align our feet, making it particularly well-suited for runners dealing with plantar fasciitis who require additional comfort.

Home to Nike’s Cushion 3.0 foam, we enjoyed pillowy landings and slightly springy toe-offs. Our lab reveals the cushioning is a combination of height and plushness, maximising its potential for comfort. Our calliper shows the stack rises to 36.7/24.6 mm while our durometer confirms our sensation with a soft 17.0 HA reading. We found the shoe to be supportive for easy runs up to LSDs.

Our forward motions feel effortless due to the malleable midsole, which our bend test reveals is 24.6% more flexible than average. To ensure our strides remain balanced and stable, Structure 25 adds width to its base and stiffens the midsole torsionally. Our manual assessment reveals a 4/5 score, making it almost impossible to twist our ankles. Meanwhile, the midsole is a wide 116.4/95.3 mm.

However, the dense and padded upper makes us crave more airflow during warmer days. This pair feels comfiest during cooler seasons.

Pros

  • Stable and supportive ride
  • Plush and protective cushioning
  • Comfy and flexible underfoot
  • Consistent in the cold
  • Good for long slow distance runs
  • No break-in required
  • Warm and roomy toebox
  • Durable, high-quality upper
  • Lots of colorway options

Cons

  • Quite heavy
  • Average breathability at best
  • Clunky at high paces
Full review of Nike Structure 25

Best value running shoes for plantar fasciitis

ASICS GT 2000 12
90
Superb!

What makes it the best?

After miles of running and hours of lab testing, the ASICS GT 2000 12 reveals itself as our top-value shoe for people with plantar fasciitis. This lightweight stability shoe delivers features beyond its £150 price tag. It has the right combination of gentle support and comfortable cushioning that protects and relieves plantar fasciitis-afflicted runners. 

At 9.7 oz (275g), the GT 2000 12 is lighter than the average stability shoe (10.3 oz/293g) due to its less pronounced supportive elements. Its 3D Guidance System combines a wide landing base with a strategic midsole geometry to promote surefootedness. Our calliper confirms the forefoot and heel are 6.1 mm wider than average. This innovation is non-intrusive as it didn’t demand much attention, yet we knew it was certainly there when needed.

What’s hard to miss is FF Blast+ cushioning’s balanced and responsive ride. Our durometer shows a 25.1 HA measurement, just the perfect amount of firmness for support. To elevate comfort, GT 2000 12 integrates the PureGEL into the heel to soften landing impact and relieve pressure off our heels. 

However, what we find lacking is a more breathable shoe for warmer days. We recommend using this pair for cooler weather.

Pros

  • Stable yet non-intrusive
  • Exceptionally grippy and long-lasting outsole
  • Built for endurance on long runs
  • Lightest model in its series
  • Top-notch comfort
  • FF Blast+ cushioning for the first time in a GT 2000
  • PureGel technology for heel strikers
  • Remarkable durability of the outsole
  • Great value at £150

Cons

  • Breathability could be improved
  • Might require a brief break-in period
Full review of ASICS GT 2000 12

Got plantar fasciitis? 

There are many possible causes of heel and arch pain. The overused and possibly inflamed plantar fascia can cause pain under the arch and also under or around the heel.

what-is-plantar-fasciities.png

Sharp heel pain is usually the first sign of plantar fasciitis but not the only one, which is why it’s imperative to visit a podiatrist or a PT, ideally the one who works with runners, before deciding on the treatment and footwear.

This guide was written with runners with plantar fasciitis in mind and is not here to give medical advice. 

How are PF shoes different from the rest?

When you have plantar fasciitis, what usually causes even more pain is running and walking in shoes that are barefoot or minimalist, that have no support because they are simply too flexible, and that are maybe even too soft. This makes your feet work even more, while what they actually need is some support and stability. 

Running shoes for plantar fasciitis feel great because:

  • the rigid platform feels stable 
  • the stiff heel counter cradles the heel and it locks it down, so there’s less movement and, therefore, less pain 
  • the base is soft but not too soft so that there’s no excessive motion and 
  • the heel drop is high because higher heel drops activate the muscles of the upper parts of the legs. 

5 things to look for in running shoes if you have plantar fasciitis

Pain in the heel or along the arch can sometimes be immediately reduced, at least to some extent, when the proper running shoes are worn. 

Based on all the research and our experience with plantar fasciitis and the pain it causes, in RunRepeat, we focus on these 5 things that get the shoes on the plantar fasciitis list: 

  1. Cushioned shoes. Definitely don’t go for the minimalist, low-to-the-ground ones. 
  2. Heel drop of at least 8 mm
  3. Midsoles that are not too soft. We advise going for a minimum of 20 HA. 
  4. Rigid running shoes, and here, we focus on torsional rigidity that needs to be in the 3-5 range (out of 5, where 5 is the most rigid). 
  5. Stiff heel counters! Here, we also advise the 3-5 range (where 5 is the stiffest). 

We dive deep into every section below. 

