Plantar Fasciitis is a painful condition that might necessitate new shoes among other treatment options. Of course, the shoes that address your plantar fasciitis aren’t always the most stylish. But who says though that fashion has to hurt your plantar fascia?
Dr. Friedman, a podiatrist practicing out of Suffern NY has taken the grumblings of his more fashion sensitive patients to heart and assembled a list of shoes that he recommends for their, “ better than average support and….removable liners allowing you to use your own orthotic or arch support.” Dr. Friedman also suggests that you have your foot measured while standing, to get an accurate gauge of both foot length and width. So without further ado let’s explore the more fashionable side of plantar fascia friendly footwear.
The Un.Loop Slip is incredibly comfortable. The Un. – short for unstructured- denotes a roomier fit, ideal for inserting your own orthotics and getting the arch support dialed in just right. It features plenty of padding, great for those that want to avoid any kind of break in period. Some wearers have commented on the ample space in the toe box area and that orthotics aren’t even really needed. These plantar fasciitis shoes are sure to be an instant favorite, but tread lightly as they might wear out faster than expected.
2. Dansko – Professional Patent Clog
Dansko, a Danish shoemaker, should be familiar to most people even prior to the onset of their plantar fasciitis symptoms. The Danes have a reputation for designing clogs specifically aimed at providing arch support and not to mention, a healthy slice of cushioning. A favorite among nurses and other professionals who need to remain on their feet all day, the Dansko cushion is remarkable in offering comfort without sacrificing temperature control thanks to its breathability. The rocker bottom creates a smooth heel to toe transition that reduces plantar fascia shock. The padded upper is also a nice touch for comfort seekers.
At a glance: The epitome of a professional, yet supportive shoe to target heel pain
4. Fitflop – Lulu Thong Sandal
If flip flops, with their general lack of arch support and cushion, got you into this plantar fasciitis mess, then perhaps fitflops can get you out of it? The Lulu Thong Sandals was designed by two biomechanics and their strategy was an elegantly simple one…place three layers of density foam to create a maximum amount of custom arch support. One wearer called it, “the most wonderful shoe ever.” If you can’t resist the siren call of flip flops during your plantar fasciitis recovery period, try on a pair of the Lulu Thong Sandals. Your plantar fascia will thank you later.
At a glance: flip flops biomechanically engineered to offer arch support and loads of cushion
5. Vionic – Orthaheel Tide II
Recently Vionic has made a name for itself with its orthaheel technology, an arch support design that allows plantar fasciitis sufferers to wear flip flops without deteriorating their condition. The orthaheel is APMA certified and is an excellent step forward (pun intended) in the field of orthotics. The heel cup delivers stability generally lacking in most flip flops and focuses on providing a comfortable, yet firm midsole that drives tension away from the plantar fascia. The arch support may take a few hours of getting used. Nevertheless, one wearer said it best in stating, “from the moment I put them on I knew they would be my summer shoes.”
At a glance: Orthopedic flip flops with APMA certified technology, great for the summer or around the house.
6. Vionic – Amber
The fact that their technology is certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association, lets you know that these shoes come with a rare stamp of approval from podiatrists.The Vionic Amber, again makes full use of the orthaheel technology. The additional straps makes for a snugger fit, perfect for wearers who battle the excessive movements that can contribute to heel pain. The cork upper bed is great at removing moisture, and again the deep heel cup offers excellent stability uncharacteristic of open toed shoes. Either the Vionic Tide flip flop or the Vionic Amber delivers the essential arch support you need to alleviate plantar fasciitis pain.
At a glance: A sandal that podiatrists enthusiastically recommend to their patients.
7. Mephisto – Helen Thong Sandal
Mephisto, a French company, has designed shoes for walking and all-day comfort for nearly half a century. Helen Thong Sandal fans, laud the shoes for their superior arch support and durability. They may look like an oridinary sandal, but under the cork is a latex footbed there to seamlessly mold to your arch. The craftsmanship of this sandal is truly outstanding, as wearers have noted. Remember that these are European shoes and the sizing conversion can be a tad tricky, but well worth the effort.
At a glance: Handcrafted French sandals with a contoured, shock absorbing footbed.
8. Merrell – Jungle Moc Slip On
The quintessential shoe for Merrell fans, also delivers a surprising amount of support and fit. One wearer exclaimed, “ like wearing a gel mat,” and that’s no exaggeration since it offers both a midsole cushion and a molded foot-frame. A company that prides itself in designing comfortable shoes for on and off the hiking trail, Merrel brings its expertise to bare on this more casual everyday shoe. They can easily accommodate your orthotics and the leather upper comes with elastic panels for a flexible, snug fit.
At a glance: A supportive walking shoe married with the classic Merrell look.
9. Propet – Breeze Walker
Generally speaking sandals tend to be aggravators of plantar fasciitis symptoms, but not Propets. They pack a lot of cushion into a 1.25” heel and perhaps most significantly, are a great deal for those who love the look of Clarks but not necessarily the price. The straps, offer a custom fit that will help with stability and the built-in arch support protects your plantar fascia from tension. One wearer said, “ I would give them six stars if I could.” Comfort without any of the chunkiness we would expect.
At a glance: A supportive sandal, that offers a sweet style at an even sweeter price point.
10. Aetrex – Erica Ballet Flats
Ballet flats are traditionally a plantar fasciitis sufferer’s worst nightmare. They are well, as the name suggests….flat and thus lack the arch support/cushioning needed to reduce strain on the plantar fascia and speed its recovery. The Erica Ballet Flat discretely incorporates an orthotic footbed made up of dense memory foam to take the pressure off of your plantar fascia. It’s also removable so that if you want to add your own custom or OTC orthotic, you can. Customizable and cushiony, two adjectives you wouldn’t typically associate with a flat, but Aetrex – a longtime designer of plantar fasciitis shoes- clearly knows what they are doing.
At a glance: A ballet flat that sneaks in a surprising degree of arch support
11. Aetrex- Nikki Sandals
Most podiatrists will strongly recommend that patients avoid sandals during the recovery period. Cheap flip flops especially with their lack of arch support, a back, or much cushion tend to spell disaster. The Aetrex Nikki sandals have a built in orthotic foot bed, composed of the same dense memory foam as the ballet flats, offers a thick layer of cushion for your arch. The hook-and-loop closure system also provides a snug fit for your foot that will reduce pain-inducing, excessive ankle movements.
At a glance: Confidently free your toes from the stuffy confines of your orthopedics