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Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis The Best

Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis for Support & Cushioning in 2022

Those who suffer from plantar fasciitis have long dreaded running at any distance. This ailment is one of the most common causes of heel pain, especially amongst the running community. 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. To help minimize pain, promote healing, and prevent reoccurrences, you should select the best running shoes for plantar fasciitis. This guide will help you get the information you need to make the right choice and avoid common pitfalls.

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

Our Picks for the Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis

First, we have developed a summary table showing what we consider to be the best running shoes for people with plantar fasciitis.  Below the tables you'll find our testing procedures, followed by a quick summary of each shoe, along with links to our full blown reviews.  We definitely recommend reading the full reviews if you have the time!

Here are the Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis You Can Buy:

  • Best Nike for Plantar Fasciitis: Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 - Men's | Women's
  • Runner-Up Overall: Brooks Glycerin 19 - Men's | Women's
  • Best Neutral Running Shoe for PF: Brooks Ghost 14 - Men's | Women's
  • Best for Heel and Achilles Pain: adidas Ultraboost 22 - Men's | Women's
  • Running Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis and Flat Feet: Asics Gel-Kayano 28 - Men's | Women's
  • Best for Maximum Cushioning: Hoka One One Bondi 7 - Men's | Women's
  • Best if You Love Saucony: Saucony Triumph 19 - Men's | Women's
  • Nike for Plantar Fasciitis on a Budget: Nike Air Zoom Structure 24 - Men's | Women's
  • Best if You Love Mizuno: Mizuno Wave Rider 25 - Men's | Women's
  • Best if You Love New Balance: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 - Men's | Women's

How We Tested the Shoes

We grabbed a ton of shoe options for those both looking to run, and those with plantar fasciitis. Our selections were based off of an aggregated reviews from multiple sources as well as manufacturer research and development indicating which models were specifically designed for plantar fasciitis. We found the top rated running shoes, and then bought them up. There were ten options, and we were looking to narrow the numbers down to a top eight for more in-depth reviews.

Once we received the shoes, photos were taken from all angles, and over the course of the next few months, we tested each pair of running shoes on three different “courses” in Northeast Florida.

Testing Routes

  • The Flat Route: We looked for a nice, paved area with differing terrains from sidewalks to asphalt to loose gravel over asphalt, linoleum, carpeting and more. We found the half-dead Regency Square Mall. To test these shoes on flatter surfaces, We traversed each one in a four-mile loop that took us around the perimeter of the mall, through loading bays and areas, and inside the mall itself. One mile of these four miles was a jog.
  • Off-Roading: Being in Florida, it is difficult to find a hilly trail to test these shoes out in true off-roading scenarios. We were able to find a great option, though, with the Spanish Pond Trail system near the Fort Caroline National Monument. Pine needles, mud, sharp inclines and declines. This trail stretched for four miles as well, and provided an awesome environment for testing features of these running shoes that aren’t stressed in the Flat Route. One mile of these four miles was off-road running.
  • Elevating: To test out the running shoes on some intense stairs, we took them each up the 42 floors of the Bank of America Tower in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. The stairwell is intense, and comes with over 80 switchbacks. These stairs truly tested the front of the shoe sole, as well as the grippiness when turning on slightly slick surfaces.

After repeating these test multiple times with each shoe over the course of a couple of months, we are confident that the tests performed provide a wide variety of all-encompassing terrains and scenarios in which people would use these running shoes for plantar fasciitis. Their admirable performance speaks for itself. Without any further ado, let's look at the summary table, and then dive into our analyses.

The Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis - Detailed Reviews

1. Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2

Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 motion control shoe for runners with flat feet and plantar fasciitis.

The Zoom Structure series from Nike underwent some substantial changes in design after the Structure 22, and Nike has released the React Infinity Run as an alternative to the Structure series, providing extra cushioning and more robust motion control than found in the Structure. (We still think the Structure series is a good choice for some runners, and you'll find it further down on our list.) It provides a strong middle ground between the minimalism of the Nike Revolution and the bulkiness of the some of the Asics models.

The major change in the transition from the Nike Structure series to the React Infinity Run 2 is the adoption of a guide rail system around the heel.  This is similar to the technology Brooks uses in the Adrenaline GTS line-up and replaces the old heel support system used in the Structure models.

