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Ultimate Pain Relief: The Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis in 2024

Plantar fasciitis can make you dread walking or running any distance. It’s one of the most common causes of heel pain, especially among runners. To minimize pain, promote healing, and prevent reoccurrences, it’s worth it to find running shoes with the necessary cushioning and support for your feet. We’ve updated our guide for 2023, with the information you need to select the best running shoes for your plantar fasciitis and avoid common pitfalls.

Many will feel the most intense plantar fasciitis pain immediately after waking up and moving about. However, it can also cause sharp pain when running, especially if you lack the proper footwear to cradle and support the heel.

Woman sitting besides best running shoes for plantar fasciitis performing toe flex stretches for plantar.

What to Look Out for When Buying Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Now that you find yourself on this new journey towards the plantar fasciitis healing process, it’s crucial to upgrade your running shoes. Purchasing these does not need to become a time-consuming or expensive process. Keeping an eye on additional factors, such as fit, orthotics, price and style will assist in ensuring that you are ready to go with a supportive,, comfortable new shoe.


One of the most vital qualities of running shoes for plantar fasciitis is the fit of the shoe. As your heel and arches are likely going to be swollen and inflamed, putting a priority on optimal fit is very important. 

But, how to you ensure that the show you choose has amply arch support? Look for shoes that ease pressure on the arch instead of intensifying it.


Do your current running shoes feel like they will need additional support, orthotic inserts are insanely effective.  (Many people are fond of inserts from the Superfeet brand.) Not only are they friendlier on the wallet, they are also very simple to find and purchase. Whether online or at a specialty running store, there are endless options to choose from. 

The strongest point about orthotics is that they can be fit into your current running shoes as well.

Dr. Pat McKee from the University of Toronto is a professor of occupational science and therapy and has been quoted as saying the following regarding foot orthotics:

Some [custom orthotics] are created better than others. I personally think it is better if they are shock absorbing and not a really hard plastic.  Custom molded, flexible and three arch support orthotics can absorb 30% more ground shock with each step and enhance the nerve sensation, circulation and muscle balance in the feet.


We all need to keep an eye on our wallets. However, if you factor in everything your feet do for you, it may be time to re-evaluate your budget for shoes. 

One of the oldest adages is to spend money on the things that separate you from the ground: mattresses, tires and shoes. Your feet are an investment. For this reason, ensure you buy the highest quality running shoes for plantar fasciitis that your wallet will allow. Our eight options well-researched and -tested options.


Remember not so long ago when “orthopedic shoes” brought up images of tan, plastic-looking monstrosities worn by 90-year olds with the velcro straps? We do, too. However, those days are long behind us. With advancements in technology, designers have developed every style imaginable. 

It’s just as important to choose shoes you like the feel and look of. After all, you’ll be wearing them to the gym, the park, or maybe even around town for errands. You may as well invest in a pair of shoes that make you feel stylish as well as comfortable.

The Overall Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Best of 2023

Advancements in footwear technology are happening all the time. We’ve updated our previous year’s recommendations to reflect the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis in the current year.


Best of 2022 – Evergreen


Best of 2023: Detailed Reviews

Below are our reviews for the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis in 2023, updated and carefully selected for the most comfortable and secure running experience.

Best Overall Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis— Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Product photo of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23, gray with white outsole and lime green zig-zag with Brooks text on side.

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Our overall pick is the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23, a support shoe that’s best suited for runners who tend to have Calcalneal Deviation, also known as pronation. This is when your ankles have a tendancy to roll inwards and onto your arches. The additional pressure on the inside of your feet can cause inflammation or strain. The Adrenaline GTS 23 has the support, cushioning, and overall design necessary to protect feet afflicted with plantar fasciitis comfortable and safe during a run.

One great design choice that we liked was the 12mm heel-to-toe drop; in other words, the heel is 12mm higher than the toe, angling the pressure of your weight away from the heel. (This is also something to be mindful of if the ball of your foot is prone to inflammation or pain as well.) The shoe’s wider width in the heel and forefoot midsole provides a more secure landing platform. This is beneficial to all runners, not just those with wide feet, as your feet tend to swell throughout the day—and especially after a run.