Don’t run in minimalist running shoes if you have plantar fasciitis 

Barefoot and minimalist shoes are too flexible, too low-to-the-ground, and too low-drop for runners with plantar fasciitis. 

barefoot minimalist and cushioned running shoes overview

Barefoot (up), minimalist (centre), and regular running shoe (bottom)

Minimalist shoes are rated on different aspects (stack height, drop, stability technologies, weight, and flexibility), and usually, they are very flexible, have a low drop, and have no stability technologies. This makes them not friendly for feet with plantar fasciitis. 

insanely flexible minimalist running shoe

To avoid when dealing with plantar fasciitis: very flexible minimalist running shoes

The same goes for barefoot running shoes, a subgroup of minimalist shoes. They resemble barefoot running, which means the cushioning is barely existent, and the flexibility (both torsional and longitudinal) of the shoe and the heel counter is very high. 

markings for stack height measurements

Clearly visible black lines: at 25% and 75% of the inner length, where we measure the heel and forefoot stack height in the lab

More stack height means more cushioning, and this is highly welcomed in running shoes for plantar fasciitis. 

measuring stack heights in plantar fasciitis running shoes

Measuring heel stack (left) and forefoot stack height (right) with a digital calliper

The importance of heel drop in running shoes for plantar fasciitis 

Now that you have enough cushioning below your feet, it’s important to have a proper heel drop as well. Heel to toe drop or heel drop is the difference in height between the heel and forefoot. It tells us how steep the shoe is.

cushioned-with-different-heel-drops.jpg

Cushioned running shoes with very different heel drops 

Lower drop (6mm and less) activates the muscles of the lower legs more, with zero drop using the feet muscles the most. Given that the plantar fascia is in your feet, it’s better to utilise muscles above your knees. A higher heel drop helps with that. We recommend running shoes with a heel drop of at least 8 mm. 

Tip: If you want to learn more about heel drop, we highly recommend diving into our Heel to Toe Drop: The Ultimate Guide

It is worth noting that the rocker can sometimes help with activating the upper-leg muscles more, even in shoes with a lower drop. 

Smooth transitions in a rockered running shoe 

Too soft shoes are bad for plantar fasciitis 

By now, we understand that we want to prevent the foot muscles from overworking. If they keep sinking into the very soft midsoles (that might even bottom out), feet must work more than usual to keep the toe-off effective and, well, running. 

One of the softest running shoes we've tested: Hoka Mach X

While softer midsoles are more comfortable, it does not mean you should be wearing uncomfortable brick-alike shoes. Our general guideline is to go for a minimum of 20 HA on the durometer. And, if you know that the current average for all running shoes sits at 21.4 HA, you understand that we’re actually advising not to go for VERY soft only. 

durometer measurements on a hoka mach x

Using a shore A durometer to measure the softness of the midsole

In our lab, we measure this softness by cutting the shoe in half and pressing a shore A durometer into the midsole foam. The lower the number on the durometer, the softer the foam. 

You want them RIGID

Here, we’re focusing on torsional rigidity. How much the shoe twists? We recommend running shoes that are rigid. 

Rigid running shoe that got a 4 out of 5 score for torsional rigidity in our lab

When testing torsional rigidity, we twist the shoes in our hands and assign them a 1-5 rating, where 1 is the least rigid and 5 is the most rigid. For plantar fasciitis, we’d go for the 3-5 rating for torsional rigidity. 

These shoes are more stable and offer much-needed support to the feet troubled with plantar fasciitis. Shoes that are highly flexible (and especially low to the ground) allow for more natural-type of foot movement. This would make sense if your feet didn’t need the support and stability. Or, if you could run pain-free and with no triggering of the plantar fasciitis while barefoot. 

Why stiff heel counters feel great when you have plantar fasciitis 

Plantar fasciitis can manifest in pain under your arch, under your heel and around the heel. When it’s located around the heel, stiff heel counters feel awesome because they lock the heel in so there’s no necessary movement there. 

Heel counter that we rated with 4 out of 5 for stiffness in RunRepeat lab

With very soft heel counters, heel area works more to stabilise the foot and compensate for uneven terrain. Stiff heel counters, together with the stiff base, make sure the load is not concentrated on the heel but evenly on the foot and that’s exactly how it feels: no extra work for the heel area! 

We assess the stiffness of the heel counter on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the stiffest. For plantar fasciitis, we recommend heel counters whose stiffness scored 3-5 on our test. 

Example of a shoe with no heel counter: the stiffness is rated with 1 (the most flexible) and these heel counters are usually found in race shoes 

Padding around the heel matters

It’s also important to note that the heel counters can be: 

  • not padded and maybe even harsh on the heel, and 
  • padded and very cosy. 

Feet with plantar fasciitis might appreciate padded heel counters more if the heel area is very sensitive (painful to the touch). The extra material also protects the heel bone, which is appreciated.

Padded heel counters in running shoes for plantar fasciitis

Visible padding around the heel in plantar fasciitis running shoes cut in half

Running shoes with no heel padding

Running shoes with no heel padding: usually found in race shoes

If the heel area is giving you trouble and you want to learn more about heel counters and how to find the perfect one for your needs, we recommend reading our in-depth guide: The role of heel counters in running shoes

Let your toes splay

It's also best not to have your toes cramped in the toebox when you have plantar fasciitis. That's actually never a good idea, but when it comes to plantar fasciitis, it's especially a bad one. 

toebox-widths-measurements-runrepeat-lab.jpg

Toebox width calliper measurements

When we take width measurements, we do that in 2 places

  1. at the big toe
  2. where the toebox is the widest. 

This allows us to understand how much the toebox tapers (how pointy it is) and it helps everyone understand if the shape and the width are right for them. 

guide-foot-type-uppers-19272732-main.jpg

5 differently-shaped toeboxes: pointer shoes would work better for Greek shape, while toeboxes that are wider around the big toe would work better for Celtic, German or Roman type

There are 2 ways to go about this. First, look for shoes that are available in Wide or Extra-Wide. 

Width

Men 

Women

Narrow

B

2A

Medium/Standard

D

B

Wide

2E

D

Extra wide

4E

2E

Industry labels for different widths of running shoes

Second, look at our lab data and look for the width that would suit your feet. You can compare the numbers of the shoe you're planning to buy to the shoe you already own to get some context. 

 

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.