Nike believes this model provides a definite upgrade on the Zoom Structure:

In fact, an external study by the British Columbia Sports Medicine Research Foundation (BCSMRF) on 226 runners in the Nike React Infinity Run and the Nike Structure 22, a traditional motion control shoe, showed that runners in the Nike React Infinity had a 52 percent lower injury rate than in the motion control shoe, with wearers confirming that they felt less pain in their knees and feet.

It has a thick foam cushioned footbed and high-quality Nike materials for stronger bounce back with each step. Enhanced cushioning helps perfect your running form and minimize overpronation. Several reviews mention it helps alleviate pain associated with plantar fasciitis. We also cover more in depth aspects of this model in our review of the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2.

Performance in our courses

  • The Flat Route: The Nike React Infinity Run 2 did wonderfully on our flat route course, both inside and outside. While other shoes squeaked upon walking inside for a short time, these did not at all.
  • Off-Roading: The Nike React Infinity Run 2 also performed admirably on our tougher, off road course at Spanish Pond. The test was performed in the rain, and the React Infinity Run 2 had no issues on wet surfaces or mud.
  • Elevating: The Nike React Infinity Run 2 did great on the stairs, and performed very well in the consistent turns that occurred twice on each of the 42 floors. No pain, no struggles, no flare-ups.

Advantages

  • The mesh upper fits like a glove, providing an incredibly snug fit.
  • Amazingly strong arch support, easily the best arch support of the top ten recommendations.

Disadvantages

  • Color options are slim, especially compared to color options in the old Zoom Structure line-up.
  • One of the more expensive options on our list, and does not come in wide sizes.

The Nike React Infinity Run was also one of our top choices for the best nike running shoes for flat feet in the complete guide we did for runners with flat feet.

2. Brooks Glycerin 19

Knit upper of the Brooks Glycerin 19.

The Brooks Glycerin 19 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 a “progressive diagonal roll bar” triple-density midsole. 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 19, 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. Many of the other features of these running shoes provide owners with more comfort, including:

  • 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.

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. We cover all the technical details you might want in our complete review of the Brooks Glycerin 19.

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.

3. Brooks Ghost 14

The Brooks Ghost 14 for men is one of the most popular choices in 2022.

The Brooks Ghost 14 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. In fact, one of the big upgrades from the Ghost 13 to the Ghost 14 was a change to make the upper of the shoe more comfortable, and it largely succeeds in this goal.

So the ride of the shoe feels quite similar, the overall comfort level around the foot should definitely be an upgrade from the Ghost 13. We cover some more of the technical details and differences from previous models in our review of the Brooks Ghost 14.

Brooks Ghost 14 vs. Ghost 13

In addition to the improved upper on the Ghost 14 noted above, the Ghost 14 contains a new midsole, but it is still quite similar to the Ghost 13 in that regard.  The only noticeable difference here is that it feels a little bit softer under the forefoot.

The other notable change for the Ghost 14 which improves it's chops as a plantar fasciitis running shoe is the softer heel as compared to the Ghost 13. Brooks used a new mesh design on the heel and reduced the use of synthetics over the outside of the heel.  This has aided the overall heel comfort of the Ghost 14, which is particularly important for a shoe for running with plantar fasciitis.

Advantages

  • 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.

Disadvantages

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

4. adidas Ultraboost 22

adidas Ultraboost 22 features as our best running shoe for women for everyday use.

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.

Advantages

  • 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.

Disadvantages

  • 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.

5. Asics Gel-Kayano 28

Asics Gel Kayano 28 men's running shoe for a neutral supportive ride.

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 in our courses

  • The Flat Route: The Gel-Kayano 28 did incredibly well on the flat route, 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 performed well when off-roading. However, the back of the shoe began to dig into the heel when climbing the steepest hill at a jogging pace. This went away quickly.
  • Elevating: We have been climbing those stairs for a while now to get some good exercise and burn the ol’ quads. The Gel-Kayano 28 provided one of the most comfortable climbs we have ever experienced.

Advantages

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

Disadvantages

  • 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.

6. Hoka One One Bondi 7

Bulky, but extremely cushioned profile view of the Hoka One One Bondi 7.