Of course, we have to talk about the cushioning, since that separation from the hard ground is crucial for runners with plantar fasciitis. The GTS 23 has updated cushioning, with about 34mm in the heel. The aforementioned heel-to-toe drop will keep your feet from putting all their weight on the heel, and the GuideRails internal support (which prevents excess movement and pronation) means that even when your feet get tired, you’ll maintain a neutral stride.


  • Heel-to-toe drop of 12mm for pressure relief on the heel
  • Extra cushioning throughout, with 34mm in the heel for additional softness
  • Brooks GuideRails technology provides extra support for a neutral stride
  • Wider midsole may accommodate runners with wider feet


  • Toebox and upper durability may be lacking for off-road runners

Runner-Up Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis— Brooks Glycerin GTS 20

Product photo of Brooks Glycerin GTS 20 running shoe for plantar fasciitis, light gray with yellow-outline Brooks zig-zag on side.

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The Brooks Glycerin GTS 20 shoe has many features making them perfect for individuals suffering from over pronation, flat feet, and plantar fasciitis. These are stability shoes with plenty of features, including the Brooks GuideRail system two inner pieces of foam on the inside of the heel. This was developed specifically to assist those with over pronation, helping correct stride-related issues.

Additionally, full length DNA Loft crash pads are included with the Glycerin GTS 20, providing extra cushioning, as well as a removable foam insole. Brooks Running refers to these as a “Cushion Experience” shoe and recommends the Glycerin for runners with plantar fasciitis.

The outsoles are developed from specialized rubber called HPR, which helps ensure that areas of common wear plaguing those with flat feet last far longer.

These are a stunning choice for people suffering from plantar fasciitis and flat footedness who want a safe method to continue running. Brooks considers this their flag-ship cushioned running shoe, and the Glycerin model features their latest cushioning technology. They have options for men and women, and have several styles available.


  • Collar and tongue with additional padding.
  • Mesh upper and lining to help keep owners’ feet cool.
  • DNA LOFT, providing further cushioning for both men and women.


  • Expensive
  • Cushioning may not be as plush as some runners may want

Best Budget-Friendly Shoe for Plantar Fasciiis— Asics GT 2000 11

Product photo of Asics GT 2000 v11 running shoe, all black with white outsole and gray Asics logo stripes on the side.

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While this may not seem like a true “budget” shoe, it is on the lower end of the price points on our list. The Asics GT 2000 offers great cushioning and stability for budget-conscious runners with plantar fasciitis, in addition to having great style!

For those with plantar fasciitis, the GT 2000 strategically combines foam and gel cushioning for shock absorbtion and a softer feeling when your feet hit the ground. This is combined with lightweight material construction and an OrthoLite X-30 sockliner for maximum relief on your feet while walking and running.

Asics’ LITERUSS system uses two carbon-reinforced layers under the arch that “intuitively respond under excessive load.” The goal is to ensure your arches are supported while not causing unnecessary pressure with TOO much stiffness, which we feel they have achieved. Asics uses this technology in the GT 2000 for a shoe that adapts to different terrains as well as different foot conditions and needs.

Available in men’s and women’s sizes, the Asics GT 2000 is also a good shoe for those with low arches or flat feet (though not for wide feet). It’s also extremely breathable, meaning you can run farther with cooler feet. The toebox has additional ventilation pores that allow more air to pass through than some other models from both Asics and other brands.


  • Lightweight foam and gel cushioning reduce shock at foostrike
  • Asics LITERUSS technology provides arch support and flexibility
  • Reflective design for safe running at night
  • Extremely breathable toebox


  • Narrower toebox not a great option for runners with wide feet

Best Neutral Running Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis— Brooks Ghost 15

Product photo of Brooks Ghost 15 running shoe, navy blue with white zig-zag on the side and white outsole.

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The Brooks Ghost 15 is a great choice for a “neutral” running shoe that will help with plantar fasciitis.  In fact, it tops the recommendation list from Brooks itself for the best neutral shoe for plantar fasciitis. This shoe differs from the Glycerin above in that it does not offer any support features, so is a better choice if you do not overpronate and don’t want or need a motion control shoe.

The Ghost has a 12mm drop which aids in shifting weight away from the plantar and onto your forefoot.  This helps reduce strain on the plantar and can help alleviate and prevent plantar fasciitis pain. The Ghost also offers a slightly wider than average toe box for some extra room.

