Nothing can dampen a day of running errands, working on your feet, or strolling around town like realizing—only after heading out the door—that your shoes simply don’t feel great. If you have plantar fasciitis, this can be even more of an issue, since that uncomfortable feeling can quickly escalate to aching, stinging, or even pain. That’s why playing the preventive game is so important: The best shoes for plantar fasciitis can help relieve the tension in your feet (especially your heels) and hopefully help you avoid these most annoying of days.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Before we get into the causes of plantar fasciitis, it’s helpful to think about the anatomy of the foot region first. The plantar fascia is a fascial band or ligament that runs from the bottom of the calcaneus, or heel bone, to the base of the toes, Susan Eby, PT, MS, owner of Eby Physical Therapy in New York City, tells SELF. It helps support the long arch of the foot and provides shock absorption while you walk and run. 

Repeated stress on the plantar fascia can cause damage or small tears that can lead to inflammation. Plantar fasciitis often feels like a stabbing or aching pain in the sole of your foot, usually near your heel, which tends to be more intense in the mornings or after you’ve been off your feet for a while. Some factors that can make plantar fasciitis worse include tight calf muscles, repetitive high-impact activities like running, a rapid increase in weight-bearing activity, prolonged standing or walking, and flat feet or very high arches. Your choice of footwear can also be an aggravating factor, whether you’re running, walking, or standing for long stretches of time.

How to choose the best shoes for plantar fasciitis

By choosing better (read: more supportive and well-cushioned) shoes, you can take a solid step (heh) toward reducing this annoying foot pain in the future. In general, the best shoes for plantar fasciitis will fit correctly (i.e., not too small and wide enough to fit your foot comfortably) and have the right amount of support. “You’ll want a shoe with a deep heel counter and plenty of mid-foot arch support,” Carla Gamez, DPM, a podiatrist at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute (IBJI), tells SELF.

You can consider pairing your shoes with orthotics or insoles that have substantial heel cups to help with cushioning and shock absorption to avoid heel pain, Eby says. They’ll also provide additional arch support, which can offer further relief from plantar fasciitis pain, Yolanda Ragland, DPM, a podiatrist and founder of Fix Your Feet in New York City, tells SELF.

What to avoid when buying shoes for plantar fasciitis

Avoid flat, non-supportive shoes or sandals, Dr. Gamez says. Those cute flip-flops that sell for $1? Probably not the best plantar fasciitis shoes. The same generally goes for sneakers without arch support, like Converse or Vans (unless you add orthotics, heel cups, or insoles), and flats. If you need flats for dress shoes or work, however, look for those with a slight heel (around a half inch) to minimize stretching on the plantar fascia, as well as a shoe that stays on your foot without toe gripping (i.e., one that has elastic or other straps to secure the shoe to your foot).

The best shoes for plantar fasciitis

Below, we asked physical therapists and podiatrists what they consider the best shoes for plantar fasciitis (including sneakers and workout shoes, dress shoes, sandals, and slippers), along with their recommendations for removable insoles to make any shoe more plantar fasciitis friendly. You’ll find stylish options from brands such as Teva, Hoka One One, Clarks, Oofos, New Balance, and Superfeet from retailers like Amazon, Nordstrom, REI, and more.

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Hoka Bondi 8

Hoka is known for its “maximalist” shoes (think chunky pairs with thick, outsize soles) that starkly contrast with the many minimalist models (those with very little cushioning) out there. All that extra cushion makes Hoka shoes a great choice for people with plantar fasciitis. And the Bondi line specifically is one of the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis sufferers, as they’re wide and lightweight yet super cushioned, Bianca Beldini, DPT, a physical therapist, founder of Sundala Wellness, and a USA Triathlon Level One coach in New York City, tells SELF.

