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Plantar fasciitis happens when a strain to the plantar fascia, the thin ligament that connects the heel bones to the toes, causes inflammation. It can occur as a result of running on hard surfaces, wearing shoes with insufficient cushioning or support, or doing too much or overenergetic exercise.
- Best for a lightweight shoe: ASICS Gel-Nimbus 22
- Best for improved stability: New Balance 1080v11
- Best for road and sidewalk runners: Brooks Glycerin 19
- Best for a thick and wide sole: Hoka One One Bondi 7
- Best for shock absorption: ASICS Gel-Venture 7
- Best for low arches: Saucony Guide 15
We refer to “women,” “men,” or both to align with how companies market their products, but there is no need to stick to one type or the other. A person should choose the product that best suits their needs.
I recommend that patients who suffer from plantar fasciitis consider contributing factors before buying a shoe. Running excessively, running on irregular or hard surfaces, overpronation with ambulation, and tight Achilles tendon should all be considered. Giving attention to these issues can help alleviate symptoms. When it comes to shoes, generally speaking, athletic shoes with good firm support, arch support, a higher heel drop, and rigid shanks (metal insert in the sole of the shoe) are good for patients with plantar fasciitis.
– Angela Bell, primary care sports medicine physician
Medical News Today chooses products that fit the following criteria where possible:
- Arch support: MNT chooses shoes that adequately support the arch of the foot.
- Cushioning: MNT chooses shoes that have a range of cushioning to suit a person’s needs.
- Terrain: MNT chooses shoes that are suitable for a variety of terrains.
- Price: MNT chooses shoes that fit a range of budgets.
Several companies sell running shoes that may be beneficial for people with plantar fasciitis. A person should carefully consider the type of shoe and the support it offers before committing to a purchase.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best for a lightweight shoe: ASICS Gel-Nimbus 22
ASICS makes several running shoes that may be suitable for people who experience plantar fasciitis. One of the more popular is the Gel-Nimbus 22.
The company states that it has included more foam in the midsole area to reduce the impact when the foot strikes the ground. The company’s TRUSSTIC technology also makes the shoe light while giving it structure and stability.
ASICS has designed the Gel-Nimbus 22 for runners whose feet are neutral or supinated, meaning that they lean outward. The Gel-Nimbus 22 also features a flexible mesh upper for breathability and comfort.
These running shoes are available online for $150.
Best for improved stability: New Balance 1080v11
The New Balance 1080v11 shoe is part of New Balance’s Fresh Foam collection, a series of running shoes that have a thick foam midsole. This feature provides a good amount of arch and heel support for people with plantar fasciitis.
Best for long-distance runners, this shoe has a laser-cut midsole, which eliminates extra weight and improves flexibility.
The upper part of the running shoe hugs the ankles to provide further support, and the wide toe box allows the toes to spread for improved stability.
Best for road and sidewalk runners: Brooks Glycerin 19
Brooks is another company that makes several shoes that may benefit people with plantar fasciitis. The Glycerin 19, which is suitable for road and sidewalk running, is one of the company’s more popular shoes.
The shoe is made for runners with a neutral gait, and it incorporates plenty of cushioning without bulk or loss of responsiveness. An internal stretch bootie holds and supports the foot but expands with each stride, making the shoe comfortable and durable.
A two-way stretch mesh upper gives added breathability and flexibility, while a DNA LOFT zone allows for smoother transitions during a run.
Best for a thick and wide sole: Hoka One One Bondi 7
Featuring the thickest and widest sole in this list, the Hoka One One Bondi 7 may not suit everyone. However, the extra depth in the sole provides excellent shock absorption and a good amount of cushioning for the heel and the ball of the foot.
People with plantar fasciitis may find these shoes help relieve pain while providing plenty of support.
The company says that the low heel-toe drop of 4 millimeters (mm) in the shoes and the wider toe box provides extra stability.
It also notes that the removable foam padded insole gives further cushioning and support while running. Suitable for sidewalks and roads, the shoe also features a rubber outsole to improve durability on rougher terrains.
An internal heel counter also helps improve the fit of the shoe, while the engineered mesh upper adds breathability and comfort.
Best for shock absorption: ASICS Gel-Venture 7
This trail running shoe may be a good option for runners who prefer different terrains. The Gel-Venture 7 features ASICS’s classic cushioning, as well as extra cushioning at the rear of the foot to absorb shock on impact.
The company states that the Gel-Venture 7 molds to the shape of the runner’s foot, improving comfort with each run.
The Gel-Venture 7 also comes with a removable sock liner that allows runners to use shoe or heel inserts for extra support while running.
Best for low arches: Saucony Guide 15
The Guide 15 is a highly cushioned shoe that may give people with plantar fasciitis extra comfort while running.
This model is suitable for runners with a neutral to high arch and runners who have mild to severe pronation, which is when the foot rolls inward.
The contoured footbed provides good support from toe to heel. The wider fit of the shoe also gives extra stability.
The company notes that the PWRRUN midsole improves durability.
The table below compares the key characteristics of the different shoes.
|ASICS Gel-Nimbus 22||New Balance 1080v11||Brooks Glycerin 19||Hoka One One Bondi 7||ASICS Gel-Venture 7||Saucony Guide 15|
|Weight||from 255 grams (g)||from 230 g||from 255.1 g||from 252 g||from 247 g||from 233 g|
|Heel-toe drop||13 mm||8 mm||no information available||4 mm||10 mm||8 mm|
|Arch support||suitable for high and neutral arches||suitable for neutral arches||suitable for neutral arches||suitable for neutral arches||suitable for high and neutral arches||suitable for high and neutral arches|
A person may consider the following factors when purchasing a new running shoe:
- Terrain type: People who intend to run along trails may need different shoes than those who road run.
- Heel-toe drop: People with plantar fasciitis may benefit from a larger heel-toe drop, as this means the shoe has a more defined arch.
- Cushioning: Some people may prefer a high amount of cushioning in the shoe to absorb impact while running.
- Weight of the shoe: People may prefer a lighter shoe that does not impact their run gait and time as much as a heavier shoe.
- Price: People may wish to consider their budget when choosing a new running shoe.
Below are the answers to some common questions about shoes for plantar fasciitis.
What shoes do doctors recommend for plantar fasciitis?
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends that people always choose a shoe that provides comfort and durability.
Additionally, recommendations the AAOS makes are to ensure that a person tries on both shoes at the end of the day and that there is a 1–2-in space between the toe on the larger foot and the end of the shoe.
People may wish to receive a shoe fitting from a local running shop, if possible, to check whether the running shoe meets their requirements.
Does running make plantar fasciitis worse?
Plantar fasciitis pain
If a person experiences an increase in pain during exercise, they should stop immediately and seek advice from a healthcare professional.
Can new running shoes cause plantar fasciitis?
Ill-fitting shoes can overexert the foot, which may lead to plantar fasciitis. A person may wish to receive a shoe fitting from a running shop, if possible, to ensure they purchase a shoe that supports their feet.
Without adequate cushioning and support in running shoes, people with plantar fasciitis may experience more pain in the heels and arches of the feet, especially after exercising.
Finding the right running shoe will help minimize foot and heel pain and provide support.
People prone to plantar fasciitis can choose from a range of suitable running shoes, which come in a variety of widths and colors.
Some running shoes come with removable socks or insoles, enabling people with plantar fasciitis to use their own shoe or heel inserts for additional support.