Brooks Running shoes are known (and loved by some) for their plush interiors and uppers, and the Ghost is definitely not going to disappoint if that’s what you are looking for.

So the ride of the shoe feels quite similar, the overall comfort level around the foot should definitely be an upgrade from the Ghost 14.


  • Soft Achilles dip without slippage.
  • Premium materials, particularly in the new upper, as you would expect from Brooks.
  • Very comfortable and cushioned ride.
  • Solid traction on the outsole.


  • The cushioning is supportive, but has low energy return, so the overall performance suffers a bit.
  • One of the heaviest shoes on our list.

Best of 2022 – Evergreen Shoe Picks

For those shoes that withstood the test of time, here are our 2022 picks that we still recommend even in 2023. They’re also great options if you’re looking for more affordable shoes, as the “last year” models often get priced down even though they’re still of high quality and will perform just as well.

Best Running Shoes for Heel and Achilles Pain— Adidas Ultraboost 22

Product photo of Adidas Ultraboost 22 running shoe, black with white outsole.

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The Adidas UltraBoost 22 is the latest in the wildly popular UltraBoost line of running shoes from Adidas. The main feature of the UltraBoost that runners (and non-runners) fell in love with is the feathery, pillowy Boost midsole technology that makes these the softest feeling running shoes in existence. This softness is what makes them an ideal choice for those with plantar fasciitis or other foot pain.

Starting with last year’s UltraBoost 21, Adidas has made the main UltraBoost running shoe line slightly firmer and stiffer. This makes them a better running shoe, but does make them, well, firmer and stiffer. If you want all the original softness, they also created a non-running shoe version of the UltraBoost called the Adidas UltraBoost DNA (which now has a few models). We’ve got a complete write-up of the details in our review of the Adidas UltraBoost 22.

Adidas UltraBoost 22 vs. Previous Models

Until recently, we considered the UltraBoost a high-end athletic leisurewear shoe rather than a serious running shoe. It was designed to keep you comfortable all-day rather than help you power through serious runs. In our opinion, that has changed.

It’s is still not the ultimate in a performance running shoe (look to the Brooks or Asics models on our list for that), but it does provide a firmer ride for running. We wouldn’t use this for serious training, but we do think it is a great option for easier runs, especially while trying to get some miles in with plantar fasciitis. It provides all the cushioning you expect from an UltraBoost, but in a more stream-lined running shoe package for recovery-type runs.

The other reason the UltraBoost makes a great running shoe for plantar fasciitis is the design and construction of the heel counter. This is the part of the shoe that wraps around your heel and holds it in place. It’s one of the critical features in any shoe for plantar fasciitis since failure to hold your heel tightly in place leads to you flexing your plantar unnecessarily. All this additional flexing of the plantar is what causes flair-ups and pain.


  • Great heel counter to hold your heel firmly in place while running.
  • Extremely soft feel underfoot to avoid triggering foot pain.
  • Useful for running, walking, and everyday wear.


  • On the pricier end of running shoes we cover.
  • Not for a high-performance running or racing. This shoe is about comfort, not setting your next PR.

Best Running Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis and Flat Feet— Asics Gen-Kayano 28

Product photo of Asics Gen-Kayano 28 running shoe, black with neon-yellow stripe around white outsole.

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Asics is one of the most well-known names in the world of running shoes. The Gel-Kayano 28 is the newest model on the scene in the long-running Gel-Kayano line up, which has had plenty of iterations and tweaks to ensure a great fit. These are incredible shoes for plantar fasciitis.

There is a wide selection of colors and styles for the Asics Gel-Kayano 28, from subtle to striking. However, it is the strong balance between style, fit and comfort that leads to this product’s overwhelmingly positive reviews and ratings from customers and experts.

The full specifications are extensive, and are all covered in the full product review. These features include options such as:

  • FluidFit multi-directional uppers.
  • Gel for shock absorption.
  • Asics impact guidance systems.

Performance Notes:

  • The Flat Route: The Gel-Kayano 28 does incredibly well on flat routes, both jogging and walking, inside and outside. Comfort-wise, we would rate this the most comfortable shoe for this route.
  • Off-Roading: The Gel-Kayano 28 performs well when off-roading. However, the back of the shoe may begin to dig into the heel when climbing steeper hills at a jogging pace.
  • Elevating: The Gel-Kayano 28 provides one of the most comfortable climbs. These are great shoes for burning the ol’ quads with a long run up stairs or a steep incline.


