How to Choose Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Wearing the right shoes is an important part of recovery from and management of plantar fasciitis. Here are my recommendations when shopping for shoes if you have this condition or Achilles tendonitis.

Never Go Barefoot
When recovering from plantar fasciitis it's important to wear a supportive shoe anytime your foot hits the floor. You want to ensure that the plantar fascia is no longer stretching to the point of causing further inflammation in your foot. That begins at home. We recommend wearing a supportive sandal such as the Vionic Wave Sandal.

Go To A Reputable Shoe Store
Not all shoe stores have trained shoe fitters. We recommend a few stores in the Seattle area we trust. Sole Perfection has stores in Fremont, Shoreline, and Everett. Woolly Mammoth in the University District and SAS shoes at Northgate also have great reputations. If you're a runner we recommend Super Jock ‘N Jill, Fleet Feet Sports, REI, or Brooks.

Go Shopping At the End of the Day
Since your feet are most likely to swell at the end of the day, shop in the afternoon or evening so you don’t buy shoes that are too small.

Check For Proper Size
Get your feet measured to make sure your size hasn’t changed. When you try them on there should be at least one thumb’s width between the tip of the big toe and the end of the shoe. If one foot is larger than the other, buy to fit the larger size.

Buy Supportive Shoes
People with plantar fasciitis should wear the most supportive shoes possible. Shoes should bend at the toe not in the center, be difficult to twist when you try to wring them out like a rag, and have a stiff heel counter that you can’t move easily. Check out our video "How To Test Any Shoe for Stability".

Bring Your Orthotics With You
When shopping for new shoes bring your orthotics with you so the salesperson can provide the right fit. Of course you'll also want to make sure whatever shoe you purchase can fit an orthotic. Fortunately there are many more shoe brands which feature a removable foot bed than there used to be. Check out Barking Dog Shoes; they provide reviews for shoes which can accommodate an orthotic.

Replace Your Inserts If You Don't Need Orthotics
Perhaps you only need mild correction to your feet to resolve your plantar fasciitis. If that's the case replace the shoe insert with an over-the-counter insert such as Superfeet or Powerstep.

Buying Running Shoes

According to Runner's World magazine here are some of the questions a store should be asking you to ensure you are buying the proper shoes.

  • your level of running experience
  • how much you run in a typical week
  • the height of your arches
  • your motion mechanics (e.g. over pronation)
  • where your foot strikes the ground (e.g. forefoot)

Although you might initially rely on experts to fit you with the best shoe, it’s always best to get to know your own feet when buying shoes.

Athletic shoes should be replaced after every 400-500 miles. Most runners will need to replace their shoes every 6 months.

Shoe Recommendations for Walkers

For walkers with flexible flat feet or low arches who over pronate I recommend these shoes:

For walkers with neutral or high arches I recommend:

Hoka One One (women)(men) - these are billed as running shoes but I recommend them for walking.

Shoe Recommendations for Runners
It's harder to make a shoe recommendation for runners because there are so many factors which go into choosing the best shoe for you. Please see above under "Buying Running Shoes" for all the factors important in making that decision.

To make an appointment call the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City at 206-368-7000 or request an appointment online.