The Hoka One One Bondi 7 caters to those looking for the maximum cushioning that can possibly be shoved into a running shoe. Almost endless midsoles and a smooth transition experience. The only slight oddity is that they feature a somewhat narrower than average forefoot, but Hoke 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 cushioning is unmatched, even by other Hoka running shoes.

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 rivals 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 might 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.

Advantages

  • 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.

Disadvantages

  • 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.

7. Saucony Triumph 19

Saucony Triumph 19 running shoe for plantar fasciitis.

Available for Men at

Available for Women at

The Saucony Triumph 19 is another wonderful 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. In our testing, the cushioning did not disappoint. 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 in our courses

  • The Flat Route: The Saucony Triumph excelled in the flat route course, providing extensive comfort and a snug fit on all terrains applicable, both inside and outside.
  • Off-Roading: The Saucony Triumph did great in the off-roading course at Spanish Pond. The only hiccup came with a slight issue on the wet wooden plank boards.
  • Elevating: The Saucony Triumph performed admirably on the climb up the Bank of America Tower. There were no negative experiences recalled, and no pain afterwards.

Advantages

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

Disadvantages

  • 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.

8. Nike Air Zoom Structure 24

Nike Air Zoom Structure 24 Running Shoe for budget conscious runners with flat feet

Available for Men at

Available for Women at

These shoes were wonderful for plantar fasciitis relief. They are light and offer less bulkiness than most of the other shoes we tested and reviewed. Additionally, they were the most cost effective of the options in our recommendations list. The fit is perfect, and the comfort level is high.

With a synthetic sole and a mesh upper, the weight is incredibly light, drawing inspiration from the Nike Free shoe that was all the rage several years back. There are plenty of color and style options available for both men and women to choose from. We chose grey, but there are a plethora of colors in the rainbow to select from to customize your experience. You can find more details about our experience in our Nike Zoom Structure 24 review.

Performance in our courses

  • The Flat Route: The Nike Zoom Structure performed quite well on the flat route. We did end up stepping in a puddle that leaked through the minimalist mesh upper into the sock area, though.
  • Off-Roading: The Nike Zoom Structure did great in the off-roading experience, minus the note below. The minimally-serrated sole pattern performed surprisingly well for grip on wet and slippery surfaces.
  • Elevating: The Nike Zoom Structure, being the lightest of the eight shoes extensively tested, performed wonderfully in the climb up the tower, easily the most effortless of the eight and the fastest average climb time.

Advantages

  • By far the most cost effective option of the shoe recommendations in this guide.
  • Most minimally-stylish shoe of the bunch, with plenty of style options.

Disadvantages

  • Possibly an issue with squeaking/clicking (see note below)
  • There have been a few public complaints of the shoes wearing out quickly

9. Mizuno Wave Rider 25

Mizuno Wave Rider 25 for a smooth ride on medium-distance runs.

Available for Men at

Available for Women at

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.

Advantages

  • 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.

Disadvantages

  • 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).

10. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11

Profile view of the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11.

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 in our courses

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

Advantages

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

Disadvantages

  • Minimal color options available for both men and women to choose.
  • Sizing can run a bit tight, we suggest sizing up by 1/2.
Fall leaves on running path on cool day with adidas shoes.

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 both Nike 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. It was followed shortly by the Nike React Infinity Run. 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.  Still the Nike React Infinity Run was good, and the Hoka One One Bondi did extremely well here also. Additionally, the tread pattern of the Nike option was far more minimalist in comparison to the tire-like qualities of the Asics model.

Other Things 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 is crucial to upgrade your running shoes. Purchasing these does not need to become a difficult, 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 supporting, comfortable new shoe.

Fit

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.

Orthotics

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.

Price

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.

Style

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. Looking for the bright blue running shoes that you’ve had your eye on? Look no further than the Saucony Triumph on our list. The options are endless.

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.

Diagnosis

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

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.

Man's 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.

Last Words on the Best Running Shoe for Plantar Fasciitis

If you are on the lookout for a nice pair of running shoes that will provide extensive relief from plantar fasciitis pain, we are confident at the selections above will exceed your expectations. Plantar fasciitis is not an easy ordeal to overcome, and getting a leg up on the issues faced will go a long way to ensure that your running quality is minimally affected.

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