  • Amazing arch support from a steadfast, solid running shoe brand.
  • Strong, gender-specific cushioning and high-quality material composition.


  • This product comes at a higher price point than most of the others on our list.

The Asics Gel-Kayano not only captured one of the top spots in this “best of” list, but was also one of the top choices in our best running shoes for flat feet article. We also cover additional details in our review of the Asics Gel-Kayano 28.

Best for Maximum Cushioning— Hoka One One Bondi 7

Product photo of Hoka One One Bondi 7 running shoe, dove gray body and yellow-orange ombre stripe above white outsole.

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The Hoka One One Bondi 7 offers the maximum cushioning that can possibly be shoved into a running shoe, with almost endless midsoles and a smooth transition experience. The cushioning is unmatched, even compared to other Hoka running shoes.

The only slight oddity is that they feature a somewhat narrower than average forefoot, but Hoka offers these in a 2E width if the normal width option is too tight for your feet. Despite this, we think the Hoka One One Bondi 7 is the best Hoka running shoe for people with plantar fasciitis.

The Bondi 7 is unmistakably a Hoka product, with all the usual features of Hoka’s maximal midsole cushioning philosophy. You already know this shoe is something different when you see the stack heights of 37mm (rear) and 33mm (front). Really, only other Hoka models can possible rival these numbers.

As with most Hoka running shoes, you can see a bit of a rocker profile when looking closely at the images. The big complaint that we often hear about Hoka shoes is an overly tight upper. They have improved in this respect with each model, and the transition from the Bondi 6 to the Bondi 7 is no exception, but we still find the forefoot a bit tight. 

If you have larger or wider than normal feet, you may want to purchase these with care (or at least with a solid return policy). We have more photos and details in our complete review of the Hoka One One Bondi 7.


  • This the most heavily cushioned running shoe in the Hoka One One line-up, a brand already known for its extreme cushion running shoes.
  • Fits true to size and has great arch support for a shoe with such a soft and cushiony feel to it.


  • These wear out much more quickly than any other shoe that we have tried. If you run a lot you will need to replace these every 6 months or so.

Best If You Love Saucony— Saucony Triumph 19

Product photo of Saucony Triumph 19 running shoe, neon orange with Saucony logo in black on the side.

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The Saucony Triumph 19 is another fantastic option, showcasing bold designs and strong colors mixed with functionality and extensive comfort. The designs are some of the boldest found in the running shoe world, a world in which Saucony has been a leading (albeit smaller) brand for years. We’ve reviewed a number of their shoes in depth, including our review of the Saucony Triumph 19.

The Triumph is touted as their most well-cushioned running shoe yet, which is something that should be a flashing welcome sign for those suffering from plantar fasciitis. This was by far the most “cushy” of models we tested after the Hoka One One Bondi (which some would argue goes too far). The shoe felt lighter as a result, and produced a more snug fit.

The Triumph provides the same eight-millimeter heel to toe offset that their top-selling Saucony Hurricane touts. This allows for a stronger and more personalized level of support and comfort.

Performance Notes:

  • The Flat Route: The Saucony Triumph excells in flat route courses, providing extensive comfort and a snug fit on all terrains applicable, both inside and outside.
  • Off-Roading: The Saucony Triumph does great in the off-roading courses. The only hiccup comes with a slight issue on the wet wooden plank boards.
  • Elevating: The Saucony Triumph performs admirably on elevating climbs. There were no negative experiences nor pain after running that we could find!


  • The most well-cushioned and snug model that we reviewed.
  • From Saucony, a company that focuses solely on running shoes and does so well.


  • The lighter weight of the sole may lead to structural longevity issues over time.
  • Sizes can run either large or small, so ensure to purchase from somewhere that provides returns.

Best If You Love Mizuno— Mizuno Wave Rider 25

Product photo of Mizuno Wave Rider 25 running shoe, navy blue with white Mizuno outline logo on the side.

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Having plantar fasciitis should not hinder your ability to enjoy a nice run. The Mizuno Wave Rider hits all the high notes, being designed for both men and women to assist with proper heel and arch support, especially helpful for plantar fasciitis. The Wave Rider shoes are notorious for their stability benefits, light weight and low profile.