• Sizes: US 7 to 16

• Width: regular, wide, and extra wide

Saucony Echelon 9 Running Shoe

Erik Sims, DPM, managing partner of Sims & Associates Podiatry in New York, commonly recommends the Saucony Echelon 9 to people with plantar fasciitis because of its solid support. It’s presented as one of the brand’s “comfort shoes,” meaning it has a thick foam footbed and a snug midfoot to keep your foot well-cushioned and stable. It’s also compatible with inserts, including bulkier custom orthotics, Dr. Sims tells SELF. 

• Sizes: US 5 to 12

• Width: regular, wide, and extra wide

Brooks Ghost 15 Neutral Running Shoe

Dr. Sims recommends the Brooks Ghost 15 to patients of all ages, saying that it strikes a fine balance between comfort and style (you can find it in more than two dozen colorways). It uses a plush, lightweight foam to buoy feet without feeling clunky, and it has ample space through the upper foot (though it won’t feel like you’re swimming in them). It’s also a good pick for arch pain too, he says.

• Sizes: US 5 to 13

• Width: narrow, regular, and wide

Asics Gel-Nimbus 24 Running Shoes

Dr. Gamez recommends Asics Gel-Nimbus running shoes for a cushioned ride. This best-selling line is built with gel technology, which absorbs shock as you pound the pavement and thus helps reduce that stabbing pain. It also has a mesh upper for plenty of wiggle room in your toes.

 • Sizes: US 5 to 12.5

 • Width: regular and wide

Hoka Clifton 9

Hoka shoes have deep heel counters and that iconic cloudlike cushioning, which gives the sensation of your heels feeling “hugged.” That snug, plush fit makes them some of the best walking shoes for people with plantar fasciitis. Dr. Gamez recommends the Clifton for walking because of its responsive midsole, which helps bring energy into your feet and legs as you walk. The latest version in this line, the Clifton 9, helped alleviate SELF’s executive editor’s plantar fasciitis pain and secured its place as her new go-to sneaker. 

• Sizes: US 5 to 12

• Width: regular and wide

Kuru Quantum

This comfortable walking shoe from Kuru is designed to help alleviate foot pain, including the discomfort that comes with plantar fasciitis. The brand’s patented Kurusole technology hugs your heels and provides strong arch support that helps you walk on a variety of surfaces. It supports the fat pad on your foot (which absorbs impact to your heel) while standing and walking, explains Dr. Beldini.

• Sizes: US 6.5-7, 8.5-12

• Width: medium

New Balance 940 V4 Running Shoe

The New Balance 940v4 is a popular pair among Dr. Sims’s plantar fasciitis patients for its stability. It’s designed to address overpronation, which occurs when your feet roll inward while you walk and may be linked to plantar fasciitis. Although it’s designed as a running shoe, many reviewers note that it performs wonderfully as a walking shoe too. “Great for shoe plantar fasciitis! I work 10–12 hour shifts and [am] on my feet the entire time. This shoe is one of two pairs of work shoes that don’t fall into the category of ‘torture device,’” wrote one Amazon reviewer.

• Sizes: US 6 to 13

• Width: narrow, regular, wide, and extra wide

Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots

With more than 2,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, the Keen Targhee II is a popular hiking boot—and it’s a particular hit among outdoor enthusiasts with plantar fasciitis, thanks to its padded, supportive design. “Just returned from a nine-day hiking trip out West…. I have plantar fasciitis in one foot. These were the most comfortable shoes that I have,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. 

• Sizes: US 5 to 11

• Width: regular

Merrell Bravada 2 Hiking Shoes

Teva Verra Sandal

This sporty sandal is comfortable, includes arch support, and is easy to clean, Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, owner of Marko Physical Therapy, tells SELF. The strapping system across the top of the foot and around the back of the heel is adjustable for a sturdier fit, so your ankle stays secure and your foot comfortable, even after walking longer distances, Dr. Marko says. Unlike a standard flip-flop, which can exacerbate plantar fasciitis by requiring your foot to grip in order to keep the shoe on, the Teva Verra uses a backstrap to keep your foot comfortably in place inside the shoe, Dr. Marko says.