The Mizuno Wave Rider has U4iC boards, as well as double fan wave technology made common with Mizuno shoes. This technology assists in absorbing shock that the body and feet experience when running, and offer durability without the additional weight.  This extra shock absorption can help alleviate some of the pain from plantar fasciitis.

The Mizuno Wave Rider is lightweight and provides excellent energy return, making it a good choice for more intense and fast-paced runs. The technologies apparent in the Mizuno brand provide more cushion, reducing the wear on your feet, extending running longevity. The insoles can be removed on these shoes, allowing users to insert their own orthotics as needed.

The Wave Rider shoes are a great option for those with plantar fasciitis looking for a great option to keep the weight down. Specifics are available in our Mizuno Wave Rider 25 review. There are choices for women and men, and have multiple colors and styles for owners.


  • Amazing shock absorption.  People with plantar fasciitis as well as those with other foot, heel, or joint problems rave about the ability of the Wave Riders to reduce or eliminate pain from running.  This is definitely the feature that landed the Wave Rider on our list.
  • High quality materials and construction mean the Wave Riders will last longer than most running shoes.


  • Not quite as much arch support as the other running shoes on our list.  This is an important feature for many people with plantar fasciitis, so is definitely something to take into account if you’re looking at the Mizuno Wave Riders.
  • A narrow fit for some people even in the wide W/D model (some complained there was virtually no difference between these and the medium M size).

Best If You Love New Balance— New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

Product photo of New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 running shoe, black with white outline "N" on the side and white outsole.

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The New Balance 1080v11 is an incredibly high-quality running shoe, ideal for those with plantar fasciitis. These shoes performed admirably in our testing, are reviewed very well by many, and have a great balance between comfort and style.

The shoe is quite visually attractive as well, easily the most stylish of the top ten we covered in our reviews. Additionally, it provides strong performance in both running and walking, allowing for extensive relief from plantar fasciitis pain. Feature rich, a breakdown of everything these shoes have is available in the full product review. But a short list of the features includes:

  • Asymmetrical heel counters for foot locking.
  • A removable gel insole.
  • Breathable mesh lining.
  • Lightweight shoe frame.
  • New Balance “N2” heel cushion support.
  • An “ABZORB” crash pad.
  • FantomFit quarter panels to help secure the arch.

This about covers the features present in this advanced, light, comfortable shoe. New Balance claims that this 1080 can keep up mile after mile. In our testing and review of the New Balance 1080v11, we found this to be the case.

Performance Notes:

  • The Flat Route: The 1080 performs stupendously on flat route courses, both inside and out, on tile, carpet and asphalt. There are zero comfort related issues when walking with this shoe.
  • Off-Roading: The 1080 performs very well on the off-roading courses, handling slippery wooden surfaces and steep inclines with ease.
  • Elevating: The 1080 has incredible grip, by far the “stickiest” of the eight shoes we reviewed. As such, it performs ideally on turns when climbing steps


  • A stunning combination of both high material quality, comfort level and price point.
  • Feature rich and well styled, makes a great casual shoe.


  • Minimal color options available for both men and women to choose.
  • Sizing can run a bit tight, we suggest sizing up by 1/2.
Stock photo of a woman in black legging running along a road amid fall leaves.

Things to Look for in Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Above we mentioned the importance of cushioning comfort and solid design, ample arch support, and strong shock absorption. Interested to know why? Read on for more.

Cushioning, Comfort, and Solid Design

The primary focus of having a pair of perfect shoes for plantar fasciitis is to relieve pain associated with the feet when running. You want to develop natural arches and be stronger. For this reason, robust heel counters and flexible toe boxes are vital to make sure that the shoe bends towards the front, but stays solid at the back.

Some great running shoes will work to ensure proper arch maintenance and solid angles to avoid being overworked on ligaments that collapse. But the above is just the tip of the iceberg for features to develop strong running shoes for plantar fasciitis.

How Our Options Compared

The toe boxes were something that we gave intense scrutiny on these models. The flexibility of the toe boxes came into play extensively when traversing the hundreds of steps in the Elevating testing processes. We noticed that the Asics Gel-Kayano had a narrow but flexible toe box, compared to the Saucony Triumph toe box, which was even narrower and lacked the same level of flexibility the Asics option offered.

Comparably, the New Balance 1080 had a far wider toe box, but it lacked the flexibility of other models, which came in only slightly behind the Asics Gel-Kayano.

Arch Support

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, good arch support may be the most crucial element to check in running shoes. The brand doesn’t matter, the price doesn’t matter, additional features don’t even matter without proper arch support. Without this, you are just compounding the plantar fascia through repetitive abusive compression and stretching. This exacerbates and aggravates an already dire situation, and makes each progressive run more painful than the last.

However, with an appropriate pair of runnings shoes for plantar fasciitis, you will not only experience heightened performance, but the pain associated with your ailment will begin to disappear.

It should be noted that there are many different levels of arch support. The severity of your condition will be a determining factor on how much arch support you truly need. For those with severe plantar fasciitis, they should avoid lower arches, and instead aim for shoes that have very thick, strong arch support.

How Our Options Compared

While all eight of the options had stellar arch support, the Asics Gel-Kayano offered by far the strongest arch support in our recommendations.

When looking at the side profiles of these shoes, it’s clear to see that there is a distinct structure to the external arch of the Asics model compared to, say, the New Balance 1080, which is far flatter on the exterior, but still provides ample arch support in the insole area. This is reflected in the feel of the shoes.

Shock Absorption

Absorbing impact and shock while running or walking is the most crucial job of the arch of the foot. When this arch flattens, the functionality of shock absorption falls flat as well. As a result, runners can and will feel this pain when running. Instead of the typical “spring in the step”, you will get a slump with no coordination and a sharp pain.

The pain comes from a lack of impact absorption. Instead of flowing through the arch, all shock will direct to the sole and heel. Reliable pairs of running shoes offer stronger shock absorption to take the full force of the foot striking the ground. This works to ensure that the feet won’t suffer from the brunt of each step.

How Our Options Compared

Unsurprisingly, the most effective absorbing option in our list of recommendations was the Asics Gel Kayano. When hunting down reasoning for the difference in absorption between shoes, we noticed that the soles were thicker on the Asics option than on its less expensive competitors.

Stock photo of pink running shoes for plantar fasciitis on wooden floor.

Caring for Your Running Shoes

Many doctors will recommend keeping your running shoes for no longer than one year before replacing them. Many people fail to do so, and end up with running shoes that are deteriorating. Here is how to ensure that your running shoes remain in optimal condition.

One of the biggest things you can do to care for your running shoes for plantar fasciitis is to be careful when removing your shoes. When doing so, do not simply pull your foot out of the shoe. Over time, this will stretch the back of the shoe and cause extensive damage to the support structures within. Instead, carefully unlace the shoe.

If the shoes are leather, avoid putting them into the washer or dryer. Heat will crack and shrink leather. Instead, air dry them after washing them on cold. If you see cracks in the soles, or tears in the materials, ensure that you replace as soon as possible.

Remove insoles and shoelaces, and then loosen the tongue to ensure proper circulation of air when drying. Also, always make sure to have an alternate pair of “backup” running shoes, in case your favorite pair is ruined for some reason.

An Argument for “Big Brands”

You might against massive shoe “conglomerates”. Buying shoes from small manufacturers is totally fine if you don’t have foot-related issues. However, if you are looking for running shoes and happen to have plantar fasciitis, it’s far more effective to purchase running shoes from more well-known brands. You want a shoe that has had plenty of research and development money tossed its way, and plenty of years of advancements and enhancements.

To cement oneself as a solid brand and push itself above competitors, big brands need to heavily invest in R&D, and provide the most advanced designs on the market, using the latest technology.

There is nothing that will guarantee a strong head start in a run more than wearing running shoes that have been designed by a strong brand, and are focused on the feet. Now, this doesn’t mean that there are not smaller companies that aren’t doing a wonderful job in this respect. It’s typically a trial and error game, though, and this is where ShoeGuide has taken care of the “research and development” work to make life easier for you, and save your wallet.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the tissues that span the bottom of your foot. Known as the plantar fascia, these tissues connect directly to the bones in the heel and toes. These long ligaments on the bottom of the foot assist with arch support. The elasticity of the plantar fascia helps to also maintain muscular flexibility, as well as general support with each step.