• Sizes: US 5 to 11

• Width: medium

OOFOS Original Sandals

This cushiony, cloudlike Oofos sandal is a SELF Fave for workout recovery (and just wearing around the house, honestly), owing to its thick soles, versatility, and fun range of colors. According to Dr. Marko, it checks off plenty of plantar fasciitis boxes too: a wide strap at the top of your foot to hold it in place and good arch and heel support. For a slimmer profile, try the OOlala sandal (a recommendation from Dr. Sims). And if you don’t love the feel of a thong sandal, Dr. Gamez recommends Oofos Ooahh slides as a solid alternative. 

• Sizes: US 5 to 16

• Width: medium

Hoka Ora Recovery 3 Slides

Dr. Sims likes the highly cushioned Hoka Ora 3 slide specifically for wearing around the house. He says they’re a great alternative to walking around barefoot, which can be an added strain on your plantar fascia. And we like them because they come in just about every color of the rainbow.

• Sizes: US 6 to 15

• Width: regular

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandals

Another great pair for indoor-outdoor use according to Dr. Sims, the Birkenstock Arizona Birkibuc is a classic comfy sandal with some plantar fasciitis–friendly features. Its soft, suede footbed has a deep heel, supportive arch, and plenty of space around the toes, while its outsole is designed to absorb shock from your footsteps.

• Sizes: US 5 to 11.5

• Width: medium

Clarks Sharon Dolly

Here’s one example of a dressier shoe that dodges the pitfalls of most flats, which in general can be aggravating to people plantar fasciitis: It has a half-inch heel drop, an elastic strap across the instep to help keep the shoe on your foot, and a cushioned insole with moderate arch support, Eby says. These shoes are also lightweight, come in two widths, and are relatively inexpensive.

• Sizes: US 6.5 to 12

• Width: medium and wide

LifeStride Saldana Pump

Comfortable heels may seem like an oxymoron, but these LifeStride pumps are just that, Dr. Marko says. “While these particular shoes don’t have arch support, the cushioning is like walking on pillows,” she says. “Just having your foot in the heeled position makes the plantar fascia create more of its own arch.”

• Sizes: US 5 to 11

• Width: regular and wide

Vionic Gemma Mule Slippers

This comfy slipper is covered in spa-like terry cloth material, and it’s a great around-the-house option for people with plantar fasciitis, thanks to its built-in arch support and deep heel cup that hugs and cushions the fat pad under your heel, Eby says. The EVA midsole is shock-absorbing for the heel, and a Velcro closure allows for a custom fit so it stays snug on your feet.

• Sizes: US 5 to 12

• Width: regular

OrthoFeet Charlotte Slippers

If you have wide feet, this may be the slipper for you. The Orthofeet comes in three widths, and the orthotic-like inserts provide arch support and foam cushioning, particularly at the heel. “The suede uppers are lined for comfort, and the low heel counter allows for use of alternate insoles or orthotics and gives some heel stability while still allowing you to slide in and out of the slipper,” says Eby. “The toe box is also extra deep to accommodate any toe issues, with Velcro adjustment to fit this slipper snug to your feet.”

• Sizes: US 5 to 12

• Width: medium, wide, and extra wide

Superfeet Green Professional-Grade Orthotic Inserts

Superfeet’s insoles come highly recommended by podiatrists as a great over-the-counter option for shoe inserts. The green and blue versions of this insole have different heel-cup depths and degrees of arch support. The blue ones may be easier to tolerate and get used to at first before trying to the green, Dr. Marko says.

• Sizes: US 4.5 to 12.5

• Width: regular

Armstrong Amerika Gel Heel Cups Plantar Fasciitis Inserts

Dr. Gamez recommends adding gel heel cups to your less plantar fasciitis–friendly shoes. These add support and create a softer footbed to help you feel less pressure and pain through your heels.

• Sizes: various

• Width: regular