So, when the plantar fascia works and functions as it should, the idea of daily mobility isn’t really a topic of consideration. However, if these ligaments are stretched or torn, our typical walking, standing, running, and other movement-based activities can become incredibly painful.

Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is quite a burden, and can strike without warning at any time. One of the most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis is strong pain in the heels upon waking. Some will describe these symptoms as sharp throbbing or stabbing, while others describe swelling, achiness and numbness.

Additional symptoms include difficulty walking, whether after long periods of sitting or upon waking, and high intensity exercise. In most cases, as the day continues, the muscle and tissue of the plantar fascia will “warm up”. When this happens the condition will subside and the pain will fade. However, for those with severe plantar fasciitis, it will start again the next morning.

Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

Triggers of plantar fasciitis are in many cases small tears in the foot ligaments in combination with inflammation. For runners, this combination can change or limit a workout. Some of the more common factors include being overweight, or spending extensive time on your feet over the course of a day.

These aren’t all the causes of plantar fasciitis though. Other causes include: shoes that fit improperly, high arches, poor posture, flat feet, wearing high heels regularly, shoes lacking arch support, tightness in the Achilles tendon, gait changes, calf tightness, and increases in activity or exercise. Again, while the causes are numerous, the effects are the same.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is an incredibly common occurrence, prevalent in ten percent of the population. Women are far more frequently diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. This comes mainly from wearing uncomfortable shoes and high heels. These types of footwear can cause tightening of calf muscles. Calf tightening is one of the reasons men get plantar fasciitis as well, although it is not as common.

For those between the ages of forty and sixty, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost one million cases of plantar fasciitis are diagnosed annually.

Runners are by far the most frequent group affected by this ailment. A close second are teachers and professors, wait staff at restaurants and bars, industrial workers and salespeople. Basically, those with professions where they are on their feet for most of the day.


The process to diagnose plantar fasciitis is very simple. Physical exams of tender spots on the feet is a common method to confirm this ailment. However, other tests for diagnoses include gait observation and observations of range of motion.

Detailed medical histories can also provide strong background in a determination of a root cause. MRIs and X-rays are not commonly used, but can be utilized to diagnose plantar fasciitis if there is a suspected more serious injury, such as a sprain or tear.

The maintenance of healthy feet is always a work in progress. While there are some in medical communities who note that plantar fasciitis is inflammatory, others have suggested that it may be degenerative. What this means is that, over time, the foot tissue will deteriorate. The proper diagnosis from a certified medical professional will go a long way to determine if the condition is chronic, and if so the best method for proceeding with treatment plans.


Treatment for plantar fasciitis is relatively simple compared to other ailments of a similar nature. For one thing, it is highly cost-effective. With just a few easy changes to your lifestyle, and consistency in the treatment plan, the healing process can work wonders. Here are the seven main suggestions for treatment of those suffering from plantar fasciitis.

Ice things down

Icing sore, inflamed areas of the foot can assist greatly in reduction of swelling that wreaks havoc on your ligaments. In turn, this will alleviate some of the pain that is felt with plantar fasciitis.

Partake in gentle stretching

This provides impressive levels of improvement across the board for alleviating the pain associated with plantar fasciitis. Implementation of a regular stretching routine works wonders for the ligaments at the bottom of the foot. As one of the main causes of plantar fasciitis is tightened tendons and muscles, having consistent daily stretching routines provides ample mobility and enhanced flexibility.

Taking Anti-inflammatory medications and OTC alternatives

There are many oral and topical options that can reduce the pain and swelling associated with plantar fasciitis. Some of these include, over-the-counter pills, topical ointments, and prescribed anti-inflammatory medications.

Tape up

KT (kinesiology tape) or any other brand or runner’s tape provides extensive relief for foot pain. Taping your foot prevents muscles from locking up, and minimizes swelling by restricting blood flow to certain regions. Proper taping provides additional benefits by allowing your foot to rest, and giving tendons a head start in the healing processes from plantar fasciitis,.

Wearing a splint at night

Investing in an inexpensive night splint is another wonderful method to ensure your feet stay flexible and healthy. One benefit of wearing a night splint is the ability to stretch the plantar fascia ligament for an extended period of time compared to during waking hours. It also provides relief for tight calf muscles.

Daily stretching routines

Daily stretching is a vital way to give your feet an added dose of flexibility. When muscles and ligaments become too tight, painful symptoms can intensify. Making sure the long ligament that supports most of the impact from your foot stays flexible is key.

Wearing corrective footwear

This is where ShoeGuide focuses our efforts on assisting those suffering from plantar fasciitis. Ensuring that you wear running shoes and casual shoes that are developed specifically for plantar fasciitis in mind will go a long way in the healing process.

Stock photo of a foot highlighting heel pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

Walking and running are a staple of everyday life. Being affected with plantar fasciitis can raise many questions and concerns about your future as a walker or runner. It isn’t normal to have pain when moving around. Some of the most common questions that we have received are answered below.

Is Running with Plantar Fasciitis Possible?

While you should not run right after a bout of plantar fasciitis, there is nothing stopping you from doing so. However we at Shoe Guide highly recommend you wait a few weeks before starting running again. Many experts and doctors echo this suggestion as well, and suggest waiting until you have been pain free for four weeks before exerting yourself at the running level.

At a minimum, it is important to cease running for at least four to seven days once a plantar onset comes. This is especially crucial when the pain points are acute. Once most of the acute pain has subsided, you can then attempt to run if you are on an aggressive training schedule.

How Can I Improve My Condition?

Purchasing a pair of highly-cushioned running shoes and/or orthotic inserts goes a long way to assist in easing the pain of plantar fasciitis. Proper warm-ups also provide extensive benefits, as well as stretching, as covered above.

Like many running-focused injuries, if the pain is intense, or your form is impacted, it is important to stop running until you are back in ship shape. The last thing that you are wanting is another injury to occur as you overcompensate another part of the body for the plantar fasciitis pain.

If you attempt to run again, and discover that the pain worsens, stop running completely until the plantar pain subsides entirely.

Does Barefoot Running Assist with Alleviating Plantar Fasciitis?

Very few studies and medical research papers exist on information between plantar fasciitis and barefoot running. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that suggests it provides some benefit to some runners.

Running barefoot changes your gait. You are far more likely to land on the midfoot or ball when doing so. It is far too painful to heel strike when running barefoot, without any cushioning between your heel and the ground. This works to shift the impact onto other parts of the foot, hips and legs. As a result, your feet become stronger in the front part.

It has been told that strengthening the foot through barefoot running could provide positive benefits for alleviating pain of plantar fasciitis. This is in the same vein that performing calf raises will alleviate the pain through building up strength in the front of the foot.

There have been studies performed that showed evidence of higher load strengthening (i.e. building foot strength through dorsal flexing and heel raises) can assist in plantar fasciitis pain management. The theory is that when you run barefoot, you also strengthen that part of the foot by landing and toeing off on the ball of your foot. However the studies are relatively inconclusive.

When Is It Safe to Run Again After a Bout of Plantar Fasciitis?

This is a highly contested question in both the medical community and avid runners. Typically advice on the matter will range from 1-2 days, to a month or more. However, as soon as you feel an onset of plantar fasciitis building, it is agreed that you need to stop running. This time should be used to ice down the foot, stretch the plantar muscles, and if possible utilize a Strassberg sock or night splint.

How to Tape Up Your Foot for Relief?

Taping your foot with a product such as KT Tape can go great lengths to relieving plantar fasciitis pain. To properly tape the foot, you will need three pieces of six-inch tape.

Start by putting the first piece of tape on the ball of the foot, and then peel back towards the center back to the heel. Once here, swing the tape around and over the Achilles tendon, and then finish up along the back of the calf.

With the second piece of tape, start above the inside of the ankle. Then, wrap the tape straight down the leg to the point where the heel and arch connect. Follow the tape up the outside of the ankle. Then, with the third piece of tape, start on the backside of the leg above the ankle. Place the tape at an angle, and then wrap it around the foot. Here, the middle of the arch is covered. Continue up the other side of the leg.

The Bottom Line

Plantar fasciitis is not an easy ordeal to overcome. Getting a leg up on prevention and recovery will go a long way to ensure that your running quality is minimally affected. The health of your feet is worth investing in shoes with the necessary support and cushioning.

Your time is valuable, so we hope you find the best shoes for your feet on this list!

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